How Autonomous Systems are Impacting IT

Automation isn’t new to IT, but autonomous systems are, which is why IT leaders and professionals have to think about the value they’re delivering, again.

More tasks in organizations are being automated these days, including in IT. Automation and autonomous systems aren’t synonymous, though. Autonomous systems are a subset of automation, but people tend to confuse the terms. Understanding the impact of autonomous systems on the IT group first requires a clear understanding of what those systems are.

For example, the Oracle Autonomous Database is just one product that could disrupt at least part of IT’s status quo because it does three things autonomously: self-management, self-security, and self-repair. Collectively, those things reduce the need for IT to apply patches, managing databases and infrastructure so DBAs and others who used to perform such tasks have more time to improve data models, work with developers to improve database access, drive more value from data, etc. (For the purposes of full disclosure, this author does some work with Oracle).

For example, the big selling point for any type of automation is eliminating or minimizing human error. A lot of IT automation is happening in the cloud today, so the general cloud benefits apply: manual management is minimal, cloud provides higher reliability than in-house data centers, operational efficiency improves and, usually, total cost of ownership (TCO) is lower. Cloud can also provide better security than on-premises equivalents, albeit not inherently as part of a basic service.

What differentiates autonomous systems from more traditional forms of automation is machine learning. However, PwC New Services and Emerging Technology Leader for China, Japan and the U.S. Scott Likens said in an interview that most people still think of autonomous systems as business-rule programmable.

Understanding the spectrum of automation is wise because marketers will use the terms “automation” and “autonomous systems” interchangeably either intentionally or by mistake. It’s therefore important to validate and verify vendors’ claims to truly understand the potential impact of their products on IT. Responsible consultants do that, and it’s one reason why enterprises hire them to help with automation initiatives or other initiatives involving automation.

Scott Likens, PwC

Scott Likens, PwC

So, what’s so special about autonomous systems?

A lot of traditional automation and robotic process automation (RPA) are accomplished using business rules, so it’s understandable why people might think the same concept applies to autonomous systems.

Self-repair is one example of an autonomous system feature: the system identifies an issue or the high probability of a potentially imminent issue, and just deals with it. The operation may be transparent enough that humans remain blissfully unaware of what is actually happening. In their view, the database just works.

“I think there are few autonomous systems [today]. It’s more automation strung together versus true autonomous systems that are smart enough to adjust and adapt themselves,” said Likens. “We’re seeing a lot of momentum and we’re doing this ourselves, having autonomous bots look at how to optimize other bots. Automations are great, but you have to optimize those and you have to autonomously do that or you’re still waiting for a human.”

While automation in all of its forms, including autonomous systems, reduces the need for humans to do rote, repeatable tasks, the impact of those systems is not a static. As machine intelligence continues to improve, automated and autonomous systems will become more sophisticated which means humans will have to adapt.

Why IT teams should consider their value proposition, again

Given that the only constant is change, it’s important for IT leaders and professionals to reevaluate the value they bring as an organization and as individuals periodically. Just about every new technology or methodology has some impact on IT whether it’s creating new positions, eliminating old ones or both. Autonomous systems are no different. However, automation tends to be a more career-threatening topic than some other IT-related topics.

David Armendariz, Lucas Group

David Armendariz, Lucas Group

David Armendariz, technology division general manager at executive search firm Lucas Group recommends IT leaders work with their teams on “succession planning.”

“If I were an IT leader, I’d plan for consolidation and hope people are ready to grow so as we consolidate, they have places to move,” said Armendariz. “It may be outside of IT and may involve data-related, business intelligence, or new roles.”

Not everyone whose job is impacted by autonomous systems will want to make a horizontal or lateral move to a different role, but many will. When it comes to one’s own career, Armendariz recommends keeping an open mind.

For example, someone with “traditional” IT skills who does not want to move into a different or evolved position might consider putting their skills to work on a contract basis versus reinventing themselves just to keep working for the same employer.

Recruiters should also endeavor to look at available positions and the available talent pool creatively.

“A lot of the focus for us is where we can take humans out to create better quality and you have to do it autonomously or else you don’t get the true value out of it,” said PwC’s Likens. “I think it’s changing from more process-driven skill sets to more optimization-type skillsets which you really didn’t have in IT before. There are more engineering skills, so you’re starting to see that blend of data science and mathematics coming into IT to try and solve some of those problems.”

The time to plan is now

The automation trend is going to continue and it’s going to get increasingly intelligent to the point of more autonomous systems becoming available. They’re not taking IT by storm yet, but we’ll see more types of autonomous systems in the future.

“We’re doing a lot of research about the workforce of the future, but there’s this shift in skills. In general, everyone’s digital IQ has to raise,” said Likens. “I think is good for humans and society, kind of moving out to that next level of creativity or insights based on what the machines are doing.”

Right now, cost is driving the race toward more types of automation, but cost savings alone aren’t what make a strategic difference. It’s investing the money saved in innovation and new business models.

“Autonomy is going to happen. Self-driving cars are going to change transport, so I think there’s something around this mesh of networks, IoT, cloud. There’s something really happening there we have to recognize and embrace,” said Likens.

Article Published By: Lisa Morgan, “How Autonomous Systems are Impacting IT,InformationWeek

Silicon Valley Is Over! Top 10 Cities Where Techies Can Actually Afford to Live

Back in his mid-20s, John Malone was right where he’d always dreamed he would be: working as a software engineer in San Francisco. Yet even with a full-time job, Malone found himself “totally broke. I lived in a three-bedroom house with six other guys.”

Realizing he could never afford to buy (or even rent) his own place, Malone started searching for work back where he’d grown up in Minneapolis. He was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of tech jobs offering decent salaries—and (the clincher) affordable homes.

A decade or so ago, this was an unusual tale. Now it’s playing out over and over: Tech workers flock to San FranciscoSan Jose, CA, and the gaggle of nearby suburbs that make up Silicon Valley, but eventually flee in search of more affordable housing and better lifestyles.

Even some who can very much foot the bill—like tech titan Peter Thiel—have bailed, leading the New York Times to declare, “Silicon Valley Is Over.” That’s why the® data team set out to find the newSilicon Valleys—where folks can score a good job at high-powered startups and some of the nation’s top tech companies and snag some reasonably priced real estate.

“Starting again in the Twin Cities made sense,” says Malone, who is now 40, married with a daughter, and living on the bottom floor of a spacious Minneapolis duplex with a yard. “As you get older and have a family, you can’t have roommates. It’s about quality of life.”

Peruse Silicon Valley real estate listings, and you’ll understand the appeal of pulling up roots. Nationally, the median home list price was $315,000 as of July 1, according to data. But within San Francisco city limits, you’ll pay about 4.5 times more—$1,435,000 million. It’s not much better in San Jose, where buyers are dropping a daunting $994,000.

Meanwhile, according to job listings website Glassdoor, the average information technology worker makes $80,512 per year, which falls woefully short of footing a mortgage that size. A 20% down payment alone is roughly four times that annual income.

“Silicon Valley’s extremely low unemployment rate—due to the abundance of tech jobs there—has caused housing costs to skyrocket,” says David Armendariz, general manager of the technology division for recruitment firm Lucas Group.

“Tech companies are recognizing this, and they’re opening offices in other cities. While Silicon Valley will continue to be the tech industry’s epicenter, other secondary markets are now providing not only incredible job opportunities, but the opportunity to build a life as well as a career,” Armendariz adds.

Unlike in prior decades, today’s tech companies can operate almost anywhere, says KC Conway, chief economist at the CCIM Institute and Alabama Center for Real Estate in Atlanta. And workers are increasingly all-too-happy to follow.

“Today’s tech workforce doesn’t want insanity—they want quality of life,” says Conway.

So where, exactly, should they go? To find out, our data team examined the 500 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, which include the main cities and surrounding towns, and used the following criteria* to rank them:

  • Number of people employed in the tech sector
  • Number of public tech companies
  • Percentage of tech job listings
  • Average tech job salaries
  • Median home list prices

We then sifted out those pricey places with median home prices over $400,000. What’s left are the hidden gems that have it all: tons of good gigs, affordable homes, plus plenty of things outside those doors that will keep your inner geek’s brain cells firing—at work, home, and everywhere in between.

Read The Entire Article and List of Top Ten Tech Cities Here: “Silicon Valley Is Over! Top 10 Cities Where Techies Can Actually Afford to Live,”, By Sally Herigstad

What To Know About Career Personality Tests

If you aren’t sure of your next career move, a personality or assessment test may help.

IF YOU’RE EVALUATING your skill set and trying to figure out the type of job you’d excel at, there are a variety of career personality tests that could point the way toward a new path. These are tests that take into account the type of person you are, assessing your strengths, weaknesses and passions by asking you a slew of questions in order to help you decide what the right job is for you.

With that said, Bryan Zawikowski, a Dallas-based vice president and general manager for Lucas Group, a national executive recruiting firm headquartered in Atlanta, says to not accept the results of any career personality tests as gospel. “Take the results with a grain of salt – none of the tests are perfect,” he explains.

Why Take a Career Personality Test?

Career personality tests, also called career assessment tests, can be thought-provoking. Even if you think you know what you want to do with your career, a personality or assessment test may show some gaps in your knowledge or an area where you could benefit from additional training. Plus, taking a personality assessment test may provide additional insight into other fields that may be of interest, based on your talent, skills and individual traits.

So, if you’re looking for guidance on where to go next, consider taking one of the following tests:

  • Personality tests.
  • Aptitude tests.
  • Career tests.
  • Intelligence tests.
  • Inventories.

Personality Tests

Psychological and personality tests analyze your personal qualities, strengths and weaknesses. For instance, do you like following orders, or are you more proactive and a leader? The answers you provide to these types of questions can help you assess your ideal working style, direct you to your dream gig and help you self-assess how you receive information, make decisions and other important characteristics in the workplace. Based on your personality, preferences and patterns, you’ll discover the types of professions you’re best-suited for.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, also known as MBTI, is the most well-known personality test, often used by career centers and businesses. You can take the 93-question test at, for $49.95.

The test is based on a concept posited by the psychiatrist Carl Jung, and the basic idea is that people experience the world using four main psychological categories: sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition. One of those categories, however, is typically dominant most of the time. Once you take the test, you’ll understand where you fall in one of 16 different personality types.

“The MBTI can be helpful to increase self-awareness, especially for a person who hasn’t thought much about what kind of a person they are and what they might want out of a career path. For instance, if you’re considering going into the family business, but you’re not sure you’re actually suited for it, a personality assessment like the MBTI can help you look at that objectively,” says Molly Owens, the CEO of Truity Psychometrics LLC, a developer and publisher of online personality and career tests at and headquartered in Oakland, California.

However, Owens says that the MBTI may not be very helpful if your personality traits are mixed and not pronounced.

“The problem comes in with people whose personality traits aren’t so cut and dried. If you’re not really a clear extrovert or introvert – you’re more of an ambivert – the MBTI gets a little more arbitrary and less useful,” Owens says.

Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests give one a sense of how good of a fit you are to perform certain tasks – or how likely you are to learn a skill. Employers often use these for people looking for a job, but you may be able to find some online to give you an idea of whether, for instance, you have a natural ability to sell real estate or work in accounting., run by Gallup Inc., is a popular aptitude test, especially among college students. After taking the test, you’ll receive a customized report that lists your top talents, along with suggestions of what types of careers you should be pursuing. Prices range from $39.99 to $11.99, depending on the complexity of the test.

Career Tests

Career tests are essentially a personality test and an aptitude test rolled into one. There are plenty of reputable online test sites, including, which features the My Next Move O*NET Interest Profile, a career test sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. The test helps people figure out what their next career should be, and it’s free.

Intelligence Tests

These tests measure your intelligent quotient. In a nutshell, this is determined by dividing an individual’s mental age by his or her chronological age – and multiplying that number by 100. There are numerous reputable and free IQ tests online, including tests at


Inventories are checklists that look at your interests – and then compare them to the interests of people who are already working in other occupations. So if you’re interested in the same things that tend to fascinate forensic scientists, you might end up realizing that’s the career path you should be on. The Strong Interest Inventory Test is one of the more famous inventories. It was first devised in 1927 but has been revised numerous times since then. The test evaluates test-takers’ interests and helps them conclude what they would most enjoy doing with their work and spare time.

Will a Career Personality Test Help You Land the Right Job?

As interesting as career personality tests are, don’t put too much stock into them, experts say. “Some clients think the tests will be magic answers,” says Emily Frank, a career counselor and coach in Denver. But she says that often these tests don’t really guide workers to a career path.

“For instance, on the Strong Interest Inventory, I always score very high on the artistic theme but have no desire to work in the arts,” Frank says.

If you do end up taking any career personality tests, Zawikowski advises that you are well-rested and in a “neutral emotional state,” so that the results are valid. After all, if you’re hungry, tired or upset, you might answer questions differently than you would have otherwise. “Answer in the way that best describes you. There is no right or wrong answer, so it’s important to be honest with yourself,” Zawikowski says.

Article Published By: Geoff Williams, “What To Know About Career Personality Tests,” U.S. News & World Report 

15+ Expert Tips on Attracting Minority Tech Candidates


Business leaders increasingly recognize the value of building diverse teams, with research firms like McKinsey & Company and Boston Consulting Group observing higher levels of creativity and innovation and — yes — profits, the more diverse and inclusive a company becomes. But while gender and race form the foundation for most corporate diversity and inclusion efforts, there are many different kinds of diversity we need to recognize in order to be truly inclusive, like refugees and persons with disabilities.

Finding New Candidate Sources

It’s a well-known saying that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten, and the sentiment holds true for sourcing candidates. The first step in attracting minority tech candidates is to seek out new online communities and in-person spaces where people who are different from you are doing good work. Here’s how our experts find new candidate sources:

Recruit from lesser-known schools.

“Of course you’re going to find good talent at an MIT Technology recruitment event. But having a presence at job fairs with lesser-known colleges and universities can bring in a pool of outstanding tech talent that isn’t already being tapped by your competitors. It’s also often home to minority students looking for career opportunities.” – Aurora Bushner, Executive VP at Incentive Technology Group

If minority tech candidates aren’t coming to your website, go to theirs.

“If we have periods where our minority candidate level is low, we attend informal meetups, conferences, and student events near our office. With and social media, there are tons of ways to find events that align with our company missions. We’ve found many communities and nonprofits that are dedicated to educating, developing, and exposing minority tech candidates skills and we’re so eager to attend these types of events that encourage this type of growth. We’ve made lots of connections and have found some really amazing candidates from getting ourselves out there.” – Ciara Hautau, Lead Digital Marketing Strategist at Fueled

Get offline and into your community.

“The best proactive way to recruit minority tech candidates is to be involved in programs and initiatives in communities that invest in professional development and tech focused learning and training. If you’re planning on just running a LinkedIn search and looking for diverse candidates, you’re already losing the war for that talent.” – David Armendariz, General Manager of the technology division for executive recruiting firm

Changing Your Recruiting and Hiring Habits

Your work isn’t over once you’ve identified new sources for high-potential minority tech talent. You’ll also need to reconsider the way you approach candidates and the messages you’re sending during the application, interview, and hiring process.

Share your time equally.

“Be equitable with your time. For example, don’t have coffee with some candidates while not offering time to build rapport with others based on referral status or other factors outside a candidate’s control.” – Michelle Kim, CEO of Awaken

Write more inclusive job descriptions.

“A lot of candidates check themselves against the number of qualifications required to fulfill the job responsibilities and don’t apply even if they don’t fulfill one criterion, especially women. When creating job descriptions, clearly mention which all requirements or criteria are indispensable to do the job effectively and which skills and competencies are an add-on so that you can attract people from all walks of life. Add words which creates a mental picture of inclusionism, diversity, and acceptance.” – Siddhartha Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of Mercer | Mettl

Show, don’t just tell, what your company is doing with diversity.

“Highlight the diversity within your organization. Companies need to show candidates that they not only recognize the need and importance for diversity but also celebrate the fact that diversity is a key component of the overall business culture.” – Will Manuel, President/CEO of Core Mobile Apps

Be accountable to your peers.

“Be transparent. Know your numbers and share them with the rest of the company regularly. Accountability for diversity and inclusion efforts has to start at the top.” – Elya McCleave, Founder at Elya McCleave Consulting

Read The Entire Article Here: “15+ Expert Tips on Attracting Minority Tech Candidates,” Glassdoor 

Salary History Ban: Everything Employers Need to Know

To help eliminate pay discrimination, over a dozen states and localities have enforced salary history bans, or laws prohibiting employers from asking job candidates information about their salary history. To comply, some companies are updating job applications, company practices, and so forth. Each violation can result in a penalty of $100 to over $5,000.

If you need help avoiding labor law compliance issues, consider Zenefits. You’ll have access to a team of compliance experts who will keep you up to speed on the human resource laws your business needs to follow. You can also use the salary handbook builder to revamp your policies and procedures if you find yourself subjected to a major legislation change, like a salary history ban. Sign up for a free demo today.

Salary Information Ban Laws

The laws governing pay history bans vary by location. For instance, California’s ban covers the entire state; employers are banned from requesting a job applicant’s salary history, but they can ask the candidates to describe their ideal salary range for the open position. New York State, on the other hand, does not have a state-wide ban—only four jurisdictions prohibit employers from asking salary history questions. And one jurisdiction, Suffolk County, doesn’t allow questions about expected salary ranges.

Here are the rules you should generally follow to avoid violating salary history ban laws:

  • Don’t ask applicants how much they earned in their previous jobs.
  • Don’t ask job candidates’ current or former employers about their pay history.
  • Don’t ask the candidates’ current or past co-workers for salary history information.
  • Don’t use any salary history information you receive to determine how much to offer a job candidate.
  • Review the details of any salary information bans your business must comply with; verify that you’re allowed to ask for salary expectations instead of assuming.

Keep in mind that the concept of banning salary history is still fairly new. Check your state for updates often as they are subject to change at any time. Also, don’t assume the exceptions that exist in one state can be applied in yours. All states and localities have specific rules and penalties surrounding the pay history ban.

Salary History Ban States & Localities

In 2017, New York became the first state in which any form of a salary ban was enacted—there is no state ban but some localities have laws in place. Since then, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont have followed suit, each passing their own state-wide salary history ban laws for all employers.

Localities Restricting Salary History Questions

Numerous localities, in addition to U.S. territory Puerto Rico, have passed legislation restricting certain types of employers from requesting salary history information from job candidates. Some bans only cover city or county agencies, while others apply to all employers within that jurisdiction.

Check the table below to see if there are any local bans that apply to your business:

If your state or locality has regulations in place restricting your use of salary history during the hiring process, be sure to research the specifics. Some bans only apply to employers with a certain number of employees, and others are only applicable to city or county employers. In addition, some salary history bans have been drafted but won’t go into effect until after this article is published.

Outlawing the Pay History Ban

There are a couple of states, Michigan and Wisconsin, that have prohibited bans on salary history altogether. Local governments in these states aren’t allowed to regulate the salary information that employers request from job applicants during the hiring process.

What Started the Ban on Salary History?

The idea of prohibiting salary history started as a way to resolve historical pay gaps that have impacted employees due to their gender, race, background, and so on. Over time, many studies have shown that certain demographics average lower wages than their peers for doing the same job. In 2018, women earned 85% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center earnings study. And in 2015, a Pew study on racial wage gaps found that black workers earned 75% as much as white workers.

Job candidates who have experienced pay discrimination at any point in their careers usually feel the impact on their earnings for years to come. This means that employers who use job applicants’ salary history to determine how much to pay them could continue to perpetuate the pay discrimination.

Using candidates’ current salary as a base for determining how much their work is worth in the market assumes (many times, incorrectly) that they’re being paid fairly in the first place. And the reality is that many employees who identify with disadvantaged groups (e.g., women, minorities) are currently or have historically been underpaid.

Banning companies from asking potential new hires for salary information forces employers to set wages based on other factors. Work experience and credentials should be considered in addition to the market value of your job candidates’ skill sets to ensure you offer new employees fair pay.

Who Does Pay Discrimination Impact the Most?

Pay discrimination affects more than just women and minorities. There are numerous other demographics that are susceptible to pay equity issues.

Here are common groups of people who experience wage gaps more than others:

  • Minorities: This can include anyone who belongs to a group that doesn’t fit into the majority population. Usually, the term “minority” refers to different race and ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, and so on.
  • Women: Females in all occupations have experienced pay gaps over the years, but the largest pay gaps have been in the finance and healthcare industries.
  • Employees with a work history gap: Sometimes, employers will unfairly judge and underestimate job candidates who have taken significant time off between jobs.
  • Candidates with criminal records: Many companies won’t hire candidates who have a criminal background, and some of the employers who do give these job applicants a chance will cut costs by paying them less money.
  • Applicants with disabilities: Some employers perceive that applicants with disabilities aren’t able to perform their jobs as well as others, so they will pay them less.
  • Single parents: Because single parents are responsible for managing their careers and household on their own, they’re more likely to be discriminated against than parents living in a two-parent household.
  • New hires who aren’t Christians: Christianity is the world’s dominant religion, and although people are becoming more diverse in their religious (or non-religious) choices, some employers still hold prejudices against non-Christians, like Muslims or Buddhists.

How to Comply With Pay History Ban Laws

Complying with salary information bans might seem complicated at first, but once you review your hiring process, policies, and procedures, it’ll be much easier. The best thing you can do is remove conversations about your job candidates’ salary history from the application, interview, and job offer process. Walk through your hiring procedures several times before making any changes. You need to identify each step in the process that leaves your company vulnerable to non-compliance.

Aram Lulla, General Manager (HR Division) with the Lucas Group“Companies and recruiters are rapidly adopting new strategies to comply with the law and navigate negotiations for fair salaries. Forward-thinking companies are reviewing all onboarding and hiring procedures and practices, such as job postings or advertisements, employment applications, interview questions, job offer documents, and salary criteria to eliminate salary questions. There is certainly a cost to equal pay, but societal trends suggest it’s worth it for companies who want to be viewed positively in the face of the #TimesUp movement.

“In 2019 and beyond, the hiring process will focus on a candidate’s objective performance, industry-wide data, and earning potential, rather than their past. If HR professionals stop asking the dreaded salary question, will we see a smaller pay gap for women and minorities who might otherwise perpetually struggle to reach an equitable salary? If I did have a crystal ball, I believe it would say that adopting the Salary History Ban is a win-win-win for all.”

– Aram Lulla, General Manager (HR Division), Lucas Group

Here are steps you can take to ensure your company doesn’t violate a pay history ban:

  • Remove salary information requests from all job applications.
  • Remove questions about salary from all job interview scripts.
  • Retrain your human resources and recruiting team.
  • Display labor law posters with salary ban regulations in locations that job interviews are usually conducted and where your human resource team frequents.
  • Set up a system to document how hourly wage and salary amounts are determined for new employees.
  • Review all print or electronic hiring policies and update them to align with your state’s laws.
  • Use a job search site, like Indeed, to do salary comparisons prior to finalizing a job offer.

If you need help hiring for a new position, consider using Indeed. It’s the largest job posting website and has salary comparison tools you can use to help create new job offers.

Read The Entire Article Here: “Salary History Ban: Everything Employers Need to Know,”, By Charlette Beasley


16 Bosses Reveal What They Wish Employees Would Tell Them On Their First Day

  • The first day at a new job can be overwhelming.
  • However, several bosses also say it’s a good time for new employees to reveal some key things to them, from their preferred work style to the goals they want to accomplish working together.
  • We interviewed 16 bosses to find out what they wish employees would tell them on their first day.

Although the first day at a new job can be stressful, it’s also a prime time to share some things with your new boss that they may not know, from your preferred method of communication to work style.

After all, even if you went through several interviews to land the job, there are bound to be topics that didn’t come up.

You may be hesitant to speak up to your new employer, but as intimidating as it may be, they’ll likely appreciate it — and it could benefit your professional relationship in the long run.

“The onboarding process can often be overwhelming to a new hire, and it’s nearly impossible to absorb everything in one day,” Mark Anthony Dyson, career consultant and founder of the blog, told Business Insider. “However, it’s critical that the new employee sorts out confusing information and seeks clarity. They must put themselves in the shoes of their bosses and learn to clarify expectations.”

Dyson said that clear expectations are necessary on day one from the employer, and providing the employee with several opportunities for verbal feedback is essential.

“Employees positively often find the dialogue early on refreshing and energizing,” Dyson said. “The feeling of being heard even on minor issues is significant.”

We interviewed 16 managers to find out what they wish their employees would tell them on their first day.

“They ask if they can come in early or work on weekends.”


When a new employee is proactive and responsible, it bodes well for the employer, Bryan Zawikowski, vice president and general manager of the military division for, an executive recruiting firm, told Business Insider in an email. For instance, on their first day, if the employee asks if they can come in early the next day, it tells the hiring manager they probably won’t have to worry about them showing up late for work, Zawikowski said.

“It shows that the candidate is thinking about what extra things they can do to ensure they are set up for success and are high achievers,” he said.

The same goes for if the new hire asks if they’re allowed to work on weekends.

“This displays that they’re willing to invest their personal time in their profession,” Zawikowski said. “Work-life balance isn’t always 50% work and 50% life.”

He said true work-life balance means you have put yourself in a position where you can be “out-of-balance” one way or the other sometimes when it’s necessary to get the job done.

Read The Entire Article Here: “16 Bosses Reveal What They Wish Employees Would Tell Them On Their First Day,” Business Insider, By Natalia Lusinski

Manufacturing-as-a-Service: Dawn of a New Horizon?

Engineers are using online manufacturing services to meet design deadlines.


Manufacturing is changing. Never mind the remarkable utility of 3D scanning, the customization capability of additive manufacturing, or the facile methods of rapid prototyping—there’s a whole new way of using cloud computing to disseminate design information instantly. Potentially, it provides a new chapter in the way we manufacture everything. Welcome to contract manufacturing—also known as manufacturing as a service (MaaS).

“For decades now, companies have shifted from vertically integrated design, engineering and manufacturing, to relying on external contract manufacturing partners,” says Andrew Edman, industry manager for Product Design, Engineering and Manufacturing with Formlabs in Somerville, MA.

“Even manufacturers that continue to be highly vertically integrated depend on external vendors for components that go into their finished goods,” he adds. “Outsourcing production, whether via traditional manufacturing methods, or more cutting-edge practices like on-demand 3D printing, frees up organizations to focus more on their core competencies and less on the complexities of dealing with the literal nuts and bolts of manufacturing.”

Borrowed Processes


This shift in focus has already made inroads in other industry verticals. Curt Heverly is the managing director of Open Doors Consulting in Glendale, CA. He likens the MaaS evolution to that of other industries, such as plastics injection molding, where the concept is successful.

“Injection molding output (IMO) is sold as a service, instead of purchasing an injection molding press, auxiliary equipment and robotics,” he says. “All traditional equipment purchases require technical support and trained employees to optimize processes for each unique project. Current financial and timing hurdles must be overcome in the competitive race to get products quicker to market.”

Heverly says IMO is the plastic industry’s take on a share economy. OEM suppliers are selling moldable hours or pounds.

“A complete documented process that is plug and play for the newly laid out plastic plants of the next millennium. You are purchasing a block of plastic processing output tailored for the current projects in the facility,” Heverly says. “Speed to market and shorter product life cycles require nimble and flexible equipment financing arrangements. Lack of labor, technical and non-technical, requires an automated solution. Building blocks of automation must be able to be assembled and repositioned as product and project mix accelerates in every quickening consumer demand velocity.”

Having available—and ready—assets is the goal of many robotics firms. The robotics industry is aware of the trend and is preparing to meet the demand of contract manufacturing. Joe Gemma, chief robotics officer at KUKA Robotics explains that the company is putting the right tools in place.

“We have engaged with other companies on a ‘pay per use’ basis to help manage capital expenditures, while providing manufacturing flexibility,” he says. “Other companies are providing this type of service like Vicarious on the West Coast, as an example, and many others are beginning to enter this space. We see this change in manufacturing philosophy taking hold, but it may not be widespread in all industries, particularly with low volume and high mix portfolio products.”

Bright Horizon


Although KUKA isn’t fully preparing for cloud-based manufacturing orders, most firms are orienting their business models to the cloud. The future of contract manufacturing is accelerated by other “as a service” functionalities emerging in the cloud.

“I would say the great initial benefit has been centered on networking and the low overhead of communicating to solicit bids and efficiently identify capable suppliers,” says Dr. Stephen J. Rock, senior research scientist and additive manufacturing lab director at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Automation Technologies and Systems in Troy, NY.

Rock says that as more complex manufacturing operations are contemplated for outsourcing, distributed processing via the cloud is an opportunity. According to Rock, the cloud enables the rapid access of “simulations that might support automated quoting of higher complexity parts or assemblies, assists in cross-organization production scheduling, or perhaps enables value-added design optimization suggestions based on the particular manufacturing capacity available at any moment in time.”

“The computational and networking capabilities of the cloud may also support sophisticated material modeling that relies on multi-organization expertise across the design and manufacturing spectrum,” he says. “Longer term, manufacturers can also benefit by leveraging cloud computing concepts and applying them directly to manufacturing operations.

“Distributed manufacturing may allow a job to be easily divided between several facilities for faster turn-around or cost optimization,” Rock adds. “Networking efficiency can enable load shifting between a wide array of solution providers. The resilience afforded by independence from any single point of failure should help suppliers and their customers sleep well at night.”

Of course, even if the move to the cloud takes time, organizations are already seeing the effects of MaaS. “Manufacturing as a service is changing the way engineers work,” says Alkaios Bournias Varotsis, Ph.D., technical marketing engineer with 3D Hubs in Amsterdam.

Varotsis says that online manufacturing will change the world on a similar scale as the introduction of the shipping container, which enabled a truly global manufacturing ecosystem.

“Online manufacturing will have the opposite effect,” Varotsis explains. “By combining the connectivity of the cloud with the advantages of digital manufacturing technologies, like 3D printing and [computer numerical control] CNC machining, production will turn again local, eliminating altogether the need for transportation and storage and significantly reducing the waste and the environmental impact of manufacturing.”

Manufacturing Limits?


As good as it sounds, MaaS may not be the panacea. It has limits.

“The limiting factor is all about the assembly of parts with different materials and processes—which is not yet possible with instant cloud quote services,” explains Marco Perry, founder of Brooklyn-based product design firm Pensa. “Such projects need conversations, expertise and contracts. If that is available in the future, it will change the market.”

Another limiting factor may be the availability of skill sets to meet the potential upward demand that contracted and MaaS may impose. Although it widens the market of vendors to a worldwide scope, the skills still may not always be available where you need them, when you need them.

“The limiting factors to this shift include an unwillingness to change, reluctance to embracing new technology, inability to learn and adapt new technological processes of manufacturing and, finally, an unskilled workforce that can’t use the technology,” says David Armendariz an executive recruiter with the technical division of the Lucas Group.

MaaS: Manufacturing Lightning?


MaaS could become lightning in a bottle for a whole new world of product expectations, driven by a digital fabric, a super-agile supply chain and a crowd of end users who want parts as fast as possible.

Perry points out that since the industrial revolution, manufacturing companies have sold and mass-produced products that are the same design. That was then. This is now, though.

“The problem with that model is that people don’t want exactly the same product,” says Perry. “Today, more companies than ever are able to market to niche audiences—with a small production volume—because cloud fabrication is now possible. And for the future, it’s the holy grail for companies to use cloud manufacturing to produce complete products.”

Article Published By: Jim Romeo, “Manufacturing-as-a-Service: Dawn of a New Horizon?,” Digital Engineering Magazine


How Tech Recruiters Can Overcome The New H-1B Visa Changes

Anyone who’s relied on the kind of talent afforded by the H1-B visa program (think programmers, engineers and scientists) is probably feeling the pain of recent changes—and struggling to fill the hiring gaps these new rules have created. 

The H-1B visa program provides temporary visas to educated foreign professionals to work in “specialty occupations” – think mathematics, engineering and technology. For the tech industry, workers on H-1B visas are a huge commodity, as the U.S. doesn’t have enough skilled tech workers to meet demand. 

“We’re not educating enough people in this country in IT, and if we don’t have that skills set natural-born, then we’re going to have to import that talent,” says Elizabeth Ricci, an immigration attorney with Rambana & Ricci, PLLC in Tallahassee, FL. 

Unfortunately, importing those employees has recently become harder. 

If you’re a recruiter or HR professional facing these new hurdles, we took a look at what’s changed, and some steps you can take to fill those roles despite the challenges. 

What’s changed about H1-B visa policies? 

Under changes like the current administration’s Buy American and Hire Americanexecutive order, the Department of Security is encouraged to approve H-1B visas to only the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries. 

Denial rates for H-1B petitions have risen significantly, from 6% in 2015 to 32% in the first quarter of 2019 for new petitions, according to an analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy. 

“Immigration now is saying that ‘This position’ – usually it’s a programmer – “does not require a degree,’” Ricci says, mentioning that she received a request for evidence on an H-1B renewal application—a worker who had been approved for a visa once. 

“Immigration said, ‘Prove that this position requires a degree and that the person has a degree,’” Ricci says. “I already proved that three years ago. The person’s degree hasn’t been revoked, the position is the same position, it’s the same employer, and the duties haven’t changed. It’s a ludicrous request.” 

As a result, tech companies are having a harder time filling positions, since the flow of skilled workers from overseas has been hampered. Some companies are fixing the problem by leaving the U.S. There are solutions, however, that don’t involve setting up shop in Canada. 

Here are a few things to consider as part of your tech hiring strategy: 

Document, document, document 

When you’re applying for an H-1B visa or a renewal, be thorough and overly prepared. “You want to avoid a request for evidence at all costs,” Ricci says. “It’s expensive, and it creates a delay.” 

There’s also a new policy in place stating that immigration officials no longer have to issue a request for evidence: If they’re not satisfied with what’s received, they can issue an outright denial. 

Document heavily from the beginning that a position requires a degree. Show ads for comparable positions in the same geographic area for similar pay that require degrees or show evidence that your company has required a degree in the past or presently. “I suggest using the language that the position is ‘sophisticated and complex,’” Ricci says. 

Establish operations abroad 

One lengthy workaround is to bring workers over on an L1B visa. The L1B is an intracompany transfer visa, meaning you’d need to set up a small branch in another country and then transfer workers to your U.S. location. 

“So an American company opens a branch or subsidiary in, say, India, and they have a call center or an IT firm over there, and they employ those workers for a year at their foreign entity and then transfer them to the U.S. on the L1B,” Ricci says. “It’s inconvenient, and probably expensive, but at the end of that year you’ll have the worker over here if all else falls into place.” 

Outsource jobs overseas 

One of the helpful things about the tech industry is that a lot of the work can be performed remotely. If you can’t hire workers locally, consider hiring workers overseas who can work from there. 

As a bonus, depending on the time difference, this can also mean a bump in productivity because you’re essentially working around the clock: When your local team arrives at work at 9 a.m., they can pick up the work your team overseas has been doing while they were sleeping. 

“It works really well if there’s a 10- to 12-hour delta,” says Sean Dowling, partner/manager of recruiting strategy for the tech division of recruiting firm WinterWyman. 

A word of caution, however: If you’re classifying workers overseas as independent contractors, you can be penalized—both in the U.S. and in the worker’s home country—if they meet tests to be considered an employee. If you’re hiring someone overseas as an employee, make sure you understand how the local employment and tax laws impact you. 

Offer training 

Lacking skilled workers? Train employees to get them up to speed. Or pay for workers to attend a three- to four-month camp to learn skills like Java or Python. 

“Reskilling is another solution tech companies are turning to, which has led to a boom in ‘coding college’ popping up across the country to assist in training workers from other industries to perform in-demand, high-tech role,” says David Armendariz, general manager of the technology division for executive recruiting firm Lucas Group. 

While these technical boot camps can’t replace the years of experience and training that traditional tech candidates wield, it’s a short-term fix to help companies weather the H-1B storm. 

Go where the talent is 

If you’re having trouble finding the right employees in your area, consider moving or opening an office in an area with more tech workers, or near a university with a great tech degree program. 

“Google and Facebook have locations in Boston and Cambridge for a reason,” Dowling says. “They’re trying to get that East coast talent that won’t go to California.” 

It also pays to think outside of the major metro area box. “Kansas City just happens to have a lot of strong project managers and project leaders in dot net, due to layoffs that Sprint has had over many years,” says Harley Lippman, founder and CEO of Genesis10, a technology services firm that specializes in IT staffing and domestic outsourcing solutions. 

Make your company attractive 

If skilled workers are scarce in your area, it pays to make your firm look like a good option. That means offering pay or benefits that other companies can’t match, in order to hire and keep the good talent. 

Facebook, for instance, offers four months of paid parental leave and a sabbatical program. Adobe offers tuition reimbursement and education incentives, plus two company-wide week-long shutdowns. Amazon offers 401(k) matching to even part-time employees, paid cell phones and fertility benefits. 

“We’re also seeing [the ability to work remotely] becoming much more of a selling factor to people,” Dowling says. “We can get talent on the West coast or East coast to do work, so that’s part of the strategy, too.” 

Talk to your representatives 

Hiring tech talent will remain difficult until either the U.S. workforce produces more skilled workers or H-1B visa requirements ease up. 

“I think all employers who are finding themselves in this position need to tell their rep in Congress that this is not working,” Ricci says. “It’s antithetical to our market, and if we’re not going to educate people in the U.S. with these skills, we must import them, or we will lose out.” 

Can You Transition to a Career in Tech?

If you’ve ever felt like you chose the wrong major in school or followed a career trajectory that no longer interests you, you know how daunting the idea of changing careers can be. But it can be done. Some people go back to school and others learn how to pivot the skills and experience they already have to a new industry. 

With the huge growth in companies providing IT infrastructure, computer systems, design and product management, not to mention Silicon Valley’s explosion of tech startups, it’s a great time to make the change to a career in tech. Thanks to free or inexpensive online tools and resources, it may not even require going back to school for a full degree. 

But how do you change paths mid-career? We asked career experts, employment coaches and tech recruiters for their best advice. 


Artur Meyster, CTO and co-founder of Career Karma  

If you have work experience of any kind, that experience has tremendous value to employers in the tech industry. While you obviously need to gain the technical expertise through either self-study, a college degree program, or a coding bootcamp, that expertise will be worth very little if you don’t also possess some of the many “soft skills” that all employers are looking for. These are things like ability to meet deadlines, communication skills, emotional intelligence, conflict management, and countless other skills that one can only learn on the job. 

Dr. Art Langer, Director of the Center for Technology Management at Columbia University 

Positions in project management, quality assurance and business analysis are easiest to transition into tech because of the skills acquired in those positions. But with the right training, any person can develop the skills needed to transition into tech. 


Dr. Art Langer, Director of the Center for Technology Management at Columbia University 

The most important skill is being logical. Tech is a logical field, so having a logical mind is critical. Project management skills are also key, as is interacting with tech as a user as well. 

David Armendariz, GM of the technology division for Lucas Group  

Soft skills are transferrable in any industry: communication, ability to collaborate with others, problem solving and taking initiative. 


Dr. Art LangerDirector of the Center for Technology Management at Columbia University 

Its imperative individuals utilize workforce development organizations to develop and hone tech skills if they don’t have many. The nonprofit I founded, Workforce Opportunity Services, develops the skills of untapped talent from underserved and veteran communities through partnerships with organizations dedicated to diversifying their workforce. In addition to providing soft skills training, we offer hard-skills education as well in skills like writing code. 

It may be surprising that such a focused career doesn’t require a four-year bachelor’s degree. More emphasis is being placed on skills and inherent value, which can be acquired through alternative, concentrated educational or workforce development programs, which are available online and in person. 

Artur Meyster, CTO and co-founder of Career Karma  

In the Internet age, anyone can learn how to do just about anything through online self-study. Further, the online tech community is truly astonishing in its wealth of resources and willingness of experienced tech workers to share their knowledge with aspiring coders, data scientists, and others. And yet, there’s definitely something to be said for the structured approach offered in a formal tech education program. Coding bootcamp, in particular, can cut down on the amount of time required to get up to speed and gain the confidence and skills required to be successful in the tech sphere. 


Scott Blumin at Scoja Technology Services 

If you focus on just one thing, focus on either Microsoft Amazon or Google, a few of the largest companies and cloud providers in the world.  They support employment ecosystems. Hundreds of thousands of technology professionals run their entire business based on providing value-added services based on only those technologies. if you focus on Microsoft, start by watching online videos about specific applications. Learn not just what the application does, but how it’s being used by companies to add value to their bottom line. How do they use Microsoft Teams to become more productive? How did they use Microsoft SharePoint to collaborate across the organization? 


David Armendariz, GM of the technology division for Lucas Group  

Go to meetups and other technical networking groups that support and encourage the type of tech you are interested in. Not only can the people there help you network, but they could also help you acquire more knowledge in the areas you are trying to master during your transition. 

Mitchell Robertson, VP of Code Fellows in Seattle: 

Meetups, are big but honestly there are no limits to how to network. Go to company events, use Linkedin, go to hack-a-thons. It really is about being genuine and going after really networking relationships. 


Rhona Kannon, Principal Director, CyberCoders  

Be open minded: When transitioning into a career in technology, be open to looking at entry-level roles, internships, contract, paid or unpaid positions because you need to gain experience. Don’t look at it as a step back. Look at it as a step forward in the right direction. Identify your transferable skills, get some certifications under your belt, and know who you are and why you’re transitioning. This is critical because you need to be able to sell the reason you’re making a move to potential employers. 

Mitchell Robertson, VP of Code Fellows in Seattle: 

Online education may work for some, but just like learning a foreign language online, it will only take you so far. In the end you need to interact with others, learn from senior engineers, and expand your ability to translate your skills to others. Degrees aren’t necessary anymore – companies are looking for individuals who can do the work and who fit the culture. 


Dr. Art LangerDirector of the Center for Technology Management at Columbia University 

Expect to work hard and be challenged. Use your experiences and failures to better develop and hone in on gaps in your skillset, or better yet, identify a missing skillset in your company and become an expert in that area. Learn as much as you can and keep up with the rapidly changing technological landscape to stay relevant. 

Mitchell Robertson, VP of Code Fellows in Seattle: 

Be willing to put in the hard work to show you are a team contributor and expect to learn a lot. We tell our grads they must have grit and determination to be able to outpace their peers. 

Artur Meyster CTO, Co-Founder of Career Karma  

Expect to learn by doing. A lot. No education program can fully prepare even the most promising student for all the things she will encounter in a new tech career. But the great thing about working in tech is that you will be surrounded by colleagues that are at varying stages of learning, as well. And, in my experience and that of most people I know in the tech industry, tech workers are among the most generous people when it comes to sharing their knowledge and working to solve problems as a team. It’s this communal aspect that makes the tech sector such a lively and energetic environment to work in. All that is to say, there will be a steep learning curve; however, most of the time, you’ll find some incredible people who are willing to teach, demonstrate, solve, and—most importantly—learn right along with you. 

Article Published By: Andrea Smith, “Can You Transition to a Career in Tech?,” CyberCoders



Can AI Make Hiring Fairer And More Efficient?

rtificial intelligence applications like Siri and Alexa wake many of us up. They tell us the weather, give us directions, answer our questions, sing us songs, even tell us jokes. They have been welcomed warmly into homes. When it comes to the workplace, people tend to be less welcoming.

A lot of Americans — about 60%, according to one survey— worry about robots taking over jobs. It’s not an unfounded fear. According to Brookings Institution, about 36 million Americans (roughly one third of workers) work in jobs where 70% of the tasks can be automated. AI has found its way onto factory floors and into offices, and the HR department is no exception.

Not only is technology changing the way we do our jobs, but it’s also changing how we apply for those jobs and whether we are considered.

According to a survey released last year by consulting firm Korn Ferry, only 25% of recruiters had yet to use AI in their job. A majority of the respondents (87%) said they were excited about using AI more in the future.

Among the usual exhibitors at the annual conference of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Las Vegas in June — like payroll companies and benefits providers — were numerous AI companies. Booth after booth, attendees browsed software that promised to help sort resumes, conduct interviews, track facial expressions, simulate work scenarios, keep track of internal complaints and more.

This does not mean that there will be a bunch of robots sitting around the office going through interviews. Most of this AI is software.

“I think we all jump to this idea of 2030 or 2040, robots walking around, but I use AI to do my job more effectively,” said Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, chief human resource officer at Symantec and a speaker at the conference.

She said she uses AI to gather and analyze data and to remove bias from recruiting. According to Cappellanti-Wolf, the use of AI in HR is now essential, particularly as departments are tasked with doing more with less.

“It’s no longer kind of nice to have, it’s really table stakes for how you are going to be able to run an effective HR and business organization,” she said. “We often come under pressures around being more productive and managing our budgets, and that doesn’t always mean more people.”

Symantec also uses AI in its quarterly survey of employees. “It allows us to really rapidly review where people are at … in their desire to stay or go,” said Capellanti-Wolf. “We can actually predict when people are going to leave, six months before they do it.”

The industry as a whole seems to be adapting and adopting.

“It’s happening. I’m practical,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM president and CEO, adding that two years ago, there were no conference sessions on AI. That was not the case this year.

A presentation by an India-based company that specializes in applying AI to HR, Aspiring Minds, for example, detailed the use of AI to score video job interviews based on body language, voice emotions and facial expression.

But that kind of technology can make job seekers uneasy. A survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted earlier this year revealed that majority weren’t in favor of the use of AI in hiring. Just 31% said they felt it was acceptable for HR to use AI.

However, it’s not only HR executives who stand to benefit from the use of AI, according to Aram Lulla, general manager at executive recruiting firm Lucas Group.

“The flip side is that you can get noticed and identified because of AI,” Lulla explained. “Let’s say 1,000 people apply to one role. You may only have a subset of one or two people reviewing those resumes, and you might never get looked at. But because AI is there, it can handle so much more volume. You might actually get found now.”

Experts interviewed by Marketplace also argued that using AI to sort through candidates’ resumes helps eliminate bias and ensure that the candidate pool accurately reflects the demographic make-up of the labor force.

Chances are that many candidates have unwittingly used AI in their job search, by using the professional networking site LinkedIn.

LinkedIn collects data from its 645 million-plus members’ resumes, job postings and searches by both recruiters and candidates.

According to John Jersin, LinkedIn’s vice president of product for talent solutions and careers, one of the reasons job candidates frequently don’t hear back is because they apply to jobs they are not qualified for. That’s one thing that LinkedIn wants to help candidates avoid.

“We’ve developed an increased ability to predict which jobs you’re actually likely to get,” he explained. “We’re showing you those jobs preferentially and so you should be applying to more of the right jobs and therefore more likely to get them.”

Applicants on LinkedIn are now informed whether they’d be a top candidate, as well as how many other people have already applied for the job in question.

That’s not to say that LinkedIn’s foray into AI has been without hiccups. The company originally showed recruiters the best candidates for their jobs, even if the candidates were overqualified.

“You would think that recruiters are pretty smart about who they’re going to be able to hire, who’s the right person to reach out to but, in fact, what was happening was most recruiters were reaching a little bit too much,” said Jersin. “They were reaching out to the same set of very, very qualified people. So those people felt overwhelmed with the number of opportunities, to the point of frustration.”

LinkedIn eventually stopped showing recruiters the best candidates and started showing them “who we thought they would actually hire.”

Jersin says that while AI in recruitment is still far from perfect, it’s here to stay.

“AI is a long-term trend,” he said. “We’ve been talking about it for years and we’re going to continue talking about it and working on it for years.”

Article Published By: Jana Kasperkevic, “Can AI Make Hiring Fairer And More Efficient?,” Marketplace 

How to Describe Yourself During a Job Interview (With Examples)

One of the most common interview questions you’ll hear at the start of your interview is, “Tell me about yourself.”

So, what are the best ways to answer this question?

We asked experts to provide some examples.

Bryan Zawikowski

Bryan Zawikowski

Vice President and General Manager of Military Division, Lucas Group


Some of my key points on this matter are:

  • Be confident, but be humble.
  • Don’t speak in the third person.
  • Don’t be too general, but don’t get too far into the weeds.
  • It is often best to talk about how peers & supervisors have described you in the past, as it lends more credibility to the description.

Here are a few examples:

In the past, my peers have described me as a hard worker and team player who is always willing to do more than his share of the work and who proactively seeks out ways to help other team members succeed. I was humbled and flattered by that feedback and it is certainly who I strive to be.

In my past performance evaluations, my boss described me as someone who could be counted on to get the job done better than expected and someone who always met deadlines well in advance. I pride myself on being an organized person who works effectively and efficiently, and it was nice to hear that my boss thought so too.

I strive to be empathetic and self-aware and seek out feedback from others at all levels to improve my performance. I see myself as a fully-engaged and collaborative team player. I believe in pouring all of myself into whatever I do and in helping others around me achieve success

Read The Entire Article Here: “How to Describe Yourself During a Job Interview (With Examples),” UpJourney

LinkedIn Headline Advice & Examples for Job Seekers (According to 14 Experts)

What should you put in your LinkedIn headline that will make you stand out?

We asked experts for some great examples.

Bryan Zawikowski, Vice President and General Manager of Military Division, Lucas Group

Bryan Zawikowski





These are my bits of advice for job seekers to make their LinkedIn Headline stand out to potential employers:

  • Keep it short and to the point!
  • Make it relevant to the industry & function you are targeting.
  • Don’t use hyperbole to get attention.
  • Don’t try to be too clever or too funny.
  • Don’t overuse buzzwords.

A good example would be:

Experienced CPA seeking Corporate Finance Management Roles in Atlanta

Whereas, you should avoid doing this:

Silo-Busting Synergizer of Business Optimization & Key Performance Metrics, Delivering Excellence and Diversity Across Multi-Functional Collaboration Teams

Read The Entire Article Here: “LinkedIn Headline Advice & Examples for Job Seekers (According to 14 Experts),” UpJourney

To Avoid EEOC Actions, Create Policies, Train in Advance

As topics like #MeToo and workplace bias receive continued attention, the importance of understanding how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) works will only grow. For one thing, experts say, the EEOC’s procedures are complicated and evolving. For another, many companies work under misconceptions that could complicate an already messy situation should they ever be the target of a complaint.

The EEOC is the federal agency charged with enforcing laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace. While the actions it takes apply to civil law rather than criminal, employers shouldn’t underestimate the impact its investigations can have on their business.

Unfavorable outcomes are almost sure to have financial consequences, but even just the process of reacting to complaints usually requires significant amounts of time spent by several people. “Responding to the charge and preparing witnesses for interviews as part of the investigation can be time-consuming and disruptive to day-to-day operations and have a negative impact on employee morale,” explained Angela Vogel, an employment attorney in the Bellevue, Wash., office of law firm Davis Wright Tremaine.

Moreover, many employers believe investigations will be finished quickly once they’ve responded to a charge. Vogel said this is a misconception. While the EEOC says the average investigation takes 10 months to complete, she said, “in my experience, it typically takes longer.” The investigator involved, the agency’s overall workload, the types of information it needs and the facts of the case all impact the timeline.

Traps and Strategies


In fiscal year 2018, the EEOC received more than 76,000 charges. Typically, complaints come from employees who’ve gone directly to the commission without the aid of an attorney. That’s another important dynamic that many employers don’t recognize, said Shelton Blease, director of HR operations for the Atlanta-based recruiting firm Lucas Group. When the EEOC finds evidence of discrimination, the agency can bring a lawsuit on the employee’s behalf. “So the employee doesn’t even need to have legal counsel to go through this process,” he said.

Employers aren’t necessarily out of the woods when the EEOC finds no merit in a complaint or a lawsuit is dismissed. If the agency issues a Dismissal and Notice of Rights, which means it couldn’t find evidence of discrimination, employees can proceed with their own federal lawsuit within 90 days. That’s why, Vogel said, “it’s critical to be strategic” when the complaint is working its way through the EEOC’s process: The information employers provide during the agency’s investigation could be used by the complainant and his or her counsel.

And employers must provide a significant amount of information. Typically, Vogel said, the EEOC will ask an employer to submit a position statement that includes its response to the allegation. However, the agency may request additional information on company policies, personnel and other material it deems to be relevant.

Because of all this, employers should be cautious as they draft and submit material in response to the EEOC’s requests. The information employers provide “could impact their defense in an eventual lawsuit,” Vogel said. She suggests that companies remain mindful of what they say during the investigation, “because facts that emerge later in litigation could undermine statements made at the EEOC stage and create potential credibility issues.”

In addition, an employer should move quickly when it receives a complaint and inform the worker involved that it’s doing so. “This helps employees understand that they’ve been heard, that the issue is being addressed and that retaliation will not be tolerated,” she explained.

Having a process in place to address concerns demonstrates to employees that EEOC issues—and maintaining a respectful workplace—are important to the organization.

Beware of Retaliation


In 2018, more than half of the complaints the EEOC received involved retaliation. As the agency describes it, retaliation occurs when a manager attempts to, in effect, punish an employee “for filing a complaint of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposing discrimination.” The agency takes these complaints seriously, approaching them in the same way it does allegations of discrimination.

According to Adam Calli, principal consultant at Arc Human Capital in Woodbridge, Va., retaliation often is where many employers “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” Organizations may win on the discrimination claim, he explained, but lose a retaliation claim when a manager, for example, attempts to block an employee’s promotion, refuses the use of a company vehicle, or discharges an employee in retaliation for his or her discrimination claim.

“[The employer’s] response created a second problem, and now they might actually end up with fines … because of the second issue, even when they got off free on the first one,” Calli said.

The Best Protections: Policies and Training


Most experts say there are two keys to minimizing employer exposure to EEOC actions: Have clear policies in place, and train managers and employees on how to understand and follow them.

Policies should include procedures describing how employees can raise concerns about discrimination and what the employer will do to address them. In addition, employers should make clear that retaliation is prohibited—no one can try to make an employee “pay” for filing a complaint with the EEOC or bringing an issue to the employer’s attention.

“Having policies that are clear on how to report concerns and educating employees on the process helps to set up a framework where employees are comfortable raising concerns and managers are more adept at making sure the concerns get to the right place—HR,” Vogel said.

It’s not enough to create policies. Both employees and managers should receive regular training on harassment and discrimination. This includes education about reporting concerns and how to identify and escalate concerns. When organizations investigate issues and take appropriate action in a timely manner, Vogel said, employees are less inclined to file a charge. Enacting policies and training “won’t alleviate the risk,” she said, “but it certainly helps minimize it because of the employer’s responsiveness.”

The importance to avoiding issues during the hiring process calls for training, as well. “You have to train the people who are doing the hiring,” Calli said. Hiring people whose values are in tune with the company’s requires making sure managers understand how to interview effectively and probe for the characteristics that will help candidates align with the way the business operates.

Culture goes a long way toward preventing discrimination from rearing its head, Calli noted. “The first thing I would say is have a strong culture and reinforce it,” he said. “Are you really a company that believes in treating people equally and fairly? Because if the answer’s yes, that will come out in the way you do business on a day-to day-basis, the way people talk to each other and the way your managers talk to their employees. If you don’t have a strong culture around that, then all the other things are only going to be marginally useful.”

Article Published By: Mark Feffer, “To Avoid EEOC Actions, Create Policies, Train in Advance,” SHRM 

How to Become a Recruiter, According to 16 Experts

What skills and qualifications do you need to become a recruiter?

We asked experts to give us their insights.

Bob Prather, General Manager of Accounting & Finance Division, Lucas Group

Bob Prather

One of the great things about the recruiting industry is the diverse backgrounds from where recruiters come. Not many folks leave school with the intent of exploring a career in recruiting. In fact, most don’t even know that is an option. However, after getting a bit of education on the scope of the job and on the ability to make recruiting a fun, long-term career, it is a very attractive option.

My first recommendation is to understand what type of recruiting company may fit you the best

If you have relatively little experience, it may be in your best interest to find a larger, national company with training programs in place to introduce you to the world of recruiting and start with teaching you the basics. If you have sales or industry experience, you may find that a smaller, more-flexible environment fits your background.

However, I’d encourage someone that wants to get into recruiting to do their homework and find several different types of companies to engage with them.

You could try to engage the company by applying online

However, part of what makes a successful recruiter is being resourceful when it comes to finding hiring managers. Rather than applying online only and hoping for a callback, I would recommend finding the main number to the local office of the companies that look like potential fits for your background and ask for the person in charge of an internal recruiter or the local hiring manager.

The initiative will go a long way to show that you have the resourcefulness and willingness to find the right talent or contact.

Keep in mind that for good recruiters, recruiting is a profession and a career – not just a job

Like any profession, such as law or accounting, you will have to put in a lot of effort and hard work at the beginning to understand the basics and learn the consultative skills necessary to bring value to clients and candidates.

But, when you do put in that effort, recruiting can be a rewarding, lucrative, long-term career that allows you to impact peoples’ lives on a daily basis.

Tom McGee, Vice President & General Manager of Sales & Marketing Division, Lucas Group

Tom McGee

People become recruiters in several ways.

They talk with a recruiter about finding a job and that recruiter asks the candidate if they would be interested in becoming a recruiter themselves. In my experience, numbers one and two are usually how people get into the world of recruiting.



  • A friend of theirs who is a recruiter suggests they could be a great recruiter.
  • A person during their career realizes that they like the recruiting aspect of their job and decides to pursue it.
  • A person decides to make a career change and they figure out that, by going into recruiting, they can use their connections and knowledge of their industry to be successful.

If someone is interested in getting into recruiting, I would suggest they research the industry and learn which firms recruit for which industries. Then they should contact multiple firms that interest them. When interviewing, they should ask questions about:

  • The level of positions they place.
  • The compensation package.
  • How and when they will be paid on a placement.
  • How the firm handles splits between recruiters.
  • If their recruiters run a full desk or a split desk.


Read The Entire Article Here: “How to Become a Recruiter, According to 16 Experts,” UpJourney

How to Quit a Job You Just Started, According to 16 Experts

Sometimes, a new job isn’t what you had anticipated it would be. You may be feeling like you want to leave already, even though you have just begun.

But the question is, how do you quit a job you’ve just started?

Steven Lynch, General Manager of Legal Division, Lucas Group

Steven Lynch


Be gracious and apologetic but most importantly, be honest


While it’s hard to have the courage to admit you’ve made a mistake and feel it isn’t a fit, life is too short to be in a career or position that is making you unhappy.

By being honest and upfront as soon as you feel confident in your decision, you will save the company the additional money, time and energy it takes to continue the onboarding process, which will ultimately frame you in a more positive light once the dust settles.


Read The Entire Article Here: “How to Quit a Job You Just Started, According to 16 Experts,” UpJourney

How to Build a Healthy Contract Worker Pipeline

The “gig” economy offers employers a massive potential workforce. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 36% of the workforce functions in gig roles, which translates to about 57 million Americans. How can your organization take advantage of this enormous section of the workforce?

The best solution is to create a pipeline of good gig workers to draw from, and keep them happy and continue to look for work with your organization. This sounds great in theory, but how do you make it happen in actual practice?

Here are some practical steps you can take to build a healthy bank of talent for your organization.

Identify Your Needs, and Be More Involved

HR teams often fail to take responsibility for sourcing contract workers. “In the past there seemed to be no interest in contract workers and the technology associated with that,” says Andrew Karpie, a contingent workforce analyst for Spend Matters Network. “The best step you can take is to be involved.”

However, don’t waste time or effort trying to identify contract workers until you know what your company needs are. “You don’t want to be figuring it out as you go,” says Shelton Blease, director of HR operations for Lucas Group. Once you’ve identified a need for contract work, Blease suggests choosing projects that will be challenging — most contract workers are looking to build a diverse skill set, so if you want to keep engaged contract workers coming back, give them the opportunity to build their skills.

Work With a (Good) Staffing Agency, or Check Out Other Platforms

Blease says the best way to streamline resources when hiring contract workers is to find a good staffing agency. A good agency will be tapped into the top talent and treat contract workers like employees. This should include offering traditional benefits such as healthcare and paid time off, which will make contract workers feel valued and increase engagement when they’re working on your projects.

Depending on your organization’s needs, online platforms like Upwork may be a good way to source freelancers. “Sourcing from a platform produces different results than a staffing agency,” Karpie says. “The former is typically used to source remote freelancers, while the latter engages talent to come to your organization.”

Practice Common Courtesy

Don’t think of your contract workers as employees, because they aren’t. And, don’t try to run performance evaluations or get caught up in the metrics — that’s why you hired a staffing agency or have sourced through a platform. Many employers get bogged down in trying to re-create employee elements, but that shouldn’t be your focus.

What you should do, however, is treat your contract workers with respect and courtesy. This is a simple — but highly effective — way to maintain the best talent. “Even people who aren’t your employees, people who are vendors, you want them to enjoy your environment and your company,” Blease says. “It maintains your reputation, and shows that you really care.”

Article Published By: Clare Chiappetta, “How to Build a Healthy Contract Worker Pipeline,” HRCI

28 Supply Chain Professionals Share The Biggest Challenges Of Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is a multi-faceted process with many stakeholders and even more moving parts. New technology aims to make the supply chain more efficient, yet investing in the wrong technology further complicates productivity while hindering profitability.

Effective supply chain management offers numerous benefits for companies, so overcoming challenges to keep things running smoothly is a top priority for supply chain professionals. To learn more about the biggest supply chain challenges plaguing companies today and what supply chain leaders can do to mitigate risks and overcome common challenges, we reached out to a panel of supply chain professionals and asked them to answer this question:

“What’s the single biggest challenge of supply chain management (and how can companies overcome it)?”

Meet Our Panel of Supply Chain Professionals:

Read on to learn what our supply chain pros had to say about the biggest challenges of supply chain management and how you can overcome them.

Charlie Wilgus


Charlie Wilgus is the General Manager of the Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division at Lucas Group, North America’s premier executive search firm.

“Optimization and efficiency are at the core of every company’s supply chain strategy these days…”

While they strive for perfection in these areas, there are more challenges and limitations than ever before. Additionally, the advancements and constant changes in technology and analytics play a huge role in supporting the success or failure of a modern day supply chain. As if this wasn’t enough, transportation costs are rising and forcing companies to constantly adjust and optimize.

There is one common thread behind all of these issues that rises to the top of list of challenges for companies today — cost control. Perhaps one of the biggest dilemmas in cost control is dealing with the new tariffs that have been imposed. Companies have been in a “wait and see” mode for the last three to six months with regard to this, and now their procurement and supply chain leadership are being forced to find new and creative ways to handle the purchasing and movement of goods on a global scale. There is no easy answer to solve this current challenge, and many companies are already experiencing the financial impact of these tariffs on their bottom line. Some companies are having to retract and tighten up production and inventory levels to ride out the storm, while others are finding innovative work-arounds to get their goods shipped and imported with respect to packaging, labeling and logistics.

While we have not seen the implications for consumers just yet, it is certainly assumed that this cost will squeeze margins to a level that will have to be shared by consumers in the form of higher prices for products and services down the road. In the meantime, companies need to make sure they have the most talented negotiators and leaders heading up their procurement and supply chain functions. While this won’t magically solve the problems, it will help control their outcomes and put the organization in the best position for future growth and success.

Read The Entire Article Here: “28 Supply Chain Professionals Share The Biggest Challenges Of Supply Chain Management,” 6 River Systems, By Chris Dunakin

Atlanta Accountants Embrace Tech Tools In Their Future

The Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants holds approximately 20 conferences each year, all of which include at least one course relating to technology. This week, however, the nonprofit member association, which advocates and promotes the CPA profession in the state of Georgia, hosted a conference with technology as its primary focus.

Today, accountants must be able to use technology in real-time to make smart decisions in the field, according to Bob Prather, general manager of the accounting and finance division of the Lucas Group.

“There are hundreds of platforms that will allow you to accomplish this,” Prather said. “However, as the keeper of accounting and financial data, [the accountant] being able to evaluate the organization and the platform to make this type of real-time reporting happen is a huge differentiator.”

Being able to access the data with tech tools also is becoming a standard skillset of accountants, Prather said.

“While tools such as SQL queries and PowerBI, that help pull data out of databases and into Excel, are not new technologies, having these abilities on your resume is becoming critical,” he said. “Waiting several days for a business analyst in the IT department to pull some data for you is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.”

Using the tech means being able to offer advice based on its findings, said Prather.

“If you want to make yourself a value-added partner and not obsolete as these systems become more streamlined, you have to be able to make recommendations from what you are seeing in the data and reports,” Prather said. He suggested accountants ask themselves: What is the data telling you? Is there a pattern? Is something missing? What can be done to address the issue you are seeing?

“These observations, recommendations and plans to help others improve are the real value-add of a good accountant and/or finance employee,” he added.

Read The Entire Article Here: “Atlanta Accountants Embrace Tech Tools In Their Future,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, By Janet Jones Kendall

10 Customer Experience Conference Tips From The Event Pros

Are you bound for a customer experience conference this year? The SmarterCX team and I are fortunate to cover customer experience events across the country, speak with CX leaders, see the latest CX tech, and also work with talented events staff who make it all happen.

If you’re a CX professional, like our team, you’ve probably “worked” many of these events as a keynote speaker, exhibitor, or in another official capacity. Maybe you’re even lucky enough to go as an attendee to learn, network, and take in the latest tips and trends.

No matter which “hat” you’re wearing at your next event, we wondered, what’s a good strategy for making the most of a CX conference?

We asked event pros, attendees, and speakers alike for their tips. Here’s what we learned.

Looking for your next CX conference? Visit our 2019 – 2020 Customer Experience Conference and Events calendar.

Tip #1: Prepare your questions

My top tip for conference and important event attendees is to plan your focus. The best way to do that is to first review the speakers and what you expect to learn. Prepare for yourself a few questions for the segments that are most relevant to your goals so that when it is Q&A time, you are ready to jump to the front of the line to get your questions answered by experts.

Julia Askin, Marketing Coordinator, Fueled

Tip #2: Utilize online resources ahead of time

When attending an industry event or conference, preparation is key! If your goal is to learn, then make sure you sign up for email updates from the event so that you are the first to know about any new agenda items they may have. Go through the event schedule and bookmark the panels or seminars that strike you most and plan out your days. Remember, lines might be long so plan for time in between sessions.

Also, check to see if the event has an online forum to schedule meetings with other attendees. Schedule as much as you can ahead of time and be ready to be flexible, as schedules can change on the fly.

Kristen Harold, CEO, KMH Marketing

Tip #3: Outline specific goals

The best advice I have about attending conferences is to decide upfront what you are wanting to get out of the conference and be as specific as possible. Some examples are: get 5 new customer leads, get specific questions answered about the topic, meet other industry professionals and create a mastermind group, etc. The more specific the better. This will enable you to stay focused on why you are there and help you to feel that you have accomplished something.

Jennifer Murtland, Team Leader, Team Synergi

Tip #4: Schedule meetings with industry contacts pre-conference

If the event you’re attending is industry specific, send out emails a couple weeks ahead of time to vendors or potential customers asking them if they’ll be attending. By making contact ahead of time, you’ll likely be able to secure a time slot to meet and discuss potential partnerships. Some of our most important business relationships are a direct result of cold emails and then quick introduction meetings at conference events. You’d be surprised how receptive people are to meetings when attending a conference.

Matthew Ross, Co-Founder & COO, The Slumber Yard

Tip #5: Tweet who you want to meet

To get the most out of a conference, I recommend making a list of 3 – 5 people, either speakers or attendees, that you really want to connect with during the event. Then make online connections with them beforehand by retweeting and replying to a few tweets or sending them a thoughtful message about one of their articles. At the event you can bring up a topic you already connected about online and make an effort to make an in-person connection. This is much better than going in blind and simply reacting to the atmosphere around you and lets you plan in advance who it’ll be most beneficial to connect with.

Stacy Caprio, Founder, Growth Marketing

Tip #6: Carry a notebook

Prior to the conference, write down your EDUCATIONAL intent for the event. What are the three learnings you want to take away from the event? Carry a notebook, and IMMEDIATELY after the keynote speech/breakout session, write down the three main points that resonated with you or that added educational value. Following the conference, write up five takeaways from the conference you can share with your staff/family/friends.

Dr. Lori Baker-Schena, MBA, EdD, Co-Founder and LeadHER, LeadHERship Consortium, LLC

Tip #7: Focus on the content, not your laptop

I see time and time again … people working on their laptop whilst at a conference. If you’re so busy that you can’t not be working whilst you’re at a conference, just don’t bother. The work you’re doing will be of poor quality because you’re half listening to something else and you’ll likely retain almost none of the information the speaker is giving you. Either go to the office or go to the conference, don’t do both.

James Robinson, Marketing Manager, Buffalo 7

Tip #8: Be ready with something to offer

Important tip for conference attendees: One of the most important reasons people attend conferences is to build and strengthen their network. Yet the vast majority of people have NO NETWORKING PLAN in place when attending these events. They might attend the mixers – which can be very difficult to navigate – or stare at name badges to try to figure out who to approach, but otherwise, they’re wandering around looking for connections.

1) Know the range of people who might be going: vendors, associated industries, educators, students, B2B prospects, consumers? Who in this group do you need to connect with?
2) Have something to offer THEM when you meet someone. Don’t just make it all about finding out what you can get.
3) Pre-network by posting on any discussion boards or social media groups for the event or for the industry. Start asking: Who is going to this event? Then, you can research who is going and reach out to them in advance.

Beth Bridges, Conference Networking Speaker and Expert,

Tip #9: Everybody has to eat

If you’re an exhibitor, the most important time at a convention is spent away from your booth. That time should be used for informal meetings over coffee, breakfast, lunch, cocktails and dinner. It’s important to remember no matter how busy people may be, everybody has to eat, so that is valuable time usually not booked on their schedule. It’s best to set meetings before the conference as best as you can, but also be flexible as you bump into people you either know or want to know as contacts or potential customers.

If you see someone in the elevator or exhibition hall, don’t be afraid to ask if you can buy them a cup of coffee or lunch to get on their radar. Booth and session conversations are important too, but dedicated one-on-one time without easy distractions is key to getting the most out of a conference.

Steven Lynch, General Manager, Legal Division, Lucas Group

Tip #10: Get out there and have fun

If you are in a city you haven’t visited before, do a little research in advance and if time permits, get out of the hotel and see the city. Have fun.

Trish Meade, Senior Director, Travel Unity


Article Published By: Mia McPherson, “10 Customer Experience Conference Tips From The Event Pros,” SmarterCX

Ghosting: When Job Candidates Disappear Without Notice

Most companies typically have more job applicants than they can handle, and they’ve grown accustomed to candidates clamoring for positions. This has led, perhaps inevitably, to a lax attitude when responding to job candidates.

Now it appears that job candidates may have adopted this communication approach as well. “Ghosting” is becoming a widespread phenomenon in which job candidates who are hired don’t show up for the first day of work. Or, they stop responding to calls and messages following the interview.

According to Robert Half, ghosting has increased by 10% to 20% over the past year. So, what’s causing job candidates to disappear without notice and how should employers respond?

Karma or a sign of the times?

“Ghosting is all too common in the current market, but it isn’t just job seekers,” according to Bryan Zawikowski, vice president and general manager at Lucas Group, an executive recruiting firm. “Companies do it almost as often, if not more often,” he says. So, perhaps job candidates are giving employers a taste of their own medicine.

Employers are notorious for not responding to job applicants. Those not chosen for an interview usually don’t receive any sort of notification. But even applicants chosen for an interview might not hear back from the company after the interview.

In his experience, Zawikowski says ghosting seems to be more prevalent in the under-35 age group. “As for the reasons why, I think it’s because they came of business age in a time when actual contact via phone or in-person was on the decline — a decline that accelerated quickly.”

It’s quite possible that young applicants without a lot of business experience might be following the example that’s being modeled for them. When they apply for jobs, they don’t hear back from the companies that don’t hire them. So why should they feel an obligation to contact a company they’ve decided not to work for?

However, Zawikowski doesn’t think it’s intentional or malicious. “Many younger people did not have to develop verbal communication skills when it comes to dealing with tough situations where they have to be able to think quickly and respond.”

If they decide they don’t want to work for the company, he says it’s easier to pretend they never got the message and just avoid the conversation altogether. “Many of these ghosters utilize the same technique in their personal lives, so it’s becoming a ubiquitous problem.”

In fact, when ghosters are confronted, Zawikowski says many of them don’t even think it’s rude or unprofessional. “They will say something like, ‘By not responding, I thought I was being clear about my intentions,’ — but actually, they probably won’t say it, they’ll send an email or text.”

How to avoid being ghosted by job candidates

There’s no way to ensure that your company won’t be ghosted, but Zawikowski says there are steps you can take to minimize it. “Companies need to be very clear in explaining how the hiring process works and what will be expected,” he says. “They must also exceed expectations when it comes to communicating with job seekers — in other words, don’t ghost.”

This may entail improving the job candidate process. For example, Ronni Zehavi, CEO of Hibob, a people management platform, recommends making some of the company’s boring processes more interesting. “Everyone loves games, and today’s technology allows for us to quickly and easily add gamified challenges into onboarding processes,” he says. “Try creating fun, interactive ways for new hires to learn about the company, clients, and employees, because it’s knowledge they’ll need.”

Improving your communication channels is another recommendation. “Think about how you can leverage digital channels to stay in touch with new employees, make them feel welcome, and instill an early sense of community,” Zehavi says. A recent Hibob survey found that company culture is extremely important to the majority of job candidates.

“Invite new hires to join internal digital channels ahead of their first week so that they can not only get a head-start on reading the employee handbook and policies, but also so they are able to put faces to names, learn about company news, and get involved in social or cultural events at the company.”

Zehavi says human interaction can also help relieve any anxiety new employees might feel when walking through the door for the first time as an employee. “Also, HR teams and managers should reach out at least once per week leading up to someone’s first day,” he advises.

Taking too long to make a decision is another reason why candidates may be ghosting your company. Don’t prolong the hiring process unnecessarily. Obviously, companies are busy, but when it takes too long to make a decision or move the process along, consider the message you’re sending to candidates. When you’re willing to keep them in limbo, it creates a bad first impression.

On the other hand, Zawikowski says companies need to be prepared to drop a candidate who ghosts them, instead of trying to coax them — and he says it doesn’t matter how qualified they are. “If companies ignore this and coddle the ghosters, they will end up with a company full of them, and that does not suggest future success for the organization.”

Article Published By: Terri Williams, “Ghosting: When Job Candidates Disappear Without Notice,” MultiBriefs

Reflecting, Rebranding … But Can HR Repair Its Reputation?

The mere mention of HR is often met with dread. But at the annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management, it’s a different story.

Ribbons adorning attendees’ badges read “I heart HR.” Conference souvenirs included similarly branded T-shirts, pashminas, tie clips and blocks of Post-it notes. Despite 100 degree heat, roughly 20,000 people attended the event in Las Vegas last month.

Companies are trying to rebrand HR into something fun and approachable. These days you’ll encounter titles like chief experience officer, chief happiness officer and, more recently, chief heart officer.

But call an HR department a “people department” in front of a large group of workers and chances are someone will roll their eyes.

“I think people roll their eyes because it’s new,” said Aram Lulla, general manager at executive recruiting firm Lucas Group. Two years ago, the HR executive at his company was promoted to “chief people officer.”

“You know, you’re not used to hearing it — ‘Oh boy, that sounds a little bit cheesy’. No, it’s really what it’s all about. They are there to establish the culture, they are there for the employee experience, they are there for the people. Because of that, that title change is actually very significant to a lot of organizations, because it really defines what these people are doing in their functional departments.”

The shift toward emphasizing the human part of human resources has proven more challenging as a result of the #metoo movement. With the spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace, HR managers say that finding a balance between police officer and confidant has become more important.

It’s been a time for reflection, according to Deb Muller, founder and CEO of HR Acuity, a provider of HR management software.

“One of the things that HR needs to do is to rethink what they have been doing,” she said. In the recent years, Muller, too, had a moment of self-doubt; she wondered if her employees felt comfortable coming to her with sensitive issues at work.

“When #metoo came out, and they said 75% of people don’t feel comfortable reporting things, I even had to look inward on my own HR experience because I thought I, as an HR leader, was really good. [That] I was different and people had a different experience with me. But when you hear statistics like that, you can’t just think that you are different. You have to start thinking about you’ve been doing.”

Muller said she read much of the #metoo coverage, including reports about how companies need to have sexual harassment training and a variety of means of reporting workplace issues. But none of that seemed particularly new or revolutionary to her.

“That’s what we’ve been doing for 20 years. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing,” she said of the advice she read. “And if we just kind of tweak [the policies] and revise them, we are just doing more of the same and we are going to get the exact same results.”

There was also an increase in reports of “unprofessional conduct,” workplace bullying, as well as age and gender discrimination. HR executives reported being overworked and more than half of those who conduct investigations exclusively said they were  investigating seven cases, on average, at the same time.

The way HR departments handle those claims and investigations will shape their reputation, Muller said.

Colleen Pfaller, founder and chief executive of A Slice of HR, a recruiting firm in Cincinnati, says she is no stranger to the negative response that often accompanies any mention of HR. She hopes that it’s all about to change.

“We are in kind of a new era of HR and that’s encouraging. For a lot of time, we were seen as the police of the organization. I certainly did my fair share of performance management, talking to people about discipline matters and handbooks, but I think the field is evolving.”

According to Pfaller, HR is about more than being a handbook-thumper. She says HR staff should focus on those rare moments when employees actually find their way into the HR office.

“Somebody like my dad, who was an engineer for a company for 40 years, probably never walked into the HR department,” she said. “But maybe once or twice he did, and it’s how we respond in those moments. And if we slap down a handbook, or we slap down a policy, we are going to keep having our bad reputation.”

Stubbornly sticking to policies and not thinking of the employees and the larger picture is the reason HR has developed a reputation for avoidance and de-escalation rather than solutions, said Steve Pemberton, chief resource officer at HR software company Workhuman.

“I am at times surprised by that stubbornness, because you have evidence of so many things that aren’t working quite as effectively as we wish,” he said, pointing specifically to sexual harassment training and #metoo. “How has that happened on our watch? Where do we need to be better, relative to not just policies that are in place, but culture? The hanging onto the way things were done, almost with a clawed hand, has been a bit surprising.”

HR, according to Pemberton, “are the people who take care of people.” No one else has that responsibility, he said.

“When you are expecting as a mom for the first time, HR is going to know about that,” he says. “If you are thinking about adopting, we are going to know about that. If you are thinking about going back to school, we are going to know about that. We are kind of in the middle of your common life events that, with all due respect to chief financial officer or the chief marketing officer, they are not.”

These are the moments that Pfaller mentioned, when HR executives hope to get more personable, more trusted and closer to an “I heart HR” atmosphere in their workplace. But a playful personal touch is hard to teach in a one-hour workshop.

As the conference came to an end, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas was full of departing attendees. Two women wore black shirts with bright green letters that read: “What happens in Vegas gets reported to HR.” Playful, but still the office police.

Article Published By: Jana Kasperkevic, “Reflecting, Rebranding … But Can HR Repair Its Reputation?,” Marketplace

17 Résumé Writing Mistakes That Would Totally Horrify HR Managers


Applying for a job is fraught with questions and second-guessing: Am I qualified for this position? Would I actually enjoy it if I got it? Could I have answered that interview question better? But few aspects of the job search generate as many questions as the résumé—a single sheet of paper that determines your professional future.

It’s often scanned for just a few seconds as the hiring manager sifts through dozens of other applications, so it needs to make an immediate, positive first impression. Any mistake could be the difference between you getting an interview or being tossed into the reject pile. So what are some of these mistakes when it comes to your résumé, and how do you avoid them? We spoke with HR experts, recruiters, and managers who make hiring decisions at their companies to find out some of the most common errors applicants make on their résumés. Their responses might surprise you!

1. Having just one résumé

Applying for jobs can be time-consuming, especially if you’re trying to get your résumé out far and wide. But one of the most common mistakes applicants make is sending out the same résumé for vastly different positions.

“Oftentimes, a job seeker will submit a résumé that may look really nice and even be quite impressive. But failing to mold your résumé to the job, our needs, the kind of work, etc., shows a lack of focus and attention to detail,” says Ron Auerbach, a job-search consultant and author of Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success.

He urges applicants to always tailor their résumé to the job to which they are applying, emphasizing the skills and experience most relevant to that particular position.

2. Getting too artistic

Sure, you want your résumé to stand out, but avoid getting too creative. Adding clip art or other visuals or laying the text out in an unconventional way might seem like it will help you stand out from the pack, but it’s more likely to just lead to the hiring manager taking you less seriously.

“You are first judged by how your résumé looks and feels, meaning its visual appearance,” says Auerbach. “So even if your résumé’s content is the best in the world, it won’t matter if your overall visual appearance is bad because the perception will be that you are unprofessional.”

For Laura Handrick, workplace and careers analyst for, one of the biggest no-nos in this regard is the use of colored or otherwise unconventional paper, whether textured or even spritzed with a scent.

“That’s just irritating and makes me wonder whether the person has proper professional boundaries,” she says. “I recommend job seekers stick to plain white durable copy paper. You don’t want your résumé to stand out for the wrong reason entirely.”

3. Having grammatical errors

This should be obvious, but a surprising number of applicants still overlook the importance of basic grammar when pulling together their résumé.

“If the person can’t put a sentence together properly on their résumé, what are their company emails likely to look like when I hire them?” asks Handrick. “In fact, misuse of any word may give me pause. I want to hire someone who can communicate with their peers and clients in writing, and whose work I don’t have to double check to make sure it’s correct. These days with free apps like Grammarly, there’s really no reason to submit a résumé with grammatical errors.”

10. Using cliché phrases

You know them when you see them—those turns of phrase that are so familiar they seem like just what a résumé reader would want to see. But don’t be tempted by the comforting sound of a cliché—it just makes you come across as a cliché yourself.

“Do not include overused terms or phrases like, ‘out of the box thinker,’ ‘team player,’ or ‘hard worker,’” urges Michael Stahl, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of HealthMarkets, an independent health insurance agency that distributes health, Medicare, life, and supplemental insurance products. “I think these are all traits that are assumed a person should or will have. You don’t need to include things like this in a résumé; instead, be prepared to have examples to share that exemplify how you are a team player, an ‘out of the box thinker.’”

Bryan Zawikowski, a 25-year recruiting vet who is the vice president and general manager of the military transition division for executive recruitment firm Lucas Group, has some more words to stay away from. “‘Multitasking’ is overused and does not describe specific experience,” he says. “The word ‘seasoned’ makes me think of a cooking show. ‘Game changer’ is one of many overused sports references. ‘Change agent’ is better, but not by much.”

Read The Entire Article Here: “17 Résumé Writing Mistakes That Would Totally Horrify HR Managers,”, by Alex Daniel

How SMBs Need To Approach HR — Even If They Think The Old Way Is Working

Aram Lulla is General Manager, Human Resources Practice at Lucas Group

“Why should I change something that’s working?”

A business owner recently asked me this question when discussing his company’s approach to human resources. The company, a medium-sized business, has a single HR coordinator responsible for benefits, compliance and onboarding.

“I know we could be doing more to develop our employees, but I can’t justify spending the money to build an HR team when our turnover rates are in line with the industry average. What we’re doing must be working.”

But is it?

It’s tempting for small and midsize business (SMB) owners, like the one above, to follow an old-school mindset to HR. The thinking goes like this: HR is a cost center, not a revenue generator. HR is the realm of tactical thinkers, not strategic leaders. HR is about managing paperwork and benefits, not forecasting talent needs and optimizing the employee experience.

But today’s tight talent market and dynamic business world demand a different approach.

Making The Case: Why SMBs Must Rethink HR

Assuming the status quo is “good enough” can be a costly assumption for SMB owners. Yes, the worst-case scenario of low productivity and talent loss may not come to pass. But settling for good enough means you’re missing out on a truly dynamic work environment that sparks innovation, helps employees reach their full potential and drives business success.

It’s a classic case of penny wise but pound foolish thinking. When HR is just about compliance, there’s no one actively managing your employer brand or protecting your employer reputation. The same problem applies to company culture. No one is in charge of developing and nurturing your company’s culture and ensuring your work environment aligns with this culture to drive employee engagement and business success. The upfront savings of keeping HR as lean as possible are limited. The lost potential of your company’s talent — and the risk of a poor employer brand hurting recruitment — is huge. Here’s another way of looking at it: Every hire costs your company money. Are you doing the most you can to grow these investments?

Adopting A Human Capital Mindset: Small Changes, Big Impact

Evolving your HR department doesn’t mean abandoning essential compliance functions. It does mean thinking beyond these essentials to truly invest in talent development, ensuring your best and brightest hires remain engaged and productive for years to come. These are three places to start:

  1. Define your employer value proposition. A clear employer value proposition is crucial for smaller businesses that can’t rely on well-known employer brands to boost their market reputation. Your value proposition answers the question, “Why do employees choose to work for our organization over another company?” Start with the value you think your business provides: Do employees choose your business because of the entrepreneurial work environment? Maybe it’s the opportunity to work on a variety of projects at once and build diverse skill sets. Next, survey employees to determine if your assumptions match reality. Identifying a mismatch in expectations and reality is key to strengthening your employer brand and enhancing the overall employee experience, both improving future recruitment and minimizing the risk for turnover. 
  2. Map the employee journey You know your customer journey map backward and forward — what about your employee’s journey? An employee journey map breaks down the phases of interaction over the employee life cycle, including before, during and after employment.Start by listing all touch points: How will a prospective employee learn about your business? How would they apply for a job? What happens during each interview round? Next, consider what happens during employment: Is there a structured onboarding process? What about performance assessments and leadership training? Finally, consider what happens when employees leave: Is there a formal exit interview and off-boarding? Do you maintain a positive relationship with past employees? Organizing these touch points and mapping the entire journey in a single location makes it easier to identify opportunities for improvement. 
  3. Empower your multipliers by removing barriers to success. A star performer — the manager uniquely attuned to their team’s needs, the sales leader whose aggressive performance goals energize the whole department — can have a ripple effect on your entire organization. Researcher and executive advisor Liz Wiseman calls these star performers “multipliers,” individuals who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. You may already have a budding multiplier in your organization, but are you allowing them to reach their full potential? This is where an HR leader with a human capital mindset can make a difference. Ingrained company processes and structures can limit your multiplier’s ability to amplify others. HR can take an objective approach to evaluate these processes and structures, removing barriers to successful talent optimization and driving companywide performance improvements. 

Whether you’re a company of 50, 500 or 5,000, talent and culture are the biggest drivers for business success. Rethinking your approach to HR signals that your company takes both seriously — and that you won’t settle for “good enough.”

Article Published By: Aram LullaForbes, “How SMBs Need To Approach HR — Even If They Think The Old Way Is Working

Smart Recruiting Strategies for Hiring

  • One of the best recruitment strategies is asking current employees to give referrals.
  • Hiring workers on a trial basis allows you to test out potential future employees.
  • Each company’s recruitment process is different, and finding the best recruitment strategy for your business requires some trial and error.

Recruiting is a challenge for small businesses. Finding the right talent isn’t easy, and it takes a good recruiting strategy to find and hire quality candidates.

We spoke with hiring professionals to learn smart recruitment strategies small businesses can implement to attract the best talent during the recruitment process.

One of the best ways to hire quality candidates is to have your current employees or people in your network refer others. Ask your employees if they know anyone who might be a good fit for the position. Referrals are a good way to screen potential candidates before even interviewing them. If your trusted employee recommends a previous colleague or a friend whose work experience they know well, it gives you a level of security knowing this new applicant can do good work. When hiring a stranger, there is less certainty about a candidate’s work ethic and potential fit on the team.

“The absolute best recruiting [strategy] would be to ask for referrals from your network,” said Jonaed Iqbal, founder and CEO of “Ask fellow business owners if they know anyone looking for a job. Ask friends and family. Go to local business networking events (the Chamber of Commerce) and ask the other people who attend if they know anyone on the market for a job. Referrals are the No. 1 source for candidates. People usually refer good people as the person they refer is a reflection on them.”

While you shouldn’t give referrals preferential treatment, being recommended by someone already on staff or in your network is an added benefit for that applicant. Make sure that the applicant’s qualifications make them an ideal fit for the job, and use the referral as insurance that you’re making the right hiring decision.

One way to solicit referrals from current employees is to implement a referral bonus program. If an employee refers an applicant and that applicant eventually gets hired, the employee who referred the new hire can receive some sort of monetary compensation. Even if the bonus is only a few hundred dollars, it makes employees more willing to recommend people they know to be quality candidates. The cost tends to pay off, as data suggests that referral hires can save companies $3,000 in fees that would otherwise be spent on things like recruiters and job postings.

“Create a very generous employee referral program (make it so big that you are almost uncomfortable), and tie some of the payout to the performance of the new hire,” said Bryan Zawikowski, vice president and general manager of the military transition division Lucas Group.

If you’re a small business struggling to find candidates for jobs, look to referrals for help. Referrals can make the hiring process significantly smoother, and they should be an integral aspect of your recruitment strategy plan. An employee referral is a great way to boost the talent pool in your collection of applications, and it often leads to hiring a qualified candidate. More importantly, it’s speedy and inexpensive to benefit from employee referrals.

Read The Entire Article Here: “Smart Recruiting Strategies for Hiring,” Business News Daily, By Bennett Conlin

The IT Talent Shortage: Separating Myths from Facts

Takeaway: IT pros say they’re having a hard time finding jobs. Companies say they’re having a hard time finding qualified candidates. So what’s the real story with the IT talent shortage?

If you peruse job ads, there are always openings for IT positions. In fact, we’ve been told over and over that there’s a severe shortage of these professionals. On the other hand, some critics have said there really isn’t a shortage of IT jobs. They say the problem is that companies have unrealistic requirements, are not willing to train existing workers, or they want to pay below market rates. One example of the confusion surrounding this issue is a CNN report on IBM’s decision, in 2016, to lay off thousands of workers while also planning to hire 20,000 new employees. This followed revelations from Business Insider, that in 2015, IBM added 70,000 new workers — many through acquisitions — and also shed 70,000 employees.

So, what’s going on? Is there an IT talent shortage or not? If there is, what’s causing it? Techopedia rounded up a stable of experts to separate the myths from the facts.

Real Shortage or Crying Wolf?

All of our experts are in agreement that the IT talent shortage is real. “The lack of software engineers is not a myth; there are currently about half a million unfilled computing jobs in the U.S.” according to Sylvain Kalache, co-founder at coding academy Holberton School. “And according to a recent survey by Stripe and Harris Poll, this software developer talent is actually more valuable than money to companies, proving just how bad the shortage really is,” Kalache says. (To learn about what it’s like to be a software engineer, check out Job Role: Software Engineer.)

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs and only 400,000 computer science grads who have the necessary skills. ”And that’s why the top four tech companies — Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon — have made billion-dollar investments in new campuses across the nation,” according to Dr. Arthur Langer, director of the Center for Technology Management at Columbia University and chairman and founder of Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS), a nonprofit with a mission of developing the skills of untapped talent.

Trying to Keep Up

There’s no single reason for the shortage of IT talent. However, one issue is that we can’t produce IT workers as quickly as needed. According to Kalache, universities are training roughly 35,000 computer science grads each year, and alternative education is training approximately 20,000 a year, but he says we are a long way from being able meet the needs of companies.

Digital transformation is outpacing education at all levels of IT jobs, and Langer sees the effects on a routine basis. He oversees the M.S. in Technology Management program at Columbia. “This is a master’s program designed for professionals with over a decade of experience in leadership or technology,” Langer says. However, almost one-third of his students already have a master’s degree, and many of the students have an MBA. “From high school students to industry leaders, people are recognizing the need to re-skill and constantly adapt to today’s digital landscape — and we probably don’t even know what skills the jobs ten years from now will require of workers.”

The digital revolution and enterprise adoption of new technologies are two factors that David Armendariz, general manager of the technology division for Lucas Group, points to as contributing to the technology shortage. But they aren’t the only two. “A retiring baby boomer generation, a deficiency in STEM graduates, and an increase in millennials’ lack of interest in technical careers or a career path are three other reasons,” Armendariz says.

Lowball Offers

However, companies are also responsible for the shortage. For example, Armendariz says companies want to get a bargain when they hire employees. “Many companies base their offers on a budget that was created by someone who doesn’t truly understand what it takes to recruit the best technical talent in today’s marketplace,” he says. “Also, a lot of companies think that if they have a ‘unique culture,’ candidates will want to work there for far less money than they could make somewhere else, and more often than not, it’s just not true.” Yep, it turns out that being able to bring your dog to work or do rooftop yoga doesn’t compare to being able to pay your bills and live a comfortable life.

Read The Entire Article Here: “The IT Talent Shortage: Separating Myths from Facts,” Techopedia, By Terri Williams

Feeding the Baby Products Supply Chain

Managing the baby products supply chain is not child’s play. Here’s how manufacturers in this highly regulated product category stay hyper-vigilant to protect infants and toddlers while constantly adjusting to parents’ ever-changing color, style, and flavor preferences.

What do actresses Jennifer Garner, Kristen Bell, and Jessica Alba have in common?

They all started baby product businesses after they became mothers. Like every other parent, they became obsessed with the quality and safety of anything that went on, in, or near their children.

Garner’s company, Once Upon a Farm, sells fresh, organic baby food. Bell’s Hello Bello premium but affordable diapers, wipes, and skin care products are sold exclusively at Walmart. Alba’s The Honest Company sells a range of products from organic formula to diapers and baby shampoo.

“Quality should be scrutinized for any product, but when it comes to children’s safety, it is of the utmost importance,” says Charlie Wilgus, general manager of the manufacturing and supply chain practice at Lucas Group, an Atlanta-based executive search firm.

“You never want a lawsuit because of something happening to a baby,” adds Joe Politoske, vice president and senior account executive at USC Consulting Group.

The baby products supply chain is highly regulated because little humans are so vulnerable. Rigorous testing and certification are designed to protect them from injury and illness caused by everything from loose parts they could choke on to flammable fabrics or toxic materials that include lead. Manufacturers and retailers must be vigilant to ensure that suppliers—including those overseas—adhere to design, materials, testing, and certification requirements.

At, a Seattle-based online retailer that started as a flash sale site for parents, vendors are required to maintain all relevant testing documents that regulations mandate. Teams work closely with partners across the supply chain to manage compliance for all product categories, but especially baby products that include strollers, toys, and apparel.

“We train our buying teams on product safety issues and evolving regulations while working with vendors whenever safety concerns are raised to ensure that their products meet all applicable safety standards,” says Doug Hyland, Zulily’s director of compliance.

Dominique de Bourgknecht, founder and CEO of baby deedee, a New York manufacturer and retailer of baby sleeping bags and pajamas, has been able to find product and certification quality at a large, integrated, family-owned manufacturer in India.

“This kind of integration, where one part of the family knits the fabric and another cuts and sews, offers a cost advantage plus more control over product quality and consistency,” de Bourgknecht says. Baby deedee uses a third-party laboratory to ensure there are no issues.

Symbia Logistics, a Colorado-based third-party logistics provider, handles fulfillment for ABBY&FINN, a subscription premium diaper and wipes company. “We take particularly exceptional care with how we handle any product someone will wear,” says Dave Boger, Symbia’s operations and business development manager.

Co-founded by the owner of another company that makes BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free bibs, cups, and other products, ABBY&FINN goes to great lengths to make sure its products are safe for newborn skin.

For example, its diapers, available in a range of sizes and parent-pleasing patterns and colors, are made with plant-based materials. They include no harmful chemicals or dyes and the “sap”—the mostly plant-based material that provides absorbency—is completely baby-safe.

They take this care because it’s what co-founders Lance and Amanda Little and Matt Anderson want for their children, but also because parents demand it. “The materials we use are always top of mind with making sure we listen to our customers and stay aware of industry trends,” says Little. “For example, we just changed manufacturers to include even more natural ingredients in our wipes.”

But ABBY&FINN’s parent customers want more than sustainably harvested wood pulp in their disposable diapers. They want their wee ones’ diapers to be fashion-forward, too.

“You’d be surprised at how on-trend some designs need to be,” says Anderson. “We have to stay on top of domestic and European fashion trends and colors.”

Consumer tastes literally play a role in baby food supply chain challenges as well. Whether it’s diapers, onesies, or pureed fruit, it’s about what the parent, not the infant, prefers.

“The flavor palate for baby foods seems to change every year or two, while for other food processors it’s every five to seven years,” says Politoske. Changing preferences require manufacturers to constantly adapt, which can be an issue when it comes to processing certain fruits or vegetables.

“Equipment that suddenly has to process pomegranates, for example, might not be able to keep the hard seed from becoming part of the finished product, so the equipment needs to be modified,” he explains.

Because consumer tastes can shift as quickly as infants become toddlers, baby food manufacturers want to minimize the amount of product in inventory.

“You don’t want a year’s worth of supply based on a forecast when trends could change,” Politoske explains. “That’s a significant amount of inventory that could be at risk.”

His company addressed that issue when working with a top North American baby food manufacturer that wanted to use a new, more modern facility to help globalize its supply chain. By expanding sourcing to South America, where the growing season is opposite of that to the north, the company could, for example, produce applesauce twice per year instead of just once. Splitting production in two according to opposite seasons means the manufacturer has less in inventory, which not only reduces the flavor-of-the-month risk, but also ties up less capital in goods.

Ingredient quality and traceability is extremely important with baby foods, too (see sidebar, page 69).

“The depth these companies go to to certify the supply chain is enormous,” Politoske says. “We work with other food products where quality is a given, but there’s an extra level of care and attention with baby products.”

Consumers and celebrities alike understand why that’s so important.

Article Published By: Sandra Beckwith, “Feeding the Baby Products Supply Chain,” Inbound Logistics

How To Negotiate Your Benefits Package–Not Just Your Salary

When I was negotiating for my last job, I worked myself into a tizzy figuring out how to ask for the salary I deserved. I did all the things we’re meant to do: I talked to people in similar positions, I went deep into the Glassdoor archives, I came up with a data-supported goal number, and I checked my impostor syndrome at the door.

And it worked. The offer increased. But it wasn’t until long after I’d started the job that I realized I could’ve and should’ve been looking at more than just my salary—I should have thought about negotiating benefits, too.

Pay is only one aspect of how we are compensated for our work. Benefits are the other. But it’s hard to negotiate for something you don’t know much about. That’s where this guide comes in. It’ll walk you through how to think about your compensation holistically and negotiate benefits, whether you’re facing a new job offer or thinking about renegotiating with your current employer.

The Benefits Smorgasbord: What’s Your Ideal Compensation Package?

First, let’s talk about benefit categories. They go far beyond health care plans, though those are a key cornerstone of a good package. After talking to several HR professionals about potential types of benefits, I’ve defined the following general categories:

Flexibility benefits include a flexible schedule, the ability to work from home or from other offices, on-site daycare, and being able to bring pets to the office.

Health and wellness benefits include health care plans, dental and vision plans, vacation days, personal days, sick days, short- and long-term disability, flexible health spending accounts, and parental leave.

Long-term benefits include 401k plans or pension plans, life insurance plans, and stock option or stock purchasing plans.

Training and tools benefits include technology like phones, laptop, or tablets and ongoing training like conferences, workshops, and classes.

Industry-specific benefits can include almost anything, like free trips at travel companies, discounts on merchandise at apparel companies, or special pricing at car companies.

Relocation benefits can include rent assistance, moving costs, and travel back to where you’re moving from, if applicable.

Depending on your experience, goals, and values, you’ll choose the benefits that are important to you. Perhaps you’re thinking about becoming a parent and rock-solid parental leave and health care are vital. Maybe you’re single and looking to travel extensively in the next few years, in which case you’ll want to see a solid flexible work policy.

“Progressive companies put together benefit packages reflective of all the different generations that are at their company right now,” says Carolina King, chief people officer at executive search firm Lucas Group. If you’re in negotiations with a potential employer and you find that they don’t offer the benefits you care about (and they’re not willing to discuss them), it’s a good sign that your values aren’t aligned with theirs and that the opportunity there probably isn’t the right one for you.

How to Negotiate Your Benefits

You’ve identified the benefits that are important to you—now it’s time to ask for them.

The easiest time to do this is after a company has offered you a job and before you’ve accepted it. “Since the company has decided they want to hire you, they are more than likely to work with you on accommodating your benefit needs,” says Michelle Armer, chief people officer at CareerBuilder.

Going into that conversation, be confident. Have your goal result clear. King gives some suggested language to introduce your asks: “I’m accustomed to” or “I’m looking for” X—three weeks of vacation, being able to work from home two days a week, opportunities to further your education on the job—versus the standpoint of, “This is what I received in the past.” Using that language gets around the potential that you were previously unfairly compensated, whether with salary or benefits or both, which is likely, considering the gender pay gap. It instead focuses the conversation on what is appropriate for your experience level and the organization or industry you’re in.

Understand that not all benefits can be negotiated. In bigger organizations, benefits packages might be defined by HR on an annual basis, says King, which would make it difficult for you to introduce benefits they don’t already offer. In those cases, you’ll likely have more success asking for one-time benefits like relocation support, and it may be harder to negotiate company-wide benefits like different vision care.

If you’re interviewing at a startup or smaller company, however, you may find lots of flexibility in defining your benefits. Ask about their current offerings and their strategy to add to those benefits over time, says King.

And if you’re not in the interview phase? You can have this conversation with a current employer, too, though it’s a little trickier.

The first step is to make sure your manager is on board. King recommends that you express your desired changes (more vacation, more flexible working hours, getting your phone bill covered by work) to him or her first. Ask for their support to bring the conversation to HR. Once you have that support, go to your HR team and say something like, “I’ve discussed this with my manager, and he/she knows and shares my position. I want to see what can be done about Y.”

Armer suggests starting that conversation at an annual review or performance check-in, when you’re already discussing your contributions to the company and it’s a natural transition to discussing how you’re compensated for them.

It Can Be Done: Success Stories of Women Negotiating Beyond Salary

A brief aside: When I was interviewing women about their negotiating experiences for this piece, several asked if their stories could be made anonymous. They didn’t want their current employer finding out they’d talked to me, or for their coworkers to see the piece and realize their own benefits packages were lacking. That’s an understandable impulse.

We’re conditioned to not want to share these things for fear of repercussions. We think maybe someone else having more means we’ll have less. We worry we’ll somehow be punished for helping someone else to advocate for themselves. But having transparency around compensation makes workers more productive, not less. When we know what’s fair, we’re more likely to get it.

So in the spirit of sharing, here are three stories of women who successfully negotiated their benefit increases, both at current jobs and in the interview process—names changed (*) where requested.

Team Up

Mary*, 28, was working as a travel advisor for a small international travel company. She was at drinks one night with two of her female coworkers, and one of them let slip that she was planning on quitting. She was unhappy with her salary and health care plan.

Mary and her other coworker shared the woman’s concerns. And beyond that, they knew that if the woman left, the two of them would be bear the brunt of her work. The three of them decided to try to negotiate a situation that they’d all be happier with. Mary sent a text message to a male colleague on their team, inviting him to join them.

The four of them met at a coffee shop and wrote out what they wanted to say, and two days later, they presented it directly to the founder of the company. Their final asks were a salary increase for their team, a better health care plan, getting HR more involved with internal issues, and team-building options like hot-desking between departments.

All of their asks were approved, and not just for the four of them. All new hires to the company now start at a higher salary and with a more comprehensive health care plan.

“I’m a big fan of transparency,” says Mary. “It can be an awkward conversation, but it’s worth it. Just getting a sense of where you are is the first step into knowing you have the right to get more.”

Be Willing to Walk Away

Dani, 27, was a product marketing manager at an education technology company who had a goal of seeing the world.

She approached the director of her team and her boss about why she wanted to take her job remote and work fewer hours. She was ready to leave the company if they weren’t open to it.

They were skeptical but open-minded, and Dani prepared a detailed proposal of how it would all work. She and her boss decided on a six-month test period where Dani would work 25-30 hours a week remotely. They came up with an hourly rate based on her salary minus cost of living adjustments (going from being based in the Bay Area to being based in South America meant that dropped big time) plus a “contractor boost” to account for the fact that she would be losing her full-time benefits, like health care and a 401k plan, and would need to pay for those out-of-pocket.

“I knew there was a chance it would work out—I knew my worth and how it hard it was to hire for my role, so I had that on my side,” says Dani. “And worst-case scenario, I had a backup plan; I had found job boards for remote jobs and had started applying.”

Six months passed, in which Dani had moved to Argentina, met her now-fiancé, gone on several big trips, and taken on several additional clients, all while successfully maintaining her responsibilities for her former employer. Dani and her boss decided to keep their remote arrangement going indefinitely, and now she’s planning her next adventures.

Play the Field

Skye, 26, was interviewing for a role as a senior sales manager at two national hotel management companies. She got both offers and knew she wanted to take the one with the same chain she’d worked for in the past. She liked their remote work policy and their perks for management, like covering phone bills and offering discounted hotel rooms. But they were offering a lower salary and less vacation time.

After prepping with her then-boss, with whom she’d built a good relationship, Skye responded to her recruiter. She told them about the other offer and about the benefits she received at her current job, asking them to match them. They matched both the other salary offer and her three weeks of vacation.

Skye realized there were other benefits she was looking for and entered another round of negotiations, this time asking for unlimited sick time and a relocation package.

“I felt comfortable [asking for more] because I knew I had options, and I knew that if they wanted me, they would give me what I needed,” explains Skye. “I have a disability and a chronic illness, so I wanted the flexibility to take time and go to the doctor’s office.”

They agreed to her requests, and Skye’s now been at that company for nearly a year. She’s happy in her role, but if she finds herself on the job market again, she says she’ll remember to highball her benefits asks to give her space to come down in negotiation.

All of the women I talked to were nervous about negotiating, but they found a mechanism—linking up with coworkers, having a backup plan, enlisting a boss’s advice—that helped make them feel comfortable enough to ask for what they wanted. As you prepare to enter your own benefits negotiations, try some of their techniques. And when they work, pay it forward. Make it easier for the next woman to get what she deserves. And the next one after her.

Article Published By: Katherine Plumhoff, “How To Negotiate Your Benefits Package–Not Just Your Salary,” Hello Giggles

5 Leadership Mantras Debunked

Like a backflip on skis, most leadership advice – whether you heard it in business school or from a “self-educated” YouTube entrepreneur– can only be mastered with experience.

For those still lacking experience, however, the next best thing is to learn from someone else’s. With that in mind, we asked leaders from business and politics for the leadership lessons they learned on the job. From the stories they shared, it turns out we have a lot to unlearn instead.

Here are five leadership mantras debunked:

1. Treat others the way you want to be treated

Ergo, manage others the way you want to be managed, motivate others the way you want to be motivated, tell others that their market research report would have been excellent coming from an intern, but that you expected much more from a senior analyst the way you yourself sometimes need tough love in order to get the ball rolling …

It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to see how this piece of advice can be a slippery slope. That’s not to say leaders are being disingenuous about how they want to be treated – most wouldn’t be promoted to that role without some competitive spirit and willingness to put in the hours.

“When I was first promoted into a leadership role, I assumed that my team members were motivated by the same things that motivated me: rah-rah energy, high fives, contests to reward performance, come in early, stay late, live to work, etc.,” said Bryan Zawikowski, vice president and general manager at Lucas Group, a recruiting firm. “I really ‘lived to work,’ assuming every team member felt the same way.”

Instead, Zawikowski’s team started to dwindle in performance. It finally took one comment from a tenured peer – “Don’t expect everyone to be just like you” – for Zawikowski to realize that his leadership style was to blame.

“The key takeaway was that everyone has a different set of motivators based on their personality and what is going on in their lives,” Zawikowski said. “I learned that if I was going to be an effective leader for the whole team, I was going to need to treat people the way they wanted to be treated, not the way I wanted to be treated.”

2. Fake it ’til you make it

For a textbook example of the “fake it ’til you make it” strategy, take Theranos or Fyre Festival, two of the most recent high-profile business failures. Both were so good at imitating the aura of successful tech startups that they attracted investors and publicity without having to show any bottom line. It wasn’t until it came time to show results, however, that their façade of credibility came tumbling down like a house of cards.

As it turns out, there’s a fine line between a display of confidence and deceit. A quieter majority has found success with the honest approach.

“I am firmly against the notion to ‘fake it ’til you make it,'” said Megan Tamte, who took on a leadership role for the first time after opening her store EVEREVE. “That’s encouraging people to pretend they know more than they do or [be] something they are not.”

Instead, Tamte attracted the kind of business partners and customers she wanted to associate with by “being honest, telling my story and explaining my ‘why’ to people.” The strategy paid off: EVEREVE made $120 million in sales in 2018 and is on pace to hit $150 million this year.

3. Think positive

Judging by the number of business self-help books on positive thinking, it appears we all suffer from a cripplingly pessimistic outlook. Judging by the fact that two-thirds of startups don’t survive the first decade, however, it appears many business leaders could use a dose of reality.

Hence, some experts caution against excessive positive thinking.

There are several ways positive thinking can be abused. From a management perspective, it’s a way to shut down others’ opinions and concerns by dismissing them as harmful negativity (again, see Fyre Festival). This should be validating for anyone who’s ever become enraged by the phrases “it’s all good” or “look on the bright side.”

From a decision-making perspective, it’s also a clever mind trick for delaying action on a bad situation. Left unchecked, this can snowball into collective denial.

Meanwhile, negative thinking can ensure survival.

“Being a small business owner in Southern California means always preparing for the worst when it comes to natural disasters like earthquakes and fires,” said Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, a filing services company based in Calabasas. One recent example of how disaster preparedness can pay off is the Woolsey Fire, which swept through Calabasas in November 2018.

4. All’s well that ends well

If all’s well that ends well, then a good management style is any management style that checks boxes, turns a profit or yields growth.

This one may be harder to let go of, thanks to many companies’ obsession with the bottom line. But replace “all’s well that ends well” with the sinister near synonym “the ends prove the means,” and one can see how this can be a problematic way to evaluate a manager’s performance.

Luckily, there are other metrics that pick up the “soft skills” of management. When David Leonhardt worked as campaign manager for his friend’s 1997 bid for a seat in the Canadian parliament, his leadership would have been deemed a failure by any traditional performance-based measurement – the “bottom line” in this case being that they lost the election.

To say that this, however, would have been jumping to conclusions. For one thing, the party’s local vote share increased from the previous election, despite a decrease nationally. For another, “from a leadership perspective, one metric blew everything else away – volunteers abandoned campaigns in other electoral districts to work on our campaign, and they did so more and more as the election progressed,” Leonhardt said.

Leonhardt has since retired from partisan politics and is now president of THGM Writers, a ghostwriting service.

5. Literally, everything we just said

In the saturated market of business advice, all the points we’ve made in this article – cater to your employees, honesty is key, expect nothing, fear the worst, end performance isn’t everything – could probably be just as easily debunked.

The takeaway is not that some leadership advice is wrong but that the world is filled with nuance and no single tip should be treated as canon. Most readers will only be able to test these by jumping in the deep end and assuming that leadership role.

And once you’ve jumped in the deep end and learned your tried-and-true approach, always be prepared to consider new ideas and adjust.

“Leadership isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and I had to learn that the hard way,” said Harrison Doan, director of analytics at Saatva. “There was a time when I would come into a new position with the tactics and strategies I’d learned from my old job and would immediately try to enact them as if I was working at the same place … This didn’t always work to my advantage.”

Experience may be essential, but an old dog must also be willing to learn new tricks.

Article Published By: Siri Hedreen, “5 Leadership Mantras Debunked,” Business News Daily

The Best Online Resources For A Job Search

DEAR READERS: Anyone who has been in the job market recently knows there are myriad places to find listings online. As I’ve perused listings for friends and family members, I’ve wondered: Is there really any difference between sites? And are certain sites better for certain types of jobs than others?

Two things in general differentiate these online job boards, according to Tom Dolfi, head of marketing at Pathfinder, an all-in-one career development platform.

  1. The kind of candidates they attract/market segment they target. Indeed, says Dolfi, tends to attract candidates looking for more generic work opportunities rather than a specific position at a specific company, while LinkedIn usually appeals to professionals looking for specific positions or companies. “To give other examples, AngelList attracts candidates that want to work in startups, while Glassdoor attracts mostly young professionals looking to change jobs,” he adds.
  2. The additional services they offer. This essentially means how they make money, Dolfi says. “Most job boards charge employers and recruiters either to access additional features (like browsing passive applicants that have uploaded their CV or discovering talents by using advanced filters), or to place candidates,” he explains.

Several other industry pros I reached out to offered their takes on some of the most popular job search sites.

“The true ‘monsters’ of this industry have become Indeed and LinkedIn, with LinkedIn having the upper hand for experienced professional hires,” says Bryan Zawikowski, vice president and general manager of the military division for Lucas Group (recently named one of the top 10 executive recruiting firms in the nation by Forbes for 2019).

“Indeed, the best by far of the job board aggregators, tends to work best for entry-level, middle-management and hourly (FLSA non-exempt) positions, since that is where those candidates are looking … Some entry-level candidates are intimidated by LinkedIn, as their profiles look a bit thin relative to the competition. These folks need to start their profiles anyway and keep building them and their networks as they grow in their careers.”

Business coach Stacy Caprio, of Stacy Caprio Inc., favors LinkedIn “because it has so many applicable filter options and because you can directly reach out to people in the company with the job you are applying for, directly on the platform,” she explains. “There is no other platform that has a list of all of a company’s employees, and lets you contact them while applying for a job there, making LinkedIn the best job search platform currently available.”

Zawikowski also notes that Facebook and Amazon “… have the potential to be huge disrupters in this space as well.

“Facebook has ‘Facebook Jobs,’ and many recruiters already use Facebook to source talent, cross-referencing with LinkedIn,” he continues. “When the dust settles, my prediction is that the big players in the market will be LinkedIn, Indeed and Facebook.”

Nick Francioso, founder of SkillSyncer, a resume keyword optimizer and job application tracker, says each site has its own pros and cons.

“Our best advice is to use them to source new jobs but eventually apply straight through the company’s career page,” Francioso says.

Why, you might ask?

“When you apply online through a job board other than the company’s career page, you are placing one more gatekeeper in front of you and the hiring manager,” Francioso explains. “These job boards have their own sourcing techniques for providing the company an additional screening method. By applying on companies’ career pages, you are increasing your chances of success.”

(Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications. You can email her your career questions at

Article Published By: Kathleen Furore, “The Best Online Resources For A Job Search,” Careers Now

26 Supply Chain Pros Reveal The Single Most Effective Way To Create A Winning Supply Chain Strategy

With new supply chain innovationstrends in logistics technology and advancements like automated robots making a big impact on operational efficiency, it seems that supply chain optimization is within reach for more companies than ever before. However, even with a growing number of innovative technologies at your fingertips, your success still depends on your strategy.

To help you determine what tactics, processes, technologies and practices are a must-have in a winning supply chain strategy, we reached out to a panel of supply chain professionals and asked them to answer this question:

“What’s the single most effective way to create a winning supply chain strategy?”

Meet Our Panel of Supply Chain Professionals:

Read on to learn about the most effective tactics you could be using to create a winning supply chain strategy.

Charlie Wilgus


Charlie Wilgus is the General Manager of the Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division at Lucas Group, North America’s premier executive search firm.

“Unpacking this question is a bit of a magic trick in that supply chain is…”

A series of very complex activities that force a company to make strategic choices at the ground/production levels, ultimately impacting the value and success of the entire organization. It has a lot to do with focus and efficiency, but it’s the companies that try to be everything to everybody that end up in trouble.

To create a successful supply chain strategy from a technical standpoint, you have to ensure that everything is integrated from end-to-end, both from a systems/applications standpoint and from a leadership alignment perspective (S&OP). Systems and applications have to be integrated so that there’s no degradation when data is converted. A good example is when functions don’t collaborate: finance is planning from one dataset, sales another and marketing is a third set of data. The result is a very poor forecast that supply chain has to execute against. Ultimately, this results in poor service and a lot of incremental cost to try to fulfill the demand.

But let’s try and keep it simple: the key to a winning supply chain strategy is to ask a lot of questions until you can best understand what the key success factors are for the entire business. A solid supply chain strategy should support the overall business strategy. Once you know these key success factors, you can have a sound leadership discussion around the supply chain strategy. The discussions must deliver a simple but compelling story that can be told throughout the organization from the top down.

The four questions that must be answered in the story are as follows:

  • What is the vision of the future?
  • Why are we going in this direction?
  • What are the key steps toward getting us to this future place?
  • How will we measure our progress and success?

Something critical to remember in this supply chain journey is that strategy is not the destination — strategy is what specific actions you’re going to take to get to your destination.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to leadership as well. If all leaders can tell this story with conviction and deliver a repeatable process with a clarity of purpose that gets buy-in throughout the organization, then that is the single most effective way to create a winning supply chain strategy.

Read The Entire Article Here: “26 Supply Chain Pros Reveal The Single Most Effective Way To Create A Winning Supply Chain Strategy,” 6 River Systems, By Carolina Monroy

Which Technology Will Most Impact The Future Of Supply Chain Management? 11 Experts Share Their Insights

Supply chains are extremely dependent on efficiency. Getting items where they need to be, on time, while minimizing product loss is the name of the game. On the flipside, many of the latest, most-hyped technologies promise to deliver greater efficiency. Pairing new tech and supply chains is a match made perfectly for the globalized economy.

Do you care to know which technologies will transform supply chain management as we know it? Here’s what these industry insiders have to say about that:

1. Bill Leedale, Senior Advisor, IFS

Bill Leedale“Certainly, additive manufacturing will have an impact on the supply chain management industry as individual organizations identify where and when it is commercially viable. Technologies like operational intelligence, and even data analytics that make it easier for executives to visualize and act on data, will continue to see a lot of investment. The impact of blockchain will, for now, be concentrated in industries with highly traceable materials like pharmaceuticals, food and defense.”

2. Karrie Sullivan, Principal at Culminate Strategy Group

karriesullivan“Supply chain management will be disrupted broadly by the versatility and middleman busting capability of blockchain with a (hefty) assist from machine learning.

Blockchain doesn’t scale well and has to be limited in scope but works nicely to track provenance, secure transactions, & create secure commerce “hubs”. When combined with Machine Learning we create scale, transaction audit capability, continuous improvement, predictability, and reduce the need for human intervention (autonomy). We reduce the number of touches that create friction within supply chains by removing unnecessary middlemen and replacing workflow-based systems with the flexibility of cognitive automation.”

3. Marcin Fic, Vice President, Supply Chain Solutions at Flex

Marcin Fic“Advancements in data analytics and IoT will have the biggest impact on supply chain management. The ability to utilize data and analytics to identify and monitor risk allows for efficient and optimized operations throughout the entire supply chain. Companies are increasingly turning to digitized solutions to streamline their management, tracking and modeling. Another technology to consider is 3D printing which is on the minds of many; proven by a recent Gartner study that indicates 47 percent of supply chain managers plan to implement 3D printing in the next couple years. 3DP will help to reduce risks and costs, improve production times and quality and ultimately enable rapid prototyping.

A real world example of the new supply chain is a technology solution at Flex called Pulse, which aggregates and interprets live streaming data from multiple sources around the world. This provides the company with insight into global variables that may impact or disrupt supply chains—including demand changes, materials availability, tariffs, labor costs and material costs— so the organization can facilitate contingency planning in order to improve service levels, save money and reduce downtime.”

4. Andy Borchers DBA,  Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at Lipscomb University

Andy Borchers“One technology that has a potentially big impact are autonomous vehicles.  Trucking firms in the US are facing a shortage of drivers.  Autonomous vehicles are likely to move from the testing stage today to full implementation in the next few years.  There have been significant efforts by truck makers and trucking firms to pilot autonomous vehicles.  The earliest routes will be long haul routes in the US west where one driver cannot do the job without relief.”

5. Pervinder Johar, CEO of Blume Global

Pervinder Johar“AI and machine learning will become more integrated within every aspect of the supply chain. This integration will automate repetitive tasks and bring intelligence to supply chain networks and systems. Artificial intelligence  and machine learning are both required to take full advantage of Natural Language Processing. The complexity
of human language requires smart algorithms and self-teaching systems to parse and understand language input and provide appropriate responses and actions. NLP provides many benefits to the supply chain that includes understanding and mitigating potential risks with supply chain stakeholders, ensuring compliance, monitoring reputations of supply chain organizations, and reducing language barriers.”

6. Dave Weidner, Senior director, Pelion Market Development, Arm

Dave Weidner“Digital transformation rooted in IoT is having the biggest impact on the supply chain management industry as it is enabling organizations to securely obtain end-to-end supply chain visibility and garner real-time actionable data insights to meet their customers’ On-Time, In-Full (OTIF) mandates. For example, IoT offers the ability to track assets in real-time throughout the journey, providing valuable details such as location, condition, predictive ETA and reducing barcode scans. Additionally, by combining this fresh IoT data with AI, organizations can optimize operations and predict capacity availability in real-time.”

7. Colin Hayward, CEO of Chinsay

Colin Hayward“The technology, broadly speaking, to have the biggest impact on the industry will be automation. Organisations, both big and small, are looking for ways to automate processes and data, eliminating unnecessary and often error-prone manual work. For the commodity markets, errors at any step of the supply chain can be catastrophic, as companies already operate within razor-thin profit margins.
Automation will solve many problems for the industry and will make operations more effective and accurate based on proprietary data, and enable collaboration between parties otherwise siloed.”

8. Manav Garg , CEO and Founder of Eka Software

Manav Garg“Without a doubt, the technology that will have the biggest impact on supply chain management will be blockchain. Its powers of increasing efficiency through the automation of transactions and transparency are something the industry needs in order to increase performance. Blockchain, when applied to supply chain, has cost-saving advantages, achievable through seamless tracking, planning, and execution of trades.”

9. Rob DeStefano, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Ivanti Supply Chain

Rob DeStefano“Future supply chains will be all about automation. With demands for faster delivery, supply chain organizations will seek out every opportunity to speed processes using code, robotics, and all the regular hot-topic tech we read about every day. But where it’s already happening is in the applications running in today’s warehouses. Looking at existing tasks and finding ways to eliminate redundancies, simplify procedures with scripting delivers big time savings for businesses as workers navigate tasks faster. Plus, simplified tasks are easier to learn. The benefits automation delivers now fund the future automation of robotics, drones and all that fun futuristic tech.”

10. Charlie Wilgus, General Manager, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Executive, Lucas Group

Charlie Wilgus“I’m most intrigued by the emergence of what’s been referred to as a “touch free” end-to-end supply chain. This seems rather simple in theory, but it’s the idea that true lean and efficient supply chains can only come when every touch point throughout the supply chain process is automated and devoid of human handling. This assumes that human error would not be a factor and there would be no redundancies, waste or costly delays – essentially we are talking about a “supply chain utopia” where all available technologies come together to create an orchestra of supply chain automation that is not only cost effective but predictable and extremely efficient. There is still a lot to be sorted out in this regard and only time will tell if this is truly possible throughout the industry, but it’s certainly a trend worth following.”

11. Madhav Durbha, Ph.D., Group Vice President, Industry Strategy at LLamasoft

Madhav Durbha“Innovative digital decisioning platforms powered by cloud computing, increasingly sophisticated algorithms and hyper-personalized user experience will deliver unprecedented visibility and speed of decisioning. Such platforms will allow for business users with no coding experience to build “microapps’ at enterprise scale and with consumer grade ease. Rather than ripping and replacing existing systems, these platforms will help drive significant innovation and differentiation around existing infrastructure– and the “microapps” will fill key gaps in existing portfolio of systems, thus enabling interconnected decisioning at the speed of business.”




Article Published By: Sam Mire, “Which Technology Will Most Impact The Future Of Supply Chain Management? 11 Experts Share Their Insights,” Disruptor Daily

What Is The Future Of Supply Chain Management? 17 Experts Share Their Insights

Do you know how that lettuce you purchased at the store got there? What about the latest Christmas present for your kid? They arrived via supply chain, a system of transport that is essential to virtually all commercial businesses. Want to know the state of supply chains and where they’re headed in the near and long terms?

These experts shared their views on the future of supply chains with us. Here’s what they have to say:

1. Abe Eshkenazi, CEO of The Association for Supply Chain Management

Abe Eshkenazi“Technology makes our world smaller, but it also creates increasingly complex global supply chains. Real-time connectivity and visibility enable supply chain professionals to work with partners anywhere, sharing insights with a supplier’s supplier or a customer’s customer. These digital networks enable rapid information transfer through a web, rather than a chain. This will lead to increasing expectation for transparency and visibility in every step of the process.
As business decisions influence other organizations at an even faster pace, supply chain managers must use this power to create positive influences, including fair labor practices and strong environmental standards. Now, we must work to educate young professionals to prepare them to lead the extraordinary supply networks of tomorrow.”

2. Pervinder Johar, CEO of Blume Global

Pervinder Johar“New platforms will power increasingly-connected truckers and LTL providers into the gig economy. As technology advances, we’ll expect business models to evolve, which has the potential to drastically disrupt the trucking industry. Technology will help reduce the amount of empty miles driven and therefore number of drivers needed. Fortunately, fewer trucks on the road mean less of an impact on the environment. In addition, the movement of freight becomes more like a marketplace, a real-time part of the supply chain much like Uber has become for consumers, providing real-time inventory orchestration and allocation for inventory in motion and at rest.”

3. Rob DeStefano, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Ivanti Supply Chain

Rob DeStefano“What farm-to-table has done for healthy eating, data visibility is going to do for broader supply chain operations. Logistics managers will be able to see their specific order from the time it’s assembled on the factory floor, through distribution and onto the retail shelf (even beyond). Riding on the blockchain wave, traceability will be real-time and comprehensive, which will be critical in areas like the cold chain. Businesses will be able to deepen relationships with customers, offering information about sourcing, labor and environmental practices, all of which are increasingly influencing consumer purchasing decisions.”

4. Ryan Chan, CEO and Founder of UpKeep Maintenance Management

Ryan Chan“What once was an industry driven by human labor, from warehouse product
collection, to packaging items for delivery, the supply chain industry will be impacted by technology and automation. In 2017, there were a little more than two million industrial robots operating on factory floors. Trends show that we are moving into the digital supply chain age, however, there are critical components of supply chain management that require human labor. A CMMS improves productivity by digitally tracking asset depreciation and availability, so that a supply chain manager can better make data-driven decisions for supply chain planning and determining cost strategies.”

5. Marcin Fic, Vice President, Supply Chain Solutions at Flex

Marcin Fic“Technology makes our world smaller, but it also creates increasingly complex global supply chains. Real-time connectivity and visibility enable supply chain professionals to work with partners anywhere, sharing insights with a supplier’s supplier or a customer’s customer. These digital networks enable rapid information transfer through a web, rather than a chain. This will lead to increasing expectation for transparency and visibility in every step of the process.
As business decisions influence other organizations at an even faster pace, supply chain managers must use this power to create positive influences, including fair labor practices and strong environmental standards. Now, we must work to educate young professionals to prepare them to lead the extraordinary supply networks of tomorrow.”

6. Bill Leedale, Senior Advisor, IFS

Bill Leedale“In the coming years, supply chain management systems will enable closer integration and collaboration with key suppliers. This may take the form of portals and extended software systems, or it could involve using the type of software historically used for customer-relationship management for supplier-relationship management. A supply chain team will need to be able to identify suppliers subject to new tariffs and figure out a way to split the landed cost. They also will need to identify constraints early on in a project lifecycle and work proactively with suppliers to avoid bottlenecks. Ideally, the goal will be to speed the flow of information and cash. The Amazon Effect – customers demanding more and more advanced logistics and rapid service – will impact some industries especially fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).”

7. Joseph Walden, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of Kansas

Joe Walden“A recent article in the Harvard Business Review stated that 37% of all jobs are in the supply chain management field. As more companies, especially online retailers, realize the importance of supply chain management, the industry will continue to grow. A study published last year revealed as many as 6-9 jobs are available for every supply chain management graduate for the next decade. The future for supply chain management is bright but is limited by the need for supply chain security and preparedness for any action, man made or natural, that may impact the ability to get a continuous flow of products to the customers.”

8. Joaquín Villalba, Founder and CEO at Nextail

Supply chain management will become drastically more efficient and transparent. Fewer resources will be needed to serve end consumers, though they will provide more information throughout the process. Technology will help supply chains differentiate within a market that demands increasing speed and convenience. Specifically, data-driven automation will remove inefficiencies across distribution and delivery. Retailers will be better prepared for situational factors like weather changes, or shifts in demand. That way, retailers can move towards an 80:20 model, with 80% of stock decisions being informed by data rather than by gut. Additionally, materials scarcity and global warming will increase consumer demand for sustainability, resulting in increased supplychain transparency, delivered through blockchain.”

9. Andy Borchers DBA,  Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at Lipscomb University

Andy Borchers“The future of supply chain management is extremely dynamic with significant change coming.  A recent Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Death of Supply Chain Management” chronicles some of the upcoming changes.  The limitations of current legacy systems will give way to a data driven future where artificial intelligence based systems smoothly manage the flow of goods and services. Some current supply chain work such as expediting freight or driving trucks on the highways will go away, replaced with software.

Over the past 40 years, logistics cost as a % of the US GDP has dropped from over 16% to under 8%. Further efficiency moves can lower this percentage even more.”

10. Peter Drakeley, Head of Global Customer Success at EazyStock

Peter Drakeley“Automation will be key to remaining competitive. Companies are increasingly going digital on the front end (think: eCommerce) and need to be able to keep up with demand and increased supply chain complexity. Suppliers are now global and customers have high expectations; having no system, a poor system or even multiple discrete systems makes it impossible for companies to accurately manage every moving part of their supply chain. Automation both accelerates the supply chain and eliminates human error. Plus, automation systems are already on the market and can even connect your existing systems.”

11. John Lowe, Principal at Tompkins International

John Lowe“The future is a supply chain that is “anti-brittle” and can flex/scale as business conditions demand.

The future is a supply chain that supports/enables ever-increasing customer expectations around speed, service, availability, selection, and price.

The future is a Supply Chain that supports/enables customer demands for an integrated experience regardless of channel.

The future is a Supply Chain that is a competitive differentiator versus a cost creator.”

12. Chris Crane , Co-Founder of Scout

Chris Crane“Supply chain management in particular is transforming rapidly, largely due to the need to deliver increased business impact while enhancing customer service for supplier partners and business stakeholders alike. Change management in these areas will focus on automation, collaboration, real-time availability, and overall integration of supply chain and procurement data to the enterprise. Supply chain and procurement are increasingly expected to collaborate cross-functionally to deliver required business outcomes and enhanced customer service goals. The greatest game-changer for the future of supply chain management is the emerging concept of out-of-the-box, value-add SaaS applications dedicated to procurement excellence in the aforementioned areas. ”

13. Charlie Wilgus, General Manager, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Executive, Lucas Group

“You can’t think or talk about the future of supply chain management without going straight to technology. While the advancements in technology affect every business in some way, the best supply chains will have cutting edge technology at their core. Specific to this is digital analytics and the innovations around robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). As supply chains advance into the future seeking better efficiency and more streamlined automation, I see AI and real-time video surveillance as two major factors that will ensure supply chain accountability and success.”

14. Madhav Durbha, Ph.D., Group Vice President, Industry Strategy at LLamasoft

Madhav Durbha“Humans and machines will need to work together and raise the bar of
productivity and efficiency. This requires higher levels of cognitive
automation, powered by algorithms, to enable unprecedented visibility and
speed of decisioning to humans at all levels of supply chain– and
warehouses and retail stores will be at the forefront of this innovation.

In addition, innovations in last mile delivery and additive manufacturing
will result in the hyper personalization of products and offers, and
delivery models will take hold. The ability to harness the power of
increasingly available data will set the supply chain winners apart from the losers.”

15. Colin Hayward, CEO of Chinsay

Colin Hayward“Supply chain management will experience a digital transformation, aligning the industry with global standards of automation and digitalisation. We see a shift from traditional (siloed) software, such as Excel, to connected state-of-the-art platforms specialised in commodity markets that can deliver advances in risk management, enterprise-wide technology, transparency and compliance. More processes will become automated and less manual work will be require, alleviating time spent on creating documents, complying to regulation and so on.”

16. Chris Gordon, VP of Product Management at AIMMS

Chris Gordon“When it comes to supply chain management, change is the only constant. Supply chain professionals will need to rely on more digital technologies to keep pace with disruptions and meet the challenges of this volatile age. In the future, the entire supply chain will be digitally represented. We expect to see more integration across digital projects as well. For instance, data from internet-connected devices will be used to predict potential disruptions and convert insights into an optimized course of action. Supply chain management decisions will be increasingly supported by advanced analytics output and augmented or automated with AI.”

17. Manav Garg , CEO and Founder of Eka Software

Manav Garg“The future growth and success of supply chain management lie with innovation and faster adoption of new technology. We anticipate greater use of technologies such as Blockchain and AI in supply chain. For too long, industries have been using traditional, siloed systems that are outdated and severely limit the potential to enable business intelligence within the enterprise.
Automated data informing business processes in real time must be a part of any business dealing with supply chain management. Having access to real-time data and the ability to gain insight from it using mobile devices will be the foundation layer for organisations.”





How to Tell a Potential Employer You Have Another Job Offer

“When a candidate accepts an offer, I believe that they should enter into that business relationship with the full intent of giving their all.”

If you aren’t able to give 100% to your new employer, you need to make them aware before you proceed. Your career and life are your responsibility and another offer is not likely to follow soon. So, if you aren’t able to give 100% because of “buyer’s remorse” for the second position, you should not go forward with it.

Deal with it up front.

If you are working through a search consultant/recruiter, they will likely ask numerous questions to make sure that you have thought about all the angles. However, at the end of the day, no one wants a new hire relationship to fall apart after they have spent the time, energy and money into getting that new hire up to speed. It is better to deal with it up front. This is where the recruiter can relay the information back to the client, however reluctantly, and work with them to find a new candidate.

Do not ‘ghost’ them.

If you are not working with a recruiter, then it is your responsibility to be upfront with the company’s hiring manager. Be honest and let them know that you appreciate the opportunity but are likely not able to give it your all, so you believe it is in everyone’s best interest for you to pursue the other opportunity. Yes, they will likely be disappointed but DO NOT ghost them. While this has become a more popular response for social media and texting in personal relationships, a true professional would never rely on such a tactic.

Honesty, professionalism and the ability to have a candid conversation are key in a situation like this.

Be aware that there is a pretty good chance that you have burned that bridge and going back to them later is almost certainly not an option. So, think long and hard about making this decision before you do it.

Article Published By: The Editors, UpJourney. Continue Reading the Article Here:  “How to Tell a Potential Employer You Have Another Job Offer

How to Show Passion in a Job Interview: 4 Tips and Tricks

Smart candidates do more than simply toss the word “passion” around. They find memorable, yet tactful, ways to show and demonstrate it in a job interview.

Employers obviously evaluate credentials such as education and work history when thinking about whom to hire. But don’t discount the value of a factor not as cut and dry, but perhaps equally beneficial—showing passion in a job interview. 

“Passion is just as, if not more, important as experience in a job interview,” says Kristen J. Zavo, author of Job Joy: Your Guide to Success, Happiness, and Meaning in Your Career.“That’s because showing that you’ve got genuine interest in the industry, company, and role means that you’ll do what it takes to be successful because you actually care and are internally motivated.”

Ready to show your passion in a job interview? Try these strategies:

Start off strong.

Zavo recommends displaying passion from the get-go with a thoughtful answer to the obligatory interview question, “Tell me about yourself.”

“Sharing your education, experience, and skills in a way that both shows your excitement and positions you as the optimal candidate for the job is key to instilling confidence in the interviewer,” she says.

Instead of just stating that you’ve been interested in a career path, paint a vivid picture. For example, if you’re interviewing for architectural jobs, recount how you’ve been intrigued by building design ever since Santa left a bucket of Legos under the tree when you were five. Detail why your internship with Architectural Firm XYZ was the highlight of your college honor’s program. Mention how the look on the new residents’ faces as they opened the door to a home you helped build with Habitat for Humanity increased your commitment to affordable housing issues. Listeners will note a pattern of passion to kick off your interview.

Ask great questions.

People who care about a subject want to know as much as possible about it. Asking why the company adopted a new advertising plan or soliciting the interviewer for their thoughts on why the firm recently was named to a list of great places to work demonstrates admirable curiosity. Such detailed questions also show you’ve done your homework—another sign of a passionate candidate.

Go the extra mile.

For people who are passionate about what they do, going above and beyond often comes naturally. Hiring managers can’t help but notice genuine actions, so don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Sean Pour, cofounder of the nationwide car buying service SellMax, remembers interviewing a candidate for a position as a call center agent.“We were asking the normal questions about her experience. She was nice and smart, but we still had others to interview,” he says. As they were wrapping up, however, she pulled something out of her purse—a cared-for collection of toy cars that she had since childhood. She told the interviewers that she and her father bonded through cars when she was growing up, she always wanted to be involved in the industry but was not mechanically inclined, and she saw this position as a perfect fit.

“After seeing the prop and her clear passion for the industry, I hired her right on the spot. I knew that if she was so passionate about the job, she would do well, and she did,” Pour says.

Reiterate interest afterward.

Lastly, solidify your passion as the real deal with an impressive follow-up. A heartfelt thank-you note displays gratitude as well as provides further opportunity to share something about yourself or your excitement about the position.

Or, perhaps, try something like this action that drew the attention of Carolina King, chief people officer for the executive search firm Lucas Group:

“One recent candidate really impressed me with their passion in a follow-up email exchange. The initial interview went well, and we gave him feedback that we wanted to proceed with him but had a few more interviews we planned to conduct. He wrote a response with the subject line ‘call off the search, you have already found the right hire,’ and he included a 90-day plan for the role. This showed enthusiasm, a purposeful plan, and a sense of humor that immediately landed him the role!”

Demonstrating your passion in an interview can really set you apart from the competition. Let employers know you’re personally motivated and interested in the role and company by utilizing the tips above.

Network Jobs: Hot and Cold

Remaining relevant in today’s network job market can be challenging and confusing. As always, it pays to know which jobs are in demand and which are fading away.

Network technology is constantly evolving. New tools and approaches arrive as others are replaced or discarded. The same can be said for managers, engineers, developers and other network pros, many of whom wake up one morning to discover that their once prized and sought-after talents are no longer as popular as they used to be.

For many years, network fundamentals remained relatively unchanged. This is no longer true, and many network pros are now beginning to feel the impact of possessing a dated skill set. “With advancements in SDN, cloud, segment routing, automation, and many other technologies, it’s an exciting time to be in networking,” said Justin Ryburn, head of solutions engineering at network analytics company Kentik. “There are great opportunities out there for any network engineer, operator or architect who is willing to invest the time in learning these new technologies.”

But which network skills are the best bet for future growth? To help you stay on top of what’s currently in demand, and what isn’t, here’s a rundown of today’s hottest network jobs and those that are on the path to zero bits per second.

Comfortably hot

Cloud network architects are currently in high demand, Ryburn noted. “As more enterprises shift their workloads to the cloud, they are finding the underlying network to be a critical piece of the success,” he explained. Cloud networking, however, is much different than traditional infrastructure networking, so it requires a new skillset, Ryburn added.

Steve Pace, head of HR at network management firm Forward Networks, predicted that cloud networking skills will begin to replace traditional on-premises network admins as more activity migrates to the public cloud. “There will be fewer boxes to install/configure/manage/maintain locally,” he observed.

The hottest networking job today is a network automation engineer, asserted Pace. “In recent years, there has been a major shift to automate many repetitive network IT tasks with programming and orchestration tools,” he noted. “This has been exacerbated with the convergence of DevOps and network operations. Network automation engineers are seeking to optimize workflows, reduce MTTR (mean time to resolution) and improve test methodologies.”

Network engineers, in general, are facing the need to improve their programming and scripting skills in languages such as Python and Perl, Pace said. They also need to begin learning a wide range of emerging orchestration technologies, including virtual networking, Kubernetes, SD-WAN orchestration, Ansible, and Puppet. “Glassdoor is currently showing an average nationwide salary for a network automation engineer of $86,588 versus an average salary for traditional network engineer of $72,946, reflecting the more advanced programming, workflow and orchestration skills required,” he observed.

Any IT pro that participates in the adoption, migration, integration, and automation of software-defined networks, and network functions that are virtualized in support of workload mobility, has a hot job, saidGreg Jacobs, director, network and security product engineering at disaster recovery firm Sungard Availability Services. “This includes both public and private in the context of hybrid workloads,” he noted. “This also includes key DevOps integrated roles, such as an automation developer/architect or product owner and product management.”

Security analysts and engineers are “extremely vital employees,” observed David Armendariz, general manager of the technology division at executive search firm Lucas Group. “They are responsible for the education of employees on computer and network security, along with monitoring network breaches and responding to attacks to the network,” Such skills are invaluable, as security breaches can cost enterprises millions of dollars. “Security engineers are on the front lines keeping all data and technical systems safe, ensuring that security breaches do not happen,” he said.

Not so hot

As long expected, automation’s impact is beginning to reverberate across the entire network job market, making many manual network management tasks obsolete. “One clear example is WAN networking, where SD-WAN solutions have been widely adopted to manage most of the dynamic changes required of WAN networks,” Pace said. “This is extending to software-based policy management of Wi-Fi networks as well,”he added.

Telecom specialists, meanwhile, are becoming an endangered species. “As technology evolves, we’re shifting away from traditional telecom roles,” Armendariz said. For decades, traditional PBXes were a communications mainstay. “Now we’ve evolved into VoIP, and with the ease of administration on the VoIP systems we’re seeing more of a traditional network resource handling the telecom aspect of the network.”

Automation also threatens the job stability of traditional network engineers. “Leveraging scripting or automated tasks is preferred in a rapidly changing and dynamic network environment,” Jacobs warned.

The market is shifting toward transformation enablement, Jacobs observed. “Networks are becoming more abstracted through virtualization front-ended by APIs,” he explained. “I expect to see more roles opening up in the automation and network development space as organizations adopt concepts such as shared virtual infrastructures, software-defined networking—both SDN and SD-WAN—hybrid connectivity and shared horizontal infrastructure services,” he said.


The network job market will continue to be hot for the remainder of 2019, Ryburn predicted. “Between service providers and digital enterprise, networking continues to be a fast-growing segment of the IT market.”

How to Follow up with a Recruiter (According to 15+ Recruiters)

Is it ok to follow up with a recruiter after an interview? How do you do it properly?

We asked experts to give us their insights.

There are many parts of the recruitment process to be aware of. But first, remember the internal or external recruiter are tremendously busy and aren’t always going to be as timely or responsive as you might like whilst you’re on the hunt for your next place of employment.

Bryan Zawikowski, Vice President & General Manager, Lucas Group


Ask how they want you to communicate with them

It sounds simple, but different recruiters in different industry and functional niches work differently. Ask the recruiter what to expect in terms of communication and they will tell you.

Additionally, candidates need to remember if a recruiter is on the phone with you (or typing you a lengthy email), they can’t be on the phone looking for jobs for you!

Read The Entire Article Here: “How to Follow up with a Recruiter (According to 15+ Recruiters),” UpJourney, By Caroline Stokes

Myth vs. Reality: What Is Being an Accountant Really Like?

The world is full of misconceptions about careers. Whether it’s superhuman police officersnurses whose only responsibility is to serve doctors or corrections officers being surrounded by violent killers at all times—it’s easy for those who’ve never spent a day in a career to make assumptions that wildly differ from reality.

While accounting isn’t typically portrayed in media in a bombastic or over-the-top light, there are still plenty of things the uninitiated tend to get wrong about the job. We’re here to help clear up some of the confusion.

What is accounting like? 7 myths and misconceptions explained

We asked seasoned accountants to share some of the most common misconceptions the public has about the field and help set the record straight. Let their insight give an inside look into what being an accountant is really like.

1. Accountants are all math whizzes

“[People] immediately think I must absolutely love math and I’m great with numbers,” says Ben Watson, CPA and DollarSprout personal finance expert. “While I enjoy math, I still let Microsoft Excel® do most of the heavy lifting.”

Don’t get us wrong—numerical literacy is still an important part of the job. But many seem to get the impression that accountants possess some form of rare genius and like to spend their free time completing Advanced Calculus assignments. Some accountants may find that appealing, but the idea that the math behind most accounting work is exceedingly complex is fiction. In most cases, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division will get the job done.

2. Accountants love to provide free tax advice

Many accountants spend long hours navigating complex tax arrangements and seeking ways for their clients to legally maximize their profits. So of course they’d love to spend their free time taking a peek at your relatively simple W-2s and receipts, right? You can probably see where this is going, but this is a terrible assumption to make. There’s a reason accountants get paid for the work they do—they’re not digging into the minutiae of the U.S. tax code just for fun.

And even if you do know an accountant kind enough to hear you out, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to immediately help with information just off the top of their heads.

“Similar to how a doctor might be immediately asked their opinion on a discolored mole, I get a lot of immediate requests for tax advice,” Watson says. “While I do know a lot about taxes, I only specialize in specific areas since the topic is so vast.”

3. Being an accountant is boring

In terms of excitement, accounting might not compare with being a fighter pilot, but it’s not fair to assume accountants are bored to tears on a regular basis. Like any line of work, there are parts that can be a little dull or monotonous, but other aspects can be downright interesting. This is particularly true for accountants who’ve climbed into leadership positions.

“[People] often don’t understand that the accounting and finance person becomes a strategic partner,” says Bob Prather, general manager of accounting and finance at Lucas Group.

Accountants have an incredible vantage point into their clients’ business operations—they see where the money is coming and going and can learn a substantial amount about what goes into running a profitable business.

“When you get to the good part of accounting you are dealing more with people, processes and business partnership,” Prather explains.

4. Accounting work is rigid

Given the generally buttoned-up and structured nature of parts of their work, you might be inclined to believe accounting is essentially “paint by numbers” with little variation in how scenarios are resolved.

“When I started my accounting education, I didn’t think that my future jobs would require as much creativity as they did,” says Logan Allec, CPA and owner of Money Done Right. Allec stresses that he doesn’t mean accounting “creativity” in a legally or ethically dubious way. The creativity is more about the different approaches that can be taken to help a client.

“As with any service profession, in accounting you must be constantly thinking of new ways to serve your clients better,” Allec says.

5. Accounting skills are narrowly applied and focus only on taxes

Michael Rogers, CPA and entrepreneur says that prior to attending college, he assumed an accounting degree led to basically tax preparation or auditing roles, but has since learned the truth about the breadth of options.

“Taxes are only a small part of what a CPA or accountant can do,” Rogers says. “There are so many other careers that accountants are able to pursue because of their understanding of financial statements and how businesses operate.”

For example, management accounting, mergers and acquisitions, estate and trust accounting, and compliances roles are all types of accounting positions you may choose to specialize in over the course of an accounting career.

“Doesn’t matter if you work for a Fortune 500 or a local nonprofit, somebody has to manage the money to keep things running smoothly,” Watson says. “I was pleased to discover just how much more flexible accounting is.”

6. Accountants don’t need to communicate

You might imagine accountants as bleary-eyed folks silently fiddling with spreadsheets for hours on end, only to emerge from their cubicle caves for more coffee. While there may be a sliver of truth to that—just ask any accountant about their love/hate relationship with Excel® and you’ll likely need to pull up a chair—but most accountants aren’t sealed off from the world and rely on their communication skills to be successful.

Allec says writing, and communication overall, is a huge part of his job. He interacts directly with colleagues and clients alike on a regular basis.

“I have to write emails to clients on a daily basis explaining complex tax or accounting issues in language they can understand,” he explains. “I have to draft memos documenting tax positions. I have to write instructions to others on my team so they can do their jobs better.”

7. Accountants are dull or unfriendly

Sure, accounting work can be dry at times. And any group that collectively tends to get excited about fancy pens might cause you to raise your eyebrows, but as with any career, you’ll find a variety of personalities throughout the profession.

“People assume accountants don’t have personalities or are anti-social,” Watson says. “Most people who meet me for the first time are surprised that I’m outgoing and have hobbies.”

Prather says that prior to working in the field he had some misguided notions about the personalities he’d find in the profession.

“I thought they would be stuffy,” Prather says. “On the contrary, I have met so many amazing, different personalities and am lucky to call many of them friends today even after 20 years.”

The truth about being an accountant

There are a lot of erroneous assumptions about the accounting field and the people working in it. But the truth is that being an accountant might be much more interesting than you thought.

If this realistic look at the role of an accountant has you considering a career in the field, you might be interested in learning a little more about what accountants actually do. Get an in-depth look in our article, “What Do Accountants Do? A Look at Life Behind the Ledger.”

Microsoft Excel is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2019.

Article Authored By: Will Erstad, “Myth vs. Reality: What Is Being an Accountant Really Like?,” Rasmussen College

HR Strategies: Five Ways To Identify And Retain Fantastic Talent With Carolina King & Kage Spatz

Article Authored by: Kage Spatz, Authority Magazine, “HR Strategies: 5 Ways to Identify To Identify and Retain Top Talent” 

What CFOs Need From CHROs

The C-suite has evolved to include a variety of partners working at the highest levels to improve their organization. One of the newest entrants is the chief human resources officer (CHRO).

The CEO defines and articulates the company strategy. The chief financial officer (CFO) oversees the financial capital and resources to ensure that strategy can be funded profitably. And, now the CHRO is on board to translate the strategy to internal and external stakeholders through people and change management.

Delivering on that need requires an integrated approach and close relationships, especially with the CFO. We spoke to human resources leaders about what’s needed to maximize this relationship.

A Plan for Proactivity

The CHRO is responsible for all of the organization’s talent, and proactive planning can make it easier for them to manage workforce concerns.

A plan to automate routine HR functions and use artificial intelligence in recruitment can help. This ensures your best talent is available to respond to immediate concerns for staff or potential hires.

“Some of the most practical elements every CHRO needs in their arsenal include internal and external resources to automate all administrative and routine HR functions, such as onboarding, benefits, talent administration and more,” says Carolina King, chief people officer for Lucas Group.

A Share of Needed Resources

CFOs know how to manage budgets, but they may not have experience allocating HR resources beyond hiring. The CHRO will need to be prepared to ask for the technology investments they need, as well.

“Many CHROs are timid about asking for too much because the position is so new and its relationship to the CEO or CFO is uncertain,” says Dan Macklin, U.S. CEO for Salary Finance. “You’re a part of the leadership team and need to step up to meet well-defined needs of your talent.”

King says CHROs need to come to the budget process early and armed. “They must ensure they receive the same internal resource spend akin to IT and marketing,” she says.

The Power to Take Charge

Leadership partners often want CHROs to take charge and secure what they need to improve the workforce. The difference between a CHRO and an HR manager is the ability for the CHRO to implement change as needed to improve the organization, without always securing permission beforehand.

“For instance, CHROs should ask CFOs for the empowerment to introduce free or low-cost benefits to employees without asking for permission every time,” Macklin says. “This would speed up the benefit approval and implementation time, allowing the CHRO to shape the employee benefits package better.”

All three of these elements are about the CHRO acknowledging their expertise and being more willing to use it. “CHROs know their audience better than CFOs. CFOs only need to be involved when the cost associated with offering a new benefit is higher,” Macklin says.

Article Published By: Geoff WhitingHR Certification Institute, “What CFOs Need from CHROs”

How to Tell a Potential Employer You Have Another Job Offer

General Manager in the Accounting & Finance Division, Lucas Group

When a candidate accepts an offer, I believe that they should enter into that business relationship with the full intent of giving their all

If you aren’t able to give 100% to your new employer, you need to make them aware before you proceed. Your career and life are your responsibility and another offer is not likely to follow soon. So, if you aren’t able to give 100% because of “buyer’s remorse” for the second position, you should not go forward with it.

Deal with it up front.

If you are working through a search consultant/recruiter, they will likely ask numerous questions to make sure that you have thought about all the angles. However, at the end of the day, no one wants a new hire relationship to fall apart after they have spent the time, energy and money into getting that new hire up to speed. It is better to deal with it up front. This is where the recruiter can relay the information back to the client, however reluctantly, and work with them to find a new candidate.

Do not ‘ghost’ them.

If you are not working with a recruiter, then it is your responsibility to be upfront with the company’s hiring manager. Be honest and let them know that you appreciate the opportunity but are likely not able to give it your all, so you believe it is in everyone’s best interest for you to pursue the other opportunity. Yes, they will likely be disappointed but DO NOT ghost them. While this has become a more popular response for social media and texting in personal relationships, a true professional would never rely on such a tactic.

Honesty, professionalism and the ability to have a candid conversation are key in a situation like this.

Be aware that there is a pretty good chance that you have burned that bridge and going back to them later is almost certainly not an option. So, think long and hard about making this decision before you do it.

Read The Entire Article Here: Authored by: The Editors, UpJourney, “How to Tell a Potential Employer You Have Another Job Offer”

26 Supply Chain Pros Reveal The Single Most Effective Way To Create A Winning Supply Chain Strategy

Charlie Wilgus


Charlie Wilgus is the General Manager of the Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division at Lucas Group, North America’s premier executive search firm.

“Unpacking this question is a bit of a magic trick in that supply chain is…”

A series of very complex activities that force a company to make strategic choices at the ground/production levels, ultimately impacting the value and success of the entire organization. It has a lot to do with focus and efficiency, but it’s the companies that try to be everything to everybody that end up in trouble.

To create a successful supply chain strategy from a technical standpoint, you have to ensure that everything is integrated from end-to-end, both from a systems/applications standpoint and from a leadership alignment perspective (S&OP). Systems and applications have to be integrated so that there’s no degradation when data is converted. A good example is when functions don’t collaborate: finance is planning from one dataset, sales another and marketing is a third set of data. The result is a very poor forecast that supply chain has to execute against. Ultimately, this results in poor service and a lot of incremental cost to try to fulfill the demand.

But let’s try and keep it simple: the key to a winning supply chain strategy is to ask a lot of questions until you can best understand what the key success factors are for the entire business. A solid supply chain strategy should support the overall business strategy. Once you know these key success factors, you can have a sound leadership discussion around the supply chain strategy. The discussions must deliver a simple but compelling story that can be told throughout the organization from the top down.

The four questions that must be answered in the story are as follows:

  • What is the vision of the future?
  • Why are we going in this direction?
  • What are the key steps toward getting us to this future place?
  • How will we measure our progress and success?

Something critical to remember in this supply chain journey is that strategy is not the destination — strategy is what specific actions you’re going to take to get to your destination.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to leadership as well. If all leaders can tell this story with conviction and deliver a repeatable process with a clarity of purpose that gets buy-in throughout the organization, then that is the single most effective way to create a winning supply chain strategy.

Read the full article here: “26 Supply Chain Pros Reveal The Single Most Effective Way To Create A Winning Supply Chain Strategy,” 6 River Systems, By Carolina Monroy

8 Benefits And Policies That Are Making Your Company Seem Outdated

The competition for top talent today is more fierce than ever. And when it comes to attracting and retaining that talent, we know that benefits play a major hand in how well an employer fares.

To that end, Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women, in partnership with Extend Fertility recently conducted research on the benefits today’s female talent cares most about. After surveying 1,000 professional women, we found a full 87% of them said a company’s benefits package was either important or very important to them when evaluating a job offer.

The presence — or lack thereof — of certain benefits also had a noticeable impact on respondents’ likelihood to stay at an employer. Given that, when a worker leaves a company, it can cost 33% of their annual salary to replace them, ensuring benefits packages are up to snuff is crucial for companies that want to avoid turnover.

Not all benefits are created equal, though. If the package at your company seems outdated, it’s possible you could actually be driving top talent away. So, we spoke to thought leaders — from CEOs to heads of HR — to find out which benefits and policies send a red flag to job seekers that an organization is behind the times. If your company’s handbook includes any of the following eight policies, it’s possible you’re seen as outdated, according to experts.

Check out our accompanying article highlighting the 10 benefits and policies any modern workplace should have on Extra Crunch.

1. Paid maternity leave is offered — but other leave benefits aren’t.
Considering at least 40% of middle- and large-sized U.S. companies still offer zero paid maternity leave to employees, we’re not saying this benefit isn’t worth having. But as Sarah Morgan, a Senior HR Director of SafeStreets USA, said, to stop at a paid maternity leave benefit is to fail to acknowledge our expanding understanding of families and the ways those families need to be supported.

“The definition of family is changing, and people are living longer,” Morgan said. “Employees need more than just time away from work when they have a baby or someone dies. They also need time for school-aged children, aging parents, deployed spouses and even pets…when they need this time, they should not have to choose between their loved ones and financial hardship.”

2. There’s a gym reimbursement benefit.
Again, at face value, this isn’t exactly the worst benefit for a company to offer. The problem, as Tasia Duske, CEO of Museum Hack, put it, is that too many companies see a gym membership credit as checking off their “employee wellness” box in full.

“What if an employee wants to join a yoga studio, or what if they want a massage instead? Especially with millennial employees, defining what’s ‘healthy’ varies from person to person,” Duske said. “A smart benefit to provide is a Healthy Lifestyle Credit where there’s a lot more flexibility and no judgment. Employees can use their credit to pay for a visit to the dentist, tai chi lessons, to see a therapist or anything in between.”

3. Employees are beholden to a set time and place to work.
A lack of flexibility is one of today’s biggest tell-tale signs of an outdated employer, something Matthew Ross, Co-owner and COO of The Slumber Yard, spoke to. “We don’t have a set time employees need to be in the office by and we frequently allow them to work from home, coffee shops and sometimes even bars for a change of scenery,” Ross said.

“I know how mentally draining it can be to sit down at the same desk all day, so it’s nice when employees are able to leave and work from different locations. I believe this helps keep the work fresh and boosts overall morale.”

4. There’s a strict dress code.
Unless a uniform is legitimately required for a role, companies that mandate strict employee dress codes should seriously rethink these policies, said Greg Kuchcik, VP of HR at “Almost all companies have moved to a business casual at most with a lot of companies moving to no dress code altogether,” Kuchcik said.

“If you have strong HR/management and trusted employees, there is no reason that you can’t allow your workers to be comfortable all day, every day.” Nicole Green, HR and Employee Engagement Manager at Perfect Search Media, echoed this. “Casual dress can lead to an environment that is more open-minded and allows for focus on ideas over a dress code,” she said.

5. There are policies that restrict employees’ social media use.
Not long ago, it wasn’t uncommon for companies to have set policies in place that regulated employees’ use of and access to social media platforms. But now, such a policy makes a company look outdated, as Lucas Group’s Chief People Officer, Carolina King, said.

“I certainly feel that limiting employee’s access to social media is a thing of the past and detrimental to a company’s ability to attract top talent,” King said. “I also think when companies do not offer bring your own device (cell phone) programs or policies, they feel behind the times.”

6. Performance reviews are the only policy for sourcing employee feedback.Research shows that 75% of the causes for employee turnover are preventable. But companies that remain married to an outdated model of performance review-based feedback miss out on opportunities to address those causes. “Performance reviews are often the only official opportunity for an employee to share concerns, ask questions, and have a conversation with a manager,” Vivek Kumar, a recruiter, said.

“However, performance reviews are also used by companies to determine bonuses and raises, which restricts employees from speaking freely and without fear of consequences. Implementing a system of continuous employee feedback is an excellent replacement for an uncomfortable, high-pressure quarterly or yearly performance review.”

7. There’s an official bereavement leave benefit or policy.
On the surface, bereavement leave may seem like a humanitarian benefit for employers to offer. But by enforcing a set number of days for this kind of leave, companies are engaging in a form of employee hand-holding that has no place in the modern working world, said Cindy Harvey, CEO of Amelia Dee.

“Instead of dictating how long it should take someone to recover from an illness or to grieve, these policies should be more flexible, empower managers and employees to have conversations, and do what is right for the person and situation,” Harvey said. “Doing this also supports positive employee mental health and wellness practices in the workplace, two critical issues in workplaces today.

8. There’s unlimited PTO.
A policy of flexibility, as referenced earlier, is crucial for any employer that wants to remain relevant today. An increasingly trendy benefit in this space is unlimited paid time off; but research around the detriments of this policy may soon make it an outdated offering, argued Samuel Johns, HR Specialist and Office Manager at Resume Genius.

“On the face of it, unlimited PTO is a blessing, since an employee can theoretically take off the time they need to recenter and recharge themselves. However, recent 180-degree about-faces by several companies have revealed that unlimited PTO policies are unworkable, since employees end up toiling away with less PTO than they would using a standard PTO system,” Johns said.

“At Resume Genius, we do offer unlimited PTO, but we also have a minimum PTO requirement of 10 days a year. On top of that, managers are notified if their team members haven’t taken a day off in the last six months, and are asked to schedule them some much-deserved time off.”

Check out our accompanying article highlighting the 10 benefits and policies any modern workplace should have on Extra Crunch.

Article By: Georgene Huang and Liv McConnell, “8 Benefits And Policies That Are Making Your Company Seem Outdated,” TechCrunch


Building A Roadmap For Effective Reskilling In The AI-Infused Workplace Of Tomorrow

When employees think about their coworkers, they likely envision the teammates with whom they collaborate on projects, exchange office banter, and attend the occasional happy hour. In the workplace of the future, however, the term “coworker” might have a different connotation—it might not necessarily mean another human.

“I’m a big believer that technology is just one of our colleagues,” says Muriel Clauson, emerging technologies researcher and founder of Oppticity, a startup documenting the “skills map” of the modern workforce. “It does not replace human workers—the biggest issue is that it can replace them if we’re not properly preparing people to be effective in ways that are [complementary] to tech.”

Training employees to adapt to a rapidly fluctuating enterprise technology stack—including platforms fueled by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning—is often referred to as “upskilling” or “reskilling.” But while many employers recognize the importance of this practice, few are actually deploying programs to accomplish it: According to a 2018 study from Accenture, 61 percent of business leaders expect an increase in the number of roles requiring collaboration with AI by 2021, yet just three percent are planning significant investment in training and reskilling programs.

This is an oversight, suggests David Armendariz, general manager of the technology division for executive recruitment search firm Lucas Group.

“As far as enterprise-level AI adoption goes, a company should always strive to reskill as many of its current employees as possible. Employees who are currently successful, fit their culture, and serve as ambassadors of best practices can be highly valuable in another, reskilled role,” he says, noting that a “healthy balance” of talent also involves hiring new workers with fresh perspective.

As organizations strive to implement enterprise-level AI to boost day-to-day operations, they simultaneously face the task of making the technology a seamless, collaborative member of the team, infusing it into employees’ daily practices. Below are a handful of concrete steps employers can take to lay out a roadmap for reskilling current talent.

Skills Mapping

“When we’re talking about reskilling workers, there are so many levels we can think about: evidence-based education in traditional education models, apps that help workers craft their careers and think about next steps, and everything in between,” says Clauson.

But in order for any solution to be successful, she notes, companies must have a clear understanding of three elements: the “building blocks” of the work being done at their organization (i.e. the specific skills that human employees contribute), how technologies like AI might affect these processes, and the interplay between the two.

“I would argue that the biggest thing holding us back right now from successfully reskilling workers isn’t that we don’t understand technological change—it’s that we’re not doing a great job yet of modeling labor data and thinking about all of the components of work in [that way],” says Clauson.

Oppticity aims to address this pain point. The organization—which is still in beta, but currently working with multiple corporate partners on a trial basis—uses a combination of historical data and behavioral analysis to identify granular elements of an organization’s skills ecosystem.

“We try to quantify all of the little components of a job … then, we compare those components with the capabilities of technology today, in the near term and in the longer term. So, we can help the organization see, ‘Here’s the reality of your talent pool today, and here’s how that stacks up against technology.’”

Clauson hopes the process will help companies devise learning and development initiatives that go beyond vague advice such as “focus on honing soft skills”—a common refrain in the space, but one that can be hard to take action on. She believes Oppticity will help inform evidence-based programs to “develop the parts of workers that are the most human, which we really do need in the future alongside technology.”

Effective Reskilling Strategies

The idea that AI will enable employees to focus on higher-level functions of their jobs isn’t a new concept. In the book Human+Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, authors Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson assert:

“A widespread misconception is that AI systems, including advanced robotics and digital bots, will gradually replace humans in one industry after another… That may be true for certain jobs, but what we’ve found in our research is that, although AI can be deployed to automate certain functions, the technology’s greater power is in complementing and augmenting human capabilities.”

The real-world application of this statement might look like this: Instead of being saddled with requests for order statuses—a task that an AI-driven chatbot can handle remotely and instantaneously—customer service representatives may spend more time developing customer retention strategies or devising new loyalty programs. Or, an HR manager might be freed from the tedium of constant paperwork in order to develop new learning and development programming—perhaps even courses with a dynamic approach to reskilling.

Weiting Liu, founder and CEO of Codementor, an on-demand marketplace for software developers, breaks down this skills segmentation as such: “Machines will handle information and data processing, whereas humans will spend more of their time on reasoning, coordinating, and decision making.”

But to get to this level of synergistic efficiency, employees first need to know how to work in tandem with AI systems—to regard them as colleagues versus simply tools or even threats. And the responsibility for encouraging this mindset shift falls to employers. “To prepare for this future, leaders must put in place sustainable training infrastructure and seek out partnerships with educational institutes or online learning platforms,” says Liu.

There are numerous avenues that companies can explore for equipping workers with the necessary skills to work alongside AI. “Learning marketplaces or networks are becoming more sophisticated, and the supply of highly-technical remote talent is growing more accessible,” says Liu. “Companies can now tap into technical expertise through networks like the Codementor platform, benefiting from the flexibility of scaling up or down quickly based on their needs.”

Clauson echoes the idea that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and platforms like Codementor may provide valuable resources for reskilling at scale. The beauty of these programs, she notes, is that they’re extremely accessible, even to employees who haven’t traditionally held technical roles.

“We don’t want just one type of person influencing something that touches everybody’s lives,” she says. “What I’m really excited about is [exposing] people who come from [diverse career backgrounds]—maybe they’re more artistic or they’re passionate about the environment—to ideas in AI, whether theoretical or applied. I really believe we’re going to have better and better AI the more we have different perspectives.”

The Road Ahead

Armendariz cites AT&T as an example of one large corporation committed to reskilling its employee population. The company’s Future Ready initiative, a $1 billion program, aims to train 100,000 employees by 2020, preparing them for new or redesigned roles created by the digital revolution. “While other companies have started training programs, this is an undertaking of massive proportions,” says Armendariz.

Such large-scale efforts are bound to experience obstacles—retraining employees who have been in their existing roles for decades and who have a fear of change or of the unknown, for example. Armendariz adds that cultural shifts may also occur, since many new jobs won’t require the degree of face-to-face interaction as manual roles did, potentially leading to tension or changing team dynamics.

To quell doubts and address these challenges, both Armendariz and Clauson cite corporate transparency as crucial.

“Extensive communication, planning, and strategic discussions on how their role will play a part in achieving the company’s goals are essential,” says Armendariz. “An employee in constant fear of having their role eliminated will not perform well, so setting a clear timeline and expectations goes a long way toward keeping employees happy and productive.”

Clauson calls the current moment a “critical juncture” for business leaders to help forge the workplace of the future—and to determine whether AI will find a welcome seat at the table. This starts, she says, with really getting to know employees and having genuine conversations with them about the trajectory of their roles.

In her work with companies and governments across four continents last year, Clauson says people—regardless of socioeconomic status or culture—see work as a big part of the human experience.

“It’s a big part of how we spend our time, no matter what your current circumstances are,” she says. “Today, we can make decisions to build a better future of work.”

Article By: Stephanie Walden, “Building a Roadmap for Effective Reskilling in the AI-Infused Workplace of Tomorrow,” DELL Technologies

14 Tips On How To Be Good At Sales

Sales isn’t easy. According to a study by CSO Insights (download required), less than half of forecasted business ends up closing, with 2/3 of respondents surveyed reporting that their organizations need “improvement or major redesign” of their processes for capturing new business.

So how do you make sure you stand out from the crowd and get the selling process right?

We posed the question: “What are your tips for how to be good at sales?” to seasoned sales professionals across industries, and here’s what we learned.

Tip #1: Get there early.

One of the best tips that I would give to entry level sales folks is arrive early to work every day. Although “the early bird gets the worm” may sound corny, it rings true in any sales organization. Early arrival gave me the opportunity to get to know my superiors on a personal level, as well as demonstrate my sense of purpose. From a numbers perspective, I was already 20 calls ahead of my team members by the time they sat down at their desks.

Tip #2: Be a good person.

I’ve seen many a good salesperson throughout my years in sales. Reps who would achieve their quota quarter over quarter, and at times, even exceed it. The “100-150 percenters”. I’ve also seen extraordinary salespeople, who absolutely crush it. Every quarter. Every week. Every day. The “400-500 percenters”.

While there are a number of marked differences between the two groups, there is one difference in particular that sets apart the exceptional from the good. Good salespeople focus on being good salespeople. More transaction-minded, they seek to build rapport and make the sale. Exceptional salespeople focus on being good people. More relationship-minded, they act to understand, relate, and create a value-adding relationship.

Tip #3: Believe in the product.

You must believe in the product you are selling. If you don’t love your product, your customers will sense this immediately.

Tip #4: Perfect the farewell email.

If you feel you’ve hit a stone wall, send your leads an email that makes it clear that this is the last message you’ll be sending them, as the silence has made it apparent that they’re no longer interested. This method, while might seem rigid for some, actually builds transparency and shows that you respect your leads’ time and don’t want to bother them with an offer that’s no longer on the table. As long as your first interaction with the silent lead was very positive, sending such a farewell email will likely result in a quick response with an explanation for the silence.

Tip #5: Did you know that…?

What I’ve discovered is the importance of adding value to the lives of your prospects, specifically by telling them something they didn’t already know. Open by sharing, “Did you know that…” and share some interesting (and relevant) fact about their industry, a competitor, or current event that may impact their business. If the currency of business relationships is knowledge, then always be equipped to have something valuable to share.

  • David Ciccarelli, Chief Executive Officer,

Tip #6: Speak like a friend.

Early on I was terrified of phone sales which is predominantly what I do now. I was young and eager, and in my first few seconds of conversation I was shrill, which I know now is a big turn off and gets you off on the wrong foot.

Now I speak as though I am telling a secret to a close friend or loved one. I care about the person I am talking with and I am able to get to the source of their pain points quickly and identify if my products and services are a solution for them.

Tip #7: Know your stuff.

You have to learn [a prospect’s] business inside and out, because most people can quickly detect when a salesperson doesn’t really know their stuff. This makes it much easier to approach them because you can immediately point out how you can help them either make money or save money, which is ultimately what drives decision making.

  • Tom McGee, general manager of the sales & marketing division, Lucas Group

Tip #8: Don’t be pushy.

One of the best tips for becoming good at sales is to make the business personal without being too pushy. Get to know your clients (and potential new clients) and try to individualize your messages, service offers, etc., to their individual needs and interests. And while some follow-up is good and shows that you are invested in the client, don’t make your approach so aggressive that you turn them off completely. Give the clients some breathing room to think, and consult with them about how much time they need before you check in with them again.

Tip #9: Stop talking.

Selling is oftentimes more about listening than it is about talking. Developing this skill should be at the top of any salesperson’s priority list.

To help yourself remember to display empathetic listening while talking with a prospect, devise a note-taking system that emphasizes your prospects’ needs. If you walk into a meeting prepared to focus on their needs (rather than cramming in all of your talking points), you’ll be primed to listen better.

Your non-professional life is also [full of] opportunities to practice empathetic listening, so take advantage of them. When you chat with your barista every morning, that’s a chance to practice a critical sales skill. Once you get used to activating the “listening” part of your brain, it will stay active in all your interactions.

  • Jordan Wan, Founder and CEO, CloserIQ

Tip #10: Be you.

Be you. The best sales professionals have found ways to be the best versions of themselves. They don’t follow [a] script or try to be something they’re not.

Tip #11: Think long-term.

It’s great when you [get] a customer, but it’s even better when he remains happy on the long term (think of referrals). As a result, I love to follow personally on our clients to make sure everything goes well. It’s always worth spending the extra time as it makes people feel you really care about them. And that’s ultimately what this is all about: human beings helping other human beings.

Tip #12: Stand and smile.

Stand and smile when you call. When you speak to a prospect, you want to convey some energy through the phone. If you’ve been sitting in your chair all day, it’s cloudy and rainy, you’re not going to sound exciting to talk to. If you stand up and smile, your prospect will feel the energy and be more engaged.

Tip #13: Tell a (true) story.

My dad used to say, “The difference between a good salesperson and a great salesperson is that the great salesperson’s stories are true.” Great sales people learn how to connect with people in sincere ways. They listen and then share their own personal stories.

Tip #14: Plant a seed in fertile ground.

We teach our clients that the receptivity of the customer is actually more important than the message. If the soil isn’t fertile, the seed (your message) will never germinate.

  • Tom Standfill, CEO at ASLAN, a sales training company

To learn more about sales performance management solutions, view the Q1 2019 Forrester Wave for Sales Performance Management Solutions.

Article Published By: Mia McPherson, “14 Tips On How To Be Good At Sales,” SmarterCX

Employers Adjust to Salary-History Bans

Laws forbidding questions about past pay are spreading across the U.S.

The number of states and cities banning employers from asking job seekers to reveal their salary history is growing so fast that two states, Michigan and Wisconsin, have reacted by passing a ban against such bans.

Those moves are bucking a much broader trend, however, as 15 states and several localities now have some form of prohibition against salary-history questions.

For HR professionals and hiring managers, this growing patchwork of laws requires vigilance and training so that everyone involved knows what they can and cannot ask a job candidate.

Now that it’s increasingly common for people to work remotely—and in different states—it may simply be too much effort for multistate employers to track these bans.

“Best practice is to have one approach for handling salary negotiations,” said Carolyn Cowper, vice president of performance and rewards with The Segal Group consultancy in New York City. “Shift the conversation to the candidate’s salary expectations rather than salary history, then move on to focus on the candidate’s skill set and qualifications for the role,” she advised.

To let job seekers know the level of experience and expertise they should have, a growing number of employers post a salary range for open positions—say, $90,000 to $100,000 or $100,000 to $120,000—Cowper noted.

In a strong job market, “it can be better to be forthcoming with salary ranges and what the company feels is the market value of the job,” said Carolina King, chief people officer for recruiting firm Lucas Group in Atlanta. This allows candidates to disclose their salary expectations before they get too far into the recruiting process.

“The attention should be on the quality of the candidate’s skill set,” Cowper said. “The primary focus is finding a candidate who is the right fit,” not necessarily someone with the right salary history. Hiring managers, HR professionals and recruiting firms may need to adjust their interview and screening practices to comply with salary-history bans, including by identifying questions they should and should not ask during interviews.

Becoming Transparent

Some employers are opting for total pay transparency during the hiring process. As director of HR for Very, a technology company with an entirely remote workforce of 36 employees throughout the U.S. and Latin America, Brittany Jenks has neither the time nor the resources to track the growing list of states and localities banning salary-history questions during job interviews.

The good news is that the company’s compensation approach doesn’t require her to do so. The company’s philosophy of complete compensation transparency allows it to provide salary ranges for all of its jobs. This, in turn, minimizes the need to negotiate pay when recruiting new talent.

“We lay out everything—the job description, hiring criteria and salary range,” Jenks said. “It doesn’t matter what anyone has made before.”

Although this approach doesn’t appeal to every candidate, it helps the company identify people who will best fit the company culture. If a candidate demands a higher salary, the company explains that more pay would require giving the candidate a higher-level position. “At that point, we tell them the criteria for moving into that higher role and what they need to do to get to that higher level,” she said.

Eliminating Questions, Creating Respect

While questions of pay equity and fairness should be important to employers, there are other benefits to a more open discussion of pay. “If employers want employee trust, and if they want to retain people, they must engage with those employees in meaningful ways,” King said. “Nothing is more meaningful than pay in employer/employee relations.”

Jenks agreed, arguing that a more transparent approach to pay helps build trust with employees right away. “Employees say that they don’t have to wonder if they are getting treated fairly,” she noted.

Whether greater pay transparency is widely embraced remains to be seen. However, given the current legislative trend of banning questions about salary history, employers may soon have no choice but to change their pay-negotiation practices.

Joanne Sammer is a New Jersey-based business and financial writer.


Article Published By: Joanne Sammer, “Employers Adjust to Salary-History Bans,” SHRM


Top 32 Best Interview Questions To Ask Interviewees

50 Business Leaders, HR Managers & Academics Share “The Most Insightful Questions to Ask Job Candidate”. Here Are The Best Questions & Answers

I reached out to scholars, business leaders, entrepreneurs and hiring managers to find out what are their favorite and most interesting question they like to ask interviewees.  Not only that but they have also provided the reasoning and thought behind the questions.  Situational, behavioral and even lines of disruptive questioning are all included. As this article contains a great depth of knowledge, please use the table of contents below to jump to a question that interests you.

Great Interview Questions To Ask Interviewees:

  1. When is it okay to bend the rules?
  2. What would you do in a difficult work situation?
  3. If you’re falling behind and a client or employee needs you to help them with something, how would you respond?
  4. How would you deal with a difficult co-worker?
  5. Tell me about a time that you took the lead on a project and had to influence others to work with you?
  6. Tell me about yourself?
  7. How would your previous employer rate you from 1-10?
  8. What kind of sound do you think describes you?
  9. Can you teach us something in 5 minutes?
  10. What do you value in your work relationships?
  11. How would you explain your career to your mom?
  12. What is your ideal culture to work in?
  13. What would you change is you could go back?
  14. What isn’t on your resume that you feel is important for me to know?
  15. What’s the worst fight you’ve managed between two subordinates?
  16. How you like to run meetings. Have you changed how you’ve run meetings in recent years?
  17. Why did you leave your last position?
  18. What are you passionate about?
  19. What was the color of the receptionist shirt?
  20. Please describe how to make a paper plane with just words?
  21. If you could write your own job description, what would it say?
  22. Tell me about the time you failed to reach your goal?
  23. When did you make a bad decision?
  24. A disruptive line of questioning
  25. Outside of work, what’s a new skill or habit you’re currently working on to improve yourself?
  26. What cause are you passionate about and how do you take action on it?
  27. What is your dream job?
  28. If you were given a million dollars to start up a company what would you do?
  29. What fictional character do you feel best represents you and why?
  30. Tell me about growing up, what was family life like?
  31. Everyone has a vision, what’s yours?
  32. In our business, we need to be perceptive and read people. How do you read me?

When is it okay to bend the rules?

For example, when I ask, “When is it okay to bend the rules?” The answer should be never. If someone says they would make an exception for a reason, I would go ahead and say to myself, This is probably not someone I should hire. If they say, “Only if the leader allows this,” that would be the only other reason I would consider that applicant. I like to ask situational questions pertaining to a person’s character because I don’t want people coming into the job thinking it is acceptable to bend the rules or be unethical. I want someone that is loyal and trustworthy to my company. This answer is very important because it can directly reveal if they will be honest.

What would you do in a difficult work situation?

For my second question, “What would you do in a difficult work situation?”; From the answer, I would expect to learn whether or not they will have patience, wisdom, and leadership skills in handling difficult questions.. Some people answer nervously on the spot or might not be able to think of an answer, in which case, I can ask them to give me an example of where this might have happened, so they will be able to answer easier. I can then use that example as substance for making my final decision. Character is so important.

A lot of people can be trained on certain positions at your workplace, so if their degree doesn’t necessarily match what you’re hiring for, that shouldn’t be as big of a deal, depending on how intricate the job is. When hiring, finding someone with good character is like finding gold. Of course, you obviously want to factor in intelligence, as well. However, everything else, as far as job training, usually can fall into place with someone with good character and moral standards.

If you’re falling behind and a client or employee needs you to help them with something, how would you respond?

Lastly, for my third question, “If you’re falling behind and client or employee needs you to help them with something, how would you respond?”; I would expect to learn how the potential new hire will handle working under pressure, but most importantly, their willingness to put others before themselves. I would hope for them to say they will help someone out no matter what kind of pressure they are under.

I would have to say that these are my three favorite questions to ask. Finding out certain characteristics of the potential new hire beforehand is not always something that is done. However, it’s probably one of the most determining factors for me because it gives me some foresight on what kind of worker they will be.

Aside from being the founder of the calendar productivity tool CalendarJohn Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, and startup enthusiast. 

How would you deal with a difficult co-worker?

Looking at the big picture, behavioral questions look for examples of things you’ve experienced in the past, while situational questions are seeking examples of how you would do something given a specific scenario.

How would you deal with a difficult co-worker?  In this situational question, the interviewer is attempting to find out if you have the ability to diffuse and prevent potential drama among team members. A good answer would be – “I would refrain from engaging in harmful activities such as gossip and negativity and remain positive in all dealings with that individual. If the situation became difficult to manage personally, I would seek advice from my supervisor on what to do specifically.”

Tell me about a time that you took the lead on a project and had to influence others to work with you?

In this behavioral question, the hiring manager wants to know how collaborative you are and how you influence people to work with you to accomplish common goals. Give examples of what you’ve done and how you were able to get others to go along with your leadership. If you’ve never been a lead on a project, discuss specific team activities or examples from leaders you’ve followed that you would emulate given the chance to lead a team.

Tom McGee Tom McGee, GM/VP Sales & Marketing Division for executive search firm Lucas Group

Start an interview with open questions, then move to more specific questions.

Tell me about yourself?

As a former hiring manager at two different ‘Fortune’ ranked companies before entering academia and eventually becoming a tenured management professor, I regularly used open-ended questions of this sort at the beginning of an interview. And since there’s really no right answer, it’s generally a low-stress way to relax applicants and get them talking.

But while there may not be any right answers, there are definitely subjects that wise candidates would avoid during an initial interview. For example, if an applicant is recently divorced and is now the primary caregiver for an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s disease or has two pre-school toddlers at home, those would generally be topics to avoid during that first interview. So given that caveat, what is a potential employer really looking for? In a single phrase, hiring managers are searching for organizational fit.

As a general proposition, organizations seek people who can help them grow stronger. Thus, they want folks who will solve problems, not create them.

So as much as possible, I looked for applicants who discussed the relevant transferable skills and related work experience that they could bring to a particular job, a work team, and the overall organization. Further, answering while weaving in the notion of enjoying challenging work and the sense of accomplishment gained for a job well done also earned high marks during my evaluations.

But, on the other hand, I always expected the whole truth: folks who over-embellished important facts were routinely discovered down the line since my organizations (like most, these days) did thorough reference checks and background investigations!

Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A., PHR Emeritus Associate Prof. of Management & Human Resources (retired), Doane University

How would your previous employer rate you from 1-10?

Our favorite line of questioning is the following:

  1. Will your previous supervisor or boss provide you a reference?
  2. If yes, what would they say about you and your work performance?
  3. How would they rate you on a scale of 1-10?
  4. What, if anything, would they say you could have done to get to a _____ (next highest number)?

This line of questioning has several uses. One, can they even get a reference? If yes, great. If no, why? No usually indicates an issue and definitely something I want to know about before considering hiring someone. I don’t care how many HR policies are in place to prevent me from learning something of substance about this candidate, if they were a rock star, their previous supervisor would want me to know. Bosses like helping their former superstar employees succeed and do well, so there’s really no reason the answer to this question should ever be a no if the candidate is worthy of a second look.

Secondly, probing about what the supervisor would say about their work performance and how they might improve digs into the candidate’s emotional intelligence and ability to take another person’s perspective, which usually translates well on the job in any interpersonal situation. It also challenges them to consider their weaknesses in front of an interviewer whom they’ve typically been trained to only speak of their successes and accomplishments.

This is a tough spot but brings up the chance to learn about the candidate’s values, sense of humility and how realistic or practical they might be.

It’s really one big question and can elicit a lot of information about their experience, their achievements, and about who and how they are as a person all at once.

Founder and CEO of The Hire TalentFletcher Wimbush, has interviewed over 8,000 applicants.

What kind of sound do you think describes you?

Our favorite personality question by far is “what kind of sound do you think describes you?” The question immediately stumps most applicants at first and it’s one where you can’t throw out a canned or rehearsed answer. It’s open-ended enough for applicants to show their personality (words can count as sounds too! One applicant just said “driven”.) but also a strange enough question where people really need to think about their answer.

Can you teach us something in 5 minutes?

A more technical interview question we ask is “teach us something in 5 minutes”. It allows the applicant to demonstrate how quickly they can think on their feet while also giving us some insight into their knowledge base and what’s “at the forefront” so to speak. We find it’s a much better gauge of professional and personal interest – lots of applicants have taught us some really cool things such as origami or a quick rundown of Gaussian distribution.

Michael Sheen, Hiring Manager: inteliKINECT 

What do you value in your work relationships?

No one comes into an interview saying they’re a terrible team player.  This question gets people thinking and talking.  I’m looking to see what relationships they choose to talk about as well – managers, peers, clients, etc.  The answer draws out true insight into how they play well with others.

How would you explain your career to your mom (or someone that is totally unrelated to this industry)?

There are two things I’m looking for in this answer:

  1. The ability to take something complex and make it simple.  This is a good measure of their ability to communicate clearly with others.
  2. An understanding of what they view as the core of their work and whether it aligns with the core of the role I’m recruiting for.

Lisa Barrow is the founder of Kada Recruiting, a digital and creative recruitment agency. Also former Director of Client Adoption at

What is your ideal culture to work in?

I frequently ask interviewees what their ideal culture to work in is. What I expect to learn from this answer is to see if the potential employee would be an ideal fit within the company.

What would you change is you could go back?

I also like to ask candidates about a particular action they took in the past that he or she would change if they could go back. The reason I ask this question is because I am interested in finding out a person’s experiences. While a resume will often boast the candidate’s achievements, I prefer to discover the potential employee’s grit in overcoming diversity and challenges.

Steven Azizi Business Owner – Miracle Mile Law Group 

What isn’t on your resume that you feel is important for me to know?

My favorite question for interviewees: What isn’t on your resumé that you feel is important for me to know?

The goal here is to find any synergies that might be overlooked if a candidate has tailored their resume to the position. For a smaller company, this can be incredibly helpful because you might need generalists to help the company grow at first. I asked this during our most recent round of hiring and it provided extraordinarily helpful information on two occasions.

One candidate pointed out that they had a passion for video editing, and had been practicing on their own for the past several months. While this wasn’t directly related to the position, the management team had recently expressed interest in expanding our video marketing capabilities and that skill could be very valuable to the team. Another candidate prefaced their response with I know this is going to sound cliché, but… and described that they were a hard worker. They were right – it did sound cliché at first, but after considering the tone of our interview up to that point (and the fact that they were the only candidate that made that claim) it left a lasting positive impression.

Tony Mastri – Hiring Manager, MARION Group – Twitter

What’s the worst fight you’ve managed between two subordinates? How did you have them resolve their conflict?

A great candidate will actively work to manage through conflict on their teams. If they’re able to find a way to mitigate negative feelings or behaviors, they do, and if they can’t, they assist team members in coping to the best of their ability. The right candidate isn’t afraid to enlist the help of their boss in monitoring and improving team dynamics and can provide thoughtful input to help resolve the situation.

Describe how you like to run meetings. Have you changed how you’ve run meetings in recent years?

A great candidate will have a basket of tools and tricks that they have developed over time to help accomplish the work at hand. No one tool is right for every purpose or need, so the candidate should show that they are open to experiment over time and seek to learn from others what works best to achieve desired outcomes.

Marc Cenedella, CEO at Ladders, a leading job search site. 

Why did you leave your last position?

One question I’ve really enjoyed asking over the years is less skills/experience focused and more critical thinking related.

One mean question I liked asking was “Why did you leave your last position?”. I like to ask that as the last question. Then I ask if they can provide me a list of references.

What I expect to learn is whether they were being truthful with their original answers. Usually, I can tell this just by reading facial signals and body language.

A lot of people have a tough time being truthful about how they left their last job. Personally, whether they were fired or quit isn’t that important, what is important is that they are truthful while applying with me.

If they lied about how they left their last job it will usually be detectable when you ask for references. If the applicant happens to lie and also has a good poker face, the truth usually comes out when references are provided late or incomplete, which would indicate an attempt to hide something.

Rudeth Shaughnessy, Retired HR Professional & Volunteer Director at Copy My Resume


Read the full article here:, “Top 32 Best Interview Questions To Ask Interviewees,” By Barry D. Moore

When Money Doesn’t Talk: The Employer Branding Imperative

Money doesn’t talk as loudly as it used to. In today’s talent-driven marketplace, a company’s reputation — its employer brand — speaks volumes to potential hires in a way that a salary offer can’t.

Employer Branding Through the Employee Life Cycle: Four Phases

A strong employer brand is the secret sauce not only for talent recruitment, but also for employee engagement and company loyalty — critical factors for business success. Yet many companies focus only on the recruitment part and miss out on the benefits of holistic employer branding. To shift approaches, think about employer branding over four key phases in the employee lifecycle: pre-recruitment, interview and offer, onboarding and retention and post-exit.


The challenge: Rather than convince desired hires to consider your company, flip the script. Cultivate a strong reputation as a desirable place to work, and you’ll have top talent asking you about open positions.

Get started: What about your employee experience is exciting or rewarding? Maybe it’s the entrepreneurial environment that encourages risk-taking or the opportunity to be mentored by senior executives. Whatever it is, demonstrate it. For example, we publish short “day in the life” videos so prospective hires can see what it’s really like to work here.

Next level: Don’t rely on your HR team to do all the promotion; get employees involved too. On average, employees have 10 times as many LinkedIn connections as their companies and are considered more trustworthy than official company channels. Simple, authentic posts are best. WeWork employees, for example, share insights into their daily work life — ranging from team meetings to the company’s annual retreat — using hashtags like #wearewework, #wwcamp, #ilovemyjob and #dreamteam. This is an easy, effective way to demonstrate camaraderie and provide a glimpse into company culture.

Interview And Offer

The challenge: During the interview, you have the opportunity to present your employer brand and address candidates’ concerns about workplace culture and employee development.

Get started: When candidates come in for interviews, assess the alignment of their experience and their expectations. Be sure your employee brand messaging is reflected in the culture candidates can observe, from the person who greets them at the door to the person in charge of hiring.

Next level: Seal the deal with offer delivery. If your company is big on mentorship, for example, connect your prospective hire with their potential mentor as part of the offer process. Show prospective hires your company is ready to follow through on employer brand promises from day one.

Onboarding and Retention

The challenge: An estimated 40% of employees quit their jobs after less than a year. Part of the problem: The experience of working for your company does not match your employer brand promises.

Get started: To build camaraderie from day one and minimize the risk for an early departure, assign a peer partner to each new hire. This partner is someone with whom the new hire can have a candid conversation about challenges and disappointments, without fear of repercussion. Maybe the new hire thought they’d have greater project ownership or professional enrichment. If there’s been a miscommunication, this concern can be resolved quickly rather than letting frustrations fester.

Next level: Annual employee surveys can be useful for quantitative feedback, but they don’t often allow for clarification or additional information. If your company is struggling with turnover, supplement surveys with interviews. Speak to current employees about their perceptions and experiences: Is there a gap between employer brand expectations and reality? Frame questions in a positive manner so the answers focus on improvement opportunities, not company criticism.


The challenge: Even with a strong employer brand, it’s inevitable that some employees will leave for other opportunities. How your company handles these transitions speaks volumes to your brand and sets the tone for future referrals or a return as a “boomerang employee.”

Get started: Rather than treating former employees as defectors, keep the communication lines open. Depending on the circumstances of an employee’s departure, this could mean the occasional lunch meeting, an invitation to your annual holiday party or a coffee chat with a former mentor. Doing so shows employees that a diversity of experiences outside your company can be a great thing — and that their insights and learnings are still valued.

Next level: Some of my company’s best hires have come via referrals from former or returning employees. Why? We strive to ensure every employee leaves on a positive note. Do this by acknowledging their contributions and celebrating their next step. Let them know they’ve been a valued team member, and that the door is always open for future opportunities.

Money may not get top talent in the door, but your employer brand can. When the experience of working for your company matches the brand promises you have made, you’ll benefit from engaged employees who turn into your greatest company advocates.

Article Published By: Aram LullaForbes, “When Money Doesn’t Talk: The Employer Branding Imperative

How Finding a Job Has Changed in the Past 50 Years / Tools for the 21st Century Job Hunt

Tools for the 21st Century Job Hunt

The rise of the Internet and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn have had a profound impact on the job search process, as have a variety of leaps in modern technology ranging from the introduction of FaceTime and Skype to applicant tracking system (ATS) technology that searches and eliminates resumes based on keyword usage. The fact is that job searching is a radically different process than it was decades ago. In some ways it’s more user-friendly, but it has also simultaneously become more complicated. Here are some of the most significant changes according to career coaches and industry recruiters.

Goodbye Want Ads. Hello Internet.

Baby Boomers and Gen Xers began their job searches without the help of today’s ubiquitous online job boards, LinkedIn, or the myriad of other social media resources. “The go-to source for job openings was the Sunday classified ads,” says professional certified coach Bill Benoist, who works with mid-to-late career professionals.

Combing Through Job Openings Can Be Automated

Don’t have time to sit at a computer and scour online job postings? No problem, job alerts can be sent directly to your smartphone these days, says Tom McGee, vice president for the national executive search firm Lucas Group. “People now can go on all of these websites — Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster — and sign up to have ads sent to them,” explains McGee. “Making it even easier for the candidate to see what’s being posted every day.” What’s more, according to data from Indeed, whether it’s Millennials, Gen Xers, or Baby Boomers, more and more people are using their mobile devices to find jobs, which means employers must optimize job listings for mobile or risk missing out on talent.

Typewritten Resumes Are Long Gone

Fifty years ago, there were no computers with Microsoft Word or Google Docs, says Benoist. “Resumes were typed on a typewriter, and one tried their best to not make any typos because that often meant starting over. And when we were ready to send our resume in, it was done through the US Postal Service or possibly a fax machine.”

Employers Are Using Analytics to Filter Applicants

The internet’s growth has made it easier for thousands of applicants to apply for job openings. To help deal with the flood of responses employers receive these days, they are increasingly relying on what Wired calls people analytics and applying big data analytics to sort through applicants. While there has been criticism of this approach, which allows many job seekers to be overlooked, supporters say use of big data removes evaluator bias and eliminates factors such as race, gender, and religion from the equation.

Job Applications Are Often Sorted and Ranked Automatically

One specific outgrowth of the big data evolution is the implementation of applicant tracking systems. ATS software is used by employers to scan and rank online job applications, often based on keywords. “Rather than having a hiring manager spend 10 to 15 minutes reviewing each application and entering information into a database, some organizations have adopted computerized text analysis,” explains Aimee Gardner, president and CEO of SurgWise Consulting. “Information like degree granted, university attended, years of experience, and skill sets can be scanned and classified in just seconds.” A 2018 report from GlassDoor estimated that 95% of Fortune 500 companies were using an ATS to manage the process.

Employers Are Using Social Media to Create Applicant Profiles

Watch what you post online. Another development tied to the technology’s rise, employers are now creating entire profiles of people based on the individual’s social media presence, says Wired. This is being done even for people who aren’t searching for a job. Companies are compiling their own resumes for candidates by reviewing people’s profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. Using this information, companies then pull in big data to further identify patterns of behavior or skills and interests that would make an individual a good fit for a particular job, says Wired.

It’s Easier to Research Potential Employers

The research capabilities work both ways these days. With the abundance of information now available online, it has become far easier for job searchers to find out everything they need to know about a potential employer well before applying or interviewing. “Job seekers are researching potential employers not only for cultural fit, but for social responsibility initiatives, employee feedback, salary competitiveness, benefit offerings, you name it,” says Heather Becker, a senior consultant for 4 Point Consulting. “Applicants are utilizing available tools to glean information about companies before committing time to a phone screen or face-to-face.”

You Can Now Read Online Reviews of Potential Employers

Need an example of just how much online information is available these days about a potential employer? One of the top developments in terms of creating transparency for the job seeker is the creation of sites like Glassdoor, which was launched in 2008 and provides a wealth of information about companies, including perhaps most notably, detailed reviews from current and previous employees. The site also has a growing database of CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews, benefit reviews, and even office photos.

Online Tools Allow Applicants to Passively Search for Jobs

LinkedIn has brought about many changes with regard to job searching — some good, some bad. One of the positive changes is that you can now be an entirely passive job searcher with a simple click of a button on the social platform. “You can have your LinkedIn set so that companies and recruiters can see you are available, almost like a virtual job fair that runs constantly until you decide to pull it back,” says Lucas Group’s McGee.

Interviews Can Be Done via FaceTime and Skype

Yet another development McGee has noticed in recent years is that most initial interviews are being conducted via Skype or FaceTime, rather than in person. This is often the case until a candidate makes it to the final round of interviews with a potential employer. “Almost everybody and their brother is doing it,” says McGee. “It saves time and money. We can do a lot of interviewing on Facetime or Skype, and then pick the final two candidates and bring them in.”

One-Way Video Interviews Have Become Increasingly Popular

Given that the traditional on-site job interview is a huge time drain for both the organization and candidate, many organizations have turned to one-way video interviews in recent years to quickly and efficiently connect with candidates, says SurgWise’s Gardner. “After meeting initial eligibility requirements for a position, companies can invite a larger number of candidates to the next round of consideration through one-way (asynchronous) interviews,” Gardner explains. “A candidate calls in to a number at a pre-scheduled time, and interview questions are presented in either text, audio, or video form. Applicants have a few seconds to think about an answer, then after a beep must record their responses.”

Interviews Are Being Eliminated Altogether for Some Jobs

In some cases, for some types of jobs, face-to-face interviews are being eliminated entirely, says McGee. This is due in large part to the significant rise of remote working, which according to Gallup, had increased to 43% of American employees as of 2016. “This applies more to lower level or remote jobs and also to the technology field,” explains McGee. “A lot of the positions are non-client facing, so employers can do a Skype interview and hire someone and run with it.”

Employers Are Making the Hiring Process More Fun and Informative

One of the most recent trends, according to HR Technologist, is the focus on the candidate’s job screening experience, says Gardner. In other words, how job seekers perceive and react to an employers’ recruiting, interviewing, and hiring practices has become increasingly important. This has resulted in the “gamification” of the hiring process in some cases. “Knowing that applicants can learn a lot about the company by participating in the selection process, and that they may also be able to convert these applicants into future consumers or clients even if they’re not offered a position, companies are dedicating tremendous resources to ensure applicants have an informative and fun experience,” Gardner said. Rather than complete a grueling five-page questionnaire, companies invite applicants to demonstrate strengths through virtual “games” that assess key skills and competencies.

Curating Your Social Media Profiles Has Become Increasingly Vital

In case it wasn’t made clear enough earlier, with companies searching your online presence long before you even apply for a job, it has never been more important to carefully curate your profile on all social media accounts. Wired suggests managing your profiles specifically with the goal of gaining a job in mind. In other words, use each platform to emphasize your work-related skills and talents, not for posting pictures of that Las Vegas trip.

Networking is Still Essential

In this technology-driven, highly impersonal world, where algorithms are replacing the human element, networking is more important than ever, say career coaches. “Job candidates that enjoy doing business face-to-face still have an advantage,” says Frank Grossman, a career advisor for Resumes That Shine. “Face-to-face meetings still create a much better connection than online and telephone interaction. Job candidates should take advantage of all networking opportunities to meet peers and managers in their business, in person.”


Article Published By: Mia, “Tools for the 21st Century Job Hunt

Onboarding Seamlessly: How AI Is Transforming the Experience

Onboarding is an essential aspect of employee recruitment, and you want to make the process as convenient, effective and fast as possible.

To achieve those goals, many companies are turning to artificial intelligence. AI’s role in onboarding can start at the beginning of the process to simplify tasks and even provide feedback to make the next hire smoother.

Here’s a quick look at how AI is already playing a role in today’s onboarding procedures.

By Easing the Administrative Burden

AI can minimize your HR tasks by automating the delivery and receipt of necessary paperwork.

For new employees, automated tools can provide an overview of company policies and deliver login information for programs or portals relevant to a given job. AI can track that a document has been thoroughly read and capture electronic signatures as new hires finish steps, removing the need for HR to confirm this completion manually.

“From the employer standpoint, many of the administrative tasks like having to key in a lot of information and file away paperwork have been removed from everyday work,” says Shelton Blease, director of HR operations for Lucas Group.

An important aspect of AI in this setting is its ability to adjust what’s presented based on the job. An intelligent system can give proper permissions or schedule meetings required to understand a role.

By Allowing Onboarding to Happen 24/7

With AI, onboarding doesn’t have to happen within regular business hours or at a fixed office location. AI and chatbots can work around the clock, guiding a new hire through all aspects of onboarding and answering questions as they arise.

This lets employees get the help they need while minimizing calls, emails and meetings with HR. Remote support is especially useful since the majority of the world’s workforce reportedly now telecommutes at least part of the week.

By Allowing Faster Integration of New Employees

There’s often a concern that onboarding is rushed or that employees feel uncomfortable asking questions. AI can help make these tasks more engaging and less stressful — for example, by using chatbots to answer questions about leave or remote-work policies that a new hire might otherwise be uncomfortable asking on their first day.

“This can allow new hires to integrate more quickly into the organization even before their first day on the job,” says Susan Power, founder and CEO of Power HR. “Ideally this is done through gamification to make it a more interactive, fun process.”

However, Blease cautions against making your onboarding process fully automated. “With this shift in more efficient and simpler processes, it’s important that HR doesn’t lose sight of the human side of onboarding,” he says. “Joining a new company is often a very big change in a person’s life, so if you only make onboarding simpler without making the individual feel truly welcome, you may inadvertently ostracize the new employee. HR needs to take the time to find ways to connect with them throughout the onboarding process and make the new employee feel uniquely valued.”


Article Published By: Geoff Whiting, HR Certification Institute, “Onboarding Seamlessly: How AI Is Transforming the Experience

Leadership Hiring Trends 2019 – Expert Panel

A survey report based on a study of 200+ organizations


Finding quality leadership talent and nurturing them to take up critical strategic positions in an organizations is among the top and most critical challenges that organizations face these days. Having a strong company leadership in place and ensuring that there is a talent pool ready to take up key roles in the future are significant factors in determining the sustained success and profitability of an organization. For attaining this, organizations need to have a well-structured leadership hiring and leadership development process in place.

To demystify the topic of leadership hiring, we present to you the ‘Leadership Hiring Trends Report 2019’, the first report of ‘Mercer|Mettl Leadership Series’ which will be followed by the ‘Leadership Development Trends Report 2019,’ scheduled to be released in May 2019.

Leadership Hiring Trends Report 2019

Is a compilation of expert insights and survey results collected from more than 500 respondents. The report is meant to provide insights on the leadership trends, challenges and best practices that organizations of different sizes follow in different regions and industries, across the globe.

The diverse perspective of leaders, ranging from baby boomers to millennials, is meant to provide actual ground level insights on how organizations around the globe are dealing with leadership challenges, in order to bring forth the leadership hiring practices that have yielded successful results. Our exclusive leadership expert panel includes world-renowned leadership coaches, CXO’s, TedX speakers and influencers in the leadership space, who have been guiding startups, SMEs as well as fortune 500 companies in achieving their leadership goals for decades and continue to do so.

Quotes from Aram Lulla, General Manager, Human Resources Division, Lucas Group

For a more thorough assessment of leadership talent, organizations rely on leadership assessments that provide data-backed insights on the talent’s leadership skills such as the ability to lead people, drive business growth, interpersonal skills, learning agility, critical thinking, decision making, etc. Aram Lulla, GM of the HR division at Lucas Group advocates usage of leadership assessments –

“Using personality and specific leadership assessment tools can give additional data points to assess fit while utilizing references to specifically ask about their performance and their alignment with the core values of your organization.”

Read the full report here:  Mercer/Mettl, “Leadership Hiring Trends Report 2019”

Filling The Digital Transformation Skills Gap

Success in the digital era requires the right blend of business, IT and soft skills. IT leaders are rethinking their hiring and training strategies to truly transform.

As someone who doesn’t have a technical background, Phil Bertolini, CIO for Oakland County, Mich., knows he needs to surround himself with people who have tech skills — but he believes it’s almost more important to find ones with business-oriented skills.

“The other belief I have is that nothing makes a bad business process worse than putting a bunch of tech around it,’’ he says. “Our goal is to tear the business process apart, make sure it’s optimized and then build the proper enabling technology to make it efficient.”

To do that requires people with a blend of technical and so-called soft skills, yet that is something Bertolini struggles with. Still, that is a core mandate for the people he is looking to hire today.

“They may be very astute technically, but if they don’t have people skills they can’t work here,’’ he notes. “If I need programmers or database people and networking people, I can rent them in the contract market. But what I can’t always find are the people who can actually work closely with people and engage with them and understand their business process.”

Demand Is Greater Now

As organizations get deep into digital initiatives, many are experiencing the same thing: It is a challenge to find workers with so-called soft skills that help bridge the divide between what business users want and the technology to make it happen.

CIO’s annual State of the CIO Survey asked about skills needed for digital transformation. The top responses were strategy building (40 percent), project management (32 percent) and business relationship management, user support/training, success measurement and risk management, all at 25 percent, respectively. Other business-oriented skills that IT leaders are seeking include product management, financial/cost management and vendor management.

The digitalization of work is absolutely a factor — and one that isn’t going away as 67 percent of business leaders agree that if their company does not become significantly digitalized by 2020, it will no longer be competitive, according to Brian Kropp, group vice president in Gartner’s HR Practice.

Gartner’s 2018 Shifting Skills Survey asked over 7,000 employees to self-assess their level of proficiency in in-demand skills such as Six Sigma and oral and written communication. The firm found that 70 percent of respondents said they haven’t mastered the skills they need for their jobs today. Additionally, 80 percent said they lack the skills they need both for their current role and their future career.

“Those are big numbers and signal that organizations on the whole have work to do to ensure they can build their leadership bench and that workers have the needed skills,” Kropp says.

“The effects of the digital revolution are causing companies to reexamine the way their IT and technology departments fit within the company, the impact in each department and their value to the overall organization,’’ agrees David Armendariz, general manager of the IT practice group for executive search firm Lucas Group. “Because of this shift, IT talent now must have both a business and relationship acumen in order to be truly effective in the current and future marketplace.”

The Skills IT Leaders Most Want

Technology skills are always going to be top of mind and at the forefront of what hiring managers are looking for when recruiting for tech teams, but business skills and soft skills are a differentiator for candidates, says Ryan Sutton, district president for recruiting firm Robert Half Technology. “Those who can come in [and] manage projects or help with strategy will add value to a team, and managers will definitely see it as an advantage.”

When thinking about planning for digital transformation, business skills are not necessarily what come to mind first, says Joan Holman, CIO of global law firm Clark Hill PLC.

“But if you take a step back and look at your business model and [think about] changing how you do things to be efficient and effective and deliver the particular service for your organization in a digital manner, often that goes beyond the technical stuff,’’ she says. Echoing Bertolini, Holman adds, “You can get an engineer to build things, but if you haven’t listened to the stakeholders, then whatever you’ve built will not be successful and meet the needs of the organization.”

In Holman’s world, the skillset most needed is business analysis; “people who can understand what the business process is, what attorneys do and how do we engage with clients,’’ she says. “So from a technical perspective, we can offer solutions and processes to complement the work now — but you have to have a good handle on what the work is.”

At Clark Hill, this means understanding the steps required to support a client and the demands that attorneys are getting from clients, she says.

“A certain level of business acumen, quite honestly, across the board, helps from an IT perspective,’’ Holman says. “The better we understand the business and what our users are trying to accomplish the better job we can do to provide support.”

The criteria for candidates at Massachusetts-based car research site CarGurus has changed over the years, observes Kyle Lomeli, CTO. In the past, IT leaders looked for candidates with experience in areas such as strategy, project management and building relationships. Now they are upping the ante and looking for software engineers who also have good communication skills and who are good collaborators, he says.

“We don’t want someone to disappear into a void and come back three months later with a product that doesn’t resonate with the market,’’ Lomeli explains. “We want someone who figures out how to make those pragmatic decisions and focuses on measurement and iterating fast.”

The ideal candidate has a broader view of what’s needed to make products a success, he says, “and for that we need someone with a lot of those strategy and project-building skills sets.”

Relationship management is an important skill gap right now for David Lloyd, director of IT at Minnesota-based Park Industries, which manufactures saws to cut stone and metal.

“We have a very large strategic initiative around customer experience,” he says, and that requires people with “the ability to leverage data that exists today for internal business decisions and also making that [data] available to customers’’ on a self-service basis.

Lloyd says project management and business analysis are other skills he could use to ensure that input on specifications comes from every functional area within the organization as well as coordinating that representation.

Armendariz says the business-oriented skills his clients are looking for include success measurement and strategy building. Clients also want people with “the ability to listen to the true needs of the internal stakeholders, a desire to understand the value technology and data bring to the department, communication skills needed to influence decisions and the overall mindset that they are a business partner and key in driving the business forward,” he says.

In today’s world, he adds, those are equally as important as the baseline technical skills required to do the job. “Without the technical expertise, solutions can’t be developed, and without business-focused skills, those solutions will never drive value.”

Finding The Blend Of Skills Is Hard

Of course, finding people who have a blend of business and tech skills isn’t necessarily a cinch. “A lot of people in the tech space are used to working in environments that are rigidly defined and don’t have room for making strategic decisions,’’ says Lomeli.

Many engineers are used to being “cogs in a machine,’’ he explains, and CarGurus wants people who can operate in a startup mindset and facilitate change and have a say in how a product is conceived and evolves over time.

“Pretty much everything we’re working on requires soft skills,’’ Lomeli says.

This has made it a constant struggle to find people with the right blend of both, he says. But Lomeli says “people who yearn for the ability to effect change” are out there.

It helps that although CarGurus has become a large company, it “still operates like a startup, which a lot of these candidates look for in the end,’’ he says. “They’re looking for environments … where they can have an impact. Large companies generally don’t provide that proposition.”

Lucas Group’s Armendariz says the shortage of candidates with a blend of tech and soft skills is something they hear about from clients every day. “There is already a war on technical talent due to the low supply of qualified candidates and the high demand for those candidates,’’ he says. “In addition, when you look at the available candidate pool with both the technical and business acumen needed in today’s marketplace, the pool is even shallower.”

He attributes this to baby boomers exiting the tech industry, the lack of STEM graduates entering the marketplace and the rarity of candidates who bring both highly skilled technical attributes and business-focused skills.

How To Find Business-focused IT People

What most leaders are questioning right now is whether to buy or build talent, says Gartner’s Kropp, meaning whether HR should go outside the organization and find new candidates, or if the company should develop current employees. Gartner research found that companies should continue to do both, he says.

“However, these strategies alone will not help them achieve their digital transformation goals,’’ he cautions. “Organizations must also change the company from within to allow digital innovation to occur.”

For example, they should build a culture of “network-based innovation” and give current employees more visibility into and ownership of which ideas to pursue to more actively engage them. They should also consider increasing collaboration and provide guidance on who they can work with to push ideas forward, he says.

Armendariz suggests that organizations identify the high-potential technical talent within their firms and invest in developing their business acumen.

“It may not be the traditional routes of paying for an MBA, but hands-on mentoring from key leaders who can build and develop their business-focused skills is critical,’’ he says.

Organizations can also invest in outside training and development programs from consultants who bring best practices from outside the organization. It is also critical to develop “a robust recruitment and retention strategy, including creating a culture that attracts this type of talent, partnering with outside consultants who specialize in developing a network of this type of talent and establishing open feedback channels that provide information organizations can use to increase employee engagement and retention,’’ Armendariz says.

Oakland County’s Bertolini says finding people is especially difficult for him because he has to compete with private industry, which tends to pay better. So he has taken a four-pronged approach: hiring a recruiter to recruit candidates nationally; conducting compensation studies and making salary changes to key positions where they are trying to find people; and offering flex time and the ability to work remotely as well as implementing a 4 x 10 work week, where employees have the option to work four 10-hour days. This gives them a three-day weekend, which he says is very attractive to some people.

The fourth step is revamping their physical space to “create a modern work environment” by removing cubicles and bringing in sit-to-stand desks and building collaborative work spaces, while also still providing private work spaces when required.

Bertolini also prides himself on his marketing approach. “We do innovative things here in Oakland County and believe we’re just as innovative as the private sector, but in the end you can go home and have dinner with your family,’’ he says. “I’m not going to work you 100 hours a week.”

So far, his approach has been working. At one time, Bertolini had 32 vacancies in IT and he’s now down to eight in an almost three-year period.


A contributing writer for IDG, Esther Shein is a journalist with extensive experience writing and editing for both print and the web with a focus on business and technology as well as education and general interest features.

Article Published By: Esther SheinCIO, “Filling The Digital Transformation Skills Gap

Forget Taco Tuesday: To Improve Employee Engagement, Focus On Life Cycle Experience

Aram Lulla is General Manager, Human Resources Practice at Lucas Group

Over the last decade, brands like Netflix, Apple and Uber shifted our consumer expectations from transactional and utilitarian to experiential and participatory. Now, this expectation shift is transforming the workplace, reshaping how companies think about employee engagement.

The Leesman Index calls this change the workplace experience revolution (EwX). According to its research, companies where employees report the highest levels of productivity and employer pride are also companies that deliver a “superbly supportive, immersive and pleasurable experience” for their employees.

At Lucas Group, we call this the “employee experience revolution,” and we’ve seen this shift reflected in how top talent prioritizes companies and work environments. Our clients with the most engaged employees — and the most satisfied new hires — are those that offer experiential environments. Here, employees are active participants who develop meaningful connections with their co-workers and a strong sense of employer pride and loyalty. These connections are essential to driving productivity, innovation and business success.

From Engagement To Experience: Five Strategies For Making The Shift

To achieve true employee engagement, companies must go beyond merely providing a functional, efficient workplace with sporadic employee appreciation events. The entire ecosystem — from the break room coffee machine to new hire onboarding to mentoring programs — needs to deliver an exceptional experience. Here’s how to help your company begin making this shift.

  1. Show, don’t tell. What message is your workplace sending to employees? Use your workplace to reinforce company values and set the tone for the employee experience. For example, every one of our offices is painted the same colors, with similar feature walls and open layouts, so that when employees from one branch walk into another, they immediately feel like they’re at home. The open design reflects our open culture; managers sit side by side with their teams, rather than siloing leadership away in private offices.
  2. Rethink employee onboarding. The first day at a new job sets the tone for an employee’s entire experience. Yet too often companies default to ad hoc processes that lead to a disjointed or awkward day. To ensure every employee has a positive experience, create a purposeful program. From thoughtful desk setup to personal meet-and-greets, standardize a consistent onboarding process that guides new hires through their first day, first month and first year.
  3. Eliminate friction. Consider which pain points may be an overlooked source of frustration in your employees’ days. Is there a video conferencing system that never works? A broken coffee machine? These are seemingly benign annoyances, but as daily touch points in the lives of your workforce, they’re ones your company can’t afford to ignore. Small investments in technology upgrades or workplace infrastructure can significantly improve the overall employee experience.
  4. Invest in professional development. From mentoring to skill training, providing employees with meaningful growth opportunities signals that you are invested in their professional success. Consider offering a variety of development opportunities so employees can select the best option for their needs. Doing so not only demonstrates your commitment to their success, but also empowers employees with autonomy and flexibility, helping them to feel in control of their future.
  5. Connect the dots. One of the most powerful drivers for improving employee experience is purpose — and it’s also one of the more complex to address. Personal passions and preferences play a major role; what excites one employee may do little for another. Focus instead on leading with “why” and “how.” Why is a project important? How does it fit into your company’s bigger mission? By connecting the dots for your employees, you can help them see how even small assignments contribute to the bigger picture. This gives their work a new sense of meaning and purpose, helping them feel more connected to their co-workers and the company.

Employee experience encompasses every touch point in the employee life cycle. While this can feel like an overwhelming shift at first, by focusing on a few key points — the first day, the workplace environment, professional development opportunities — your company can lay the groundwork for a truly exceptional employee experience.

Article Published By: Aram Lulla, Forbes, “Forget Taco Tuesday: To Improve Employee Engagement, Focus On Life Cycle Experience

What To Do When You Get A More Desirable Job Offer After Accepting Another Position

DEAR READERS: I recently heard about a young job seeker who interviewed for jobs with two different companies. He hadn’t heard back about the job that was his No. 1 choice but was offered and accepted the second position. As he was starting the onboarding process, he received an offer — and a much better one — from the first company. Any advice for someone in a similar situation, especially if they know they really want the second job they were offered?

It was a split decision on this question! Experts who weighed in had different ideas about how to tackle the situation.

Helen Godfrey, a certified career counselor in Houston who has been working in career services for almost 20 years, admits it’s a “tricky situation” but says the applicant should stick with company No. 2.

“If this individual was my client, I would have coached him to communicate with his dream company and ask them when they were hoping to make a decision,” Godfrey says. “I would have him let the employer know that he is really interested in the job and that he has another offer which he has to respond to by such and such a date. Potentially, he could have negotiated a higher salary with his dream company because he already had an offer.”

Because that didn’t happen, “He should plan on spending a minimum of one year at the job.” That advice, she says, is based on the assumption that both jobs are in a similar field. “It is a small world … which means he will run into people from the company where he accepted and then declined the offer in professional networking groups,” Godfrey says. “Whenever possible, I recommend maintaining positive relationships and a positive personal brand. If people in your professional field have heard of you, do everything possible to make sure that is a compliment.”

Gaynete Jones, a millennial mentor and founder of G.A.M.E. Changing Industries, has a different take on the topic. She calls this situation “a complicated blessing,” and believes taking the better offer with company No. 1 is the way to go, with one caveat.

How you handle the situation can make all the difference.

“Making the wrong move could result in him being black-balled in the industry should things not work out with company No. 1. Handling it the right way could leave the door open with company No. 2 at a later date,” Jones stresses.

Sharing the news as soon as possible is a must, and doing so in person, if possible, is the best option. If not, a phone call is the next best approach.

“As terrifying as it can be doing this in person or over the phone, sharing that he must now step back due to a better-fitted offer on the table shows responsibility and that he’s a hot commodity in the industry,” Jones says. “If he sends an email to back out of the contract phase, however, it does just the opposite — it positions him as a coward and doesn’t give the employer a chance to ask questions, to see where they fell short, or to wish him well in his future endeavors.

Bob Prather, general manager of the accounting and finance recruiting practice for Lucas Group, (recently named one of the top 10 recruiting firms in the nation by Forbes), agrees with Jones.

“I’d love to say that this never happens and that every candidate who accepts a position they have been offered actually starts at that position and has a long, prosperous, mutually-rewarding career with the offering company. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case,” Prather says. “When a candidate accepts an offer, I believe that they should enter into that business relationship with the full intent of giving their all. If you aren’t able to give 100 percent to your new employer, you need to make them aware before you proceed. Your career and life are your responsibility and another offer is not likely to follow soon. So, if you aren’t able to give 100 percent because of ‘buyer’s remorse’ for the (second) position, you should not go forward with it.”


Article Published By: Kathleen Furore, Careers Now, “What To Do When You Get A More Desirable Job Offer After Accepting Another Position


This Millennial Myth Isn’t Exactly True: What Every HR Pro Needs To Know

Millennials want toys in the office. Ping pong tables. Video games. Their dogs. Corn hole emblazoned with the company logo. Oh, and a keg in the kitchen would be nice.

At least that’s the prevailing wisdom about what millennials want in today’s workplace. Most everyone in Human Resources has been told this or has helped spread the word. Only it’s not exactly true.

So, what do millennials want in the workplace? To provide HR professionals with some insight and help them equip their companies with what millennials want most from their employer, I asked my fellow leaders at national executive search firm Lucas Group.

My takeaway is that millennials desire much, much more from their employers than the stereotypes suggest. Knowing this, HR pros can advocate for workplace improvements that truly meet today’s millennial needs.

Here are some of their wants:

A Mission, Not a Job

“They want to know the vision and mission of the company – what will I be doing and how does it impact people, society and the greater good,” said Aram Lulla, General Manager of Lucas Group’s Human Resources division. “That carries more weight now than ever before. Today, it’s not what they do, it’s how they do it, why they do it and what impact that has and what impact, in turn, the prospective employee can make.”

David Armendariz, General Manager of Lucas Group’s Information Technology division, said millennials want to “make an impact and leave their mark on the company. While that sounds a little contradictory to the fact that they don’t want to necessarily be there that long, that creates a challenge for recruiters.”

Transparency and Input

“They want transparent communication about what’s going on within the organization, and then having the ability to either make a comment or have their voice heard to see what impact they can make as an individual to that organization,” Lulla said.


“Workplace flexibility – the ability to work remotely on an alternative schedule from wherever – is what millennial candidates are most interested in when it comes to deciding where to work,” said Steven Lynch, General Manager of Lucas Group’s Legal division.

For many millennials, living close to the office is even more important than earning top dollar, according to Bryan Zawikowski, Vice President and General Manager of Lucas Group’s Military Transition division. “They work to live as opposed to Baby Boomers and Gen X, who so often lived to work,” he said. “They want to know where the job is and can they work from home?”

Stay Busy

“They don’t want boredom,” said Tom McGee, General Manager of Lucas Group’s Sales and Marketing division, contradicting another myth about millennials: they’re lazy. Instead, “They love to stay busy and learn new things.”

Continuous Development

Millennials want an employee experience, Lulla said, “that is best defined by continuous development and continuous opportunities to learn and train.”

Culture Club

“They want to know how they fit into the culture,” McGee said. “It could be the greatest job, but unless they fit culturally, they will not go to work there.”

Fulfilling these needs can boost your company’s millennial recruiting. Of course, a few perks and toys won’t hurt.

As Lulla points out, perks are still more important today than they were in the 1990s and early 2000s, and some companies continue to stretch the creative bounds of perquisites. The best perk he’s heard of? Unlimited vacation.

McGee knows employers who provide dog sitters, three free meals a day and nap rooms. Lynch said one Atlanta law firm covers the cost of a sex change. And Zawikowski thinks the best perk he’s aware of is performance-based tuition reimbursement: Employees get 110 percent for an “A”, 100 percent for a “B”, and 75 percent for a “C”.

The bottom line on millennials is that, yes, they want some fun stuff in the office and good perks and benefits to go with it. But they also want much more, from structure to challenge to continuous development opportunities and flexibility all along the way.

Scott Smith is Chief Marketing Officer of Lucas Group, ranked third on Forbes’ Best Professional Recruiting Firms list for 2018. With a professional background that spans from start-ups to Fortune 100, from commission sales to executive leadership, Scott is a marketing and sales executive who demonstrates the rare ability to see the big business picture while ensuring that no detail goes unchecked.
Follow @Lucas_Group
Connect Scott Smith

4 Experts Weigh-In on the Importance of Recruiting Technology

3. A New Era of Business

“Technology is the engine that continues to drive business to and through its next revolution. Just as the steam engine drove the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, technology will drive business in the 21st century and beyond. In addition, when we look at the exit of the baby boomers in the near future and the lack of technical talent coming out of American universities, technical sourcing and recruitment is critical to the industry.

My hope is that we continue to have the opportunity to serve as an agent of change for both our candidates and clients, that we have the opportunity to drive solutions to our clients and provide them with the most scare and greatest competitive advantage they have — their employees. Our focus is to continue providing a valuable service and access to our candidates so they can accelerate their careers and reach their professional goals and aspirations.”— David Armendariz, General Manager, Technology Division for Lucas Group



Read the entire article here: The PeopleMaven Blog, “4 Experts Weigh-In on the Importance of Recruiting Technology,” by Taylor Hirth.

26 Warehouse Pros Reveal The Most Important Factors To Consider When Moving To An Automated Warehouse

Charlie Wilgus


Charlie Wilgus is the General Manager of the Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division at Lucas Group, North America’s premier executive search firm.

“I’d want to know how it would impact…” 

  • Labor: Would efficiencies create a reduction of general labor force? Would it require more specialized labor force to manage/troubleshoot the automation?
  • Order management: How would the automation tie into order management (think about interaction with SAP or something similar)? Existing technology? New technology?
  • Supply chain: How would this flow down through transportation? Would it give increased visibility? What potential challenges would automation create? How would this impact the dock (unloading/loading challenges)?

I would also add that automation needs to be flexible to allow for the flow of product in an efficient manner throughout the warehouse without bogging down the process, thus adding inefficiencies and undue operating costs. Implementing a warehouse management system to manage the flow of goods is critical as well. Having the right plan and people in place in case your new automation system goes down is essential as well. Downtime without a plan and the right people can be extremely costly.

Charlie-Wilgus-Manufacturing-Lucas Group

Read the entire article here: 6 River Systems, “26 Warehouse Pros Reveal The Most Important Factors To Consider When Moving To An Automated Warehouse,” by Will Allen

How To Ask Your Coworkers How Much They Make

What should you do if you suspect you’re being underpaid? You can always look up salary ranges on sites like Glassdoor, but that’ll only tell you what is generally appropriate for your position — not what your employer can (or can’t) afford to pay you. If you want to learn whether you’re being underpaid relative to your coworkers and whether that means you should ask for a raise or start looking for a new job, you’re going to need to collect some more information. This often means asking your coworkers what they earn, which is never an easy conversation to have.

I reached out to three career experts to learn how to approach the topic of compensation with both your coworkers and your boss:

  • Laurie Berenson, certified master resume writer and founder of Sterling Career Concepts
  • Courtney C.W. Guerra, career advice columnist and author of Is This Working?: The Businesslady’s Guide to Getting What You Want from Your Career
  • Aram Lulla, general manager of the human resources recruiting practice for Lucas Group

Here’s what they told me — and what you need to know before you start asking your coworkers how much they make.

How to start a salary conversation with your coworkers

If you want to open up a conversation about compensation, all the experts agreed that you should only approach a coworker whom you trust. Berenson suggests having the talk in-person, not in writing — “do not type anything that can be copied or pasted or screenshot” — and to avoid bringing it up in situations like happy hours where you might inadvertently say something you later regret.

Lulla advises framing the discussion this way: “I know the company asks us not to talk about each other’s comp, but can you give me an idea of what you are earning?” If you take that route, be ready to reciprocate; you can’t learn someone else’s salary numbers without offering yours in return.

Guerra offers a different approach: “Rather than pressing your colleagues for hard figures about their own paychecks, talk about the work you’ve been doing and your own pay trajectory, then ask for their insights on whether or not it seems appropriate. This will be especially useful with senior coworkers, who will likely be happy to share details about their salary histories that are relevant to your current position.”

After all, Guerra explains, this chat isn’t really about comparing one individual salary to another. “It’s important to remember what you’re really asking for: Data that will allow you to assess your own compensation.”

How to approach your manager if you believe you’re underpaid

“If you find out you’re underpaid, I would first take a deep breath and take a look at reasons why you might be on a different pay scale,” Berenson advises. “Consider such items as seniority with the company, was there a pay raise freeze when you started, education, prior experience.”

In other words, it might not be about you. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t advocate for what you’re worth! All three experts agreed that you should frame the talk this way — that is, make it about your accomplishments and contributions rather than about salary parity.

“Walking into your boss’ office and saying ‘I know I’m underpaid’ is not a good enough to reason to be granted a pay raise,” Berenson explained. “You’ll have much more success if you go in armed with proof of your strong performance, how long it’s been since your last raise, and the value you offer the company. Use what you know about your colleagues to help you gauge what type of pay raise is realistic.”

Guerra suggests not requesting a meeting with your manager until you’ve planned out how you’re going to approach the topic — and when. “Like any Major Boss Conversation, you’ll want to prepare for this talk ahead of time, and then initiate at an advantageous moment (i.e., not in the middle of a crisis or especially busy period). If your job is constantly in crisis mode, you can call a time-out and explain to your manager that you need to discuss something important.”

Once the meeting is scheduled, it’s time to make a case for yourself. “Your best rhetorical strategy with your boss is to focus on your specific contributions and accomplishments,” Guerra told me. “If your employer has made the determination that X workload merits Y salary, all you need to do is prove that your workload more than meets that bar.”

If you want to bring up a compensation disparity, Lulla suggests framing it this way: “I understand I’m making significantly less than some of my peers, so what can I do to ensure I get a strong raise come review time?” This type of approach gives your manager the opportunity to either explain the disparity (maybe the company is under a pay raise freeze that will be lifted at the end of the year) or provide feedback that will help you understand what you need to do to get the compensation boost you’re looking for. Maybe you need to build up a specific skill, for example, or earn a new degree or credential.

What to do if you’re the one earning more than your coworkers

What happens if you start a salary conversation with a coworker — or if they start a dialogue with you — and you learn that you’re earning significantly more than they are?

“I would coach them through doing the same thing that I recommended you doing if you’re the underpaid one,” Berenson advises. “Go in armed with proof of why you deserve a pay raise.”

Lulla agrees, though he warns against getting too involved. Offer your coworker some advice if you want, but understand that “ultimately, it’s up to them to advocate for themselves.”

Guerra, on the other hand, suggests you advocate directly for your underpaid coworkers. “Your capacity to be helpful in this regard increases along with your seniority. If you’re at a high enough level that you can say outright to decision-makers: ‘I think so-and-so is underpaid and I hate to imagine what would happen if she left,’ you absolutely should.”

“Even if you’re not comfortable fighting for pay equity in such a hands-on way,” Guerra explains,  “there are small things you can do to ensure that strong performers get recognized. If someone’s doing great work, tell their boss! Seize opportunities to give positive feedback whenever they arise, and maybe add a half-joking ‘I bet we’re not paying them enough!’ when you can find an opening.”

Consider your total compensation

Whether you’re the one being overpaid or you’re the one being underpaid, keep in mind that money isn’t the only compensation tool available to you.

If your boss can’t swing a raise, you could always ask for other perks, such as the ability to work from home a few days a week. Likewise, a coworker earning less money than you may have negotiated for a schedule that allows them more time to care for their children.

There’s more to a compensation package than just the paycheck, after all — but if your paychecks are lower than they should be, use these tips to help you get the money you deserve.

Nicole Dieker is a full-time freelance writer. Her work regularly appears on Bankrate, Lifehacker, The Write Life, and numerous other sites. She is the author of Frugal and the Beast: And Other Financial Fairy Tales. This article is sponsored by Haven Life Insurance Agency. Opinions are her own.

Haven Life Insurance Agency offers this as educational only, and the information provided is not written or intended as specific legal advice. Haven Life Insurance Agency does not provide legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own legal counsel.

Article Published By: Nicole Dieker, Haven Life, “How To Ask Your Coworkers How Much They Make

What Is an Elevator Pitch? These Experts Can Help!

This is what the experts have to say.

We all want to walk into the interview ready to nail the first impression and receive that coveted job offer at the end. But do you know how to do that? It’s simple: You need a job-winning elevator pitch. You do need to put some thought and creativity into it, but once you do that, it’s as simple as being yourself and talking to your interviewer.

So, what exactly is an elevator pitch? Well, it’s the statement that you use to sell yourself to prospective employers during the interview. Lasting roughly between 15 and 45 seconds, your pitch is the quick and concise explanation for why you are the right candidate for the position, showcasing your achievements and personality. Now, of course, your interviewer isn’t going to ask for your elevator pitch outright. Instead, expect to use it to answer questions like “Why should we hire you?” or “Tell me about yourself.”

Great — but how do you do it well? Instead of having myself write a long, detailed article, why don’t I let these HR and recruiting experts fill you in?

“Interviewers are looking for candidates to be direct and to the point. Candidates should have the knowledge of what the interviewer is looking for based on their recruiter or from the job description they were given or saw online. It is essential for candidates to point out examples of the work they have done that matches what the client is looking for. You have to be concise and stay on message – just talking for the sake of talking won’t help you.” — Tom McGee, VP & General Manager, Lucas Group


Read the entire article here:, “What Is an Elevator Pitch? These Experts Can Help!” by Danielle Elmers

Network Jobs: Hot and Cold

Remaining relevant in today’s network job market can be challenging and confusing. As always, it pays to know which jobs are in demand and which are fading away.

Network technology is constantly evolving. New tools and approaches arrive as others are replaced or discarded. The same can be said for managers, engineers, developers and other network pros, many of whom wake up one morning to discover that their once prized and sought-after talents are no longer as popular as they used to be.

For many years, network fundamentals remained relatively unchanged. This is no longer true, and many network pros are now beginning to feel the impact of possessing a dated skill set. “With advancements in SDN, cloud, segment routing, automation, and many other technologies, it’s an exciting time to be in networking,” said Justin Ryburn, head of solutions engineering at network analytics company Kentik. “There are great opportunities out there for any network engineer, operator or architect who is willing to invest the time in learning these new technologies.”

But which network skills are the best bet for future growth? To help you stay on top of what’s currently in demand, and what isn’t, here’s a rundown of today’s hottest network jobs and those that are on the path to zero bits per second.

Comfortably hot

Cloud network architects are currently in high demand, Ryburn noted. “As more enterprises shift their workloads to the cloud, they are finding the underlying network to be a critical piece of the success,” he explained. Cloud networking, however, is much different than traditional infrastructure networking, so it requires a new skillset, Ryburn added.

Steve Pace, head of HR at network management firm Forward Networks, predicted that cloud networking skills will begin to replace traditional on-premises network admins as more activity migrates to the public cloud. “There will be fewer boxes to install/configure/manage/maintain locally,” he observed.

The hottest networking job today is a network automation engineer, asserted Pace. “In recent years, there has been a major shift to automate many repetitive network IT tasks with programming and orchestration tools,” he noted. “This has been exacerbated with the convergence of DevOps and network operations. Network automation engineers are seeking to optimize workflows, reduce MTTR (mean time to resolution) and improve test methodologies.”

Network engineers, in general, are facing the need to improve their programming and scripting skills in languages such as Python and Perl, Pace said. They also need to begin learning a wide range of emerging orchestration technologies, including virtual networking, Kubernetes, SD-WAN orchestration, Ansible, and Puppet. “Glassdoor is currently showing an average nationwide salary for a network automation engineer of $86,588 versus an average salary for traditional network engineer of $72,946, reflecting the more advanced programming, workflow and orchestration skills required,” he observed.

Any IT pro that participates in the adoption, migration, integration, and automation of software-defined networks, and network functions that are virtualized in support of workload mobility, has a hot job, saidGreg Jacobs, director, network and security product engineering at disaster recovery firm Sungard Availability Services. “This includes both public and private in the context of hybrid workloads,” he noted. “This also includes key DevOps integrated roles, such as an automation developer/architect or product owner and product management.”

Security analysts and engineers are “extremely vital employees,” observed David Armendariz, general manager of the technology division at executive search firm Lucas Group. “They are responsible for the education of employees on computer and network security, along with monitoring network breaches and responding to attacks to the network,” Such skills are invaluable, as security breaches can cost enterprises millions of dollars. “Security engineers are on the front lines keeping all data and technical systems safe, ensuring that security breaches do not happen,” he said.

Not so hot

As long expected, automation’s impact is beginning to reverberate across the entire network job market, making many manual network management tasks obsolete. “One clear example is WAN networking, where SD-WAN solutions have been widely adopted to manage most of the dynamic changes required of WAN networks,” Pace said. “This is extending to software-based policy management of Wi-Fi networks as well,”he added.

Telecom specialists, meanwhile, are becoming an endangered species. “As technology evolves, we’re shifting away from traditional telecom roles,” Armendariz said. For decades, traditional PBXes were a communications mainstay. “Now we’ve evolved into VoIP, and with the ease of administration on the VoIP systems we’re seeing more of a traditional network resource handling the telecom aspect of the network.”

Automation also threatens the job stability of traditional network engineers. “Leveraging scripting or automated tasks is preferred in a rapidly changing and dynamic network environment,” Jacobs warned.

The market is shifting toward transformation enablement, Jacobs observed. “Networks are becoming more abstracted through virtualization front-ended by APIs,” he explained. “I expect to see more roles opening up in the automation and network development space as organizations adopt concepts such as shared virtual infrastructures, software-defined networking—both SDN and SD-WAN—hybrid connectivity and shared horizontal infrastructure services,” he said.


The network job market will continue to be hot for the remainder of 2019, Ryburn predicted. “Between service providers and digital enterprise, networking continues to be a fast-growing segment of the IT market.”


Article Published By: John Edwards, NetworkComputing, “Network Jobs: Hot and Cold”

How To Recruit For Your Key DevOps Roles

Around the time that Alex Bonassera decided to move on to another DevOps position, he saw a job posting to run a systems engineering team at CarGurus, a research and shopping website for new and used cars.

Bonassera applied, and felt the onsite interviews went well. But it was his last conversation with CarGurus’ vice president of platform and foundations that “flipped the script,” when the conversation turned to reliability—another area of interest to him.

It turned out CarGurus has a team focused on platform reliability engineering, and the company was also looking for a manager for that group. “That showed me that the leaders here are not just hiring to meet a quota, or fill a position, but [are] interested in finding the best fit,” Bonassera said. “[It] gave me a sense of the humanity that extended into how the business was run.”

After two onsite interviews over a six-week period, Bonassera was hired a few months ago as senior manager of reliability engineering.

CarGurus had found the secret sauce for recruiting Bonassera: Stay flexible, listen to job applicants, and try to be a good matchmaker. But not all organizations are as fortunate.

Here’s how you can put lessons from the front lines to work in recruiting for your DevOps roles.

Pain points for DevOps hiring

A few factors are conspiring to make finding DevOps pros a complicated business. Hiring managers face off-the-charts competition for anyone with relevant experience. Then there’s the general lack of agreement over what responsibilities specific DevOps roles include, or should include, which makes filling jobs anything but straightforward.

DevOps engineer is one of the top 10 notable tech roles in demand for 2019, according to recruiting site Glassdoor. The median base salary is $106,000, and DevOps engineers are the sixth most wanted professionals. Tech recruiting site Robert Half listed DevOps engineer as the seventh most popular job on its site, with a median salary of $110,000, according to the firm’s 2019 Salary Guide.

Overall, demand for DevOps professionals is strong. Today, 43% of respondent organizations are applying DevOps for one or multiple projects, 19% are applying DevOps across their enterprise, and 15% plan to incorporate DevOps within the next year or are in the initial stages now, according to the DevOps Institute’s 2019 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report, a survey of 1,600 people.

The same report found that 37% of respondents are currently hiring, and an additional 14% indicated they are planning to recruit DevOps professionals in the next 12 months.

[ Also see: Smart answers for your next DevOps interview: How to prepare ]

Job-role confusion

At the same time, DevOps has become an umbrella term that can mean many things —technology transformation manager, Linux administrator, reliability engineer, etc. It’s akin to other general terms such as data science, said Chad Hixon, director of talent acquisition at CarGurus.

Eveline Oehrlich, research director of the DevOps Institute, said the role’s definition is a moving target.

“The definition of DevOps engineer or a DevOps human is a moving matter, as it depends on a company’s maturity and journey.”
Eveline Oehrlich

Gareth Dwyer, DevOps developer at Codementor, has been on both sides of DevOps hiring, and agrees that there is a lack of clarity around what organizations mean when they say they are looking for DevOps professionals.

“DevOps started as a useful concept to help technical teams be more efficient, but due to its popularity, it has now been surrounded by hype, [similar] to Scrum before it.”
Gareth Dwyer

Both the organization and the candidate have to be sure that they are talking about the same concepts when using generic terminology like DevOps, or it can lead to confusion, which can significantly delay hiring or lead to bad hires, Dwyer said.

Underwhelming qualifications

Adding to the chaos is the fact that some individuals market themselves as DevOps engineers, but many don’t have the skills and capabilities that hiring organizations need, said the DevOps Institute’s Oehrlich.

The DevOps Institute survey asked respondents whether a skills matrix existed within their organizations. Some 32% said that they don’t have a good list of DevOps skills—or have no list at all. Another 27% said they continually update their existing DevOps skills matrix, and 21% have a documented list of key skills when hiring.

The DevOps title is also fairly new, so people may not have a specific title on their résumé, but may have the right skills, said David Armendariz, general manager of the IT practice division of executive search firm Lucas Group.“You won’t have someone with seven-plus years of experience with DevOps in their title.”
David Armendariz

What to look for

The top DevOps roles, according to mainstream job sites and recruiters, include DevOps engineer, cloud DevOps analyst, DevOps administrator, DevOps lead, and software engineer. Those titles will be more commonly found among younger professionals who may have gotten their start in a DevOps job, but people who have been in the market longer may very well be doing similar jobs, Lucas Group’s Armendariz said.

Codementor’s Dwyer maintains that the hardest position to fill is the traditional DevOps role—someone who can bridge the gap between IT/systems administration and development/engineering, and who can help create and maintain a smooth process and set of tooling from developing to releasing code.

The push toward digital transformation also requires people with an “expandable” mindset who are able to adapt and learn continuously, Oehrlich said.

[ Webinar: Paving the Last Mile to Production: Putting the “O” in DevOps ]

Craft a winning job description

More often than not, startups and other firms don’t have formal plans or the ability to clearly communicate the DevOps roles for which they want to hire, industry observers say. “That has made it hard for them to develop a job description and communicate it to the marketplace,” Armendariz said.

One of the most important things candidates want to know is what the job will be like if they take it. “And that’s something most companies can’t answer.”

“Not all DevOps journeys are the same and so don’t require the same skills. So working with the team [that] already exists, HR, and business leaders is a critical step in defining the job description.”
—David Armendariz

You should continually update DevOps job descriptions, since DevOps teams are constantly maturing, and terms such as “problem solving” and “automation” are must-haves in any job description, Oehrlich added.

How techie to get with the job description

Instead of listing a set of skills and requirements, your job descriptions should communicate to someone why they should take job, what’s in it for them, and what their life is going to be like once they do, said Codementor’s Dwyer.

A job description should tell a potential employee:

  • Basic requirements
  • The types of projects they will be working on
  • What they will learn
  • How they’ll interact with other employees
  • The level of exposure they will have to clients

Some may be specific technical requirements, but the more technical jargon you throw into a job description, the more you will limit the number of people applying, Dwyer added.

Avoid the temptation to use buzzwords such as “rock star,” “not just a job,” “innovative,” and “fast-paced,” generic fillers that are a major turn-off. Your job descriptions should add specifics. The terms that CarGurus uses include “ownership,” “autonomy,” and “modernization,” said Hixon.

Avoid the temptation to use buzzwords such as “rock star,” “not just a job,” “innovative,” and “fast-paced,” generic fillers that are a major turn-off.

[ Also see: How one year in DevOps changed my life as a developer ]

Set yourself apart

Mobile lottery app Jackpocket likes to incorporate more “human” language into job descriptions to show the organization’s personality, said chief technology officer Leo Shemesh. “This allows you to communicate who you are as a brand and set yourself apart from job descriptions that are more formulaic and corporate in nature.”

He also recommends evaluating job listings from similar companies in your industry, to determine how you can set your organization apart and what you can offer that others don’t. “When we mix it up, we attract candidates looking for something different, because we know that we’re different,” Shemesh said.

Opinions are mixed on listing specific tools a company uses. Mentioning that your team is using or wants to use Kubernetes, Puppet, and Ansible could be too pigeonholing, said Codementor’s Dwyer. Because there are so many tools, stating that the candidate has experience in exactly your tool set will vastly limit your options—so don’t go there. “Someone who has learned how to successfully implement a DevOps tool chain will easily be able to pick up new tooling.” he said.

“We call out the ‘why’ behind the position and really highlight the mission and values of the company and team and the interesting problems to solve,” said CarGurus’ Hixon. When it comes to hiring for a DevOps position, it’s all about “highlighting the incredible playground they’ll get to play in here.”

But Jackpocket’s Shemesh emphasizes his organization’s use of cutting-edge technologies like Kubernetes and Helm, as well as technologies that he wants to get involved with, such as Istio and Terraform.

“At the end of the day, most candidates want to be working on something that excites them and helps them grow their technology skills.”
Leo Shemesh

Where to recruit for DevOps positions

The DevOps Institute survey found that companies are looking internally to find candidates because they feel that it’s easier to develop and train internal employees for DevOps positions than it is to hire externally, said Oehrlich.

However, many IT professionals have worked in silos for many years, and a shift to DevOps is difficult for them. Suddenly, they must collaborate, share knowledge, expand their skills, learn, be creative, and be open. That’s all unnatural for people who come from silos, she added.

Other approaches, of course, are to use tech recruitment firms, scout for potential candidates at conferences and events, and poach from your vendors and competitors. Organizations should also reward employees by offering a bonus if they find a candidate who is hired, said Lucas Group’s Armendariz.

There’s power in your network, said Kim Hoffman, director of talent acquisition, products, and technology at Intuit.

“Job seekers certainly know the value of tapping their network, but it’s easy to forget that, as a hiring manager, you also have a circle of connections that can lead you to the ideal applicant.”
Kim Hoffman

These include former employees, industry peers, and personal ties. This can also streamline the vetting process of prospective employees.

The best bennies

High salaries are still the easiest way to attract talent, but for companies that have all their infrastructure in the cloud, remote and flexible work options are also good for attracting talent, said Codementor’s Dwyer.

Many people don’t like to sit at a desk in a corporate office eight hours a day, five days a week. And the remote workforce—the only place where supply outpaces demand in technical hiring—is fertile ground for recruiting new hires if you can support telecommuting.

DevOps hiring outlook remains cloudy

As the cloud grows in popularity and more companies migrate from old infrastructure, demand for DevOps will only continue to increase, said Codementor’s Dwyer.

Some demand will be filled by system administrators and IT professionals who can make the move into DevOps, he said, as well as developers who learn to think about the bigger picture. But there will not be a large enough supply of DevOps-competent employees to keep up with most organizations’ needs, he said.

Expect a strong increase in less useful, but more hyped, positions, similar to what happened with Scrum and agile, Codementor’s Dwyer said, such as DevOps coaches and people with other titles “who try to bridge the communication gap between technical and nontechnical people, and many who profit off the confusion by claiming to have more expertise than they actually do.”

The upshot: Vet your candidates, but be prepared to take a few risks and consider remote workforce options to raise your chances of finding great fits for your DevOps teams.

[ Report: World Quality Report 2018-19: The State of QA and Testing ]

Article Published By: Esther SheinTechBeacon, “How To Recruit For Your Key DevOps Roles

26 Logistics Professionals Reveal The Biggest Trends In Logistics Technology

David Armendariz


David Armendariz is the general manager of the Information Technology practice group for Lucas Group. He has spent his entire 15-year career with the executive search firm since graduating from the University of Houston with a BBA in Marketing and is based in Houston, Texas.

“There are several variables driving the digital transformation in logistics…”

First the ‘Amazon effect.’ Consumers now have raised expectations in the B2C space and that is now affecting the B2B markets as well. Consumers want low cost, high quality delivery at home and now they won’t accept delays or cancellations, either. Logistics is typically a low tech space, so companies are trying to catch up where they can and they are using several tools to do it. Three of the biggest are IoT, AI and data analytics.

IoT gives logistics companies the opportunity to connect all their devices, equipment and tracking tools to one easy to read, manageable dashboard. They can then integrate all areas of the business on small and now large scales to a fully digitized supply chain. Now that they have gathered the data, AI & analytics will give them the ability to make better decisions based on real data not their gut ‘instinct.’ This is also not only about today, but how they operate long term: affecting business models and go to market strategies, thereby improving the experience of the shipper and carrier.


Article Published By: John Gomez, 6 River Systems, “26 Logistics Professionals Reveal The Biggest Trends In Logistics Technology

How To Find Employers That Empower Women

Finding the right fit can mean total job nirvana. Put your job search skills to work with these tips.

As a woman, you want to find a job at a company that empowers you, and in the era of the #MeToo movement, many firms are taking steps to encourage more gender diversity and inclusion.

But while some companies may seem like obvious wins—onsite childcare! Flexible work schedules!—others are more difficult to evaluate. Here, experts weigh in on the best ways to sniff out female-friendly companies.

Take advantage of existing intel

There are several lists each year of top companies with female leadership, including the National Association of Female ExecutivesInHerSightWorking Mother, and Forbes. If you’re considering a job at a major employer, it’s worth noting who shows up here—and who doesn’t.

This info can help you pinpoint the things you’re looking for in a company, whether it’s flexibility, a generous maternity leave, women in leadership roles, or equal pay for equal work.

“Just like every company is different, so is every woman in how she defines success and what she considers a supportive, female-friendly work environment,” says Ursula Mead, founder and CEO of InHerSight. “The first step in finding a company that’s right for you is really to identify the things that you care most about and want to make sure are present in the next company you work for.” For example, maybe maternity leave is of no concern to you, but a strong mentorship program is at the top of your wish list. Know what you need in order to feel empowered.

Study the company’s online presence

That means really reading their website and social media profiles, from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn. See what the company emphasizes and the language and imagery they use.

“Typically, you can find their family-related policies online,” says Jessica Gaffney, co-founder of Pro Mama, a company that connects mothers to mother-friendly jobs. “But I would also look to see how the company presents itself on social media, because often their core values can be presented to their customers in other ways.”

For instance, does their company blog feature posts about diversity, women in the company doing newsworthy things, or their gender policies? Do female employees regularly attend or speak at industry conferences? “If you go to the benefits page and they talk about culture and flexibility at the very beginning of the page, that could give you a lot of insight into the organization,” says Aram Lulla, general manager of the HR recruiting practice at Lucas Group, an executive search firm.

Look at the firm’s top brass

Are there women at the top of the company food chain? Are they in leadership positions or on the executive team? It’s critical to see women there, although it’s not necessary to see a 50/50 split.

“Having representation is important, but it’s not about the number,” Gaffney says. “It’s more about the efforts they’re making to increase their gender balance and the policies they’re currently creating to improve it. Even the best companies I speak to that are very women-friendly are still working to improve that balance and that ratio.”

It’s also worth noting that the numbers don’t necessarily tell the whole story. “You can have great representation from a numbers perspective in a company,” Mead says, “and at the same time, women at the company can feel like the female leaders are left out of critical conversations or don’t have their voices heard.”

Talk to current or former employees

If you can, find someone who works there or worked there—preferably a woman—and ask her about her experience at the firm. If you don’t know someone directly, find someone on social media with whom you have a mutual connection and ask for an introduction.

“I always recommend trying to speak to someone at the company, because even if the company touts that they have unlimited vacation and the ability to work remotely, which are two really coveted policies for women, it’s something that people could be penalized for taking advantage of,” Gaffney says. “It’s always good to talk to someone on the inside.”

Pay attention during your interview

You can learn a lot about a company’s culture during your interview. “The language employees use and the way teams collaborate can provide demonstrations of or symptoms of a glass ceiling,” says Dani Gehm, marketing manager at ChickTech, a nonprofit that works to engage women in the technology industry. “When people constantly interrupt each other, don’t listen to each other, or don’t share credit with team members, women—and many men—will automatically assume that there are limitations to their ability to succeed. Observe the dynamics between interviewers of different genders.”

Remember to keep your eyes open on your walk to the interview room too. Are there women around—both in cubicles and in offices? Is everyone head down or head up? Do you see a lot of people with personal effects or is the office on the stark side?

“Even when the interviewer is bringing the interviewee through the office, are they saying hello to people along the way?” Lulla says. “When you’re in the office, it’s important to get a feel for, ‘Is this not only a diverse culture, but a culture I feel comfortable in?’”

Ask open ended questions

It’s not always easy to ask directly about women-friendly policies, but there are interview questions that can shed light on corporate culture in general. “When you ask broad questions about the culture, you’ve got to key in and listen to find out if they are talking about flexibility.” Lulla says. “Are they talking about diversity initiatives? The key is to ask the same set of questions, interview to interview, to see if there’s consistency.”

Some questions to try:

  • “Working for a company that supports women is extremely important to me. How do you do that?”
  • “I was wondering about X policy, which is mentioned on the company’s website. How does that work for the men and women here?”
  • “How would you describe the company culture here?”
  • “Why do you like working here?”
  • “Are there initiatives or support structures in place for minority groups?”
  • “What training is offered or required for all employees?”
  • “You have X technology available here. Would there be opportunities to work remotely?”

Ask about benefits

You can gather a lot of data about benefits from a company’s website, but you’ll get better information by asking the company’s HR rep about specific policies. For instance, do employees take advantage of paid maternity leave? Has anyone ever used that sabbatical program?

However, you’ve got to time this strategically. “If they’re questioning you about your skills, it’s best not to start discussing leave,” says Sheri Mooney, CEO and president of HR consulting firm Mind SquadHR. “There’s a time and place for the discussion in the interview. If you rush to discuss the female-friendly pieces of the corporate culture and you haven’t sold yourself to the employer on your skills, that puts you in a tough position.”

Trust your gut

In the end, use your judgment. “This means flagging if something is said or done during the hiring process that makes you uncomfortable, so you can either ask for clarification or make a decision about whether to continue pursuing the position,” Mead says. “We don’t all have the luxury of turning down a job that’s being offered, but we shouldn’t ignore any warning signs early in the process.”

Give yourself an edge

Employers that strive for diversity and inclusion are typically the most sought-after by job seekers. You want your candidacy to be just as compelling to them. A strong resume that positions you at the top of your game is one way to demonstrate your professionalism (as well as give yourself an edge over the competition). Could you use some help with that? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster’s Resume Writing Service. You’ll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume’s appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter’s first impression. It’s a quick and easy way to help ensure that your resume positions you for success.


Article Published By: Kate Ashford, Monster Contributor,, “How To Find Employers That Empower Women


Five Job Interview Questions Young Engineers Can Expect

Young engineers will each have a different experience when it comes to a job interview. While hiring managers ask varying questions depending on the industry they represent, young engineers can expect questions similar to these five below, said Charlie Wilgus, general manager for manufacturing and supply chain practices at Lucas Group, a Dallas-based executive search firm.

The interviewer will likely ask both project-based and problem-solving questions, said Wilgus, who leads a team of more than 50 recruiters nationwide. One of the first questions can sound something like this:

1. Talk about what you accomplished on a past engineering project?

Project-based questions encourage candidates to discuss the role they played in a past engineering project.

It doesn’t matter a great deal whether that project took place on the job or as part of an academic exercise. Spend a short time talking about the project’s aim, such as why your company carried it out. If your university sponsored the program, you can talk about what its administrators wanted students to learn through their participation.

Interviewers hope to discover what you achieved through your own participation and how you applied your problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles along the way. They also want to ensure you understand how to work as part of a team and to ensure you know that teamwork and collaboration is key to engineering success.

Be prepared to speak about the role you played on the project, why you were necessary, the skills you brought to the tasks, and the ways you were instrumental to its overall success. Give examples that showcase your strengths as an engineer, such as the ability to think on your feet.

2. How would you approach a particular problem?

This is an example, of course, of a question about problem solving. While engineers of all disciplines are often met with this question, the interviewer could detail the problem at hand, matching it to those the hiring company routinely experiences.

There really isn’t a correct or incorrect answer to this question. By asking this, hiring managers want to know how candidates apply their technical knowledge to a particular issue they’re likely to face. They want to get a sense of how you think through solutions and how you communicate your thoughts. They don’t want you to necessarily show you have a solution to the problem, just that you can take the first steps toward addressing the issue.

3. Why is thermodynamics important?

This is what Wilgus terms a technical question. These questions quiz applicants on mechanical engineering basics—or, in the parlance of the game-show Jeopardy—things you should have learned in school. It’s perfectly acceptable to give a short and succinct answer to a technical question, Wilgus said.

Interviewers may follow your answer up with another question, such as asking you to demonstrate one or two of the laws of thermodynamics. Or, they could ask why knowing what happens in terms of energy and work is necessary in a particular case.

“Technical questions are used to determine if the candidate has the aptitude to learn and take on more complex work over time,” Wilgus said. “But really, most questions are more behavioral and are used to determine a cultural fit for the organization.”

For a question that determines cultural fit, you can expect a few of the standard interview questions, such as:

4. How do you work best?

Here, the interviewer probably wants to know if you thrive as part of a far-flung collaborative team that works together via an online tool like Slack, whether you prefer daily in-person conferences, or if you’re more of a head-down get-it-done engineer. The honest answer to this question can help you prosper in your eventual working environment.

You also may encounter a question intended to determine if you regularly gain new engineering knowledge and skills.

5. What new engineering skill have you developed or honed during the past year?

Young engineers can expect to see significant advancements in the state of engineering even during their first years on the job: no matter what the work they’re specifically doing. Your answer here shows you can adapt to change, and might even welcome it.

You should expect to hear the hiring manager pose some of the favorites across all industries: Where do you plan to be in five years? Talk about an obstacle you overcame at a previous job? Why are you interested in this position?

Think through the answers to all these questions before the interview. You may want to role-play with a friend before the event—this can help you smooth your responses and keep them sounding natural. You might also want to write down your ideas about best answers—it will clarify your thoughts.

Though it’s easier said than done, try not to get intimidated or scared by the prospect of the interview or by the person doing the asking. Remember, he or she once was in your position.

Job interviews are a part of life. With a successful interview in your rear-view mirror, you can get down to the business of proving yourself on the job.


Jean Thilmany is a freelance writer in St. Paul who frequently writes on engineering topics.

Article Published By: Jean Thilmany, ASME, “Five Job Interview Questions Young Engineers Can Expect


Engineers and Procurement: Is it Time to Redefine the Relationship?

Given that procurement paves the way for smoother processes up and down the supply chain, any strategy that helps strengthen will benefit an organization. Here’s how engineers can help.

Since companies’ bottom line is to make all their processes — from cradle to grave — more efficient, it makes sense to review all aspects of the operation with a fine-toothed comb and optimize each one every step of the way.

Procurement is one such critical operations arm of any manufacturing process — and exactly how elegantly procurement and engineering play out their delicate dance can make or break the interconnected mechanics of the supply chain. Much is at stake when engineering is not involved in the procurement process and vice versa so it makes sense for companies to evaluate how the two can play well together.

Think of sound procurement practices as laying the foundation for a strong building, says Charlie Wilgus, general manager for the manufacturing and supply chain practice at executive search firm Lucas Group.

“All good stories start with a good beginning, so if a company really wants to do a product right, it needs to get things right on the front end and good things will flow after,” Wilgus says.

Getting things right on the front end involves many moving parts: the right contracts, the right materials, the right inventories and the right sequence. While the job of a procurement professional is difficult even in the best of times, sudden hiccups in external conditions — whether in the form of tariffs or related to weather events — can introduce additional wrinkles, all of which must be handled efficiently by procurement.

Plays Well With Others

The best procurement professional understands and processes information from a variety of sources including its engineering and product development teams. The first skill for a qualified candidate to check off: being a knock-your-socks-off negotiator. In addition, says Wilgus, good purchasing and procurement start with an individual who really understands the importance of working within other categories in the company.

“A good procurement professional should be able to talk with engineering and product development and discuss what kinds of materials need to be bought, the machine, the equipment,” says Wilgus. There’s a problem if research and development come with up innovative manufacturing ideas, but the materials for needed cannot be sourced easily or are too expensive, he adds.

While the idea of procurement professionals and engineers working together — a few companies even have dedicated procurement engineers — is a noble one, it does not always work because each professional is rewarded differently, says Dr. Wendy Tate, William J. Taylor Professor of Business and Cheryl Massingale Faculty Research Fellow at the University of Tennessee, Department of Supply Chain Management.

“For example, procurement performance is measured on purchase price variance, while engineering might be getting rewarded on time to market,” Tate says. That comparison might be over-simplified but the bottom line is that the end goals for procurement and engineering can often be at odds with each other.

Tate has seen examples of companies at which the procurement department has one list of approved and qualified suppliers, but then engineering starts a conversation with yet another supplier. This creates confusion for everyone, including the supplier, who often only wants to talk to one point of contact at a particular company.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The solution to such conflicts, Tate suggests, is co-locating the procurement party and the engineer so they work together and understand the larger issues. “They have to have this relationship not just with each other, but also with the suppliers,” Tate says. Together, they have to be invested in the same final outcomes, she adds. “If they are married and like the child they have, then that’s a very happy union. If they don’t, then that leads to broken links.”

Many frustrations can be avoided if the relationship between engineering and procurement is more clearly defined, Tate says. They can often work together to reverse-engineer products and see where certain accommodations can be tolerated. “You might want to make a big Cadillac and design for a big Cadillac, but not everything needs have Cadillac specifications,” Tate says, hinting that working together gets the best results at the lowest overall total cost, thereby sustaining profitable margins.

Happiness is also to be had when the procurement process follows the well-established, seven-step process with the steps being: category assessment; requirements definition and scope; strategy development; strategy execution; negotiation and contract award; implementation and transition and supplier relationship management. Following these systematic processes, with input from engineering, helps set the foundation for robust procurement practices.

Wilgus says that a few companies with complex productions of high-end consumer goods such as electronics, for example, might have dedicated procurement engineers who understand the intricacies of the engineering involved, but in many cases such specialized professionals are not needed. It is more important, Tate says, for silos between the departments to be broken down. “You have to ensure that the right measures are driving the right behavior,” she says.

And with smart manufacturing around the corner and digitization and big data coming into play, the procurement process is set for a reboot again. As long as engineering and procurement work hand in hand, companies can ride the digitization wave to deliver even greater profits.


Article Published By: Poornima Apte,, “Engineers and Procurement: Is it Time to Redefine the Relationship?


Top 10+ Interview Questions to Ask at an Interview [for Recruiters]

Here’s a selection of the best 10+ questions to ask a candidate at an interview. Learn from other recruiters what questions to ask at an interview. Find top talent!

It’s no secret:

Recruitment is a complicated thing, to say the least.

Especially if you aim to build a team of A-players ready to take your business to new heights.


How to attract and hire the cream of the crop?

Start with asking top interview questions.

This article will show you:

  • Examples of top interview questions to ask a candidate.
  • Unique insights from recruitment professionals.
  • Advice on how to prepare a set of good questions to ask at an interview and identify top talent.

Good interview questions are vital. But there’s more to recruitment than asking the best interview questions. Here’s our guide on How to Conduct an Interview: Best Interviewing Techniques for HR Pros


There’s no such thing as a universal list of interview questions.

So, what do the best recruiters do?

They compile their own sets of questions that allow them to:

identify the best candidates for the job

  • and pick out the person with the best cultural fit for the company.

That’s exactly why your set of good interview questions to ask must be tailored to reflect the needs of your organization.

How to come up with such a set?

See how the best recruiters do it!

We reached out to a group of diverse HR professionals, company owners, founders, CEOs, and academics to ask them about their recommended and preferred… questions.

Take a look at what questions they believe work best and learn how they can be helpful in finding top talent.

3. Advice for Recruitment Rookies from Recruitment Veterans

“Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions, when you’re afraid to ask the question: just ask, and then be quiet and wait for the answer on the other end of the phone.” David Armendariz, General Manager of the IT Practice Group for Lucas Group.


To read the entire article:

Article Published By:  Maciej Duszyński,, “Top 10+ Interview Questions to Ask at an Interview [for Recruiters]


Why Onboarding Is Your Most Important Recruitment Tool

Onboarding is a critical weakness for many organizations, stalling new hire momentum and leading to disengaged employees.

study by Kronos and the Human Capital Institute found that 60 percent of employers said their primary goal for onboarding is to integrate employees into their company culture, but a focus on people and culture made up less than 30 percent of onboarding programs. Seventy-six percent of HR leaders in the study said onboarding practices are underutilized at their organization.

“When done well, onboarding can be a huge differentiator,” says Aram Lulla, general manager of the human resources recruiting practice at Lucas Group. “It can not only attract an employee but it also keeps them engaged and help retain employees throughout not just their first 30 days, but their entire their tenure at the organization.”

Here’s how companies can use onboarding to help recruit and retain top talent.

Connect It to Recruitment Efforts

The tight job market means that companies need to make every effort to maximize recruitment efforts. And onboarding can be an essential tool for helping them attract and retain top talent.

Jenna Filipkowski, head of research at Human Capital Institute, says, strong onboarding processes can help companies compete for talent. “If you can talk to a candidate about what their first 90 days will look like and offer specific supports for them, that’s an enticing offer.”

A structured onboarding signals to candidates that the company is willing to invest in them. And that can help them make their decision more quickly. “When you decide to move to a new job there’s a lot of unknowns, so companies want to help that person eliminate the unknowns,” says  Filipkowski. “When you have a structured, formal onboarding process, you do that for them, and it helps them make a quicker and faster decision to join your company.”.

Poor onboarding can have the opposite effect. “Poor onboarding experiences during even the pre-employment period can lead an employee to potentially decide to not come onboard,” Lulla says. Too much focus on paperwork or a lack of connection at key touch-points during the pre-employment period can cause new hires to rethink their decision, he says.

“If the onboarding process isn’t what an employee feels comfortable with, there is an opportunity for that employee to be wooed away by someone else or start to regret their decision,” he says.

Think Beyond Day 1

“People think of onboarding in terms of first-day orientation where you’re watching a few videos or going out to lunch,” Filipkowski says. But a successful onboarding program that attracts talent and keeps new employees engaged must go well beyond the initial start date. Structured programs planned over a 90 day (or longer) period provide employees the support and resources they need to be successful in the long run, she says.

Lulla advises that companies focus on setting expectations for the person’s performance that go beyond their initial start date. “Talk about what that person’s aspirations are, what they’re excited about in their new role, and then discuss  what training and development needs they have to make those goals happen,” he says.

Helping the new hire understand the onboarding process and what it entails is also important. “Be explicit about the onboarding program,” Filipkowski says. “A good onboarding program is a learning experience. You’re learning as a new hire what it takes to be successful in this role.”

Companies can create milestones for their onboarding process that makes clear what the expectations are for the employee at 30 days, 90 days and even 6 months out, she says.

Make It Personal

Onboarding employees successfully is about individualizing the experience and creating opportunities for the employee to develop connections within the organization. Lulla says, “The big mistake some organizations make when it comes to the onboarding experience is that they allow things like paperwork and policies to get emphasized over creating personal connections.”

Face-time with companies leaders, mentor programs and job shadowing can all provide new hires a chance to build relationships and develop an understanding of company culture.

Companies should also make sure to check back in with new hires to evaluate their onboarding experience. “That person made a big decision to join your company,” Lulla says. “Don’t just forget about them.”

An HR person or hiring manager should take the opportunity to see how things are going for them, Lulla says. A formal survey can be particularly helpful by giving them the chance to rate their onboarding experience and indicate any problems or needs they have.

Manufacturers Wary of Gig Economy

The gig is up—in the manufacturing world, at least.

What I mean is that the notion of a ubiquitous gig economy—where companies hire employees on a short-term or project-based basis—isn’t entirely accurate. At least not in manufacturing, where several factors are pushing back against the tailwinds of the gig economy while inevitably adapting to the changing times.

After nearly two decades of recruiting executives to manufacturers of all types and sizes across the U.S., I’ve learned that manufacturing is all about continuity, stability and continuous improvement. Long-term jobs are conducive to that, and where there is constant turnover or the fear of attrition, companies struggle to stay productive. In fact, some candidates are drawn to the stability that manufacturing companies can provide in this fast-paced, gig economy world.

It’s also important to remember that today’s lean manufacturing culture is rooted in teamwork and commitment to the process. So, candidates with a history of jumping from company to company might disrupt the culture and the mission.

Additionally, leadership development and bench strength building is also threatened and compromised with candidates who have a tendency to job hop.

All of this isn’t meant to say there is no place for a gig mentality in manufacturing. Many manufacturing companies, in order to truly scale and catch up to the technology demands of their business, will need to identify and secure talent at all levels that help them meet their demands in real time. To keep that competitive edge and adjust to natural workforce trends, they may need to employ temporary staff or project-based hires.

Another factor in favor of gig in manufacturing is the close tie between the industry and information technology. IT requires a constant need for innovation, upgrades and cutting-edge software advances. And while manufacturing changes are less frequent, best-in-class companies know they must stay ahead to build their businesses.

What does all of this mean for candidates looking to move into manufacturing roles? I’ve found that staying in a position for three to five years is ideal. Any sooner might be held against a candidate because they didn’t stick around long enough to experience complete cycles in production or make a meaningful enough impact on the lean culture of a company.

However, there are ways to get around this. In the event candidates have had shorter stints than the industry prefers, they should explain their intent was to get a wide variety of experience, to benefit from being exposed to different cultures, teams, processes and diverse product lines, and to gain exposure to different management styles, technologies and ways of driving business forward.

Having the perfect skillset will also help exponentially. Job hunters should be able to demonstrate continuous improvement and proven leadership, knowledge of lean manufacturing and supply chain management, and a track record of handling multiple responsibilities at once. Those that do will be prime candidates for manufacturers looking to expand in the gig economy, regardless of whether they’re embracing all of its principles.

Ultimately, manufacturing may not end up being an outlier of the gig economy, but instead charge forward to define its own unique path tied to this new world, one that leads to great efficiency while meeting their employment and production needs. As long as manufacturing companies are developing and producing quality products that are in demand with consumers, and are constantly looking for ways to improve and scale through talent acquisition, they will not only stay competitive in this gig economy but also thrive.

Charlie-Wilgus-Manufacturing-Lucas Group

Charlie Wilgus is the Founder and General Manager of Lucas Group’s Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division.

Article Published By:, “Manufacturers Wary of Gig Economy


Three Resume Tips to Land a Leadership Role in Manufacturing

As innovation continues to transform the manufacturing industry, more companies are in need of the right people to help lead the charge and overcome modern challenges.

Following in the footsteps of e-commerce giants like Amazon, more manufacturing companies are eagerly pursuing opportunities to expand supply chains on a global scale, increase inventories and jumpstart the entire manufacturing process, while also trying to drive down costs and maintain competitiveness.

While today’s companies continue to embrace improvement efforts through utilization of Six Sigma and lean manufacturing practices, the key to success is finding and keeping good leaders — from engineering production line management to the C-suite — who can achieve results and drive culture.

Recruiters at Lucas Group know firsthand the necessary traits and job titles manufacturers are seeking now when hiring top talent. Before reaching for the next rung in the ladder, be sure to apply these three strategies to your resume to land an interview.

List How You’ve Made a Valuable Impact

In the past year, Lucas Group has seen a spike in requests for candidates who can help streamline our clients’ supply chains and distribution processes. Companies are eager for solutions to get products to the customer or consumer more efficiently and with a faster speed of delivery.

For this reason, it’s imperative to not only include any relevant technical experience such as Six Sigma and lean manufacturing on your resume, but also to highlight how you’ve applied these practices to make a valuable impact.

How does this impact translate to paper? List any milestones you have accomplished, even if they are small, that improved overall productivity of the plant. Creating a strong manufacturing resume isn’t really about including certain buzzwords, but rather including bullet points with actionable items. For example, if you took a plant from seven production workers to 17 during the last 18 months and added three production lines which increased inventories by 12 percent, then list those numbers.

If you’re going to be an operational leader or hold any operational manufacturing position, you’re going to need to know how to help the company save money and time, reduce waste and improve the process. If you have taken any classes to help with these types of process improvements, then absolutely include those as well.

Show Your Leadership Skills

Whether it’s in procurement, engineering or logistics, great leaders in manufacturing can come in different forms. While the responsibilities of each role may vary, what they all have in common at the leadership level is equally as important to companies when making a hiring decision.

A strong manufacturing resume details how an employee has contributed to growing teams and building a core culture where respect and collaboration are valued.  A healthy culture feeds into a process improvement agenda. Our clients at Lucas Group want leaders who can demonstrate their ability to grow and guide teams, especially to overcome any obstacles or objections. On any given day, manufacturing can face all sorts of obstacles, from broken down lines to environmental issues to power outages.

As a leader of a plant or a multi-site plant, you need to show you can think quickly on your feet to navigate a team through tough times.  You need to be both proactive and reactive in order to be the best plant leader. This ability isn’t only for the benefit of your group, but for the product line and the overall company process. This mindset marks the kind of leader companies are looking for today, even if you started at the ground level.

Highlight Your Recent Accomplishments

In some of the talent searches I’ve worked on throughout the last year, I’ve heard feedback from clients like, “This candidate seems like a great person and definitely has years of experience, but they didn’t really highlight any key accomplishments as of late,” or, “I’m worried they have been there, done that…Do they want to do it all again—and can they?”

In other words, your resume should show that you have been doing something beyond sitting back in the office, kicking your feet up and just making sure nothing blows up.

In today’s competitive market, candidates can’t rely on accomplishments from 20 years ago to impress an employer. A strong manufacturing resume should be current with career highlights from recent years that illustrate you did more for a company than just show up.

In an interview, a candidate will have to continue to sell themselves regardless of how good their resume appears. However, using these three strategies to craft your resume can improve the chances you will land that interview and ultimately help you make that next career step on the manufacturing ladder.

Recruiters at Lucas Group know firsthand the necessary traits and job titles manufacturers are seeking now when hiring top talent. Before reaching for the next rung in the ladder, be sure to apply these three strategies to your resume to land an interview.


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow.


Article Published By: ManufacturingTomorrow, “Three Resume Tips to Land a Leadership Role in Manufacturing”

charlie wilgus-lucas group-manufacturing leadership

About Charlie Wilgus
Charlie Wilgus is the Founder and General Manager of the Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division at Lucas Group, North America’s premier executive search firm. With more than 18 years of experience, Wilgus leads a team of more than 50 recruiters across the country while continuing to recruit and consult with clients to strategically enhance their executive management teams. Focused on upper-management through senior executive placement in Supply Chain, Manufacturing Operations, Logistics and Engineering across all industry lines, Wilgus has earned the coveted role of trusted consultant for each of his clients with a particular focus within the consumer goods and food manufacturing arena.

How Does the Gig Economy Affect Your Search for Good Employees?

In November, the latest 2018 skills gap study from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute projected that 2.4 million skilled jobs will go unfilled in manufacturing between 2018 and 2028. That could mean $454 billion in manufacturing GDP at risk in 2028 and more than $2.5 trillion over the next decade.

With these kinds of projections facing manufacturers, it is easy to see why every possible scenario must be considered to fill those jobs, including what is now known as the “gig economy”.

Charlie Wilgus is the founder and general manager of Lucas Group’s Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division and VALVE magazine spoke to him about this phenomenon and how to utilize it to fill not just manufacturing jobs but also jobs in the oil and gas, refining and petrochemical industries.

VM: What does the term Gig Economy mean as far as manufacturing is concerned?

CW: Gig economy is another of those catch phrases like lean manufacturing, six sigma and block chain. The gig economy relates not just to manufacturing but to the whole economy where there are temporary positions. The gig economy, though, takes the notion of filling jobs with temporary workers to a bigger level.

It is no longer the case that someone stays a full-time employee at one company years and years. In the gig economy, individuals with a certain skillset come in, do their job and get the project completed. Then they move on to another company. They do not stay and grow with one company.

That’s not to say that there is not a huge need for full time, loyal employees who do their job really well. There is a great deal of benefit to that, but in this economy, companies need different individuals who have different skills throughout different periods of tie. That doesn’t exist in one person.

VM: When did this become a phenomenon in the manufacturing sector?

CW: This is not really coming from the manufacturing sector, but it is affecting the manufacturing sector. There has been a short-term, project-based need for workers for many years, especially in information technology.

What is driving this now is that the economy is doing so well, and unemployment is so low, companies are not able to find long-term employees. But they still need to get somebody quickly, and these project-based workers are increasing by the thousands.

As a result, many more traditional companies, including manufacturers, are thinking maybe they can get away from the old model and into this new model.

VM: What came first though, the chicken or the egg? Was it employers not keeping people on, such as in car manufacturing, or is it that the workforce is looking for something different?

CW: I like the chicken and egg analogy. I think both were happening at the same time, but I believe this situation now is being dictated by the candidates, the workforce. Employers are reacting to the current employment market.

As recruiters, we’re trying to find candidates for long term positions, higher level and management, and these companies are desperate for workers. It’s 3.4% unemployment. But many of the best long-term candidates are not necessarily willing to move right now. So companies must be flexible and willing to take contract or gig employees.

At the same time, millennials are realizing that they are in the drivers’ seat. They can dictate terms and tenure while learning from different cultures in various companies with varied product lines. Manufacturing is oftentimes considered “old school” in that people stay for their whole career and work their way up from the factory floor to management. That is still the case for some people, but now candidates want to acquire immediate value, feel supported, bring support with them and they want to have many experiences.

The good news is that, for those types of candidates who want long term, there is a high demand. Manufacturing companies often prefer to see people through a development stage. They are producing products, getting things leaner, faster and reducing waste. You can’t just come in and make things happen; it is a long-term process. Everybody plays a role in the long term, so they don’t necessarily want people coming and going.

However, manufacturers are realizing we may not find enough talent like that.

VM: In traditional manufacturing, job hopping was considered a negative attribute. Is that still the case?

CW: The perfect candidate is, in my opinion, someone who is willing to do either or both long term or short term. Diversification is good, but so is long-term commitment.

VM: Are you also seeing this in process industries like refining and the petrochemical industry?

CW: Absolutely. In fact, that is where we saw this trend begin and take hold. Because there are so any specialty skills in this field, people would take those skills from company to company. Whether it was drilling expertise or something else, there are any manner of things that are done as short-term projects within a bigger project.

They didn’t call it “gig economy” but they were in such high demand, that the pros would do whatever they could to grab the people to be experts. They had to be creative earlier.

VM: How or where does the Industrial Internet of things fit into this phenomenon?

CW: That is a great question. A lot of that is more around the technology sector and information technology. Where manufacturing meets that is with AI (artificial intelligence) and robotics. That is the biggest change going on in manufacturing, so people with that expertise are in high demand. And there are few of them.

A suggestion for people going into the workforce now, if you’re looking for a good skillset, learn robotics or AI. This is only going to get more widespread. As you look at the gig economy, I think absolutely you’re going to see a lot of short-term projects/workers that come to a company with that kind of experience that other people don’t have in the company.

VM: How does this affect recruiting, training and retaining personnel on the factory floor?

CW: There are two issues at hand here. One, there is a time crunch. People don’t have the time to get somebody trained quickly, or they may not have the training to give. If they did, they would hire a fulltime employee. With contract personnel, you’re paying for somebody to have immediate impact on the business.

But when you’re looking to hire a leader, you want that person to drive the culture for a long period of time, so you will want long-term. But temporary personnel are for a specific purpose.

VM: What is the effect on things like lean manufacturing when personnel are moving around a lot?

CW: Lean is a great concept that companies are still using today. They are still looking for people with lean skills and experience, whether they are on temporary or project or full-time.

Lean is the backbone, the fiber of the company. It means better, quicker, faster, less waste, quality and everything you’re doing is as efficient as possible. Everybody plays a part in that. A contract worker is adding specific value somewhere into that process.

VM: What advice would you offer to valve manufacturers trying to attract personnel in this gig economy?

CW: First, keep an open mind. The way that you used to do it or the way that you should do it doesn’t matter anymore. We’re in a different world: not bad, just different.

Second, don’t get frustrated with the lack of volume of candidates, or quality at your fingertips. This is a candidate-driven market. They are doing well, they’re being supported. If they’re not, they’re going to have 3 to 5 jobs they can take the next day. Get educated on the market.

And finally, to attract millennials, you will have to be competitive. They now make up more than 50% of the workforce. The number one thing they are looking for is a culture where they’re valued, where their work matters, and they can make a difference. Talent needs to know clearly what the job is, where they can make an impact, what the culture and fiber of the company is about.

They must believe in the product and need to know they are valued whether they are short term or long term. Valves are not as sexy as the latest iPhone, but the product adds value to the greater economy/future. Demonstrate that value to the candidates and show that the company itself is not as outdated as they might think.


Article Published By:Kate Kunkel, senior editor of VALVE magazine. “How Does the Gig Economy Affect Your Search for Good Employees?

Shelton Blease, Promoted to Director of HR Operations at Lucas Group, featured in Atlanta Business Chronicle’s People on the Move

Shelton Blease

Director of HR Operations at Lucas Group

EDUCATION:  University of Georgia

Shelton Blease has been promoted to Director of HR Operations for executive search firm Lucas Group. Since joining the company in 2014, Shelton has proven instrumental in change management, data solutions and plan execution, culminating in the growth of the Contract division from 120 to 250 employees in the last two years. In his new role, he will be responsible for expanding the Contract division’s HR team while also driving the strategy to increase engagement and retention within the division.

Article Published By: Atlanta Business Chronicle, “People on the Move”


Manufacturing in the Gig Economy – A Q/A with Charlie Wilgus

First off, tell us about yourself and your company.

My name is Charlie Wilgus and I’ve been with Lucas Group for over 17 years. I’ve recruited in the manufacturing, engineering and supply chain arena for almost 20 years. For the last decade, I’ve helped create and grow a division here at Lucas Group that specializes in executive search and contract solutions within the manufacturing sector across all industries nationwide.

Can you give us a quick overview of what the term “Gig Economy” means to you?

The idea that companies are embracing the fact that hiring employees on a short-term or project-based timeline is essential for growth. In order for a manufacturing company to truly scale and catch up to the technology demands of their business, they need to identify and secure talent at all levels that help them meet their demands in real time. In order to stay competitive, this may mean they need to hire temporary staff or project-based hires with cutting-edge skills on a shorter-term basis instead of a full-time employee.

Even in the gig economy, why do manufacturing companies look down on candidates who jump around frequently?

Manufacturing is all about continuity and continuous improvement and when there is constant turnover or the fear of attrition, companies can struggle to stay productive. Today’s lean manufacturing culture is rooted in teamwork and commitment to the process, and candidates with a history of jumping from company to company can disrupt the culture and the mission. Leadership development and bench strength building are also threatened and compromised with candidates who have a tendency to jump frequently.

Given how closely tied the manufacturing industry is to IT where movement is prevalent, why is manufacturing so different?

Information technology requires a constant need for innovation, upgrades and cutting-edge software advances. The manufacturing industry is innovative from a product development standpoint but the process by which products are manufactured is more stable and does not change as frequently. That said, technology does evolve in the manufacturing environment and the best-in-class companies know they have to stay ahead of it in order to advance and scale.

What is the “sweet spot” of experience that candidates should have to remain attractive in this economy?

On average, we’ve found companies want somebody who’s been somewhere three to five years. After five years a jump makes sense, but if the stints were shorter than two years it seems too soon because it’s a longer sales cycle and a longer operation cycle. Candidates just need more experience going through the four seasons and having all those plant workers under their domain to be considered a leader. In addition to the length of their tenures, they also need to have these key skills: continuous improvement, lean manufacturing, supply chain management, proven leadership and a track record of handling multiple responsibilities at once.

If companies object to the amount of movement a candidate has had, how can they respond to those objections?

Candidates should explain their intent was to get a wide variety of experience, to benefit from being exposed to different cultures, teams, processes and diverse product lines, and to gain exposure to different management styles, technologies and ways of driving business forward.

Do you foresee this trend changing as the ubiquity of the gig economy continues to grow or will manufacturing remain an outlier?

I’m not sure manufacturing will be an outlier but will most likely continue to charge forward defining its own path tied to this gig economy, one that still drives efficiency and meets their employment and production needs. Believe it or not, some candidates are looking for the stability some manufacturing companies provide in this fast-paced, gig economy world.

Going forward, what advice would you have for the manufacturing industry in attracting and keeping qualified employees in this gig economy?

At the end of the day, the culture of your company will always be a critical component towards success. If manufacturing companies focus on the core technical skills along with the candidate’s core values before bringing them on board, then the amount of time they spend with the company may not be as important as what they can bring to the table. As long as manufacturing companies are developing and producing great quality products that consumers demand, and they are constantly looking for ways to improve and scale through talent acquisition, then they will not only stay competitive in this gig economy but also will thrive! Strong leadership will be essential, and employees will need to see that their company values them along with a belief in the product they are manufacturing.

Article Published By: Manufacturing Tomorrow, “Manufacturing Jobs in the Gig Economy”

About Charlie Wilgus
Charlie Wilgus is the Founder and General Manager of Lucas Group’s Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division. Now in his 18th year with Lucas Group, Charlie successfully leads and champions a talented team of more than 50 recruiters across the country while continuing to recruit and consult with clients to strategically enhance their executive management teams.


Manufacturing In the Gig Economy – A Catch-22

As the overall job market trends toward shorter tenures, the manufacturing industry proves resistant to change.

November 26, 2018

By Charlie Wilgus, Lucas Group

The gig economy is everywhere and shows no signs of slowing down. It’s open for debate why this has become such a significant trend, but the most logical explanation is a combination of companies needing constant innovation and millennials having shorter attention spans than previous generations.

Despite the prevalence of this trend across most industries, there is one that serves as an outlier – manufacturing.

The reasons may be found in the manufacturing mindset. Manufacturing is all about continuity and continuous improvement, and when there is constant turnover or the fear of attrition, companies can struggle to stay productive.

Today’s lean manufacturing culture is rooted in teamwork and commitment to the process, and candidates with a history of jumping from company to company can disrupt the culture and the mission. Leadership development and bench strength building is also threatened and compromised with candidates who have a tendency to jump frequently.

Frequent job hopping is common in information technology, yet there are some fundamental differences between IT and manufacturing. Information technology requires a constant need for innovation, upgrades and cutting-edge software advances. The manufacturing industry is innovative from a product development standpoint but the process by which products are manufactured is more stable and does not change as frequently. That said, technology does evolve in the manufacturing environment and the best in class companies know they have to stay ahead of it in order to advance and scale.

So what’s the answer? Where is the happy medium for candidates who want a gig-like experience but want to compete for leadership roles in the manufacturing industry?

On average, we’ve found companies want somebody who have been at one employer between three to five years. After five years, a jump makes sense. But if the stints are shorter than two years, they will appear too frequent – especially to manufacturers, where sales and operations cycles are longer than in other industries.

Manufacturing candidates need more experience going through the four seasons and having all those plant workers under their domain to be considered a leader. In addition to the length of their tenures, they also need to have these key skills: continuous improvement, lean manufacturing, supply chain management, proven leadership and a track record of handling multiple responsibilities at once.

For those who have taken a different route and fallen outside the “sweet spot” I just outlined, it’s important for a manufacturing candidate to justify why he/she should still be considered for critical roles in the industry. Candidates should explain their intent was to get a wide variety of experience, to benefit from being introduced to different cultures, teams, processes and diverse product lines, and to gain exposure to different management styles, technologies and ways of driving business forward.

Regardless of the criteria a company uses in hiring, ultimately the culture will always be a critical component towards success. If manufacturing companies focus on the core technical skills along with the candidate’s core values when interviewing, then job tenure may not be as important.

As long as manufacturing companies are developing and producing great quality products that consumers demand, and they are constantly looking for ways to improve and scale through talent acquisition, then they will not only stay competitive in this gig economy but also will thrive.

Strong leadership will be essential, and employees will need to see that their company values them and believes in the product they are manufacturing.

Article Published By: Industry Today, “Manufacturing In the Gig Economy – A Catch-22”

Charlie Wilgus is the Founder and General Manager of Lucas Group’s Manufacturing & Supply Chain Executive Search Division. Now in his 18th year with Lucas Group, Charlie successfully leads and champions a talented team of more than 50 recruiters across the country while continuing to recruit and consult with clients to strategically enhance their executive management teams. Find out more at



Commentary: 5 Ways Companies Can Help Veterans Transition to Corporate America


Change is never easy in life, and one of the toughest transitions anyone can go through is a significant career shift. Not all career changes are created equally, though, and one of the most challenging can be the move from active duty military to corporate America.

It’s the same journey that Lucas Group founder Art Lucas took when he left the Army and started this company in 1970 and a process that I began back in 1992 when I decided to transition out of the Air Force. Having now been in the business of helping veterans go through this same process for almost 25 years, I’ve seen what companies do especially well in setting up veterans for success.

I’ve also seen my fair share of mistakes from organizations that fail to recognize some key differences between someone coming from corporate America, compared to someone with a military background. As a result, I’ve assembled a list of five critical ways companies can help to transition military personnel into the private sector more effectively.

1. Don’t ghost during the interview process.

Companies need to structure their interview process to be attractive to military personnel, who are used to people who do what they say and say what they do. That means when companies interview a military candidate and promise to follow up by a certain date, they need to follow through and stay in touch. While a disorganized interview process may be the norm for traditional candidates, veterans are often turned off by companies they perceive to be fundamentally disorganized.

2. Have a thorough onboarding process.

While employers will often assure new employees that “there are no stupid questions,” the fact remains that new hires will have a ton of questions they know are basic. One common characteristic many veterans share is a deep sense of pride and a fear of ever appearing weak. For that reason, it’s critical for employers to create a clear onboarding process so that the majority of the “dumb questions” that might get asked are already answered. Beyond that, it’s also helpful to provide a mentor for a new military hire that creates a safe space to ask any and all questions without judgment.

3. Establish a clear power structure.

There is often ambiguity in the business world, but that is unusual in the military. Veterans are used to following rank and knowing exactly who they report to in every instance, as the alternative can be extremely dangerous. While companies in the private sector are rarely going to mirror this precision in leadership structure, it is important to clearly lay out direct reports to new military hires, who see this structure as critical to their success.

4. Lay out a clear career path.

While enlisted, military personnel know where they can potentially advance and anticipate promotions based on rank, time and grade. When companies interview veterans, they should lay out potential opportunities for growth within the company and set rough expectations for when these might occur. Veterans know that promotions aren’t guaranteed in either the military or the private sector, but they want to know that growth is possible in any role they accept.

5. Avoid overpromising and under-delivering.

At the end of the day, military personnel are used to giving and following orders. If you say you are going to do something to a subordinate or get a request from a superior, the expectation is that it will get done. When working with a veteran, especially someone who is early in their transition to corporate life, avoid overpromising and under-delivering as much as possible. The more consistently a company can follow through on its commitments, the more likely they are to keep military personnel engaged in the organization.

Every veteran’s transition to the private sector is different, and some are more difficult than others. These guidelines provide a baseline for companies as they look to attract and retain valuable military candidates.

5-ways-companies-can-help-veterans transition-to-corporate-America

Bryan Zawikowski is vice president and general manager of the Military Transition Division for Lucas Group, an executive recruiting firm.

Article Published By: Military Times RebootCamp, “Commentary: 5 Ways Companies Can Help Veterans Transition to Corporate America

The War for Talent

How can forward-thinking companies recruit and retain top talent? Talent management experts weigh in.

Three Takeaways from the “War for Talent” Session

As the workforce continues to change, companies of all sizes are faced with how to develop and acquire the right talent. With the Baby Boomer generation transitioning into retirement and the rise of Millennials in a competitive marketplace, the labor force is experiencing a seismic shift in filling a significant skills gap across various industries.

The “War for Talent” session—the first leadership panel of its kind to be featured at TravelConnect—answered some of the talent industry’s most burning questions about how smart companies can implement new ways to build a flexible, diverse and thriving workforce.

This panel was moderated by Eric Barger, ARC’s vice president and chief human resources officer, and included top talent management experts Ann Reiling, managing partner of human resources, Lucas Group; David Ascione, senior director of human resources, McCormick & Company; Alexis Dowell, relationship director of CEB, now Gartner; and Mike Koffler, relationship manager of LinkedIn.

Together, they had an in-depth discussion about various trends that are shaping the future U.S. workforce and how businesses can foster leadership development in the workplace. Other key takeaways from this lively conversation included:

The “War for Talent” is On

In this day and age, finding the right talent goes far beyond what’s stated on a person’s resume or LinkedIn profile. Recruiters are redefining the talent acquisition process by taking a more forward-thinking approach to engage with prospective candidates online. “Candidates receive multiple offers and multiple counter offers [every day],” said Ann Reiling, managing partner of human resources of Lucas Group.

Other talent management experts shared the same sentiments in addressing these challenges to stay at the top of people’s minds. “We are fighting for the same talent and [in the] same positions. In 2016, I looked at 9,000 job posts and 39% of them were the same [job],” said Alexis Dowell, relationship director of CEB, now Garter.

Experts agree this won’t be an easy battle to win, but there are things companies can do now to change the narrative of this process. “It’s a great time to be a candidate. [Companies] have to have processes set and ready to go. Remaining flexible and agile is [key]. Also, it’s important to sell your culture,” said David Asicone, senior director of human resources of McCormick & Company.

Companies must take bolder strides to show distinction between competitors—it’s more about selling up company values, flexibility, and diversity; it’s less about relying on traditional methods to attract talent.

Advocating the Use of Social Media in the Workplace

Many companies see digital technology as the driving force behind workplace transformations. As a result, companies are turning to big data to support new talent recruitment methods, as well as social media platforms to better engage with candidates. Mike Koffler, relationship manager of LinkedIn said, “Social media is so important. When [candidates] are researching companies, the easiest way [to learn about a company] is on social.”

Coupled with these social platforms, career-seekers have more power than ever at their fingertips to help guide their decision on where to start a career—and Reiling agrees. “Now, people can comment and respond [to posts about your company]—[candidates] are getting a whole look at [a] company now. [Candidates can] quickly research and look at places like Glassdoor to help make [or break] a [job] decision. The challenge that companies face today is online perception. “You can control what you put out there, but you can’t control what’s out there or what people see,” she said.

A great way to help elevate a company’s brand and promote its corporate values online is to rely on its greatest assets—current employees. “Ask people internally to get involved, it’s the easiest way,” said Koffler. Advocating the use of social media to promote positive messages about your workplace can help attract prospective talent and can help control the narrative (and perception) of your company’s online reputation.

Invest in Your Talent

Investing in your talent takes more than just money to attribute to a long-term career—time is also a key factor. It’s sometimes a misconception that development is mostly an external process. “People used to think development happened outside of the office, but it doesn’t really prepare people to take on the next role [within your organization],” said Ascione.

Whether it is partnering with outside organizations to bring education in-house or adopting more online learning opportunities, companies are compelled to create effective internal training and education programs. Additionally, adding leadership development opportunities can also yield a major return of investment for any company’s long-term growth goals.

Ascione shared insights on how companies should incorporate professional development programs that empower employees to solve real-life scenarios that can deliver solutions within the organization. “It’s like having an internal consulting shop to help solve internal problems. [Plus,] it’s become an expectation within our company that you participate in this program to be considered for leadership roles [in the future],” he said.

The “Jungle Gym” Approach

Gone are the days of keeping an up-and/or-out linear career. Companies are increasingly adopting the “jungle gym approach” (a combination of both lateral and vertical movement) when it comes to illustrating the possibilities in one’s career journey. “The number one reason people are leaving jobs is for other opportunities. No one cares more about your career than you do. If that message isn’t being conveyed, then we can start having those conversations today. It’s not just linear careers; it’s a jungle gym now. ‘In-role’ development is [needed] because it’s not just about a title or upward mobility [anymore],” said Dowell.

With more options in the market, it’s imperative that talent managers are taking proactive measures to keep employees engaged. According to Koffler, various data supports that most people tend to evaluate their careers around the two- to three-year mark; it’s when most people decide if they will stay or leave a job.

One of the best ways to stay ahead of the game is ensuring conversations about career paths are happening the first day on the job. Talent managers benefit by establishing a meaningful relationship with new employees early—if talent leaders illustrate various career paths early, then it can help alleviate some of the business risk of losing talent in the future. “Talk about careers on day one. [Employees] should have a five-year, 10-year plan in mind—building that trust and really keep that promise,” he said.

What Employers Look at When Assessing Online Degrees

Some employers may ask job candidates why they decided to pursue a degree online, recruiters say.

By Jordan Friedman, Editor | Aug. 3, 2017, at 9:48 a.m.

Among employers, perceptions of online degrees have shifted in recent years.

More and more, employers are aware that these types of college and graduate-level programs provide “a work-life balance for individuals that might not have had the opportunity to go to the traditional school and take time out of their schedules, or needed to work while they’re doing it as well,” says Steve Logsdon, account manager at the global recruiting and staffing firm Aerotek, headquartered in Maryland.

Often, job candidates don’t explicitly state on their resumes that they earned a degree online, recruiters say. But the topic may come up in job interviews or conversations during the hiring process.

A potential employer may ask about several aspects. The first is the school’s accreditation, which verifies that a university and in some cases a specific program meet certain standards of quality.

At the institutional level, many employers prefer regional accreditation over national accreditation, with regional often being perceived as more rigorous, experts say. Prospective online students can read more about the importance of being accredited in the following graphic.


“The rigor of the program and accreditation, I think, are top of mind,” says Sara Luther, managing partner of the human resources search division at The Lucas Group, an executive search firm headquartered in Atlanta.

As is also common for on-campus programs, a school’s name alone can tell employers something about the quality of a job candidate’s education, recruiters say. For example, there may still be somewhat of a stigma toward online degrees from for-profit schools, which have faced criticism in recent years for questionable recruitment practices and low graduation rates – though experts say overall, employers are becoming more receptive to them.

Here’s what one expert says about how heavily employers weigh an online school’s reputation.

Experts may also ask job candidates why they decided to earn their degree online rather than on campus, recruiters say.

“If I find out that they are working full time while also attending an online program because they need to and they’re raising a family, I certainly find that that pulls a lot more weight to me because it shows strong work ethic and a drive to succeed,” Luther says.

You can also hear thoughts from Logsdon, the Aerotek account manager, below.

In addition to asking about those topics, “Due to the skills gap today, soft skills are something that are becoming increasingly more and more important,” says Amy Glaser, senior vice president at Adecco Staffing, a worldwide employment agency.

One of those skills is the ability to work well with others, Glaser says. Check out the following graphic to understand the different ways online students may interact.


Ultimately, recruiters acknowledge that a job candidate’s degree is only one part of the equation.

“Maybe 80 percent of the time, they’re not going to not talk to someone if everything else looks good, just because someone went and got their online degree,” says Luther, of The Lucas Group.

Trying to fund your online education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for Online Education center.

HR Can Boost Your Company’s Efficiency

HR professionals can play a key role in creating business efficiency—starting with their own department.

For years, business and HR experts have talked about the need for human resources to become more engaged in corporate strategy. They’re preaching to the choir with Susan Baranowsky, SHRM-SCP, chief administrative officer and HR director for Impact Thrift Stores, a 200-employee nonprofit based in Montgomeryville, Pa. Baranowsky says she has to understand the organization’s business in order to recognize how she can best contribute.

“Every day, I walk around and talk to people at all levels,” she says. She listens a lot, too. “You have to understand the business well enough to have meaningful conversations.”

That way, if managers say they need to hire more people, you’ll know what questions to ask in order to make an informed decision about whether or not adding head count is the right solution. At that point, “You take off your HR hat and put on your business hat,” Baranowsky says. “It becomes more like project management, where you study the department, come up with a plan to address the issue and make sure it’s followed through on.”

​That sounds great in theory, but what makes it worthwhile in terms of dollars and cents? To find out, HR professionals need to leverage the right analytics.

Baranowsky, for instance, recalls participating in a meeting focused on declining sales. It soon became clear that the company’s donation processing center wasn’t operating efficiently and products weren’t getting to Impact Thrift’s stores quickly enough. She recognized it as a manpower issue, and she adjusted staff schedules at the center so that processing synced up with donations, distributions and sales.

Before you jump headlong in to company operations, however, you have to build the foundation for your efforts: the most efficient HR function possible. And that doesn’t mean simply making sure the function performs smoothly. The bigger goal is to manage the entire workforce so that it fulfills its role as efficiently as possible.

That may sound daunting, especially if you don’t work for a large business with lots of resources. But think of it this way: The smaller the business, the greater the impact HR can have. “If anything, HR in small companies has more of a role in driving efficiency,” says Vinay Couto, Chicago-based leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers‘ People and Organization Strategy practice. That’s because smaller firms “don’t have the luxury to have managers think about strategic people management—things like performance management and workforce planning,” he says. “In those situations, it’s even more important for HR to step into the void.”

First, Get HR’s House in Order

Finding ways to work smarter requires a lot of upfront effort, and technology can help. “The first thing HR should do is figure out how to reduce administration. Put it in a box and automate the heck out of it,” Couto says. “Today, with cloud-based solutions offered with subscription fees, that becomes much more realistic.”

“If you’re not automated to some degree, I don’t think you could do a good job,” says Denise Baggett, HR generalist at Ira Higdon Grocery Co., a 55-employee distribution business in Cairo, Ga. “HR’s a revolving door of issues from hires to personnel issues,” she notes. And although small companies may handle less volume, she believes she faces “the same diversity of issues in the same proportions” as her colleagues at larger businesses.

Fortunately, automating need not require purchasing expensive customized software packages. It can be as simple as developing a deeper understanding of everyday tools. For example, when Baggett took over Ira Higdon’s human resource function as a solo practitioner, she built a tool in Microsoft Excel that allows workers to quickly find out how much vacation time they have available. That may seem like a small thing, but it means a lot to employees—and enabling people to get the information directly frees up Baggett from having to respond to one-off requests.

[SHRM members-only resource: Discuss this article on SHRM Connect]

​Baranowsky took other steps to streamline Impact Thrift’s HR operations with an eye toward reducing costs. She cut the payroll administrator’s hours by half and redistributed some related responsibilities. (Workers’ compensation was realigned with loss prevention and safety, for example.) Then she reconfigured the organization’s point-of-sale system to provide better analytics and began using Google Docs to encourage collaboration.

Inexpensive technology can also help an HR department with limited resources find the right talent for each job as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. “The good news is small companies can do a lot online to brand themselves using blogs, Facebook pages and a careers site geared toward good candidates,” says Mike Ciavolino, owner of the 10-employee recruitment advertising agency Shore Creative Group in Long Branch, N.J. “For years, HR’s been seen as a revenue drag. We’ve advocated that it’s a revenue driver because you need the right people” to succeed. “Your company may have a vision of being the greatest in its market, but your core talent has to be able to deliver.”

Streamlining HR

An HR department that runs at peak performance can help its organization do the same. “Efficiency” includes reaching the best outcomes in a timely and resourceful manner as well as streamlining basic tasks so that you can spend more time on the complex issues. To do that:

Automate. Look for opportunities to automate as many basic functions as possible. Technology has become available to handle administrative chores like time tracking, payroll and onboarding at increasingly affordable rates.

Don’t spend needlessly
. That said, don’t assume you need to purchase new tools to handle basic functions. HR generalist Denise Baggett used Microsoft Excel to build a vacation-tracking tool for the 55 employees at Ira Higdon Grocery Co. “Sometimes you just have to embrace what you have,” she says.

Use an HR dashboard. Use metrics not only to measure your performance but also to benchmark it against others’. Who those “others” might be will vary depending on your company’s size, industry and location, among other things, but simply tracking the cost per check in payroll is only of so much value. It’s better to know how your expenses compare to, say, your competitors’ or even an industry average.

Consider an HRIS. Even for small companies, HR information systems (HRIS) are more affordable, and thus more realistic to consider, than they were five years ago. They’ll simplify the task of compiling, tracking and analyzing workforce data. That will help HR identify efficiency challenges and build business cases for solutions across the company.

Audit yourself. Be open to new ways of doing things. “I’m lucky in that I’ve got a process-oriented team who are always asking why we’re doing something in a particular way,” says Carolina King, vice president of HR at Lucas Group, a recruiting business. Ultimately, she hopes to put in place formal audits of her department’s activities and results.

Find the Pain Points

Once you maximize HR’s efficiency—and gain some breathing room—you’re ready for the next big opportunity: examining the business to identify the workforce components of every operation and looking for ways to make them more efficient.

That means getting out of the HR silo. “Contribution to efficiency is a team sport. HR can’t do it alone,” says Paul Belliveau, SHRM-SCP, managing director of Avancé Human Capital Management Advisors, a consulting company in Bedford, N.H. Besides keeping your eyes and ears open, you’ll need to talk to managers throughout the organization to find their pain points and create workforce solutions to address those areas.

By way of example, Belliveau describes a hypothetical 20-person plumbing company whose workers are taking off-the-books breaks between jobs, costing the business lost work time and revenue. While it’s not HR’s role to manage the plumbers, you can conduct time studies to determine how long each type of job should take and develop a guide to help supervisors schedule accordingly.

​Shelton Blease, SHRM-SCP, took on a similar challenge when he started as an HR business partner with Lucas Group, a 500-employee recruiting firm in Atlanta. After noticing high first-year turnover among salespeople, he sought to increase the department’s efficiency by reducing attrition for new hires.

His efforts required more than his skills alone. In tackling what’s normally considered an HR issue—retention—he spoke to managers throughout the company to identify potential efficiency stumbling blocks and worked with multiple departments to develop solutions. When he examined the previous three years of HR data on newly hired salespeople, Blease found that the top 20 percent of performers ranked higher in certain areas, such as phone time and the number of employee placements made. Using that information, he created a schedule of quarterly goals to help new hires get up to speed.

He then partnered with the marketing and IT departments to create quarterly progress reports for managers detailing each individual’s performance data. (Marketing helped develop the reports’ appearance, while IT used its existing SharePoint system to build the tool.) Because the information was delivered to supervisors, they began having more-frequent conversations with their direct reports. At the same time, salespeople could access data that showed how they were performing in relation to their goals through green, yellow and red rankings.

The result: The combination of scheduled goals, more-frequent reviews and access to personal performance information has begun increasing the sales force’s productivity, and there has been an increase in the number of employees hitting their first-year goals and finding early success at the company.

This first step has been a success, but it is just that—a first step. “HR has a way of building tools, launching them and then not following up and measuring their impact, so [the initiative] falls by the wayside,” says Carolina King, vice president of HR at Lucas Group.

Blease is determined not to let that happen. He is now working with IT on implementing another SharePoint tool to help salespeople reach their goals, not just track their progress. It examines an individual’s work quality and success rate. For example, it can use performance data to help employees identify better prospects.

The ultimate goal is to find the best ways to leverage internal data and technology. “By using technology to automate work both in HR and across the company, we freed up time to think at even greater levels,” Blease says.

Sell Your Solutions

Once you’ve identified a problem and created a solution, you still face the often-difficult and uncomfortable task of convincing leadership of what must be done and why it’s worth the cost and effort.

Don’t give this step short shrift. Selling your solutions can take as much effort as creating them in the first place. So when approaching the boss, HR needs more than just a plan. It has to have the research to back the proposal and an understanding of the company leaders’ perspective.

Despite a lack of dedicated resources, Baranowsky’s goal is to become more data-driven and better informed about business and HR issues. When making a case to either management or other departments, “being anecdotal doesn’t get you anything,” she says.

​”For the business owner, the question is where do they want to feel the pain?” Ciavolino says.

That, then, becomes a point to focus on. For example, which will be more painful—offering a generous compensation package to a top salesperson or living with a less-experienced, less-expensive salesperson who may not bring in the same amount of revenue?

As a business owner, Ciavolino would expect his HR people to speak with colleagues in other businesses about how they handled similar circumstances. As in so many situations, he notes, HR has to build a business case for its solution.

One last point: Improving efficiency is an ongoing, wide-ranging process. “Always ask, ‘Why are we doing this?’ ” King says. You might go as far as developing formalized audits of how things are getting done and how efficiently the workforce is performing. Also, King advises, “Don’t speak to just one or two of your clients, but ask them all, ‘What can I do to help you?’ Ask open-ended questions and listen for their pain.”

Mark Feffer is a freelance business writer based in Philadelphia.

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This is Where Private Equity Firms Will Be Hiring in the U.S. in 2017

Private equity firms’ on-cycle recruitment is becoming more competitive and kicks off earlier every year – for many investment banking analysts, the process begins as soon as they start on the training program. There are always the typical candidates with two years of investment banking experience moving into private equity and the post-MBA hires who P.E. firms recruit before their last year. But what else can we expect to see in terms of hiring trends in the P.E. space in the U.S. this year?

Some P.E. firms have moved into direct lending

Private equity firms have been moving into the parts of the direct lending space that banks have vacated, primarily in the $1m-$25m broad range, with the sweet spot being $3m-$7m – very few commercial loans are over $15m given the size of the risk in the case of default.

“More private equity funds are entering direct commercial lending as non-bank financial institutions, as it is a very attractive bolt-on to a larger multi-strategy fund,” said Jordan Shapiro, managing director of the financial services division at the Bachrach Group, a recruitment firm. “Such loans are a good way to draw in additional assets from existing clients, and that will drive the need for people with core credit skills.

“Strong traditional credit analysts and underwriters are more difficult to find as corporate lending has trailed off and big-bank lending hasn’t been as active,” he said. “P.E. firms need candidates with experience analyzing traditional middle-market or wholesale commercial loans like that, people who understand what it’s like to underwrite a loan and hold the risk on it, not just sell it off, and that’s in short supply right now.”

Healthcare funds are hiring

Molly Robb, managing director of global life sciences for North America at Horton International, is a recruiter specializing in healthcare investment professionals, healthcare private equity and V.C.-backed portfolio searches. She says that Chinese firms are looking to hire private equity professionals here in the U.S. – investors experienced in the healthcare sector who can help them to staff new P.E. funds or source investment deals, finding bio/pharma or healthcare IT and services companies that they can acquire outright then take the technology to China or build a subsidiary business here.

In addition, family offices are increasingly targeting private equity professionals in their recruitment efforts. In addition to investors, they are hiring numbers-crunchers, analysts and due-diligence support.

Growth equity

Headhunters Odyssey Search Partners says that growth equity’s recent ascent is down to a distinct trend that complements the rise of uncertainty. As access to private capital becomes more abundant, companies are choosing to remain private for longer periods of time. This in turn affects the public equity market, as the later a company issues its IPO, the less volatility one can expect post-IPO, which makes the investment less attractive.

Odyssey says two key recruitment patterns to keep an eye on for 2017 are: increased competition for senior investment and operating talent, and increased emphasis on hard and soft skills – the rise of growth equity means firms can add value not merely quantitatively, but through sourcing expertise as well.

Infrastructure funds are hiring too

Infrastructure funds are likely to be hiring next year, believes Natalie Baranes, a senior consultant in the private equity practice at Selby Jennings.

“Candidates and firms see that with the new president there will be a much higher market for this industry and therefore there will be more companies to invest in and the space will grow,” she says.

The rise of hybrid funds

Typically there is a clear separation between PE funds and credit funds such as distressed debt, but firms have raised a lot of hybrid funds.

“Firms are looking to staff hybrid funds, which can adapt whether there’s a distressed scenario or markets continue to grow,” said Nick Buffini, managing partner at Lucas Group. “There’s uncertainly about what the future looks like and what will transpire in the market this year and beyond, so hybrid funds can pivot between equity and debt quite adeptly.”

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Where Financial Services Firms Will Be Hiring In The U.S. In 2017

Where financial services firms will be hiring in the U.S. in 2017 – eFinancialCareers

As 2017 has begun to unfold, now is the time when most financial services organisation have finalized their hiring plans. With a flurry of job cuts in the final quarter of 2016 and into this year, prospects for 2017 might not appear overly bright, but there are still sectors that financial services recruiters believe will be strong this year.

Here are the financial services roles that recruiters expect to be most in demand in the U.S. in 2017.

Equity analysts and M&A associates

Because there is a lot of unknown on how President-elect Trump will impact business with companies that contract with the government and a host of other uncertainties, top analysts will prove to be invaluable, according to Christian Novissimo, managing partner of accounting and finance at Lucas Group.

“I believe that top equity analysts could be in demand,” Novissimo said. “In addition, I’ve recently received a lot of inquiries from acquisition-oriented companies looking for associates coming from investment banking.

“They’re specifically looking for people in the two-to-four-years post-MBA [range] who want to join companies with active M&A groups,” he said. “These companies come from industries of all sorts.”

Emerging markets bankers

Emerging markets teams at banks are experiencing an uptick in hiring, with plenty of open roles for bankers with deal experience in Latin America and EMEA, including sub-Saharan Africa, according to Cesar DeLara, senior consultant in the investment banking practice at Selby Jennings.

“The types of firms that will be hiring [emerging markets bankers] will be more focused on the middle-market space   ̶ mainly deals between $100 million and $1 billion, because larger deals have to jump through a lot of hoops at the moment,” DeLara said. “The surge in middle-market hiring is partially a product of the relative lack of regulation and oversight that these emerging markets have in their financial systems overall.”

TMT, healthcare and energy bankers

Currently, the highest level of hiring demand remains in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) and healthcare sectors, both within investment banking and corporate strategy, according to Mike Brothers, a manager in the investment banking practice at Michael Page.

“Given the M&A and leveraged finance markets have been trending upwards in terms of deal volume, my sense is that banks will need to bring on experienced associates and junior vice presidents in execution capacities,” Brothers said. “2016 brought a lot of movement at the senior banking level as well, with several middle-market and boutique firms aggressively growing their staff at the managing-director level.

“Hiring new MDs essentially requires banks to add headcount underneath the origination efforts, and therefore bringing on associates and vice presidents,” he said. “This is my general sense as to where investment banking groups will have the most acute needs going into 2017.”

In addition, energy [banking] is going to continue to be on the up and up throughout 2017, as there has been a lot more focus on it with speculation on Trump’s policies, Brothers said.

“We’ve seen quite a bit of movement among technology coverage bankers – that area hasn’t slowed down at all,” he said.

Data specialists

Professionals who have experience in managing projects or working on data warehousing, data management and cleanup will be in high demand in 2017 and years to come, according to Peter Laughter, the CEO of Wall Street Services.

“In 2017, many firms will be allocating more resources to hire data scientists and quantitative analysts,” adds Mike Karp, the CEO of recruitment firm Options Group. “Overall, technology is the buzzword, and everyone is investing in technology.

Rates salespeople and high-yield/distressed debt bankers

While many banks won’t be adding substantial headcount, they will update various teams by hiring in different areas, Karp said.

“For example, one area that may see growth is rates, and within that desk, sales coverage more than traders,” Karp said. “On the credit side, banks are still contemplating their options – some are looking to grow headcount in high-yield and distressed debt, as well as add FX talent in emerging markets.

Independent wealth management firms

Jeannette Bajalia, a retirement-oriented financial planner and the founder of Woman’s Worth, believes that there will be a decrease in headcount at the institutional financial services level – big banks and other Wall Street firms – because they are typically not focused on the individual consumer but on the bottom-line profits of their institutions.

“I say that because financial decision-making is typically based on emotion – fear and greed – and we are moving into an era in our nation where financial consumers want options and choices that meet their individual needs, not the needs or profit goals of large institutions,” Bajalia said. “I foresee significant growth of the independent financial [advisory] firms, because such [wealth management] firms are driven by client goals and have a high-touch approach to meeting client needs and as such, these firms will grow and create jobs.”

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MBCI Houston Plant Hosts National Manufacturing Day

In celebration of National Manufacturing Day 2016, NCI Building Systems Inc. (NCI) opened three of its manufacturing facilities to the public, including its MBCI manufacturing facility in Houston.
More than 300 people participated in MBCI’s Manufacturing Day activities, which included facility tours, presentations from company and community leaders, a question-and-answer session and a catered lunch to participants as part of an ongoing effort to promote the strength of U.S. manufacturing and increase awareness of the outstanding career opportunities in the field. The tours showcased a working plant featuring MBCI designers, programmers and technology operators who each play a role in manufacturing the products our communities and industries rely on.

Students from Cold Springs – Oakhurst and Sealy ISDs, and professionals from The Lucas Group, Ernst & Young and The Welding School heard presentations given by NCI President, Don Riley and NCI Vice President of Manufacturing, Carlin Mueller, as well as Congressman Gene Green (TX-29) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18). The messages delivered focused on the career and growth opportunities available in manufacturing, with Jackson-Lee sharing her views on the role of the industry in building the US economy, saying “I am excited about that fact that you are, in essence, recognizing the importance of acknowledging to America that we need to make things with our hands.”

Further emphasizing the importance of the work done by manufacturing companies like MBCI, NCI was presented a United States flag that was flown over the U.S. Capital building and a Certificate of Congressional recognition on the occasion of National Manufacturing Day by Jackson-Lee.

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Why Obama’s Lawyers Are Valuable to Legal Departments

There’s long been a revolving door between the federal government and big law firms. But now that the Obama administration is coming to a close, could his lawyers decamp for in-house legal departments?

2015 Compensation Drops for GCs in South, but All Signs Are Pointing Up

Like their counterparts in the rest of the country, general counsel in the South saw a slight drop in compensation in 2015, according to the 2016 General Counsel Compensation Survey, conducted by Daily Report affiliate ALM Legal Intelligence. But experts on executive compensation say Southern GCs have reason for optimism about their pay in years to come.

Nine ways to ruin your chances with recruiters over email and phone

Before you meet a hiring manager, the chances are you will be contacting a recruiter. And before you meet a recruiter you’ll have an email exchange and telephone conversion. Don’t fall at the first hurdle – avoid these mistakes.

1. Mistakes, unacceptable mistakes

Never make grammatical or spelling errors. This applies equally to cover letters and emails as it does to resumes. Proofread your emails multiple times before hitting send, and be careful when you’re talking on the phone to avoid slang and a too-casual tone. In either case, misspelled words and grammatical errors will be perceived as a black mark.

“I’ve seen people have callbacks rescinded because their thank-you emails have been so bad or featured typos,” said Janet Raiffa, career coach, the former head of campus recruiting at Goldman Sachs and the former associate director of the Career Management Center at Columbia Business School. “The legendary case is the spellcheck error where a student meant to write about being excited about the possibility of working for Goldman Sachs and ended up with ‘Goldman sucks.’”

2. Bro-dude chatter

Some recruiters are more casual than others and try to build a rapport with candidates by acting in a buddy-buddy manner and even cracking jokes. While it’s OK to adjust to the signals you’re getting and loosen up a bit, precision of language is paramount regardless of how well you seem to be getting on with the person who controls the hiring decision.

As the recruitment process plays out, candidates tend to let their guard down, according to Christian Novissimo is the managing partner of the accounting and finance practice at Lucas Group.

“Some start to build a rapport and all formality goes out the window,” he said. “Over the phone, be sure to use a proper greeting that’s not too informal, and pay close attention to the introduction and signoff of your emails.

“A lot of people become informal and call people dude or bro, which is inappropriate. Save that for after you get the job and you’re closer to people, and always use proper grammar.”

3. Getting lost in translation

For international students whose spoken English is better than their written English, they should ask a native speaker to check their email before sending it along to the prospective employer.

“I have also seen students have callbacks rescinded or not gotten offers because interview follow-up has made employers nervous about their lack of fluency,” Raiffa said.

4. Being a complete pest

Sending annoying emails and even stalking employers are other problems that are more common than you might think.

“Do not send an email to 50 bankers at the same firm asking for a job or an informational [interview],” Raiffa said. “That email may end up being forwarded by a partner to a recruiter, who will think it is an important referral, and then get upset when he or she discovers it was a mass emailing.

“Limit yourself to a small group of people and then work to get referrals from them,” she said. “And if you don’t hear back right away, don’t follow up too soon or too often. Nobody likes stalkers.”

5. Going AWOL

Don’t reach out to a hiring manager or recruiter only to go AWOL after they respond, whatever the reason.

“If you get an email with a request to do something and it may take you time to do it, acknowledge receipt of the email, and let them know that you’re working on it,” Novissimo said. “If you got it and are working on it but they don’t hear back from you, they might think you didn’t get it or are ignoring them.”

6. Being a ‘multi-tasker’

Your communication style can support or sink your candidacy, said Amy Adler, a career coach at Five Strengths. Multitasking is a no-no.

“Don’t answer your phone [when the recruiter or hiring manager calls] if you are truly unavailable,” Adler said. “Hiring managers or HR executives who want to hire you will leave a voice mail, and it’s better for you to collect yourself and find a quiet place to return a call than to accept a call in the middle of a busy restaurant.”

7. Embracing technology, or shouting

With the technology that is available to us today, you may be tempted to respond to a recruiter or hiring manager using a mobile phone or tablet rather than a laptop or PC. Proceed with caution.

“You should always take the time to sit down in front of a computer and craft a well-thought-out email during the application process,” Novissimo said. “It’s not necessarily that you can’t send emails from a mobile device, but just because it says ‘Sent from my iPhone’ don’t think you can send an email with bad grammar, improper punctuation and typos.”

Whenever you take a call, find a place where it’s quiet.

“You always want to speak slowly and clearly, especially if you’re speaking to someone who isn’t in your field,” Novissimo said. “For example, if you’re taking to an HR person, don’t use finance terms that will be over their head. Speak clearly and not too quickly is a critical part of an initial phone interview.”

8. Slacking off at work

Assume that your current firm is monitoring your call activity and email account.

“It should go without saying, but don’t use your current employer’s phone or email to call back or respond to a message,” Adler said.

At the same time, don’t use the or email address that you’ve had since high school, either.

“Have an email address that is proper,” Novissimo said. “A lot of us in our personal lives are goofy clowns with weird email addresses, but when you’re applying to jobs or responding to a recruiter, use an email address that includes your first name and last name or your first initial and last name, making sure that it’s vanilla and generic.’

9. Putting a hiring manager on hold

It’s important to never cut people off when they’re speaking, but it’s equally important to not put a recruiter or hiring manager on hold if you have a scheduled call.

“I don’t care if it’s a million-dollar deal – if your call is scheduled, dedicate that time to the person you’re talking to,” Novissimo said.

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9 tips for networking on Wall Street this summer

Summer is a great time to network, whether you’re attending a conference, a meeting of an industry organization or happy hour at a local watering hole or private club.

However, no matter how many networking occasions you’ve been to, don’t just saunter in without a game plan, fly by the seat of your pants and down a bunch of drinks. Even the most seasoned professional can use a refresher course on how to get the most out of an industry conference and other networking events from time to time.

1. Do your homework before you arrive

It’s best to have a plan of attack before you go to an industry conference or another type of networking event, rather than trying to figure it out as you go.

Do a little research to determine the target audience and the highest-value potential encounters. Who are you likely to meet there? If it’s a conference, are there specific companies you want to connect with? What do you want to gain from them?

“I like to look at the speaker list first,” Melanie Marshak, a managing director in the financial services division at the Execu|Search Group. “Target the people you want to meet and make a list of people you want to look for.”

2. Bring a box of business cards and a pen

“Even though everything is electronic these days, go in with plenty of business cards, hand out a bunch of them and bring a pen to make a note of who that person is when you receive a business card,” Marshak said. “It can be hard to remember details about the people you’ve met after bringing a stack of cards back to the office several days later.”

Also, make sure your social-media profiles are up-to-date.

“A lot of time people lose your business card or they want to see who they spoke to and may ask to connect via social media,” she said.

3. Get there early and stay late

Make sure you get to the event early. “It’s much easier to strategize about who you want to meet with when the morning coffee is first served rather than walking up to a sea of people who are already having conversations when a keynote address or panel is about to start,” Marshak said. “Also, leave late.”

4. Ask good questions and be a good listener

The best way to gain a new contact is to ask something that spurs memorable conversation.

“First, introduce yourself and tell them about you and why you chose to come here today,” said Rebecca Dappen, managing partner at Lucas Group. “Then ask them an interesting question: ‘What’s most interesting to you in our industry, your life, your job or our economy today?

“My personal favorite: ‘What’s the best thing happening in your life today?’” she said. “Avoid general or fluff questions.”

Go up to particular crowds of people in-between sessions, just before or after lunch and during the cocktail hour.

“Either you know someone in the group, or you recognize a speaker or panelist and say, ‘I just saw you speak at the last session, would you mind if I ask you a follow-up question or two?’ or ‘I missed the session, do you have a moment to meet later?’”

5. Define your perfect network

One big mistake people make when networking is not knowing what they want. Maggie Mistal, career consultant and executive coach, suggests going through a three-step process: soul search, research and job search.

“That process supports them in understanding who they are and what they most want from their careers,” Mistal said. “This helps them identify whom they most want to network with – and with social media, it’s easier now more than ever to connect with the right people.”

It’s important to be able to articulate the type of role, the type of company and the type of culture you want to work within.

6. Relax – be professional but don’t talk shop all the time

Don’t appear overanxious. You don’t want to send out the vibe of “OMG, I have to meet you” or, worse, launch into a sales pitch 10 seconds after meeting someone.

“Be very casual, almost like you’re attending a dinner party,” Marshak said. “The conversation doesn’t have to start off with business, or job hunting, or ‘I’m looking for X.’”

7. Be memorable

Too often people leave out important details when telling their career stories. They downplay successes because they don’t want to brag or they’re too busy recounting their hard skills to share the heartfelt reason they have this career aspiration in the first place, Mistal said.

“I’ve uncovered a powerful secret – the elevator pitch with the personal touch,” she said. “It will not only make it easier for you to create your pitch, but it will also make it easier for others to remember you.”

In every case, it is the personal details that stick in people’s mind after a pitch, not your litany of qualifications but your personal story.

“Get personal and you won’t just make a pitch, you’ll make real connections,” Mistal said.

8. Make your rounds, mixing and mingling

Don’t spend too much time talking to one person; rather, work your way from one group to another during coffee breaks and cocktail hours, introducing yourself and exchanging cards. The idea is to cast as wide a net as possible.

“Don’t spend a long time with any single person,” Marshak said. “Weave in and out of groups to maximize the number of people you talk to – don’t come back from the conference saying you didn’t get to speak with everyone you wanted to.”

9. Don’t forget to follow up after the dust settles

After you leave the conference or other networking event, make sure you follow up via email a day or two later.

“Say, ‘I really enjoyed speaking about XYZ – are you available for further conversation over the phone or a follow-up meeting?’” Marshak said. “Use the notes you wrote on the back of their business card to personalize the email as much as possible.”

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Seven ways to negotiate a better offer for your banking job

You polished up your resume, wrote an impressive cover letter, nailed the informational interview and made a strong impression during the in-person interviews. Your excitement builds as you get the impression that the hiring manager likes you. Then the recruiter calls and the firm makes you an offer! But it’s not what you were hoping for. This is the starting point for a better offer.

1. Use your recruiter as an intermediary

If you’ve gone through a recruiter, use them to negotiate a better offer. It minimizes the risk that you’lll sour the relationship with the hiring manager.

Mike Brothers, managing consultant in the investment banking practice at recruiters Michael Page: “If they’re going to offer one of our candidates a position, we’ve already been vetting their comp expectations and discussed any concerns. For junior people, we tend to be the agent [for negotiations], which helps to alleviate any type of awkwardness or a wrong approach on the candidate’s part.”

That is pretty universal.

“About 80% of the time the negotiation is handled by us in conjunction with the candidate – we’re the go-between,” said Christian Novissimo, managing partner of accounting and finance at recruiters Lucas Group.

Both recruiters concede that at certain levels and with certain companies it makes sense for senior candidates to handle negotiations on their own.

“In certain instances for senior execs such as SVPs and MDs, after the initial offer goes out, if there are any fine details to work out, the senior guys do it directly,” Brothers said. “Senior bankers’ job is negotiation and deal-making, so they tend to just do it directly and keep us in the loop.”

2. Plant the seeds of negotiation early

One of the biggest keys to keep in mind when you’re negotiating salary is the timing.

“Long before the offer is about to come, it starts with the first meeting you have, not coming across as overly eager,” Novissimo said. “You want to show excitement about the opportunity and that’s important, but if you make it clear you’ll work there under any circumstances no matter what, that will hurt your leverage.”

3. Set your priorities before making any requests

It’s extremely rare that any offer will check every single box on your wish list. Always prioritize what’s most important to you before making a request or counteroffer.

“Do you care more about money or vacation time? If you win one battle then ask for the other one you actually want more, it’s tougher,” Novissimo said. “Start with what’s most important to you and work from there – if vacation’s not most important don’t start with that.”

4. Know what is and what isn’t negotiable

One big challenge in investment banking is that a lot of firms pay the same salaries for a certain level of experience, especially for analysts, associates and vice presidents. With the more junior people, there is no bonus guarantee but rather a guideline for a target bonus if the candidate performs well.

“Analysts at a mainstream [investment] bank who join straight out of school will earn $85k in year one, $90k in year two and $95k in year three,” Brothers said. “It’s tough if not impossible to negotiate the dollar amount, because most bankers are on lock-step pay scales.”

That said, candidates can try to clarify the trajectory of how they can achieve promotion to the next level, greater exposure to deal-making process and increased deal volume – in fact, most things outside of compensation and, in some cases, benefits may be negotiable.

“Honestly, [for IBD roles] the salary is almost always going to be the same based on your experience, but you can negotiate the timeframe in which you’ll be promoted to the next level,” Brother said.

More experienced candidates may be able to negotiate a higher percentage for the commission they earn on the revenue they generate and sometimes even a guaranteed minimum bonus.

As for the hard salary figure, most companies will give you what they consider a fair increase over what you’re currently earning.

Don’t just focus on base compensation. Bring up other incentives, especially if you have any currently that weren’t mentioned in the prospective employer’s initial offer.

“Think about perks, the opportunity to earn equity, matches on your 401(k), healthcare and other benefits,” Novissimo said. “Anything monetary should be discussed, because it gives you leverage, but you have to be willing to discuss your current comp package in its entirety.”

5. Set the bar higher than what you’re willing to accept

Negotiating is almost always expected. If they make a very aggressive offer and it seems fair, and you still try to negotiation, then it might leave a bad taste. Otherwise, if you do a good job of negotiating respectfully and are reasonable, then it will reflect well on you.

“If they offer a 10% raise on what you’re currently making and you say ‘No, I want 50%,’ they might rescind the offer, but asking for more within reason is fine,” Novissimo said. “Always ask for more than you’d be willing to take within reason.”

6. Draw a line in the sand, then stick to it

Once the negotiations progress to the moment of truth, tell the recruiter or hiring manager that you are willing to give them your official acceptance if you get your must-haves or a specific target figure. Say, “I want to get here and if you do get me there, then I’m accepting.”

“You want to be in a position of power, so you have to be willing to walk away if they are unable or unwilling to offer a package you’re comfortable with,” Novissimo said. “If you’re in a position of desperation, then your leverage is gone, so you have to look ahead.”

7. Don’t overlook the appropriateness of the fit

If they won’t budge, consider whether making a lateral move or accepting smaller raise would’ve liked is better for your career long-term.

If your best negotiating efforts fail to move the needle in a meaningful way, then it’s time to swallow your pride and take stock of your options with a cool head. In some cases, you’re better off accepting the original offer rather than languishing in a less-than-ideal situation at your current employer.

“If there’s compatibility between the banker and the platform, then people will try to make it work on the comp side if the fit is there,” Brothers said. “People tend to be a little bit ridiculous in their comp expectations initially, but negotiations tend to bring people’s expectations down to what’s realistic and what’s not.”

He worked with an investment banking analyst who joined a different product group in more of a transactional role on a more deal-oriented team. The compensation is the same, but because she switched into a new area where she does not have experience, she has to take a step back, waiting an additional six months for a promotion.

“She would’ve been an associate by the end of the summer next year versus the beginning of 2018,” Brothers said. “It’s tough to just directly lateral across, because it takes time to get up to speed with the new product.”

That also happens at the associate level.

“Maybe you’ve done a bunch of pitch work but you’ve only done one or two deals, and you know that the people who get promoted or successfully make the jump to the buy-side are the ones with the most hardcore transactional M&A experience,” Brothers said.

“If you’re able to step in and close 10 or 12 deals in a year or two, then that’s much more significant experience that will hold water as opposed to a lesser deal volume,” he said. “An increase in deal volume, more live transactional experience or an increase in the brand prestige may be worth moving even without a raise.”

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A prospective lawyer’s marketability extends beyond intellect, 
confidence and a firm handshake

Felicia Hoang, senior executive search consultant at Lucas Group, specializes in the placement of attorneys at large and mid-size law firms, in addition to companies. As a member of Lucas Group’s legal division in Houston, Felicia works closely with associates, partners and in-house counsel across Texas.


Meet 2016 Top Female Executive Awards Winner Andi Jennings

Andrea “Andi” Jennings, President and CEO of Lucas Group was the recipient of the 2016 Top Female Executive Awards. The awards recognize female executives who are prominent in their fields and role models in their communities.

We got the chance to catch up with Andi and talk a little bit more about her life growing up in Saint Croix, working for Lucas Group and what makes her strive for excellence.

Andi grew up in Saint Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her family moved there until she was about age 14, when she moved back to the States to Richfield, Connecticut. There she finished high school, attended the University of Connecticut and ended up moving to Atlanta. She has been married for 18 years, though she shared that when she got promoted to CEO her husband ended up reporting to her. But she laughed a little bit about it, saying, “We’ve made it work; we kid around that I’m probably harder on him than any other of my 400 employees.” Her husband, an Air Force Academy graduate, runs the company’s military transition division, which is actually the division that Lucas Group was founded on.

As we began to talk about her career at Lucas Group, I couldn’t help but think of just what a remarkable story it is. “I joined Lucas Group about 40 years ago,” explained Jennings. “I’ve been with the company my entire career. I was still in college. I had not completed college when I moved to Atlanta, and so I was still in school when I started with Lucas Group.” She joined the company by answering an ad in the newspaper for a personal assistant to the CEO. Eventually, she found herself becoming the first female recruiter in the sales and marketing group. At the age of 21, she became a member of the President’s Club and a year later became a General Manager. She was the youngest person in the company’s history to be made a managing partner.

She was named the company’s CEO in 2009, and she’s helped create a culture in the company that cares about people and realizes the impact that they can have in helping someone achieve their goals and have a better life. But is this the career she dreamed about as a kid? You’d be surprised to know that when she was a little girl she actually wanted to be a doctor, but like many of us, the mere sight of blood makes her queasy.

“I can’t see blood,” Jennings joked. “Just the sight of blood makes me faint. I don’t know how I ever thought I could be a doctor. Joining the Lucas Group was a total accident; I had no experience in the field but I’ve always had a heart for people, and that is what drove me to learn this industry and stay in it.”

I asked Andi what she does to help relieve the stress of work. She chuckled, “You’re going to laugh but I work out every day. I’m usually in the office by 7am, and after my day is done and when I’m in town I like to work out after work, either by myself or with a trainer. That is really my stress release and my way of clearing my head after a long day.”

We talked a little more about Saint Croix and what the island has meant to her, and she mentioned how she’s fallen in love with Jamaica. “It’s the people,” said Jennigns. “It’s the people who are kind and they really need tourism to survive, and I feel good about spending my hard-earned money in a country where there is such a need for help.” As she talked about her love for Jamaica, I began to see that her love for people and the culture that she’s helped create at Lucas Group is not just a business model but also something that she practices outside of work.

As we continued to talk about her after-work routine, she mentioned Kenny’s Italian Kitchen and the relationships she’s developed at the restaurant, from the valet people to Chef Kenny Bowers. “On top of my love of working out, one of the things that I treat myself to on a fairly regular basis is [that] I stop at Kenny’s Italian Kitchen and I have a glass of champagne after my workout on the way home.” While she’s not a foodie, she does enjoy cooking and does so on a regular basis. She says her guilty pleasure is her glass of champagne or chardonnay at Kenny’s, but she cooks for herself and her husband as much as she can when she’s at home.

One of my favorite parts of our interview was listening to her talk about the importance of treating everyone with respect and not treating people differently because of their status, the job they may have or where they come from, but rather knowing that people are people and their feelings are important. That, I believe, perfectly sums up Jennings–a person that truly cares about others and practices it in the boardroom, on vacation or out at her favorite restaurant.

As we wrapped up our interview, I asked Jennings to share some last words for our readers and perhaps those who are in a career transition. “No matter what occupation you choose, you have to own the moment. Be the very best you can be every single day whether it’s working out, at work or at home, it’s important that you stay in the moment. It’s important to understand that every time you interact with someone that is your personal brand, and that brand is your legacy.”

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Rewarding Specialisation

A busy US disputes sector makes for a busy market for recruiting disputes partners, but as Andrew Mizner finds out, the real demand lies in specialisation and arbitration.

As money flows back into the US legal market following the 2008 financial crisis, from the outside there seems to be no shortage of demand for US disputes partners.

Beneath the surface, Jon Lindsey, founding partner of US legal recruiter Major, Lindsey & Africa, says there is a good market for recruitment, but “a more limited supply of attractive candidates”.

With litigation losing ground to alternative dispute resolution, those who can bring in a strong practice are sought after, says Lindsey: “Partners who have robust litigation disputes practices are very much in demand; firms still want to add them because it is harder and harder to get market share, as the market seems to be shrinking somewhat.”

Tom Williamson, vice president and general manager of recruiter Lucas Group, says it is a cyclical market – good for disputes, but better for transactional recruitment at the moment, particularly in corporate and real estate.

For litigators, the demand is more for specialists than general commercial litigators, says Williamson: “The demand is not in straight complex commercial litigation, but in the specific subsets of litigation, for example white-collar enforcement investigations, intellectual property and regulatory practices like Food and Drug Administration or government contracts.”

Lindsey highlights the demand for white-collar criminal and investigations recruitment, given its increased importance in the current climate of regulatory scrutiny, while from a law firm’s perspective, being able to serve a client in a white-collar investigation opens the door to act for them in any subsequent civil litigation.


Increasingly commercial litigation work is going to arbitration instead. “More firms are growing their arbitration practices,” says Williamson. Whereas arbitration practices used to be the preserve of only the biggest firms, “now you are seeing more middle-market firm bringing on arbitration partners”, reflected in hiring trends, pointing to the growth of domestic arbitration: “They do not have the international work that the big firms do, so it must be domestic work.”

“International arbitration is [also] increasingly attractive to firms,” Lindsey adds. “There are firms that are not yet doing it, but see the need for it for their clients, because some of their most significant disputes are being resolved through those forums.”

While litigators may feel that they can easily transition to arbitration, specialist skills and familiarity with decision-makers are “very desirable”, says Lindsey.

One legacy of the financial crisis has been increased scrutiny of a wide range of industries, reflected in the popularity of lawyers with experience of conducting investigations for regulators.

Williamson says: “Law firms are asking us to help them find FDA partners, government contracts partners and a whole host of regulatory international trade partners.”


Though firms made cuts during the hard days of the financial crisis, that has now put salaries on a firm footing, says Williamson: “Over the last six or seven years they have reduced their expenses substantially by paring back their support staff and associate group. They have culled their partner constituencies, so that they are profitable and profit per partner continues to grow.”

Lindsey agrees: “The most desirable litigation partners, coming in to a firm as laterals, are doing a little bit better than in previous years, just because there are fewer than them.”

He notes that firms have split opinions on the recruitment of entire practice groups. Some fear that groups will not integrate, and could leave en masse. However, the majority of firms are in favour of mass recruitment, because the number of interviews is reduced, clients are likely to follow and the new partners have an existing support network.

Williamson feels the overall disputes recruitment market will continue to grow, fuelled by globalisation and the number of international transactions, while Lindsey agrees, but warns that the overall spend on outside counsel for litigation will decrease over the next few years. However, “the competition for that high-end work will remain very active and so there will continue to be significant lateral moves”. That trend will surely benefit litigators and legal recruiters alike in 2016.

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Robert Meritt Gives Tips on Landing your Dream Marketing Job

Digital acumen and content marketing skills are the hottest commodities in today’s marketing world, but all the experience in the world won’t help you land your dream job if you can’t effectively communicate your accomplishments. So says Robert Merritt, managing partner of sales and marketing recruiting at Chicago-based executive recruiting firm Lucas Group, who has worked with companies such as Kraft, BP and Diageo, as well as small- to medium-sized firms, over his 10-year recruiting career. Marketing News caught up with Merritt to get his advice on how marketers can build up their own career experience to make themselves more attractive to recruiters and potential employers.

Q: Tell me about your experiences in the marketing recruitment field. What has changed throughout the course of your career?
A: I don’t think there’s been a tremendous amount that’s changed in what people have looked for in sales or marketing professionals. Obviously the technology has changed, and what companies are doing has changed at a rapid rate. Recruiting used to be about access. It used to be about a rolodex of contacts that a person has accumulated throughout their career, and, as long as you had access to talent, you provided something of value to your client. Access is still important today, but recruiting isn’t about access anymore. If you have a LinkedIn account, you have the ability to get access to the same tools that every firm in the marketplace is using, whether they want to tell you the truth or not. Access isn’t what our business is about. Our business is about marketing, being able to identify, engage, position and sell our client’s opportunity to the candidate pool. That has changed drastically. Because access is everywhere, there’s so much competition and people have more connectivity and more options. Recruiters have to be really good at crafting the message about who their client is and go out in the marketplace and identify the number of people that match that profile and engage with them. When they do engage, you have to be able to capitalize on that conversation and convert them into interested candidates. That’s the real paradigm shift we’ve seen in the last five to 10 years in the recruiting industry.

Q: What are sales and marketing recruiters looking for in an ideal candidate?
A: In sales and marketing, the search changes from client to client. A few of the commonalities that always stay the same are that we’re looking for really high-impact individuals: A person who is able to bring both quantitative as well as qualitative data to the conversation. Qualitative data in the sense that they’ve experienced great things in their professional career and they have great accomplishments to talk about, and they can weave that story. Quantitative data is really the results that they’ve been able to drive in their organization. In the world of marketing, that’s become so paramount. With all of the new platforms in the world of marketing, and the ability to measure activity, there’s really no room for fluff anymore. We want to see both a marketer that understands how to connect with their consumer and also knows how to analyze and drive the data that shows what they’ve been able to do. When I say ‘high-impact,’ I mean someone who can tell a really impactful story about what they were asked to do, what the strategy would be, how they pulled through the strategy, and the quantitative results at the end of the day.

Finding holistic marketers is becoming harder and harder, and the marketing function is fragmenting more every year. There are more technical specializations, and each marketer has to know their specific area of focus, be highly specialized and have great technical aptitude. As they rise up the chain, they need to be able to understand how all of the parts of the system work together. They don’t necessarily have to be an expert in that one particular area, but they definitely have to be able to pull together internal and external teams, and get everybody focused in a common direction and understand how all of these levers have to be pulled in order to effectuate the desired outcome.

Q: What skills or experience are your clients asking for when it comes to new sales or marketing talent?
A: Digital [experience] obviously is one of the most common that we run into in the marketplace. The major areas are paid media and paid search, and SEM experts. We hear a tremendous amount about research and analytics roles: Data science, consumer insights and marketing analytics positions are very hot in the marketplace right now. Understanding the digital ecosystem and the full digital stack and how it works together is important. Content and content marketing is something that we’ve seen more and more of in the last 12 months, and it’s because companies don’t know how to distribute their content. They don’t know all of the different channels at their disposal. People have been creating content for years, so that’s not really the problem. It’s how you build a process to understand what your consumer wants to read and how to get it in front of them in an appropriate manner.

Q: What’s your advice for marketers for beefing up their career experience, LinkedIn profiles and résumés to advance their careers and make themselves more attractive to recruiters and potential employers?
A: Anybody who is looking to make a career move has to have a vision of where they want to go. A former CEO told me, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will take you there.’ If you don’t know where you want to go, then you have no idea how to make decisions based on future career opportunities. You have to have an end goal. It could be long term, a CMO positon or a CEO position, but you have to have an end goal and the steps to get there. You have to be able to have a career mindset that’s not married to title, rank or authority, but more so married to skill sets and opportunity. You have to be on the lookout for opportunity because if you’re not, it will present itself and you won’t respond to that e-mail or take that phone call. You have to put yourself in a position where, no matter what the situation is, you will do your best to engage in an open dialogue with the external world that will allow you to keep your ear on the marketplace and see opportunities. Ultimately, something will come across your desk that gets you excited. Don’t shut yourself off. Have a real idea of where you want to go, and do your best to plan your career in that sense. If you do that, you’ll make more good career decisions than bad.

Build your résumé around the stories—the things you accomplished—and the numbers. That thing should read like a baseball card. If a person is going into an interview process and they have a technical specialization with paid media, that person needs to have put a lot of thought into what they’ve done in their past, the technical areas they’ve worked to develop, and how the organizations used their technical skills to drive results. When someone goes into an interview, eight times out of 10, they know more about their individual specialization than the person sitting across the table, and if they don’t communicate what they’ve done and how they did it, they could lose their audience. You could be an overachiever in that role, but because there’s an information gap between the interviewer and the person being interviewed, some talent falls between the cracks. So when you’re going into an interview process, take control of your own destiny.

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The worst job interview questions Wall Street hiring managers ask – and how you should respond to them

Financial services firms’ hiring managers aren’t perfect. Even the ones with the most experience conducting interviews will occasionally ask a question that is just plain bad, whether it be deceptive, confusing, irrelevant, blasé, scripted, rude or even offensive. While the latter is rare, the point is that candidates must not let themselves get thrown off guard during an interview. They should be prepared to respond to any question that hiring managers throw their way without missing a beat, however questionable the interviewer’s judgment in asking it in the first place.

Here are some of the worst interview questions that Wall Street hiring managers ask, along with some suggestions for how to respond.

If you were an animal/color, what type of animal/color would you be?

The purpose of such as question is to test the creativity of the candidate.

“In a finance role, creativity is not necessarily what [hiring managers] are looking for,” said Christian Novissimo, managing partner of accounting and finance at Lucas Group, an executive search firm. “It might put a candidate under pressure and force them to think on their feet, but perhaps it’s not best suited for financial professionals who are more quantitative.”

Find a creative way to steer the conversation back to your skills and experience.

Why don’t you tell me a joke? What are your hobbies? (Etc.)

Most hiring managers have never studied effective interviewing methodology and ask questions that might not seem relevant or go after indications of future success.

“Most managers are looking to solve a problem and don’t want to bash the potential solution with questions designed to have people fail,” said Peter Laughter, CEO of Wall Street Services. “If candidates get questions that are off topic, it is important to identify the concern behind the question and speak to that concern.”

If the question is “Why don’t you tell me a joke?” perhaps the concern is whether or not the candidate will be able to fit into an office culture that values humor. Oblige if you can, preferably something that ties into the particular role or the industry in general.

What is 13 cubed? What is the square root of 100,000? (Etc.)

In both of these examples, hiring managers care less about the candidate giving the correct answer and more about the approach the individual takes to solve it.

“Lately, firms have been asking more non-modeling questions,” said Simon Lewis, managing director and head of the banking & financial services practice of Page Executive and Michael Page. “They have been asking brain-teasers to see how candidates react to unexpected questions they wouldn’t otherwise prepare for.”

If you owned the George Washington Bridge, for how much would you sell it to me?

This or something similar sometimes crops up in an interview for a sales or IBD role at a financial institution.

The best way to respond would be to guesstimate the approximate value of the scrap metal that could be salvaged from the bridge.

“I would guess it wouldn’t help hiring managers too much,” Novissimo said. “Some are working off of a script and don’t always understand what they’re looking for.

“Assuming it’s a question that’s not illegal, just unusual, being honest the best way to attack it,” he said. “No one wants to deal with someone who is too good to answer a question.”

What’s one of your weaknesses? What are you weak at?

The stock answer to this question always used to be, “I work too hard,” but nobody wants to hear that anymore.’

“They want you to be humble and honest,” Novissimo said. “Take the question and rephrase it, for example, ‘In the past, an area of improvement for me has been…’”

“Identify it, and say ‘This is what I’ve done to get better at it,’ acknowledging that you’re not perfect but that you’ve taken steps to become more perfect,” he said.

Taking a negative and rephrasing it to be a positive is a tried-and-true tactic for financial services candidates to respond well to potentially unflattering questions.

“One thing I tell candidates, be honest and answer the question as best as you can,” Novissimo said. “Figure out what the positive piece of the question is, rephrase it and answer it in a way that highlights your strengths.”

How many gas stations are there in the U.S.? How many ping pong balls could you fit into this room? (Etc.)

This is another common type of question that catches people off guard, and there are a lot of different ways to ask it. Financial services professionals need to be quantitative, so hiring managers want to gauge whether they can think on their feet and arrive at a good answer.

Start by estimating that a ping pong ball is approximately one inch by one inch, and go from there. Hiring managers want to see your ability to quantify a number and explain how you got that answer.

“Especially people in quantitative roles, it requires making assumptions, so sometimes you need to make educated assumptions, demonstrate the ability to think quickly on your feet and derive a good answer,” Novissimo said.

In responding to such as question, the most important thing is to not get flustered.

“Usually when hiring managers ask weird or ridiculous questions, it’s just to see how you react, so give a clear, concise, well-thought-out response,” he said. “Don’t not respond or talk about something else – it’s always best to answer as best as you can.”

How many trains are active on the New York City subway system at any given time?

This is another example of a question that stumps candidates but is really just designed to get a sense of how you work out problems.

“Generally hiring managers just want a window into how you think and that you can articulate it clearly – so just work out the problem out loud and talk about the additional information you would need to solve it,” Laughter said.

How much profit do you think the New York Philharmonic Orchestra makes in a year?

Factors to take into consideration include ticket prices, fixed costs and the salaries of the musicians, Lewis said.

What is the insurance cost of a motorcycle rental firm if the firm has 100 bikes to rent out?

Come up with a systematic approach to tackling the question, and talk the hiring manager through it step-by-step, explaining your logic, which could be effective even if you don’t come up with an exact figure.

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Six ways for bankers to survive the layoffs of 2016

So you’ve heard whispers that your company is going to lay people off. During the process of deciding which employees to keep and which to let go, senior executives consider a wide range of factors – and many are outside of employees’ control. That said, there are effective strategies for making a positive impact on how you are perceived in the office and preparing for the next stage of your career, regardless of whether or not the axe actually falls on you.

Here’s how to avoid the chopping block – or at the very least position yourself to land on your feet if you are made redundant.

1.Get ready for your next move early on

While a lot of investment banks are indeed planning a round of layoffs, others are hiring. It is better to take the initiative and make a move on your own terms, especially if the writing is on the wall, rather than sit back, wait for pink slips to be handed out and hope that you don’t get one.

“If there are layoffs coming, you should be mentally prepared for that – get your resume ready,” says Jessica Glazer, president, CEO and recruitment director of MindHR Placement Agency. “People think, ‘If I do all these things, then I’m going to be safe,’ but maybe no one is safe – maybe the company will close up shop tomorrow.”

Mentally prepare yourself to find another job, then check to see what other jobs are out there that you’re qualified for. Look to take a step up career-wise, rather than a lateral move, if at all possible.

Once you start hearing rumblings about potential redundancies, you have to take care of yourself.

“People may be loyal to the company, but the company won’t be necessarily be loyal to them,” says Glazer.

2. Don’t join in water-cooler gossip or speculation with colleagues.

When rumours about job insecurity start to spread, sometimes the gossip mill starts to churn and employees may turn on each other. Some people may bad-mouth colleagues, which is a big no-no, especially in the office, but also at happy hour, conferences and other work-related events.

“Don’t participate in gossip or ask colleagues speculative questions about potential layoffs,” says Glazer. “Don’t talk about it – stay away from the gossip, or at least don’t participate in it.

“Be part of the solution,” she says. “If you’re working productively, then there’s no reason for them to lay you off.”

3. Keep your skills sharp.

Seek out whatever professional development, training, certification, credential or education courses that your firm will pay for and that you can fit into your schedule. If your company does not offer anything of the sort, then consider paying for a key course or two out of your own pocket. This is particularly relevant if, after looking at what jobs are out there, you realise there’s a gap in your skillset.

“Take advantage of training courses so that you are able to do your job better, work in a more efficient manner and bring some more skills to the team that other coworkers don’t have,” says Anya Hurtado, executive senior partner in the contract services practice at Lucas Group, a recruiting firm.

“Make yourself a go-to person in a particular area by developing a unique skillset, which is something we see top candidates possessing,” she says.

4. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

Engaging in red-flag behavior such as using company property for personal business, insubordination, misconduct and violating company policy will make it easy on firm decision-makers looking to trim the fat.

In addition, there are lesser offenses such as sending an off-color tweet or surfing non-work-related websites on your work computer that can be a mark against you. Wait until you’re out of the office to check Facebook, watch funny cat videos and play Candy Crush.

“We see a ton of companies that monitor the internet, and some employees are online and looking at Facebook and other outside sites, which doesn’t send the message that they’re optimizing productivity,” Hurtado says.

When you’re at work, only engage in work-related activities. It sounds like a basic piece of advice, but many people don’t abide by it. Employees who are easily distracted could be seen as expendable.

“In addition to having a plan of attack for each day, be proactive about what you need to get done, rather than reactive,” Hurtado said. “Set aside at least an hour where you step away from checking email and shut off your mobile phone.

5. Demonstrate the right attitude.

Job cuts aren’t fun. The spectre of layoffs can create a doom-and-gloom atmosphere around the office. Be above it all. Rather than looking over your shoulder for potential backstabbers, engaging in negativity or letting the stress get to you, go about your business with your usual level of professionalism.

“Be engaged to show your employer that you want to be there – be positive about your week and demonstrate that you’re happy to be there,” Hurtado says. “You want to show your supervisor that you’re interested in your role and invested in your company, taking active role in the company culture.

“Continue participating in activities that the company organizes,” she says. “A lot of it is really more so an attitude versus a specific thing you can do, always being open to learning and growth – that’s huge.”

Hurtado believes that being receptive to constructive criticism and making changes can make a difference when companies are having to make tough decisions about who they want to keep and who they lay off.

6. Be a proactive problem-solver so that your manager takes notice.

The most important piece of advice is to continue doing great work.

Redundancy decisions are usually out of your control, but often there’s an active role to play by stepping it up a notch.

Companies that have to layoff employees look to keep top performers and employees who are making a difference consistently.

“Look at your work every day and make a realistic assessment, ‘Am I really engaged in my job and my work all day every day?’” Hurtado says.

“We unfortunately will come across companies that come to us and say, ‘We have this person in the role, and they come to work every day, but they’re really not efficient and not doing their job well … they seem resigned to work here rather than taking an active interest,’” she says.

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Inside the new ways Goldman Sachs recruits millennials

For the last year or so, Goldman Sachs has been selling itself as a technology company. The 146-year-old investment bank rarely misses the chance to tell any audience that a third of its employees are now engineers, and that tech is at the heart of everything it does, including recruiting.

“What we are doing in recruiting is evolutionary, not revolutionary,” said Edith Cooper, executive vice president and global head of human capital management.
Two years ago, Goldman started thinking about recruiting in the digital age, looking beyond on-campus visits, alumni networks and the initial one-person review of a candidate’s resume.

The changes implemented since then mean Goldman now pursues students from a wider pool of colleges. It is using targeted ads and recruiting messages to attract key segments of the student population, all in an effort to make sure the incoming class of analysts has the right mix of diversity.

It is also using technology to mine the thousands of online resumes submitted each year to the firm, looking for key words, accomplishments and experiences that are similar to those used by successful Goldman hires.

“The online resume has created a database of experience,” Cooper said. “We are looking at ways to leverage technology to get the right people.”

Along with those with the necessary smarts, Cooper said Goldman looks for people who can adapt and step out of their comfort zone. Those are the type of people who will be successful at Goldman, she said.

To find those students, Goldman is casting a wider net, thanks again to the use of technology. The front line of this effort is its website, It features video testimonials by analysts about their Goldman experience.

On YouTube there are a number of videos Goldman has produced about working at the firm, with one featuring CEO Lloyd Blankfein giving advice to Goldman’s summer interns. The firm has also hosted Google Hangouts, has a mobile careers app and more recently started advertising on Snapchat.
These 10-second ads run on Snapchat’s “Campus Stories,” a series of live pieces that run on select college campuses including Syracuse, Penn State, Texas Tech and others. Anyone looking to post on Campus Stories must have phone proof that they’ve been in or around the campus in the last 24 hours.

Goldman targets three specific types of students with the ads: community leaders, entrepreneurs and technologists, looking to connect with them in person if the bank has a recruiter in the area.
“We are trafficking in the space our candidates operate in,” Cooper said.

Aram Lulla, a national practice leader at the Lucas Group and author of “Recruiting and Managing Millennials,” said having a strong social media presence is key to attracting recent graduates. But he also said millennials like to have great culture and a belief in the organization and its mission. It is Goldman’s mission and culture that it is promoting in those online testimonials and in the YouTube videos.
The change in its recruiting strategy is one of several Goldman has made to attract and retain its millennial hires. The firm recently revamped its program for junior investment bankers to keep them from bolting for other companies after two years The training program now runs three years and Goldman is changing the timeline for promotions and bonuses, all in an effort to keep these in-demand employees at the firm.
As for first-year hires, despite some speculation it is losing talent to Silicon Valley, Goldman said the applicant pool for analysts, or first-year hires, rose 9 percent this year to 50,000 applicants. It hired 3 to 4 percent of those applicants, many of whom came from schools outside the ivied halls of schools you might typically link to Goldman like Harvard, Yale or Stanford.

Half of the class hailed from 218 U.S. colleges, a 60 percent increase from the number of U.S schools represented in 2004.

“We want our candidates to be as diverse as possible,” Cooper said. “And by diversity I mean not just by gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, but to come from different academic experiences and geographies.”

The company said there is a comprehensive set of schools it targets, though it declined to give names.

Cooper said the list includes the largest public universities because their size, diversity of population and wide range of majors provide Goldman with a deep pool of talent from which to pull. Goldman also continues to focus its recruiting efforts on liberal arts colleges and top-rated schools in the U.S.

One person familiar with the change in recruiting mentioned Georgia Tech as a new addition to the targeted schools — no surprise given Goldman’s increasing focus on technology.

These days, 35 percent of its first-year hires majored in a STEM, or science, technology, engineering or math disciplines; that is up from 20 percent a couple of years ago. Goldman said the shift is logical given the role tech plays in its clients’ businesses and its own increased focus on technology, which touches every aspect of its business from client advice to trading to risk management.

Even the way interviews are done is being changed by technology. A Skype interview now allows Goldman to reach students it may not be able to meet face to face, initially.

“While tech can inform our search, this is also a people business,” Cooper said. “Tech cannot replace the human dialogue.”

Face-to-face interviews, maybe in the second round, remain a critical part of the recruiting process. Cooper said it remains important not only for Goldman to see the candidate in person to evaluate them, but also for the candidate to meet face to face with Goldman employees to make sure the firm is the right fit for the applicant.

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