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How to Deal with Clients who Procrastinate

We all know it is taking longer and longer for hiring managers to fill direct-hire positions in their “search for the perfect candidate.”
It is also well known that recruiters typically do not get paid until the candidate has been placed and/or started; therefore obviously impacting
the recruiter in a negative way. And according the Recruiter Training Center, companies that drag their feet on the hiring process are hurting themselves as well.

There is a perception that candidates are so desperate for jobs that they will jump through any hoop to get one. The truth be known; candidates will not wait forever and companies need to understand that. The companies are risking good candidates by doing this and they’re losing them…we see this happen all the time.

It has been noted that if the entire process takes over four weeks, the candidate will then move onto the next opportunity without ever looking back.  As recruiters, it is up to us to speed this process along:

1) Set the expectation up front by advising the client of market conditions and get them
to give you an estimated timeframe before taking the job search on.
2) Be so bold to include the time frame in your contract.
3) If the client has an interest in a candidate but isn’t sure and really wants to wait on the
“perfect candidate”, offer the candidate on a contract basis. Kind of like a “try before you buy”
concept where they can evaluate the performance of the candidate before they commit to a direct
hire.
The client may very well come to realize that they had the perfect candidate all along.

Accepting a Counteroffer = Career Suicide

A counteroffer may be both tempting, appealing and flattering.
But in the end; more often than not; those who accept them come to regret their actions.

Here are some reason’s why NOT to accept a counteroffer:

1. When a person quits; a company loses money and the manager looks bad. A company would rather offer you a counteroffer while they are looking for your replacement. Your loyalty comes under scrutiny and more times than not; that is when a recruiter is called and asked to do a confidential replacement search.
2. Once you resign and then accept a counteroffer; you automatically become a risk. You threatened to quit once; it’s only a matter of time before you do it again. You will never be perceived the same once you put in your resignation and then accept a counteroffer. A smart company won’t allow themselves to be put in this position again with the same employee.
3. If it is about money; why weren’t you worth it before you went into resign? Why does it take this act for your employer to pay you more when you are going to be staying and doing the exact same job?
4. Remember all the reasons you wanted to quit; they ARE still the same. If money was one of them and the company is offering you more; the increase in compensation only temporarily placates you.
5. Quality companies won’t make a counteroffer. Companies don’t liked being pushed into corners or forced to do something. A quality company wishes you well and believes that if you are not happy working for them; then you should go.

For the sake of everyone involved in the hiring process; if you are unhappy in your current position; go to your employer and discuss it. See if they are willing to make adjustments; if they do – great – problem solved. If they don’t/won’t/can’t and you decide to seek other employment and then go in to resign and the counteroffer is given – don’t accept it; you might be committing career suicide.

You Lost Your Job, Now What?

You are well educated, you have years of experience and you are even bilingual, but you just lost your job.
Unfortunately, lay-offs and job loss are the norm now a days, even at the top.
How you handle it in the aftermath could shape your career for years to come.

Day 1 – Do nothing! That’s right! It is important not to do something you will regret later. It’s ok to take a day to re-group and absorb the shock. Stay away from the phone and computer. Be good to yourself.
Day 2 – Get your paperwork in order. If you did not sign anything on the spot and a severance package is being offered…negotiate it. Head down to the unemployment office and file a claim. If you have not been keeping your resume current; it’s time to dust it off and polish it up.
Day 3 – Reassess your career goals. What are you passionate about? Maybe you need a better work/life balance or more money – don’t jump from the skillet to the fire out of desperation. CALL YOUR RECRUITER!
Day 4 –
Look at your expenses. See where you can cut back, reduce or do without. No one expects to be out of work very long but in todays economy, experts say it takes approximately one month per $10K salary earned to find a job at the same level.
Day 5 – Make looking for a job – “YOUR JOB”. Make a plan. Only 20% of jobs are actually advertised, so network. Designate time for research, phone calls, sending your resume out and interviewing.

We hope that those of you reading this are not unemployed, but if you are, please go to our web site to see the positions we are currently working on, you can reply directly online and send us your resume and we wish you the best in your endeavors.

Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Resume

Resumes are marketing documents and who better to market yourself than YOU!

Do:
1) Put you jobs in reverse chronological order
2) Move your education to the end of the page, unless you are a recent graduate
3) Use numbers to tout your accomplishments i.e. Responsible for $1 million budget, Manage staff of 20, Produced $250K in revenue
4) Bullet each skill/accomplishment with a brief description
5) List your strengths, what are your strongest assets

Don’t:
1) Write paragraphs/essays; employers/recruiters want to be able to glance at a resume
2) Make the employer/recruiter guess what your actual job is/was; bold titles and if it isn’t a standard title – explain
3) Share too much information; employers/recruiters really do not care/need to know if you like to golf
4) Make the resume too long; 1 – 2 pages is max but 1 is better
5) Forget to proof read or have someone else do it – poor grammar or spelling will get you in the trash can

Good Luck and Happy Resume Writing!

How to Ace a Phone Interview

1) Be on time and be as diligent on the phone as you would be in person
2) Hide distractions – Turn off your computer, remove reports, books and magazines or any other alluring visuals in sight. Silence background noise – TV, radio, kids and co-workers
3) Be personable – Because your face can’t be seen; your tone is very important – a warm friendly voice with a “touch” of humor (don’t over do the humor)
4) Show interest – Ask questions when the interview is done – ask “smart” questions about the position and the company (make sure and do your homework about the company/person conducting the interview – do not ask a question that can be answered if you had looked at their web site)
5) Ask if the interviewer needs additional information – you can not read their body language over the phone to know if you are on track
6) If relocation is a requirement – make sure you express that you can/want to make the move (tell them your house is up for sale, if it is or that you are meeting with a realtor to put it on the market) and with our present economy…if you are able and willing…make sure and let them know that you can relocate yourself or will half the cost…be flexible if you really want the position
7) Be honest about your compensation if asked – Enough said!

8)Make sure and say Thank You – just as you would in person. Thank them for their time, ask for their email address and send a follow up thank you; reiterating your interest in the position

Good luck and remember to smile while interviewing over the phone…the interviewer can not see it…but they can hear it!

The One Interview Question You Need to Weed Out Rotten Apples

By John Warrillow | April 7, 2011 via www.bnet.com

I’ll forgive anyone for almost anything if I get a heartfelt mea culpa — an apology with no strings attached — but, unfortunately, that’s hard to find these days. Our culture is inundated with victims who like to scapegoat:

“It wasn’t because of the steroids I was injecting — it must have been my trainer’s fault.”
“We didn’t misjudge the severity of the recession — it was those greedy Wall Street financiers who made it this bad.”
“It wasn’t because we ignored the safety warnings for years — it was a natural disaster.”
“It wasn’t that I have been stealing my country’s natural resources for years and stuffing the money into my Swiss bank account — it was Twitter that caused my people to revolt.”
“It wasn’t the third line of coke that I snorted — it was that my parents didn’t pay enough attention to me as a child.”
We’re surrounded by people passing the buck, and as hard as it is to listen to our leaders and heroes grasp for someone to blame, it is even more infuriating when an employee — someone on your payroll — plays the victim card.

You know the type. When something goes wrong, he immediately looks for something or somebody else to blame. She whines about how unreasonable the customer was. He blames his tools instead of looking in the mirror. She throws her team under the bus before she owns up to her mistake.

My bet is that you, too, dislike being around victims, in part because you’ve learned that when you’re the boss, it doesn’t matter who’s to blame; you’re left picking up the pieces regardless. Further, victims make it impossible for you to have a conversation about what they might do differently next time — meaning the same costly mistakes will just keeping happening on a repeat cycle.

In a business, you need people who are going to own up to mistakes, learn from them, and get on with their jobs. The last thing you need is Teflon Terry spending half his time covering up his mistakes and turning your employees against each other.

I’m so severely allergic to victims that I have started to use a simple, one-question test when hiring. If applicants fail the test, I don’t hire them, no matter how technically qualified they are for the job. I say: “Tell me about the last time you made a mistake.”

There are a number of possible responses to this question. Some are acceptable; others signal “victim.” Here’s what to watch out for:

The victim: Certifiable victims will be paralyzed by the question. They have been so programmed to deflect blame to others for their screw-ups that their system will overload as they search for a way to answer. They’ll fidget in their chair, request that you re-ask the question, and finally “admit” that they can’t actually remember the last time they made a mistake.

The victim-in-disguise: Some people will tell you about a mistake they made but then start to justify their actions. For example, they may say something like “Last Tuesday I shipped a customer’s order to the wrong address… I mean, I guess it was my mistake, but the guy in sales had scribbled the customer name so illegibly that it was hard to read his writing.”

Exercise caution before hiring a person who gives you a half-answer. Once on your payroll, this person will be quietly sizing up the most vulnerable people on your team to blame as easy ways to deflect criticism. If you get a half-answer from a candidate but you’re still not sure he or she has a full-blown case of victimitus, you can qualify the question further by stopping the interviewee mid sentence and saying, “I’m not looking for an example that had mitigating circumstances. I want you to tell me about a time when you made a mistake where you were 100 percent in the wrong.”

If the person still thrashes around, justifying his or her response, run, don’t walk, away from this person.

The safe responder: Some people will offer a safe answer, a benign mistake made in their personal life. For example, you might have someone answer with something like, “Yesterday, I was baking a cake at home, and I added a tablespoon of salt when the recipe called for teaspoon — the cake came out a disaster.”

They are admitting a mistake, taking full ownership and not blaming others, which is good. However, they lose a couple of points in my book for not reaching for a work-related example. Nevertheless, they answered the question honestly and would pass my test.

The leader: I love it when someone comes up with a work-related example and describes the situation, the decision made, and the reason it was a mistake in hindsight. They accept 100 percent accountability and do not reach for excuses or anyone else to blame.

I almost always hire these people. To me, they are exhibiting the essence of leadership.

Any candidate can be taught technical skills, but one who comes with a victim mentality in tow just isn’t worth the trouble.

What questions do you ask to weed out the bad apples?

Should you hire an overqualified candidate?

Excellent article from the Harvard Business Review

12:12 PM Thursday March 3, 2011
by Amy Gallo | Comments ( 58)

As politicians and economists puzzle over America’s jobless recovery, managers who have started to hire again face another problem: how to handle all the overqualified candidates coming through their doors. The prevailing wisdom is to avoid such applicants. But the unprecedented availability of top talent created by this recession and new research on the success of these candidates may be changing that.

What the Experts Say
Recruiters have traditionally hesitated to place overqualified candidates because of several presumed risks, says Berrin Erdogan, a professor of management at Portland State University and the lead author of a recent study on the subject. “The assumption is that the person will be bored and not motivated, so they will underperform or leave.” However, her research shows that these risks may be more perceived than real. In fact, sales associates in her study who were thought to be overqualified actually performed better. And rarely do people move on simply because they feel they’re too talented for the job. “People don’t stay or leave a company because of their skills. They stay or leave because of working conditions” she says.

Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at Egon Zehnder International and the author of Great People Decisions and “The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad,” agrees that there are more benefits to hiring an overqualified employee than there are risks.”When making hiring decisions, visionary leaders don’t just focus on the current needs, but on the future,” he says.

Here are several things to consider next time you are looking at a stack of overly impressive resumes.

Overqualified or over-experienced?
Don’t assume someone is overqualified based on a quick screen of their credentials. “There is a lot of misunderstanding over what overqualified is,” says Ergodan. “We define it as meeting and exceeding the skill requirements of the job. So having a lot of education doesn’t over-qualify you.” Nor does experience, if the person’s prior positions are not directly related to the job in question. Get to know the candidate before you decide to pass. There may be reasons why he is interested in this specific position. He may want to shift industries, move to a new location, or achieve greater work/life balance. And there may be ways that you can make use of his “extra” experience.

Think bigger than the job in question
When considering a candidate who is, in fact, overqualified for the job opening, ask yourself if there is room to expand the role and make use of the skills he brings. “While the old paradigm for hiring was to determine that a job was vacant and look for the right candidate, in today’s world one should also consider the talent opportunities at hand, and try to find the jobs that may be created or open in the near future for them, in the larger organization,” says Fernández-Aráoz.

“Hiring overqualified candidates can help you achieve much higher productivity, grow, and achieve opportunities that you may not even be thinking about pursuing right now.” There are other less obvious benefits too: these employees can mentor others, challenge peers to exceed current expectations, and bring in areas of expertise that are not represented at the company.

Bring them on carefully
“Effective onboarding is essential, especially for the overqualified,” says Erdogan. “Unmet expectations are one of the more common reasons for turnover,” so you should be clear with yourself, the new hire, and the rest of the organization about what the job entails, as well as what it could become. Adds Fernández-Aráoz: “You need a clear and explicit plan for the future, whether you are thinking of a promotion, a lateral move, or a new project altogether. You need to think and discuss beyond the initial stage where he or she may be temporarily underutilized.”

Both he and Erdogan caution that recruiters need to manage an additional risk: a boss who feels threatened. “Managers often worry, ‘Can I supervise the person effectively?'” says Erdogan. A superior with less experience than the new hire might be concerned that the person will take her job, make her look bad, or be too challenging to manage. This is not reason enough to say no. Instead, focus on the future for that candidate. In cases where the boss is insecure, “you should not bring that new hire in without a plan to promote him in the near term,” says Fernández-Aráoz.

Pay what they are worth
Although it’s tempting in a bad job market to buy top talent on the cheap, Fernández-Aráoz disapproves of the strategy. “While my experience shows that you can get candidates for up to 25% less in the middle of a big recession, I would not recommend underpaying an overqualified candidate,” he says. “We all have the expectation to be rewarded in a way which is reasonably proportional to our effort and contribution, and fair.” And if the candidate is as strong as you think, you are likely competing with other employers for her. If you can’t afford her, Fernández-Aráoz says it’s better to pass than to underpay. If she wants the job anyway, simply have a frank conversation about her future prospects in terms of promotion and compensation so that she fully understands what she’s getting into.

Principles to Remember

Do:

Think broadly about your organization and its overall talent needs now and in the future
Consider how you could accommodate a promising candidate’s skill set by shaping the job
Onboard carefully and be clear about your plans for the new employee

Don’t:

Narrowly define the hiring process as finding one person for one role
Confuse education and experience with skills; a candidate with lots of experience still may not have the capabilities to do the job
Try to pay an overqualified candidate less than he’s worth

Case Study: The hiring risk pays off
In 2009 Lara Galinsky, senior vice president at Echoing Green, needed to hire a finance director for the young, but growing, global non-profit. She thought the ideal applicant would be someone relatively young but with a few years of non-profit finance experience. She was not expecting a candidate like John Walker.

John had most recently worked for a venture capital fund that was forced to lay people off because of the economy. Prior to that, he had spent over ten years in the defense industry in a variety of senior design and management roles. “I didn’t have a background in social enterprise or non-profit. I didn’t know anything about 501(c)(3)s,” he says. But he did have deep experience in running, buying, and selling companies.

This was not an unusual situation for Echoing Green. “We get a lot of resumes from people who want to do a sector switch,” Lara explains. They have a lot of work experience but not necessarily a lot of experience in the sector.” She had previously ruled out candidates who were overqualified for certain positions or who didn’t bring enough relevant experience.

But John had been referred by a friend of the organization, and since Echoing Green straddles the world of for-profit business and non-profit organizations, she thought his experience might be applicable.

Lara and her team talk about the risks and the opportunities of hiring each candidate. They knew that there were risks with John because he had never worked in the sector. But they saw many upsides too. “We didn’t have anyone on staff with private equity experience and yet we work in that space. We knew we could use a for-profit lens,” explains Lara.

In the end, Lara thought the benefits outweighed the risks. They had been impressed with John’s willingness to learn what he didn’t know. “Hunger and potential are the most important factors we look for in candidates,” she explains. “We hire for talent, not necessarily for acumen. I look for people who can grow, mesh, and evolve.”

John came on board in early 2009. Lara encouraged and incented him to network with finance directors from other organizations, so that he could gain insight from experts in the field. The learning curve was steep but he was able to come up to speed quickly and is now thriving in the position. As Echoing Green moves into impact investing they have also been able to tap directly into his previous VC experience. While John wasn’t the person Lara initially envisioned hiring, she hadn’t imagined what someone like him could do in the position. “We have evolved with him – and used his skills in ways we didn’t anticipate.”

More on hiring: Too often, managers look to hire clones of themselves. Sharon Jordan-Evans explains in this video taken from the Hiring Module of Harvard ManageMentor how breaking free from that impulse can improve performance and retention rates.

Thank you to our 1000th LinkedIn Group Member!

“Joseph Chris Partners Connection”, our Company Group on Linked In just reached it’s 1000th member today!  If you are in the real estate, development and construction industries and you are on LinkedIn, be sure to join “Joseph Chris Partners Connection” group to read the latest industry news, forecasts, market intelligence, and to learn about new job opportunities!

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JCP/JCRESI's own Susan Vaughan and NAHB on hiring in the industry!

Hiring Again? How to find — and keep — the best employees

An interview with Susan Vaughan, VP of operations at an executive search company for construction industry.

With the recession, nearly every company in the home building industry reduced its staff. In anticipation of a recovery in the market, business owners will likely need to consider hiring again, perhaps for the first time in several years. For answers on how to find and keep the best employees, Building Women turned to the expertise of Susan Vaughan, senior vice president of operations for JCR Executive Search International, a Joseph Chris Partners company. JCR Executive Search International is dedicated to the real estate development, construction, finance, investment, and civil infrastructure industries.

What is the current trend with small businesses and hiring?
Our clients seem to be exhibiting cautious optimism. Some positions that were on hold have opened up, but clients are highly selective regarding candidates. Most will only consider those who are a very close match to their ideal profile and are not inclined to think outside the box, regarding that approach as too risky. The general process for search and hiring is slower to close, and decisions are very carefully analyzed.

Is it picking back up?
There has been a slight uptick, with the indication that the last quarter may improve.

Even in the building industry?
The homebuilding industry showed the highest increase in our firm. This could be indicative of a combination of the tax incentives, lower mortgage rates and the tendency to call us first, given our longevity and recognized position for access to top talent in the industry. Ancillary groups, such as general contracting, design/ build and third-party services, seem to tend toward direct hiring.

How should a small business owner decide when it’s time to hire staff?
There should be two primary considerations. First, have they cut too deep and stretched their current staff (or themselves) beyond reasonable limits, running the risk of low morale, productivity or burnout? Second, are there future projects or growth potential to be achieved by adding personnel? It is generally better to invest in hiring in either of those circumstances.

Is it better to hire a full-time or part-time employee, or even a contractor?
If the need is project driven and the long-term requirement is questionable, it makes perfect sense to bring in a contract employee or utilize a respected third-party provider. Those selections should also be made with extra care in the current economy.

Where are the best places (job search engines) to look for candidates, particularly in the building industry?
Employers may choose particular job boards relative to the level or type of the position to be filled. Mid-level management and construction jobs can be found on popular sites, such as Monster, Career Builder, Indeed, Simply Hired and LinkedIn. Senior level and more specifically targeted sites might include Select Leaders, ICSC, theladders.com, constructionjobs.com or aecjobbank.com, depending on the candidate’s skill set. We recommend that candidates who are actively pursuing employment treat their search as they would any other serious project — plan, strategize, organize, network and use time management.

How do you know you’ve found the best candidate?
If that question is approached being as overly complex as “How do you know you’ve found the perfect mate?” there will likely be eventual dissatisfaction with the hire. The reality is that employment situations should be easier than that, given the employer has a clear understanding of their needs and company culture. There is no way to avoid risk in any serious decision, but the best insurance is to have a clear understanding of your critical needs and look for a person who will fit well in your organization to achieve them, whether through existing skills or training.

How does a small business owner avoid the long process of finding the “perfect” person, only to have that person not perform as expected, or leave after a short time?
“Paralysis by analysis” is a real hazard in this economy. Companies are not willing to take big risks when revenues are low and the future is in such question, but having a recognition that there is no way to avoid risk in any serious decision is important. It is equally important to be transparent with the new hire about your expectations of them and how performance will be measured. Lastly, employee satisfaction is fundamentally grounded in having opportunities to be engaged creatively and feel a valued part of the success of their company. Good assessments of critical skills and emotional intelligence are possible prior to hiring, if the employer takes care to conduct a careful interview and check appropriate references.

Before leaving this question, I’d like to take the opportunity to demonstrate the value of our services. During this economy, most employers have the notion that there are volumes of good talent available without the added expense of utilizing a search firm.

To continue reading this article please click this link: http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=146101&channelID=33

Good News!

Joseph Chris Partners has indicating signs of job growth as our placement sales have shown a current monthly increase of 55% compared to the previous 12 months!