Hiring over 50

Lately I’ve heard a lot, both in the news and from clients, that people just don’t want to hire a candidate that is over 50. This is short sighted and wrong, and here’s why:

In our culture no one stays in a job for their entire career. If you can get an employee to stay for 3 – 5 years, you’re laughing! The Millennial generation is even encouraged to switch jobs every 3 years or so to build up their skill set. Penelope Trunk even said that staying at a job for too long is career suicide! So why are employers afraid to hire someone who is older when they will get no guarantee that a younger candidate will stay any longer?

Knowing that employee tenure is about 3 years, why wouldn’t employers be scrambling to hire older workers? If you know that you can hire someone who is only looking to work for another 5 – 10 years, shouldn’t they be at the top of the candidate pile?

One may argue that a younger employee costs less. In some cases this can be true. Health benefits aside, a less skilled employee would definitely be at the lower end of the pay scale than a higher skilled employee. However, if you’ve been upfront with what your salary range is, and you’re paying market value for the role, and the candidate is interested, then what’s the problem?

There are 2 types of older workers: Those who are working because they enjoy it and those who are working because they have to. That’s not to say that they can’t be both. But there are those who have savings and a retirement plan, and who will work until the age of 65 and that’s it. Then there are those who, for many reasons, have no savings and no retirement plan, and need to keep working in order to survive. Both types can be great employees. Both can be loyal employees.

Plus, think of the maturity that an older person can bring into your office. Oh sure, you have a “young culture” and you worry that they won’t “fit in”. But maybe this is exactly what your office needs. There’s nothing wrong with a little variety. Many Managers are managing with 4 generations in their workplace.

Ideally we all want to retire – at least I know that I want to retire. Unfortunately I think that there will not be much “Freedom 55″ happening anymore. So toss out your misconceptions about older workers and give one a chance. Please, I’m going to be one of them one day!

Three Different Approaches To CEO Succession At Walmart, Kroger And Microsoft… Which Is Best?

CEO succession is a big deal. The best-run companies and boards invest a lot of time and energy to think it through in advance, and do everything they can to smooth the new CEO’s onboarding into the role. We’re in the midst of three very different CEO successions at Walmart, Kroger and Microsoft. The lesson to be learned here is clear: one size does not fit all when it comes to succession.

Kroger is a classic example of an organization with less need for change right now, but ready to change. In cases such as this, promoting from within makes a lot of sense. Giving the new CEO a long time to ramp up seems like exactly the right approach.

Compare this to Walmart – its same-store sales are declining and they need to make some changes… quickly. Promoting from within suggests that they think at least some in the organization are ready to lead this change. Thus, their new CEO will need to converge into the new role quickly and start evolving things.

Microsoft is facing a completely different situation, which worsens every day it waits to name a new CEO. Uncertainty is stressful. The longer it takes to start the changes, the greater the urgency of the changes will be. If Microsoft waits any longer, it will get to the point where its new CEO is going to have to shock the system.

Checklist To Determine If Your Resume Is Boring

Does your resume resemble a checklist, to-do list, a laundry list?

Have you desperately tried to convince your prospective employers of your qualifications by including everything but the kitchen sink on your resume?

Don’t. Believe me, hiring managers know what a job description is… they have seen thousands of resumes.

While the HR/hiring authority’s goal is to screen resumes and identify qualified candidates, the person doing the screening, well, is a person—and no one enjoys being “bored to death,” especially not by sifting through long-winded resumes that regurgitate all-too-familiar job descriptions.

Here is a little secret: Many hiring managers actually write job descriptions. So, you are not doing them (or yourself) any favors by including a sea of bullets with your daily job accountabilities.

Understand your resume’s job is not to give away every little detail of what your job entailed. No siree, Bob.

Instead, your resume’s job is…

To list your employment, so they know you have experience; include job titles, so they know you have done the job before; include dates, so they gauge your loyalty and employable record; and, include education, certifications, and professional development, so they verify your credentials.

The rest of the resume is marketing, so you outdistance other job seekers. How do you outdistance other job seekers? With differentiating, interesting, and attention capturing copy that gets into the mind of the hiring authority and motivates them to “buy” what you are selling.

So, before you decide to use your resume to tell HR what an Operations Manager does, what a Creative Director is suppose to do, what Sales Managers are in charge of… opt to instead capture attention by telling them (concisely) how well you did it. Tell a story of what challenges you faced, how you creatively overcame them, and paint a picture of the bottom-line your efforts produced.

Now, that, will ensure you are memorable, entertaining, and worth an invitation into the office for a personal interview.

Resume Checklist For Any Job Seeker

Here is a resume checklist to help determine if you have said way too much and if the “HR Lady” is snoring on the other end.

1. Is your summary longer than five to six sentences?

Keep things concise and employer-focused. It helps to write this section last.

2. Have you included more than say two to three soft skills (personal traits) in your Professional Summary?

Soft skills are usually adjectives and while they add pizzazz and energize your writing, too many of these also weaken your candidacy. On the flip side, substantiated and concrete skills (hard skills), strengthen your candidacy.

3. Is it difficult to identify your hard skills?

Technical skills, experience listed through the use of industry jargon, and proficiencies such as staff management, operations improvement, and sales cycle. These should be clearly identified.

4. Does your employment history resemble a job ad?

Have you just defined what your job title means by recounting the reason you were hired? Don’t do this. Instead, focus on how you performed in this role, how you owned the role, and tell a story of the magnitude of obstacles you faced and how you better positioned the department or company.

5. Do you have more than say six bullets under each job description?

Remember accomplishments are to be bulleted. While you may have more than a few accomplishments under each role, a skilled copywriter can combine similar triumphs, identify which are worth mentioning, and “umbrella” some. There are a myriad of ways to convey your milestones without having to list 20 bullets under each job title. Try using some of these resume power words.

6. Have you left them with questions?

You must, but be very careful. You must say enough on your resume not to sound vague but conceal enough to ignite interest and plant a need for them to know more about you.

Two killer questions great recruiters ask every time

If you have plans to be a great recruiter, please, remember this and never forget it.

Filling a job does not start with finding good candidates for a particular job order. It starts with the quality with which you take the job order in the first place. It does not matter if you take the brief face to face (and you should, if at all possible), or over the phone. Filling the order starts with how well you qualify that order.

You have to make sure, at the very get-go, that the order you are so excited about, is in fact, fillable! Sound crazy? I don’t think so. My assessment is that most contingent recruitment firms fill somewhere around 25% of the permanent jobs they take. And they only achieve a 25% success rate if they are both very good and very lucky! Everyone denies that of course, but usually that’s because we don’t measure it, or because we are in big-time denial about the reality of our fill ratios.

What this means is that we end up spinning our wheels on 75 % of the permanent orders we take on.

Now it is true that you will be hard-pressed to fill 100% of your job orders in a contingent market. However, you will increase your hit rate exponentially if you learn to qualify your job orders. The key to this is to take charge of the order-taking phase and to act and believe as though you are the expert.

Another day, another blog, maybe, I will lay out how to quality a job order from beginning to end. But here let me share two golden question you must ask every single time you take a job order. It’s non-negotiable. Without asking these questions you are taking on the order ‘blind’. It is in fact inconceivable to me how any recruiter would expend one second of time on filling an order for a client, if they had not asked these two questions, and drilled down on the answers too.

These questions are designed to assist you ‘triage’ your job taking. Is this brief urgent?  How sincere is your client about actually making a hire? In other words, if you put a suitably qualified candidate in front of your client, would they offer them a job? Indeed, will they actually ever even interview them?

Basic you say? Hilarious, I say! Or maybe tragic is more accurate.

Every day I see even experienced recruiters taking on orders they will never fill. Unqualified orders.

If you want to put the title ‘Recruitment Consultant’, or anything vaguely similar on your business card, ask this;

Question #1: “Ms Client, how long have you been trying to fill this particular role and what steps have you taken so far to fill the position?”

Question #2: “Ms Client, if I found the perfect candidate this afternoon, could we get an offer by tomorrow morning?”

The answers to these questions will unlock a treasure trove of information for you. Yes they will provoke more questions and more answers, but once it’s been worked through you will know whether this job is real, whether this client is able to hire and committed to hire, and you will know the urgency of the need.

There are a myriad of variations in the answers you will get, but largely it plays out as follows:

In answer to Question #1, how long has the role been open and what has been done to fill it, you will hear that it’s been open 6 months, that it’s been offered 3 times, that it’s never been offered, that it’s with six other recruiters, that it has been advertised on 12 job boards, that no one has ever been interviewed for the role, that the search criteria have changed 4 times because the hiring manager can’t make up his mind on what he is looking for.  You will dig, you will ask more questions, but you will slowly uncover if the job is real and if it is, what has to change to make sure it will be filled.

Or, in answer to Question #1 you might just get the dream response, which is “the current incumbent resigned last night and I am desperate to get a replacement, and so I called you”. That is a beautiful sound. It is the sound of a client in pain, and a client in pain is a very good thing. Because we can ease that pain

When it comes to Question # 2 you are not really looking to have the job filled by tomorrow. You are assessing the clients’ seriousness. A typical response to this could be “Oh no we can’t give an answer by tomorrow because we are still assessing internal candidates”, or “Oh, we can’t move that fast because the CEO has not signed off on this hire as yet” or any number of other responses that tell you quite clearly: Do not work on this brief – because it is not real.

Remember, you are not a lackey to you clients’ whim. You are not in servitude, required to supply candidates on demand for your client to peruse eventually, if he feels like it, one day, maybe…

You are a professional recruiter and your time has value. If you are not working on a retainer (and your clients will not jerk you around if you are), you need to drill down on these 2 questions in depth, every time. Even then, that is only stage one of qualifying the order.

But please, at the very least, do that

Warum Sie nicht den idealen Kandidaten suchen sollten

Bei der Personalsuche haben Unternehmen oft höchste Ansprüche: Der Kandidat soll über ausgezeichnete Fähigkeiten verfügen, eine breite Ausbildung und viel Arbeitserfahrung aufweisen. Diese Konzentration auf den idealen Kandidaten ist falsch, viele Stellen bleiben deshalb oft für Monate unbesetzt.

Firmen werfen oft gutes Geld schlechtem hinterher, wenn sie den perfekten Kandidaten für eine vakante Stelle suchen. Wegen der immer noch spürbaren Nachwirkungen der Rezession in den USA und dem Glauben, dass es Talente im Überfluss gäbe, sind viele Personalchefs immer noch sehr wählerisch bei Neueinstellungen. Deshalb bleiben viele offene Stellen unbesetzt.

Wer kann es ihnen verdenken? Die Kosten sind sehr hoch, wenn Unternehmen den falschen Kandidat einstellen. Das gilt erst recht dann, wenn wir die versteckten Kosten berücksichtigen.

Wenn der richtige Kandidat nicht auftaucht, sieht die Lösung häufig so aus: Unternehmen suchen einfach immer weiter, setzen mehr Personal für die Suche ein, weiten die Suche aus oder beauftragen ein spezialisiertes Unternehmen, um die Chancen auf den idealen Kandidaten zu erhöhen.

Aber: Eine Stelle für Monate nicht zu besetzen oder die Suchanstrengungen zu verdoppeln ändert nichts an den Gründen, warum es so schwierig ist, den perfekten Kandidaten zu finden. Einer dieser Gründe ist, dass perfekte Kandidaten sehr selten sind. Zu selten, dass Unternehmen auf sie setzen könnten.

Die Spitze dieser Problematik ist die “eierlegenden Wollmilchsau” – die seltensten Kandidaten, geradezu perfekt in ihren Eigenschaften.


A bad IT recruiter walks into a bar.

A bad IT recruiter walks into a bar. 

Bartender : “Hey can I get you a Bacardi and Coke?”
Bad IT Recruiter: “Let me look at my preferred drink list. Hmmmm, can I have a rum and coke?”
Bartender: “ Right, a Bacardi and coke!”
Bad IT Recruiter: “No, I don’t need Bacardi. The list says Rum and Coke.”
Bartender: “That is crazy! Who wrote the list?”
Bad IT Recruiter: “I can’t tell you.”
Bartender:  “Dude, you are nuts! You need to check that list again everyone knows that Bacardi is a type of Rum!”
Bad IT Recruiter: “Wow, you are not a very good bartender. Isn’t this a bar?”
Bartender: “You are sitting at the bar of Frank’s Grille. Didn’t you see the sign when you walked in?”
Bad IT Recruiter: “Oh that explains it. The bartender that could get me what I need is at a bar, not a Grille. You were not qualified in the first place! If you have any friends that work at a bar that severs rum, will you give them my number?”

Why hiring B players will kill your startup

B players and C players are far worse than D’s and F’s. In fact, in my experience, B players are the worst hires you can make.

Before getting into the details, it may be useful to level-set and explain what I mean by these employee stereotypes (although there have been some differences of opinion over the years.)

A player: Fully self-sufficient and takes initiative that positively impacts the company.
B player: Does some things well, but not fully self-sufficient, and not consistently strong.
C player: Just average, and does not excel in any area.
D player: Poor performer, and shouldn’t last long if you are a half-capable manager.
F player: Should be out…like yesterday.
Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/06/why-hiring-b-players-will-kill-your-startup/#m1Qy3BSw1UBmSor1.99