Category Archives: Screening

A Different Type of Candidate Debate

By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B

In a recent blog posting (Politicians and Recruiters Make Strange Bedfellows) I suggested that there are some interesting similarities between the process that companies use to fill their open positions and how voters end up choosing a candidate for a political office.

If you think about it, political candidates are actually applying for a job, a job that carries with it certain responsibilities and in many cases comes with a pretty generous compensation package and opportunities for career advancement in or out of politics. In other words it is a good job.

And the voters make up the hiring committee, that group that will ultimately decide by majority vote which candidate will get the job, will be hired.

Candidates for any political office should be required to apply for a particular position (office), their application including resume should then be reviewed (vetting process) by the hiring committee (voters) and those deemed qualified and who are interested and available should be invited in for a series of interviews (primaries).

I was thinking about this comparison over the past couple of weeks while watching some of the highlights (and low lights) of the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. In the political arena the debate format is used as a series of final interviews for the candidates.

Regardless of which side you are on, most voters would agree that if conducted properly a debate is a good format for addressing issues that are important and sometimes critical to job performance for that office, and for observing how each candidate responds to the various questions, thus giving the voter (sometimes undecided) enough information to make a decision for or against a particular candidate.

Could a debate format work as part of the hiring process?

Let’s say that a hiring manager has an opening to fill and a number of candidates have been screened and presented for consideration. A series of interviews have been conducted, phone and face-to-face by various stakeholders in the hiring process, including internal recruiters.

The hiring manager has selected three very qualified candidates that he would like to schedule in for final interviews before he makes the hiring decision. Normally, these three interviews would be set for each candidate and each would be interviewed, hopefully by the same individuals or team and each would have been asked the same questions. Debriefing meetings could be held after each candidate is interviewed and notes for all interviews would be compared and a decision made.

But what if all three candidates were brought in at the same time for a Job Debate?

The audience could be made up of company employees, vendors, upper management, customers, board members, anyone who might have an interest in hiring the best candidate for the position to be filled. The moderator would be the hiring manager and the questions that each candidate would be asked would have been prepared with input from all stakeholders and would deal only with issues that were necessary to performance for that position.

The candidates would be made aware of the topics to be covered, would have been given, if they did not already know, the performance expectations for the position, the critical initiatives that they would need to address and accomplish within the first 90 -180 days in that position.

Depending on the position, upper management, mid-management, staff, the job debates could be one and done or a series of up to three. All relevant topics would be covered, each candidate would have a chance to sell himself/herself to a much broader audience, and decisions regarding the hire could be made based on a comparison of each candidate’s responses to the questions and to the other candidates.

So, would a Job Debate work? I have a feeling that most hiring managers would not want to try because, not unlike the political debates, they have already made up their minds regarding which candidate will be hired.

But here is the upside to at least considering a Job Debate. More people will have an opportunity to see and hear each candidate. Other opportunities may present themselves to other hiring managers in attendance, thus allowing for more than one candidate being hired. The entire hiring process would become more transparent and candidates would be excited and anxious to apply to future openings just to participate in the process.

Now, I for one would like to be the fact checker in these Job Debates, unless you think that none of these candidates would ever stretch the truth.


Bring on the Replacement Recruiters!

By Dan Ridge, Contributing Consultant, Q4B

Whether you are a diehard football fan, a casual observer or someone who still thinks that what we call soccer in the USA is the most popular sport in the world you are certainly aware of the turmoil that is being created in the NFL with the lockout of the professional referees and the use or misuse of what are called replacement refs. Games have been decided by missed calls, bad calls and no calls. The integrity of the game is at stake and players, coaches, general managers and fans have had enough. Even the Good Guys in Vegas are not too happy with the current state of affairs.

There is a sense that with all of the controversy surrounding the debacle that was witnessed on MNF (unless you are a Seahawks fan) the lockout will end with each side giving and getting some of what each was bargaining for. But what a cost! Not so much in overall dollars but in fan perception, appreciation and support to say the least.

While I was watching ESPN, ESPN2 the other night I started thinking about this lockout, how important it is to have true professionals in every position in order for an organization to be successful, to provide value and service to their customers and to insure that the product or service delivered is the best that it can be. If one part of an organization is performing at a lower level than the rest of the organization the whole organization suffers.

Isn’t this true in recruiting? If not then it should be. Think about the many times you have seen companies that are struggling with their quarterly profitability, their stock prices are less than the street expected, their forecasts are off and projections for next quarter are dismal decide to cut their internal recruiting department down to almost nothing.

How many times have you seen those same companies run job ads that suck (JATS) looking for replacement recruiters with I to 2 years of experience when their company’s fortunes begin to turn around? Do you think that there will be some bad calls, missed calls and no calls when it comes to sourcing, screening and hiring the best fit candidates for their open positions? Could there ever be a situation where hiring managers and candidates raise enough of a ruckus that company management agrees to hire or rehire only seasoned experienced professional recruiters?

Probably not. Unfortunately, unlike the NFL referee situation, company management rarely sees the difference between seasoned experienced professional recruiters and their 1 to 2 year replacements. They don’t immediately see the impact if any of a bad call, missed call or no call by a replacement recruiter. And they certainly don’t understand how impactful a great hire is to their overall success.

And that is the fault of the seasoned experienced professional recruiter. Most recruiters vary rarely demonstrate their value to their company’s success. Do recruiters track the impact on the company that their hires have made? Can recruiters point to specific instances where one of their hires saved, made money for the company; exceeded expectations sooner than expected; was promoted or had a significant impact on the bottom line, the stock price or other company successes?

It is not about quality of hire, time to fill or cost per hire metrics that seemingly all recruiters are so caught up with. The people running a company are more concerned and more interested in making money, showing a profit, increasing revenue.

Did your hire help with any of those things? If not where is your value?

There may never come a time in your company where there will occur a tipping point event like the MNF spectacle that will show case the difference between seasoned experienced professionals and rookie replacements.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be able to demonstrate that difference yourself. Otherwise your company will always be looking for a replacement recruiter.

One last thought. I think that it would help if companies hired a senior recruiter to review every controversial hire and insist on using instant replay when the offer is extended and accepted.

Now, I will wait for a call from the league office. I know that they can use my input in settling this matter.

“Please hold for Mr. Goodell.”


Are We There Yet?

By Carmen Lapham, Director of Recruiting and Operations, Q4B


If you are a parent with small children starting out on a road trip of any length you have heard this question numerous times, even if the trip is just across town. Depending on how old you are you may even remember asking the question yourself when you took trips with your parents, perhaps even last week. It’s as though kids have the idea that we live in a Jetson’s age where everything happens at hyper speed, especially going from one place to another.

On a recent road trip one of my kids asked this question (not two minutes out of the driveway) and after responding nicely I began to think about the question from a business perspective. I asked myself, as a recruiter, are we there yet? Do we use the technology that is available, everything from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogging, etc., to make ourselves better at what we do? Do we use this technology to provide a better service for our clients and our candidates? Are we better recruiters today than those who were recruiting 25 years ago?

As you might guess this was going to be a long road trip and the kids were still asking that question every 50 miles but I was too deep into my own thoughts to be discouraged.

I began to explore this question in thinking about resumes. Over the past couple of weeks there have been some interesting blogs and comments regarding resumes, and whether the whole idea of resumes was in fact Dead. One blog in particular by John Kreiss addressed this quite well. That no resumes are not Dead, that they are still necessary for sourcing, screening and interviewing candidates for both recruiters and hiring managers and that although the way resumes are delivered, viewed and used may be different (hard copy vs. online) they are still very much a part of the whole hiring process.

But resumes have always been a part of the hiring process. Twenty five years ago resumes were sent to recruiters or hiring managers through the mail (Snail) or were faxed. Today they are sent, viewed, stored online, in a database to be used immediately or hopefully later when a new assignment is posted.

So, are we there yet? Is there something more that recruiters can do better with the technology available that would change the resume’s purpose and value from what it has always been but in a new format, to become a source of easy to access information on potential job leads, company information, contacts within those companies, market information, potential recruits, industry trends and so much more?

There is a perception that most recruiters spend no more than 2 minutes quickly reviewing a resume. Whether that is true or not or if it only applies to in-house recruiters and not 3rd party recruiters it doesn’t matter. We can argue over how much time is spent but suffice it to say, recruiters do not spend nearly enough time on resumes that they should. And, yet the technology is there for us to gather tons of great information that would in turn make it possible for recruiters to be more knowledgeable, more productive, more valuable and more successful than their counterparts of 25 years ago.

I have begun to put these thoughts into an action plan for my company, Q4B. We will begin tracking all of the information from company leads, contacts, market intelligence, recruits that we gather from each resume that we receive. I hope that we can demonstrate the value of every resume beyond its initial purpose (candidate info) and very quickly be able to say, We Are There!

Now, I need to make a quick stop before I press on with the road trip. The kids are now asleep so I know that they have gotten the answer to their question, Are We There Yet?

What about you, are you there yet?

My Recruiting Bucket List

By Carmen Lapham, Director of Recruiting and Operations, Q4B

A colleague of mine recently had a birthday. He is an avid reader and a beer guy who borders on being a beer snob. His wife gave him a book for the occasion entitled 300 Beers To Try Before You Die by Roger Protz. He calls it his beer bucket list (although he would refuse to drink any of his beers from a bucket) and after paging through the book he discovered a few things.

Over the years he thought he had sampled his fair share of good beers, microbrewed, handcrafted and tasty. It turns out that of the 300 beers listed in the book he had only had 12 of them. Twelve! But rather than being disappointed, he now feels that since most of the beers that he has never had are from outside the US and most are not exported to the US it may take him a good thirty to forty years before he completes the list. He feels that he will live to a ripe old age. He just turned sixty-eight!

When he was telling me this story recently I was thinking that I should probably get a copy of the 300 beers book since I too am somewhat of a beer snob (Dales Pale Ale over Bud Lite any day) and that I should also put together my own bucket list for recruiting. What would I like to accomplish as a recruiter before I die or before I retire and hang up my password to my ATS?

Here is my bucket list.

  • Make at least one placement at each of the top 25 companies in our targeted markets (Technology, Oil & Gas, Energy/Utilities and Healthcare IT) – Since the Top 25 companies change yearly this could take a while.
  • Have a Million Dollar year in individual production from permanent placement fees – You do the math!
  •  Make a placement in all fifty states as well as Guam and Puerto Rico – So far my count is at 13, long way to go.
  • Conduct all my candidate interviews on Skype or Google+ Hangouts unless there is a local Starbucks in the area – This may be the easiest one to check off since there is ALWAYS a local Starbucks in the area.
  • Source, Screen, Select and Place the elusive Purple Squirrel – If you don’t know what this is then that means less competition for me.
  • Finally, have my blog post appear as the Subject line in’s daily update emails – This is what dreams are made of and it should be on every recruiters bucket list.


So, there is my recruiting bucket list. I know that I have left some important things off and I also know that I will add to this list over the years. That is the nice thing about creating bucket lists. The more things you add that you want to accomplish the longer you will live. It is, like my colleague told me, a self-fulfilling prophecy. You won’t die (or in this case retire) until you have checked all of them off your list.

Now, where can I find a place that sells Bridge of Allan Glencoe Wild Oat Stout?

If you know of a place please let me know.


Carmen’s Hot Jobs, Vol 1, No. 8

By Carmen Lapham, Director of Recruiting and Operations

Writing this blog every week has given me a whole new perspective on what my job is all about and on the value that Q4B brings or should bring to our client companies and our candidates. And since this blog is primarily candidate focused, it is my perspective on our relationship with our candidates that has begun to change.

Each time I write and post this blog I begin thinking about the next blog that I want to write. I have become more and more aware of trends in the recruiting industry, topics that are discussed on the various social media channels that we monitor, and the responses that those discussions solicit from the various group members who are engaged. I look for information, articles, other blogs, Tweets and books on any thing recruiting, talent acquisition, hiring and retention related.

Before I began to blog about the candidate experience, treating candidates as customers, promoting job ads that don’t suck and touting the various Hot Jobs that I highlight each week I felt that I was a passionate, experienced, dedicated recruiter who had been there and done that, who had seen the recruiting process work, who had done some things and seen others do some things that didn’t work and learned from those experiences good or bad.

I now know that as much experience in recruiting that I have, as much knowledge of the recruiting process that I know that I have there is so much more that I can learn about this business. And the more that I learn, the more that I can share with and pass on to the rest of our staff, the greater value we can offer our client companies and our candidates.

I have started asking myself and my staff the following questions as part of our debriefing when we close a job assignment, successful or not.

  • Did we have enough information from the client in order to conduct a successful search?
  • Did we have enough information from the candidate in order to properly screen and successfully present to the client?
  • Did we prepare the candidate for a successful interview?

Getting answers to these questions is how we get better, it is how our newer recruiters, sourcers and screeners learn and it is how with each engagement we become that much more of an asset to our clients and candidates. It is also how we insure that as much as possible we are not surprised by the results of our recruiting efforts going forward.

And now the information you have been waiting for, our Hot Jobs for this week!

  • Oracle EBS Manufacturing Consultant – And you thought you would have to join the Navy or become a long distance truck driver to see this much of the USA. Travel, Travel, Travel and a lot of emphasis WIP, BOM and WMS if you know what I mean.
  • Software Configuration Manager – This job is so HOT that I have mentioned it More than once in previous Hot Jobs Blogs. But remember if interested in this job get ready to explain what CTFL, ISTQB, CSQA and CSTE stand for.

So that is it for another week. I have already begun to think about next week’s blog. It may have something to do with interviewing and what our successful candidates always have with them.

No, not my cell phone number, but that is not a bad idea!

Til next week.




On Partners, Partnerships and Possibilities

By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B

part·ner·ship –  A relationship between individuals, groups or organizations that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, as for the achievement of a specified goal.

Ever since I started in the recruiting business the terms partner and partnership have been part of my vocabulary. I am sure that any recruiter reading this would say the same. We all would like to be considered a partner with our clients. We probably have it written somewhere on our company web site and we certainly feel that being a partner or being part of a partnership sounds much better, more professional than being a vendor or a supplier or heaven forbid, just a recruiter.

Well it turns out that rather than wanting to be a partner with our clients, both company and candidate, we ARE partners with our clients every time we enter into an agreement to help source, screen and select the best talent available for their positions.

Consider the client company relationship. Once we have met with the client, gone through a needs analysis, agreed upon the various requirements and responsibilities for the position, agreed to a fee for services, established the process for submittals, interviewing, feedback, frequency of communication and reporting and offer extension we ARE in a partner relationship. And the specified goal is filling the client’s position with one of our great candidates.

The same partner relationship exists with our candidates as well. From the first contact to establish the candidate’s qualifications, interest and availability all the way through the interview process, the offer acceptance and the 90 day on-boarding period there is, or should be, mutual cooperation and a clear definition of responsibilities which will lead to the achievement of the specified goal, namely placing our great candidate with our client company.

There is however another type of partnership that is unique in our industry and that is the relationship between two recruiting firms, serving similar industries and markets who both agree to cooperate and share responsibilities in order to achieve the specified goal of providing excellent service to their respective clients and markets.

Last week, our company Q4B, agreed to just such a partnership arrangement with a very successful staffing firm, OnPoint Staffing. As you might expect the decision to partner and form this type of relationship was not made without a great deal of due diligence, research and planning. It was however made easier since there existed a history of mutual admiration and respect between two of the principals involved with the decision.

I have known the COO of OnPoint, Denise Surratt, for a number of years, both professionally and personally. We have worked together; have a similar approach to recruiting, client service and making and keeping our commitments. We are both passionate about our industry and have always looked forward to working together someday.

We now have that opportunity.

We both felt that when any business leader looks to smash the competition they often miss opportunities that could come from cooperation and that through cooperation there is a good chance to make a bigger pie and to get a bigger share of that pie.

Even though there are some overlaps in some of the markets that each company serves and some of the services that each offers, there are more opportunities to leverage the knowledge, experience and resources that each brings to the relationship in order to achieve the specified agreed upon goal, and that is providing the best possible service to our clients.

And the Possibilities? Well we both feel that they are endless.


Carmen’s Hot Jobs, Vol 1, No. 6

By Carmen Lapham, Director of Recruiting and Operations, Q4B

In case you are wondering, I still have Olympic fever. It may have peaked over the weekend and according to my local sports doctor I should be back to normal by this time next week with no lingering after effects. Unless you count the strange desire to take up badminton and move to Indonesia.

I did watch everything from swimming to gymnastics to tennis to beach volleyball to track and field to basketball and water polo. I was thrilled and excited for the winners, disappointed for the losers and disgusted with the whiners. In other words my reactions to all of this were no different from my reactions to sourcing, screening and selecting great talent for our clients.

When a candidate that we at Q4B have sourced, screened and presented to one of our clients is made an offer and accepts we are thrilled and excited for the client, the candidate and also for our team and the rest of Q4B. To follow through with the Olympic analogy, it is as though all of us, client, candidate and recruiters have won a gold medal.

If one of our candidates is not made an offer, is second or third in the running to the client’s first choice we are disappointed for the candidate and somewhat disappointed for our team. But we use this lose as an opportunity to encourage, support and plan for the next win. This is what we do.

For the candidate, we provide feedback from the client as to why someone else was offered the position, the reasons that our candidate was not offered the position and what in the future our candidate could work on in order to land his/her next great position. We also ask our candidate this question, “If this job were offered to you a month or two down the road, would you accept”? We ask this to prepare our candidate for the possibility that the client’s first choice may not start, may take a counter offer, or may not work out as expected through the first 90 days.

For our client, we get feedback for our candidate and our team and we find out when the client’s choice will be starting, we call back after that date to confirm the start and we let the client know that our candidate, assuming he/she was second or third choice, could be interested in consulting/project assignments in order to demonstrate his/her capabilities. We accept the silver or bronze medal but we then plan for the gold in next event.

For our team, we use this event of recruiting for a particular position as a teaching moment. We take a look at all of the work that each team member did, all the information that we gathered from start to finish and we analyze, dissect, critique, suggest different or better approaches, ask “what if “ questions and plan for the next event. And we do not tolerate whiners.

With all of that being said, here are a few Hot Jobs for this week were we plan as always to bring home the gold for our clients, our candidates and our team.

  • Senior Technical Recruiter – It takes one to know one is the old saying and it certainly applies here. Our client needs some one like we at Q4B would hire. Can you spell CLONE!
  • Software Configuration Manager – How would you like the work that you are responsible for to be seen by Millions of viewers every year? Can you stand the Limelight?
  • Sedimentologist – It is either the winning word on Wheel of Fortune or the job title for a great opportunity. Your choice.

So if you would like to medal in one of our events (be considered for one of our great job opportunities) then upload your resume to our Talent Hub. And, while you are considering it, 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.

One last thought and I am sure that many of you Olympic-fevered people have considered this but were afraid to say it out loud. In the Water Polo events, why do we never see any of the player’s ponies come up for air?

Til next week!