Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Retaining Young Adult Employees

This is RecruiterGuy again to give you another quick preview of coming attractions at the CUNA YES Summit in Austin, TX on Dec. 5, 2007.

You work too hard to find great talent. Failing to retain them is a shame – and not very cost effective.

In order for you to retain high impact talent, it is very important that you have your retention fundamentals down.

The first and certainly one of the most important rules is the Golden Rule – “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.” The stories that I hear from candidates make me shake my head. If managers simply followed the Golden Rule, retention would be much higher. The concept is not magic. The execution is everything.

Have you taken the time to develop a retention process? If so, have you documented it? Are all employees aware of it? Are you focused on retention? Have you developed a leadership development plan? Succession planning is very important today as our Baby Boomer generation is beginning to move into retirement. Therefore retaining Impact Performers is more important than ever.

You certainly have developed a member retention plan. It probably focuses on great member service and great member communication. Shouldn’t that be the basis of your employee retention plan?

As we spoke in a previous blog, the young adult is used to immediate gratification. Is that expectation always possible in the business world? Of course not. However you may be creative and give them the perception of immediate gratification. Here’s a suggestion – use the CUNA courses/certification completion as incentives. Most importantly, listen to their ideas and talk in terms of their interests.

We have much to discuss. See you next week!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Recruiting Young Adults

Happy Thanksgiving YES CU bloggers and YES Summit Enthusiasts!

This is RecruiterGuy again just to give you a quick preview of coming attractions. Great news! My presentation is now down to 40 slides and dropping. However, coffee or Mountain Dew consumption is recommended so you can listen fast.

We spoke of the instant gratification that young adults expect today. In order for you to give them that experience on the recruiting side, it is very important that you have your recruitment fundamentals down.

Have you taken the time to document your recruitment process? If so, are there any extra steps that may be removed?

Generally businesses do a good to great job branding their service or products and really do not brand themselves as an employer. Would you prefer to brand yourself as an employer – or do you want public perception to do so? How do young adults in your area perceive you as an employer?

How quickly do you respond to candidate inquiries for employment? When you interview candidates, do you sell the services of your credit union and discuss the reason(s) you are passionate about working there? Remember that Every candidate is a potential member! How many candidates, who do not become employees, become members? That may be an interesting metric to watch.

Is your recruitment process smooth and efficient? Have you trained your hiring managers how to interview? If they haven’t been trained how to interview, how do you expect them to select the best candidate - and not the least threatening? Do you make hiring decisions quickly? Do you do reference checks? You better!

Recruitment is one of the most important areas of the credit union. With one hire you may be able to greatly expand your business - or a poor hire can wreck your reputation.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Focus Fridays - VP Actuary

Are you a consultative Actuary with the experience of a VP Actuary? Do you have demonstrated strong analytical skills? Do you have a desire to perform and be recognized for your performance? Do you have a good understanding of the life insurance business? Would you like to live in the Midwest and work with a well known life insurance company?

The client recognizes the importance of an internal consultant and risk manager for actuarial activities. One of the goals for this person is to build professional relationships with the Chief Actuaries of the different divisions within the company, and help the Chief Actuaries identify and audit areas of concern.

This position will be responsible for auditing and consulting within all of the actuarial responsibilities throughout the US member companies based on an annual audit plan.


Requirements:
This is the senior person within Internal Audit responsible for interfacing with the Chief Actuary in the business’ divisions and reports to the Vice President and Director of Internal Audit.

Thorough knowledge of the life insurance business and actuarial principles relevant to the position are required. Asset liability experience and product pricing experience while working with Marketing is valuable. Investment and product development experience required. Experience as an external or internal consultant is required.

Will work as part of an integrated audit team on some assigned audits while either leading or acting as a sole contributor on others.

Interact with Senior Management to advise on key actuarial related issues. This is often done through meetings so management may make informed decisions.

Bachelors Degree required. Member of the American Academy of Actuaries; FSA required.

The successful candidate will have a minimum of 20 years of actuarial experience in a life and/or health insurance environment and another 3-5 years in a consultative role to Chief Actuaries whether internally or as an external consultant. Must have detailed knowledge of relevant insurance laws and regulations as well as actuarial standards of practice relevant to their responsibilities. Must have effective written and verbal communications skills.

Write to me at recruiterguy@msn.com to learn more!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

YES Summit CU Blog

Hello YES CU bloggers and YES Summit Enthusiasts! I am RecruiterGuy, and my goal is to help you attract and retain the 18-30 year old employees. Oh by the way, I am also one of those Old White Guys – OWG’s for you text folks!

We are going to have an interesting morning on Dec. 5th. An organization, any organization, is either growing or it is dying. It’s important to have the seasoning on your team; and it is also important to have the fresh new faces who don’t know what they can’t do – and their accomplishments will sometimes surprise everyone, including themselves.

In our hour together we will discuss two topics that I could speak hours on. So far my PowerPoint presentation is down to 125 slides so get your coffee early and often. You’ll need to listen fast.

And that is one of my points. This generation has grown up with instant gratification. Remember when you had to wait for the tubes in the TV to warm up before you saw the picture? No more. We had to play Monopoly for hours to determine a winner. With today’s video games, I am sometimes defeated before my seat gets warm. Technology comes easily to these candidates – and that’s where you can find them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Announcing www.RecruiterGuy.jobs!

For the convenience of our candidates, we have bought the www.RecruiterGuy.jobs domain. This will take our candidates directly to our Employment Opportunity pages.

RecruiterGuy.com is a contract recruitment company whose mission is to match Impact Performers with our clients. As a Contract Recruiter, Bill Humbert focuses on the recruitment needs of one company at a time to identify and recruit the best qualified candidates.

Recruitment research has shown that candidates want the convenience of going directly to the job search without wading through the balance of a website.

The additional advantage of www.RecruiterGuy.jobs is that candidates have the ability to easily access the candidate resource pages of www.RecruiterGuy.com for hints on their career search, including resume suggestions and other Internet links that may benefit them on their search.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Focus Fridays - Vice President Actuary - Internal Audit

Rarely do you see a position at this level posted on any job boards. This is an opportunity to make positive impacts at the senior level within a multinational insurance organization based in the Midwest.

The client recognizes the importance of an internal consultant for actuarial activities. This position will be the senior Actuary within Internal Audit responsible for the coordination and oversight of various auditing and consulting activities. Areas of focus will include Actuarial, Investment Management and related business areas. This person will report directly to the Vice President and Director of Internal Audit.


Requirements:

Thorough knowledge of the life insurance/asset management business and relevant actuarial principles are required. Product pricing, asset/liability management and related risk management experience is required.

Will work as part of an integrated audit team on certain audits or consulting projects, in either a leadership or advisory capacity.

Interacts with Senior Management, including Chief Actuaries, to advise on key actuarial and related business issues.

Bachelors Degree required. Member of the American Academy of Actuaries; FSA required. CFA or MBA valuable.

The successful candidate will have a minimum of 15 years of actuarial experience in a life insurance environment, including at least 3-5 years as a professional consultant. Must have detailed knowledge of relevant insurance laws and regulations as well as actuarial standards of practice relevant to their responsibilities. Excellent presentation and communication skills are required.

EOE

Contact me at RecruiterGuy@msn.com

No agencies at this time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Focus Fridays - Lead Internal Auditors - Cedar Rapids, IA

Last week was Hong Kong. This week we are looking for Two Lead Internal Auditors in Cedar Rapids, IA, preferably from a Financial Services Company or from a large Life Insurance Company.

One of the world’s largest life insurance companies and pension companies, and a strong provider of investment products, is seeking Two highly motivated Lead Internal Auditors. The successful candidates will plan and perform complex audits in a dynamic environment, and work on special projects with an emphasis in developing value-added recommendations that will significantly enhance their business.

The candidate should have 6-10 years of audit experience or equivalent business experience in financial services or life insurance. Experience in financial services audits with a Big 4 Accounting Firm would be valuable. A Bachelors degree in Accounting, Finance, Economics, or Business is required. CPA preferred.

Excellent written and oral communications skills, solid analytical skills and a strong team orientation are required. This group follows a team based integrated audit approach and utilizes Teammate for work papers.

Candidates with less work experience may be considered for the position of Senior Auditor.

This company offers a competitive salary, excellent benefits and career advancement opportunities. Its motto is “Respect People. Make Money. Have Fun.” In the past year, six auditors have moved from audit into the business units. Six employees from the business units have moved into audit. This is an attractive group to work for. The greater Cedar Rapids area offers cultural opportunities, Big Ten and Big Twelve academics and sports, and a rich historical heritage. If you enjoy the game of golf, this area offers more courses per capita than many cities.

If you are interested in this position, please forward a copy of your resume to recruiterguy@msn.com. If you know someone who may be interested in knowing about this position please forward a copy of this post to them.

Have a Great Weekend!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Focus Fridays Senior Operational Auditor – Hong Kong

One of the world’s largest life insurance companies and pension companies, and a strong provider of investment products, is seeking a highly motivated Senior Operational Auditor. The successful candidate will plan and perform complex audits in a dynamic environment, and work on special projects with an emphasis in developing value-added recommendations that will significantly enhance their business.

The candidate should have 5-8 years of audit experience or equivalent business experience and a Bachelors degree in Accounting, Finance, Economics, or Business. CPA or CA preferred.

Excellent written and oral communications skills, solid analytical skills and a strong team orientation are required. Excellent English skills are required, Mandarin is preferred. Position is based in Hong Kong and requires approximately 25% travel.

Candidates with less work experience may be considered for the position of Staff Auditor.

This company offers a competitive salary, excellent benefits and career advancement opportunities. Its motto is “Respect People. Make Money. Have Fun.”

If you are interested in this position, please forward a copy of your resume to recruiterguy@msn.com. If you know someone who may be interested in knowing about this position please forward a copy of this post to them.

Have a Great Weekend!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Focus Fridays Business IT Auditors Wanted

Are you a sharp Business Analyst who really likes to learn your company’s business and how to improve it? Do you have demonstrated strong analytical skills? Do you have a desire to perform and be recognized for your performance? Do you have a good understanding of business applications? Have you worked in applications development to develop a model business? Do you know how your IT applications impact the running of your business?

We are recruiting two professionals who have these strengths in a Life Insurance or Financial Services environment. These are replacement positions for people who came into the Internal Audit group a number of years ago and have now been promoted into the business.

Cedar Rapids, IA has many reasons to work here. If you are used to dealing with long commutes (no rush hour here), wouldn’t you like to spend more of your personal time doing personal things? Like playing golf on one of the many golf courses in the area (Zach Johnson, Masters Tournament Champion learned to play golf here); enjoying one of the best Art Festivals in the country (Marion Arts Festival); enjoying one of the best symphony orchestras in the country (supported locally since 1927); picnic at the first Pike’s Peak in Iowa (Zebulon Pike named it several years before reportedly saying “My Bad!” and naming the mountain in Colorado Springs after himself too); we have a great educational system for children and one of the best Big Ten schools (The University of Iowa) 30 minutes away. I moved here from Maryland 13 years ago.

The “big cities” of Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Omaha are an easy drive for a long weekend. Denver, Dallas, Detroit, and Cincinnati are a 1 ½ hour direct flight. You may also fly directly to Las Vegas, Orlando, and Atlanta. I like to say that we can enjoy the big cities on our terms. For instance, while local residents are getting their errands done on the weekend because of their long commutes during the week, we can be playing in their backyards!

The residents of this area are friendly too! That’s a nice bonus!

Oh yeah, the job! You will be trained how to conduct risk based audits, may interface with executives, and grow within a family friendly company (summer half days on Fridays). Few performers leave this company. The company helps them find new areas to contribute within the company.

Write to me at recruiterguy@msn.com to learn more!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Beware of “Contract Recruiters”!

As a Contract Recruiter with 26 years of professional recruitment experience, it has come to my attention that the term “Contract Recruiter” is being widely overused.

When you are hiring a “Contract Recruiter”, what are your expectations?

Do you expect a professional recruiter with many years of experience? Are you expecting someone who knows how to effectively recruit for your firm, despite your firm’s warts (if any)? Do you expect someone who can come into your business and examine your recruitment processes and suggest improvements to help you be more effective in your own efforts? Are you looking for someone who, while working with your hiring managers, may suggest ways to help them improve their interviewing and selection skills? Do you expect a professional who can look at your website and your recruitment marketing and suggest more effective ways to spend that budget? Are you looking for someone who can help you deliver candidates at the offer that you previously were not able to recruit? Are you truly seeking someone who has worked in a best of class recruitment effort and knows ways to help you improve?

Or are you looking for a temp?

Let’s face it. Few people with less than 10 years of seasoning in any field know what “best of class” really is – even if they have worked in it. Maybe I should say especially if they have worked in a “best of class” environment.

If someone has only worked in a “best of class” environment that implies that they have never worked where there were major problems with a recruiting effort. They know what their environment was. They may know your environment needs improvement. If they have never had to work through the corporate politics and never had to solve those problems, how will they help you solve yours?

A true Contract Recruiter has over 10 years of Contract Recruitment experience. Please note that I did not say “Corporate Recruiter” or “Agency Recruiter” experience.

Corporate Recruiters are the recruitment foundation for your firm. If they are strong recruiters, your recruiting function will be strong. If they are weak recruiters, your recruiting function will be weak. It is a simple equation that actually mirrors other functions in a business. Depending on the company, the Corporate Recruiter may not have the ability to influence the executive level to make changes in the recruitment process. They may have the recruitment ability or knowledge, it simply is that the “Prophet rarely gets Respect at home”. How many of you have felt that frustration?

A Contract Recruiter who has the seasoning that only years of experience brings, can sit down with the executives and confidently suggest improvements and the benefits they bring by showing the results at their other clients. Remember, some companies really do recruit very well. Could they improve in some areas? Absolutely! That is the basis for continuous improvement in all business processes. The seasoned Contract Recruiter has been in many environments and has seen many ways of doing things – some good and some bad. This helps us quantify your processes and determine which ones need improvement. Then we can confidently make improvement recommendations.

Many “Agency Recruiters” are absolutely wonderful recruiters. I count many great Agency Recruiters among my friends. They tend to be lone wolves (may work in offices with other recruiters) and focus on an industry, some focus only on a position (like physician recruiters, for instance). They know from working with companies who is responsive and who needs improvement but rarely do they see the company from working on the inside. Don’t get me wrong. A great Agency Recruiter is worth every single cent they make. They went out and earned it. In the process, they also made positive impacts on their clients by introducing candidates they otherwise may not have seen.

Do you hear the “but” coming? The Agency Recruiters may not have dealt with the internal politics in a company. Their efforts may have been impacted by those politics but rarely have they had to successfully work through those politics. They typically have not been involved in internal recruitment process improvement and recruitment marketing. Sometimes, but rarely have they had the opportunity to influence a CEO’s decision on a recruitment process or candidate (unless they were involved in a true executive search for the client). An experienced Contract Recruiter has the confidence and experience to approach the CEO or CFO and “whisper in their ear”.

At one time I read in the Fordyce Letter that less than one percent of all third party recruiters last in this industry over ten years. If a person is one of the few people who have worked in this industry ten years, they have some special talents.

The seasoned Contract Recruiter may help you promote the improvements that both of you know are needed while they are recruiting Impact Performers for you. Remember the prophet? They are viewed as the prophet coming from the outside. Therefore they may be able to influence people who may not otherwise listen to you. If we bring up the credit too soon, the executive’s eyes may glaze over. Hey, once all of us get the improvement in place, we will be happy to give you credit because that also reflects back on us.

A recruiter with one to five years of experience working through temporary agencies is a temp. Just as the temps who work as bookkeepers or as production supervisors. There is nothing wrong with them other than their lack of experience. Possibly the Temp Agencies need for them to sound “experienced” in order to sell their services.

Now do you really believe that the temp can help you reach your recruiting goals? If so, you should hire them.

If not, you should contact a well respected recruiter with a wealth of experience who is also connected to a network of seasoned Contract Recruiters. Questions? Feel free to contact me.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

Please take time from the 3 G’s – Golf, Grilling, and God (though not necessarily in that order) to remember all of those men and women who have lost their lives protecting our freedom.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Congratulations New Graduates!!

Studying to complete your bachelor’s degree is done for most of you. What are you going to do next? Some of you have committed yourselves to more study to become a Doctor or Attorney or other position requiring an advanced degree. Some of you went to College Career Fairs last fall and last February and already lined up your first job. Some of you worked on an internship last summer and received an offer as a result of your demonstrated work ethic. And some of you just realized you need a job.

What do you need to do next?

First, decide what you want to do.

Second, begin to contact companies that need people to do what you want to do.

Third, set up interviews with those companies.

Wow! That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Fortunately sometimes it is that simple. Unfortunately, sometimes it is much harder. Looking for a job can be hard work if you haven’t done any prep work during your senior year. For instance, many of the entry level positions are snapped up by February around the time of the College Career Fairs. Some companies actually extend offers in the fall before you graduate.

Let’s say your ideal job has been snapped up already by someone a little more enterprising, now what?

Just get a job period. Every job has its good points and its bad points. Most times people have perceptions about jobs that aren’t true because they have never worked in that job. You hear about CEO’s who started their careers in the mail rooms (Would that be a systems administrator today? Wait and see!). It could be you.

Take a job in customer service, retail, somewhere. Learn that company’s business. Be enthusiastic. If you are done with your tasks for the day, go to your manager and ask what other responsibilities you can take on. Look around and see where else you can contribute. Decide what you enjoy doing and what you don’t enjoy. Then see if your current company has the next position for you. Always do the best job you can. I do check references and they are pretty thorough. You always want people to say good things about you and your work habits.

Good luck! If you do a great job, we may be chatting in the future!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

When is a Person a Valued Contract Recruiter?

As I am searching for my next opportunity to serve a company, I am reading online postings for “Contract Recruiter.” Some of them require one to two years experience and the ability to develop recruitment into a world class experience – and the compensation is $20 to $30 per hour.

Whom are they kidding? Are there other occupations where people have that unrealistic requirement of an inexperienced person? Why does it seem to happen in recruitment more than other occupations?

My guess is that in recruitment we do not do a good job selling our profession and defining what title is an entry level person and what is an experienced person. Therefore, when a temp firm hears a company say they are tired of paying contingent fees, they propose a contract recruiter at a relatively low rate (that they can sell). Hopefully they provide that inexperienced person with mentoring and support.

If not, the CEO or VP HR has a poor experience; and all contract recruiters fall into the “we tried that and it didn’t work.”

My suggestion is that Contract Recruiters should be people who have recruitment seasoning. We have been in the trenches for ten or more years and survived at least one recession. Since in our economy, recessions come along every eight to ten years that could be a reasonable requirement.

A Contract Recruiter needs to have enough experience that when a situation comes along that they haven’t seen before (and after 15 years of Contract Recruitment and an additional 11 years of Contingent Recruitment, I still experience new situations), they can respond creatively with better potential solutions for their client.

A seasoned Contract Recruiter has worked with different recruitment processes and applicant tracking systems; sold candidates on the idea of working for blue chip companies and emerging companies; understands the place for Internet Recruitment and Direct Sourcing; and cares for both his/her clients and their candidates.

A seasoned Contract Recruiter learns the client’s business and advises clients on candidates based on those business goals. Importantly, a seasoned Contract Recruiter considers themselves a member of the corporate team and works to ensure the team does well.

When a seasoned Contract Recruiter does all of those things, they are invited back when the client needs them. That is the measure of success.

Monday, April 30, 2007

SHRM Staffing Management Conference – New Orleans

As is usually the case, last week SHRM did a great job organizing and running the Staffing Management Conference in New Orleans. This was one of the smoothest running conferences that I ever attended. Nicely done!

There were a variety of speakers speaking on many of the recruitment processes. Attendees came from as far away as China – “The World is Flat” (Thanks, Thomas Friedman!)

It seemed as we moved from one presentation to another that everyone was seeking the Recruitment Holy Grail. What can we do to improve our recruitment processes? Find a new Applicant Tracking System? Is there a new killer app for Internet Recruitment? How do we improve retention so we don’t have to constantly fill the same positions? Tony Blake talked about how he made over recruiting at Great-West. Can we do the same at our companies/clients? How do we do a better job with Internal Referrals? Is our recruiting group viewed as the black hole? If so, how do we become better internal consultants? What is the impact on candidate resume submissions when they have multiple clicks to reach our open positions?

Then we visited the vendors who sent their representatives to sell the services or products to see if they could provide us with the killer recruitment app to help us reach the Recruitment Holy Grail.

Some people got something entirely different out of the conference. For instance, while I have already suggested to a couple of clients that they obtain a DOT Jobs domain, I have decided to finish writing my book on corporate recruitment. John DiPietro and Lizz Pellet were key contributors to that decision. The 26 years that I have spent in recruitment has given me a wealth of information to get out to corporate recruitment staffs.

It was fun to finally meet recruitment icon Gerry Crispin. His CareerXRoads book should be in every recruiter’s space for those times when you need to think a little out of the box.

You do not have to go far to find the Recruitment Holy Grail. It is in you and waiting to be unleashed! See you at the next SHRM staffing Conference in Nashville, TN April 13-16, 2008!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Orleans – SHRM Staffing Management Conference – Touring the City

This is one of those few departures from recruitment topics on this Blog. I am attending the SHRM Staffing Management Conference in New Orleans and this topic is on some of the personal things that I learned.

First of all, many of the politicians and the media are not accurately describing the resilience of the people of New Orleans and how much of the city has recovered from Hurricane Katrina.

Time and time again the people of New Orleans told me not to listen to “them” (politicians and unrealistic media). They are proud that their hard work has resulted in a substantial recovery for their city. Unlike the people seeking political gain and much of the media, the people of New Orleans have done an unbelievable job in their recovery. Some people do not realize that a city is not built (or rebuilt) in a couple of years. People with those expectations either are seeking their own gain; or possibly are using some illegal drug or too much alcohol. To paraphrase another saying, “New Orleans wasn’t built in a day.”


The residents of New Orleans refer to Hurricane Katrina as “the storm” or “the hurricane.” It’s almost as though they refuse to dignify her by using the name.

The ninth ward was effectively destroyed by the flooding and many of those people have left the city. It is interesting that the levees on the Mississippi held during the storm. The canal and lake levees were the ones that failed.

So what has to happen next? Well, not being a city planner, my guess is that the infrastructure has to be rebuilt to support the rebirth of the city. That is hard work. Then as the economy improves, the housing needs to be rebuilt. Obviously hard decisions need to be made regarding homes in areas such as the ninth ward. Is it responsible to allow people to rebuild where they may be in danger from future storms?

New Orleans was built on tourism and commerce. Thanks to the storm, much of each left the city. As both return to the area so will business and housing.

The GM of one of the major hotel chains told us that “The City of New Orleans is back. Now the city needs you to come for the first time (like me) or return – and spend money” (I helped!).

Now here are some tips. The food is awesome! I went to Shula’s Steakhouse in the JW Marriott for dinner my first evening. Okay, not very New Orleans’ cuisine but I was hungry and wanted something familiar first. Excellent!

Lunch on Monday was at the Acme Oyster House with several SHRM attendees. The fried oysters and crayfish were outstanding – great sauces. Monday evening was a special treat with my friends at Advanced Personnel Systems, Inc (SmartSearch Applicant Tracking System) – Sylvia Dahlby and Paul Smith, a new friend, Lori Corucci of Predix (candidate personality profiles), and an old friend, John DiPietro (author, speaker, and trainer). We ate at the Palace CafĂ© on Canal Street. It sounded like the red fish special was a big hit. My giant shrimp (is that an oxymoron?) with crayfish was very tasty. Thanks for the treat Sylvia and Paul!

Tuesday evening, Sylvia, Paul, Lori and I were joined by Doug Coull and Mike Estrada of Advanced Personnel Systems. We went to Olivier’s on Decatur St. What a great old restaurant with a long New Orleans family history! Paul had the catfish dinner that sounded very tasty. The rest of us enjoyed the Creole red fish special with jambalaya and crayfish ettouffee. Oh my goodness! Thanks Doug and Mike! This was an entertaining evening getting to know you and a special treat.

On Wednesday, I ate lunch at Johnny’s Po-Boys on St. Louis St. in the French Quarter. Their shrimp Po-Boy was so good! You have to have one of these sandwiches. Honestly there is no room for dinner now.

Find time to take a 2 hour ride on the steamboat Natchez down the Mississippi River and back. Start on the port side of the paddle wheeler. Most of the tour is on that side of the river. I imagine the evening dinner cruise would be magical as the lights in the city begin to come on.

A final couple of comments on Bourbon Street – Since it is almost 200 years old, I imagine that it was way ahead of Vegas in the saying “What happens on Bourbon Street, stays on Bourbon Street!” It is a really interesting combination of entertainment from tops in Jazz to bottom in taste – next door to one another. ‘Nuf said!

Enjoy New Orleans by coming here and experiencing this magical city. As Fats Domino sang, “Walkin’ to New Orleans!” It doesn’t matter how you get here, just find a way!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Corporate Recruiters - Getting the Most out of a Career Fair

These notes are probably not for the very experienced corporate recruiter who has dozens of Career Fairs behind them. You have already figured most of this out!

This column is for the less experienced corporate recruiter who wants to learn a few tricks that the old, Wiley recruiters use.

I have worked over 100 Career Fairs and presented at many of them. Therefore, these suggestions come from years of experience.

How do you prepare for a Career Fair? Most recruiters check to see if they have their handouts and bait (toys to attract candidates). Then they locate their display and either ship it to the Career Fair location or make arrangements to bring it. Depending on the size of the company, they may take a look at all of the openings or they may be working on all of the corporate openings and know what they are looking for in each position.

How often do they check to ensure that the information on the handouts is up to date? Depends on the company and person. How often is information passed to the candidate without a corporate website? More than you would think in these days. Instead of your or your managers’ business cards, make up corporate logo cards with the corporate website and career site links on them. These cards will go to the majority of candidates. Only give your business card to candidates that interest you.

How do you dress for a Career Fair? Let’s start from the bottom up – the feet. Wear comfortable shows with comfortable socks. If your feet hurt, they will distract you especially as the day goes on. Wear business casual slacks and preferably a shirt with your corporate logo. This makes you a walking billboard for your company. It also helps you network with other recruiters.

When I enter the hall where a Career Fair is about to be held, the first thing that I do is look for the recruiters with the “Predator” eyes. You can tell they have already begun to focus on their day. They know who they are looking for and will recruit them when they spot them. They are friendly and very focused. Typically only about 5% of the recruiters in a Career Fair fit this description. Sadly, many recruiters have sad eyes, dreading the long day of talking to people they would never recruit. The recruiters with the “Predator” eyes are your competition for the best candidates.

When you go to your booth location, typically you have one or more tables. A table is usually positioned between you and the candidates. Once you set up your booth, move that table to the side of your booth. You don’t want your candidates to be jostled while you are talking to them. This also gives them the opportunity to step inside your booth to ask questions and chat with you.

Welcome them into your booth. This creates a more welcoming presence for them and enables you to get their full attention. Ask them to tell you a little about themselves. This gives them the opportunity to give you their “Here I am” speech or “Elevator Speech”. Based on this short discussion, you will decide if you have further interest in them. Remember, every candidate may be a customer or a potential customer to your firm. Also remember, even if you are not interested in their talents, they probably know someone that you would like to talk to. Therefore it is important that you give everyone the reason(s) that they should want to work for your company. You want them to recommend your company to that person they know. Everyone should leave the booth with one of your cards, either the one with your website or your business card.

Today many companies want candidates to submit their resumes directly into the corporate website. While certainly understandable, I strongly recommend that you get the hardcopy of the resumes of people that really interest you. No point in taking the chance of losing them because they dropped your card.

The attitude that successful recruiters have going into a Career Fair is “if we hire one person as a result of this effort, it has been a successful day.” Therefore you protect every candidate who interests you.

Let’s say that you have a hiring manager who wants to participate in the Career Fair. Welcome them to your booth. This helps them understand how many frogs that you have to kiss before you find the right candidate. It also gives you an advantage over your competition. If the right candidate happens along, coach your manager to leave the premises and take them to a restaurant (or quiet spot in a lobby) to conduct an initial interview. This action has several Impacts.
1) Your manager is able to interview a candidate on the spot. If that goes well, they can pull out their calendar and set up an onsite interview. Those actions will put you far ahead of your competition, who will be reviewing the resumes they collected while the candidate is receiving an offer from you.
2) This takes the candidate out of the Career Fair and lessens the chances that the competition will see the person – also increases your chance of hiring them.
3) The candidate will like the attention and be more inclined to accept when you try to close them.

Don’t pack up before the Career Fair ends. Encourage your competition to do so. More times that not, we hired the last person that we saw. They either had to work or had another conflict and couldn’t make it until near the end. Most of the other recruiters had their backs to the candidate as they were tearing down their booths. We snagged them because we were still there and friendly. Tearing down the booth does not take much time. Many times it is worth the wait.

After the Career Fair, quickly review the resumes and aggressively follow up with the managers and candidates. Impact Performers do not last long on the market – never have and never will.

Have Fun at the Fair and Happy Hunting!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Candidates – How to Get the Most Out of a Career Fair

As a professional recruiter, I have worked many Career Fairs. In the 1990’s it was one of the ways many companies recruited candidates. The Internet Job Boards were not as entrenched as they are today and companies felt there was value by being there. I used to coach my clients that if they managed to recruit one person who met them at a Career Fair, it was a wildly successful day.

However as a candidate, why would you want to attend a Career Fair? First of all, are you committed to making a change in employers or are you simply snooping around to see what positions are available out there? Or is your attendance practice for future searches? The reason does not matter. The preparation needs to be the same.

The primary purpose of attending a Career Fair is to personally network with potential employers. It is the way to attach a personality to your resume and possibly get an interview on the spot.

In the recruitment business, timing is everything. You are hoping that the employer is looking for you at the same time that you are looking for them.

Okay, you have decided to attend the Career Fair, what do you do first? Find out what employers will have booths. Then go to their websites and click on “Careers” or “Employment Opportunities” to see what kinds of jobs are posted on their website. If a job is posted, it may be open (or recently filled). On the other hand, while most open jobs are posted, most budgeted jobs but not yet open, are not posted. Many times managers tell me “if you find someone with thus and such background, bring them to my attention. For the right person, I will open a position.” Therefore don’t assume that a company isn’t interested in talking with you. They may not be advertising that they are looking for you yet.

Once you decide on a position that interests you, start looking for the companies that would need that type of employee. Remember to look at the press releases on the corporate websites. You may see that a company has won a substantial new contract that will require new people with your skills.

If you know the employer has employees with your skills (most companies need accountants, HR, sales, etc.), just no current posted positions, understand that the recruiter may be aware of a resignation that has not been translated into an open requisition yet. Therefore, it is still a good idea to approach that company at the Career Fair.

Now it is time to prepare your “Here I Am” speech. It is also known as an “elevator speech” or “one minute commercial.” Here are the components of your “speech”:
1) A quick summary of your background. Be sure to mention any significant accomplishments and what you are passionate about doing at work.
2) What you are doing today, including if you were part of a lay-off.
3) What you would like to do next.

It is important to practice this little speech so it will flow nicely at the booths.

Now look at your resume. Start sentences with action verbs in the past tense. Talk about your experience in the third person, as if you were narrating your story but about someone else (“He”). Drop the pronouns. For instance “Developed a new process that …” Be sure to include all of your important accomplishments. If you are satisfied with your resume, make 10 more copies than you thought you would need. You never know who you may run into and want to hand a resume to them.

Just prior to the Career Fair, familiarize yourself with the hall layout and the booths where your targeted companies are. Remember, the recruiters at the booths are also human. They will be fresh at the beginning and tired at the end. Probably best to catch them at their freshest, correct? Therefore be sure to arrive early. If you need to come later, understand that some recruiters will fold up their booths and leave if the candidate traffic has been light. Not always a good idea for them, but some times they are thinking about the productive things they could be doing.

Be sure to wear at least business casual clothes. Your clothes are a sign of the level of respect that you have for those recruiters. If you are dressed in your jeans or a sweat suit, what message are you giving to the recruiter about your level of commitment to make a job change? It’s probably not the right message. In the late 1990’s, I was at a Career Fair when a guy came dressed as a clown. Unfortunately he did think that he could get an interview dressed like that. What he got was a total lack of respect and recruiters only wanted to see his resume so they would not waste their time with him later. He made a lot of black lists that day.

Plan your Career Fair attendance as you would a day at Disney World. Know what employers you definitely want to see, who would be nice to see, and who would be good if there is enough time. You goal is to make as many new friends as you can in a relatively short period of time. Generally when crowds enter a Career Fair hall, they hit the booths near the door first and work their way back. Therefore, it is best to go to the companies that you are targeting who are in the back of the hall. Then work your way forward. Watch the ebb and flow of the crowd. Generally, recruiters are very, very busy and then there is a drop off and then busy again. Try to hit them in their drop off periods.

When you do finally get in front of the manager or recruiter, introduce yourself and shake their hand. Be sure your grip is firm, but breaking fingers leaves a poor impression. On the other hand I hate weak, cold fish handshakes. They indicate someone who lacks confidence. Hand your resume to them and begin to give them your “Here I Am” speech. Ask them if they have any questions? Respond if they do. Be succinct. Remember to keep good eye contact but this is not a staring contest.

If there is a line behind you, the recruiter will lose interest in you within about 10 minutes. Be a good listener. If the recruiter tells you that they don’t need your expertise, accept it. If you want to argue with them, their eyes will glaze over and they will go to their mental “Happy Spot” until you stop talking.

Once in awhile, they will bring a manager along to help with the quick screens at the Career Fair. You may get a quick interview on the spot. Therefore be mentally prepared for an interview. That is one of the reasons you need to learn about the company before the Career Fair.

When I am recruiting at a Career Fair, I look for sharp candidates. When I find them, if there is a hiring manager with me, I strongly suggest to the manager that they interview the candidate on the spot. There are many reasons for this, not the least is that I am selfish with good candidates. If I can keep my competing companies from seeing the person, it may make it easier for us to hire them (I bet you didn’t have a clue that type of thing happens, did you?). My clients have hired many people as a result of that strategy.

Be sure to try to get a business card if you can. Many companies will not give out a business card other than a general corporate card with their website on it. Some companies will tell you to forward your resume to their website. That’s okay. That is how they track candidates through their recruitment process. If you cannot get the Manager’s business card, write down his or her name and title.

If you feel that you really connected with a company, stop back before you leave, and let them know that you are very interested.

After the Career Fair, send handwritten thank you notes to everyone that you had significant conversations with. You will really differentiate yourself by doing so.

When you feel that as a result of your efforts at the Career Fair you may get an opportunity to interview, review your research. As a result of that research, prepare to answer questions that reflect the challenges they are or may be experiencing.

The interview is another column. Good luck at your Career Fair!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Recruitment Ethics – Corporate

When do companies run into ethics problems in recruitment? That is a good question. It is one that is generally dependent on the recruitment pressures that hiring managers and internal recruiters are feeling.

For instance, if the internal corporate recruiters are dealing with open requisition loads that are higher than normal and they are feeling pressure to show results above their capability, the temptation exists to take some shortcuts that may stretch ethics. They may be tempted to decide not to mention that the company requires a signed non-compete before they start. This may create a conflict with the new employee on their first day when they were expecting a non-eventful day.

Secondly, if a position has been open for awhile, the requirements tend to evolve because some of that work has now been completed. If the perception is that the position is no longer as desirable as it was originally, the manager or recruiter may “forget” to mention the change. My daughter just graduated from a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. One of the requirements of those programs is to spend nine weeks in several different clinical programs. One of my daughter’s friends had a great clinical program at one location. She liked the program because everyone worked in a variety of areas. She did a great job and was invited to apply for a position as a Physical Therapist after her graduation. She did and accepted the clinic’s offer. Unfortunately the scope of the position changed after she left her clinical rotation. Now each Physical Therapist was assigned a specialty. As the new Therapist, she was now assigned the least desirable specialty. She felt betrayed because no one told her the change in their program prior to her start. Is it ethical to change the scope of a position and not tell the candidate?

Unfortunately these types of breaches in honesty or ethics have profound negative results on the new employee. Once a trust is broken, it is so very hard to rebuild. Companies who promote these types of behavior are doomed to high turnover.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Recruitment Ethics - Candidates

In my last Blog we discussed the problems of integrity and ethics within the professional recruiting world. Generally when recruitment ethics is discussed, the other two sides of recruitment ethics take a back seat.

What about the integrity of the candidate?

A whole industry of background investigations into candidates’ pasts has been formed and thrives because of the lies on candidates’ resumes. Being ethical is not a part time hobby. Either a person is ethical or they are not.

Where do candidates fall into the trap of poor ethical behavior? My guess is that most people, who lie about their experience whether it is on their resume or in their interview, do it because they are under some pressure. They may have lost their last job, or are working and know they are about to be laid off, or maybe their company is going through a rough time and they are afraid they will be laid off. No reason is good enough to lie about it. It may hurt but being truthful will certainly get you further than lying and your hiring manager discovering your lie. That is cause for immediate dismissal.

On resumes, it is interesting that candidates lie about their college degree – or lack of a degree. Of all of the information on a resume, the degree and dates of employment are easiest to check. When candidates do try to defend their decision to add the degree, I hear them say “But I was only 1 or 3 credits short of a degree.” You either earned your degree or you did not. It’s very simple. A quick phone call to the registrar or the online support at the university will tell the company very quickly if you earned a degree and which one and if you earned any honors.

Another candidate practice is to cover either short employment terms or lack of employment with previous employment dates or the next job employment dates. Please understand that employment dates are the information that companies are allowed to give. They may not be able to give you a reference but they will verify dates of employment. Most companies make these calls to verify employment. If you mislead people on your resume, it is not considered a typo (typo’s aren’t good on a resume anyway, but that is another topic).

What many candidates do not read when they sign an application is that they may be immediately dismissed if the information on the application is false. Probably as bad is the situation when you receive an offer that is contingent on the successful completion of your background investigation, references, and drug check and you resign your current job. On the Friday before you start, you receive a call from the hiring company rescinding your offer because you lied on the application or resume. As far as your current employer is concerned, you left them. Now you begin the process all over again with no job. Obviously, that’s not a good situation. I have seen it happen on several occasions.

If a person lacks integrity when they are presenting their best sides during the interviewing process, they will certainly lack integrity at the new job. That situation is the basis of behavioral interviewing.

Bottom line – Be Honest and Maintain Your Integrity. Life’s too short to try and track lies.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Recruitment Ethics

When I mentioned to one of my neighbors that I was going to be a panel participant on “Ethical Perspectives on the News” on KCRG TV discussing “Recruitment Ethics”, his comment while laughing was “Isn’t that an oxymoron?”

That is a sad commentary on the recruitment industry. However when you are dealing with people on all sides of the process, it is inevitable that you will run across some people who may not be totally honest in their dealings with others – especially when money is involved.

This conversation discusses how we treat our professional relationships with our peers, clients and candidates; and where ethics may be ignored.

When I was a contingent recruiter, beginning in 1981, one of my first lessons was to protect my client’s name until the last moment. It was interesting how many other recruiters would not honor that relationship even while attempting to do a split with me. If their candidate was the one selected, it was amazing how many recruiters would use that “placement” to go behind my back to try to get future business away from me. I can hear the chorus of “survival of the fittest” as I type. This is the main reason that I worked with a select few peers. We honored each other’s relationships. Interestingly every one of them is still in the recruitment business. Many of the others who were not ethical failed in our industry.

As a professional recruiter, we have a responsibility to ourselves to be ethical. If you are not ethical, your reputation will be tarnished. Your reputation and integrity are the most important attributes of a professional recruiter. A tarnished reputation costs you respect, and ultimately business. So are you in the recruitment industry for the short term cash or the long term profession?

Recruiting is Sales. As a sales process, it will always attract the charlatans who are looking for a way to get rich quick. Unfortunately enough people are successful enough to do it for a while that they attract others with the same motivation before washing out of the business.

What are the other areas where professional recruiters may have a little difficulty with ethics? How about in dealing with candidates and clients? Is the sale so important that you leave out an important qualification or lack of a benefit in order to get the interview or acceptance? If you do the reference checks, do you report everything, even if it may reflect a critical flaw?

How many recruiters recruit out of the same company where they are introducing candidates to gain a fee? I find out about that more often than they think. Sometimes they even try to recruit the same person they introduced to that company. Whose interests are they watching for? Certainly not the company that paid the fee to them. Probably not the candidate because they will have just one more job on their resume. It appears that they are only looking out for themselves.

The bottom line is to ask yourself, “Am I looking for quick financial gain or a long term professional career?” If the answer is your quick financial gain, you are missing out on the long term financial gain, and importantly, the satisfaction of making positive, measurable impacts in peoples’ lives and in your clients’ growth.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Focus Fridays Plant HR Generalist

We are currently seeking a Human Resources Administrator (duties similar to HR Generalist) for our client's manufacturing facility located in Winchester, VA. The successful candidate will assist in the administration and development of various human resource plans and programs.

Specific duties include:

Maintain good communication and a positive relationship with employees that promote employee satisfaction.
Assist in resolving disputes by providing advice within federal and state employment laws.
Research and resolve employee issues relating to benefits and compensation and respond to inquiries concerning benefits and compensation.
Respond to general inquiries regarding policies, procedures, and programs.
Support recruitment and staffing efforts for plant workforce.
Maintain the employee relations database.
Coordinate temporary staffing needs with outside agencies.
Assist site trainer in coordinating training for employees.
Assist with the organization of company functions such as parties and meetings.

This position is responsible for working with the employees to assist in FMLA and sexual harassment counseling, training, and investigations, if needed.

B.S. Degree in business or a related field.
2-3 years of HR support experience.
Must be able to maintain confidentiality.
Proficient in Microsoft Office applications.
Ability to learn other software applications.
Ability to occasionally work flexible hours.

You may send your resume to recruiterguy@msn.com or by clicking on the Employment Opportunities button on the left.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Collected on a Lunch

I collected on a lunch today.

Many times when I sit down with a new college grad or a professional who is out of work, I pay for the lunch while we are discussing their career search. The deal is that they will buy me lunch once they line up their first or next job.

Unfortunately I collect on very few of those lunches. That made this lunch so special.

When Carrie H. graduated with her BA, we sat down to discuss her job search. We discussed all aspects of her search – her goals, her resume, how to effectively network, the interview process, and salary negotiation.

Since then she earned her MA and had a solid paid internship with a local high tech company in their Human Resource Department. During her internship, she was able to take Lean Manufacturing classes including Value Stream Mapping.

All good internships have to come to an end.

This week, Carrie accepted a great job in the Human Resource Department with one of the major airlines. I used to be a Premier Exec with them.

It is really exciting for me to watch her progress as Carrie begins her career (although probably not as exciting as her parents!).

Over lunch, Carrie was excited (and proud – well she should be!) as she discussed her job search and her acceptance at the airline. This will be perfect job for her since it provides opportunity for growth.

After lunch, Carrie told me that she still has the spreadsheet of contacts that I suggested that she create for networking (since names and numbers are a candidate’s most valuable commodity). She said that she has added to it.

Oh yeah, how did Carrie find this job? She did a great job in her internship and networked her way into an interview.

Thanks for lunch, Carrie! And Good Luck!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Tribute to Jackie G

Sorry that I dropped off of the Blog for a month. It was a tough January. As the beginning of my client’s fiscal year, the managers were newly motivated to fill both their old and new positions. My priority is to support my client.

Secondly, another client was fighting a losing battle with cancer.

Somehow my Blog fell to a distant third priority.

Jackie G. was the CFO of a company that I have supported three times since 2002. She was also the partner of a management consulting firm that I have worked with on and off since 1999.

Sadly, Jackie passed away on Friday, January 26 and was buried on Friday, February 2 in Akron, IA. She gallantly fought her cancer until the very end.

Jackie was one of those individuals who was disgusted with the greed of the indicted CFO’s. Integrity was a quality that you either lived or you didn’t.

You see, Jackie’s world was a world of numbers. Either the numbers were correct or they weren’t. There was no gray world. It was refreshing to be in a conversation with her. There were very, very few qualifications that she would accept. I am sure there were times that I drove Jackie crazy because recruiters deal with humans, not numbers. Therefore, our world is gray most of the time because we can’t know everything.

Jackie was a very special person. With her partners Joe and Tim, MainStream Management LLC is very client focused. Jackie made positive impacts on individuals not only in the US but in Europe and Asia, not bad for a girl from a small Iowa town.

She discovered that she had cancer in October 2006. She had surgery that week and began a journey that ended a couple of weeks ago. Instead of taking time off to enjoy her last few months, she was accepted into a stage one test to fight cancer. This meant that she was going to have to spend Christmas in the hospital in New York City.

Her family rallied around her and did everything they could to help her through her treatments. She was so proud of her daughters and grandchildren. She deeply loved her husband.

At the end of her life, Jackie was still helping future generations of people. Hopefully her autopsy will show that the treatment for cancer was beginning to work.

In Jackie’s spirit of helping people, her family established a scholarship in her name at Morningside College in Sioux City, IA for non-traditional students. It is a fitting tribute to Jackie and her life. With this scholarship, Jackie will continue to help future generations.


Jackie, we will miss you!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ambition?

Has anyone seen Ambition recently?

Last Friday I was having lunch with a friend, Joe, and we were discussing candidate recruitment. Towards the end of lunch, Joe mentioned the attribute “Ambition.”

It struck me on my drive back to my office how few candidates today truly are ambitious. Sadly, it has been years since I last used that word to describe a candidate.

What has happened in our culture? Do people believe that being ambitious is synonymous to being greedy? Are parents allowing their children to participate in too many outside activities instead of focusing on a couple of activities and truly excelling in them? Are school administrators so afraid of offending someone and graduating classes of “Valedictorians” removing the motivation to excel? Are students focusing on sports to get to the “big money” the perceived easy way?

“Survival of the Fittest” is a law of nature. If you do not excel, you will be passed up.

Look at companies who were once the benchmarks of their industry. Many of them are either out of business or a shadow of their former selves in peoples’ minds. IBM sold their PC business to a Chinese company, Lenovo. What happened to Polaroid and Kodak? They were passed by and are working to reinvigorate themselves. Many of the old television manufacturers are owned by foreign companies who simply use the old name. Our once proud automobile manufacturers are being put out of business by ambitious foreign manufacturers.

Don’t leave ambition to others. We need to understand that ambition requires drive and the willpower to succeed. Set goals and then be willing to work very hard to achieve them.

We need to promote ambition in our children so they can compete in our new world. The candidates that I recruit today do not have the names of Smith and Jones. Many candidates have shown true ambition in their homeland and moved here to excel.

If we do not promote ambition here, our world will change – And you may not like the change.