April 2018 was my second year attending theRSA conferencein San Francisco. The conference is an annual gathering of leading information security companies and professionals from around the world. Since I specialize inrecruiting top talentfor cybersecurity technology leaders, RSA is a MUST on my calendar each spring.
The conference tends to remind me a bit of a carnival for adults:
There are popcorn machines at every corner
Each vendor booth competes to be the flashiest and most eye-catching
Free stuff everywhere: t-shirts and other swag, artists drawing caricatures of people, you name it.
All the way down to the cheap attempts to draw visitors to their booths by having attractive women dressed up in pigtails and short skirts (THAT is a whole separate blog topic…)
I remember that first year thinking“where the hell am I?”Yet once the glitter and shine faded away, I was able to make a better assessment of the experience in its entirety. This year I wasn’t as distracted by the masses of people, food, amusements and flashing lights. I was a smarter, less distracted and way more successful attendee.
I’d like to share some of my observations and experiences–in the event you will be attending the RSA conference, or any large conference in the future, and help you get the most out of it:
As a seasoned executive recruiter, I cannot stress enough how difficult it has been lately to get the dots connected between my clients and candidates. By dots I mean it being a "candidate-driven" climate, with unemployment at an all-time low of 4%.
The candidates of “today”, including recent college grads, have many, many employment options. Most industries, including manufacturing, are booming and companies need to hire many more talented folks. Great problem to have, right? One would think so. Yet, I have recently experienced most clients not moving fast enough with their offer letters and losing great candidates to their competitors.
So WHY are employers wasting time over extending job offers? If I can make one important suggestion it is this: PULL THE [email protected]#$ING TRIGGER IF THE CANDIDATE ROCKS YOUR WORLD, because I assure you that he/she will be gone tomorrow!!
June 26 was my 1 year anniversary as an Insurance Recruiter with Hobson Associates, and what a year it has been! Deals came together, deals fell apart, I traveled to Texas for my first conference, learned an ENTIRE industry from the ground up, got over my fear of cold-calling, and was promoted to Associate! How did I achieve all of this in 365 days? I came in early, worked through lunch many times, and some days I made close to 100 recruiting calls! I won’t lie, putting in the hours is not exactly easy, but compared to the mental stamina required to thrive in any career, it’s a walk in the park. That’s why the #1 best piece of advice that I received from my mentor, Robin, this past year-even above all the terminology and protocols for doing my job-was this:
That is the question … if you are a hiring authority and are considering enlisting the help of an Executive Search firm to assist with a key hire. So, what do you do? I’m here to help. The real answer is that there is a time and a place for both retaining a headhunter or working on a contingent model. There are benefits and detractors to each.
I have been signing a lot of petitions lately. Perhaps it’s naïve of me to think it will make a difference, but I exclaim a loud “YES!” to myself each time I digitally sign to save endangered animals, build a new community playground, or keep a beloved TV show on the air. Most times I am not even sure who the petitions go to for consideration. Probably a database that now knows to target me for merchandise with elephants on it because I really do think hunting them for their ivory is gross … Maybe Oprah. I hope so.
What a world it would be if people wanting something positive to happen could do so just by figuratively putting their hand in the air. With that thought in mind, I decided to start my own set of "petitions". Based on my many years of experience in the recruiting industry, I just think that the world would (or at least in my world!) be a better place if the following were to happen:
I remember taking my last collegiate final at the University of Hartford. I literally walked out of my Entrepreneurial Studies classroom with a smile that was far from scholarly, giving an overtly jubilant high-five to the nearest bystander.
Yet as I would soon discover, there was a lot more than that kid I didn’t know (and still don’t!)
“Go to college,” your high school teachers would say,“get a degree,” they continued, “get a job,” they promised…
More than 65% of high-schoolers who graduated will go to college that following fall semester. One thing I still don't understand is the societal norms that emphasize and push high school students into college. Realistically speaking, a piece of paper isn’t going to pick-a-lock that’s going to open the door that is opportunity. So, what separates you from everyone else in America who is graduating in 2018 and about to enter the workforce?
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity”-W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming
What W.B. Yeats intuited in 1919 is a phenomenon that psychologists would later name, ‘The Dunning-Kruger Effect’. The ‘Dunning-Kruger Effect’ is a “cognitive bias wherein people of low ability have illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is”. Conversely, people who are highly competent mistakenly assume that the tasks that are easy for them to perform are just as easy for others to perform, and typically do not self-assess themselves as highly competent. They recognize their weaknesses and focus on correcting them rather than blustering on about how good they are at this or that.
So how does this apply to the world of executive recruiting?
“I'm probably starting to sound like a crazy ex or something…”
I am sure this is not news to anyone with their head up in the current job market, but there is a common perception out there that recruiters are too pushy, too salesy, and just downright annoying. Yes, sometimes we are ALL of those things… but despite any negative preconceived stereotypes, the recruiters who continue making tough calls and pushing through the negativity are the ones who find success for their clients and candidates.
Well, hiring managers, that depends on what you do this sales quarter. Your and your team’s actions NOW will determine whether Q3 will be a “summer’s dream” or if you will spend it catching up and trying to save the year.
As you may already know, the summer months tend to be slow for hiring, due to both distracted candidates and companies that have decisions-makers on vacation. So right now is the time to make up for any lag that may start setting in on June 21st.
Here are some tips to help you soak up the summer, all the while accelerating your business!