The Oval Blog

October 14

Can You Break on Through to the Other Side? 

by Gene Brady

Executive Director


When vetting a person for a new position, we always find out what their motivation is to make a change. The reason usually falls into one of six categories – Challenge, Location, Advancement, Money, People (Culture), or Stability. Recently I’ve seen an uptick of people saying ‘stability’ is their motivation, because of all the changes going on at their company.

In the vehicles industry, there are major transformations happening at suppliers in response to the technical/supply chain/customer demand changes. Sometimes a company’s changes to stay viable in the market are mistaken by people for instability when it’s really necessary transformation.

Real instability is when a company doesn’t change in the face of clear market signals.

An anonymous quote: 'You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.'

Are you able to ride the wave as your company evolves?

September 20

Shakespeare Died Years Ago

by Gene Brady

Executive Director



Many times an HR Manager or Hiring Manager will make a decision on a person based on a resume submitted to their ATS (Applicant Tracking System). Happens frequently. And reject a person because they didn’t have ‘x’ listed.

Unfortunately that person could have been just who they needed. But their resume may not have been written well.

When we send a good person to our client, what has helped win the day is how we start a search.

We talk to our client about what they need for a specific role, and then develop very discerning questions pertinent to that particular search.

The recap we send of our conversation with the person is rich in detail as to what the Hiring Manager is looking for and how well the person fits with the particular needs of the role. It’s a nuanced conversation about the whole individual where information is received that is nowhere to be found on the resume.

The resume is then a data point, a reference, but not the final arbiter. There have been times I’ve sent a conversation recap without the resume (it wasn’t ready) and my client asks when can they meet the person. The recap is more relevant, more on point than any general resume we would send.

Look at your own resume. Does it give a complete picture as to who you are as a person? Does it describe your personality and attitude, with a succinct story as to your strongest skills and experience for a specific role, your motivation to make a change? Probably not.

I work with sharp, smart executives whose resume doesn’t do them justice.

Our role as a third-party recruiting firm is to give you much more than what’s on a resume.

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man”. But many resumes are just that. They’re often an incomplete representation of the complete person. 

To make a smart hiring decision you need more than a document. You need an accounting of the whole person. 


September 3

Employer Branding - is it important?

by Brendan Moriarty

Sr. Search Consultant 


Developing a strong employer brand, is critically important in attracting the top talent possible into a company.

Most companies do a terrific job of branding their products for their customers.  They know the value proposition, they know how to overcome the objections, and they pay attention to the customer feedback.  And when a potential sale is on the line, it is very natural for them to put their best foot forward, which will protect their brand with the customer.

But why don’t companies spend as much time developing their employer brand for potential hires as they do for potential customers?

It’s a good question, and I have yet to come up with a logical answer, especially considering the old adage, ‘a company is only as good as its people’.

All companies should consider developing an updated, and modern employer branding piece that includes photos and videos that properly represent the company and the culture.  Custom branding pieces that highlight the value of the hiring manager should also be considered.  The branding pieces should include compelling reasons why someone would want to work at this organization.  And the branding pieces are most effective if they include real life outcomes that can be achieved through work at this organization (a great work life balance, low stress organization, ability to travel the world, etc.).

Developing employer branding pieces that could be sent to the candidate during the interview process are particularly useful, because candidates often turn down positions if there is not a strong employer brand in place.

If you are in the business of hiring, it is time to get creative, and develop your employer brand!


August 29

What Happened? I can't believe she didn't say 'yes'! 

by Justin Misaras 

Sr. Search Consultant

Unfortunately, we hear this from managers way too often during the hiring process. Companies identify a great candidate for a position, take them through the process, only to find out at the end of the process, they are not interested after all.

A lot of wasted time, and motion, and more unfortunately, the great candidate is now working at a competitor.

One of the primary reasons why companies miss on the hiring of great candidates is because they do a poor job of selling the opportunity to the candidate during the interview process. 

1.            Most managers are busy and overworked, and it is not natural for them to put in the extra ‘ooompf’ that is required, to sell the company during the hiring process.

2.            Failure to realize that every single touch point matters when it comes to recruiting great candidates: first recruit call and / or text and email correspondence, presenting of the opportunity, interview coordination, the accuracy and timeliness of feedback provided, a smooth flowing process, pre-offer analysis, reference checks, background checks, on-boarding, and follow-up. 

Some of the specific mistakes include not having a professional represent the company, taking more than 3 days to provide feedback, and missing or cancelling or rescheduling interviews. These mistakes are examples of lost quality control which creates a negative employer brand and ultimately causes the candidate to pursue other options.

3.            Failure to get every single person who is involved in the process, on the ‘same page’ when it comes to hiring.  This means that that the communication from the Internal Talent Acquisition Specialist, External 3rd Party Firm, Hiring Managers, Other HR Personnel, and anyone else who touches the process, communicates the exact same message to the candidate:  why the position is open, what the company is looking for, what they are offering, why the candidate is a potential match, etc.

4.            Not understanding the candidates wants!

Employers must address the candidate’s practical wants: (Challenge, Location,

Advancement, Money, People / Culture, Stability)

The position itself – why is it appealing? The company – what makes it unique?  What is unique about the culture?  Where is the company going?  What is unique about the hiring manager, why would someone want to work for this manager?  What is the offering (Compensation, Bonus, Benefits, upside of income with great performance, etc.)?

The employer should also be in tune regarding the desired outcomes and emotional wants that the candidate is seeking from their work (peace of mind regarding work, a work life that will support their family life, a work life that energizes them, etc.). 

Having anyone who touches the hiring process, to slow down, pay attention to details, and truly trying to sell the company during the entire hiring  process, will go a long way towards getting the talent you are seeking into the company!


June 25

Don't Go Dark - Stay in the Light

by Gene Brady 

Senior Director - Search Consultant

Every person you meet becomes part of your network, especially companies that present you with a job offer - a high compliment.

If you turn the offer down but handle it respectfully, you have increased your fan base.

WSJ article on this subject:


June 6

Welcoming Back

by Gene Brady 

Senior Director - Search Consultant


When good people leave, wise to keep an open door policy.

They know your procedures, they’re familiar with your culture, and they’ll be up to speed quickly.

And it’s smart business to part ways on a positive note and protect your company brand.

There’s a lot of attention to ‘onboarding’ new people, good to have a constructive process for ‘offboarding’ people.

At SCN we’ve rehired several people, with good results.

Here’s a related article on Harvard Business Review:

April 18

Tell me, who are you? 

by Gene Brady 

Senior Director - Search Consultant

 Tell me who are you

 A sales executive recently sent me this (word for word) email:

‘Gene, I am actively looking for an OEM Supplier Sales or Business Development management position. I have attached an updated resume. Thank you for your consideration as opportunities arise.’

And that was it. Apparently I’m supposed to read through their resume, determine what I believe their quantifiable accomplishments are, and figure out what product expertise I believe they have that would be of value to a particular company. This person has 30 years’ experience.

I talked to the person after they sent the email and asked about their quantifiable accomplishments and product expertise, which they hadn’t thought about. They struggled with the questions at first, and then eventually came to the answers, which I asked them to email me.

It used to be that a person would send a cover letter (or in the body of an email) to encapsulate highlights of their career, along with an attached resume. More frequently now, people are emailing their resumes and asking us to find them a job - without presenting how they would be of value to a new employer.

Self-examination, some reflection. The exercise of putting together a cover letter or career overview pays off as to how you stand out from other people looking for a similar role, along with preparing you to present yourself in an interview. 

February 25

Monthly Federal JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover) Update

by Brendan Moriarty


It is time for the monthly federal JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover) update here at SCN – Search Consulting Network!

According to the most recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ April JOLTS report, there are 7.3 million job openings in the USA as of the last day of December 2018.

This JOLTS number is significant because as you may recall, the monthly Jobs report from Friday Feb 1 indicated there are 6.5 million total people looking for jobs.

That means that again for the month of December 2018, there are more job openings than people looking for work currently in the USA.

Are you having difficulty finding good fit candidates for your job openings?

September 11

August Monthly Jobs Report

by Brendan Moriarty

August Monthly Job Report

It is time for the monthly federal jobs report update here at SCN – Search Consulting Network!

The US economy added 201,000 non-farm payroll jobs in August according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic exceeding average economists’ expectations of an increase of 191,000.

The unemployment rate remained at a near historic low rate of 3.9%.

Average earnings rose 2.9% for the past 12 months, which is the fastest hourly wage growth in over 9 years.

Is your firm finding good talent fast enough to keep pace with growing demand for your products and services?

September 7

Enlightened Company

by Gene Brady 

Enlightened Company

I received an email this week from a new client that started with:

Thank you Gene,

As of right now, we are continuing to look for the perfect candidate and my upper management team doesn’t feel that they have spoken to the perfect candidate yet. 

This client wasn’t kidding. They passed on several great people - great culture fit, attitude, quantified accomplishments - because a person didn’t have bullet #7 or #12 in their background.

Later that day, I was reviewing a company that needed people I had in our network.

Reading their ‘Careers’ page, they wrote at the bottom:

A Final Note:

You do not need to match every listed expectation to apply for this position. We know that diverse perspectives foster the innovation we need to be successful, and we are committed to building a team that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills.

Was that angels singing?!

That company looks at the whole person, beyond bullet #7. Someone can be taught a procedure or a program, but they can’t be taught attitude, passion, productivity, judgment. Those are real skills this company is focusing on.

I’ll be calling them shortly with some very good people.

June 6

Monthly Federal JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover) Update

By Brendan Moriarty


It is time for the monthly federal JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover) update here at SCN – Search Consulting Network!

According to the most recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ April JOLTS report, there are 6.7 million job openings in the USA as of the last day of April.

This JOLTS number is significant because as you may recall, the monthly Jobs report from Friday indicated there are a little over 6 million total people looking for jobs.

That means there are more job openings than people looking for work currently in the USA.

In fact the most recent data from April 2018 indicates a historic low of 0.9 available workers for every job opening in the USA.

Are you having difficulty finding good fit candidates for your job openings?

June 1

Monthly Federal Jobs Report Update

By Brendan Moriarty


It is time for the monthly federal jobs report update here at SCN – Search Consulting Network!

The US economy added 223,000 non-farm payroll jobs in May according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic exceeding average economists’ expectations of an increase of 190,000.

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% the lowest rate since 2000.

Average earnings rose 2.7% for the past 12 months.

Is your career keeping pace?


March 14

Candid Conversations

By Gene Brady


Candid Conversations

Most companies call these ‘interviews’.

Interviews are an artifice. They’re not the natural flow of human communication. Person A asks a question, Person B responds, Person A asks another question, Person B responds. End of interview, Person A asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” Person B asks a question, Person A responds. And on it formally goes.

When I’ve talked with people who have ‘interviewed’ and thought it went great, they tell me the main reason is that the interview felt more like a conversation.

Conversations are natural. Wouldn't it be beneficial to talk to a prospective new employee in a natural way?

After a person is hired by your company, which of the following will they have hundreds and hundreds of? 

a)            Interviews

b)           Conversations

Since it’s ‘b’, why not see how they act in a conversation with you? It’s important to hear how a person gives and take, if they’re an ‘active’ listener, can they easily converse well.

The word ‘interview’ itself raises people’s blood pressure. There are numerous articles on ‘how to prepare for an interview’, many of them on how to deal with the anxiety of interviewing...

How to prepare for a conversation? Both sides do some research, then simply start talking, back and forth. It’ll be a richer experience for everyone involved.

Maybe next time, when you're ready to talk to a candidate, schedule a conversation!

March 12

Learning to Fly

By Gene Brady


She emailed me for help.

Hoping to boost up salespeople at her firm that were new to sales, she was going to give a presentation entitled “Early Failures Lead to Future Successes”. Some of them were getting frustrated that their efforts weren't producing results.

She asked if I would send her a few stories on failures I had early in my career, which contributed to successes later on.

I emailed her I'd be happy to help, but needed the weekend to think about it.

When she called Monday, I admitted to her I really couldn’t think of any failures.

 said I did make mistakes (still do), but I saw them as learning lessons, which helped me correct myself going forward.

I didn't view them as failures. I think of them as learning lessons that helped me get better.

It’s a failure if you don't try. If you try, adjust, try again, you're learning. There were two companies Henry Ford started, and declared bankruptcy on, before making it with the Ford Motor Company -

She changed the ending of her presentation from “Early Failures…” to “Early Learning Lessons Lead to Future Successes”.

February 27

Feel Like a Number? 

By Gene Brady

Feel Like a Number

You're making a job offer to a good person!

Excellent - all that time reviewing and interviewing people paid off. You found a person with the right experience and right attitude to fit on your team. Took a while, but it was worth it. Future leader for your company.

You know the person is excited, too. They've been professionally checking in, and are waiting to receive your offer. They spent a lot of time researching your company, taking time off from work for interviews, evaluating your company against other offers, and they've made the heartfelt decision to part ways with their employer and come to your company.

You email the offer....

The screenshot above, on the left, is an actual PDF offer letter sent to me for a person I sent to our client for an Engineering Manager role. Imagine being that person, opening your email, taking an excited, deep breath and then reading the attachment: "20180212154830225".

Fortunately, we were sent the offer to present to the person. The screenshot on the right is what I renamed the PDF offer before sending it. Took 4 seconds to personalize the offer letter.

A large part of my role is to present my client to candidates in the best possible light - tell a compelling company story, talk about the culture, give the person helpful feedback after their interviews, help them evaluate my client against other companies and/or their employer.

I want people to have the best interviewing experience possible with my clients.

That experience can be the differentiator when a person has several companies they're interviewing with. All things being equal, how a person is treated during the interview process has led people to accept - or decline - an offer.

So here we were at the final step, the final touchpoint of the process - the offer. We didn’t want the person to miss a final connection with our client. Receive a series of numbers or see your name with your future title? It was worth the 4 seconds to personalize the person’s offer to join my client’s company.

He accepted.

February 22

Ripe for the (Quick) Picking

By Gene Brady

 Ripe for the Quick Picking

Good candidates are like bananas – they have a shelf life.
Other companies want to hire them, and their company often wants to accommodate them.
If a good candidate has an interest in your company, believe them - interview them, and keep the interview process going at a good pace. I hear a soft "tick, tick, tick" when I'm working with a top-notch candidate.
Regularly communicate your interest in the person. Going dark with a good candidate sends a signal of disinterest.
I have had clients come back to me weeks later inquiring about a candidate I sent them only for my client to find out - gone.
If you keep a good person ‘on the shelf’ and wait too long, they will no longer be ripe for your opportunity, and will end up on someone else's team, oftentimes at a competitor.


February 14

Living in Your Company’s World

By Gene Brady

living in your

How do your employees feel about their ‘home away from home’, i.e. your company?

Do they feel safe, supported, looking forward to being there? Or is there a feeling of uneasiness?

That can make all the difference between a culture of productivity or apprehension, and between being able to hire talented people vs. competent people.

A national poll by The Harvard Institute of Politics of 2,037 American millennials in October-November 2017, found that two-thirds are more fearful than hopeful about America’s future.

They also found this group of young people felt the greatest threat facing the US comes from inside the country (67%) vs. outside the country (31%).

As we talk to people about a career opportunity, we describe the position and its requirements, but in more detail we discuss the culture of the company, the team, the company’s commitment to society.

Your company’s positive ‘story’ is as much a factor in drawing top-notch, qualified people as is the compensation. It’s definitely no longer ‘all about the money’ (if indeed it ever was). People in general are looking for and drawn to reassuring environments.

How supportive is your company’s story? 


February 5

It is Jobs Monday here at  SCN – Search Consulting Network! 

by Brendan Moriarty

The US economy added 200,000 non-farm payroll jobs in January according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%.

Average earnings rose 2.9% for the past 12 months. 

Is your career keeping pace? 


February 2

EV Buses

EV Buses: 1 City vs. an Entire Country

 by Gene Brady

In one city in China, Shenzhen, there are 16,359 all-electric public buses in use. Part of a pilot program for the country. 

In the United States there are 300 electric buses used for pulic transit, according to a Dec 2017 analysis by Reuters. American cities in total use about 65,000 buses nationwide. 

Imagine if we knowledge-shared with each other. 


November 2

Hurricanes Wreak Havoc 

By Fred Heegan

Times are challenging in the Purchasing World as a result of the recent destruction from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Anyone who is responsible for managing a complex automotive supply chain with hundreds of suppliers scattered around the globe is impacted!

For the last few years here in North America, OEM production has been at record high levels, raw material prices have been low, capacity was strong, suppliers were financially healthy, and exchanges rates were favorable to the US.

Currently though, there is likely major stress in your Supply Chain:

Hurricane Harvey’s impact has driven chaos into all the Polypropylene resins and other plastic resin feedstock supply

Global electronic suppliers are on tight allocation of certain critical components

The OEM’s are demanding more of your time on daily conference calls because of line shut down situations due to supplier disruptions

You are forced to quickly develop brand new raw material and component suppliers and PPAP new product over night to guarantee supply

Aluminum and other raw material prices have increased

Federal Government leadership is making waves about Tariffs and Duties with Mexico and China and that was your smart Low Cost Country Strategy years ago – now what? Make in Market strategy?

Your CEO doesn’t care about Supply Chain Risk Management Actions – you still have to deliver your 2017 PPV savings Budget number plus your Stretch goal!

OEM production is dropping in 4th Qrt 2017, suppliers are complaining about the cost savings they gave you based on volume forecasts and you need to hit even bigger PPV savings targets

I’ve been in your shoes as a former Global VP of Purchasing with $2B in spend.

I know that you have many arduous tasks in front of you!

Let me know if you would like to talk strategy!


March 29

It's Rarely 'All About the Money'

By Gene Brady

Hiring a good person is more complex than making them a decent offer. One of my clients overlooked that and almost lost a key contributor.

We presented Alec, a talented senior engineer at a North American OEM, to one of our clients that needed his special skill set.

Alec wasn’t actively looking, didn’t have a posted resume. He was referred to us. When I talked with Alec I learned he didn’t feel challenged at his company. He wanted to be more hands-on, have more engineering input over projects, take on more responsibility. Our client had all of that for him, and Alec had the experience and attitude that fit our client.

The interviews went well. When I talked with Alec after the interviews, we discussed the position and the people. The position was what he was hoping for, the people were passionate and shared his enthusiasm about engineering, and exciting programs were coming up that he would be working on. If the pay was a fair offer, he said he was all in, and I would be helping Alec compose his resignation letter.

My client felt Alec would be a great culture match, and were ready to present him an offer. My normal next step is to present the person with a verbal offer, go over any questions, and get a verbal acceptance so my client can then present a written offer, which the person signs and sends back.

But this time the HR Director said he wanted to present the offer to Alec. And he did.

Via email.

No conversation. No reference to Alec’s motivation for change, or about the team he would be on. The Director sent the form letter offer and wrote in the email, “Hopefully you see this offer as lucrative, as our insurance and other company benefits are all excellent.”

And so – the focus changed from the complete picture to a smaller picture – the pay. It was a fair offer, more than what Alec was making, and the incentives were attractive. But Alec redirected his focus to strictly on the numbers.

He replied to the emailed offer with an email response, thanking the HR Director and saying he would need to review his present compensation with their offer. Alec created a spreadsheet and developed projections to see how ‘lucrative’ the offer really was.

I called Alec after his email reply. We talked at length on why he originally took the time to interview – the issues pressing on him at his company. And we went through the opportunities at my client, the people he would get to work with and the programs he would get to work on. Alec agreed that was what drove him to consider the opportunity in the first place.

After talking about the position and the people we then talked about the pay. We talked about where Alec was at currently, and how he would be getting a bump if he was to go forward.

And Alec said, “Thanks for reminding me how we started this process. I accept their offer. It’s not all about the money.”

It almost was.

Big decision for a person to quit a company and accept an offer from another one. It is a transaction, yet it’s so much more.


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August 25

Dodge the Bullets

By Gene Brady

The French mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote in a letter in 1657:

“I have made this (letter) longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

That applies to the majority of resumes we receive. One of the recent resumes a person sent us had 19 bullet points under his present position and 17 bullet points under his previous position.

36 bullet points. About 20% pertinent, 80% yawners.

And it continued with his other previous positions. 9 bullet points at a position he was at for a year. He threw everything on the resume he could think of that related to his positions. Not the most important responsibilities or key achievements.


That resume is not the exception. Well-written, concise resumes are.

You’d think in our tweeting and texting ‘quick message’ age, resumes would follow suit. Not so.

What comes with overstuffed resumes are generic descriptions of the person’s job, but not necessarily what she/he accomplished. My clients know what an Account Manager or Product Engineer does. But what did the person individually accomplish?

The best chance of a person being considered for a position at our client is to include skills and accomplishment related to the position they are applying for. If you want the job, make the time to craft a compelling, concise resume. 

And when the person does come up with pertinent, individual accomplishments, keep it to the most important. Not everything imaginable, or the good stuff can easily get missed.

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 August 12

 A Person Speaks Louder Than Words

By Gene Brady

A while back we worked on a search assignment for one of our clients to find their next Global Vice President of Sales. I had a conversation with the company’s current Global VP of Sales, who was being promoted within the company (and who talked to me about the position while he was driving home from work). He was asking us to find his successor.

The Global VP had very specific “Must Haves” for the position, and we ultimately found out there was a short list of people nationwide who qualified.

We brought our client an overview and resumes of nine good, competent people. The Global VP phone interviewed seven, and then wanted to bring in three people for an initial round of face-to-face interviewing with him and his team.

I talked to the Global VP about one of the seven that wasn’t chosen, Rick, a person I had been working with for a year. I had met with Rick in person, and felt he not only had good experience, he would be a great culture match at our client’s company.

The Global VP agreed. After the face-to-face interviews he whittled the four people down to three finalists, Rick being one of the three, who would be meeting with the Executive Team.

All three were qualified, smart executives. They all talked with me about their interviews, and how they were all interested in moving forward. Two were more experienced for the role than Rick, yet Rick was ready to take the role on, and was determined to fight for it.

The final interviews were held.

My client told me all three did well, and the Executive Team was going to share their thoughts with each other. Four days later Rick was offered the position, and he whole-heartedly accepted.

Two of the candidates were more qualified for the role on paper, yet the one who received the offer was the most qualified – in person. Rick brought his passion, his insights, enthusiasm, and over-all gusto that left the other two ‘more qualified’ candidates in the dust.

A year and a half later, the new Global Vice President of Sales is crushing it.

What’s written on a resume is a start. Who the person is, in person, is the real finish.

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July 19

Breaking Up Isn't Hard to Do

By Gene Brady

You’re single. A friend of yours knows a person interested in you and a date is set up. It goes well. Another date is set up. You think that went well too. And then - nothing. You ask your friend if he’s heard anything from the person. He has – but all he knows is that the person doesn’t want to see you anymore.  

That’s a lot like the interviewing process - after a candidate has phone interviewed with a company, face-to-face interviewed with the team, and then the company emails back ‘pass.' We always ask for feedback from clients on the people they interview, for two reasons. (‘Pass’ isn’t feedback.) 

One reason is to help the candidate understand what was missing, so they might learn something from the process.  

The second reason is to help our clients. What a great opportunity to leave people with a positive impression of your firm, whether you move forward with the person (at this time) or not.

According to a 2016 report done on global recruiting trends for small to mid-size businesses, 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agreed that the employer brand has a significant impact on hiring.

Then why damage the brand by disrespecting people interested in working for your company? You know they will have an impression of your firm from the interview process, no matter how it turns out. And they will share that impression with their colleagues and family.

And on and on a story of your company grows. My clients who share feedback on why they are taking a pass on a person and appreciate the person coming in – that news is received with a tinge of disappointment along with a great deal of respect.

We previously worked with a Tier 1 Global Supplier that has an onerous reputation in the engineering community due to its recruiting efforts. Many engineers told our Recruiting Specialists they would not interview with that supplier due to their (mis)handling of the interview process. They didn’t want to take time off from work, spend their emotional energy and get their hopes up in interviews, only to receive no feedback. 

You have a person in direct contact with your company when they are interviewing. Leave them with a great impression, and they will spread the word.

Or – they’ll spread another word. linkedin twitter

December 15

Waiting for What You Have

by Gene Brady

The email started encouragingly. “Gene, we had a great meeting with Steve. He has the engineering experience we’re looking for, and we believe his personality fits our company’s culture. Nice job. We’d like to see more candidates.”

You… he…. What?

When we take on an assignment to find a person, our Recruiting Specialists look first for a close match of the required hard skills, and then we do a second vetting.

I zero in on the soft skills – ‘whatever it takes’ attitude, interest to make a move, communication skills, leadership potential, family situation, what the person’s fears and desires are. A holistic approach. If everything lines up, we send the person with our recommendation.

We sent our client three good ‘hard skills/soft skills’ people. They liked all three, yet Steve stood out as the best fit for their company.

When I talked with my client on what else they would be looking for in a candidate, what may have been missing, they said they’d like to see a couple more like Steve. We reminded our client Steve was actively interviewing with other companies.

How many positions were they looking to fill? Just one. Our suggestion was to move Steve forward now.

We found their person. They agreed, but they felt they needed to see more people.

Like Steve.

The ending to this story is unfortunately not unfamiliar. When our client came back to move Steve forward, Steve had accepted a position with another company.

The person they liked, and wanted, and spent their valuable time with, was gone.

In today’s market, candidates are getting multiple offers, and often form opinions about how companies respond in the interview process.

Waiting for multiple good people to fill one position happened often in the 1990’s, and even at the beginning of this century.

But today the market is moving faster, people are getting placed quicker, and companies need to know to act when they have a good person in hand.

Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.


November 4

Catch and Release Interviewing

by Gene Brady

Many people that fish often use the catch and release system. Using barbless hooks, they catch a fish, unhook it and return it to the water before it experiences serious exhaustion or injury.

This same technique would work very well in the interview process, although it’s not used often enough.

Many times, clients key in on the one candidate they want and dismiss the other 4 or 5 in the hiring process without any thought to how disappointed the other candidates might be.

Many times, a candidate will accept an offer from one company and not take the time to thank the other two or three companies they were interviewing with.

In both instances the brand is damaged, whether it’s the company’s brand (how they treat people), or the candidate’s brand (how they treat employers).

A simple ‘thank you’ for your time and interest with a brief explanation as to why things didn’t move forward would go a long way in this connected world of reputations.

Both parties would be better off unhooking themselves from the interview process in a way that doesn’t cause serious exhaustion or injury.


October 30

Calling All References?

by Gene Brady

In the spirit of Halloween, this is a tale that has to be told.

In any given year I review an easy thousand responses to positions I handle.

Judgments have to be made all through the interview process, and they begin with the very first contact.

Whenever a person responds to a position, everything that’s sent, from the initial email response (and how the response is written), to the resume, to any additional documents sent, are used to make a decision – is this a person who would benefit my client? 

A person was responding to a position we had. She wrote an overview of her career, attached her resume to the email, and also included a list of references.

The overview and resume were ok, not compelling.

I looked over the list of references. And paused. And re-read them.

The kicker – two references were listed as ‘deceased’.

And…. how do you… check those deceased references?

I always suggest to people to call their references first before handing them out. Let them know a call may be coming to check about them.

Rule #1 – Your references should be alive.

Rule #2 – Let your references know ahead of time they may be called.

Rule #3 – See Rule #1. 

October 14

Talk is Not Necessarily Cheap

By Gene Brady

A client of mine emailed me for help on what it would take to hire a Plant Manager.

They’re in need of two Plant Managers.

Their company paid (good money) to have a management consulting survey done.

But - they’re not sure the survey makes sense based on what they’ve historically seen in the hiring process.

In the time it took my client to:

meet with the management consulting firm

describe the kind of survey info they wanted

the time the consulting firm took to research the data

3-hole punch it and put it into 3-ring binders

and then talk over the results with my client…

…we could have had 4-5 top-notch candidates meeting with my client.

And - based on the information we’d get from talking firsthand with twenty plus Plant Managers, we’d get real-time feedback on market rates for the position.

They’d have market feedback along with top-notch candidates to choose from.

And they would have had good people, much sooner, up and running their plants.

It’s interesting how much management consulting we provide in our role as a search consulting firm.

September 2

The Factor of Three

 by Gene Brady

I was talking with a seasoned business executive our firm had recruited, who had finished a second interview with one of my clients. I wanted to see where he stood on his interest in the opportunity.

He had interviewed well, my client was interested in him, and I wanted to see if he was ready to move forward. Assuming there was a fair offer presented, was he ready to walk away from his company?

His comment? “Well, Gene, it’s all about the money, right?”

Wrong. Completely wrong.

I’ve been told ‘it’s all about the money’ by several candidates, and whenever I hear that, I wince, because I know I won’t be moving them forward for the position.

With the right candidate that has the right motivation, it’s never all about the money.

Money is only one of three factors. The business executive was not going to be moved forward in the process, although he didn’t know it. Yet. I let him talk a little more, and he continued to confirm to me his drive was not in the right place.

Motivated candidates, who are ready to make a move, consider all three ‘P’ factors, money being the third.

First, is this an opportunity I want to go for? Do I relish the role, the responsibilities, the type of work I’ll be doing? Is this a position I aspire to - for the challenge, the prospect of advancement, the opportunity for new experiences?

Second, do I click with the people I’ll be working with on a daily basis? Do I like the culture of the company as a whole? Can I see myself working at that company?

Third, and the least complicated of all three factors - is the compensation in line with my expectations? Is it a fair offer, based on what I can contribute to my future employer?

The three P’s: Position-People-Pay. If they don’t have a strong ‘yes’ to the first two, would they take a position even it was a fair offer?

I hope not. And on behalf of my clients, they wouldn’t be moved forward, anyways.

Whether the candidate knows it or not, if there aren’t three strong yeses, I’m also doing them a favor, too.


August 19

Two Depths of Focus – Two Sets of Results

By Gene Brady

We recently began a relationship with two new clients - one is going well right from the start.

After talking with the HR person in charge, she gave us the Hiring Manager’s name and contact info to contact him. She emailed us the position descriptions and asked that we cc: her on all communications.

After an insightful conversation with the Hiring Manager, where we discussed:

•           what he definitely needed in a person – the 4-5 ‘must haves’

•           what would be ‘nice to haves’ in a person

•           the culture at his company

•           how he personally markets his company to potential candidates

•           which companies he regularly competes with

•           what the biggest challenge would be on day one for a new employee

and other questions not answered by the position descriptions, we were well-prepared to launch the assignment properly.

With the other client, they emailed the job descriptions and asked us to email resumes.

What’s the number one, most important service a search firm can provide a client?

Well-matched candidates for the client’s positions.

What’s the number one, most important step a successful search begins with?

A deep understanding of what a well-matched candidate would be for the client’s positions.

Ready, aim, fire.

With the first client we’re off and running! In the first two weeks alone we’ve brought them:

  • •           17 candidates for 3 positions (after we contacted over 60 people)
  • •           4 are a pass
  • •           7 have interviews – phone and face to face
  • •           3 we’re scheduling interviews
  • •           3 we’re waiting on feedback

The second client said the Hiring Manager is too busy to talk about the positions, just email resumes.

Ready, fire, aim.

Our focus with the second client, to say the least, is not… quite… as clear.

 August 11

A ‘New’ Way for Automakers to Increase Annual Profits

By Gene Brady

A recent study found that carmakers could have had higher profits if they improved their supplier relationships


The research showed the six largest carmaker could have gained anywhere from $58 to $152 in profit per vehicle, if they improved their supplier relations by just 10%.

Chrysler could have made $24 billion more over the past 12 years if it had simply managed its relationships with suppliers better. (if you’d like the full study, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

The numbers may be new, but the ‘better business relationship’ concept isn’t. It’s common sense.

It’s not exclusively an automotive industry issue.

In our industry, clients that talk with us about the people they need (vs. just emailing a job description) get back to us with candidate feedback, follow through on scheduled interviews, they’re the ones that always get more from their recruiting firms.

We always work harder, think harder, when we have a business relationship vs. merely a business transaction.

In 500 B.C. Confucius said, "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." 

Good business advice, delivered from Confucius to Chrysler.


August 13 

Set Your Goals 

by Susan Perris

I love this quote by Henry Ford, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.” 

Whatever goal you set out to achieve, it all starts with your mind set and attitude.  It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down or told “no,” if you truly believe you can do something, you will do it one way or another.

I also love this quote by Thomas Edison, “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”

Dreaming is easy when compared to the hard work needed to achieve these dreams.  It takes everything you’ve got…and then some.  Never give up. Never quit.  If you are inspired to reach a goal, it may take blood, sweat and tears to reach it, but it will be worth it if you truly want it and believe you can do it. 

Watching the London Summer Olympics was a great reminder of how individuals chase after, and work towards, goals and dreams that began many years ago.  These athletes worked hours and hours to reach their goal of competing in the Olympics.  Then, once they got there, they had the most unbelievable level of concentration and focus on performing at their peak level.

Set a goal. Believe in yourself. Work as hard as you can. Make it happen.

July 03

What Is Your Pace? 

by Jim Guerrera

When you work in an office, pace matters.

• Do you move quickly around the office, or do you lumber?
• Do you get to points quickly, and concisely, or do you drag on your discussions, causing tremendous pain to the trapped listener?
• Do you dart back and forth from your desk to the coffee machine, or do you meander about aimlessly when going from one place to the next?
• Are you able to describe your weekend events or out of office activities in 20 seconds or less, or do describe details of your personal life during work hours in great detail and in conversations that last more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time?

Every company has competition, and every good company has goals, targets, and objectives that they are trying to achieve.  Because of this, Managers and Executives look for people on their teams with energy and who perform their work tasks with a sense of urgency.  They also want people in the office, who exhibit energetic behaviors, all the time.

If you work in an office, my advice to you is this, don’t move like a slug.

June 29

Different Shapes and Sizes 

 by Gene Brady

There are two types of companies I work with: those that try to fill open positions, and those that are interested in filling open positions and also finding people that could help their company in different ways.

The first type of company miss out on good people, taking care of only what’s the most obvious need, not considering people that may be of value in different ways. They’re looking for a square peg to fill a square hole.

The second type of company takes care of what’s needed now, and are also open to talking with good people that may help their company in ways not currently considered, or that may help their company in the future.

Those companies are interested in square pegs and round pegs and tetrahedrons and trapezoids. For those companies, their openness in the present sets up a vibrant future.

June 20

Genuine Discussions vs. Formal Postures

 by Gene Brady

When I prepare a candidate for an upcoming interview, I tell them to look at it as a conversation, instead of an interview. Typical interview: interviewer asks questions, interviewee answers them, hopefully in the way the interviewer wants.

Like tests in school – answer questions with the right answers and you get a good grade. But are you expressing yourself? Not really.

Interviews need to be deeper than that. By the time a candidate gets a face-to-face interview, it’s been proven they can do the job. Good.

But do they want to do the job? Are they passionate about the work?

And will they get along with the team they’re potentially joining?

Candidates need to ‘interview’ the client as much as the client needs to interview the candidate.

It’s a two-way street, not well-traveled by a one-way interview. I suggest to candidates to ask questions early on in the meeting, to make it a give and take, back and forth conversation.

That way, it’s more of a natural conversation, two people talking, listening and learning about each other in a more genuine way; truly getting to know each other, in order to make an important decision.


June 19

Why Do So Many Companies Fail Miserably With Their Hiring Process?

by Jim Guerrera

Why do companies make mistakes with their most important initiative, hiring?

Here are some of the common mistakes that I typically see: 

      -      Not partnering with a single external resource, and believing that utilizing multiple resources is the best way to complete a search
-      Relying upon Human Resources, and internal recruiting departments who solely search for active candidates to fill positions
-       Not moving the hiring process along quickly, allowing several days, or even weeks or months to pass, between steps in the hiring process
-       Truly believing that moving the process along slowly, will not impact the decision
-       Slow-Playing great candidates, thinking that other more qualified candidates may exist, and are motivated for the opportunity
-       Not having a clear vision of what they are seeking in a candidate
-       Not providing real feedback to the Search Consultant during the hiring process
-       Not truly understanding what goes through a candidate’s mind during a hiring process
-       Not committing to a timeline for completion of a search
-       Delivering mixed messages to the individual which leads to candidate confusion – the primary reason why good candidates turn down positions

 If you are a company leader and believe that talent wins in business, then partner with a competent Search Consultant, commit to a strategic hiring process, and then sit back, and watch your company grow!!


June 13

Today’s News is Today’s News

by Gene Brady

I’ve had the same experience with both candidates and clients, where both have their hearts set on an outcome. Either the candidate is hoping for that new position or the client is hoping for that new employee.

Many times the better outcome is that what’s hoped for doesn’t come true.

The candidate isn’t offered the position they had their heart set on, and a while later a better opportunity comes along. A client doesn’t get the ‘perfect’ candidate, and a week later I bring them a better one.

We can’t control life, we can only live it.

This is why, when I call a candidate back with news about a position they’re interviewing for, I tell them it’s just news. Not good news or bad news, it’s just news.

My experienced clients, given the news that a favored candidate is passing on their opportunity, they take it in stride. I go out and find them another good person.

We can never know today if what we want or who we want will, in the long run, be the best outcome. It’s how you move forward with the news that matters - accept what is, and press on.

Looking back, can you remember some things you hoped for that didn’t come true, which turned out to ultimately be a good thing?

Lucky you.


June 5

The Power of the Candidate

by Justin Misaras

SC Novi’s ability to build strong relationships with our candidates is a huge indicator for our firm’s success. When building these relationships, it's our responsibility to ask the appropriate and sometimes difficult questions to get to the root of why the candidate is truly motivated for change. We want to work with the strongest candidates that go above and beyond, and will do whatever it takes to put them ahead of the competition.

There are two types of candidates:

1.This is an individual that is truly motivated for change and will be available through the entire process in finding a new career opportunity. They will return all calls and emails in a respectable amount of time to show that they are truly interested.

2.The other type is an individual that is in a good position with a good company, but are keeping their options open for the ‘Golden Opportunity’. There is a lot of interest in the beginning stages, but as time goes on it becomes more and more difficult to get in contact with them. When push comes to shove, they will not make a career move if the opportunity were to present itself.

In the process of finding the ‘Best-Fit’ candidate for our client, it has been proven that time can kill deals. Clients and candidates can both slow down the process, but it is in the candidate’s power to do their part to help keep the process moving along.

Strong communication is the key component in showing that you are truly committed in making a career move. A big indicator for me is how quickly a candidate will respond to a phone call or an email. I’ve waited days, and in some cases weeks, for a candidate to send me an updated resume. This indicates that the individual is not as interested as they originally expressed in the first stages in building a strong relationship.

To all candidates who are truly motivated and looking for a new opportunity, always keep in mind that time can kill a deal. Anything you can do to speed up the process can help your situation drastically. When we need information that only you can provide, it is critical you respond to the best of your ability. Prove that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get the position you desire.

SC Novi will always do whatever possible to put you ahead of the other candidates in the interviewing process. It is up to you and only you, to show that you are willing to assist us in all stages of the placement process.


May 24

Honor Your Word

by Jim Guerrera 

Most professionals realize that relationships are quickly destroyed when you exhibit a lack of integrity.

To this end, it is always important to honor your word. If you do not, the word will quickly travel that you are an individual that cannot be trusted.

Do yourself a favor, don’t commit to an interview, and then not show up simply because you had a change of heart.

May 24

Here's the News

by Gene Brady

I started taking tennis lessons every Monday, after not playing for twenty years.

I had a great time during the first lesson, my swing coming back, finding my backhand, charging the net, and then… I pulled a calf muscle. First time. Hurt bad. Limped the rest of the night.

But I shook it off, and was back the next week. Felt great being out there, and then ten minutes into the lesson my calf muscle crippled me again. This time I iced my calf pretty well the rest of the week. It felt better, and I was ready and raring to go for lesson three.

Got my tennis gear on, headed out with my racquet… and it started… raining! Bummer.

Or was it? I missed the lesson, but a week later my calf feels fine. Would it have, if I played that third lesson? The bad news that it rained turned out to ultimately be good news for my health.

Same principle applies when I tell people the news about a client’s response to their job interview. I always tell people it’s not good news or bad news, it’s just news.

Sometimes the ‘good news’, that the person got the job, turns out to be bad news later.

Sometimes the ‘bad news’, that the client chose someone else, turns out to be good news when a better opportunity comes along and the person is available to interview for it.

It just news. It’s how you move forward with the news that matters.

Where’s my racquet?


May 8

Two Very Different Groups

by Gene Brady

There are two groups of HR people - those that need and appreciate our help, and those that are threatened by our help.

 The first group is busy professionals who have a list of 20 priorities, all hot, all needing their attention. They know if we send them qualified, top-notch candidates, that's one less urgent task they have to worry about.  We save them valuable time. We both celebrate when we help them hire a good person for their company.

 The second group is busy professionals who have a list of 20 priorities, all hot, all needing their attention. They feel threatened by our success in bringing them good people.

 The first group lets us talk to the hiring manager before starting an assignment, in order to get a clear perspective of the kind of person needed, so as not to waste anyone's time. We include them on email correspondence, keeping them up to date on the interviews, presenting the offer, and getting the person on board.

 The second group denies any access to the hiring managers, preferring us to ask them the questions, that they then email or ask the hiring manager, then emailing us back an answer, when they eventually get one. Which may or may not answer the question we originally asked. Slowing.. down.. the process.  Opening it up to inaccuracies and imprecision.

 Or my 'favorite' reply - "Just go by the position description." A position description has never answered all the questions we need addressed, in order to run a precise, well-focused search assignment.

 Two groups of busy people. One trusts us and partners with us. The other group tolerates us.

 One group we spoil with service, stay up at night and on weekends strategizing their success, and fight tooth and nail to get the best of the best people to them.

The other group we work with.

May 8

Give a Millenial a Chance

by Jim Guerrera 

I was scared to death having to deal with the upcoming Millenial Generation (aka “The ME Generation”).   After all, I have read the articles written on their stereotypes:  entitled, narcissistic, job hoppers, no work ethic, in need of affirmation of overinflated self-esteem, etc.  Mark Bauerlein wrote:  The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.

In my opinion, these negative stereotypes of Millenials are WRONG!

I have had tremendous experiences working with Millenials at our firm, and also in the marketplace.

From my perspective Millenials have shown to be extremely bright, hard working, loyal, and big-time tech savvy.  And even more important than showing their great work qualities, the Millenials in our office are overall excellent people, honest, trustworthy, dedicated, and easy to get along with.

I say it is time to give the Millenial generation a chance, and sooner rather than later, they will turn the stereotypes in their favor.  Perhaps they will someday they will be known as “The Greatest Generation”. 

April 9

 How Long Should the Hiring Process Be?

by Jim Guerrera 

I have been involved with searches that took two days, and also others that have lasted more than 12 months.  Why is there such a big variance in length of the hiring process?

I have found that the number one factor that influences a hiring process is best summed up by the simple phrase of Clubber Lang’s prediction for the fight in Rocky III, “Pain!”.

 A clients level of pain to fill the position has a direct correlation to the length of the process, the more pain there is the quicker the process, the less pain there is, the longer it tends to drag out.

 I put my best effort forward, when I know my client has pain.  I am not interested in being an unpaid Search Consultant, and I know my best return on time investment will come from clients that are interested in moving quickly.

 It is very realistic to think that if there is good synergy between me and the client, that the process will take no longer than 6 weeks total, 2 weeks to search, 2 weeks to interview and do background checks and reference checks, 2 weeks for candidate resignation.

April 2

 So, You Want a Promotion

by Jim Guerrera 

These are some of the reasons that candidates I speak with say they are motivated for a new opportunity:

“looking for growth”
“want to advance”
“want more responsibility”
“want a position in management”

Often times, people are looking to advance but they do not realize what it takes to get to the next level in a company.  Perhaps if they did these things, they would not be looking to change after all, because their long desired promotion would have been granted.

1)  Hit your numbers – Business is a for profit game, and the numbers are a true objective measuring stick of performance.   Whatever your ‘numbers are’, hit them … consistently … all the time.

2)  Make personal sacrifices on behalf of your employer – Long work evenings, long work weekends, and extensive overnight travel are just some of the minimum requirements of people that want to advance within a company.  Upper execs and managers are always looking for people that are willing and able to make the sacrifices ‘for the man’, and the employees who burn the midnight oil, shine in the eyes of the Upper Management Brass.  Also, if you work for a national or international organization, you must be willing and able to relocate, on short notice, to wherever they want you to go, when they want you to be there.  

3)  Be strong politically – Please take a moment to understand this salient point.  It DOES NOT necessarily just mean, to rub elbows with upper managers, or your boss, or to bring them gifts during the holidays (although each of these things will assist your cause in your quest for a promotion). 

What it does mean is to totally be in tune with whatever they want you to do.  You CANNOT upset your manager, or your boss’s boss, or their boss, etc.  When they give you a directive, take it, and run with it, make things happen!!  Don’t complain, or hesitate, or even worse, fail on the completion of the task.  Speak up less at the meetings, and instead, address issues behind closed doors, or at the coffee machines.  Don’t be a maverick, be a good soldier, a reliable worker, a team player, and truly tune into the direction of the upper management.

Good luck in your journey to advance with your current employer, or the next.

March 26

Do you Plan, or React, or Both?

by Jim Guerrera 

In today’s ever changing business environment, it is virtually impossible to plan every single second of every day.  Situations arise, where responses and reactions to situations need to take place, to keep the business moving in the right direction.

But a major problem that I see in business, with professionals in a variety of roles, and at a variety of companies, is their failure to “Plan” on a daily basis.

You have heard the clichés:  “Fail to Plan, then Plan to Fail” … “Plan your work, then work your Plan”….   

There is a simple reason why these sayings have become mainstream, they are true.

An effective daily plan, will enable you to be more productive because it will keep you on task, will take you away from distractions, and it will assist in providing daily motivation to complete the open items.  You also will receive internal satisfaction when you have your boxes checked off, from a solid day’s work at the office.

Mark McCormack, founder of the Global Leading Sports and Media Management Firm, IMG, and author of “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School”, and “What they Still Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School”, used to write a long checklist of items to be accomplished for each business day – few things brought him more satisfaction than checking off these items, one by one.

This “checklist” was a Daily Plan, an effective and simple plan that Mark McCormack used to guide him each and every business day.

If you are not creating a Daily Plan, then I suggest giving it a try.  If you do, you will put yourself ahead from a planning and productivity standpoint, when compared to virtually everyone in your peer group, your employer, and the industry within which you work.

Happy Planning.

March 26

How is your Attitude?

by Jim Guerrera 

At SCN, we define Attitude as not just the way we think, but the way we think, feel, and do everything in our lives.  Attitude is everything as it relates to success or failure in business.  A great attitude is the starting point towards the achievement of individual and collective goals in an organization.  

It is truly amazing how individuals with tremendous ‘can do’ attitudes shine and positively impact a business environment.  It is equally amazing how poor attitudes create cancer in organizations. 

Perhaps the most important thing that you can do in your business life, is to choose and bring forth a tremendous ‘can do’ attitude with you each and every day. 

“Choose wisely my friend”.

March 15

The Sniff Test

by Gene Brady

We were going over a candidate’s résumé the other day at SC Novi and I asked Jake (one of our supreme Project Recruiters who found the candidate), “Why am I holding a 4-page résumé?”

Jake replied, “Because I cut it down from six pages."

Still, today, after all that has been talked about and written about regarding concise résumés, they come in loaded with ‘stuff’, as if more was better.

On a résumé, when there’s a position listed that has ten bullets after it, that’s five bullets too many.

We sent a client five top-notch candidates this week for a specific position. I went through the résumés over the phone with the client, and we spent about twenty minutes talking through them.

Twenty minutes. That’s four minutes on each person. My client looked at the résumés before we talked, but the final decision on who was getting a phone interview was decided in our twenty minute talk.

During our review, both of us were looking for key words to show the person matched the position. Three made the phone interview. All were qualified; two did a poor job explaining themselves succinctly on paper. One I was able to make an argument for and got that person the fourth phone interview.

People don’t read résumés, they scan them. That’s the sniff test, scanning the experience, the education, the skills. Then onto the next candidate.

“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”, a quote on writing letters that also applies to writing résumés.

It’s harder to write a short resume than it is to write a long one. Most people pour everything they can think of into their resume, instead of challenging themselves to find the most relevant aspects of their positions.

Describe what you did, describe the most pertinent, quantifiable accomplishments (in order of most significant), then move on.

That way, when your résumé gets the sniff test, it’ll smell better.

March 8

Slow Down So We Can Move Faster

by Gene Brady

I was thinking the other day about what my most successful searches have in common.

It’s when I’ve been able to talk with the Hiring Manager at the beginning of the search, where we took time together to talk about all the things that aren’t on the position description.

Sidebar – Most position descriptions have 70-90% generic information – “Able to communicate well…”, “Handle requests from customers”, “
Establish performance requirements for each project.”, “Working knowledge of Microsoft Office and other applications.”

This conversation gives context for the position, and helps our Project Recruiters sell the position to candidates.

And we do need to sell the position to the better candidates, since these days multiple opportunities are opening up for good candidates.

Why is there a new opening at your company – a new program or possibly a new customer? Is there a career track for a high achiever? What’s the culture like at your company? (other than ‘fast-paced environment”).

I think of all the time and energy spent by SC Novi (weekdays, nights and weekends) in finding a good person, our client’s time and energy in getting managers together for the interview, and the candidate’s time and energy in preparing and coming for the interview.

And then there’s not a good match.

Why? Because time wasn’t taken at the beginning to thoroughly communicate and understand the opportunity. Time wasn’t spent up front, and then all kinds of time was spent, and ultimately lost, on an unsuccessful interview.

When we slow down at the beginning of a search, talk through the expectations and background, we can move faster and more accurately in finding qualified matches.

I’m reminded of the time a new client gave me a first-time search assignment. I asked to speak to the hiring manager so we could better understand what their expectations/desires were, what kind of environment the person would be working in, what immediate challenges the person would face, what people he’s seen so far and what was lacking, etc.

I was told their company had been looking for over four months for the right person, they hadn’t found one yet, and sorry, the hiring manager was too busy to talk with me, please just send people who match the position description.

Let’s see… “Able to communicate well…”, “Handle requests from customers”, “Establish performance requirements for each project.”, “Working knowledge of Microsoft Office and other applications.”

Got it.

March 1

3 Short Questions, 3 Revealing Answers

by Gene Brady

At SCN, we have a multi-page, very comprehensive diagnostic tool we use called a 'Candidate Profile Form'.

It goes into deep detail about a candidate's experience, education, their quantifiable achievements, what components they're most experienced with, the positions they've spent the most time in, what their motivation is for looking for a new position, and many more good questions.

And yet, boiled down, there are really three questions that matter most.

When we talk with candidates, we find out:

1. Can the candidate do the job? Do they have the right experience and education for the position.
               Easy to find out. That's what well-written resumes provide.

2. Will the candidate do the job? Their attitude, true desire for the opportunity.
               Harder to find out. That's what a good, thorough interview reveals.

3. Will the candidate 'fit' into our client's company? The culture match.
               Hardest to find out. And the responsibility in finding this out is shared with our clients.

A recent study examining 20,000 searches revealed 40% of senior executives leave organizations or are fired or pushed out within 18 months.

It's not because the candidates are dumb; it's because a lot of times, culturally, they may not fit in with the organization or it's not clearly communicated to them as they joined.

We have a very good retention record with our candidates because we vet them for all three questions above.

97% of the candidates we place are still with the company we matched them with two years later.

The secret to our high retention rate? Getting three 'yeses' to three very short, but very powerful questions.

February 27

How Much is Your Time Worth?

by Jim Guerrera

Everyone in business these days is busy, and overworked, and underpaid.  Our society and business economy has evolved to where a frenetic pace, is the norm.

It does not look like things are changing the other way, any time soon.  Let’s not discuss the “why”. That is a whole other topic.  But we should realize that the pace of life today should cause us to take a close look at our most valuable resource…our time.

How much is your time worth?

How much time do you spend doing the things that you truly want to do?  How much time do you spend working, in the office?  How about work from home in the evenings, or on weekends?

From a pure $ standpoint, you can calculate the value of your work time, just divide your W-2 compensation, by the number of hours that you worked during the year.

This should be your starting point to determine, how much your time is worth, and how much in real $ you are gaining, or losing, by being efficient, or non-efficient in your work life.

February 23

It Still Comes Down To – Why You?
By Gene Brady

A company I reached out to a couple months ago, to offer our services, called me the other day and said he had a position he needed filled.

The Hiring Manager went on to explain who he was looking for- the responsibilities of the position, type of education and experience needed, the salary range.

Never having worked with his company, I asked him what the appeal was to work there, what was the culture like, what was his company’s value proposition.

Silence on the phone.

And then, “Excuse me?”He had worked with search firms before, but never had been asked those questions.

I also had a candidate who had sent me his resume a while back, email me a simple question – “Anything for me?”Since I have over 4,000 emails currently in my inbox, and I work from our database of over 60,000 candidates, this time I was the one who had to pause.

I know he thought I remembered him from our talk 5-6 months ago, but with no resume attached or summary of what he did, the “anything for me?” question didn’t conjure up a compelling answer from me on what the ‘anything’ might be.

‘Compelling’ That’s the word for both company and candidate.

At SC Novi, since the summer of 2010, we’ve seen the number of search assignments increase. Available positions have increased and good people have more choices than ever to find a new opportunity.

What’s the company’s Unique Value Proposition?

When we talk with candidates, we market the company, not just a position. The position description is very helpful in describing what the person will be doing. We also sell where the person will be doing it – what kind of environment it is, what the team’s like, the physical environment, why this company vs. the other two or three companies the candidate may be looking at.

What’s the candidate’s Unique Value Proposition?

When we present a candidate to a company, we market the candidate. The fact that they have the experience and education for the position is why they are being considered, not necessarily why we recommend them.

Oftentimes, there will be several people with the right education and experience. But what quantifiable achievements has the person accomplished? What have they done that no one else can claim? What did they save their employer, either in time or money? What did they generate for their employer, in terms of revenue or product?

We can help companies find candidates that can do the work. We're looking for candidates that will do the work, and that speaks to attitude and examples of quantifiable accomplishments.

The Hiring Manager I was talking to the other day did come up with what was unique about his company, and there were some compelling reasons he shared with me. We’ll use that information as we search for candidates for the open positions.

January 18

Candidate Confusion
by Jim Guerrera 


Candidate confusion is a primary reason why good candidates turn down positions.  

Candidate confusion occurs when mixed messages are received by the same candidate, from multiple sources, during the recruiting and interviewing process.  The best way to eliminate candidate confusion, is to make sure that the same, consistent message is delivered to a candidate during the recruiting and interviewing process, from cradle to grave. 

Companies can eliminate Candidate confusion by doing three things:

1) Specify the recruiting messages to be shared with candidates during the recruiting process.  Recruiting messages include all information about the company, and the position, that are relevant to a potential new recruit.

2) Share the recruiting messages with all members of the company that will be conducting interviews (HR, Hiring Managers, Executives, peers, etc.).

3) Partner with one specific Search Consultant for the Search, as opposed to opening the search up to multiple sources of candidates.  If multiple recruiters are involved on an assignment, there will be mixed messages delivered to target candidates, that will result in candidate confusion, and most likely result in the candidate turning down an interest in the position.

The next time you a run a search, think about the strategy that you want to implement, and if you are truly interested in sourcing the best candidate possible.  If you find a Search Consultant that you can trust, you will be able to eliminate candidate confusion by working with that Search Consultant alone, as opposed to opening the search to multiple recruiters.



January 10 

2012 Goals
by Jim Guerrera 

What is your 2012 Business or New Year’s Resolution Goal? Is it critical to achieve this goal, or is it just a nice bonus for you if it happens?

Studies show that a whopping 12% reach their New Year’s Resolution Goals, so if your goal for 2012 is critical or important, and you want to be included in the distinguished group that actually does achieve their New Year’s Resolution Goal, you may consider the following:

1)  Put pen to paper, and write down the goal. 

2) Leave the written goal, in a visible location, where you will see it each and every day (perhaps on your desk at the office, on the dashboard in your car, or on the sink in your bathroom at home).

3) Lay out the specific steps that will be required for you to achieve this objective.

4) Develop a plan that will be required to achieve these specific steps.

5) Track progress on a calendar or a chart.

6) Find a sponsor or a coach, an individual that will help in holding you accountable for the completion of your goal.

7) Most important, define your attitude towards completion of the goal. Attitude as we define it is not just the way we think, but the way we think, feel, and do everything in our lives. Attitude is everything as it relates to success or failure in the achievement of an objective. A great attitude is the starting point towards the achievement of individual goals.

With a great attitude, anything is possible, and without it, nothing is.

Best wishes for a great 2012!