Friday, October 29, 2010

Generosity – That’s your Currency!

Lately, I’ve been planning 2011. One of the things I have decided to do is more marketing and branding. Today, that typically means having a social media presence and blogging. This is my 4th straight week writing, which is pretty good since I have blogged about once every 3 months for the previous three years. Then I wonder why I have no followers. J At first I had no idea what to write about this week, then after a rather positive networking call I was writing a thank you email to the person who made the connection for me, Fred Klein. I had referred to his introduction as being generous.

I first heard the term generosity used this way by Keith Ferrazi, in his book Who’s Got Your Back? In the book, Keith teaches how to build what he calls “life line relationships” and explains that the currency in these relationships is generosity. This is very similar to the motto of the networking group I belong to, Gotham City networking. The aforementioned Fred Klein happens to be the co-founder. The motto of Gotham is that it is better to give than to receive.

Give what, you may ask. Give whatever you can, and that doesn’t mean that you need to share your rolodex with everyone you meet or donate whatever is in your pocket for every cause. Being generous means getting to know what’s important to people, how you could help them, and offering whatever you can to help make that a reality. Maybe you tell someone about a website, or refer them to a person or service that you know of which could help them. There’s just so much more to a relationship or networking than referrals and asking for referrals; it’s about helping one another grow. The more generous you are, the more you’ll help others, and they’ll be inclined to help you. To learn more about building lifeline relationships pick up Keith’s book. If you are interested in learning more about Gotham City networking you could check them out at and/or write me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Return of Hope

Remember all those t-shirts and bumper stickers that had Obama’s face and simply said the word “Hope?” One might say he was elected because of that one word or emotion. Considering the state of our stock market, real estate and job markets at the time of the election, it made sense to elect the candidate that gave us the most hope. What happened to all that hope?

Since the end of 2007, all too often as I speak to hiring managers and job seekers the feeling I have come away with is hopelessness. I’ve heard many grown men and women on the verge of tears, and yet even more who seemed completely defeated. Recently while working on a search for a Manufacturing Manager, people have explained that the company for which they are working laid off their entire department. The explanation? They are moving manufacturing to another country. Those conversations happen too often, and they have a negative effect on me. But one day last week I turned on the TV, which automatically starts on “New York 1,” the 24 hour New York news network. Obama was giving a speech. And then it happened: the return of hope J. Click here and restore yours . Let’s hope for all of our sake that Obama gets his way and our jobs come home to America.

Friday, October 15, 2010

This Candidate is Really Smart! Really?

Often times in recruiting you hear recruiters and hiring managers discuss the intelligence of a candidate. Typically, recruiters lose this discussion regardless of whether they are right or wrong. Sometimes they may lose because the lack of hard evidence or data and other times the hiring authority may something like “I don’t care how smart he/she is I want someone who is a fit,” and once that’s said it’s typically game over. Yet when it comes to who is going to be Commander in Chief of the United States of America there seems to be a ton of emphasis on how smart the candidates are or aren’t.

This debate has never been greater; largely due to one woman and one comment that turned Sarah Palin from overnight sensation to instant (in) famous for being stupid based on her statement that she “could see Russia from her house.” Everyone knows Sarah Palin is stupid, just ask Chelsea Handler, or watch this clip from recent TV appearance

I had been wondering about the comment so I did what most people would do if they have a question these days, I googled it and the funny thing is that you actually could see Russia from Alaska. Not exactly Moscow, but you could see parts of Russia. Here’s one article that explains what parts you could see from where in Russia . So now we have someone who is not a fit to be Vice President because she said something inaccurate that in fact appears to be accurate. On top of that, she is famous for this “stupid” remark. Wow, I can’t wait to see if she runs again and how she does on her next interview. After all, aren’t we all qualified to tell how smart one candidate is versus another?

That last question was rhetorical, actually, unless you are a trained industrial psychiatrist or reading scores from a standardized test who are we to theorize and state unequivocally how smart or stupid someone is? Maybe the hiring manager or executive who is more interested in someone who has a fit for the job than someone who is smart is right or maybe if he is interested in IQ he wants proof. I know one of the things that we offer and that some of our clients do on their own is have executive level candidates tested to see just how smart they really are or aren’t. Even the NFL uses the Wonderlic test to get an estimate of a person’s IQ, especially when evaluating Quarterbacks. Thus, it would be easier to compare the IQ of Steve Young to Vince Young for example than it would be to compare Bill Clinton to Barrack Obama – both seem smart. While we could assume that someone who went to an Ivy League school is smart is that the most prudent thing to do?

In recruiting for technology positions for example if a candidate needs to know Java we could have them tested and show the scores along with the resume to the hiring manager. If it is an executive position we could have an Industrial Psychiatrist perform a battery of tests to show not only how smart they are, but how they think and even give some insight to their soft skills. Though, when it comes to running for office, apparently where you went to school and the court of public opinion matters most.

How silly is that? I just googled wonderlic, it’s a 50 question test and Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard graduate and now starting QB of the Buffalo Bills scored a 48 in only 9 minutes.(Last link, I promise ). Maybe he should run for President? Then again, does being smart make him a fit? I don’t know, but I also don’t know unequivocally how smart or dumb Sarah Palin is and neither does Chelsea Handler. If IQ testing is good enough for the NFL and good enough for corporations looking to hire executives, shouldn’t it be good enough for Americans as part of our decision making process on who to hire to run our country?

Don’t get me wrong, I actually am a huge fan of Chelsea Handler; her show “Chelsea Lately” makes me LOL every time I watch it, I just think that she and many others were unfair on their rush to judgment of Ms. Palin based on one comment she made that actually seems to be valid. I also think that if a client cares how smart someone is or how good they are at a particular skill maybe they should test them or ask their recruiter to have them tested. And, since apparently IQ is one of the most important determining factors on who to vote for, each candidate should take the same test and if they want to run for office their scores should be made public. Certainly if an NFL QB could finish the test in 9 minutes, someone who wants to rule the country should be able to find the time to take the test, even if it takes them two or three times as long.

Friday, October 8, 2010

You May Say I’m a Dreamer ...

If he were alive today, John Lennon would be celebrating his 70th birthday and by now, as he probably did nearly 30 years ago, all of his dreams, except unfortunately world peace surely would have been realized. Most of us have some kind of dream; whether we chose to go after that dream or not is a choice we make.

Initially, my dream was to be a professional boxer and then a pro football player though much to my dismay there is not a lot of demand for guys who are 5’8” and take at least 5 seconds to run 40 yards in the NFL. By the time I reached college I knew the only thing I ever wanted to do was to have and grow a company. After falling into recruiting I was initially terrible, failing to close a deal in my first 6 months. Then, after a 10 day break where I reflected on all the deals I wasn’t making I went on to be the most prolific recruiter at TSG in Phoenix over the next several years. During that time we were named the “Fastest Growing IT Staffing Company” in the country by a leading industry magazine. I knew I was a big part of that and loved the feeling of growing a company since the Phoenix office was only a year old when I joined. In fact, I remember hearing that when the General Manager was asked for a reference several years later he said that I was the best recruiter he ever saw.

Eventually I would leave TSG to go to New York because like so many other people I always had a fascination with the big Apple and grew up in nearby Jersey (yes, I’m from the Jersey Shore and no I don’t know Bruce or Snooki). During this transition the woman who placed me, Sarah Lovelace, said something that touched me in a way perhaps no other words ever have. She said: “Everyone knows that anybody that’s any good in this business (referring to recruiting) eventually goes out on their own.”

Once again I went on to become the most prolific recruiter in the NY branch during my tenure. About 4 years later in 2007 I was reading my commission spreadsheet that showed all of my placements, the revenue I brought in and comparing that number to my actual paycheck and it made me sick to my stomach; it could have been the reason why at 32 years old I had 2 ulcers.

So ExecuSource was born and we were going to focus on the kinds of jobs I enjoyed filling most, executive level positions. I didn’t have any clients and in hindsight it may have been a little crazy but what did I have to lose; I could always go back and be a recruiter if things didn’t pan out.

The first year was rough in every way; from an appendectomy, to major issues with Vista (the bain of my existence), a break-up and making next to no money. Since then things have changed quite a bit; we built a social network of recruiters to support our clients, we formed several strong relationships with Pharmaceutical, Financial Services and Interactive companies and moved to a contained search model. It hasn’t been easy and we haven’t grown as much or as fast as I would have liked but I’m getting the feeling that the only dreams that ever happen overnight are the ones that occur when we’re sleeping.

I remember one of the first meetings I had my future client asked me why I went out on my own and I didn’t know what to say – I didn’t want to come off like a braggart or a dreamer so I sidestepped the question. Today, I realize that the answer to the question is two fold: Firstly, “Everyone knows that anyone who’s any good in this business eventually goes out on their own,” and secondly “You may say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.”