Tag Archives: recruiter

Old School is still the Best School

16 Sep

I love going to the bookstore on a Sunday afternoon, and looking thru the racks of books. Sadly this pastime will most likely become extinct, as tablets and iPads are the future of the world. I am excited for the future, and in this case getting my books downloaded to my iPad in 60 seconds; instead of having to fight traffic, find a parking spot, and waste more gas in my SUV. One day I’ll look back and tell my grandchildren how things “used to be”, and “what people used to do.”

This got me thinking. I was reading ESPN yesterday; and read that the Buffalo Sabres new owner Terry Pegula got in his own car, and got a bunch of million dollar star athletes to drive around Buffalo, NY to hand out season tickets to the season ticket holders. REALLY!!!!!

 Mr. Pegula (please Google his business success) got in his own car and knocked on doors and handed out tickets. He wasn’t in the million dollar areas; he was in the regular blue-collar parts of Buffalo, NY saying “HI” to the everyday people who support his team and the community. He had Ryan Miller “Americas Goalie”, and the best players on the team driving around town handing out tickets and shaking hands. This reminds me of the politicians shaking hands and kissing babies, but you know what it worked back then, and it still works today. Sure it would have been easier to FedEx the tickets; or print them from your home computer, or download them to your smart phone after you finish downloading To Kill A Mockingbird.

When you’re a passionate fan like myself you know that feeling of holding a ticket in your hand for the big game. To compare; it’s kind of like holding a book.

Mr. Pegula did something that has never been done in Buffalo, NY.   Maybe it was his old school mentality of trying to rebuild fan loyalty one person at a time. Maybe it was a lesson in leadership from a billionaire saying that no one is to good, or to proud to say thank you, and show some appreciation for his or her community. What else has never been done in Buffalo? Winning!  However now this can all change.  It all starts with leadership, and it starts from the top, whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small start-up. Thank you Mr. Pegula for teaching everyone all over the country a good lesson in leadership.

Hockey is Life and so is Recruiting

9 Sep

Remember those shirts with the slogans that read “Hockey is Life” and “Give Blood Play Hockey”? Well I do because I was the hockey player from Buffalo, NY who bought those shirts. Why am I talking about these silly t-shirt slogans? Has anyone been watching the news lately? Over the last few months the “Hockey World” has had multiple suicides, and just yesterday a plane crash killed the majority of a Russian hockey team. All of a sudden you are on top of the world playing professional hockey living the dream, and then before you know it it’s all over. Anything can come and take your dream away, depression, a plane crash or a car crash (Rick Martin). Maybe hockey is not your life anymore. There are plenty of ex-hockey players whose skills have diminished, and are left to sit behind a desk like the rest of us grinding out a nine to five career.

I recently read Malcolm Gladwells book Outliers. The book is about success; Gladwells states that ten thousand hours of experience doing one thing can make you an expert. Most Hockey Players start playing hockey around four years of age, and they get probably two to three hours of ice time a week. If you average that over a year; that is about one hundred fifty-six hours of ice time, and that would take you about nine years to get to Gladwell’s ten-thousand hours. At the age of thirteen or fourteen you are starting to come into your own as a hockey player, and it is then that you figure out if you have a SHOT at making it or not.

In the real world if you graduate with a four-year degree you probably finish college around twenty-three years old. Maybe you stay in your job for one to three years, and then you bounce from career to career hoping to figure out what you want to do. However some of us never figure out what we want to do, so most of us out there in the work place are not experts at our careers. For example sales people, I am sure you hear it all the time “I can sell anything, just get me in front of someone.” It’s all CRAP!!

Where are all the experts? I want to meet and work with experts. I want to meet the professional who has spent the majority of their career in one industry, and is an expert in that subject. Fewer and fewer people are becoming career plumbers or electricians, but they are the people we call when we have a problem in our homes. After ten years in the search industry I am an EXPERT. I want you to call me when you have a problem at your office. I’ll be your corporate plumber and help get rid of the crap, and then I’ll be your electrician and help you see the light!

Are you ready for some…….HR??‏

26 Aug
Fantasy american football

Image via Wikipedia

YES, it is that time again for most of us. Fantasy Football.

 A bunch of years ago I would have laughed at you and thought you were more nerdy than me for wanting to participate in such a thing. BUT WOW IS IT FUN. Right now I am engaged in a dispute of how much money I owe my father and his best friend for losing to them last year. I was hoping old age would kick in and they would think that they owed me money but that isn’t the case. Another league we are starting has 10 people. Some of us know each other, others don’t. I happen to know everyone, but yet I am not the commissioner.  This one is interesting, we have no rules, no scoring system and I’m not even sure what kind of league we are having.  All of this was being battled out yesterday between some friendly hazing and a few hundred suggestions. EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION, and my inbox showed every email that was sent…agggggghhhhh

 This all reminded me of so many HR/Recruiting experiences I have had with clients over the years. The lack of organization, the lack of communication, everyone sticking in their opinions and causing more headaches than necessary. Deals not getting done on time, losing great candidates because someone else thought they were interviewing at 2pm instead of 3pm. Or I thought the offer letter was in the mail. Or, sure you can have 4 weeks of vacation, nope we only give 2 weeks. Where is the communication? Where is the leadership? Where is the process? Come on HR, you have to be better than that. You are the unofficial commissioner for your company and how it is perceived by people.

 Those 3 questions are so important, not for Fantasy Football so much, but for life and business. If you and your organization have those 3 skills locked in you are off to a good start. Get them implemented sooner than later and you have a  shot of surviving. Good recruiters and candidates can recognize a company that has all three components working together. It makes the recruiting process so much better not just for the recruiter but our mutual goal of attracting good talent.  A well run HR Group or “Fantasy Football League” has to be communicating with each other. Coordinating time, dates and what we want to get out of our interview so we can hire the best candidate for the job. It sounds easier than it really is. On a daily basis I see the good the bad and the ugly from HR.  The best ones are fun to work with and make waking up earlier than usual exciting and rewarding. The ugly and bad are not lost, they just need to recognize that things can be improved and make those changes. Search Solution Group can HELP!! Call us

 As for Fantasy Football. I predict my friends will cry at the humiliation my teams will cause them this year. I can only apologize and offer some comfort that next year is right around the corner for them. As far as my Dad and his best friend are concerned. I promise I will have the last laugh.

Coaching Lessons from the Diamond‏

15 Jul
Hanford Youth Baseball 2011, Cal Ripken Baseball

Image by Boyce Duprey via Flickr

My dad has always been one of my baseball coaches’ as a kid along with his friend “Neal” whom we will refer to as Coach for story telling purposes. Together they make a great team, kind of like Batman and Robin(without the spandex) or Seinfeld and George. They coached together for years until all  of the kids went off to college, but our families remained friends and continued spending time together over the holidays and for Birthdays and other events (weddings and sadly funerals).

As I grew up and started to find my way professionally I started falling back on some of the coaching techniques and psychology that they used on us as kids and maybe even on us as adults. ( I recently found out that my dad tricked me into eating spinach as a kid). Trying to  teach, train, mentor  and grow a business continues to be fun and still the most challenging thing I face every day. However, I had no experience doing it, no real life experiences!

Not having any real leadership experience, I thought back to the two people who taught me the most and were my mentors as a kid; My dad and Coach. Heck, I interact with Corp VP’s all the time and most of them have been fired from at least one job and admit that they aren’t even all that good at what they were being paid to do and for that matter don’t even like their careers. Here I had two great people and coaches who loved what they were doing and did it for free. Surely, there has to be some lessons learned that I can take back to the office with me.

Lesson #1

Not everything has to be learned from a text-book or some author with a PhD. The best lessons I learned were on the ball park or on the drive to a game. For example; they never told us that they were getting us to the baseball game an hour early to be more successful than the other team, they just told us that they wanted us to warm up and get some batting practice and fielding in. However this basic fundamental principle of being prepared to be successful was taught to me when I was eight years old and I NEVER KNEW IT!! I am convinced one of the reasons why I have been successful is because at an early age I was taught by my Dad and Coach to be prepared and more ready than my opponent. They instilled values and beliefs that they thought were applicable to the baseball team and winning, but I am not sure they ever thought that 25 years later I would be using them to run a business.

Vegas Baby!!!

30 Jun

You are planning your trip to Vegas and you can’t help dreaming of striking
it rich, winning big or hitting the jackpot!   But guess what you didn’t, no
shit!! Why?  Because you are all talk and no action. Yup, I said it,
you know it and when you look in the mirror later you will see it. You will
make excuses about timing or that it just didn’t feel right, but get in line, and
I hear it’s a LONG line…..

At least once a day for 10 years while I’m interviewing candidate’s one
person will tell me they want to start their own business or change jobs
because they can be doing so much more or be making more money. However the
timing is never right or they just want to make one more change to their
resume. Ha ha. Let the excuses begin!

Me, I’m all in…all the time. You get no fluff, no excuses you get 100
percent from day one. Why?  It’s just easier.  Have a plan; put some
thought into it (I get it). Pacing yourself, taking your time, yeah that
makes sense if you are painting the Sistine Chapel. Reality check, life and
opportunity is going to pass you by while you are trying to come up with
more excuses why your career sucks and you can’t make something last. I’m
never going to leave an opportunity on the table; I’m always going to take a
chance and put myself out there and create something. Example…….

This week had a few, but I’ll spare the flip floppers. One of my best
friends gives me the heads up he and his family are ready to relocate to the
south. So, like a good friend I help him with his resume (he actually wants a
change) and tell him keep me updated as to where you are applying. Next
thing I know, I’m talking to the hiring manager of this company about my
friend and his impressive resume. I call my friend back give him the
feedback and he says I quote” you don’t waste any time getting results”. Not
to be redundant, but no shit. Time is Money, and a relationship that I value
is depending on me. He and his family want to move and I can help make this
happen. So, I throw the chips in the middle of the table and go out and
create results. He is getting his first interview on Friday.

I need results, I seek success and I want more of it, I thrive on it. We
have built a business based on relationships, being true to our commitments
and keeping our promises. For me, this extends outside of the office as
well, and I’m always going to be the person who goes for it.

What opportunities have you been leaving on the table?  Have you taken the chance to win BIG?

Ps. see you in Vegas!


17 Jun

What a fantastic game 7!! What a great series, only thing better would have been if the Buffalo Sabres had won it all, but we can all dream!!

 I want to focus on a new relationship I recently made with a VP of HR of a HUGE well-known public Company. This is one of those moments in business/sales or just life that if I don’t start it off right I could lose my credibility or just come off weak, inexperienced or not up to the task. Maybe how the Hockey world perceived the Boston Bruins as they were taking on the Best Team in the NHL this year. The Bruins started off losing the first 2 games of the series and certainly had their backs against the wall, but they did not quit they were not intimated they believed in themselves and their teammates!!

 So, this is my life as a recruiter and a business owner. Especially a small boutique business owner. Day in and day out my team and I fight to survive, this isn’t a 7 game series, this has been going on for about 10 years. Many of you know what I mean, the constant battle of having to prove yourself and make another sales call after getting rejected for the 100th time that week. But all it takes is one person or one company to make a difference and give you hope. Kind of like making a great GLOVE SAVE or stopping a break away! For the Bruins you can argue the team did it, but us former GOALIES, know it was Tim Thomas!! He stood on his head for the entire playoffs and especially in the Finals and helped his teammates win the CUP. Thomas was more than good, he was consistently good, that is the key to success. We all have great days in business, but avoiding bad days is important. Fighting off the laziness or maybe it’s the flu or the annoying co-worker or the client who just won’t stop pestering you for a discount. Staying positive, building on the good that you have created and riding the hot net minder (Co-worker) to the promise land.

 My initial conversation with the VP went well, but as a business owner/neurotic perfectionist I always wonder. The second conversation was even better after reading a few emails, then the third conversation was about to take place. Somehow we start talking about his youth and find out that not only is he a former hockey player, but a fellow Goalie! Arguably the Most EXCLUSIVE FRATERNITY in the WORLD, where only the crazy are invited. My point of telling you this is because I did not expect it. It was a surprise and a bright spot in my day and week. These things happen, relationships are built other places than the golf course or over drinks. They can be built from your past, even if there is an age difference or geographic differences. I try to find topics of conversation with clients and candidates, but none are easier than talking Hockey with a fellow net minder! The path to playing in the NHL is different from the path I took to start and grow a recruiting business. It is certainly a different path than the Corporate VP takes to rise to their level of success, but what isn’t different is the commitment. The late nights, the travel, the reading and studying, that little extra effort that we take to be the best of the best each day is what separates us and the Tim Thomas’ of the World.

 “Goalies never stop being goalies. We are tough, aren’t afraid to get bruised and always want to be the best for our Team. You don’t need ice to be a goalie.”

A Good ATS is like Good Buffalo, NY Food‏

10 Jun

About 10 years ago when I started Search Solution Group I was using small, medium and large size notebooks to track everything I did. Heck, my computer monitor weighed as much as me and was probably bigger. Times sure have changed in a hurry. I could never read my own hand writing, my father to this day still makes fun of me because of my hand writing, however he wasn’t complaining  about it when I signed for his Christmas present last year. That is a whole other story.

I was having success growing a recruiting business and decided the next logical step was to purchase an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). It was a complete disaster!!  I went thru that first one very quickly and could not stand it. The next ATS lasted me about five years till we started to grow and get busier and things were getting more complicated and my ATS was not able to keep up. It was boring, non functional, non interactive and not progressive. I was becoming my ATS and it was not allowing me to grow and be a  better recruiter.

So, we went on the hunt for a new ATS and just like my old computer monitor things changed. The systems were quicker, smarter, easier to access and doing the things I dreamed of. I had no idea!! I was learning quickly, but becoming very overwhelmed. We narrowed the choice down and finally had two finalists. Both were great, so much better than what we were currently using. I even got to meet a fellow alumni of the Prestigious High School(ha) I attended in Buffalo, NY. He was one of the competing salesmen and my unofficial inspiration for this weeks blog. I thought it was a no brainer, I would go with my heart and choose the guy who is from Buffalo and who went to my old High School. But then a funny thing happened…..

I realized that I am a business owner and I need to take the emotion out of my business decisions and listen to my team and make the best choice for the business. It was a big growing up moment. Telling someone NO is not easy. I don’t like to do it. But I think it was an important lesson for me to learn. As I reflect back to those days, that single decision would affect me and help me mature as a person and business owner!

Discovering how important technology is to my business was an eye-opening experience. I also learned that even when you leave Buffalo, Mighty Taco still has the best taco’s!!

If I can ever help anyone with their ATS decisions please call or email me. I am not sure I picked the best ATS that day, but the experience was life changing. I would love to refer you to my friend.


3 Jun

Hello Canada and neighboring countries,

The gut instinct is powerful!!! I tell my candidates and clients to go with your gut, the gut doesn’t lie.  It is strange and sometimes uncomfortable how your gut can start making strange sounds or form a life of its own when it doesn’t like what you are about to do. Can you relate to this?????

Well this week I made it back to the golf course after 3 years. It’s part of what’s been missing in my life. I always loved hitting the ball and chasing it, trying to be mentally and physically strong enough not to collapse during the 18 holes.  My gut was turning something fierce when I woke up  early Sunday morning to play, but then this funny thing happened….everything in my life seemed calmer and more clear. Like there was more purpose. Work work work, and no fun. Not anymore!
Take that GUT feeling and put it back in the office and magic starts to happen. My co-worker came to me thirty days ago with a candidate that she had a gut feeling about. On paper the candidate was good, on the phone amazing, interviewing even better and sure enough this candidate got the job!  This doesn’t happen all the time, but as my co-worker gets more confident and realizes that a good resume is important in the interview, she is also learning to trust and believe in her gut instinct with candidates. Congratulations to both of them, and especially proud to have such a strong teammate.

Where has trusting your gut taken you?

Learning from a Dr. Seuss Client

27 May

Good News I survived the end of the World and will live to find more jobs Continue reading


25 May

Should a job seeker use a recruiter?  That all depends what type of job seeker are you?  There are many different types of job seekers as well as various types of recruiters. The truth is a recruiter isn’t the best option for all job seekers.   In this post I will be referring to executive recruiters or headhunters. 

The job search has evolved over the last few years and job seekers can find numerous leads to jobs on internet job boards, and through social media outlets like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook etc.  So who needs a recruiter when you can access so much information yourself?  There are many advantages to using a recruiter under the right circumstances.  Answer the following questions…

Is your time valuable?

Are you currently employed but seeking other job opportunities?

Are you targeting a particular position or career in a certain field or industry?

Are you looking to expand your career network for your job search?

If you answered yes to all the questions above then you should contact a recruiter. In fact you should send your resume to a few different recruiters that specialize in your field.  By reaching out to a recruiter you can tap into the hidden job market that you would otherwise not have access to. 

Why not all Job Seekers should use a recruiter?

If you are a job seeker looking for someone to coach you and guide your career path then a recruiter is probably not for you. A recruiter will not be holding your hand and will not be your personal assistant sending you job posts daily that you should apply for.  A recruiter is not finding a job for you… they are using you to fill a position. That being said there are outplacement firms that offer career counseling and can help prepare you for re-employment. 

Understanding how a recruiter works.

A recruiter is paid by the employer not by the job seeker.  I know what you’re thinking of course I should use a recruiter it’s free.  Remember because a recruiter is being paid by the employer they are working for the company not directly for you.  Companies that pay for recruiters use them to find employed people with a proven track record of success in a given field.  The already trained need only to apply…in other words you need to be a strong candidate.

If you’re hungry for your next career move and you fit the description of the job seeker in this post – find a recruiter today!