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October 2007
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December 2007

Grinch Says No Job For You This Year

John Hollon over at the Workforce Blog says that you shouldn't waste your time during the Holidays looking for a job, because everyone is stressed out over shopping.

The reason for this is simple: Very little real hiring goes on between mid-November and mid-January. Yes, there are always exceptions,  like the desperate art director character played by Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer, but my longtime experience as both a hiring manager and a job seeker is that nothing related to job-seeking (and, for that matter, little related to jobs in general) happens from Thanksgiving to about Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

I think he's dead wrong, and I'll point you back to my holiday post for things to do to liven up your job search.  Here's a question.  Those people who start jobs January 1st or 2nd.  When did they get their offer letters?

The truth is if you wait until mid-January, you're stuck in the middle of a bunch of people who decided to make a change this year and started their job hunt in mid-January.  If you start now, even if they don't hire immediately, you differentiate yourself early.  While there may be a slowdown in hiring (not supported by six years I spent in recruiting), the people who work hard in December can and do get hired.

Companies don't budget Jan1-Dec1 all that often.  Many companies have fiscal quarters that start April, July, and October.  And even those that do, often can add a person at the end of the year on contract, while they work out their budget for the next year.  Now, John is in the newspaper business, which may be a totally different industry that does no hiring during the holidays. 

For most of us, buying into the idea that no one is paying attention is a costly mistake.

You're Fired, Please Come Back For Less Money

HR Capitalist catches this one, which blows the mind for sheer audacity.

Circuit City fired people for making too much money, and now if offering to bring them back for a lower pay rate.

I really feel sorry for people who have to take that job.  And if you happen to go into a Circuit City, remember to be nice.  Those people need it very badly.

The Difficulty In Hiring Experienced Recruiters

If you're a Third Party Recruiting Firm looking to expand your recruiting operations in the New Year, chances are you're tempted to go headhunting for an experienced recruiter to round out your team.  You all know my views on salespeople.  They should be calling you.  But a recruiter?  That's someone you need to hunt for.  You want someone with over 5 years of experience, a track record of success in good years and bad, and a solid knowledge of the ins and outs of the St Louis market.

And you liked to pay them no more than $60,000 as a base, with a solid commission plan that will have them earning six figures within two years.

Setting aside the troublesome issue of non-competes signed by these star recruiters, something else is going to trip you up.  You won't get anyone to budge for less than $100,000, guaranteed, for at least one year.

Some of you just choked on your morning coffee, so allow me to elaborate.

Continue reading "The Difficulty In Hiring Experienced Recruiters" »

St Louis Interaction Designer Posting

I was forwarded this job posting by another blogger, the Good Product Manager, which is a case study in giving value back to a community.  If you want the direct contact of the hiring manager (and you're a candidate), shott me an e-mail and I'll give it to you.

Job Title: Interaction Designer
Description: The Interaction Designer works with UCD team members, product managers and developers, to create and improve the user interfaces of Elsevier's main existing and new Web products. Depending on skills and seniority, activities include: carrying out field studies and user interviews, creating personas, designing interaction flows(wireframes), usability testing, and working with visual designers and developers to get the user interface implemented.
1. Degree or training in developing user interfaces and production of(Web) user interfaces, throughout the complete project cycle from the creation of initial site specifications to design, production, testing and launch, playing a proactive role in the process.
2. Experience in and knowledge of User Centered Design practices, such as setting up and carrying out user tests, and interaction design.
3. Familiar with the basics of web technologies, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, and with designing for database-driven websites. Any additional technical skills, such as more in-depth knowledge of web technologies or server-side technologies such as PHP, are a strong plus.
4. Visual design skills are a strong plus.
5. Conceptual thinking, presentation skills at a high level, creative.
6. A drive for wanting to build products from the user's point of view.
7. Ability to work on multiple projects with minimal assistance from fellow team members
8. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
9. Ability to work and communicate pro-actively with business owners, product managers and project managers
10. Good listener and communicator, self-reliant, creative out-of-the box thinking and used to taking initiatives.
11. Experience with eLearning a plus
12. US citizenship required

Job is in Westport, but can also be located in Dayton, OH.

Chief Operating Officer Position In St Louis

I got this nice e-mail from a corporate headhunter - so am posting her search. 

Grant Cooper & Associates is conducting a confidential search for the Chief Operating Officer of a client, a leading provider of custom-designed EAP (Employee Assistance Program), Work-life, and Wellness solutions to businesses located throughout the United States.  Our client is a fast-growing privately held organization founded in the early 1980’s.  The Chief Operating Officer position will be based in the St. Louis headquarters, reporting to the President.  Successful candidates should possess a BS in business (MBA/MHA is a “plus”). Strong operations and finance background, 15 or more years of experience, including some history in a service- or consulting-related environment, and ability to build a sales team and contribute to aggressive business development strategies.  Inquiries and referrals to be addressed in confidence to:

Nikki Kijanko, Consultant
Grant Cooper & Associates, Inc.
314-726-5291 x 146 

Holiday Tips For Recruiters And Candidates

It may be creeping up on you, or you may have been buying groceries for a week, but Thanksgiving and the holiday season are fast approaching.  While chowing down on turkey and swilling eggnog, you might give some thought to your career, or to how you sell during the holidays. 

Advice for Candidates:
1) Act Now.  Don't wait until January 1 to start looking for a job.  That's when everyone hits the job boards.
2) Be Social. Attend lots of corporate parties (there's no better place to talk business then a corporate party, and if you're lucky, the festive cheer will lead to referrals, phone numbers, and a new job in your stocking.
3) Enjoy The Season, but Not Too Much.  If you're a candidate, now is not the time to put that jingle bell message on your answering machine or cell phone.

Advice for Recruiters:
1) Respect the Holidays. Some people do not like to work over the holidays.  If you are encountering resistance, be sensitive that there may be extenuating circumstances.  Don't be too cheery or cheesy with your holiday wishes.

2) Work On The Holidays:  In direct contradiction to number 1, remember that people are taking time off to shop, to relax, and using vacation up at the end of the year.  If you work hard at this time, you'll get people when they aren't at work, and prior to the rush of calls in the New Year.  The market is tight, and while you have to be respectful, you also have to dig for people who want to be recruited, but haven't had time to look, until December.

3) Don't forget the holiday wishes.  Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or even just Fun Festivus are all important holiday wishes - just make sure you know who you are speaking to. Don't assume - and don't over reach - but a well timed Merry Christmas to someone tired of secular wishes can be a boost to your attitude as well as to your business.

4) Don' forget the e-cards to your contractors.  A little goes a long way. If you're not sending out Christmas cards to you contractors - send them an e-card. 

Advice for Salespeople:

1) Call Early.  Even the most diligent of holiday workers is mentally kicking off by 2:00 or 3:00 in the month of December.  Early calls suggest that you are not giving up on business, but you are leaving your afternoons for shopping, egg nog, and office parties.  7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. calls are a prerequisite.

2) Save your meetings for the afternoon - managers are open to meeting you - and an afternoon can be a casual meeting or coffee or tea or at least not the formal meet and greet you normally use as your introduction.

3) Get your Holiday Cards out early. The day after Thanksgiving is the earliest they should receive the cards - but anytime in the first week is fine.  Managers put those cards up on their desks and boards - the more they have, the more important they seem to co-workers.  Cards sent the day before Christmas have almost no value - and they let the manager know you aren't that organized.

4) Use your time to understand their first quarter needs. If they have business - great.  Many times managers don't - so you have to turn this visit into an analysis of what you'll be doing for them in the next three months.

5)  Schedule your next meeting.  Don't let a prospect escape without scheduling the next phone call or meeting. Telling them when you will next speak with them and then following through is very important.  "We'll talk in January," is not a vote of confidence in you abilities - it is a dismissal.

6)  Go easy on the holiday goodies. The last thing most of us need is more holiday junk food.  Sudoku puzzles, small books and pamphlets, and something they will actually use in the new year (not another coffee mug) is your goal.  Another coffee cake or bagels is overkill, and too many other account managers use this as their hook.

Your managers and lazy recruiters will tell you that December is the slowest month.  While many managers do take that time off, remember that this is the time to differentiate yourself.  There's less business, but less competition, which means more business for you.

Good luck, and so I can be the first to say it, Merry Christmas, St Louis.

Michael Arrington Fails To Show At BlogWorldExpo

Update:  Rick Calvert of  BlogWorldExpo is laying the blame for Mike Arrington not appearing at his own feet.  In this lengthy entry, Rick says there was a miscommunication in e-mails, and he gave Michael the wrong date.  Mike had every intention of appearing, and even offered to fly in Friday morning.

Good enough for me.  Rick seems like a straightforward guy, and states clearly that the problem was his, not Michael.  But then Michael writes at CrunchNotes that he never agreed to attend, and normally doesn't go to conferences, and we should all back off the criticism.   Yes, he's busy, but the excuse is still a bit thin.  The answer basically comes to, this wasn't important to me, so I didn't worry about it.   That's a fair statement - he's running a business and can't afford to follow up with every person who wants to hear from him.  Basically - bloggers aren't important, his business is. 

And that's his right, but if he wonders why people jump all over him, then he needs to spend a bit more time hanging around bloggers.  The story was out - it gets corrected, and people who jump to conclusions are shamed.  Welcome to the world of immediate reporting.  I imagine there are several hundred CEO's who feel the same way about information reported on TechCrunch.  The truth is we heard "I forgot," and responded.  It was a story - a big one if it was true. 

The bigger question is why bloggers should hold up Michael Arrington as an industry leader if he clearly doesn't want to be.  He got his fame and money not just by working hard, but as a result of his readers.  When he decides that he owes nothing to the blogosphere, either in terms of explanation or in showing up to key events, he shouldn't be surprised if he takes a few hits.  Blogs got big because the public wanted information from people who weren't arrogant elites.  As we grow in size and influence, if we don't self-police, how are we different than the regular media?

A blogger, especially one who owes their career to the blogosphere, should know that.  So point taken, Michael.  You don't speak at conferences.  No one has the right to ask you to be a leader, or to give a damn about new media.  We get your message loud and clear.

End Update:  

I was in the Cult of Blogging presentation this morning. Leo LaPorte was there, and Justine from iJustine. Om Malik and Michael Arrington were not.

Om had a good excuse – he hurt his back. I’ve done that, and completely understand. But the reason we heard about Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, that he just “forgot,” is really kind of lame.

 This has been a big event, and it really showcases successful business blogging, as opposed to the theorists that have been attending conferences. It’s a big deal, and most of the people I have met have been great.

I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon that’s going to be flogging Michael, but I’d like to see him explain to the blog community why he wasn’t here. Arianna Huffington ditched the conference earlier in the week, but she’s not a blogger – she’s a media personality who attached her name to a growing movement. She’s not one of us, so I’m not particularly worried about missing her. Good riddance.

But Michael – he’s one of us. He’s a blogger who made good, and has built a useful and profitable site. For him to blow us off, if that is what happened, is unacceptable. Michael, I may just be a little blogger, but I want to know why you failed to show. If you attended the conference, and feel the same way, please write a post and let me know about it. We have to hold industry leaders accountable.

Other links:  JeremiahChris Brogan, Allen Stern.

Some Blogging Statistics

How many bloggers are there, and who are these people?  The BlogWorldExpo has compiled some of the statistics.

Important Blogging Statistics PDF Print

Just a little bit of information, seeing as the liveblogging seems to be a bit disjointed.