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.



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. 7

By Carmen Lapham, Director of Recruiting and Operations, Q4B

Last week one of our contributing consultants, Dan Ridge posted a blog Get Rid of JATS, Join the Movement! that garnered a lot of interest and generated a number of comments on various blog sites. In other words it hit a nerve. The fact that so many recruiters commented on the blog further reinforced our idea that just about all job ads, those postings that just about every candidate responds to, are poorly written, full of bad information, generally have nothing to do with what the job is all about and are an insult to the very people that the ads are attempting to attract. In other words, just about all job ads Suck!

We at Q4B are on a mission to Get Rid of Job Ads that Suck. We are in the process of rewriting all of our current job ads and as new positions are received we will rewrite those before posting. We want all of our candidates to be excited with the opportunities that we are presenting on behalf of our client companies. We want all of our candidates to express an interest only in those positions where they feel qualified by submitting a resume to our recruiters, who in turn will respond quickly to schedule and conduct a phone screen if your experience and qualifications are in line with the client’s needs or to provide feedback and suggestions regarding your resume and other opportunities if your experience and qualifications are not in line with the client’s needs.

In order for this to work, we need the cooperation of all of our candidates. If you see a position that interests you and you feel that you have the qualifications (most, if not all) for that position, then submit your resume to that position. If you don’t see a current position that interests you or where your qualifications are not a match then we are asking you to submit your resume to a new posting that we are calling The EMANON Position – which is NO NAME spelled backwards. The EMANON position will be written for candidates in the markets that we represent, namely, Technology, Oil/Gas, Energy/Utilities and Healthcare IT. It will be written for many positions within those markets, including but not limited to sales, accounting/finance, marketing, HR, administration, middle management, operations executive level.

And just like with our actual client positions, submitting your resume to our EMANON position will generate a call from one of our recruiters to begin our process that we call candidate engagement.

We hope that everyone, but especially our candidates, sees the value in what I have presented and in what we are attempting to accomplish. We are committed to Getting Rid of Job Ads that Suck, attracting better qualified candidates for our clients and treating all of our candidates with the respect that they deserve.

We will keep you posted on how all of this works out. We are excited about the possibilities as I am sure those candidates that respond to our approach will be as well.

Now here are this weeks HOT Jobs!

  • Sr. Software Test Automation Engineer – You can’t be passive regressive in this position since your progress will be measured by how well you manage a growing suite of regression test scripts.
  • Senior Security Engineer – This is a job with real Job Security and you won’t have to walk on water to be considered, just know where the rocks are!

If these two positions are not in your wheel house then remember our new EMANON posting and the other Hot Jobs that we have on our site.

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.

I am now ready to make some more candidate calls. Maybe I will be calling your number.

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?

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!