Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December Hiring Myth

December is often mistaken as a month of “nothing happening” on the hiring front. An idea exists that hiring managers push off the selection process until January either to save money on the old year’s budget or to avoid the time associated with starting a new employee during the busy schedule that accompanies end-of-year deadlines and holiday vacations.

But the December myth is just that, a myth. In fact, many hiring managers actually feel increased pressure to fill open slots before the end of the year.

People who wait or think that those December jobs might be available after the first of the year might miss a golden opportunity. The end of the year often brings “use them or lose them” deadlines at many companies. If hiring managers don't fill open positions before the New Year, they risk losing the open slots.

So what should your company do to be certain the hiring process doesn’t slow down during December?  Here are some things to consider.

1.    1.  Is your website mobile responsive? With the smart phone, many people do not even use a laptop anymore.

2.     2. Once the candidates can find the jobs, how easy is it for them to apply? Too many pages and forms to fill out and candidates will move on to a more user-friendly job opening.

3.    3.  Do you have an employee referral program? Do your employees know what it is? Share this information with your employees on a regular basis.

4.     4. Avoid scheduling challenges for interviews when hiring managers are traveling. Thanks to the accessibility of video conferencing capabilities, many resources are available to conduct the interviews via video conference. Utilize this tool to your advantage during this time of year.

5.    5.  Don’t let a lot of time go by from the first time you interview the candidate to the second interview. If you like the candidate, move quickly in the interview process. Chances are that you are not the only company who is interested in hiring this person.

6.     6. Make certain your hiring managers are educated on the state of the current job market. It should be a priority to interview candidates as soon as possible or risk losing the great candidates to proactive hiring managers.

7.     7. Flexible contract workers help to fill in the gaps during the hiring process. 

Scot Dickerson, CPC 
Capstone Search

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why Should You Always View a Person's LinkedIn Profile Before Accepting Their Request?

There is no question about it, we depend more and more on technology to do our jobs. The technology we use can be a wonderful tool, naturally, but it also creates more opportunity for thieves to gain access to our financial information or infect us with whatever the flavor of the day virus happens to be.

We have to stay on our toes constantly to avoid any number of scams happening on a daily basis. We are all familiar with the emails asking for help because the person is stranded in a foreign country. Typically when I get these I’ve never heard of the person, but today I received one from someone I actually know. Well, their name anyway.

I can spot these things a mile away. But these people doing these scams are getting better and better and more sophisticated all the time. Much of it simply comes down to common sense. But a good rule of thumb is to never open a link emailed to you unless you can verify the source as credible.

These scam artists have now made their way into LinkedIn. It was just a matter of time. But it again is just about being aware. Keeping your eyes wide open. Don’t open links from any one of your connections unless you can verify that this is a real person.

Yes, fake profiles are being added to LinkedIn every day for the sole purpose of scamming you or infecting your computer. Many people simply accept requests from other LinkedIn users without even looking at their profile. So a good word of advice: always check out the person’s profile before you accept the invitation. But review it closely. You might be surprised what you find out.

This applies to recruiters as well. If you get an invite from a recruiter, please check them out. Make certain they are a real recruiter.

To get deeper into this topic I’d like to share a link to an article, How Hackers are using fake LinkedIn profiles to steal your information.

By the way, this is link is from a trusted source, me!

Scot Dickerson, CPC

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

U.S. Work Visas - How Many Are There?

Did you know there are almost 60 different types of temporary U.S. visas in addition to several routes to permanent residence (known as a “green card”)? Unfortunately, green card applications usually take a long time, so even if this is the ultimate goal, you will probably need to begin by applying for a temporary work visa.

So let's lay this out as this topic is oftentimes a discussion with both our clients and candidates who have questions about the processes. There are three main categories of U.S. work visas for professionals. I hope this information proves helpful, and will serve as a resource to you the next time a situation pertaining to visas arises.

The H1B visa is probably the most well know. This is for Specialty Occupation Workers.

Congress determines how large the H1B quota should be. These quotas can run out rather early in the fiscal year.

The US H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine. Under the visa a US company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years.

Applying for a non-immigrant visa is generally quicker than applying for a US Green Card, therefore the H-1B visa is popular for companies wishing to bring in staff for long-term assignment in the US.

Individuals are not able to apply for an H1B visa to allow them to work in the US. The employer must petition for entry of the employee.

The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:

  1. Have a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor's or higher degree or its equivalent.
  2. The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree.
  3. The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position.
  4. The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree.

For you to qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Have completed a US bachelor's or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university.
  2. Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's or higher degree in the specialty occupation.
  3. Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment.
  4. Have education, training, or experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

Canadians can often gain entry to the US with greater ease than others; this preferential treatment for Canadians is linked to treaty provisions within the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

While there are many NAFTA related visas, the most useful one is the TN1. The TN1 visa was modeled on the H1B; it may only be used where the employer is based in the US, and the candidate is a professional in a specialty occupation.

Where a candidate, by their profession and nationality, qualifies for the TN1 visa, it has the following advantages over the H1B:

  1. It is granted for one year, but can continue to be renewed indefinitely.
  2. It can be applied for at the border with the US, and is usually granted immediately.
  3. The documentary requirements and procedure is far less burdensome than the H1B visa.
  4. The TN1 is granted for a specific employer. If needed for more than one employer, multiple TN1 applications need to be made. Self-employed professionals would not be able to come under this particular visa category, and may consider the E2 Treaty Investor category under NAFTA.

While it is possible to apply under the TN1 visa with minimal documentation, it is prudent for candidates to arm themselves with the following documents at the border with the US:

  1. A description of the position from the US employer. This should also confirm that the candidate will be a direct employee, and state the salary level. Further, some information about the nature of the employer's business should be included.
  2. Proof of the candidate's qualifications, including, where appropriate, confirmation of the US equivalency of any foreign qualifications.
  3. A copy of the candidate's resume (curriculum vitae).
  4. The original Canadian passport (if applicable), and, if relevant, copies of the candidate's previous passports, visa stamps, and I-94s.
  5. A copy of the employment contract.

The F1 visa category is reserved for academic students enrolled in colleges, universities, and other academic institutions. Upon graduation, the F1 student may apply for the OPT (Optional Practical Training)visa program. Students studying with an F1 visa are eligible to work in the USA under the OPT visa program, which affords the student the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge obtained in an academic program to a practical work experience. Any employment opportunity that the student encounters must be directly related to his or her major field of study in order to qualify as OPT. OPT may be full or part time, depending on the circumstances and may take place anywhere in the country. F1 students can transfer / change status directly from F1 to H1B by obtaining a suitable H1B sponsorship position with an H1B sponsor company. However, many students choose (or find themselves requiring) to use the OPT visa program as an interim measure in the overall process of getting to H1B visa status. 

Scot Dickerson, CPC 
Capstone Search

One Stop Shop for the Job Seeker: Career Strategies Quickguide

Through the years I’ve written numerous articles and blogs about various points of the interview process. These information writings have included topics such as the following:

And the list goes on...

I was quite pleased to run across this Career Strategies Quick Guide created by Human Resources Services, Inc. There are endless resources available to job seekers, but what I like about this Quickguide is that it pulls it all together into one simplified resource for the job seeker.

Here it is:

You've all heard the saying "knowledge is power". This is especially true when applied to the interview process. You will have the power it takes to win the job if you enter the interview process prepared!

HRS has proudly released for viewing the revised adaptation of a well-received HRS Career Strategies Quickguide. After extensive research and partnership with thousands of world class corporate hiring authorities plus the successful guidance of tens of thousands through the job search process, we know we've answered here the most critical and frequently asked questions...

Scot Dickerson, Capstone Search

Resume Writing Services: Good Value or Bad Deal?

When involved in a career search every detail is equally important. We talk about the interview process and how to prepare and present. We talk about what to say and what not to say. However, what typically gets you the interview? The marketing piece of course. So what is the marketing piece you ask? It is simply your resume.

If you’ve been job searching for some time without success, it may not be what you’re saying, but how you’re coming across on paper. That’s where a resume writer can be a good resource tool for you.  Resume writers are not just professional writers, but they’re experts in making your resume stand out from the rest of the applicant pool.

Here’s why a resume writer could be a good investment for you.

  1. Let’s say you’re not gifted in the art of writing. Let’s face it, not everyone is, just like everyone can’t be an actuary. Everyone has their individual strengths and weaknesses.
  2. So if crunching numbers and manipulating data is your game and not words, and you find yourself struggling to express your previous work experience...well a resume writer can help. He/she can discern what needs to be on your resume (and perhaps more importantly, what doesn't), and express it all professionally.
  3. You might need an expert to help you through the writing process if you have a hard time talking about yourself, much less writing it all down on paper. There's no shame in getting help with this because writing about yourself is one of the toughest assignments, and you're often your own worst critic.
  4. A professional resume writer will know how to spotlight your most worthy accomplishments because they are looking at them with fresh, unbiased eyes. Let them turn your resume into something that’s personable and professional. 

If you want to make a professional resume, take advantage of resume writing services. All people who are either weak in writing or cannot organize their ideas, thoughts, experiences and qualifications, can take assistance of these resume writing services. However, you should take care of the reputation of the service providers. This is an internet world and you will come by hundreds of fraudulent service providers who are after your money.

We have come across a service that we feel comfortable recommending to job seekers. If you need assistance with your resume check out Pinnacle Resumes. You can learn more about Pinnacle Resumes by clicking here.

Scot Dickerson, CPC
Capstone Search

Thursday, November 19, 2015

“Money don't get everything it's true.” – John, Paul, George & Ringo

Sometimes it takes major life events to help us put things into true perspective. I’ve always been a big believer in pursuing things that bring you great joy and satisfaction because some day you may wake up and be 50 years old and say to yourself, “Wow, I’m 50 years old. Sure wish I had taken that trip. Or, wish I would have taken that job. Or, wish……”

No regrets I say. By the way, nothing wrong with 50. But you get my point.

So here are quotes we’ve all heard:

“Live every day as if it were going to be your last; for one day you’re sure to be right.”
Harry Morant

“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.”
Charles Richards

“As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.”– Zachary Scott
“If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.”Larry McMurtry

But sometimes we get hung up on little things. For example money. We are presented with a unique opportunity. An opportunity that does not come along often. Maybe an opportunity we may not see again. Yet we look too much at the money. We can’t see the forest for the trees. Money can’t bring job satisfaction. Employees are most satisfied when they find their work interesting. Using your talents, engaging in challenging projects, and diversity keep work interesting.

Sometimes it takes a short term monetary concession that will soon be forgotten to secure that unique opportunity. Getting hung up on money can lead to regrets later.

More quotes:
“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.” 
Donald Trump

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” 
Maya Angelou

Scot Dickerson, CPC

Monday, October 12, 2015

Get a Real Job Mr. “Recruiter!"

So here’s the scenario:

 While we are traditionally a direct placement firm, we have a contract employee solution for firms seeking contract staffing. We have had a Work Comp Adjuster contract employee out on assignment with an insurance carrier, and this contract employee has been assigned a pending case load of claims for one of this carrier’s larger organizations. This organization for the carrier was looking to hire an adjuster to handle their claims internally.

The organization had this position posted to their website. A “recruiter” saw this adjuster job posting, then went onto LinkedIn and found a profile for a Work Comp Adjuster and presented/referred this profile to the organization for review. The organization actually knew the candidate who was presented by this “recruiter” because it was the contract employee handling their claims through the carrier as mentioned above.

Now the organization feels obligated to pay this “recruiter” a fee because he “referred” the candidate to them. Okay let’s stop right there. I had never heard of this “recruiter” beforehand, so I took to Google to do a little research. They call themselves an IT recruiter. They are located in CA. So….

First thing to take note is that this person is outside their area of expertise. They are not an insurance recruiter. They do not recruit claims. They recruit IT, or so they state.
Next thing to take note. This type of practice is precisely what gives the recruiting profession a bad name. The good, respectable recruiters are constantly battling this type of behavior. It is not acceptable to ambulance chase in our profession. Respectable recruiters don’t peruse employer websites looking for openings, then locate a profile on LinkedIn, and then send in that profile with never even telling the candidate. This is a completely unacceptable practice.

To make things even worse, the organization tells us that this “recruiter” was hard to reach, did very little to assist them when they did start the interview process, and the candidate even stated that the “recruiter” bullied and threatened them.

Get a real job Mr. “Recruiter,” there is no place in this profession for people like this.

Dear Hiring Manager/HR Professional,

This is not an acceptable practice. You do not owe this “recruiter” anything. First, you knew the candidate before this “recruiter” ever shared the LinkedIn profile with you. Second, the candidate didn’t even know their profile was being sent to you. Third, this “recruiter” had no business sending you this profile…period. Their tactics are despicable.

Scot Dickerson, CPC
President, Capstone Search

Monday, October 5, 2015

Job Interviewing To Get to the Heart of What You Really Want to Know, and Quickly…….

The right hire can create excitement and energy among team members. A hiring mistake can quickly undo employee productivity.  

Focusing on achievements and accomplishments comes in a number of forms, but particular interview questions get to the bottom line more efficiently than others.

“Tell me about your career progression, leading me up to what you do now in your current role.”

Focus on progression and assuming of greater responsibilities. Often people who strive for progression also have a greater achievement awareness that translates into higher productivity, creativity, and employee engagement. Keep in mind that progression doesn’t always meet changing in position. A person can add to their experiences and skill sets by taking on added responsibilities without change in position/title.

An interview question such as, “What makes you stand out among your peers?” can be an excellent measure of an individual’s level of self-esteem and awareness of accomplishments. 

If the job candidate stumbles in coming up with an answer, you could gently lead them to a similar interview question, “Why would your former bosses say you’re a valuable employee? What do you think they would remember most about you?” Be sure and watch interview body language and eye contact while a candidate responds.

A good question to give you insights into how well candidates can quantify their achievements could be done by asking, “What have you done at your present/last company to increase revenues, reduce costs, or save time?”

Remember that intelligence, prior experience and credentials don’t mean much unless new hires are willing to apply themselves to the new job. An excellent interview question to learn more about a candidate’s initiative is, “What’s the one achievement that you’re most proud of in your career?”

People who focus on achievements and accomplishments tend to get to the results faster.

Scot Dickerson, CPC

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Dos and Don’ts for a Video Interview

As most everyone knows, Skype is part of Microsoft (Microsoft purchased Skype in 2011), which makes for an easily accessible tool if you use Microsoft products as often as I do. Everything can be linked!  You can make video and audio calls, exchange chat messages using Skype's software on your computer and/or mobile device just over the internet. Many of the services are even available for free, or you can of course pay for added bonuses. Skype just simply uses your computer’s webcam or an external web cam for quick video calls. And of course there are other virtual online video interviewing tools, application and software available other than Skype, too.

It has been over ten years since Skype was released (2003), and I have been seeing more and more companies just beginning to use these tools recently. The dos and don’ts list for a video interview is different from both in-person and phone interviews. Hence the need for myself and my fellow professional recruiters to step up and become a resource to assist candidates as they prepare for what could very well be your first video interview.

Video interviews can serve of great value to both candidates and companies — you still get face-to-face time with an employer while eliminating the need for travel during the initial interview stage. Here are some tips you can use as a resource for your next video interview.


Look at the camera, not the screen.
It’s not unusual to want to watch yourself or your interviewer during a video interview session, but looking directly at the video camera is the only way to maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer.

Proper Dress.
When it comes to what you wear, treat your video interview like an in-person interview and dress professionally. A professional dress code with video interviews is expected.

Select the optimal location.
Pick a quiet place to interview without an elaborate backdrop so that you can be the focal point on the screen. Remove anything distracting behind you and keep it neutral.

Doing a run through interview with a friend beforehand is helpful because your first few video interview calls are likely to feel awkward, especially if you have to retrain yourself to watch the camera and not the screen (it’s hard not to look at yourself!). Play around with everything beforehand so that when it's interview time you are prepared.

Close other programs on your computer.
Getting Facebook notifications during your interview is distracting and unprofessional. Before your interview, make sure all other windows on your computer are closed.

Eliminate possible interruptions.
If you are interviewing in a house with multiple people or pets, be sure to let everyone in the house know ahead of time that you will be in an interview while securing any animals away from your interview space.

Make certain your profile is professional.
Unlike an in-person or phone interview, your first impression during a video interview doesn't actually involve you. The first thing your interviewer will see is your Skype username and picture, so double check that they are both interview appropriate (professional).

Body language.
Not all physical cues translate from in-person interviews to video interviews, which make the ones that do even more important. Be sure to have good posture but don’t be stiff. Hold yourself up but be relaxed as well. Don’t slump forward.

Scot Dickerson, CPC 
Capstone Search

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Are Accepted Job Offers Done Deals?

Last week one of my staff wrote a blog where she discussed locking down a candidate after they have accepted your offer. Is it enough? Is it too much? I liked this topic so much I wanted to drill down a bit deeper on this one. It deserves the attention. The blog was well written and definitely creates reason to ponder that very question, that is, if a candidate accepts my offer, will they actually show up on their start date?

That would seem to be a question one would not need to ask of professional level candidates and to a degree the question is very annoying. I mean, you went through an entire intense screening and interview process with this person. The very question of them not starting after accepting an offer is ridiculous, right? Unfortunately it is not. While I think it would lack complete professionalism at any level to simply not show up and I don’t think you’d actually see that, the reality is, even if a candidate accepts your offer doesn’t mean they are 100% committed to starting. They may still interview with other companies up until they start. Or even if they are not interviewing and see themselves as committed to you, one phone call from a recruiter or company hiring manager may be just enough to get them intrigued at looking at something prior to their start date with your company.

So don’t fool yourself, it’s never simply a done deal. It is an ongoing process until they show up for work and even after they are on board.

Indeed, it is about timing and if someone is in an active job search there’s a good chance a company they applied for will have an opening become available. Or perhaps their interview process was slower than yours, but now they are ready to start moving things along now.

You must continue the courting process until that person starts with you. Invite them to a company meeting, fill out pre-employment paperwork, have them start anything that can realistically be started before they actually begin employment, bring them in to set up their desk and so on.  The Start date/First 30 days mark continues with the colleague lunches, get them involved in a committee, set up client/marketing visits and set a six month review plan.   From the moment a person accepts a job offer you want them to feel like they are already part of your company. This builds that psychological buy in that is so critical to avoiding them being pulled away by another opportunity.

Scot Dickerson, CPC

Spouse/Significant Other in the Relocation Process

I vacationed in Washington DC with my family this last week. Great trip. So much to see and do. We really enjoyed ourselves. As we were walking down 14th Street toward the Washington Monument my wife said, “I couldn’t live here.”  She went on to say, “It’s a great city with so much to see and do. Such amazing architecture. But for me, too many people. Everything seems so crowded. I just wouldn’t be comfortable.”

This got me thinking, geographical preference is such an individual thing. A lot to do with a person’s frame of reference. Being born and raised in Iowa and vacationing mostly in places such as beaches in Florida, her point of reference is so much different than someone else who was born and raised in an area such as Chicago, NYC, DC and so on.

Naturally there are always going to be exceptions as certainly there are people who were raised in Iowa that would much prefer a Chicago.

But the fact is, certain people are just more comfortable in a certain surrounding. To take such a person and place them in an area they are not comfortable is a recipe for a failed relocation.

This leads me to my point, employers must take into consideration a candidate’s spouse in the relocation and interview process. But what's appropriate? What are some companies doing?

Over the years I’ve seen companies have the spouse or significant other travel along with the candidate to the on-site interview. As these companies realized that if this was going to work, the significant other must be on board as well.

I’ve seen companies extend an offer to a candidate and part of the offer process, invite the candidate and spouse/significant other to come out to look the area over.

I’ve seen candidates even ask the company if it was okay if they brought their spouse/significant other at their own expense. Sometimes the companies will step-up and offer to pay for the spouse/significant other travel expenses. That can go a long way to creating a very favorable view of a potential employer.

The employer simply cannot overlook the importance of the spouse/significant other to securing the candidate they wish to bring on board. No matter how much you want a candidate to come on board, if their spouse/significant other is not on board with the geographic location, it will certainly fall apart at some point. I believe it makes the best sense to determine this prior to an offer being accepted.

Scot Dickerson, CPC

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Insurance Recruiting is Much the Same as Athlete Recruiting

At the very basic core, athlete recruiting is much the same as recruiting for professionals in the job market. Both are about networking and marketing. Both of which create exposure. Getting seen by the right people. Athletes want to be seen by the coaches and recruiting staff at the schools they wish to attend. Insurance industry professionals want to be seen by the hiring managers at the organizations they have a desire in joining.

Both take strategy and a lot of work. Highlighting the attributes and values you bring to an organization is critical as it is critical for the athlete to highlight the attributes and values they bring to a sports team. The athlete in this video is 5’6” and 115 lbs. Certainly not the biggest or tallest player that can intimidate with their sheer presence such as a Britney Griner; however, she is a strong ball handler and excellent shooter. These are the values she can bring to the game.

A professional recruiter that knows your industry and has strong networks can create controlled and confidential exposure for you to the people you want to be seen by at organizations. The recruiter can highlight your attributes, skills, abilities. The things you bring to the table that can bring great value to an organization. Strategy, networking, marketing are all the name of the game in assisting you in finding your next career opportunity. A resume can only tell someone what they can see on the piece of paper. Someone than serves as your advocate can highlight your values beyond what can only be seen on paper.

If you are exploring the market are you being seen by the right people? Or are you only submitting your resume to online postings and portals? Are you getting the opportunity to really highlight what you actually can bring to the table or are you limited to just being able to send in a resume?

Scot Dickerson, CPC
Capstone Search

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Risky Business – Slow Hiring Decisions

Good talent is difficult to find whether the economy is strong or the economy is less than stellar. The notion that a bad economy allows a hiring manager to slow the process is false. In the famous words of Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory…Relativity was a great idea. This is a notion and a rather sucky one at that.

There are several negative consequences of a slow hiring processes. Here are a few.

You could possibly lose top candidates during the late stages of your recruitment process — when gainfully employed top candidates decide to explore opportunities, they are likely to be quickly contacted with prospects and offers, which means that often they will only be on the job market for a matter of weeks or less.

An extended hiring process does not improve the quality of the hire — One could think that taking more time to make a hiring decision would result in better hires...because you had more time to gather information, to gather feedback, and to mull over the finalists. Unfortunately, slow hiring has the opposite effect. The longer you take, often the lower the quality will be. The primary reason for this drop off, as mentioned in the first section, is that with an extended hiring process, all of the top candidates will likely drop out.

You will lose revenue and productivity because vacant positions are open for too long — a stretched-out hiring processes means that vacant positions go unfilled for months. Each day a position is vacant has a significant dollar impact on productivity, innovation, and revenue generation.

You potentially may have to pay new hires more in salary because they will have other offers — If you have an extended hiring process, there will be ample time for other firms to recruit these same top candidates. And once multiple firms start fighting over and literally bidding on one of your candidates, their salary demands will invariably increase once they realize their true market value.

Your image of being slow decision-makers will cause you to lose many top prospects —The appearance of slow decision-making will damage your hiring results. This is because many top candidates view the long time it takes a firm to reach a hiring decision as a reflection of the corporate culture and what business decision-making is actually like.

Your employees will also feel the negative impacts of slow hiring —Your employees will be asked to do double duty and/or overtime, which will negatively impact their morale and retention rates. Employees who came from other faster-hiring firms will get frustrated because they know that these extended vacancies aren’t necessary.

If you are targeting “passive candidates,” realize that slow hiring may result instead in the hiring of actives — The passive candidate may take a longer time to decide whether to explore your opportunity, but hiring managers must realize that once they indicate even a potential interest in your opportunity you have to move fast to keep the momentum and interest rolling. An extended hiring processes will give you a low probability of securing these highly desirable passive candidates.  Because slow recruiting processes are not capable of hiring these targeted passives, firms with slow hiring processes typically end up with most of their hires coming from the active job seeker pool. But even then, slow hiring decisions means that you will likely lose the best from among these active job seekers.

Scot Dickerson, CPC
President Capstone Search

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How to Have a Rockstar Interview

A few days ago my daughter asked me when she was going to get her phone back. We took it away from her awhile back due to some poor choices. I told her that we should talk about that, but also said to her, “You do realize it was never meant to be a punishment but instead to protect you from yourself... So when you get upset about something you wouldn't text, tweet or post something that could come back to haunt you later.”

Last night I was bringing her home and I was singing along to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. She punched me in the arm. I asked her what that was for and she replied, “I am only protecting you from yourself.”

Okay so I’m no Sam Smith or Barry Manilow (did I just say that?!), so thank goodness Liberty Mutual Insurance came out with this catchy and very informative video about preparing for a job interview. Give it a look and listen. It really is entertaining and full of great tips and info. Just click on the link below.

Rockstar Interview by Liberty Mutual can viewed:

Scot Dickerson
Capstone Search

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Who is Alotta Candor?

I was talking to a job seeker yesterday. This individual contacted me about a position I’m working on. When I responded to them they told me had they known I was a recruiter, they never would have contacted me. Ouch. Talk about judging without getting to know someone!

I told the person that I trust they have had a poor experience with a recruiter previously. They told me that they’ve never had a good experience, and this article they sent to me, summed it up.

This is the type of information floating around the internet that does absolutely no good to anyone. This was written by, do I dare say, someone who has no doubt not done their job correctly on their end. Someone who has become disillusioned and decided to trash everyone in a group. Gee….what do we call that in our society?

I have blogged on a similar topic previously. I'd venture to say we've all had poor experiences with retail professionals, legal professionals, medical professionals, call center professionals etc, etc. But to say all are bad because of isolated experiences is simply faulty logic. I’ve been an insurance recruiter for 20 years and I’ve had less than desirable experiences myself within my own profession. I even wonder how some of these folks stay in business.

In your travels through life you are going to come in contact with people you do not click with, people that do not meet your expectations and/or people that simply put, are just plain terrible at their jobs and probably have no business being in that profession. But to blindly categorize the entire profession is very narrow minded. Sorry just said that, but I believe it is true. I’ve had poor experiences with physicians but to go blogging saying all physicians are this or that is just wrong. That is exactly what has occurred here.

Come on now, this blogger didn’t even use their real name…. Alotta Candor?? What does that tell you? Is this even real or did someone have one bad experience and then decided to trash an entire industry.

Bottom line….read my previous blogs regarding selecting the right recruiter. But do not allow your perceptions of a profession be tainted by this crap.

Scot Dickerson, CPC
Capstone Search

Monday, April 6, 2015

Prepared and Committed for Job Interviewing?

Since the job market slowed in 2008 we have generally seen companies tend to take more time in their interview/selection process when hiring. I believe it comes down to a combination of things. First everyone is expected to do more with less. When translated to the interview process this simply means the interviewers are far busier than they were previously; schedules are not as readily available to conduct interviews. Secondly it is also a result, I believe, of hiring managers believing that they can be far more selective in their search process. Finally, I believe hiring managers are also under the impression that people will be available longer because there are fewer opportunities.

Whatever the reasons, the selection process has indeed slowed. However, there are always exceptions. There are always going to be hiring managers that meet a candidate and immediately know that is the person they want to bring on board. The process moves quickly and then everyone is caught off guard because that simply is not the expectation.

Recently I have been working on a search for a client. This client is very good to work with and they always try to keep things moving along; however, given the nature of the search the candidate pool is shallow so just coming up with qualified candidates is a challenge.

So I meet an individual that is qualified and interested in speaking with the client. This professional is not actively looking but was interested in both the location of the opportunity as well as the company and the opportunity overall.

I presented the candidate to the client company. Within a week of the referral they flew the candidate into their office. After the interview, the client had an offer ready to present. This is definitely the exception verse the typical scenario. But the result was a very unprepared candidate. Because the speed at which the client moved caught me by surprise as well as the candidate, the candidate immediately went to reaction mode, that is, “Oh my gosh that was fast, I don’t know that I am prepared for this” type of thinking.

So how could this have been prevented?  I should have done a better job in preparing the candidate mentally for this possible scenario. So I dropped the ball. I should have had more conversations with the candidate setting the stage. The candidate has a relative who lives in the area where the client is located and they had made several trips to the area. So that was covered. The candidate had discussed everything with their spouse so that was covered. It was more of the emotional part that I should have better prepared the candidate for.

My scenario was a bit unique because the candidate was not actually exploring the market, but  I still believe there is a lesson that can be learned from this experience……if you are a job seeker and you commit to going on an interview, you should be committed to the process. Candidates should realize that if they go on an interview, an offer very well may follow. Realizing that is a possibility, they must be mentally committed to that part of the process and be prepared on how they will handle an offer should it come. Receiving an offer should always be the ultimate goal out of an interview. Whether you accept it or not is another story. Always better to have received an offer than not get one at all. So if that possibly does exist and it should, you must prepare yourself. So when it happens you are prepared to react accordingly verse going into reaction mode and coming across as though you were not prepared. So job seekers, cover your bases:

1.       Research the area where the company is located in advance. 
2.       Check out the community as best you can. 
3.       Explore schools if that is going to be part of the process. 
4.       Explore cost of living. More importantly, buying power. How is your buying power impacted?
5.       Learn as much as you can about the company. Think everything through prior to the interview asking yourself, "Okay, what if I get an offer? What else do I need to know to determine if this is something I wish to pursue?"
6.       But above all, only go on an interview if you are truly interested in making a job change (if it is the right opportunity naturally). But don’t go on an interview unless you truly believe deep inside your heart that you are ready to make a change. 

Scot Dickerson, CPC

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Family Always Comes First

I’m one of those people that tend to separate my personal life from my business dealings. When I’m with family I rarely talk about business. When at work I rarely talk about my personal life. (Other than relating applicable past experiences to a given scenario perhaps.) There is no wrong or right when it comes to mixing business with personal life. And I realize it depends on the type of employment a person is involved in as well. Some people simply cannot separate the two.
While speaking with a candidate the other day, we were discussing their job history as I do with everyone I speak with. They left their most recent employer in 2014 voluntarily. They explained that they resigned their position to care for a terminal family member. And they almost sounded apologetic for doing so. They then asked me how to handle that in an interview.

My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2014. Those that know about this type of cancer know that depending on how advanced it is, the survival rate can be quite low. Unfortunately my mom’s is quite advanced and inoperable. She has undergone chemo treatments and while that stopped the growth there was no hope for recovery. In fact they had to stop the chemo treatments a couple weeks ago as she is too weak to endure additional chemo.

I was visiting her Saturday and commented to her how good she looked. The fact is, you never know when you visit if she is going to even be aware you are there, but this day was different. She looked really good. When I shared that with her, she responded, “Thank you. I remember how good my mom looked when she was in her coffin. Her face was so relaxed. She looked better than she had in months.” Wow! Honestly I was, for the first time in my life, speechless. I had no idea how to even respond to what she had just said to me.

The scenario I described with the candidate above is not the first time I've had that conversation with candidates. At least a half a dozen times a year I speak to insurance professionals that left employment for a period of time to care for a terminal family member. My point is simply this, never hesitate in an interview to explain a scenario such as this to the interviewer. If they question why you would do something like that, you don’t want to work for that person anyway. That is in all honesty. Good leaders have empathy and understanding. Tyrants do not. Which leader would you rather work for?

Scot Dickerson, CPC
Capstone Search

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mobile Recruiting

Mobile recruiting should be at the forefront of recruiting managers' and talent acquisition business partners' minds as the continued convergence of mobile and social media have created a significant trend in the use of mobile technology by job seekers.

Recruitment professionals must be prepared to reap the rewards of the powerful digital marketing and engagement channel. But for some it is not clear what the objective is, or how to go about it.

Many companies have moved mobile off the priority list in place of social media. The problem with this approach is that social media has largely become mobile as well.

What do candidates want to do via mobile? Everything. The mobile user already knows the power of their device. The recruitment industry needs to respond to this change in the way job seekers source opportunities.

The recruitment industry’s difficulty is that today’s candidate processing systems are not always mobile friendly. They were designed to solve a different problem: mass volume of resumes sent by email.

Recruitment and Talent Acquisition must maximize candidate engagement via mobile. It’s time to start focusing on mobile as a recruitment channel. Via email and your website, your candidates are already finding new jobs via mobile with you, but the experience is not good. The recruiting industry is lagging far behind other industries when it comes to maximizing potential returns from mobile.

Scot Dickerson, CPC
Capstone Search

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tips for managing Contract Employee

To remain flexible in our present economy of continued uncertainty, hiring contract workers rather than staff employees to keep costs down, remains common place. Unlike a full-time employee, companies do not have to pay contractors a regular salary, employment taxes or an average of $12,000 annually in family health care costs.

Managers of contractors have to juggle workers who are frequently off-site, who schedule their own hours and who may have multiple priorities.

Tips for managing Contract Employee:

1.       Create guidelines for your contractors that explicitly provide project details, expectations, timelines and deadlines.
2.       Perhaps consider creating an orientation process. The first time you work with a contract consultant, have them go through an orientation process that reviews the company’s mission and philosophy, the available resources, processes and values.
3.       Schedule weekly phone conversations with your contractors and make yourself available if a question comes up.
4.       Provide constant feedback to contract employees.

All this might seem like a lot of upfront work, but it’s worth it to get them performing at the level you need them to.

You should treat contractors as an integral part of the company. A contractor who is engaged in the work is more likely to take on additional projects and more willing to accept a permanent position if one opens up.

Plus, contractors need to know that their work contributes directly to the company’s performance. Clearly illustrating how a contractor supports the goals of the company and encouraging them with praise, honest feedback will boost their loyalty.

At the end of the day managing contractors in many ways resembles managing staff employees. Communication lines need to be open and clear, values must be aligned, and feedback boost engagement.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Internship II

After old-school insurance salesmen Billy and Nick find themselves downsized, Billy decides that, despite their complete lack of technological savvy, they should work for Google. The friends somehow manage to finagle internships at the Internet giant and promptly head out to Silicon Valley. Soon afterwards…….Google is launching a new auto insurance site……

Scot Dickerson 
President Capstone Search

Monday, January 5, 2015

Identifying the Right Recruiter For You

My recently posted blog regarding 11 Recruiting Myths surrounding recruiters posed a question from a reader that was along these lines:

I enjoyed a recent article you shared regarding recruiting myths. As a job seeker, for a company you are interested in, what is the best way to find out if a recruiter works with that particular company?

It struck me that this is probably a question many job seekers face. So I will share my response........

We feel that the first thing you need to do is identify a recruiter, or recruiters, that specialize within the insurance industry. Screen your recruiter(s) so you have a comfort as to their actual understanding of the industry and your specific discipline within the insurance industry. Next be certain the chemistry is good between you and the recruiter(s). Next, what is the philosophy on how they proceed? What I mean here is, will they secure your consent prior to ever sending your resume out? If not, perhaps you don’t use them. In addition, will they share the name of their client with you? If not, perhaps you don’t use them. You have to do all this first.

Once you've screened out the recruiter(s) meeting these expectations, then you ask them if they work with ABC company. Here’s the scoop: Some recruiters work with a handful of companies and that is all. However, we for example, work with virtually any company within the insurance industry. So for our firm it is more about who we DO NOT work with. And there is a reason we do not work with those companies. Then there are a few companies that simply do not use recruiters, period. These companies are what we call recruiter resistant. So you as a candidate are always better going direct regardless of what a recruiter may tell you. A recruiter’s job is to help you get seen by the right people. It should not be about their best interests but your best interests. It should not be about whether they can try to make a fee verse your best interests.

Now there are some companies where you must be on a “preferred vendor” list. If the recruiter is not on it then they will not work with that recruiter. Or they may be open to the recruiter being added to their list. They may be open to that! Or they may not be. A recruiter should know if they are on the “preferred vendor” list. A recruiter should know whether a company is open to adding an additional recruiter. That is simply industry knowledge. An experienced recruiter should know this.

There are companies that we are not willing to represent as well. Based on our interactions with them we do not feel it would be in our best interests to serve as a representative for that particular company. That decision could be based on various factors.

In addition and worth noting, the days of companies being loyal to using a certain recruiter/recruiters is long gone. This is not a jab at insurance organizations. It is simply a statement on where the job market is at currently. A company is interested in hiring the best candidate. Companies will happily accept qualified candidates from the recruiter that can bring them to the table, assuming they use recruiters and assuming they are not restricted by the “preferred vendor” list.

Our firm enjoys established relationships with countless quality insurance organizations across all 50 states. We've earned those relationships by being knowledgeable, being ethical, and providing quality service to the client. But we also understand that if another recruiter brings the right candidate to the table they will accept that candidate. And they should. It is about making the right hire.

So in summary, screen your recruiter(s) based on the above. Then simply ask them if they work with the company you have in mind. They should tell you one of the following:
  1. The company does not use recruiters and you should go direct.
  2. The company uses a “preferred vendor” list and they are or are not on it.
  3. They are actively working with them and happy to contact them.
  4. They are not actively working with the company but glad to contact them.
  5. They only work with specific companies and this is not one of them.

Scot Dickerson, CPC
President  Capstone Search Group