Thursday, August 10, 2006

Paying off a 1946 Parking Ticket--My Role Model...

Everybody seems to have role models in their lives, for me there is clearly one that stands above and beyond them all—my Grandfather. You know who your role model is when you hear their voice of reason before making a decision or wonder what they would have done in the same circumstance once you have made a decision. A story was just posted in the St. Petersburg Times about my Grandfather. This exemplifies why I’ve always aspired to be more like him….

$1 and debt-free
William Fogarty doesn't like obligations. So when he found a 1946 parking ticket, he paid it.

Published August 10, 2006

PALM HARBOR - William Fogarty doesn't know what the fuss is all about.

He simply forgot to pay a parking ticket. When he realized the oversight, the 86-year-old Palm Harbor retiree made good and mailed in the money order.

Why the hoopla?

It was for a $1 parking violation that occurred 60 years ago.

"My father always taught me to pay my debts and any obligations," Fogarty said Wednesday in his home office. "At my age, when I go out of here, I don't want to owe anyone a dime."

In May 1946, while his black 1935 Ford coupe was parked outside a Norfolk, Va., movie theater, Fogarty received a parking ticket. He bought a $1 money order to pay the fine. But soon afterward, he was discharged from the Navy, and somehow forgot that the money order was in his wallet.

About a month ago, as he was looking through a box of collectibles from his Navy days, Fogarty discovered a three-fold leather wallet that first belonged to his younger brother. Fogarty carried the wallet after his brother, Edward, was killed in 1944 while fighting the Germans in Italy.

The wallet still had the impression of the jump wing insignia his brother pinned inside and a picture of Jesus. The $1 money order was tucked in one of the folds.

Fogarty penned a letter to the Norfolk police and enclosed his debt. The money order was dated May 14, 1946.
"So belatedly I am enclosing the Money Order," Fogarty wrote. "I hope you will forgive me the long delay in sending it to you."

Sixty years ago, violators paid tickets on the honor system, said Norfolk police Officer Chris Amos. There was no way to track who was issued a ticket.

Fogarty's money order will not be cashed, Amos said. Instead, it was sent to the Police Department's museum, where it will be framed and displayed.

"It's one of those restoring your faith in mankind things," Amos said.
The recent discovery has made Fogarty, a father of two, a debt-free man again. The find also brought to attention a family heirloom, the wallet.

"I'm passing it on to my son with my other mementos," he said.

Here is the original Link:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Is Compelling Work Really Better than Great Comp?

I read an article recently from Dialog NewsEdge about compelling work being more critical to job satisfaction than comp. In fact, I see a lot of these articles and see several potential pitfalls in taking this information at face value. The article says that Lawyers were asked which areas provide the greatest job satisfaction and they ranked challenging assignments at 42%, Comp at 22%, relationships at 20% and so on…

The challenge I have with this is that they assume a person’s decision making is linear—which it’s not. If it were linear, and challenging work ranked first, then theoretically you could ONLY offer challenging work and NOT offer any pay and people would do it. These surveys are linear in nature. They should ask a series of questions about rewarding/challenging work and level of pay that would keep them there for each increase or decrease in the level of excitement factor of the work. So, I would do a survey that looked like this….

Please Rank in order of interest which career you would most likely be attracted to: (0 being least important or 5 being most important)

The most exciting work in the world and NO pay
0 1 2 3 4 5

Very exciting work and 20K per year
0 1 2 3 4 5


I would of course word these differently but you would eventually get to where the threshold was. Then you would have better understanding of what the trade off is instead of just knowing that people want exciting work before they think about pay—you would have the correlation between exciting work and pay. From the survey below it assumes that comp plays into 22% of a person’s decision to take a job (ASSUMES). BUT—a lot of people might say that It’s 100% of the job first, then it’s 80% comp between all of the most exciting jobs. This is the information that will give an organization competitive advantage if you ask me. It also takes into account that human decision making is not typically linear.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ahh--The Air Smells So Good!

Wow! It’s been a recruiting roller coaster over here, hence why I haven’t written for a while. My current role is to lead staffing for one of our largest teams. We are a 650 person company so a lead role is a very hands on role. It includes strategizing, managing and executing. There is never a boring moment and it’s a constant dichotomy of balancing the longer term view with the tactical execution. There are big, big expectations for a recruiter in a professional services firm. You have billable hour employees so when we bring in new business we lose money until we can staff those accounts—so there is a lot of pressure. It’s also a business that changes directions constantly so even the best predictive models lag the pace of change. Given the unpredictability I always fall back on the basics—and every GOOD recruiter knows what this is. It’s not the job boards, not the networking tools or your ATS—it’s the ability to pick up the phone, make the connection, assess and close on an offer. I have done quite a bit of interviewing for my own team recently and it’s pretty amazing how many recruiters out there aren’t learning these basics. It’s not always their fault either. There are a lot of companies that still don’t understand why this is important and rely only on the mass advertising tools or completely rely on search firms. I’m not complaining though—for those of us that do still value the basics we are able to bring an added layer to the organization that makes our firms more competitive and better poised for success in the future. That’s job security if I have ever seen it. Okay—so, as you can see, this is what happens to a recruiter that gets stuck in the trenches and finally has a chance to come up for some air. The craziness of it all tends to make us rant about nothing at all….so there you go.

Oh—and before I forget. One of our own agency superstars just transformed his internal blog into a public blog. Frank Shaw leads the Microsoft PR account—he is a very interesting fella—check out glass house if you get a chance: Glass House

Friday, March 17, 2006

Show Up!

The ERExpo this year was energizing! It seems that more and more organizations are adopting practices that have been a direct result of the presentations from these events over the past several years. I’ve always been amazed at how many poor recruiting practices exist. I spoke to many attendees this year who are really starting to raise the bar in our profession. For those of you that read my blog and have not attended an ERExpo you need to. I’m convinced that many of the best recruiters in the industry attend this event. One of the other observations I’ve made is that business leaders (in general) understand the importance of talent. You may say—duh, of course, but I don’t think our business leaders understood talent in way they should—they see it as imperative for survival now. I also believe this is a result of recruiting and HR professionals putting meaningful information in front of them. This is an exciting time in the history of recruiting because more eyes, from the world’s top business leaders, will be on us. We will be looked at to help business succeed and will be held in the same regard as other business leaders if we do our job well. If you are not attending events like this, connecting with leaders in the industry and learning you will put yourself at a major disadvantage. I will be writing more about some of the highlights from this years event. Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

One Small Innovation One Giant Leap for Blogs

I just finished reading a white paper about blogs written by one of our online/new media experts. One of the things that caught my attention was the rate of adoption versus the earlier personal website/html development. This really got me thinking about innovation and how small conceptual differences can have profound impact on the adoption of the technology.

I developed my first website back in 1994. Many of you who built personal websites then probably remember the process. You of course needed an ISP that gave you some space on their servers to host your site. Then you needed an FTP program to get your HTML from your computer to their server. Then you needed to develop the HTML. If you were like me you found sites you thought were cool and then you would view the source, copy the code and rewrite it to fit your style. Then you would upload this one page and one picture at a time. After you updated the code you would then go to your URL and see how it looked. If it looked good you would keep it. If it didn’t you would update the code, delete the old page from the server and upload the new code. One can only imagine why the masses didn’t adopt this process.

Now—let’s move to 2005. You sign into one of many sites that host blogs. You sign-up; this takes five minutes. Then you choose your blog template and layout. Then you click “post an entry”, write your blog and then you are published, searchable, and can be instantly viewed by millions connected through social networks. Someone basically took the process of 94 and simplified it. The technology change is pretty subtle when you think about it but the impact is huge! Remember Windows 95 when Microsoft said DOS will become invisible? What consumer wants to mess around with DOS? They just want to turn on their computer and have it do what it is supposed to. Like with blogs this subtle difference made the Windows 95 launch one of the most significant Windows launches in history.

I do believe there has to be one other component that makes adoption complete. There seems to have to be a voice behind the innovation so consumers can accept it. There were probably thousands of people back in 94 that said, “hey, I can easily simplify this process.” I bet there were many developers that did; however, their inventions probably didn’t get much further than their 250MHZ IBM’s. If there was a powerful voice behind these inventions then the leap may have happened sooner. The voice can be viral—a zeitgeist if you will. Or the voice can be driven by PR/Marketing/Advertising.

When I write about recruiting technologies I often hear from representatives from recruitment technology firms that say, “I hear you—but check out what we did.” To be honest, I’m still waiting for that small innovation and giant leap. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some great evolutions in the past few years. I just haven’t seen the giant leap yet. What will this look like for me? When I can come into the office and know that every candidate who comes into contact with my company has a great experience whether I talk to them or not—my ATS works as fast as I can click a button, total integration and total simplification. Is this a lot to ask or a pipe dream—NO! We shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Like with blogs I believe we are in store for one small innovation and one giant leap for recruiting technology. Listening to the many recruitment tools vendors at this years ERExpo I believe we are close. The vendors understand the business problem so now the question is can they achieve the “duh factor.” When they make that small innovation that creates the tipping point people will say, “duh, I should have thought of that.”

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Luxurious West Tower

I just arrived at the 2006 San Diego Electronic Recruiting Exchange conference. This is my first official (live) blog update on the ground at ERE Expo. I missed the 2005 conference but did attend the 2004 expo which took place at Lowes Coronado on Coronado Island. This year the conference takes place at Sheraton San Diego.

When I got out of the airport I jumped in a cab and asked if he took credit cards—he did, but when I gave him the address he pointed to the hotel across the street from his window and said he wouldn’t take a credit card for a four dollar ride. I was a little embarrassed that I could have practically walked there but being lazy I stuck with the cab instead of jumping in a shuttle. So I arrive at the Sheraton, and while it’s not the Coronado, it seems nice. There is a big beautiful fish tank the lobby, internet area, nice restaurants and relatively swanky d├ęcor. I check in at the front desk person says “your in the west tower.” I think—that’s fine by me. Okay—anybody that’s staying in the west tower knows where I’m going with this.

I walk out the back door, past the nice fountain and beautiful pool and notice another Sheraton that looks like it’s across the Bay—I just thought, oh, that must be another Sheraton all together. Then I continue to walk down the side walk, around a bend, past a little shack, and then proceed to go to what looks like a Sheraton power station. Nope—that’s the luxurious west tower. I didn’t notice a whole lot of cars in the parking lot…hmmm, a sign maybe? I proceed in past several conference rooms and I’m thinking, oh, maybe this is the wrong place. This must be the conference area when the other hotel fills up. Uh, No—this is the hotel. So I ride up in the elevator that looks a bit worn, little chipped and smelling like bourbon and half smoked cigars. The room actually turned out to be okay—and hey, they have broadband.

At the end of the day does any of this really matter? Not one bit! I’m just psyched to be in San Diego and hanging with some of the best and the brightest in the industry. I’m looking forward to seeing you all!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lies, Smarts or Just Plain Tact?

I had an interesting conversation with our new Worldwide Talent Acquisition Leader. We were talking about influentials in the recruiting space and the dialogue that has occurred in the online space regarding ethics around headhunting and guerrilla recruiting. My inclination has always been to lean in favor of a more, let’s say, aggressive approach to finding and hiring the best talent. I have no problem calling a candidate from a competing firm and offering them an opportunity to explore a career with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. Companies do not own employees and if another firm offers a career opportunity that is a better match than so be it. I don’t think she disagreed with this but she did provide an interesting point of view to consider regarding guerrilla recruiting tactics—and it really made me think that there is a lot more at stake then ethics……let me explain…

Her example involved a very large retailer, and a competing firm. This large retailer had employees attending a conference in Las Vegas. The other retailer was also attending the conference and had employees staying at a hotel across the street. Here’s where it gets juicy! The competing retailer had their recruiters wear shirts with branding used to recruit employees from her company. The kicker is that they entered the hotel and mingled in the area where her company’s employees were staying. She asked me if I thought this was unethical. I thought about it for a moment and I couldn’t find an ethical dilemma with this. BUT….I did see a dilemma….

The dilemma for me was that this technique lacks tact. This is an important distinction. If you are only looking at ethics as a filter for your approach you may overlook this. She didn’t disagree with being smart and strategic about how we source candidates; however, she did have a very good point that some of the tactics being suggested out there should come with a warning label. She’s right. An organizations recruiting brand should be kept sacred. What does a tactic like this do to the brand? If I worked for her firm and witnessed this I would think these recruiters from the competing firm are cheesy and aggressive. This would not give me a compelling reason to want to work for the competing firm.

So next time you develop a sourcing tactic you think is smart, and you ask the question—is this ethical, also ask the question around tact. Will this approach convey a message that is consistent with your recruitment brand? How will this ultimately be perceived by our target audience?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Good, the Bad and Supriya's View

Supriya e-mailed me in response to my blog and I found her feedback poignant and true! The point of my posting was to play a bit of a devil’s advocate. I constantly hear American media tell the story of outsourcing/jobs from a standpoint of fear. It’s always about American jobs going away and lack of educated talent in the US. I wanted to provide an added point of view or perspective around this. But for every good usually there is a bad. Supriya makes some very compelling points around the down side. I will let you read for yourself.

From: Supriya Venkat
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 12:01 PM
To: Steve FogartySubject: A comment on your blog entry

Hello Steve,

I occasionally look up your Recruiting Revolution blog (as a PR/Wagged job seeker) and just wanted to share my thoughts on your entry today ("the Emigration Zone") and your closing comment: "If we see an up swing of emigration how does this affect consumption of American products overseas. In a way we are teaching people how to consume like American’s. This may mean more jobs in the grand scheme of things."

I'm originally from India but came to the U.S in the very late 80s to go to grad school. I get the opportunity to go back to India frequently to visit family and I must say that in recent years, I've been stunned at the growing consumerism of middle-class India. A large catalyst for this phemonemon has been the surge in the "returning Indian" population with its significant disposable incomes. And while much has been made in the Western press (including Friedman in his articles about India) about how middle class India is in fact "consuming like Americans" as you state in your blog, I've been disillusioned about how little has been said in the media about the downside and serious pitfalls of "importing" America's vision of "growth" and "prosperity" to a country like India, which is still largely illiterate and a rural-based economy. Sure, a small segment of the 1 billion + population has benefited from the "boom", but try telling that to the maid who cleans my brother's home in the hi-tech mecca of Bangalore for less than $20/month! She (and her daughter) know that the only jobs at their reach --now and in the future--- are the ones they have right now. I know this observation has little to do with recruitment woes in the United States but it's just something that struck me and I thought I'd pass it along...

Happy blogging and best regards!

Supriya Venkat

Supriya—Thanks for your point of view. It’s one thing for us to discuss this from our cubicles behind our computers. It’s a whole other thing to experience it first hand! Your perspective is invaluable.

The Emigration Zone, Lefkow Style....

Lefkow posted an interesting article about America's brand and emmigration on today's ERE: ERE Article.

It would be interesting to look at where emigrants are going. I don’t mean which country but which companies? I have talked to several recruiters who have mentioned an increased number of immigrants who want to work for an organization that will give them the option to work in their home countries in the future. I also still notice a large number of people interested in immigrating to the US. I think there are several simultaneous forces affecting the perception of what’s happening with immigration/emigration. Here are a few more things to think about with regard to this subject….

  • We ran out of H1B’s a few months into this year and congress is working to approve more. This to me means that immigration is still running strong
  • I don’t have the numbers in front of me but I would suspect that H1B’s increased significantly with the advent of the technology boom in the early 80’s
  • My guess is that we are starting to see a cycle occur—as H1B status ends US trained immigrants head back—but I believe many of them stay working for multinational organizations—in some cases it’s the same company they worked for while in the US
  • US companies now have a US trained person working in their home country which helps create better relationships/synergies with their overseas operations
  • US companies also get the caliber of a US trained individual for lower labor costs (If we are talking about China/India etc)—but they are being paid a premium in their home country because they are more valuable to the multi-national; the emigrant now has a better standard of living in their home country

I agree that Dave’s article is good and makes you think. It also makes me wonder how this really positions America in the global economy. If we see an up swing of emigration how does this affect consumption of American products overseas. In a way we are teaching people how to consume like American’s. This may mean more jobs in the grand scheme of things.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

SHOUT IT OUT! WE Named Best Large Agency to Work For!

I get asked what keeps me at Waggener Edstrom by about 90% of the candidates I interview. Below is an e-mail our CEO sent out to our employees last week. This is what keeps me here.

From: Melissa Waggener Zorkin
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 10:48 AM
Subject: SHOUT IT OUT! WE Named Best Large Agency to Work For!

Out of ALL the agencies who participate in the (U.S). Holmes survey, WE had the strongest voice. With more than 400 people responding, we outdistanced all other large agencies in our responsiveness and expression about our work. YOU SAID THAT WE IS A GREAT PLACE TO WORK AND YOU SAID IT LOUD AND CLEAR – SO THE #1 HONOR AGAIN BELONGS TO…WE.

“Opportunity. The opportunity for advancement,
the opportunity to work with some of the smartest people around,
the opportunity to learn and grow and the opportunity to make a difference.”
– WE employee, November 2005

When I reached out to over half of the agency last Fall, you said to me that the #1 reason you come to work is the opportunity to make a positive difference. Today you can feel proud because your voice and contribution have definitely made a difference.

Waggener Edstrom Worldwide has this year been ranked No. 1 Best Large Agency to Work For in the (U.S.) Holmes Report’s Best Place to Work survey. That means we have received a top rating in two of the last three years – a significant accomplishment and a great source of pride. This award affirms how far you have helped us come in creating the culture we want at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. This ranking also gives us a competitive edge in recruiting new talent, marketing our services and attracting new business.

I am not blind to the fact that you also gave ample input on how we can improve, and believe me that input is taken very seriously. We already have a number of new programs (inspired by your input in the last 4 months) that we MUST get into everyone’s hands NOW, and you will hear more about those later this week and at the Agency Business Meetings. From the many voices who took part in this survey, it’s clear that we are a company that likes to BETTER OUR OWN BEST!!

But it’s important to stop along the path to greatness to reflect on just how far we’ve come. And that is what I am asking you to do today – maybe even for this week J!