Hobson Associates


Looking for a Sign

It seems like wherever you go these days someone is selling those wooden signs with inspirational quotes painted on them:

  • My sister, who is obsessed with her cats, has one that says “My kids are purrfect.” 
  • She also has “This may be the wine talking, but I love wine.
  • I gave one to my mother-in-law that says “Pardon the mess – my grandchildren are making memories.”
  • My other sister has one that says “Be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn, then be a unicorn.” 

What do all these signs have in common? They make us smile. Or at least feel like we’re smiling even if it’s not showing. 

I decided I needed one for my desk at the office. I happened to come across one while out buying lunch at a café that said “I drink coffee for your protection.” Perfect! (Or, should I say, Purrfect!). I would have preferred “Stay the F*&% away from me until I’ve had my coffee”, but the message is the same. 

I still felt like I was missing that one sign that REALLY made me smile... And I’ve needed one more than ever since I’ve been in a bit of a slump this quarter.


Having Trouble Hiring and Keeping Sales Engineers??

In today’s tech world, the Sales Engineer, aka Pre-Sales Engineer, Solutions Consultant, Solutions Engineer, or whatever new fancy title you want to use, has become more and more important in the sales process and success of a territory. Everyone has recognized it. I hear that in some cases, the “SE” is more of an influencer in the final decision-making than the Sales Executive!  Not surprising at all. 

It has become a bloody war when it comes to hiring SE talent, due to the increased difficulty in finding and retaining them. I’ve been placing these types of professionals for 14 years and must say-- it’s great to finally see this role get its due justice and recognition!

If you’re a technology company looking to find some good SEs, here are some steps to help you win the battle:


Competing with the “Big Boys and Girls” for Top Life Sciences Talent

As a business leader, I’m sure you’re aware that competing with larger corporations for talent can be challenging. But, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done — you just need to offer what the bigger boys and girls can’t.

Small(er) businesses often win clients by offering things that their large competitors don’t – such as enhanced personal care, responsiveness, tailored solutions, and in many cases a higher quality product or service at a lower price...You can win top talent by leveraging similar competitive advantages, such as:


Want to Hire ‘A Players’? You’ve Got to Pay to Play!

 "Let me teach you a lesson...you can never overpay a good player. You can only overpay a bad one." -Art Rooney

Most of my work entails finding executives in the manufacturing sector. Any discipline, from Directors to CEOs for companies that make products, is my sweet spot. But for a good client, I am more than willing to go back to my roots and find them an engineer.

Of course, they all want A-players. When the economy is booming and unemployment is at 4.3% in the US, A- players have lots of options. B-players are in demand and companies will even reluctantly hire C- players (unemployable in a recession) to fill jobs. So, if an engineer or any other true A-player wants to move and money is part of that motivation, he/she will want a salary bump, a BIG bump.


Solving Hiring Challenges Faced by the Health Sciences Industry

Employers in the pharma and biotechnology sectors can face many special hiring challenges in efforts to attract and retain top talent. By recognizing these challenges and the impact they can have on hiring - HR teams throughout the healthcare industry can improve their chances of success in both attracting and retaining top quality job candidates.

In the pharma space, several factors remain especially important for HR teams to understand and anticipate:


The Night I Drunk Dialed the Candidate Who Took a Counter Offer

You shouldn’t mix. Business with pleasure, dance beats with ballads from the 90s, and definitely not schnapps, mediocre champagne and beer…My colleagues wanted to make me feel better after my candidate took the counter offer. We totally intended to have one drink. But they had half off on shots, Justin bought the first two rounds and that NEVER happens, and they had open mike night and pre-season football, one of which I participated in, it’s kind of fuzzy, and I really, really didn’t want to go home and feel sorry for myself. So I drank way too much. I would like to report that I used Uber, endangered no one and got home responsibly. I would like to report that. I don’t know how I got home. Or where my car is. And I ended up feeling sorry for myself anyway.


Finding Talent with “Good Bones"

I love home improvement shows, especially 'Property Brothers'. Enter: a stressed out family who has outgrown their space and are using their bedroom as a nursery, office and bar. The Property Brothers whisk them off to their dream home, and after many “wows”, “yeses” and “when do we move ins”, they reveal that the house is WAY out of their budget. But, the brothers announce that the potential owners can have everything that is in this house and more…The catch: they need to buy a fixer-upper–a house with “good bones”, which means the foundation is solid. It will require some investment of time and money, but once they’re done, they’ll have their forever home. After visiting numerous dated and run-down homes, the family makes the commitment. After some unexpected issues for dramatic effect, and some paint and throw pillows, the finished project is even nicer than the house that elicited the initial “ooos” and “aaahs”.  Plus, the new owners get to feel the pride of contributing to the finished product.

The same concept applies to attaining talent. Every statistic says that there are not enough people to fill job openings, and employers either need to buy or build their talent. At times, I feel just like the Property Brothers. My clients come to me stressed and needing to find the “unicorn” of employees.


Why I DON'T Hate Cold Calling

My role as BD Consultant at Hobson Associates is to form relationships with new companies as well as renew ties with past clients who have benefitted from our recruiting services. I’ve made hundreds and hundreds of cold phone calls, and I’m still astonished that the individuals I call are extremely eager to hear about how Hobson Associates and I can be a resource to them. And I can also truthfully say that so far only two people have abruptly hung up on me! [That’s OK, when that happens, I go ahead and call their competitors…they usually DON’T hang up!]

Know what else? I must admit that I love cold calling. It is truly a science of its own. There are so many variables to earning a firm’s business, and no mathematical equation can equate a new client. To every problem, there is a solution. During my time at Hobson so far, my takeaways for successful cold-calling are simple: