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On Awareness


By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time set aside once a year to attempt to get everyone’s attention on a national level regarding this deadly disease. It is not merely about heightening the awareness of the disease itself, although that is important. But unless you have been living under a rock for the last 25 or so years the assumption is that just about everyone knows that breast cancer exists and most everyone knows someone who has been affected by it.

No, the purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to inform, to encourage, to educate, to help find a cure.

There are other causes, diseases, issues that have been allotted days, weeks or months to allow those interested to get some attention and to work towards accomplishing their individual goals, whatever they may be and no matter how worthy they are.

And there are some diseases, heart disease for example that are more deadly than breast cancer, especially among women. Consider that according to the National Heart and Lung Institute, 1 in 4 women will die of heart disease and according to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 40 women will die of breast cancer, there may not be another disease that is so universal, so identifiable, so personal as breast cancer.

For those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have gone through the treatment, from radiation to chemotherapy, the disease becomes part of who they are and it is always with them for the rest of their lives. There is no cure as of yet and even though many survivors can over time and after years of annual or semi-annual examinations be declared cancer free, the chance of cancer recurring is always present and real.

The message that needs to be heard not just during this month of October but every month, every day is this. Breast cancer shows no favoritism, shows no discrimination and can happen to anyone including a small percentage of men. It can happen to women in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and beyond. It can happen to any race or ethnic group although some are more predisposed to the disease, such as some Hispanic women and Eastern European Jewish women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene. It can happen regardless of socioeconomic background, education level, geography, diet, lifestyle or genetics.

It can happen.

The message is that you can survive, as many women have. But surviving breast cancer depends on a number of factors. The most important of which is early detection. The earlier the better. Women of all ages from early twenties on up need to know how to self-examine and be willing to discuss with their health care provider any slight changes that they discover. This is especially true of women with a predisposition to the disease as mentioned above.

Other factors are having access to information regarding the disease, access to support groups made up of other survivors and the support of family and friends.

But, you can survive!

There are so many fine organizations that are involved on a daily basis in fighting this deadly disease, the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation to name just a few. All are working to bring about a cure for this deadly disease, hopefully in our lifetime.

There is hope!

My purpose in writing this blog is to lend my voice to the scores of people who are doing what they can to make everyone more aware of this disease and what to do if you are diagnosed. My own sense of awareness came a year ago in October of 2011, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I became aware that I had breast cancer, stage 1HER2 to be precise. I went through some pretty brutal rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, lost my hair and can now claim to be a survivor. I was fortunate to have some great doctors, access to as much information as I cared to read, support of other survivors and most especially the ongoing support of co-workers, friends and loving family.

I would hope that everyone who is diagnosed could have the same experience that I had. Short of finding the cure for this disease that should be the goal of everyone and every organization working with this issue so that someday everyone who is diagnosed can say, “We are all survivors!”

Spread the word about breast cancer and join the fight. Make everyone more AWARE!




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?

Putting It All in Perspective

By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B

I spent the first two weeks of July on a road trip with my two daughters and some close friends traveling back to Michigan, where I grew up. We spent some time with family, friends and visited Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, OH, the home of the greatest roller coasters in the world.

The trip was fun and exciting and I know that it created lasting memories that my daughters will have forever. I was also able to keep up with work on a daily basis thanks to technology, connectivity and even land lines when necessary.

I intended to use this trip, the experiences I shared with my daughters and my family, the places we visited, the roller coaster rides as the basis for this blog, hopefully, as a metaphor for the recruiting and talent acquisition business.

Late last week my plans changed. They changed because of what happened in Aurora.

I know that we live in a world where random acts of violence occur, where bad things happen to good people and where sometimes we are just at the wrong place at the wrong time. But this was close. I live and work just south of where this occurred in Parker, CO. One of my daughters knows one of the young persons who was shot and who is now in ICU and in critical condition. She just as easily could have been in attendance at this event.

Over the weekend I thought about this horrific event as a mother, as a neighbor to one of the victims, as a concerned citizen and as someone in the business of finding great jobs for people.

We work to make a better life for ourselves, for our families, possibly for generations to come. We work to enjoy life, hobbies, passions, interests. As recruiters we help people find better jobs, better opportunities that will allow them to enjoy their lives outside of work.

The tragedy of Aurora is that those who died will never be able to live their lives as they were meant to be lived, to experience success, to enjoy the pleasures and joys of life outside of work, to make a contribution to our society. They will be missed.

When something like this occurs people react in different ways, some become more cautious, more protective, more suspicious. On the other hand, some become more aware of the time that we have here on earth to live our lives as best we can, to live everyday to its fullest, to cherish family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and to accept the fact that we can’t control everything.

I know that I will look at things differently, that my perspective about life, business, and my career has changed.

And it changed because of what happened in Aurora.

Our prayers are with all of the victims, their families and friends.

Becoming a Great Boss

By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B

After reading last week’s Q4Blog, On Leadership written by our new Director of Recruiting and Operations, Carmen Lapham, I began to think about all that has happened to our company and to me over the past few months.

As a company we opened a new location in Denver, filled some key positions, began offering additional services, including direct hire and staff augmentation, and expanded into a new market, Healthcare IT.

And I became the Boss, the Leader.

In her blog, Carmen talks about leadership as being a choice and that the traits that make a great leader can be learned.

I can certainly attest to this. I made the choice to become the boss, the leader and as each day passes, new opportunities present themselves and I know that I made the right choice.

I also know that I need to continually learn what being the boss is all about and how to become a great one.

Shortly after stepping into my new role as boss, a colleague of mine who is an avid reader of business related books, sent me a piece entitled ‘The Great Boss Simple Success Formula” from a book by Jeffrey Fox, How To Become A Great Boss. I refer to this list of 10 steps almost daily. It not only helps remind me of what my role is as boss and what I need to work on, learn, in order to become good, even great at my job, but it also reminds me of how important the consultative recruiting approach that Q4B offers is to helping our clients, the hiring managers, the decision makers, become great bosses as well.

Here is the list.

  • Only hire top-notch, excellent people, people whose strengths compliment your weakness. Hire “A” players.
  • Put the right people in the right job, weed out the wrong people.
  • Tell the people what needs to be done.
  • Tell the people why it is needed.
  • Leave the job up to the people you have chosen to do it.
  • Train the people.
  • Listen to the people.
  • Remove the barriers and frustrations that hinder the people.
  • Inspect the progress.
  • Say “Thank You” publicly and privately

This list has already been put to good use with our most recent hire, Carmen Lapham as Director of Recruiting and Operations. She is an “A” player whose strengths compliment my weakness. She is in the right job, she has been told what needs to be done and why it is needed and I plan to leave the job to her, knowing that it will be done. If training is needed, it will be provided. I listen to her daily, hopefully removing any barriers that would inhibit her success. I inspect progress through meetings, updates and activity reports and I say “Thank You” often.

I will continue to use this list as we grow the company.

This list has also served us well when we have the opportunity to provide a more consultative approach as part of our managed recruiting services.

Here is our approach.

  • As part of our needs analysis we come to understand the type of candidate the client is looking to hire; strengths that are needed for the position and that would compliment the weaknesses of the hiring manager, the team, the department. We would then only present what the client considers “A” players.
  • The “A” players presented would be the right people for the job. We could assist in weeding out the wrong people for the job with transitioning assistance and guidance.
  • We tell our candidates what the job is all about, what needs to be done and present a clear picture of required performance measurements, thus insuring that there are no surprises at the end of an evaluation period.
  • We tell our candidates why the job needs to be done, its importance to the company, the department and the hiring manager.
  • We tell our candidates about the culture, management style, training opportunities that currently exist. If some of these are lacking then we make suggestions for improvement.
  • We then say “Thank You” to both our client and our candidates.

Using this approach, we can certainly help many of our clients become Great Bosses, if they are not great already.

In closing, I have used the term great boss and leader interchangeably. I don’t think you can say one without implying the other.

I just hope that one day I can say the same about myself. 


Oracle EBS and IT Security Opportunities

Happy end of week folks! Here’s a few of the positions that are hot on the list this week.  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.

Are you an Oracle EBS Consultant with a strong emphasis on Technical Architecture. Or maybe you’re more on the functional side within Financials (particularly GL), or HCM? How about within Manufacturing and Distribution? These positions will be right up your alley. We have an amazing client that has a great reputation in the consulting industry and has outstanding benefits. Travel is expected in these roles, at least 80%, and you can be located anywhere as long as you are close to a major airport.

The IT Risk Analyst opportunity is a great opportunity to work with a growing company in the Denver Tech Center. Our client is a wonderful organization that has grown because of their great reputation. Who doesn’t like to work for a company like that? The ideal person for the position will have certifications within Information Security (CISSP, CISA, CISM, etc.) and experience assessing the IT infrastructure, identifying gaps and providing solutions to remedy.

The Senior Security Analyst opportunity is located in the Denver Tech Center. If you love security and working with a group of extremely intelligent, like-minded individuals, then this position will be right up your alley. As mentioned in the position description, they are looking for someone who can help them support and mentor the folks on the Security Operations team, have expertise with SEIM (ArcSight is the tool of choice) tools, chasing down IDS/IPS alerts , working closely with the Risk team and reporting results and findings to the clients.

Feel free to add us to your RSS feed or link the Q4B Talent Hub to your social networks! Also be sure to click on the Talent Hub link to the right to see even more great opportunities.

A Better Customer Experience? Try Some Lagniappe!

By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B

A few weeks ago I took a weekend trip to New Orleans to attend the New Orleans Jazz Fest. I like all kinds of music, love to travel and enjoy good food with friends. I told myself that I needed a long weekend to recharge my batteries and get away from work. I knew that the work would be there when I returned but this trip would allow me to come back to work refreshed, reenergized and ready to recruit.

And where else to accomplish all of this than the New Orleans Jazz Fest. Think of Mardi Gras without the floats, without the beads, without the nagging reminder that the Lenten season is just hours away and that for some the revelry must be put on hold for at least 40 days, excluding Sundays.

The Jazz Fest was non stop music, all kinds of music from artists and groups such as Steve Earle, My Morning Jacket, The Eagles, The Beach Boys, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Neville Brothers, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Ziggy Marley and so many more. Listening to these artists and groups at the various live stages with thousands of people from all over was a thrill. Wandering into a side street nightclub in the French Quarter in the early morning hours and sitting feet away from Eric Lindell while he played for that small audience was even more of a thrill.

What struck me about the weekend, aside from the great food, drink and great music everywhere, was that all of the artists and groups no matter where they were playing (large outdoor venue or small club) gave a little something extra to the audience. They gave them a small gift. They gave for Lagnaippe.

For those of you not familiar with the word, lagniappe (pronounced lanny-yap) has its origins from the Spanish and is a word that has traveled through the French Creole and is most popular in and around New Orleans. It means gift, something extra given by a merchant at the time of purchase. The best example is the baker’s dozen, getting an extra doughnut from the baker when ordering a dozen.

I was thinking about this word, lagniappe on my flight back to Denver and how it could be used in the recruiting business, in our relationship with both clients and candidates, our customers.

As recruiters, do we think about giving something extra, some gift to our client companies and hiring managers? Or do we merely do the bare minimum, take enough information for the job order, recruit and screen a minimum number of candidates, present the candidates and wait for the offer and acceptance?

Some recruiters still do the bare minimum, but good recruiters always give something extra. Good recruiters provide information about realistic salary ranges for years of experience; availability of experienced candidates in a particular location; competitor information; realistic candidate expectations; interviewing suggestions and training; coaching in offer extension, closing and on-boarding.

And they do it for lagniappe.

The same is true of the recruiter’s relationship with their candidates. Some recruiters do as little as possible with their candidates, minimum time interviewing, no reference checking, no coaching, little feedback, little interaction.

Good recruiters are constantly giving something extra, from setting proper expectations in the interview; checking references; getting agreement on salary, interest and availability for a position; managing the interview process with the client; getting quick feedback after the interview; setting next steps in the process; assisting in extending the offer and closing; assisting in the on-boarding process; handling issues at least through the first 90 days. And they do it for lagniappe.

Whether you use the word lagniappe or not, as a good recruiter giving your client and your candidate something extra, a small gift, is just part of the way you do business.

But I do know one thing, when it comes to having a better customer experience, doing it for lagniappe will certainly make the good times roll.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Taking It One Day at a Time


By Jennifer Brownell, President, Q4B

When I took over as President of Q4B recently I knew that I had taken on quite a challenge, yet one that I was certainly excited about. I also knew that I was being presented with a great opportunity to build upon the existing name recognition, brand acceptance and success of the company and move the company forward and make it even more successful and profitable.

The tendency in situations like this is to take on too much, to try and implement too many changes too quickly, and to throw out the old for the sake of change. Luckily for me, I was able to call on a few close friends and advisors and use them as a sounding board. Addressing the existing processes, technology and tools that made up Q4B we asked and sought answers to some hard questions.

For each process, technology and tool I asked the following:

  • How does this work?
  • What Value does it add?
  • Is there a better way or better product available?
  •  What is the cost to change?
  • When should we implement any changes?
  • Who will be accountable and own the changes?

So far, using this evaluation process we have expanded our service offerings to include staff augmentation and direct hire while continuing to offer our RPO and on-demand recruiting and sourcing services. We have expanded the markets that we are targeting to include energy/utilities, healthcare and technology as well as oil and gas. We have changed our candidate facing/client facing job portal and we have opened our operation in Denver.

We have done quite a bit in a short period of time, but the decisions were made with a good deal of thought and deliberation.

The questions that we used are the same questions that we use when we conduct a needs analysis with our clients prior to an engagement. We want to understand their recruiting process, technology and tools and to demonstrate our commitment to reducing cost, implementing change and taking ownership of the deliverables. That is what any type of managed recruiting service is all about.

Yet each day I feel like there is so much to do and that it all should be done as quickly as possible. And then I remember the words of my old Latin History professor, “Always remember students, Machu Picchu wasn’t built in a day.” And we would always remind him that when Machu Picchu was being built, there was no such thing as building inspectors.

Building something great takes time. Recruiting and hiring great talent takes time. Implementing change takes time.

I only wish there were more hours in the day!