Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Does Age Discrimination Really Exist?

Let’s face it, I’m not a Pollyanna. Sure, Age Discrimination exists in some places, just as other forms of discrimination exist in some places.

However, my feeling based on professional recruitment experience since 1981, is that Age Discrimination is not as widespread as some people feel.

Go back to my second post, “The Best Qualified Candidate Rarely Gets Hired.” If managers have not been taught how to interview, what measurements will they use to decide on the qualifications of a candidate?

In my experience, if someone decides that they are the victim of Age Discrimination, they will allow the Law of Self Fulfilling Prophecy to kick in and will do things subconsciously to torpedo their job search.

On the other hand, Impact Performers will shrug off the occasional perceived or real Age Discrimination with the proper attitude – “If that’s the way they are I would not want to work there anyway.” Then they go somewhere they can continue to make impacts.

Several years ago when I was working with one of my clients we recruited a 63 year old IT Auditor and moved him to Florida. Why? He had a great audit career at one of the automakers, worked for one of the (then) Big 6 Accounting firms for 5 years, and then worked at another company for 2 years. The group was a young group and the Regional Manager felt he needed some seasoning in his group to groom his staff. The result? Six months later, the Regional Manager moved to headquarters to take a bigger job. The IT Auditor became the Regional Manager and is now the Assistant Director of IT Audit. He tells me that he will continue to work as long as he can make impacts and have fun (and sneak in the occasional golf game).

This is a person who is an Impact Performer and came across nicely as one. No one cared how old he was. We were all looking at his potential and his experience. In the interview he had a nice amount of energy and enthusiasm.

No matter your age, I am looking for the same qualities. How does your experience match the requirements of the job? How do you come across to me? Can you help my client solve their problems in your area of expertise? How will you mesh with the existing organization (having an “attitude” does not benefit you or the organization)?

Just as in any other time in your life, take control of your search and network your way into a position that you enjoy. This is the time to reinvent yourself and try new things while using your prior experience to solve new problems.

Remember, in many cases today you will be interviewing with a fellow Baby Boomer. Use that relationship builder to your advantage.

The better question to ask is if Age Discrimination will affect you. That’s your decision.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Focus Fridays – Plastics Material Sourcing Account Manager – National Recyclers

This week’s "Focus Fridays" position is the Plastics Material Sourcing National Account Manager – National Recyclers.

My client, Trex Company, is the leader in composite wood decks, railings, and privacy fencing. The Trex product has a 25 year warrantee, never needs staining, never warps or splinters. Wait until you see the new privacy fencing!! It will leap out of the plants!

Trex Company also keeps plastic and wood fiber out of the landfills. The company buys hundreds of millions of pounds of poly (plastic shopping bags and industrial shrink wrap). Trex Company also buys hundreds of millions of pounds of wood fiber (wood chips/sawdust) that is pulverized and combined with the plastic to create its products.

This position is very important because it is the position that interfaces with national plastic recycling companies to bring the plastic material to one of the Trex Company plants. If you are qualified and interested in the Plastics Material Sourcing Account Manager – National Recyclers position, you may apply by clicking “Employment Opportunities” on the menu on the left and follow the menu – or send me your resume to me as a Word or RTF document. If you know someone who may be interested, have them reply via email to me at RecruiterGuy@msn.com .

This position is a new position and is located in Winchester, VA. It reports to the National and Direct Sourcing Manager. The job description is below. Trex Company has a wonderful relocation program.

Develop, coordinate, and manage strategies and projects to maintain and increase new and existing polyethylene streams sourced through National Recycler accounts.
1. Develop, execute, and manage strategies/programs to secure long-term supply contracts/partnerships with National Recycler accounts.
2. Manage National Recycler accounts by utilizing industry knowledge of process machinery as well as corporate and field resources to meet volume and quality objectives. Activities include collecting, compiling, and analyzing Plant receiving data and then communicating/implementing corrective actions with both Plants and account.
3. Develop and manage strategies/plans/programs to effectively utilize both Trex’s and National Recycler resources to support overall Material Sourcing plans and objectives. Activities include the development of complete recycling solutions for targeted accounts, increased volume from targeted accounts, new material source development, poly processing development, sale of excess materials, and quality improvement programs.
4. Manage existing National Recycler accounts to ensure that material quality standards are maintained as well as complete financial performance is documented, reviewed, and reconciled on a monthly basis with account and Trex Accounting group.
5. Develop new and existing technologies to increase post consumer and post industrial recycling efforts.

Scope of Position :
Responsible for securing and managing accounts in excess of 50 million pounds of acceptable material with a value in excess of 15 million dollars. Continue to develop new plans and strategies to secure material to support long term sourcing objectives.

Know How. Experience. Education and Competencies :
Must have B.S. Degree with 3 years + of related purchasing, marketing, manufacturing, or sales experience preferred. A fundamental knowledge of a plastics or similar manufacturing operation is required. Must be able to efficiently review and interpret technical information as it pertains to the development of recycling projects. Must be willing to travel up to 25% of work time. Must be comfortable with the Microsoft Office suite of applications and internet-search engines. Must be able to effectively communicate with individuals at all levels within various manufacturing and distribution organizations. Must be able to development and present clear, concise, persuasive presentations. Individual must be a strong team player and set high standards for him/herself.

Goals for the First Year -

3 month goal - to be completely acclimated with both the buying and selling processes involving 2 of Trex's largest National Recyclers - this involves 40 million pounds of material. This will entail the management of ALL transactions and logistics functions

6 month goal - To be able to accurately report on all sub-vendors underneath the National Recyclers. To be able to pinpoint and improve upon all quality issues.

9 month goal - Increasing volume and quality from 2 large national Recyclers.

12 month goal - Develop a 3rd major national recycler from infancy - thus growing volume and quality at a competitive price.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to reflect on all of the reasons to be thankful. Hopefully those reasons extend beyond worldly goods and focuses on all of the important relationships in our lives.

Sure, having a nice car, a beautiful house, the latest HDTV, a PS3, beautiful clothing is nice, but what is truly important?

I feel that family and friends who care for you and you for them are far more important. Be sure to thank them over Thanksgiving and let them know they are important. That is the best gift that you can give them.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Do You REALLY Want to be Happy at Your Next Job?

We have all read the statistics that claim a large portion of our workforce in the US is unhappy on the job. That is very sad; when you consider the percentage of our lives that we spend doing “work.”

Having been a professional recruiter since 1981, you can imagine how many unhappy people that I have met – some of them other recruiters.

Why do you suppose there are so many unhappy workers? In my previous post titled “The Best Qualified Candidate Rarely Gets Hired”, I made the point that very few managers have been trained how to effectively interview and select the best qualified candidates.

Obviously the same is true for the candidates. Few people truly understand that the job search process is a sales process, with the selling being done on both sides. Therefore, sometimes candidates will accept statements from hiring managers at face value without questioning them.

Prior to an interview, imagine yourself in the position where you were happiest. It doesn’t matter what you were doing; who you were working with; where you were; when it was. Now, think about all of the elements that made you happy. Think of all of those elements in chemistry terms. Sometimes elements can combine to create new elements.

Now simmer those elements down to the base elements. My feeling is that there are two base elements. The first element is “Am I making positive, measurable impacts?” The second element is “Am I having fun?” Please note that neither element mentions money. If you are making positive, measurable impacts and having fun, money will take care of itself because you will do the things necessary to be successful (in your terms).

If both elements are there, I guarantee that you will be happy. If either element is missing, I guarantee you that it is just a matter of time before you are unhappy.

The next time you interview, include these filters. You will make a better choice.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Focus Fridays - Chief Process Engineer

Beginning the tradition of "Focus Fridays", the Chief Process Engineer is the position that I am devoting attention to this week.

My client, Trex Company, is the leader in composite wood decks, railings, and privacy fencing. The Trex product has a 25 year warrantee, never needs staining, never warps or splinters. Wait until you see the new privacy fencing!! It will leap out of the plants!

Trex Company also keeps plastic and wood fiber out of the landfills. The company buys hundreds of millions of pounds of poly (plastic shopping bags and industrial shrink wrap). Trex Company also buys hundreds of millions of pounds of wood fiber (wood chips/sawdust) that is pulverized and combined with the plastic to create its products.

This position is very important because it is the position that ushers the new products from Research and Development to production. If you are qualified and interested in the Chief Process Engineer position, you may apply by clicking “Employment Opportunities” on the menu on the left and follow the menu. If you know someone who may be interested, have them reply via email to me at RecruiterGuy@msn.com.

The position is located in Winchester, VA and reports directly to the VP of Manufacturing. The job description is below. Trex Company has a wonderful relocation program.

Manage all process engineering functions for the company related to product and process development transition to full-scale production via a method called Pilot Production. Duties will include indirect supervisory responsibilities, financial and project management, operational effectiveness of assigned process and project maturation projects and technical development support.
Key Duties and Responsibilities:
1. Develop an effective transition means from process and/or product development to full-scale production capability. This Pilot Production Process will be accomplished in the following manner:
a. Effectively communicate project progress within the Manufacturing, Marketing and Research and Development departments to transition from research and development to production
b. Establish resident knowledge of process parameters and controls within the entire Trex manufacturing organization
c. Implement production process instructions and control plans that ensure 100% capability with tangible and measurable goals
d. Identify process improvement opportunities and prioritize within the appropriate plant functions
e. Establish ownership of the development-to-production maturation process
2. Implement standardized plant processes for new processes and/or process equipment including the following:
a. Manufacturing process documentation
b. Logistics operations including shop floor management and materials movements
c. Financial transactions
d. Training of new or changed processes
e. Materials testing and reporting
f. Continuous improvement programs
3. Manage the production pilot production process to include plants producing finished goods at 100% of rate and material cost goals. Objective is to demonstrate process, process capability and quality level using plant resources and associated project budgets. Additionally, improvement projects will be initiated by this position to optimize operations, develop and implement cost reduction programs and make strategic recommendation that reduce cost, increase performance and improve product quality.
4. Manage expense budget of approximately $800 thousand dollars annually.
5. Responsible for developing manufacturing teams by using the following measures:
a. Training regimens that certify the competency of process and maintenance technicians for the intended process
b. Coaching crews in methods that will meet plant performance requirements of yield, uptime and minimum line rate
c. Coaching process engineers on critical parameters in processing equipment and tooling
6. Manage external suppliers in support of the project objectives
7. Manage and maintain organizational effectiveness by ensuring processes are in place to optimize resources from R&D, logistics and other functional resources with focus on the overall objectives of the corporation.
8. Manage the change process within the plants. Assign responsibility within the site staffing to facilitate the change process.
9. Install capital projects as appropriate within the scope of lean implementation, process change and/or addition and maintenance of business as determined by the supervisor and plant manager.
Supervises Indirectly:

1. Process Technicians-275
2. Team Leaders-16
3. Maintenance Technicians-30
4. Unit Engineers-10
Scope of Position (Consider expense and capital budgets, manufacturing lines, pounds, and similar quantifiable data):
Indirectly supervise up to 300 people. Budgetary responsibilities to include: $800M per year in project expense; $2.5MM per year in capital expenditures. Impact potential is up to thirty manufacturing lines producing 900MM lbs per year of finished goods. Assets totaling over $165MM, facilities of approximately 750 M sq. ft.

Requirements: Must have a M.S. in Engineering or Polymer Science (other educational degrees can be applicable with related experiences), 5 years of continuous improvement and/or lean manufacturing experience, 5 years prior experience in maintenance and plant engineering/operations and prior experience in capital project management. Critical competencies include:
Effective communications
Lean Manufacturing/ Six Sigma
Teamwork with emphasis on Partnering with other organizations
Setting high standards
Strategic vision
Technical knowledge
Operational effectiveness

Trex Company has a track record of promoting Impact Performers. This is the opportunity to work with a market leader!

No agencies at this time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Best Qualified Candidate Rarely Gets Hired

That may get your attention. Generally when I present to groups on the topic of interviewing, people ask about the interviewing process.

How many times have you sat in an interview and wondered, “How will this person (the hiring manager) be able to determine if I am the best qualified candidate? Instead of probing my experience, capabilities, and motivations, he/she just asked me what kind of tree I would choose to be.”

Let’s examine the process in most companies. A person excels in their current position and gets management’s attention. They are promoted. What happens next? They need to learn their new position and fill the position in their organization that they just vacated. A replacement employee requisition is requested and now the Human Resource Department and Recruiters are sourcing candidates. Candidates are produced and given to the new Hiring Manager to interview.

Where in this process is this Hiring Manager taught how to interview? If they have not been trained how to interview, they certainly have not been trained how to select the best qualified candidate. How does that lack of training impact most companies?

1) The Hiring Manager may not hire the person who will make the key contribution that will propel a company forward;
2) The candidate they do hire may be a good tactical hire but not a good strategic hire – and will leave when they no longer are able to make impacts;
3) Worse yet, they may stay and no longer make significant contributions;
4) Employee retention will become an increasing problem. The wrong person is hired and that impacts the performance of the entire team.

If you hear a Hiring Manager say that an offer should be made to Mr./Ms. Candidate because it feels good in their gut, remember that guts are really good for storing and processing food, not selecting candidates.

If companies expect to hire better performers without training the decision makers on the selection process, it sounds suspiciously like doing the same things and expecting different results, doesn’t it?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Welcome to my Recruitment Blog

Since this is my first blog, let me introduce myself. I am a professional recruiter whose business model is a contract recruitment business. My experience as a professional contingent recruiter began in 1981 in Washington, DC, during a pretty bad recession (Timing is Everything!). Of course, since I started recruiting in a recession, it was okay to go into business for myself in 1990 – during a recession (okay, maybe I am a little slow sometimes!).

My contract recruitment business is legally called The Humbert Group LLC. However for many years people have simply called me “RecruiterGuy.” I understand there is an imitator out there somewhere, just go to Whois.com, look at website URL registration dates, and decide on your own. No matter. My contract recruiter model is further differentiated by the fact that I work with one company at a time and charge a flat monthly fee to partner with my client.

In order to understand some things that I will say in this blog, it is good for you to know some of my core values – Honesty, Integrity, and Respect are a good start. My Mom and Dad instilled these values in me as a child; my teachers and coaches at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, MD reinforced them; and my professors and coaches at Assumption College in Worcester, MA further reinforced them. All three groups instilled the value of community service.

This blog is for candidates (isn’t everyone a candidate sometime?), other Recruiters (Internal and External), and Hiring Managers. As a Contract Recruiter, I work closely with all of these groups. The topics will range from job description development to interviewing from both sides of the desk to retaining “Impact Performers”. Hopefully these blogs will make a positive, measurable impact somewhere with you. On Fridays, this blog will be “Focus Friday”. On “Focus Fridays”, I will highlight one of the jobs that I am recruiting for.

Oh yeah, while my last name may be Humbert, there is a strong Irish streak in me. Therefore, while I do not have any personal political ambitions, you may see an occasional observation on the political process. The purpose will be to make you think about how we can reinvent our country to make one of the best places to live even better.

As one of the Hiring Managers that I worked with at Latitude Communications in Santa Clara used to say, “So there you have it!” Thanks Wayne!