The insider's edge on job search & hiring™

Monthly archive for December 2008

What flavor of headhunter is this?

Could you please clear up the different recruiter types? What exactly is the difference between Contingency, Corporate, Retained, Staffing/Temp, etc.? What advantages/disadvantages does each pose? And what level of hiring (entry, mid, exec, etc.) does each do?

Corporate Recruiters are the folks who work in a company’s HR department. They recruit only for their own company and are paid a salary (and sometimes a bonus).

Staffing/Temp Firms are employers themselves. They recruit and hire people, then they assign these folks to client companies. The workers go to work at the client company every day. The client pays the staffing/temp firm a fee from which the firm pays the worker a salary and benefits. If you want to be employed directly by the company where you show up for work, then staffing/temp firms are not for you. Neither corporate recruiters nor staffing firms are headhunters. (Nor are career coaches or career marketers.)

Real headhunters are independent. They are not the employees of any particular employer. They do not hire you. They will not find you a job. Their business is filling positions for their client companies. That’s why headhunters usually will not return calls from job hunters. It’s not their business.

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Proctology in the service of HR

In Just how good are your references anyway? I suggested that we might all raise our standards by applying the extreme methods that President-elect Obama is using to screen candidates for cabinet positions.

Reader Lucille asked if I was being sarcastic and titaniumtux pointed out that I’m the guy who suggests withholding salary history information. So what gives? Should the hiring process now include a proctological exam?

I admit that I am trying to prod everyone into discussing this. The President-elect’s candidate-review process is extreme, and maybe it needs to be. I do believe, as someone said, that it’s more political than practical. When you become a cabinet member, you give your life up to the role. When you take a job, you’re devoting your professional time to it, not your life. Does an employer deserve more than just that part of your life?

Only if they’re willing to compensate you for it. Read more

Just how good are your references anyway?

You know how bugged I get when employers go over the top and ask background questions that are no one’s business. Reader Steve Amoia sent me a gem from the International Herald Tribune, about President-elect Barack Obama’s candidate questionnaire…

And it set me to thinking. Why shouldn’t an employer ask all these questions? Just how good are my references (or yours, or anyone’s)? Why not just lay it all out?

You’ve gotta figure, well, everyone has some dirty laundry. If we all hang it out, then we’ll all get judged on a curve, or no one will be hire-able. Is that going too far?

Maybe not. Maybe this kind of standard — applied to everyone and in every case — would actually raise our standards and we’d all behave a bit better, make better choices, and consider the consequences of what we say and do (and who we hang out with).

Some say the Net is making everything transparent anyway. So why shouldn’t all employers just ask people to put it all on the record — right there on the job application, just like the next president does? Imagine if companies took the lead and raised the bar. (Think of the fun people you’d meet!)

Out of exit excuses

In a recent edition of the Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, I discussed exit interviews — the cockroaches of the HR world. You just can’t get rid of ’em, but you don’t wanna swallow one, either.

Ed Heron, a seasoned manager, submitted comments that I’d like to share with you. His perspective is sharp and on target. His message is simple: Good managers don’t need to do exit interviews.

I have been a successful manager for three decades. I do not believe that anyone who is fired should engage in any form of exit interview. Their employer has already indicated their opinion of their worth!

However, if they are voluntarily resigning, and if the parting is amicable, it might be considered. Consider it more if you are leaving behind co-workers that you respect a lot. I agree with Tony Banaro’s comment, “It amazes me that with all of the volumes and volumes of books and articles and papers out there, managers still do not understand the number one rule of business: Take Care of Your People”.

Through out my entire adult life, I have found it amazing the way companies have made it easy for me to appear successful. I would take almost any employee who was about to be released, and treat them with a little human dignity and respect. In short order, I would rehabilitate the deficient area or areas. Positive reinforcement would be employed whenever it could be “genuine.” (Simple “One Minute Manager” stuff.) In no time at all, the employee in question would feel and act as though they worked principally for me, and not just for our company.

The need for exit interviews was extremely rare in any area that I managed.

Thanks, Ed!

Every reason I’ve heard to justify exit interviews is an excuse for not talking to employees while they are still your employees. This manager reinforces my view. Have you ever been exit interviewed? Ever done it to anyone? What’s your advice to managers (or employees) about this practice?