Category Archives: Job Profile

Carmen’s Hot Jobs, Vol 1, No. 10

By Carmen Lapham, Director of Recruiting and Operations

Let’s face it; Labor Day needs a make over. It no longer carries the same significance that it once did. There was a time when Labor Day was celebrated with speeches, parades and picnics honoring those who worked, the laborer. Most people today probably don’t even know what Labor Day is meant to celebrate. And beyond the historical significance of the day itself, it no longer signifies such things as the last day before school starts with some schools starting as early as August 1st;  the last day that swimming pools are open or the last day that those fashion conscious among us can wear white.

So what happened to Labor Day? Where did it lose its significance? Why isn’t it still celebrated like Independence Day or Memorial Day or even Groundhog Day?

I was pondering these questions while I was out with my family and a few friends doing my part to keep the Labor Day tradition alive. We packed a picnic lunch complete with a great selection of some fine crafted beers brewed by some local laborers; we listened to some speeches by my husband and his friends regarding the best place to picnic and the best way to get there without using Google maps or asking for directions; and we paraded around several great locations until we settled upon a shaded hilly spot close enough to the stage where young local musicians were covering some of the great Woody Guthrie tunes.

A Great Labor Day! But those questions kept nagging at me the whole time. Could Labor Day have lost its mojo because unlike two of the other days, Independence and Groundhog, there was never a movie made about it? Or could it be that unlike the other day, Memorial there was not a significant auto race or a major (sort of) golf tournament played that weekend?

I am not sure what the reason is but I have an idea that might help to bring the first Monday in September back to its glory days, back to being a day that is truly celebrated by all. We need to rename it. We need to call it Career Day, a day to celebrate those who are working, those who have been working and are now looking for work, those who have been working and are now retired or only seek part time work and those just entering the workforce. It would be a day to recognize workers of all types and honor them for what they are doing, what they have done and what they would like to do.

Those of us in the recruiting business could spearhead this movement and organize job fairs, seminars and discussions about job search, career management, career planning, career coaching and involve our own clients in the process.

We could come out from behind our desks, take off our headsets and for one day join the ranks of the masses who are yearning for any and all information regarding work, labor, career, job search, interviewing, offer acceptance, negotiating, resumes as product literature and performance profiles that only we, as seasoned professional recruiters, possess.

It would be a national day of information and celebration that no other special day could rival. And the next day we would have job orders to fill and pools of talent from which to source.

“Carmen, Carmen the show is over we need to get the kids home and you have a big day tomorrow.”

Oh well, it seemed like a good idea. I wonder if Hallmark would be interested in producing a line of greeting cards for Career Day!

Now here are our Hot Jobs for this week and they are worthy of celebrating.

  • Senior JDE Project Manager – If you thought all PM jobs were alike, think again! Great internationally recognized Oracle consulting firm promising as much travel as you have always wanted.
  • Junior Security Engineer – A job with real security and the only difference between the Junior and Senior position is that only one of you gets to wear the Green Lantern’s Ring and the Senior picks which one!

That is it for this week. If you are interested in the Hot Jobs above click on the link and apply through our Talent Hub. We will respond quickly and we will value your time. At Q4B candidates are our customers too.

And remember after reading this blog be sure to Like, Retweet, Pin it, and +1 this post. You never know who is going to see the positions and think that it is the perfect position for them.

Til next week!

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Creating a Candidate Referral Engine

I recently finished reading John Jantsch’s best seller The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself. As you may know from reading my blog postings, I am an avid business book reader, with shelf after shelf crammed with business, marketing, sales, recruiting, hiring, branding, consulting, assessment focused books that I have read, many more than once. The Referral Engine is one of the few that I have read whose information can be immediately applied to any business that wants to grow. And what business doesn’t want to grow!

Yes, I have read many other books that have offered new, exciting and different perspectives on a particular topic, but in most cases the new, exciting and different perspectives always need tweaking on the part of the reader to make them applicable to your business. Not this book. In fact, our company is in the process of applying Jantsch’s Referral Engine process to how we do business. I will report our progress in future blogs.

In order to develop a referral engine company, one has to understand what your company does, how you do it, your ideal customers, and train your employees, customers and partners to be aware of this and be open to referring business. And perhaps most importantly, a referral engine company must always be giving customers and partners referrals with no expectation of getting referrals in return.

However, as I was reading this book I began to think of a different type of referral engine. Instead of looking for referred business, a company could apply the same principles to candidate referrals.

It would all start with understanding what the position requires (not job description, think performance profile); what makes an ideal candidate and what would be acceptable to the hiring manager; and what the hiring process is and setting proper expectations.

Once this is in place, you then need to train your employees, customers and partners.

If your best hires come from employee referrals, your goal should be that the majority of your hires come from employee referrals. Are all your employees aware of position requirements, ideal candidates and is a process in place that will encourage your employees to always be referring? Get your employees to always be thinking of referring candidates.

Your customers are your candidates. No matter the source, every candidate is a customer. They are buying, you are selling. Whether or not they are hired, if a candidate had a good experience; was treated with respect during however long the hiring process; received prompt and relevant feedback; they will spread the word about your company and refer candidates to you. Are your recruiters making all candidates aware of position requirements, ideal candidates? Are your recruiters always asking “Who else do you know? Who did you work with who could do this job? Who would you like to be on this project with you?” Setting the expectation of getting referrals from candidates starts with the first contact with the candidate.

And lastly, most businesses have some type of a partner relationship, everything from IT to accounting to marketing/advertising to outside recruiters. These should be companies and people that you respect for what they do. You would value their input and recommendations. If you have partner relationships make them aware of your position requirements, your ideal candidate and make sure that they understand your hiring process.

In order for your candidate referral engine to run smoothly you need to prime the pump, you need to give in order to get. In the case of the employee referral source, rewards, incentives and acknowledgement of referral could be enough. Even making referrals part of a job requirement sends a strong message as to the importance of referred candidates.

With the candidate referral source what you give could  include, acknowledgement of referral, thank you note from the C-level, on-going contact with candidates not hired regarding future openings, advice on career, job opportunities outside your company and periodic updates regarding the referred candidate.

And with the partner referral source what you give could be business, candidates who may not be the fit for your openings, industry information as well as updated information on your company and the candidates that they referred.

Jantsch suggests that as human beings it is in our DNA to want to give something to others, that we are social beings and that giving makes us feel good, important and part of something much bigger than we are.  If you don’t ask for or make it hard for anyone to refer candidates to your company you are missing out on some potentially great hires, but you are also doing those who would refer a disservice by not allowing them to do something that is in their nature.

And if you don’t ask or make it easy to get referrals someone else will. And it could be your competition.

D M J R M Part II

Last week I posed the question “Does My Job Really Matter?” and received a number of well thought out responses including one suggesting that if I held up the letters D M J R M to a mirror that I would have the password to my CRM system. Still didn’t work.

But one respondent felt that making your job matter was more the responsibility of the individual worker rather than the company explaining how important the job was to their overall success. The suggestion was that this was especially true for individuals currently working in a position rather than someone applying for a job.

My research led me to a book entitled One Page Management by Riaz Khadem and Robert Lorber. Written in the style of the One Minute Management series with a forward by Ken Blanchard, the authors suggest that if you can’t find Critical Success Factors for your job then maybe the job isn’t necessary. Let me explain.

First of all, no one knows more about a job than the person who is doing the job. Yet most people doing a job have no idea how well they are doing the job, nor how well their managers think they are doing the job. They don’t know what the critical success factors are and are usually shocked when their semi annual review is less than positive.

Here are the steps that you need to take to understand your job and how much it matters to your company.

  • Define Success – every job has a different idea of what constitutes success. Sales, accounting, IT, engineering, health care providers all define job success differently. Getting this definition starts at time of hire. It should be part of the first 90 day evaluation process. As the new hire you should ask what you need to do to be successful, to make your manager say “WOW, what a great hire.”
  • Target the Most Critical Success Factors – Once you have defined success for a particular job, ask what factors are the most important, the critical factors. In sales increasing revenue would be one success factor, but increasing revenue from existing customers would be a critical and more profitable success factor.
  • Understand Your Environment – There are few if any jobs that exist in a vacuum. Every job connects with other departments, customers (both internal and external), vendors, co-workers, etc. Understand what you do and how it impacts the others that you touch.
  • Constantly Evaluate – Make sure that you understand how what you are doing compares to what should be done. Do this on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis depending on type of job and frequency of activity, e.g. sales could be weekly, accounting monthly, engineering quarterly based on project etc.
  • Take Control – Once you have all of this information about your job, don’t be afraid to use it. Keep your manager informed and ask for guidance on a regular basis. Seek out key influencers in other areas that you touch and get their input and advice. Always have it available at time of review.

So, does your job really matter? Ultimately you have more to say about this than your manager or the company you work with. The more control you have over your job and your career the better you will feel about what you do and how much it matters.

Now, I am off to change my password or maybe get another CRM system.

D M J R M

You probably thought that I just gave you my password to my CRM system. If only it were that easy to remember. No, the letters above stand for something much more valuable than a password. They stand for perhaps the most important question a good business leader should always be able to answer. They also stand for the one question every employee should be asking of their employer and should demand an answer from them.

That question? Does My Job Really Matter? I am convinced that the vast majority of problems that companies face with disgruntled, disengaged and disinterested employees can be traced back to a failure on the part of the company to answer and address this question at time of hire. I am also convinced that the majority of workers (better than 68% by some surveys) who say that they don’t enjoy the work that they do, are not happy in their jobs would feel differently if they had asked this question of their employers.

In the award winning book, The Great Game of Business, Jack Stack took a low performing soon to be closed division of International Harvester and created a very profitable employee owned company by making sure that all of the employees knew that their jobs really did matter. An early proponent of open-book management Stack knew that the only way his company could succeed was by making every employee a stakeholder in the company. Weekly meetings were held, the company balance sheet was explained and Stack and his management team made sure that each and every employee understood his/her worth to the company.

If you are a business leader, look at your own company. Does every employee know their value? Does every employee feel that their job matters? As recruiters we find it easy to sell an opportunity to a prospective candidate based on position, career path, benefits etc. We find it even easier to sell the candidate on the opportunity if we can show them where they fit into the organization, what their value is and how much the job matters to the company.

As a worker, whether you are looking inside or outside your company for your next opportunity it is important that you get the answer to the question posed above. In the interview you should ask not just what the job entails, but how important it is to the company, where it fits into the overall goals for the business, does it really matter.

If workers knew how important their jobs were would they be happier, more engaged, more productive? As a business leader I would like to think so. Telling employees that their jobs really matter and showing them how much you value what they do could go a long way to making “our people are our most important assets” much more meaningful.

Now I need to find the password to my CRM system.

The Way Things Are

From the film Babe:

The scene: Christmas day on the farm. The pig, the cow, hens, and Ferdinand the duck crowd by the kitchen window, craning their necks to see which unfortunate one of their kind has been chosen to become the main course at dinner. On the plate is Roseanna the duck dressed with sauce l’orange.

Ferdinand, the Duck: Why Roseanna? She had such a beautiful nature. I can’t take it anymore! It is too much for a duck. It eats away at the soul.

Cow: The only way to find happiness is to accept that the way things are is the way things are.

Ferdinand: The way things are stinks!

I was thinking about the above scene and how often it is played out in real life as leaders of businesses accept the status quo and are reluctant to change or look for alternatives to running their business. Many business leaders feel that the way things are stinks, but aside from expressing anger and frustration they can’t or won’t do much else.

A book I read recently, The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, evaluates this scene as it relates to the acceptance or denial of “Possibility” and encourages an alternative “to initiate a new approach to current conditions, based on uncommon assumptions about the nature of the world.”

The Zanders suggest that the Cow’s acceptance attitude and the Duck’s accepting but complaining attitude are not the only choices available. They suggest that a third and more realistic attitude exists. In my opinion, we can also parallel this concept to business, and it is precisely this attitude that should exist in every company and business leader. Let me explain.

This alternative attitude says that while you understand the way things are you ask yourself if there are there other ways that things could be, or is the way things are the only way.

A Case in point –

A client that we worked with was experiencing high attrition in their customer service department. This had been going on for some time, but when asked about this problem, the client felt that it was the nature of the job, that all of his competitors where experiencing the same rate of turnover, some even greater than his. It was the way things are, and like Ferdinand, the duck, he felt that it stinks but could do nothing to change it.

We suggested that he develop a profile of the job based on the success attributes of his best customer service reps. We suggested recruiting and hiring against that profile. We suggested new training, new compensation package, a sense of ownership and team building exercises. Despite the fact that the rest of his industry was experiencing high attrition, his turnover went from 85% in the first three months to less than 10% the same period with better than 80% of new hires still employed after 1 year.

We helped the client see what we saw and that the way things are is not the only way things can be. Instead of accepting things as they are (the Cow) or accepting things but being angry and frustrated (Ferdinand, the Duck) the client was able to deal with the way things are and make changes.

Isn’t this the attitude we look for in our business leaders? Don’t we want to follow someone who is willing to look for another way? Don’t we admire a leader with a vision of what is possible despite the difficult times and the number of people who would accept things as being the way they are?  Where there is a will, there is a way, right?  If you are one of these leaders, or you work for one, count your blessings and then pass the duck l’orange. Bon Appetite!