Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Setting Goals as Recruiters, Candidates/Employees, and Hiring Managers

This is the season when traditionally we reflect on the past year and set our goals for the next year. Some people call those goals “New Years Resolutions”. I tend to avoid using that name since those “resolutions” are often closely associated with another word, “broken”.

You may want to review all of the conditions that need to occur for a promise to become a goal:
1) A goal must be specific. As a recruiter, your goal for paid fees or income for the year must be a number not a range. As a candidate/employee you may set a position as your goal. As a hiring manager, you can target performance areas or hiring goals.
2) A goal must be measurable. Remember metrics? In order to know if you are on the path to completion of your goal, you must have a way to measure the work being done to reach the goal. For instance, as a recruiter if you know it takes 200 calls to make a successful introduction of a candidate to a client, you can break that down to the daily work that needs to be done to meet your goal. As a candidate, if you know that Lee, Hecht, Harrison has measured that it takes 20 networking calls per week in order to find a new job in 3 months, you know that you must make 4 connections per day. Track your activity so you know when the Law of Averages is about to work in your favor (That’s why it is called a “Law”). Tracking your metrics also helps you improve the accuracy of your averages.
3) A goal must be challenging. This is the time to reach for new successes. If your goals do not catch your imagination, you will lose interest in them. Remember when President Kennedy challenged the US to put a man on the moon in the 1960’s (oops! Maybe some of you are too young to remember those heady years)? That goal caught our imagination, and as a country we worked towards its successful completion. No other country has done it since.
4) A goal must be realistic. Beware of conflicting goals. If you want to send a man to the moon but are not willing to spend money doing so, you have a conflicting goal. It costs money to put someone on the moon. Heck, it costs money (typically) to get to the next town. So while your goal must be challenging, it must also be attainable.
5) A goal must have a completion date. If you do not put a completion date in your goal, it is far too easy to put off doing the work to attain your goal. Then you lose interest (how many of you join a health club in January and don’t go back inside until next January? Oh, that’s one of those “resolutions” we referred to earlier).
6) Finally, a goal must be made public. By telling other people about your goal, you are committing yourself to its completion. If you are a candidate, it may not be wise to tell your manager about your intent to find a new job. Otherwise, your search may take on a new sense of urgency.

By reviewing your past year and setting new goals for this year and beyond, you become a better manager, employee, recruiter, parent, coach, etc.

Good Luck and have a Wonderfully Successful and Healthy 2007!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Do You Know When to Shut Up?

How many times have you been in an interview when you asked yourself, “Is he or she Ever going to shut up?” I have seen both managers and candidates talk so much they went from successfully selling the other person to turning them off. Or have you ever found yourself in a conversation with your manager to convince them to do something differently, and then heard the manager say, “Okay I’m convinced. Don’t say any more.”

Too many times we are so busy talking that we forget to listen. One of the signs of a good sales professional is when they ask questions instead of make statements. They use all of their senses to know when the other person is ready to buy. Then they ask a closing question, shut up and listen. The first person to make a sound loses leverage.

During an interview with a sales prospect in 1995, I decided to employ the interviewing technique of asking a question and shutting up. Every time the candidate thought he was done with that question, I would nod my head and use a hand motion to continue. Don’t you know that he kept going and going for 24 minutes before realizing that he had just blown the interview? It took until this summer for someone to beat his time – another sales prospect. My client did not extend an offer to either candidate.

Once I had a client whose manager was so talkative when he found someone that he liked, he would not shut up. The poor candidate was subjected to 2 hours of his talking. If the candidate survived that, he was given an offer. No lie.

This is a problem for candidates and managers alike.

Take the time to listen to yourself when you are presenting your case. If it feels like you should be quiet, you have probably passed the time for silence.

Thanks for your suggestion, Cindy!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Focus Fridays – JD Edwards Developer Analyst

This week’s "Focus Fridays" position is the JD Edwards Developer Analyst position.

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 nor 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 a new position that brings development in house. This is an XE shop and Trex is willing to train JD Edwards World and Lawson candidates. 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 ERP Manager. The job description is below. Trex Company has a wonderful relocation program.

This is a small IT organization and the Impacts that you make will be felt throughout the organization.Carry out development tasks to the highest quality standards, including: Coding & Documentation Unit & System testing New releases Analyze functional requirements, identify options for meeting technical solutions and recommend a course of action. Provide technical support to resolving day-to-day production problems and questions. Integrate third party software to Enterprise One as required. Act as consultant and/or team lead for projects requiring technical expertise. Plan and record effort for projects and enhancements.
Requirements:

5 years recent technical experience in JD Edwards's distribution, manufacturing, and financial applications. JD Edwards Enterprise One development tools including Enterprise Report Writer, Forms Development, Object Management Workbench, Business Functions, and Interoperability. Experience with Microsoft development tools including Visual C++ and SQL Server 2000. Comfortable with programming and modifying JDE C Business Functions. Complete familiarity with Event Rule Process Flow for all Form Types/UBE Sections. Highly experienced with Event Rule Debugger and Visual C++ Debugger. Be capable of advising and contributing to development standards and documentation. Bachelor's degree in Information Systems or comparable degree and experience combination.

Location
Winchester , VA

Minimum Experience (yrs):
7

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

College Students - Where Are You Interning Next Summer?

Summer seems a long way off. Many students are in the middle of this semesters final exams. The Holidays are almost here. In the Northern Hemisphere, we are facing the beginning of Winter; and RecruiterGuy is talking about summer internships.

Consider this – many of the prime internships for next summer may already be taken. The companies that use internships to attract the best and the brightest students look for them year round. The first contact may be a simple “Be sure to contact me in December or January to discuss the internship.” This initial contact may have taken place during the Fall College Job Fairs that hopefully all of you attended.

What is the value of internships? It depends on what side of the table you sit.

As a student, you have so many career choices. How do you determine what you are going to do after college? One good way is to target an internship with a company or industry that currently interests you. Research the companies. Look at their website. What are they saying in their press releases and investor relations pages? Do their career pages say anything about internships? Do you know someone who already works there? What do they say? Are there any alumni from previous classes who work there? Your alumni office can tell you if any alumni work there and possibly put you in touch with them. If a company has a particularly good experience with students from one school, they will come back. Conversely, if the experience is poor, you will have to do a lot more selling!

During an internship you may find that your career choice is not what you wanted after all. Isn’t it better to discover that early, rather then waiting until after graduation? It will give you an opportunity to explore another internship the following summer. No internship is wasted. Everything that you do becomes part of your experience. Companies like to see College graduates who have worked successfully in a professional setting.

An Engineering Manager that I supported at Rockwell Collins once said to me, “Give me an engineering student with a GPA 3.3 who worked part time in his/her area of interest while in college over a student with a GPA 4.0 who did not work. If they do not work, their full time job is school and I expect the 4.0.”

How do you find internships? The best way is to use your creative juices to find them. Sometimes they are tucked away within small start up companies that do not have a lot of money yet to market their internships. Sometimes they are in structured programs within large companies. Talk with upper classmen/recent graduates within your major to see where they interned. Ask for contact information from them. Talk with your Career Development advisors. Talk with your parents (What a Concept!) to see if they know anyone within the companies that you have targeted.

Why should companies want to bring interns into their business? It gives them the opportunity to “Try out” new employees before making a long term commitment to them. If the work is interesting, the interns will want to work there. Therefore the recruitment process is easier for both sides.

Your younger competition for internships is getting stronger. I am on the advisory board of the Workplace Learning Connection (www.workplace-learning.org) in Eastern Iowa. This organization sets up job shadows and internships for High School students with companies in Eastern Iowa. These High School students are touting the advantages of an internship. Can you imagine how aggressively they will seek internships in college?

Make your life happen. Don’t allow life to happen to you!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Focus Fridays - JD Edwards Manufacturing Project Manager

This week’s "Focus Fridays" position is the JD Edwards Manufacturing Project Manager position.

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 nor 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 a new project management position that brings formal project management in-house. This is an XE shop and Trex is willing to train JD Edwards World and Lawson candidates.

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 . This position is a replacement position for someone who was promoted and is located in Winchester, VA. It reports to the ERP Manager. The job description is below. Trex Company has a wonderful relocation program.

The successful candidate will be responsible for the daily technical management of present and future JD Edwards Enterprise Resource Planning Manufacturing and JD Edwards Enterprise Resource Planning Manufacturing related Enterprise Business Systems, such as Inventory and Distribution, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Process Reporting (COGNOS) and Automatic Data Collection.Specific duties include:Responsible for the daily support of JD Edwards MRP and MPS systems to include maintenance and configuration management Ensure data integrity of Manufacturing Enterprise Systems to include inventory and distribution data Act as Technical Lead in Information Technology projects to include Enterprise Resource Planning, Supply Chain Management and Automated Data Collection Perform manufacturing and related systems requirements analysis for Information Technology.

Requirements:

B.S. in Information Technology or B.S. in manufacturing related role
Minimum of 8 years experience in a Manufacturing Process related role
Minimum of 4 years experience supporting manufacturing (MRP/MPS) related business critical Enterprise Resource Planning applications (JD Edwards)
Minimum of 5 years of JD Edwards Project Management Experience

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hiring Managers – Just How Important is the Dreaded Job Description?

It is no secret that most Hiring Managers dread developing a job description for an open position in their department. “Just get it from HR” is the normal response when I ask for it.

Unfortunately that is exactly the wrong response. Remember my second post – “The Best Qualified Candidate Rarely Gets Hired”? Another reason for the poor selection of employees is that the manager and interviewing team are not looking for the correct candidate skills to be successful.

Think of your work team as a sports team. What do Championship Teams do well? The fundamentals. Another analogy is building a house. If your footings are not square, your walls will not be square.

A good job description is the foundation of every point of the recruiting process. Therefore beginning the recruitment process by doing the proper due diligence on the job description is absolutely required.

It is always a good idea to list all of the day to day functions of the position. This part of the process helps you decide if the position should evolve into a higher or lower position than what you originally had.

You may decide that the position requirements no longer require certain skills because of automation. On the other hand, automation of duties may actually give you an opportunity to hire a more strategic individual. Until you take the time to truly understand where that position is evolving, it is difficult at best to determine the skills necessary to be successful.

Once you list the day to day (tactical) functions, list the skills necessary to perform those skills. Now decide which skills are critical to the successful completion of those functions. Some skills are “nice to have”.

Now list the strategic functions of the job. They could include special projects that you may want that person to complete over a year. List the skills necessary to be successful in the completion of the strategic functions. Again, which skills are critical and which are “nice to have”. Obviously some skills may overlap depending on the position.

Is this a people management position? If so, what management duties are tactical and what duties are strategic? What Management skills are critical and what are nice to have?

Can you see how all of this information can help you grade the position and better determine whether someone is a good fit?

Of course some of you are already doing these types of due diligence but would like something to help tie everything together.

Here is a suggestion that I have been making to Hiring Managers for quite a few years now. Determine and list the 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month goals for the position. Now the skills required to be successful in the first year should become crystal clear for everyone on the interviewing team. This gives you something that may be better measured than a gut check.

The added advantage is that these goals give you and the new employee discussion points to discuss every time you meet during the critical first year. For instance, “How are you doing on your 3 month goals? Do you need any assistance from me?” At the end of the year, there will not be any surprises on either side during the annual review.

Finally, when you make a great hire, you develop a nice bounce to your step. Things move smoothly and you will be promoted. If you make a poor hire, what does it cost you and the company? Possibly more than you ever dreamed.

Which do you want? Isn’t developing a solid job description worth it?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Candidates - Redouble Your Job Search Efforts Now!

Contrary to what is considered to be common knowledge, now is the best time of the year to look for your next job! And you thought companies in their final quarter are waiting until after the Holidays and their new budgets to begin.

Consider – Managers know what budgeted positions are available to them beginning in January. Since it usually takes some time between the beginning of a search and its completion, the Hiring Manager who is on the ball is looking right now to add to their team. The selected candidate can start on January 2nd. This enables them the opportunity to snag good candidates while other managers are taking the Holidays off from interviewing; and have them start in the new budget year.

Additionally, this is the warm and fuzzy time of the year. I had a candidate once interview on Christmas Eve morning. The interview lasted all morning and she appeared to be a great fit. They invited her to stay for a quick lunch – and extended her an offer on the spot. She called me Christmas day to tell me that she accepted their offer and would start in the first week of January.

Her story could be yours.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Focus Fridays - JD Edwards Developer Analyst

This week’s "Focus Fridays" position is the JD Edwards Developer Analyst position.

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 nor 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 a new position that brings development in house. This is an XE shop and Trex is willing to train JD Edwards World and Lawson candidates.

You may apply by clicking “Employment Opportunities” on the menu on the left and follow the menu – or send 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 located in Winchester, VA. It reports to the ERP Manager. The job description is below. Trex Company has a wonderful relocation program.

This is a small IT organization and the Impacts that you make will be felt throughout the organization.Carry out development tasks to the highest quality standards, including: Coding & Documentation Unit & System testing New releases Analyze functional requirements, identify options for meeting technical solutions and recommend a course of action. Provide technical support to resolve day-to-day production problems and questions. Integrate third party software to Enterprise One as required. Act as consultant and/or team lead for projects requiring technical expertise. Plan and record effort for projects and enhancements.


Requirements:

5 years recent technical experience in JD Edwards's distribution, manufacturing, and financial applications. JD Edwards Enterprise One development tools including Enterprise Report Writer, Forms Development, Object Management Workbench, Business Functions, and Interoperability. Experience with Microsoft development tools including Visual C++ and SQL Server 2000. Comfortable with programming and modifying JDE C Business Functions. Complete familiarity with Event Rule Process Flow for all Form Types/UBE Sections. Highly experienced with Event Rule Debugger and Visual C++ Debugger. Be capable of advising and contributing to development standards and documentation. Bachelor's degree in Information Systems or comparable degree and experience combination.

Location
Winchester , VA

Minimum Experience (yrs):
7