Archive for June, 2008

The Recruiter Paradox

If they are looking for you and you are looking for them……

Then why are so many recruiters having a hard time fullfilling positions and people are still unemployed?

It amazes me that several hundreds of what seem like fantastic candidates have the words “seeking position” or similar in their profiles, and recruiters are breaking down my in-box with postings of job openings hoping that I can find a candidate. Why are the (2) not finding each other?

As a candidate, why would you not seek the recruiter by searching keywords and recruiters, why would you not seek candidates by the keyword “seeking”

Can’t we just all get along? Am I missing something? I have assisted with 25 job fullfillments this year alone? Should I be a recruiter?

Cher Lon Malik

Military wife: SHRM Member, Benefit consultant; B2B, Inside Sales: Job Angel

The days of personal recruiting are coming to an end. It’s all about broadcast spams and other shotgun mechanisms. Why search through resumes and make phone calls when you can use keywords to mailbomb 10000 candidates in a matter of seconds.

I get email, phonecalls and even paper mail from recruiters that have obviously never even bothered looking at my resume. Some of these are just ridiculous. (“I have a PERFECT match for you as an entry level fry cook at the local McDonalds. Why aren’t you responding to me?”).

I suspect that the answer comes down to laziness. If a recruiter can send you a single email and you then qualify candidates for them out of a pool of 1800+ contacts, why would they bother trying to search the candidates themselves? (hopefully you’re getting a commission on at least some of these referrals). The guys that are still using the personal touch are probably being pounded out of business by the spammers.

Just my two cents worth

Should your business allow staff access to Social Networks in the office.,,. while using them to build business traffic?.

Facebook on or off? I recently suggested to a client that to add value to his new website – he needs a Facebook and Myspace presence for his company … a recruitment and temporary staffing business. His reply was that he was turning off access to them because his staff waste to much time there.
How do I convince him to balance the benefits with the distractions?

Rick Carter

Helping People/Organisations to Build Dynamic, Vital Brands using Social Media Marketing

Social networks are a double-edged sword.

There’s a lot of value to social networks for business contacts, customer interaction, feedback, and just providing a “human face” to the company. But when you blur the lines between the business and personal interactions, you run the risk of someones “off hours” activities reflecting poorly on the company. The flip side of that is that you may find yourself in a position of trying to exert control over what amounts to someone’s personal life.

My recommendation is that the access be allowed, but that personal profiles and “company presence” profiles be kept seperate. Make it clear that the “company presence” profile is subject to review and audit and has to conform to some sort of “appropriateness” guidelines. (also, that it shouldn’t be linked to personal profiles…if it is, they become subject to the same guidelines).

Encourage peer review of the profiles or assign someone to periodically review how these profiles/presences are maintained and managed. It’s not that much different than an employee writing letters to the editor or giving public presentations or interviews. If they’re doing it on behalf of the company, let them do it on company time, with company resources and while adhering to company standards. If it’s personal, then do it on your own time and keep the company out of it completely.

Where it gets a little more hazy is with sites like LinkedIn. It’s clearly a business tool and people can easily maintain professional profiles, relationships and exchanges that are business appropriate but not neccessarily related to the company. I tend to view these as “professional development”. If my staff wants to engage in these discussions, it helps to develop business skills, grow their professional network and helps to increase their overall value to the company. Each exchange is like a little “mini conference” or Users Group meeting without the cost of travel and living.

With that said, if they spent 6 hours a day on social networking sites, they’d better spend the rest of the day working on resumes ๐Ÿ™‚

What has been the role of chance in your professional life?

What has been the role of chance in your professional life?

Each one of us plays a fundamental role in building a dreamed state of affairs about what we want for our future professional life. In fulfilling this goal, most of us assume a long and hard learning process where continuous exposure to new knowledge, experiences, other professional and new information have profound and irreversible repercussions over our professional life.

In many circumstances, random facts and unexpected things may happen and our vision of the desired state of affairs is then distorted, blurred and in some circumstances, this vision may suffer from profound transformations that determine a new future state of affairs and a new reality ostensibly different from our dreamed vision.

What has been the role that random and unexpected facts have played in your professional life?. At what extent is possible that one may control the power and influence of chance over our professional life?

As always your responses are welcome and well appreciated.

Octavio Ballesta

Global Thinker ? Corporate Strategist with Operational Master Plan

There’s an old saying that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”.

I, personally, beleive that “lucky” people are the ones that expose themselves to situations where opportunities might arise, see the opportunities and ensure that they’re in a position to take advantage of opportunities when they come along. From that perspective, you’re almost entirely in control.

Unlucky people tend to be the ones who are unprepared to deal with risks and often have their lives built on a very precarious set of assumptions. (“This job is going to last forever”, “I can carry debt forever”, “I don’t need to take care of my health”, etc.) and one chance event can bring the whole structure tumbling down. “Lucky” people take the hit, recover and try to move on.

Probability and chance still play a part. But, as a friend of mine used to say, you’ll never catch a fish from your living room. Put yourself out there, place yourself in situations and among people who are most likely to present the opportunities and you’ll find that your “luck” increases exponentially.

Hope for the best outcomes and pursue opportunities as if they’re already realities, but be prepared for the worst.

“I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

Good Luck ๐Ÿ™‚

Leading change effectively – Personality or Process?

So which works for you in your experience or organisation? Which actually delivers sustainable change in a business – a strong leader with great attitude to the change or a robust process that everyone understands

Steve Sutton

Associate Programme Manager at Sapient

I think communication and engagement of everyone in the change process is more important that a single leader or even the process itself.

You can have an incredibly charismatic leader that everyone will look to for the answers and then blame when the processes fall flat. You can have an excellent process that people don’t buy into to and ultimately ends up falling apart. What you need is to have a continual open dialog with all levels of the organization. (and, no…weekly broadcasts from the CIO are *not* dialog)

The best way that I’ve found to lead change is to explain the goals, provide the people on the line with the tools, encouragement and recognition and then get the hell out of their way. The people doing the work are the ones in the best position to effect change. It takes a strong and open leader to keep everyone aligned to common goals, but the real success comes from that trust and empowerment of the individuals. That sense of ownership also lends significantly to the sustainability of the changes.

The most disastrous change initiatives that I’ve seen have been where a single leader or a small group of individuals determine the processes for the organization. The processes generally end up being very robust and well documented, but are poorly institutionalized. In many cases, the form is followed to meet some reporting or audit requirement, but the underlying foundation of the processes is something totally unrelated (ie: people find a way to work “around” the processes). The end result is like a beautiful 80-story building built on quicksand.

Should The CEO Have the Lowest Pay In Senior Management?

My instinct suggest it’s a little bit unfair to have some person hold:
1) Absolute power and leadership over the company
2) Claim the highest salary
3) Get all the publicity opportunities

Not that the CEO should be LOW paid. But do you think that if you want to supreme leader, you should let other people claim greater financial rewards (amongst other things).

Clarification added June 12, 2008:

Two million could be the “lowest” salary in the room of course :).

Independent Internet Professional

Compensation is subjective. They shouldn’t neccessarily get what they deserve, they should get what they’re able to negotiate. Publicity, power and where the position places a candidate on their overall career path will have a different value to different people. In a lot of cases, that power and visibility is *why* they get more money. They’re the face of the company and have an enormous impact on public perception, even if they have less *real* power than the board. They’re also the target if anything goes wrong in the company.

The negotiation process should place the compensation at a level where the CEO and the Board are both happy or, at least, comfortable. Value is subjective. While the salaries may seem out of whack to the general public, they’re obviously worth it to the board (at least when the CEO is hired).

How Do You Take Care Of Top Clients?

In business, the customer we already have is more important than the ones we donโ€™t. Itโ€™s more costly to lose a customer than to gain a new one. That being said, what do you do to protect the customers you already have? How can you keep them?



Craig J. Vom Lehn, MBA

Experienced Financial Analyst

You’re sure to get a lot of creative retention ideas from this question. But I’m going with the simple answer. “Talk to them”.

Communicate with your customer. Get feedback. Treat the clients that you have as well as you treat a client that you’re courting. Provide opportunities for them to get to know you and your staff. Find out what you’re doing well and what you can do better. One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is letting the honeymoon end when the client has signed on the bottom line.

What are the attitudes, skills/competencies required by a Business Process Consultant?

We’re putting together a curriculum to train individuals with 4-5 years of work experience to enable them to become Business Process consultants. As part of this role, they would be required to diagnose client problems, use systems thinking to understand existing processes, suggest process and technology solutions that will enhance the process/business functioning.

Thanks in anticipation!

Gurprriet Siingh

SVP & Head – Organization Capability & Innovation for Welspun Group

Communications (verbal and non-verbal. cultural awareness. eliciting feedback. learning and communication styles. Dealing with difficult people/personalities)
Negotiation skills (specifically “reaching consensus”)
A documentation standard (pick one and keep it standard across your consultants. BPML, UML, EPC, etc.)
Requirements analysis and Requirements management (broad subjects, but lacking a partnered BA/SA/TA, the BPC will need to have a strong grasp of both areas)
Adopting a passive leadership role. I find that a lot of BPCs get into trouble by driving a direction and leading the audience rather than facilitating a collaborative effort. It can be a difficult balance, but it’s a critical one when you’re coming in as a consultant.
An basic understanding of Six Sigma. A DFSS (Design For Six Sigma) course or overview may be enough. Bringing them up with a full six sigma curriculum would likely be overkill for most clients.

My perfect BPC would be an engineer turned Business/Systems Analyst with a Six Sigma green or black belt, Certified Technical Trainer (CTT) credential, PMBOK/PRINCE2 credentials and a background in the industry that I was putting them into as a consultant. I’d also love to see an awareness of an applicable framework like CobiT/ValIT, CMMi, ITIL, etc.

If you can get a smattering of the wish list, I think that you’ll have a pretty nice curriculum.

How can software engineers leverage FMEA, HAZOPS, and common-cause failure analysis?

I’m looking for risk management approaches that have been baked into other engineering disciplines to see how well they could apply to software engineering. If you have any experiences or stories to share on the above, I’d love to hear about it.

Here are a few links with more background on the ideas I’m trying to bring together:

FMEA – American Society for Quality

HAZOPS – Mike Lihou

Common-Cause Failure Analysis (Westinghouse, open information for the public on nuclear power station design) (Links to PDF)

Eric Jarvi

Software Engineer

It depends on your design/development methodology. But ultimately it will usually come down to integration into your test cases. Your business requirements break down into functional requirements (and possibly technical requirements). Your functional requirements break down into test cases with potential failure modes identified. FMEA/FMECA can be applied to formulate risks, impacts and responses.

The full analysis can feed into your design process to help improve your up-front quality and potentially reduce or eliminate the failures before they occur. As the product or process moves through testing, you’ll be able to add to or adjust your assumptions and decide whether to change the requirements, design or implementation. (or just determine the mitigation)

After implementation, any additional failure modes that are uncovered should be mapped back into requirements and test cases for the next iteration.