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A Routine of Good Habits

One of my favorite people, even though we’ve never met, is Doris Kearns Goodwin. She’s a history wiz, a brilliant writer and, in this fake news galaxy, knows how to give a fair and honest interview by sticking to the facts and alerting her audience when expressing an opinion. I read a short piece in Fast Company about how she manages her day and the good habits that contribute to her success and happiness. So I thought I share because who wouldn’t like a better day of good habits built on a simple routine?
Ms. Goodwin rises early – around 5:00 AM – just like most Navy Seals, and uses the time to write and take notes. No TV, no email, and no distractions. Around 9:00 AM she takes a simple breakfast with her husband before checking email and making for a productive day. In the evening she follows FDR’s WWII, “no talk of war cocktail hour” infused with trivia, or live music – anything to refresh and recharge. Before bed she spends a few minutes reading mysteries which help clear her mind and relax.
If she’s on a plane or train it’s, in her thinking, a wonderful, uninterrupted time to “get things done”. And she does. For her, as it was for Teddy Roosevelt, procrastination is a mortal sin. If she starts to put things off she simply thinks of Teddy. I’m adopting this!
I’ll end with her note taking routine – she states Abraham Lincoln was a tireless note-taker who attributed much of his Gettysburg Address to a collection of notes gathered from his roll-top desk.
So, what’s my point? I’m not suggesting everyone should follow Ms. Goodwin’s routine. Perhaps adopting note taking, or early morning uninterrupted creative time might work for you? The point is if you feel a little out of kilter perhaps a simple routine adjustment will make things right. Let me know how it works.

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Money Well Spent?

When I got into the media business (sales) ad agencies were known for hiring youth, paying meager wages, providing minimal training and offering limited advancement. Long hours were common and I’m pretty sure late night pizza delivery was common several times a week.

That was 45 years ago! Over the last couple of decades agencies have pivoted, reimagined, reinvented and hacked themselves promising to be the agency of the future.

But wait, there’s more. Back then it was common for an agency to have 10 employees grinding on just 1 Million dollars in billings. Over time technologies introduced some new efficiencies and, of course, salaries exploded with inflation and the ratio declined to one person working on $1 Million. Today, I’m told, a single agency employee works on several million dollars’ worth of billings.

So, have those millions of dollars clients spent supporting the agency of the future built a place of well-trained, highly experienced, highly compensated individuals with multiple choices for early and frequent advancement?

I’m guilty of generalizing because there are some great shops, foundries, farms, or whatever that are doing their clients proud. For the rest keep disrupting until you get it right!

Exploring the Undiscovered Career Move

There was a piece in USN&WR citing a career consultant who urged employees to always be on the lookout for new opportunities even those who are happy in their job and well paid. Unfortunately, across various fields of marketing communications, job security is rare. How rare? About as rare as chicken’s teeth. Good people find themselves laid off for reasons beyond their control and, typically, not for lack of performance.

As recruiters, we always look first to the people who are happy, successful and not actively looking for their next opportunity. These are considered by many as highly desirable “A” players. When asked, most CEO’s say when moving through the hiring and interviewing process, they look first for character and integrity because those are traits you can’t teach. And, those traits are shared by the people who are better adept at dealing with a steep learning curve.

So, you “A” players, the next time you get a call from a recruiter, it might be worth a few minutes to listen and learn about the offering. Who knows, it could change your life and, it only takes a minute or less to reply, “I’m not interested at this time but, let’s stay in touch”.

SAVE THE DAY

It’s very frustrating for a professional recruiter to be called in to “save the day” tasked to find a new hire in an extremely short period of time after an internal search failed to produce any acceptable candidates. Professionals are good at what they do is because they take the necessary time and effort to conduct a thorough search and that doesn’t happen overnight. The most desirable candidates are usually gainfully employed and are not looking for other opportunities.

To find top candidates we start every search with a “blank page” not simply relying our extensive data base. To fill the “blank page” we conduct a thorough needs analysis discussion with the hiring manager and anyone else involved in the hiring decision to fully understand the ideal candidate’s profile covering both soft and hard skills.

So the next time you hear or are tempted to say, “We’ve never had any luck using recruiters” or “We can do what you do so you’re not worth the money” consider this. It’s true, there are bad recruiters out there just like any other profession but the good ones know their value and earn appropriate and fair fees. Most of the elite members of the executive search profession have a solid business education defined by years of experience, continue to be trained in new search methodologies and are dedicated to professional excellence.

We’d like to think that PointClear Search is included in that group.

DIGITAL TRADITIONAL FORK IN THE ROAD

Seems like every other day I receive a referral for a solid seller who successfully transitioned from traditional media to digital. They self-educated themselves, earned digital certifications and, when asked, conveyed relevant insights from decades of sales and people experience with colleagues. They practiced consultative selling before the phrase was coined, bring well-tune listening skills to the table and succinctly communicate internally building solutions that answer client needs.
They consistently win contests, receive awards and earn the respect of former managers. Exceeding goals, conducting themselves professionally and earning respect by giving respect is their mantra.
When we speak they are anxious to contribute, to be part of successful team, to again pay income taxes and to contribute to a culture that values fun alongside of working hard (and smart) while recognizing the organization’s success is a function of maintaining work – life equilibrium. They’ll assume a leadership role and it isn’t necessary to include a management title.
Of late I’ve been wondering if these fine folks shouldn’t return to their traditional roots armed with the skills to sell cross-platform and the knowledge of where traditional media fits within the broader media landscape. Or, should they continue pushing forward for a place in the digital ecosystem?
Help me out. And help those at the digital/traditional fork-in-the-road.
What are your thoughts?

Don’t Do This On Your Next Interview

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CareerBuilder.com recently polled human resources pros and hiring managers to compile their annual list of interview quirks and missteps committed by candidates in the past year. Here are this year’s “winners” in which a candidate:

Called his wife to ask her if the starting salary was enough before continuing the interview.

Brought childhood toys to the interview.

Said her hair was perfect when asked why she should become part of the team.

Bragged about being in the local newspaper for alleged theft.

Ate a pizza he brought with him.

Ate crumbs off the table.

Asked where the nearest bar was located.

Invited the interviewer to dinner afterwards.

Stated that if the interviewer wanted to get to heaven, she should hire him.

Asked the interviewer why her aura didn’t like her.

Hard to believe, huh? Well, everyone who interviews a lot of people has similar stories. Some even more ridiculous than these.

PEOPLE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Last week I received feedback on a candidate who was clearly qualified for the position but proceeded to spend the majority of the time talking about what the next opportunity in the company might be. Needless to say, the hiring manager who had an immediate need was not impressed. Chalk up another one for millennial entitlement and self-absorption.

We can and do prepare candidates for interviews. It’s in our interest to do so after we determine a candidate has the experience and skill set for a position and we judge them to be a good cultural fit.

However, sometimes there’s just no accounting for stupidity.

Better than When We Found It

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As a boy scout I was taught to always leave a camp site “better than we found it” which, in simple terms, meant scouring the ground for anything that wasn’t part of nature. When camping and in many instances, in life, returning to the natural state is highly desirable. I believe the concept is applicable to each generation and its responsibility to following generations. So, over the next few months I’ll do my best to tackle a pertinent subject from the current national conversation stating with fake news.
The too frequent fake news stories are more than troubling. We can agree it’s a problem, right? And, it’s a big problem when a misguided, gun-toting “fixer” arrives at a pizza joint to free young hostages and an even bigger problem when fake news is influencing free speech and the election process.
Since my career history and my current profession broadly encompasses marketing communications I’m going to address the meteoric rise in paid content (native) and, depending on how it’s presented, where it fits in the fake news universe.
Paid content, or if you prefer, native advertising is not new. Google “Advertorial”. Back in the day advertorials were clearly identified as advertisements. Today’s paid content? Not so much and therein lies the problem. Consider, The New York Times’ content group T Brand Studio, which employs 110 people and Magazine publisher Time Inc. now employs 125 people at its content group, the Foundry.
No advertiser and no reputable media wants to be found guilty of fake news. In the past editor’s managed a thin demarcation line separating edit from advertising. Today the line seems to encourage paid content osmosis.
I’m suggesting the media clean-up its “camp site” rebuilding the wall between editorial (news) and advertising clearly identifying what’s not news. As real news regains clearer visibility the media will recapture its authority and trust while fake news (propaganda) fades back into the shadows where it belongs.
In the end the media, the reader/viewer and our democracy will greatly benefit.

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

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The December 4th issue of the New York Times carried an article by Patrick Gillooly in the Sunday Business section entitled “Why You Need Social Media” Mr. Gillooly puts forth the proposition that a well executed social media strategy is critical for career advancement. Full disclosure: he is Director of Digital Communications and Social Media for the career site Monster and he openly admits his bias.

Reading this article made me question my own preconceived notions. As a recruiter, I live and die by LinkedIn. I use Facebook for keeping up with an array of non-business friends and relatives across the country. So when I think this is a common practice in the business world, I am extrapolating from a sample of one. And don’t get me started on Twitter.

I think Mr. Gillooly makes a good point when he says that excluding yourself from social media means you may not be staying on top of the opinions and workings of people who can have a very dramatic impact on your life and career. By embracing social media, we can create career opportunities from simply expanding our networks, improving our knowledge and exposing ourselves to jobs we may not have otherwise considered.

So, please join me in taking the first step. Go to https://www.facebook.com/roger.tremblay.1690?fref=ts and take a moment to like my company page https://www.facebook.com/PointClearSearch/?pnref=lhc

I guess even us old dogs can learn new tricks.

Happy New Year,

Roger Tremblay

 

What to Wear for an Interview

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Recently, I spoke to a class of college seniors about how they should approach getting their first “real” job. For some reason there’s not a college or university in our country that teaches this. So the level of attention and engagement is unusually high, especially among students paying for their own education. My presentation includes tips on resume writing, interview preparation and techniques, how to use LinkedIn/Social Media and anything else the students want to talk about.

In the most recent discussion the topic that seemed to get the most attention was, “What to Wear for an Interview”. My advice is always the same: wear big boy and big girl clothes. Just because you’re interviewing for a position at an ad agency where people come to work in jeans and tee shirts, that’s not how to dress for the interview. I explained dressing well doesn’t necessarily mean dressing like one is interviewing for a job on Wall Street.

Have some style. Andre Agassi said it best. “Image is Everything”.

So, I’m curious. For any of you agency types who might read this, I’d like to hear your opinion. Also, mention what YOU wore the last time you interviewed.

John T. Molloy’s book, Dress For Success, (1975) popularized the concept of “power dressing”. How does one dress for success in 2016?

Ad Agency Quandary

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I recently spoke with a senior media person who has over a decade of solid career growth with a major agency. While discussing her career she confided that she loved and respected her boss but, has no loyalty to the agency. I was shocked as it’s an agency everyone, once upon a time, wanted to work for and many did after toiling as un-paid interns.
What happened? She reflected on the job parts that were once fun – mentoring, teaching and helping others advance their careers. But, that’s before the agency “over-tightened” their financial belts due, perhaps, to razor-thin compensation agreements, overly aggressive demands from corporate HQ to “send more dollars home” or, simply management more concerned about making their yearly bonus at the expense of filling a couple of seats to relieve the pressure of those clocking in more than 8 hours a day.
It seems management forgot work-life balance is real. Family first is a fact. And, when loyalty leaves the building clients are sure to follow regardless of “great fee” arrangements.
Has the time arrived for management to go on an internal listening tour?