Archive for February, 2015


February 21, 2015

There you are, at home or the office. You pick up the phone and the voice at the other end says: “Hello. My name is ______ and I am an executive recruiter. I am looking for _____________. I would like to talk to you about this opportunity.”

When this happens, I recommend the following:

  1. Listen carefully when the position is described. Ask clarifying questions with the aim of knowing as much about the position as the recruiter does. A good question? “Describe what success looks like after being in this position for six months.” A competent recruiter will have an answer.
  2. With the third party recruiter, it’s OK to exchange your compensation information with their compensation.
  3. Ask them how long have they had the search. There are two answers that should raise pink to red flags for you. The first is: “We just started” and the second is: “About six months” or more. In the first case, know that the first candidates presented are rarely hired. In the second place, if they haven’t filled it in a long time frame, they are probably on the verge of being fired. Besides, why would you be head and shoulders above the fifteen candidates they have already submitted? Maybe the job just isn’t doable.
  4. Ask them if they have submitted any candidates. If so, what was the feedback? Now many recruiters won’t share this information with you. But it helps them help you to give your relevant qualifications based on their experience with the client.
  5. What is their track record working with this client? If they have several years of experience, then they are indispensable in terms of knowing the political landscape, understanding of how the hiring decision will be made and negoiating an offer. If, on the other hand, this is their first assignment, they are on a learning curve. Enough said.
  6. Have them describe the screening process from beginning to offer stage. They should know this one.
  7. Ask them about their backgrounds. How senior are they? Not too long ago the term “senior” meant a minimum of 5 years.
  8. And of course, “What are next steps?” If there isn’t an immediate invitation to come in for an interview, then ask when would be a good time to “touch base”? This is usually accomplished with a telephone appointment at some future date. If they refuse to set up such an appointment, then remove this opportunity form your radar.

Remember, companies are paying the recruiters. Many will not follow up with you after a phone screen or an initial interview. They should. But that’s not how it works these days.

Success Alignment — Your Career and the Organization

February 21, 2015

Are they in synch? Yes? Or not? Kinda?

I think everyone can agree that professional stasis is not good for you or the organization. It’s comforting to know what you have this in common. – Maybe.

It’s not good for you because ‘you do not increase your career portfolio value. You stopped learning and improving. And if this lasts too long, job burnout occurs. Being passed over for promotion sometimes occurs. I am sure you have your own stories.

The company suffers from your stasis also. In my opinion, the most effective way to retain talent is to develop it and grow it. Companies risk employees becoming stale and bored. Turnover also occurs (admittedly because most don’t like their boss). Company success is thwarted due to underdeveloped talent. Productivity and revenue suffer as a result.

OK. Nothing earth shattering but is there anything that you can do about it? Yes.

1. Take accountability for your own development.
2. Create a 5 year plan that allows opportunism
3. Find out what is going on with the company plans as a whole as well as your group (Your source? Your boss)
4. Compare plans

You can easily make most decisions (business and career) based on two considerations:

• Is this the best decision for the company?
• How does this decision affect my career development?

And you have to connect the two. Your company won’t.

Certainly, publicly making the second response is optional. However, I am finding out more and more with my clients that when the two are compatible and acknowledged, this carries a lot more impact.

But suppose the company benefits more from a decision than your own development? Of course you can put up with this for a period of time. But then what are your options? Make it clear to your boss that you want professional development that will benefit the company. If the response is a deaf ear, it’s time to move on. They cannot be surprised if you leave in the next few weeks.

Of course if it’s all about you and the company be damned, you can just imagine how long you might have building your empire. Ignoring stakeholders makes them want to put a stake in you.

With the current performance management model, there are quarterly “reviews” or check -ins. These could be utilized to see how the two plans are in synch. Adjustments can be made on both sides based on developments. But you have to set this up. Your career and the company success do matter to you.

As a recruiter, I was always impressed with candidates that had a plan in mind. They not only knew what was next but also where they wanted to go. They had a goal. And (music to my headhunter ears) they previously tried to get the next step from their current company.

Taking a lateral move to another company can work as long as you are very clear that you are on a timetable for promotion and/or development.

Yes, it falls on your shoulders to take complete accountability. But, you have the satisfaction knowing the most important bases have been touched.