Are You Set Up For Success From Day One ?

My post college participation in the workforce has spanned 25 years, 5 industries, and 6 states.

I had a conversation the other night with a former colleague from my days in the hospitality industry.  I don’t remember how the subject came up, but we began to talk about our experiences with on-boarding and training.  Ultimately, how well were we prepared to succeed with that company from day one?

So I decided to think back about the best of the best as it related to the last 25 years and why they stacked up that way.

Without a doubt, the best preparation came from the hospitality industry for me.  It may have to do with the fact that in order to run a successful operation, you need to be well versed in so many areas whether it be the kitchen, dining room, or bar. Oddly enough, the two companies that I felt did it the best, had the same man as one of their founders.  That man was Dave Anderson, better known as “Famous Dave” from “Famous Dave’s BBQ“.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Food and Beverage opening team for Grand Casino in Gulfport, Mississippi (which unfortunately was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina).  The training was not just about food and beverage, but the whole customer experience.  It was an intensive training program that covered just about every product, protocol, system and situation that could arise day in and day out.

My second example in the hospitality industry that was top notch was during management training at Famous Dave’s BBQ. Their training was even more intensive as we had to learn the ingredients for every item, how to prep, cook, and deliver from the kitchen as well as every aspect of all front of the house operations.  It ended with a week long training session at the corporate headquarters. This training was called “Hog Heaven” and the last day we were graced with the presence and meaningful words from founder Dave Anderson.  He shared a philosophy with us that has stuck with me in every job since.  If you subscribe to the “Platinum Rule” (Treat People Better Than They Expect To Be Treated”), you will never fall short of their expectations.

In my current industry I was lucky enough to get my start working for industry leader TEKsystems.  Almost 11 years ago to the day I began working for them and today I still lean on many of the principles and tools they teach every new recruiter that center around recruiting, HR, and negotiations to name a few.  They have a consistent, repeatable training program that sets you up for success just like the ones I experienced at Famous Dave’s and Grand Casino.

I believe that proper training and on-boarding are the ABC’s of successful employees which leads to successful businesses. When you prepare them to succeed, they tend to buy into your vision and strive to make the company goals their own.

If you are set up for success from day one, you have a great chance of thriving from day one.  The alternative which I imagine we’ve all experienced at some point in our careers, can only cause one to struggle from the outset.

So make sure you always try to live by the “Platinum Rule” when dealing with new employees and consultants.  You’ll never fall short of their expectations and they will strive to be successful every day which means your company will be too.

You Say You Want Me To Join Your Network On LinkedIn?

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of LinkedIn as a resource for networking and recruiting.  Since I started blogging as “The Jobs Guy“, I receive on average 5-10 requests a week to join the networks of people I don’t know.  When those requests come in, I reach back out to them to let them know that I’d like to have a conversation with them so we can discuss how we can best network with one and other.

Last week I was assigned to a search that I have never worked on and is in an area of technology that I have very little credibility in.  So, how can I get the best of the best in this skill set to respond to me even though 99% of them are out of town and have never heard of me. Certainly not with the following invitation.

Last week I received 6 requests from people I did not know, all 6 invitations read:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

“Insert Sender’s Name Here”

For example, one of these invitations came from the owner of a small mortgage company 10 states away.  When I receive an invitation of any kind, I ask myself the question, “Would the recipient want to connect to me if I sent them this introduction”?  Let’s take a closer look.

1) With this generic introduction, it’s just that, GENERIC !!! What sets you aside from any of the other 70,000,000 people on LinkedIn.

2) Have you given me a reason to believe we can be mutually beneficial to one and other?

3) On that note, does the sender’s motivation appear to be strictly self serving?

My success with LinkedIn is due in large part to my ability to network my way to the right people thru my groups and connections. It is also because I feel that the more transparent you are, the more people will want to work with you.

Think about how the following message would have been received had you been the recipient. Would you feel more compelled to respond and network with me based on this message versus the generic.

Hoping to network with you and be a resource to you in the future

Good Morning XXXX,

My name is Steve Feinberg from XXXXXXX in Minneapolis. We are a certified EPIC partner and tier one vendor to many of the EPIC clients based in the US.

The reason for my e-mail is to connect and be a resource to you in the future . I know that you are currently on assignment, but I would like to discuss what will be important to you when you begin to look for your next position. At that time, I hope you will consider working with me.

I realize that you must get bombarded with e-mails and calls whether you are available or not. This is why I hope to hear from you when it is convenient to introduce myself.

I see you are connected to XXXX XXXX and he happens to be a former colleague of mine.  Please feel free to contact him for a reference.

In advance, I look forward to hearing from you and the opportunity to network with you in the future.


Steve Feinberg

So the next time you send an invitation to someone you would like to connect to on LinkedIn, make it personal. You’ll have a better chance of connecting and growing your network with people who have a mutual interest in you and your business.

12 Sure Fire Ways To A Recruiter’s Heart

This past week while working on a variety of openings, I began to think about the simple things candidates could do that would make connecting with them a lot easier.  The more I think about it,the more I realize that these are actually things that candidates can do to be found more easily. These are also things that will make you more appealing through the recruiting process.  Let me know if you have any other ideas I missed because we’re all in this together.

1) If you are on LinkedIn, update your status to read that you are looking for your next (fill the type of job you are looking for) position.

2) If you are on LinkedIn and are looking for work or would like to start seeing what might be out there, make it easy for people who are not connected to you first line to get in touch with you.  You can do this by putting your e-mail address and/or your phone number in your contact information which will appear at the bottom of the page.

3) If you are on Facebook, update your profile to note that you are looking for your next job or something like that.

4) If you are on LinkedIn and/or Facebook, having a current picture on those sites will aid recruiters in a number of ways. Whenever I find someone on LinkedIn who I’m not connected to 1st line and don’t have a way to connect through a group or by paid inmail,  I will search for them on Facebook. I do this because when I find them (and I have), I can send them a message and there is no cost and most likely they will get it quicker because most people check their Facebook more often than LinkedIn.

5) When you speak to a recruiter in regards to a position you are interested in, be prepared to update your resume and prepare a summary to highlight the skills that are most important to the job you are being considered for.

6) Be up front about clients you are already submitted to, been in conversation with, worked at before, or choose not to be presented to. It saves a lot of time and energy for both the recruiter and the candidate.

7) When returning a call or e-mail to a recruiter, let them know the best time and way to reach you.  In today’s market, timing is everything. If a recruiter cannot reach you in a reasonable amount of time, odds are you will be overlooked for a more readily available candidate.

8) Join Twitter, even if you don’t plan to tweet often.  Starting every day with a tweet that says you are looking for (fill in your job title) your next job and your location will be another way to be found.  More and more recruiters and search professionals are using all 3 of the previously mentioned social media sites to recruit as it appears they can find more candidates that way.

9) Always be up front about your availability. There is nothing worse than going through all of the steps to qualify a candidate, to only have them inform you that they are not available for a month.

10) Inform the recruiter what else you have in your pipeline. That should include offers and interviews at least. Once again, timing is everything in our industry and full disclosure isn’t far behind.

11) Have references readily available, and let them know that they should expect a call from said recruiter. Also, inform the recruiter of the best way to communicate with that reference and best time to reach them if possible.  If it takes 3 or 4 days to reach you references, you would hate to be the top candidate and bring the process to a screeching halt because they can’t contact them. Also, more and more reference requirements can be accomplished by way of a recommendation on LinkedIn.

12) Share with them what attracts you to working with their organization whether it be in a full-time or consulting capacity. If a recruiter knows what excites you, they can do a better job of representing you.

In most cases, the recruiter holds the key to the door of your next opportunity.  If you treat them well, it has the potential to be a meaningful business relationship long into the future.

This Week, It’s Personal…

This past Friday I had the privilege of attending the Leukemia Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year dinner in Minneapolis.  This program celebrates the tireless work and support provided by the local and national LLS organization as they support the patients and families of patients who are affected by leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.

The Man and Woman of the Year event is a 10 week competition that pits the nominees against each other to raise as much money and awareness as possible for research and support.  This year, over 500 candidates in 54 cities across the United States participated.  The results are celebrated on this night along with celebrating a boy and girl of the year who have gone into remission after being diagnosed with childhood leukemia.  This event raised in excess of $100,000 over the 10 weeks of the competition in addition to the fund raising festivities last Friday night.

At this event, they also recognized the progress made by the amazing research doctors at the Mayo Clinic.  Every year they honor one medical professional who has been instrumental in the care of patients, and the research that continues to get them closer to a cure.

So, why am I telling you this?  Because this is just one of many great organizations world wide that make a difference to people. Not only do they make a difference, they also present a great opportunity to volunteer.  When you volunteer, you can meet community and business leaders to network with, and it also feels good to help those in need.

You didn’t actually think I would go a whole blog without trying to drop in some kind of helpful and meaningful hint did you?

So take some time and find an organization to get involved with that appeals to you, you’ll be glad you did.

Interviews Are Precious…Are You Preparing Enough To Get The Job?

A couple of weeks ago I received a tweet from an excited jobseeker who wrote that she finally got her first 2 interviews after a 6 month drought.  We had been corresponding about her struggles to appeal to the hiring managers in her field within her city.

After a few tweets and e-mails and some simple advice on how to enhance her presence, she began working on this tirelessly. As a result, she got the interviews.

Two days later she followed up to let me know that she did not get either job.

I asked her where she felt things went awry?  She said she felt like the interviews went well but wasn’t sure where she fell short.

The next day I attended a networking program where the speaker was Sam Richter, internet search guru and author of “Take The Cold Out Of Cold Calling“.  I took a number of his suggestions geared toward client and company sales calls and tailored them to hiring managers and interviews.

After all, in every interview you are tasked with selling yourself to the hiring manager as a way of landing the job.  The best way to do so is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

I walked her through the following interview prep exercise and asked how many of these things she did prior to the interview, her answer…ONE !!!  Walk yourself through this list and see how many you do before interviewing with a company.

1) Did you go to the website of the company and familiarize yourself with their business, products, mission, values, locations, etc.

2) Did you Google the company for recent news, press releases, and any other applicable news about them.

3) Did you get the name of the person/people you were going to interview with?

4) Did you find them on LinkedIn and see if you have any connections in common?  If so, did you contact them to learn more about the interviewer and possibly have them call to give you a recommendation?

5) Did you Google the interviewer(s) to see if there has been anything significant written by them or about them?

6) Did you study the job requirement to make sure you were prepared to explain your experience and how it related to the each required and desired skill?

7) Did you go to their company LinkedIn page and study their stats, demographics, etc.

8) Did you study your resume (I know this one sounds crazy, but when nervous you should leave nothing to chance).

9) Did you prepare questions to ask them?  Many interviewers use your questions as a way of understanding your fact finding skills first hand.

10) Did you ask if their would be time for Q & A at the end of the interview or would they prefer that you ask questions as you think of them?

12) Did you bring a note pad to write down the questions or thoughts during the interview?

11) Most of all, did you try to close them for a decision.  Did you ask for the job?

These are just some of the ways to better prepare for your next interview.  The point is, those who do not prepare for interviews are likely to lose out to those who do.

If Your Job Search Lacks Creativity And Drive, You Are Fighting A Losing Battle

This past Tuesday I had the good fortune to attend a networking event where the guest speaker was 5 time New York Times best selling author Harvey Mackay. His latest book, entitled “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door” centers around the little things one can do to overcome the challenges of the current depressed job market. In all of his books he has always been consistent in his belief that your next sale, job, or relationship stem from an all encompassing commitment to networking.

In an article published on, CJ Hayden states that “surveys consistently show that 80-85% of job-seekers find work as the result of a referral from a friend or colleague, and only 2-4% land jobs from Internet job boards”.

I can’t agree more with her findings. But as a recruiter, I look at it from a slightly different perspective. In my case, her numbers hold true with the placements I’ve made over the past 3 years. On average 85% of my placements come from referrals and recommendations from personal friends, current and former colleagues and clients, and contacts from social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

This is why I find it frustrating when people tell me that they are frustrated by the lack of results they get from only using job boards.

The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

If you are one of the millions that are out of work presently, try doing something different to jump start the next phase of your job search.

1) If you haven’t done so already, get a LinkedIn account to get in touch with and network with former colleagues and friends.
2) Check out the 1000’s of networking groups on LinkedIn. I guarantee you can find many that will be a great networking vehicle.
3) If you are on Facebook, seek out friends and family to see who they know that you might be able to network with.
4) Every city has many great networking groups to fit a variety of areas from social to professionally focused that can help you in your job search.
5) Go where the people are, (Harvey Mackay notes in his book that volunteering is a great way to meet people and it’s a great way to stand out from the crowd).
6) Reach out to your educational institutions for ways to network through their resources
7) Get involved at your place of worship, mine has in excess of 1500 families and has people from many industries and career categories.
8) Find content on line that you can relate to and sign up for their newsletter or follow their blog. For instance, Harvey Mackay, Landon Long, and The Jobs Guy.

I agree that we are in a tough job market, however their are many ways to crush your competition if you just invest the time and effort and step outside your comfort zone.

Good Luck and happy networking.

Do The April Reports of An Increase In Jobs Mean We’re Out of The Woods ?

This past Friday, Labor Secretary Linda Solis delivered an address that gave some hope regarding job creation in the United States.  However, she cautioned that we are not out of the woods just yet.

I decided to do some research on the subject because there is always something more to the story.

The bad news is that The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent last month.  The silver lining is that this was a result of more out-of-work Americans jumping back into the job hunt.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up from 9.7 percent in March, where the nation’s jobless rate has held since the beginning of the year. The U.S. Department of Labor said the hiring of 66,000 temporary employees for the 2010 Census helped boost the payroll count, but the gains were also widespread among the private sector, with increases of at least 40,000 jobs in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services.

Since the downturn in the economy, I have kept in close contact with a number of former colleagues in the staffing business.  Up until last month, they all seemed to have similar concerns about the lack of business with their clients in 2010.  The underlying theme was that companies were holding out as long as possible in order to hire less and do more with their current resources.

Based on feedback from their clients and the projects already booked for the coming months.  We are seeing an uptick in industry here in the Twin Cities. This is in conjunction with the previously reported increased number of jobs in various industries.

A colleague that works with me on some web/social media projects recently informed me that he was interviewing for 2 full time openings in the web development field and was planning to leave his current job.  He also informed me that 4 people have left his current group to pursue other opportunities. This will result in the backfilling of those vacated jobs.  As a result of the previous example, this means there will be 7 new jobs being filled in the web development field in the coming weeks.

I am receiving regular calls from LinkedIn connections, HR and recruiting professionals, and former colleagues asking if I can refer the type of resource they are seeking for their openings.

Based on my research and my ongoing networking, it appears that the market is picking up.  Don’t misunderstand me, we’re not out of the woods yet, but a slight uptick is better than a flat line or downturn any day.