Sunday, September 24, 2017

Oh Say Can You See?

Exactly one year ago I posted this:

I think it’s fair to say that the “anthem protest” movement has not gone away. What was a fire just got a load of “Trump Regular” poured on it and has turned into a blazing inferno.

My opinion hasn’t changed. I think the athletes are undermining their cause and alienating the very audience they could influence if they expressed themselves in other ways. But, this is America and it’s their right to protest. While their employers could fire them if their actions are “unreasonable” and legitimately damage the enterprise, I don’t think any team owners are inclined to fight that battle in this day and age. And I don’t see sponsors pulling out over this.

The NFL has a bigger problem: Most of the games are really boring. Attendance is down. Who wants to spend so much money to watch a boring game? Viewership may also be down. I’m not sure anyone knows given all of the different media options that now exist. And then there are the questions about concussions and the dangers associated with the sport. And if that were not enough there always seems to be a headline about some player beating up on their wife or girlfriend. Colleges and even high schools have their own issues, but they play a more exciting style of football and the fans seem to be more emotionally invested in their teams.

But the real story here is not about football. In September 2017, the real story is that our President has now decided to wade in on this “anthem protest” issue. I guess at this point I should not be surprised . I’m on the record, I voted for him. No way I could have voted for Hillary. In hindsight I should have just written in someone, anyone…ABT. But, I did what I did. It didn’t make a difference in the outcome. Texas was in the bag for the Republicans. And maybe it was for the best that I did vote for Trump. Otherwise, I would be over-the-top in criticizing his behavior. As it stands, I have to hold back just a bit.

But he really is pushing all of The Progressives' Hot Buttons. I don’t think it’s a winning strategy. The battle is always for the middle ground and Trump is losing that battle. Even those of us who lean more to the right than to the left, are frustrated and increasingly worried about his behavior. Those who lean left have quickly moved further away from him. The hardcore Pro-Trumpers are still there, but like Trump, they are stuck. This is a Presidency that is going nowhere except maybe backwards. The deck was stacked against him to begin with and he has continued to overplay his hand time and again.

The Democrats do not have any answers, but will win big in the mid-terms because they are anti-Trump. I have my doubts that Trump will serve out his term and if he does he will not be the Republican candidate in 2020. He might run, but it will be as an Independent or as the head of his own Trump party. If the Democrats can find a semi-moderate candidate they will win the White House. But it’s almost reached the point, where I’m not sure it even matters.

Oh say can you see? I think most of us can. The nation is being pulled apart by the extremists on the left and the right. The debt just keeps piling up and the things that need to be fixed (healthcare, infrastructure, taxes, education, immigration…just to name a few) remain nothing but talking points for the next election cycle. America is still a great nation and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. But damn it, we are making one hell of an effort to ruin it.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ghostbusters Part II

A few weeks ago we looked at “ghosting” and how it applies to the recruiting world. “Ghosting”- The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone. Part I introduced the concept and how it looks when the recruiter gets “ghosted” by the candidate. In Part II we’ll turn it around and consider what’s happening when the candidate gets ghosted by the recruiter.

Recruiters ghosting candidates is a big deal. On almost any career-oriented website you’ll find comments from frustrated candidates regarding the lack of communication from recruiters. Whether they are working directly with the company or a third-party recruiter, the reports are similar:

“I submitted my resume and they requested additional information, which I provided. I did not hear back from them. I’ve called and emailed. No response. That’s just rude.”

“I interviewed with the recruiter and they said they would get back to me. I waited a week and contacted them. No response. I’ve called or emailed several more times over the past month and got nothing back. The least they could do is let me know if I’m still being considered or not.”

“I had several phone interviews and they said the next step would be in-person interviews with the hiring authority and other members of the management team. Since then I’ve never heard another word. I’d just like to know what’s going on.”

“I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs and rarely do I get any response. Maybe a computer generated acknowledgement, but that’s about it. I know I’m qualified for these positions. What’s going on with these recruiters ?”

OK, I will be the first to admit that job seekers have some valid complaints about how they are treated by recruiters and/or prospective employers. However, some of the complaints are the result of unrealistic candidate expectations. So we should talk about what candidates should expect and how they should communicate with recruiters, specifically third-party recruiters, aka headhunters.

Let’s start at the beginning. Say you email your resume to a search firm and based on the information available on the firm’s website, it’s reasonable to assume that they may have clients who would have interest in you as a candidate. In that case, at minimum you deserve a confirmation that they have received your information. Beyond that, it’s unrealistic to expect anything more.

Moving on, let’s say that the search firm requests additional information. Perhaps they ask you to complete a questionnaire or profile of some sort. Perhaps even submit references. When you submit that additional information, you deserve an acknowledgement. Beyond that, don’t expect more. Trust me, if the search firm thought they could place you, they would follow up and you would have a conversation with a recruiter.

So let’s assume that you do have a conversation with the recruiter. The feedback you get from the recruiter should fall into one of four categories: No Way, Unlikely, Maybe, or Yes. At least that’s how I approach it. Honesty can be brutal, but I try to soften the blow as much as possible.

A discussion about these four categories is a whole other issue and I think I’ll write a separate post about them. But regardless of which response you get, your expectations with respect to future communication with the recruiter should be realistic. If you’re going to get an interview with one their client companies, that recruiter will contact you. If the recruiter thinks he may have something that will fit and he wants to run it past you, that recruiter will contact you. Beyond that, don’t expect the recruiter to contact you “just to check in”. That may or may not happen. If you want to “check in” with the recruiter, that’s fine. That doesn’t mean every day. Maybe once or twice a month and via email or text. And you do deserve a response to that communication.

Now let’s take it one step further. Assume that you interview with one of the search firm’s client companies. This is where it gets a bit complicated. If it’s just an initial phone screen with an HR person, there may be very little to report. You will give the recruiter your feedback on the interview and the recruiter will make their best effort to get feedback from HR. If it’s positive, most of time there will be confirmation that you are likely moving forward in “the process”. Sometimes, it’s just "your information is being forwarded to the hiring authority”. Could be positive, could mean nothing. And sometimes, it’s just a no. If time goes by before that recruiter gets the feedback and if the feedback is such that no further action is likely…DO NOT be surprised if the recruiter doesn’t contact you. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s reality. Good recruiters are really busy. Again, you should be following up with the recruiter on the status of the opportunity. And that recruiter should absolutely respond to you.

Then there is the grand finale. You go for in-person interviews with the client company. You definitely should expect feedback from the recruiter. But as these things tend to drag out over time, don’t expect the recruiter to contact you weeks later to let you know the company hired someone else. Again, you should initiate periodic contact with the recruiter as to the status of the position and they should absolutely respond to your inquiries.

Here’s the bottom-line. Recruiters are motivated to establish, develop and maintain strong relationships with quality candidates. Recruiters are also very busy and their first priority will be working those things which are “closest to money”. Good recruiters are managing hundreds of candidate relationships and dozens of client relationships. Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Don’t be that special snowflake who melts because the mean old recruiter didn’t get back to you. Initiate contact with your recruiter, stay in contact. If for some reason they don’t return a phone call or an email, contact them again. Things slip through the cracks. But if they fail to get back to you after that, you can fairly say that you’ve been ghosted.

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Monday, September 4, 2017

But Every 1000 Years or So…..

I’ve been trying to write Ghostbusters Part 2 for about a week now. But all of my thoughts keep going back to “Harvey”. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in Houston. It’s a great area full of great people. I can do without the humidity and my DNA is more West Texas. But Houston is Texas. Heck it’s pretty much the birthplace of the Republic.

And Houston is a melting pot. DFW is diverse, no question. But Houston takes it to a whole other level. Every race, ethnicity and religious (or non-religious) persuasion is well-represented there. It is a “global” city and one of the most important economic hubs in the world.

And it is flood-prone. I’ve been down there twice when there were floods. Nothing even close to this, but bad enough one time that I was stuck there for three days. Over the years, they have taken steps to deal with too much water. But, you don’t know what you don’t know, and no one knew it would ever rain this much. Can you prepare for it? Could something have been done. Probably. It only takes money. But no one is much inclined to invest in ways to manage a disaster that has never happened and probably never will.

But then it happens. The critics and second-guessers will be all over this. Once everybody is safe and the water goes down, get ready for the woulda, shoulda, coulda’s. We will learn something from Harvey and maybe the next time, a thousand years from now or next week, we’ll do better. But, honestly I am amazed at how well the city, county, state and federal authorities have handled this unprecedented disaster. And then there are the everyday people. Wow, did they ever step up and show what Americans (and Texans , of course) can do when bad things happen.

Some folks will shake their fists at God and ask how could He let such a thing happen. Some will blame global warming and say they told us so. Some will say this is just what happens when too many people choose to live in a coastal flood plain. And some of us will simply say that we live in a broken world. This is what it is. We can do better and must do better. But chaos, destruction and death are baked into the recipe of the life we live on this planet. And if that were all there is and then it’s over…now that truly would be a tragedy.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4