Category Archives: performance profiles

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!


Carmen’s Hot Jobs, Vol 1, No. 9

By Carmen Lapham, Director of Recruiting and Operations, Q4B

Last week in my Hot Jobs blog I finished up with a hint about this week’s blog and followed some old show business advice of always leaving your audience wanting more.

So here is my more.

Some of the questions that I mentioned last week that we have begun to ask during our debriefing sessions after an engagement ends (won or lost) have to do with the candidate/client interview and how much we prepared the candidate for that interview. Did we do enough? Could we have done more? And based on the feedback from both our candidate and our client were there things that we missed? And finally, how can we improve in this area?

Interview preparation is such an important part of the recruiting process since nothing will ever happen until the candidate meets with the hiring authority and yet it is for the most part the most underutilized and in general the least understood part of that process.

I know that there are many recruiters who would say that they prepare their candidates very well for the client interview. They provide them with all of the relevant  information regarding the position, the expectations of performance, the type of interview to expect (one on one or group), the personalities of the interviewers, the company culture, the questions that may be asked (behavior based or other) and advice on how to handle those questions, a list of questions or topics to be avoided and even advice on what to wear, when to show up for the interview and directions to the client ‘s location with phone numbers.

There are some recruiters who have access to video capabilities and technology or who now use Skype or Google+ Hangouts to conduct mock interviews with their candidates and provide feedback and critiquing of the candidate’s interviewing skills, body language etc.

Is this type of interview preparation conducted for every candidate for every position? Probably not. Is it something that some recruiters do only for those senior positions, or perhaps those assignments where the fee is higher than most? Probably so. After all this is a lot of work and what if after all that work the candidate doesn’t get the offer or worse still bombs in the interview?

Remember in recruiting as in life, Stuff happens!

As recruiters, dedicated to our profession and wanting to be the best that we can be by providing the best service to both our clients and our candidates we should approach each stage, each part of our recruiting process and consistently look to improve and make it better. And that includes the interview preparation stage.

If you are a candidate reading this blog ask yourself how many recruiters that you have worked with have walked you through an interview preparation like the one described above. All? Some? A few? None? I would be very interested in your responses.

And now here are a few of our Hot Jobs for this week. And remember, if you respond to these or any of our other hot jobs, before you interview with our client you will be prepared.

  • Senior Test Automation Engineer – Are you a Rugby fan? Just checking because this position requires someone with experience in an AGILE/SCRUM environment.
  • Reservoir Engineer – If you get this job you will be allowed to use the famous Bogart line from the movie Casablanca. And it is not “Play it again Sam.”

That is it for this week. Next week I will be blogging some more about interview preparation. Here is the hint, think career portfolio. Enough said.

Til Next week.


Get Rid of JATS, Join the Movement!

By Dan Ridge, Senior Contributing Consultant, Q4B

I would like to think that our recruiting and management team at Q4B started something. A few months ago we decided to target a part of our recruiting process in an effort to improve the end results of the process. We noticed that this part of the process is a part of every recruiting organization’s process and that for years and years and years we have all been doing it the same way, with pretty much the same results.

The part of the process to which I refer is the job ad, the job description, the job order call it what you will. We all take them we all use them in our recruiting efforts, we all post them to our job sites, to job boards and to our social media channels. Sometimes we get results, sometimes we do not. Chances are good that we do not really question why we do it, or if we do question the effectiveness of this effort it is usually a question of how many responses, not so much the quality of those responses.

We at Q4B have made a decision to change the way that we manage this part of the recruiting process. We have made it our mission to rewrite all of our current job postings and to only post new job descriptions that we have written, using the information that we gathered during our needs analysis with the client as well as information from the client and the client’s web site. In other words we want to get rid of JATS!

And here are our reasons. We feel strongly that our candidates, the candidates that we want to eventually present to our clients deserve better. We feel that they are our customers, just as our company clients are our customers. Our company clients are hiring us to find them top talent. The job ads, the job descriptions that we post should reflect that and should be written in a way that they attract that quality of talent. We would suggest that easily 99.9% of all job ads that are posted are an insult to the very talent that the ads are seeking to attract.

I said earlier in this post that I would like to think that we at Q4B have started something. In truth, we are not the first to suggest this and hopefully not the last. Lou Adler has been preaching this idea of getting rid of job description for years and replacing it with Job Profiles which certainly have much more meaning and carry much more weight in determining which candidate would make a great hire. More recently, there have been some great articles on this topic, from Maren Hogan to Eric Gaydos to the surveys that are run by the folks at CareerXroads.

As recruiters we have a unique opportunity to change this part of our recruiting process, the job ad, the job post and how it is presented to our candidate audience. If it is done well we should immediately see an improvement in the quality of candidates who respond to the postings. And with better quality responding, our jobs would become much more enjoyable and rewarding.

So, are you ready to join the movement? Ready to order your T-shirt, arm bands and posters? Ready to take this to the Street?

Oh, wait, I haven’t told you what those letters stand for have I? I wouldn’t expect you to join without knowing what you were joining. So here it is. Our movement is called Get Rid of JATS and the JATS stands for JOB ADS THAT SUCK!

Are you in?

Horrible Bosses, Great Bosses

If you think that this blog is all about the movie, “Horrible Bosses” which opens nationwide July 8, you are sadly mistaken. That movie has been highly publicized and has already received some mixed reviews, even though the cast is not lacking for star power (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Aniston). Summer movies very rarely fall into the blockbuster category. It is summer after all. No one really cares what is showing at a movie theater as long as the place is cool, the popcorn is hot and buttery and the seats are comfortable. But then again I am no Siskel or Ebert.

No this blog is all about real bosses and what it takes to be a great one. In the book, How To Become A Great Boss, Jeffrey Fox, the author, presents a simple success formula for becoming a great boss. And as usual, Fox presents his success formula in a list of ten items.

1.    Only hire top-notch, excellent people.

2.    Put the right people in the right job, and weed out the wrong people.

3.    Tell the people what needs to be done.

4.    Tell the people why it is needed.

5.    Leave the job up to the people you’ve chosen to do it.

6.    Train the people.

7.    Listen to the people.

8.    Remove frustration and barriers that fetter the people.

9.    Inspect progress.

10.           Say “Thank You” publicly and privately.

Being a Great Boss has everything to do with the people you hire, communicate with, promote, listen to, acknowledge and respect. It has nothing to do with a boss’s education, time with the company, experience, industry knowledge, relationship with higher-ups, career plans, stakeholders or markets.

The first four items on the list are the steps that hiring managers and business leaders should try to take every time they attempt to fill a position.

  • Telling people what needs to be done and why it is needed is the job requisition, the performance profile, the scorecard for hiring “A – Players”.
  • Putting the right people in the right job and weeding out the wrong people is another way of saying that each position in a company needs to be filled with people whose skills, talents, experience, education and training are aligned with the business strategy and goals of the company.
  • And once you know what you are looking for and what the job requires then hiring top notch, excellent people falls to the recruiting function to source, screen and help select the appropriate candidates.

Once the top notch, excellent people are on board, then great bosses work to keep them. To do so they need to get out of the way and let them do their respective jobs; provide opportunities for training where and when it is needed, either for their current position or for advancement and succession planning; monitor progress of work and the individual employee; remove all obstacles that inhibit or slow down or devalue the employee and lastly, give credit where credit is due, publicly and privately.

This is a simple formula that Fox presents and when you read the list you see that it is about hiring great talent and keeping great talent and that is what makes a boss great.

I am not sure if the makers of the movie “Horrible Bosses” plan on making a sequel but I do have a suggestion. The movie should be called “Great Bosses” and the star studded cast could be made up of numerous bosses that any of us have worked with and for throughout our careers. It would be a blockbuster.

Nominations are welcome. Now, pass the popcorn!

Rule Number 6

This is a story that Ben Zander tells in his book The Art of Possibility.

“Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing the affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fists on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon, Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again, twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology. When the scene is repeated a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My friend, I have seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secrets of Rule Number 6?” “Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister, “Rule Number 6 is Don’t Take Yourself so damn seriously.”

In our company, I do much of the business development activity and in that capacity I very clearly see the opportunities that exist in the market place for our type of managed recruiting service. As I do research on potential clients I can identify where in their talent acquisition and retention process our company’s services could add tremendous value and contribute to that company’s profits and success. I know that our company has done great work for our clients, and will continue to bring value to future clients. So when I make my well crafted pitch to potential clients and don’t get the positive response I know should be there, I have moments where I could exhibit the outbursts of Peter and Marie, and then I remember Rule Number 6.

Our company’s service, as good as it is, may not be the most important thing on the minds of the hiring managers, the talent managers, the HR Directors, the CFOs, CEOs with whom I speak. Believe it or not, in most companies, talent acquisition and retention only become important when there is a need to fill a position because some one left, new business demands more people or someone in a position is not working out and needs to be replaced. The moment that I feel that my call, my proposal, my company’s solution is the only thing that matters, then I have taken myself too seriously and need to be reminded of Rule Number 6.

The fact is, Rule Number 6 applies to everyone, and especially those involved in the business of finding and hiring great talent. And this applies to candidates as well.

  • Recruiters need to understand that not all great candidates will accept your offer when you would like, and not all hiring managers will provide prompt feedback on your candidates.
  • Hiring Managers need to understand that just because you have a need doesn’t mean that that talent exists on every street corner. Great talent is hard to find.
  • HR Directors need to understand that your opening and your company are not the only game in town and that the way to attract great talent starts with a well crafted, meaningful job/position profile.
  • Candidates need to understand that just because you responded to a job posting, doesn’t make you the center of attention and the only one qualified for that position.

All need to remember Rule Number 6. It is not about me or you it is about them, and “them” is the client, the company, the decision maker and what their needs are. So keep in mind Rule Number 6.

If you are wondering about the other rules, the story continues.

“”Ah”, says the visiting prime minister, “Rule Number 6 is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask, are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any.”

Blind Men and the Elephant

Last week I posted a blog (Acknowledging the Elephant in the Room) that received a great many well thought out and passionate comments. It is the goal of any blogger to draw attention to some topic that is relevant and sparks a good deal of give and take. Needless to say I was pleased and as the comments kept coming in I wanted to respond but felt that a comment or two would not adequately address this issue. I needed to write another blog about the Elephant.

There is story that has its roots in ancient India. The story says that six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.

A king explains to them:

“All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned.”[1]

The talent acquisition and retention process, the recruiting, hiring and promoting of great talent is our Elephant and we, all of us in the talent acquisition and retention business are the blind men. We each “see” the elephant from our own perspective of sourcing, screening, selection, on-boarding, promotion, succession planning, recruiting, human resources but rarely are able to say that we “see” the whole elephant.

To carry the analogy further, we, all of us in the business, are blind or have blinders on since we only “see” what we do. We are sourcers, screeners, job posters, 3rd party recruiters, HR specialists, managed recruiting consultants or a combination of any of the above.

And because we only “see” part of our Elephant we then work with our part and treat any issues or problems without any regard for how our fixes or process improvements will effect the other parts of the elephant that we don’t “see”.

I suggested last week that the elephant in the room was the job posting. I should have been clearer. It is not so much the posting but the actual job description, job requisition, job order or as Lou Adler would want, the performance profile that sets in motion most every facet of the talent acquisition and retention process.

Creating and developing clear, well written, real job descriptions that tie into the process would then allow everyone involved to “see” the whole elephant.

If a job requires a certain type of experience, skill level, education, good communication skills, similar experience, passport for travel, drug screen then efforts should be made, with the help of technology, to allow for a consistent flow of qualified, interested and available candidates to be sourced, screened, selected, interviewed, hired and promoted. A similar effort should be made to allow for a respectful treatment of candidates, both qualified and not qualified, by giving them access to the talent process and allowing them to become engaged with the process on a professional level.

In thinking about our elephant it is big and perhaps slow to turn. All of us in the industry should have as our collective goal to try to “see” the whole elephant, understand how our piece of the elephant impacts and influences the other parts. Then and only then will we be able to acknowledge the elephant in the room and make sure that it pulls its weight.

There is now an opening in your company for a new job, Elephant Trainer, and you won’t be working for peanuts.

The Treasures You Can Find While Spring Cleaning

OK, so here it is, the second week of March and for those of us in Texas that means that Spring has arrived and the long, hot summer is just around the corner. Oh, sure there are other signs that Spring has arrived; the air conditioner stays on longer, two of my neighbors have started some major gardening projects and there is very little seating available outside at Starbucks.  So, this is the time of year that I tackle cleaning out what has accumulated over the year, and in the process finding some long lost treasures.

Under a stack of old and often read Fast Company, Inc and Dwell magazines, I came across a hard copy of an  article from ERE Daily entitled 40 Questions You Should Be Able to Answer About Your Hiring Process by Dr. Michael Kannisto posted on October 23, 2007. (You now understand that I don’t spring clean every year, and maybe not even every other year.)

Kannisto wrote the article for in-house recruiters, the message “good in-house recruiters should be able to answer all relevant candidate questions.” The implication was also that HR leaders, business unit managers and anyone interviewing and hiring should be able to field any company, career, job, process related question from interested candidates.

These same questions however, should also be part of any job seekers job search process. The 40 questions are broken out into four sets of ten. The first set consists of high-level questions a candidate should ask when trying to decide whether they want to join a particular company and it includes;

  • What is the corporate culture?
  • What kinds of people work here?
  • What skills are necessary for success?
  • What will having you on my resume mean for me in the future?

The second set, questions a candidate should ask if they are interested, includes;

  • Where can I find your financial data?
  • Where can I hear from current employees?
  • What is your company most proud of?
  • Who are your customers?

The third set consists of very specific questions about the company’s interviewing process and includes;

  • What kind of interviews do you conduct?
  • How much information do you require from me, and when do you want it?
  • How competitive is your relocation package?
  • Is this job search on the radar screen of senior business leaders?

The fourth set, questions that should be asked when the first interview is set and also at the end of the interview, includes;

  • How many interviews will I have?
  • If it isn’t a fit will you respect me by telling me in person?
  • Will you value my time?
  • What will drive my compensation package?

You can see how valuable a check list this could be for any job seeker. From the beginning of the search through the interview process, the answers to these questions will provide a great deal of information about the company, the job, the opportunity and the job seekers place in the organization if they accept an offer.

Conversely, the more difficult it is to get answers to any of the questions, the lack of preparedness regarding answers to these questions on the part of anyone representing the company, will allow the job seeker to decide whether or not to continue with the process, and whether or not to accept an offer should one be made.

Some advice to job seekers, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and specifically get the answers to all 40 of the questions from Kannisto’s article. (See link above)

Now here are the other treasures I found while spring cleaning, a buy-one-get-one FREE coupon for an all day pass to Astro World (no longer there), the installation manual for my external hard drive (now full) and an autographed picture of Lou Adler at last year’s ERE Expo.

What treasures! I can’t wait for next March.