Please Relax!

I’ve been seeing more posts about the need for speed in talent acquisition. I get it, really I do! I make a living when candidates receive and accept offers.

Some things rightfully take time and organizations have a process for evaluating talent. As important as it is to have the “right” talent, can you blame them? Candidates, are you prepared to limit the field of “right” career opportunities to only those who get to the offer stage more quickly than others?

And by the way, does anyone really believe that being overly aggressive with your potential new employer (or employee for that matter) really sets up the right dynamic for a continued relationship?

Please, Don’t Hire Friends!

Really, don’t do it – don’t hire friends! At least don’t hire them because they are your friends.

I know – they really are a great person, they have a strong work ethic, communicate well, get along with seemingly everyone. Shouldn’t they have the skills as well as the attributes you defined as being necessary for success in the role. You took the time to define the role, right? Don’t give in and skip this step. Grandmother Dierker used to say (I hated it when she said this) “if you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over!”

Twice in the past 30 days I’ve heard “You’re right, I need someone who is actually capable of doing this job. How do I fire someone who a) attends my church or b) has a child on my child’s team?” Sorry, no easy answer – but yes, you have to do it!

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We’re ALL Millennials

Are you spending time trying to figure out the Millennials on your team?  Many of the Baby Boomers in leadership are convinced Millennials just won’t stay loyal to one employer for long.  I’ve believed for a long time that generalizing about generations is just too easy and relieves us of any responsibility to work on methods to improve retention.

Chason Hecht, CEO of leading employee retention consulting firm Retensa ( as quoted in the May 2017 Journal of Accountancy (yes I still read it!) sees things differently also – “There’s very little evidence that Millennials lack loyalty.  What they lack is a tolerance for boredom, discontentment and disengagement, for feeling disconnected from their peers, community, and society.” He makes a compelling case that it’s not just Millennials who feel this way but in fact all generations of employees are more likely to leave work they find unsatisfying. Add to this an improving economy, employees of every age being better connected and more likely to become aware of a new opportunity (read LinkedIn), and that same increased connectivity allowing someone to get a more accurate picture of a potential new employer and the result is more professionals of every generation willing to take the risk of leaving.

Remember – We’re ALL Millennials!

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Ready to Sell?

Your company of course, but perhaps not in the way you’re thinking. In every discipline our firm serves the proverbial “war for talent” is on. Most organizations will do their homework before beginning the search – 1) prepare the position profile and outline both skills and attributes requirements, and 2) define the parameters of salary and bonus. Armed with this information your talent acquisition partners (internal and external) have developed several excellent candidates for you to consider. Now all that is left is for you to interview and choose, wrong!

In this tight market for talent you need to SELL! Please don’t overthink this. Based on what we hear from candidates about interview experiences just doing the basics will put you ahead of much of the competition.

1) Be on time for the interview. 48% of respondents to a national survey about interviewer behavior said this negatively influenced their impression of the company.
2) Set your smartphone to Do Not Disturb.
3) Have the candidate’s resume’ and interview notes. Here’s an idea – read it in advance, highlight it and be prepared to ask specific and meaningful questions relevant to the opportunity. Appearing unprepared for the interview was cited as a negative influence by 47% of the respondents in the same study about interviewer behavior.
4) Review their LinkedIn profile – yes this has become basic!

“Workforce Crisis” Published 1992

“Workforce Crisis” witten by Dychtwald, Erickson and Morrison and published in 1992 suggested

That the massive boomer generation was beginning to retire and coupled with declining birth rates leading to less younger workers, would lead to a brain drain. 

Was “Workforce Crisis” correct?  What is your experience today?  Is finding talent more difficult and perhaps more expensive than ever?  Are valuable projects and other initiatives being delayed for lack of qualified staff?  What strategies are you encouraging today in 2017 to be ready for the next wave of economic growth that may already be happening?

The Authors provided some advice in 1992 that maybe still valuable today.  Read on…

(1)    What skills will you be needing?

(2)    When will retirements hit?

(3)    Why do your employees stay or leave?

(4)    What are your sources for talent?

(5)    What academic feeder programs are you developing?


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Duke Has Always Known It’s the Players

OK, you’re expecting some praise for Duke basketball from a closet Dukie. Sorry, while I don’t hate Christian Laettner, I do not like Duke basketball.

J. B. Duke, the Duke who the university and Duke Energy is named for knew in the late 1800’s that the business success that would propel him to incredible wealth and subsequent philanthropy was all about the people. This quote from one of his biographies “Bold Entrepreneur” by Robert F. Durden summarizes it very well: “one of the most important keys, or secrets, to Duke’s remarkable career: he was an extremely keen judge of men and of their character and ability. Moreover, when he spotted someone whose talent he respected and whom he judged to be reliable and trustworthy, he treated them fairly, respectfully, and generously……J.B. Duke’s success in enterprises owed a great deal to highly talented people who worked with and for him, and who generally remained loyally with him throughout their careers.”

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How Many Jobs in a Career?

I was recently asked to speak at a career day at Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills, Kentucky. One of the issues we discussed was the number of job changes you can have before being considered a job hopper. I believe this article contains valuable information regarding timing of job changes for people at any stage of their career.

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Winds of change at MicroSoft-Azure

The winds of change are blowing at Microsoft, and rarely so clearly as in the company’s product lines for software developers.

Just about a year ago, Microsoft paid around $400 million for Xamarin, a startup that lets programmers write their code once and easily turn it into an app for PCs, Macs, Android, iPhone, and almost anything else. And Xamarin feeds right into that strategy, says de Icaza of MicroSoft. “It turns out that Xamarin developers have an affinity for [Microsoft] Azure [cloud] services,” he says. If you use Xamarin to build an app, you’re more likely to use Azure to power it on the backend, too. 

Pre-acquisition, Xamarin already had a sizable customer base. Now, even Microsoft’s big business customers are getting in on the action. Many of them already use Visual Studio to do their programming, so the addition of Xamarin greatly simplifies their process of making apps for multiple operating systems. 

“We are getting lots of requests from companies that want to build on Xamarin,” says Liuson (MicroSoft). In fact, she says, British Airways is using it to build all of their apps for multiple operating systems, letting them have one core programming team rather than one for each platform.

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KEEP UP! Lessons I Learned Caddying

The final directive to the assembled pre-teens at the first Monday caddy school was to “keep up!”  What our caddymaster Pat Higgins really meant was “stay ahead!” What golfer who has the privilege of taking a caddy wants to look for his own ball?  When I first started caddying I would lag behind my golfer when I wasn’t entirely sure where the ball had traveled thinking I would be forgiven for being a couple of steps slow but not for failing to follow the flight of the ball.  What I learned was they knew I didn’t see the ball and thought I was a couple of steps slow.  The lesson I learned was to get ahead of the game, be the first to arrive at the most likely landing area and furiously survey the area to increase the likelihood of being the one to discover the right answer.

I didn’t realize I was neglecting this lesson early in my CPA firm career until an audit manager said “make a decision and move on, we didn’t hire you because you know what to do every time, we hired you because we believed you were smart and will make good decisions about what to do!”  I struggle at times to do the work that allows me to keep up – listening to and learning from others (in formal training sessions and informal settings) and making time to read.  At a recent Ohio Society of CPA’s continuing education session the instructor (a former national firm partner) said something I made a point of writing down and capturing in the Evernote app on my phone – “Your only consistent value add is in decision making and that comes from the training and practice that informs your sound analytical thinking combined with your objectivity and judgement.”

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