Archive for March, 2010

Applying for the Wrong Job

Monday, March 29th, 2010

It will hurt your brand. Don’t do it.

What am I talking about? I am currently conducting a Chief People Officer search for a significant non-profit organization. I happen to be on the Board of this organization and have been for about 7 years, so it’s near to my heart. It’s one of the largest of its kind in the country, and currently employs about 1500 employees in four counties in Southern California. In short, this is a big HR leadership job.

I asked our program coordinator for the McDermott & Bull Executive Network to send an email out to our group of 1500 senior executive members to see if they knew anyone that could be a fit. Why not network on this and show it to all our members to find some great qualified candidates? Well, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Ok, it wasn’t really that bad. In fact, I received many great responses from a number of qualified members that are interested in the position, as well as a number of great referrals, so I want to thank those that have responded with this kind of help.


What are You Willing to Do to Get that Job Offer?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

As I wrote in my recent blog, I think some candidates do not “go above and beyond” to land a job they really want. How can you do this?

First, don’t think conventionally. As I’ve said before, you need to put yourself in the mindset that you’re not interviewing for a job – you’re meeting with a client to see if you’re the right solution for a challenge or problem they’re trying to solve. No jobs anymore, only problems that need solving. Obviously this is not entirely true, however, in more cases than not today, our clients are hiring people to solve serious problems and take advantage of opportunities at their companies, rather than just filling a spot. This is definitely true at the senior executive levels.


Once You’re in the Process of a Search…Now What?

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Working on a number of searches at the moment, I’m juggling about 12 candidates that have been submitted to my clients, and are still “in the process”. The reality is, when we submit candidates to a client, our objective is that everyone can do the job, but 1 or 2 might be better fits than others. Generally, our client will tell us early on who is not a fit and we can let them go so they no longer consider the opportunity open to them. However, for the short list of viable candidates, the waiting game begins.

Some candidates handle this part well, while others get too antsy or don’t follow up at all, and end up hurting their brands with us and our client. So, what’s the right formula?


“In-Networking” – What is it and why should you do it?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Those senior executives that are either in transition now, or have been in the last 5 years, know that networking plays a key role in finding their next opportunity. The old adage of “who you know” has been changed to “who knows you” and it’s amazing to see how people that never networked before in successful careers that spanned over 20 years have become experts at building relationships in a short period of time.

What amazes me however is that while networking plays a key role during a job transition, people don’t focus on it while they’re working. At the most senior levels of a company, CFO, SVP HR, CIO, CEO for example, “in-networking” is a critical competency for them to perform their jobs successfully. However, even in these roles at a major division level, I still find people that aren’t very well networked throughout their corporations, outside of their own division or subsidiary.


“How Am I Doing?”

Monday, March 15th, 2010

“What would you like to see me do more of? Less of? Anything I should be doing to be more effective?”

Basically – “How am I doing?”

How many times have you asked your boss these questions, and how often? How about your subordinates asking you?

If it’s not at least once a month, it’s not enough!


Work Ethic and Balance…What’s the Right Mix?

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

In my prior posts, I wrote about some things that might be controversial. Well, this one has a lot of opinions and I honestly don’t know the “right” answer, but I’ll give my opinion and hope to hear from readers on theirs. Most senior executives out there don’t need to learn these things, as they likely became senior executives because they knew them. I still hope it’s worthwhile as a refresher, as things were pretty easy for our workforce, at all levels, over the past 15 years, with a few bumps along the way.

I recently took a trip to Israel and spent 4 days touring around Jerusalem with our guide, Joseph (Yosi) and my family. He spent some very long days with us, and didn’t cut any corners, even when there were days when we would have been ok with that. Over the course of four days, we were able to have many conversations about lifestyle in Israel, the economy, their industry, and their work ethic.


The Job That Should Have Been Yours

Monday, March 8th, 2010

After 11 years and over a thousand interviews with candidates for searches I’ve worked on, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met someone that should have been great for a position, but either didn’t get presented to the client by me, or didn’t get the job once they interviewed. Has this ever been you?

If it has, you might have committed one of the job killer crimes. OK, so I just came up with that term, but to me it does seem like a crime when a great candidate comes up short because of a trait, a comment, a demeanor, or something else that doesn’t serve them well in the interview. I’ll share a few real-world examples I’ve experienced with candidates over the years that doomed their chances:


To Consult or Not to Consult, That is the Question

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

As I’ve stated in previous posts, jobs are difficult to come by and companies are really more anxious to solve key problems keeping them from realizing their objectives, much more than they are increasing their employment ranks. With uncertainty still the emotion of the day for many companies, bringing on new staff to solve problems is a very difficult decision to make. In some companies, hiring freezes are still in force, so unless you’re interviewing for a position that was vacated or reports to a very senior exec, your dream company might not be able to hire you, even if they have a great need of your expertise.


The Lost Art of Mastering a Great First Impression – Part VI: How to Position Yourself for that Dream Job

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Did you hear the one about the person who applied for the advertised job, only to be told there wasn’t one? While companies may post jobs, or hire search firms like McDermott & Bull to fill them, the reality is that jobs have changed character over the last 20 years. In the past, a job meant a potential career with a company. You really evaluated that company thoroughly, spoke to the hiring manager about upward mobility after that assignment, and tried to picture yourself retiring from that company. How often does that happen anymore?

The answer: not a lot. In fact, today, you need to take a different tack if you’re looking at an opportunity. A job is no longer a potential career (that’s not an entirely accurate statement), but instead is an opportunity to solve a problem for a company. Quite possibly – no more, no less.