candidates

Next Generation of Thinkers and Leaders

I read a short piece on finding talent in tight markets (read: low unemployment) written by a CEO of a full service ad agency whose early career was working with a major consulting group.
She asked the question, “So what’s a small business to do when competing for talent with companies that might have bigger purse strings and a sexier name?”
To address the issue most companies, large and small, should either fire their HR department or, in a kinder gesture, isolate the educable from the “sheep” and teach them look for problem solvers. You know the type – it’s the person who leans away from consensus, the person who tends to break process and the person who has a record of delivering when others are still doing what they’ve always done regardless of results.
If you want your company to do great work – you know, the stuff that’s positive-disruptive employing the game-changing strategy that has clients and the competition saying, “wish I’d thought of that” remove your industry-only blinders, look across the entire business horizon and dig-deep for the next generation of leaders and thinkers.
That’s what we do for our clients.

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Transferable Skills

It has been our experience that the majority of the job descriptions we see for marketing roles contain very specific job experience requirements. To me, this flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Ask any CMO of a large, publicly held company, they will tell you that marketing skills are transferable across industries. Therefore, a skilled and experienced marketing person should be able to transition from CPG to financial services or financial services to pharmaceuticals or… There might be a steep learning curve but a motivated, intelligent person will succeed and the company benefits from having a fresh perspective on its marketing challenges. This industry-only practice seems to unnaturally eliminate some very good potential candidates.

So, why does this practice continue to exist? I can think of two reasons. First, companies don’t allocate the time required or have confidence in their on-boarding process. So they hire someone who will “hit the job running”. Or second, they’re afraid to make a mistake. If the candidate doesn’t work out for reasons that have nothing to do with experience or skill set, the hiring manager has a built-in excuse, “But he/she had all these great jobs and recommendations”.

At PCS, we like to look at a prospective position in terms of what skills are necessary to be successful at the job and how will the person fit into the culture – and that has to go both ways. We believe that’s the winning formula for a successful placement.

Be Curious

Read a piece earlier today about Amazon’s hiring process. You know Amazon – that, “Work hard. Have fun. Make history.” first company (beating Apple!) to reach a $1 trillion market cap. What struck me was the company’s attraction to candidates who are “scrappy in how they solve problems”. Good advice for any company hoping to survive the next market disruption.

Beyond being scrappy Amazon also recommends that the candidate stays open-minded and curious about opportunities at Amazon. For me that’s the “bingo” moment for any candidate hoping to stand out from the crowd of other candidates. Ask great questions. As my business partner says, “Great questions trump poor answers”. And, honest curiosity may open new doors that lead to an even better career move.

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.

Are You Catering Your Hiring Process to the Talent Pool?

I read a terrific piece by Mike Daly – The Knights Ghost (see below) on LinkedIn today that calls for two additional observations.
First, empty desks represent a loss of revenue not savings due to an unattached salary. Second, in addition to revenue loss the company also suffers a reputation blow not just from the candidate but, as an influencer, among her/his circle of friends and associates. Some lost revenue is recoverable. Reputation dings add up quickly potentially destroying years of reputation building.
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Offer declined – Candidate accepted another offer.
Manager – Why? How did that happen?
Me- We took too long.
Manager – It’s been only 3 weeks since I talked to her.
Me- 2 weeks too long, she was on the market for 3 weeks when you talked to her.
Manager – Did you know about the offer?
Me- Yes and no. She did not tell me she has an offer pending but it’s a fact, any talented person will have multiple offers within a period of time, I would say 2 to 4 weeks they are off the market.
Manager – So how do we overcome this challenge?
Me- The issue starts with the hiring process. If it’s a lengthy and boring process that does not cater to the talent pool. We will lose every time.
Manager- How do we refine the process to retain top talent?
Me- Treat talent the way they want to be treated. Do not set high walls for them to climb, shorten the hiring process with prompt feedback and collaboration between departments, create job descriptions that make sense, promote your environment and the product or project they will be a part of.
Finally, ask for feedback on the hiring process from new hires and tend to their feedback.
The hiring process has to be exciting and innovative to attract and cater to top talent. “Birds of the same feather flock together”
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What are you doing to avoid losing a star to the competition?

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

stupidity-3

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.

How Does Your Organization Fit This Dichotomy?

old-vs-new-thinking

This visual may be slightly exaggerated but it’s worth considering if your concerned about attracting high-quality human capital to your organization in the future.

In our recruiting space – marketing communications – we’ve learned that it’s not too difficult to figure out whether someone has the skill set and experience to do a particular job. The tricky part is figuring out whether there’s a good “fit”. And fit has to go both ways. Typically you look at a candidate and evaluate whether or not they will be good for your team but, it’s just as important to determine if your team is good for the candidate. If there’s not a two-way fit you run the risk of hiring a very short term employee.

The reality of today’s talent marketplace is a lesson from Economics 101: there is more demand for good people than there is supply. Competition for the best people is intense and if you don’t play the recruiting game well, you and your organization will be left behind.

So how do you think your organization fits into this dichotomy?

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

social-media

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