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March 2005
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May 2005

How to Pick a Staffing Firm

My job is sales.  I put food on my table calling clients and convincing them that they should turn to me and my staff to find the employees and consultants they need.  In that process, there are a lot of phone calls, meetings, and presentations consisting of introductions, negotiations and oftentimes just a simple gut check.

In an era of preferred vendors and Vendor Management Systems, hiring managers are often relieved of the burden of choosing which firm works with their company, but they are left to decide which firm can best fill their needs.

Here are some suggestions, from the Account Manager side, on how to weed out the incompetent from the inspired.

1) Be Proactive - Too often corporations succumb to the idea that they should be chased like the prettiest girl at the dance if you want their business.  While satisfying to the ego, companies that fail to proactively manage their staffing lists and thus by definition of guilty of selection bias.  If you only select vendors who chase you, you're selecting the best of who calls you, not the best of what's available.  In terms of staffing, this translates to the candidates you are interviewing and the rates that you pay. 

Continue reading "How to Pick a Staffing Firm" »

Resumes Accepted

Interesting.  I received my first resume from this website for use in the corporate world.  That certainly wasn't the plan when I started Stlrecruiting, but it is a welcome addition.

I've passed the name around to places like and managers who wanted to know how to connect to other people in St Louis, but functioning as a pull function for web-savvy people honestly wasn't something I expected.

But it's welcome.  If you are looking to change positions or need contact or permanent staffing, feel free to e-mail me at

Do realize that I am an account manager, which means I work primarily with clients.  I also don't "find" jobs for people.  I find people for jobs.  But if you want to talk or network or have something interesting to offer, I can get you in touch with the right people.

Feel free to drop me a line.

2nd Career Recruiters

I was listening to Peter Drucker cd's provided me by a manager from my networking group and the concept of a second career caught my ear.

Managing in the Next Society is definitely worth listening to (or reading).  It made me think and jot a lot of notes down, and as so often happens, it gave me a subject to address during a meeting this morning.

A candidate in the twilight of his career asked about recruiting, and I started thinking about the bulge of Retiring and Semi-retiring Baby Boomer workers that is coming.  Many of them will turn into consultants who work part-time contracts and use their skills without the full pace or benefits of permanent employment.

Someone is going to have to place the Boomers.  Someone who understands them, empathizes with them, and can also do the meticulous work of separating the truly industrious from the looking for something to do to get out of the house.  Right now, there's a Boomer somewhere who understands the working potential of his or her generation, and is going to get stinky filthy rich placing fellow Boomers in rewarding roles.

Is that Boomer you?

The question is which company will recognize this, hire entry level Boomer's now, and train them.  There is a huge gap between the recruiting skills and the expected pay for a Boomer.  I can't pay someone who wants to learn the ropes $70,000 - even with thirty years of experience in other fields.  But the right Boomer, willing to take a chance, can make that after a year of ramp-up time.  What do you think? 

Continue reading "2nd Career Recruiters" »

StlMgmt Networking

We're scheduling the next StlMgmt Networking meeting for May 20th, 2005 at 7:00 a.m.

This is a group I put together made from St Louis Managers and entrepreneurs from Team Lead to VP's whose goal is to increase their personal social network and find out what other companies are doing.

This month's topic is The Power of Social Networks, and it will include a 20 minute presentation by Dr. Thomas d'Alfonso on how the "science of networks" is affects what we understand about business.  The e-mail list and roster will be coming out soon. 

The June topic will be on Security, and the July topic will be on Sarbannes-Oxley.

Interview Questions

So I decided to give away some secrets on how to answer interview questions.  These answers are of course all subjective, but they have done me well, and more important, they have done my candidates well in an interview process.

The first is my biggest pet peeve.

"What is your biggest weakness, and how do you work to overcome it?"

Here's the answer I hear the most.

Continue reading "Interview Questions" »

I need a Recruiter

You heard me.  I need a recruiter.  Someone with experience or without - but someone who wants to make a lot of money, work hard, and go home at the end of the day knowing you help put food on the table for your candidates.

Recruiting is not easy to do - but it is easy to learn.  It requires discipline and drive more than most jobs, and you have to learn to deal with rejection.  You have to be ruthless, and yet compassionate enough to know that you are dealing with people's paychecks - their lives, their futures.  And so while you must be ruthless to get your job done, you cannot forget that your job is a very serious one. 

Pay is a performance related issue.  If you work hard, you'll make a lot.  we have a good group here and over 300 jobs a month.  Most I don't bother working on - simply because if I don't know the manager or the company, how can I ensure quality?

You have to work hard.  Just like the Depeche Mode song.

Continue reading "I need a Recruiter" »

New Development

It's not official, but I may be able to get some of my hiring managers to start ghost-posting on stlrecruiting.  I'll send out e-mails to the usual suspects, but if you are a lurker, and you see something you like, please comment.

Comments bring back good writers. 

Industry News

Interesting article in ERExchange this morning.  It talks about how recruiters are judged (the answer is by results), and coming on the heels of some new stories compiled by Jason at, it seems the pendulum has swung.  The article sure sounds like a call to battle.

Which means candidates now think they are in control and companies will start paying more attention to their retention strategies.  Businessweek certainly thinks so, as voluntary quits topped 20%.

"Companies have every reason to be concerned. Monthly voluntary turnover at U.S. companies exceeded year-ago levels for all but one month in 2004, hitting a seasonally adjusted 2.1% in November, according to U.S. Labor Dept. projections. For the 11 months from January to November, 2004, cumulative turnover was 20.4%, the first time since 2001 that voluntary quits topped 20%."

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Supply and Demand


Jobs posted on Monster with search terms "Blog or Bloggers":  16

Resumes pulled up by searching for "Blog or Blogger: 708

St. Louis:

Resumes pulled up by searching for "Blog or Blogger: 5

Jobs posted on Monster with search terms "Blog or Bloggers": 0 - as in zero.

The question:  Is it a lack of demand for bloggers, a lack of knowledge of blogging by companies, or do job-seekers not post the fact they have blogs?

Statistics will be ongoing.

Blogger Jobs: 

Continue reading "Supply and Demand" »

Third Party Metrics.

Man, in some ways Third Party Staffing Firms have it so much better than the internal folk. 

On the outside, we have very specific ways to track our performance with clients.  It's called the check clearing and the client calling with new orders.

Metrics on the inside seem impossibly complicated.  I've seen hires made for political reasons, personal reasons, and even to inflate the headcount of managers before performance review.  Those kind of hiring decisions don't do well in the contract recruiting world because invoices are easily tracked to people.

If your contractors are not liked, they are easily rolled off on the next purchase order.  If they are not performing, I can expect a call at the end of the day with unpleasant news.

We're often told in sales that the definition of relationship is an invoice.  For other businesses it's a check in hand or a signed contract.  If I truly took that to heart, I might have a few placements, but the amount of work I would do over the years would double or triple.

This is a business of relationships.  My success is dependent on how people feel when they get off the phone with me or respond to an e-mail.  My job is to understand their business and their problems and solve them by finding the exact match for their talent and personality fits.  Sometimes that is broad, and sometimes that is narrow - but the perception from the side of the hiring manager has to be that I understand them, that I want them to succeed, and in the end, that they can trust me to find the people they are looking for.

I don't know how you would measure that without looking at my paycheck.