Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Make Your Job More Meaningful

Posted by sweens on April 26, 2012

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/04/make_your_job_more_meaningful.html

Bill Barnett
Bill Barnett led the Strategy Practice at McKinsey & Company and has taught career strategy to graduate students at Yale and Rice. He now is applying business strategy concepts to careers.

Work is a financial necessity for almost everyone, along with the sacrifices work sometimes demands. It can be drudgery. But work also can be fun and exciting. The competition can be energizing. Work can be an important and positive part of our lives.

I learned a lot about this from Amy Wrzesniewski and her work with job crafting (PDF). She describes three attitudes about work — what she calls jobs, careers, and callings. These three attitudes can indicate how satisfied individuals are in the workplace. Identifying your own outlook toward work can help you define what you need — or want — in your professional life.

People with a “jobs” mindset are working for the money and contain their time at work. All of the people I’ve known with this attitude tend to be dissatisfied, finding little meaning in what they do. They also are generally looking for something new.

Careerists work for advancement, pay, and prestige. I’ve seen careerists with widely different levels of happiness and satisfaction. If they think they’re “winning,” they’re happy. But others are concerned they’re not advancing at the pace they want, or they’re not in the role they deserve. While not entirely dissatisfied, they often wonder whether they’re being treated fairly or if there’s something better.

But people with callings are different. They see their work as a positive end in itself. They feel good about what they’re doing. They give more to their work. They get more from it. And here’s a secret about people with callings: Not only are they happy and fulfilled, they’re often very successful, sometimes bringing financial rewards.

Individuals with callings differ because of what they prioritize in their work. Their goals are distinctive in three ways:

1. They emphasize service. People with callings put a higher priority on helping others. Some are guided by the kind of lofty purpose that’s associated with leaders in religion, public service, or charity work. Others operate their businesses to serve their markets in ways that make customers better off.

Brian (names have been changed) is a good example. After finishing his MBA, he got a well-paid position with a socially conscious mutual fund. He liked the fund’s purpose, but he felt little connection between what he did and his desire to improve the planet. Then he had an idea — to provide a new category of food product that would improve diets. Even though his second baby was about to arrive, he took the risk to make this happen. He left the fund to found his own company, knowing he’d be living on his savings. Brian came to life. A decade later, with his products on many retail shelves, Brian remains excited about what he’s doing, how he spends his days, and how it benefits people. It’s a calling.

2. They emphasize craftsmanship. People with callings prioritize what I call craftsmanship. They want to make things happen and to be excellent in their fields, not just because of potential growth in their company but because they believe those things are intrinsically worthwhile.

Take manufacturing CEO Steve. Steve tightly focuses his personal value proposition on what he does best — leading manufacturing companies that need significant improvement in operations. Steve spots the complexity in operational processes before most others do. In a senior position, he’s had to learn how to become more than just a thinker; he’s learned how to mobilize and how to teach. That’s the only kind of position he’ll consider — both to continue his high performance and to deepen his expertise. Steve’s a craftsman.

3. They de-emphasize money. In making career decisions, people with callings push money to the background, instead choosing to focus on what a new role has to offer beyond its monetary rewards. No one I’ve known with a calling has had income as one of their top career objectives.

Nathan’s emphasis on service and accomplishment replaced his need for a significant paycheck. His childhood interest in education grew stronger in college when he saw the challenges facing children in urban schools. He became a teacher in a low income school and was excited to see the impact he was having on his students and their families. He declined promotions in the school system that would have increased his pay but taken him away from these students. He only moved to headquarters when the new role offered broad influence in teaching across multiple schools. Two years later, the school district promoted him to principal at the young age of 29.

Most people want the job satisfaction that comes with having a calling. If you see your work as merely a job or career, ask yourself if your outlook or priorities need to change. One route may be to redefine your tasks (PDF) or the way you think about your work to put greater emphasis on service and on craftsmanship. If you can reconfigure your work like this, you may find a calling or at least greater meaning and happiness. If you can’t, then it may be time to think about finding another position.

What else should you emphasize — or de-emphasize — to make your work more satisfying?

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How Your Social Media Profile Could Make Or Break Your Next Job Opportunity

Posted by sweens on April 24, 2012

http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2012/04/23/your-social-media-profile-could-make-or-break-your-next-job-opportunity/

Lisa Quast, Contributor

My husband and I have trained our three daughters on the importance of posting only appropriate information on any type of social media. This includes not posting certain pictures of Saturday night’s party on Facebook and not posting or Tweeting anything when they’re angry or in a bad mood. Now, managing your social media profile has become even more important – a 2012 survey demonstrates that your social media profile could make or break your chances of being hired.  

According to the 2012 annual technology market survey conducted by Eurocom Worldwide, “Almost one in five technology industry executives say that a candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person.” Previous Eurocom Worldwide surveys had found almost 40% of the survey respondents from technology companies review job candidate’s profiles on social media sites.

While we’ve all heard about the increase in companies checking the social media profiles of job candidates, this survey provides the first evidence that prospective job candidates are actually being rejected because of their profiles.

 

Are you using LinkedIn as an electronic résumé?

Tips to build a positive social media profile and avoid being rejected by a potential employer:

Facebook: Always follow the old saying about not posting anything that would make you embarrassed if it were published on the front page of a newspaper. Don’t use Facebook as a forum to vent on everything you hate about life, your job, someone else, or a company – talk to a friend in person if you feel the need to vent.  Some people recommend creating separate personal profiles – one for business and one for family and close friends only – but this is not recommended because it can be next to impossible to manage.

(Update: According to Forbes.com blog reader Jennie van Luptak, “creating dual professional/personal Facebook accounts is a serious violation of Facebook’s terms of service that could get you banned.”  If you are worried about what potential employers might see, Jennie recommends you “segment your friends using lists” because it allows you to “control who sees what – your supervisor gets to see the interesting news story you shared but not the pictures from last weekend.”)

LinkedIn: Better for job seekers than Facebook is LinkedIn because you can create a highly professional profile by using LinkedIn as an electronic résumé. This includes writing a succinct profile summary, adding your current job information, past job experience, education, skills, awards, and even obtaining testimonials from previous managers, co-workers, or direct reports. If you author a blog that relates to business or your work, be sure to include the URL information.  Then, you can encourage potential employers to review your information on LinkedIn.

With more and more companies jumping on the social media bandwagon, it only makes sense that searching social media for background information on potential job candidates will continue to grow. This will make it even more important that everyone actively manage his or her online persona.

Bottom line: Decide how you intend to use social media and to whom you will allow access (especially on Facebook).  Remember, if you want to ensure a potential employer never rejects you, make sure your online social profile depicts the type of employee a company would want to hire.

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How To Find A Job When You Don’t Know What You Want To Do

Posted by sweens on April 20, 2012

http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/04/19/how-to-find-a-job-when-you-dont-know-what-you-want-to-do/

Heather R. Huhman, Contributor

Searching for a job is an arduous task…even when you know exactly what you’re looking for. And what about when you don’t? Perhaps you’re changing careers, or maybe you’re just starting out. Whatever the case, it can be difficult to find your next job when you’re not even sure what you’re looking for.

Figuring out what you want to do

To start, make a list of potential jobs and career paths that interest you. These may be directly related to your college degree (if you have one), or they may not. Then, start researching each field through online searches, consulting your network, and scheduling informational interviews or job shadows.

Experience is also an important factor of discovering your next job. Realize that you may need to try different jobs out before deciding on sticking with that particular career path. Internships, freelance work, and temp jobs are all great opportunities for test driving a career path and finding out exactly what you like (or dislike) about the position.

Consider past experience as well. What did you like about your past jobs? For example, if you were a cashier at a local supermarket, you may have found that customer service isn’t your forte, but there may have been other aspects of the job that you did enjoy.

Searching for your next job

Aside from identifying your ideal position, there may be other challenges in finding your ideal job. Many companies are now getting more creative with job titles to make their openings stand out on job boards and to convey more about the job — for instance, receptionist becomes “First Impressions Officer”. But unless you know you already want to work for that particular organization, how will you ultimately find these opportunities?

Mona Abdel-Halim, co-founder at Careerimp, the makers of Resunate, points out that the list of available jobs generated by existing job search engines “primitive”. “Job seekers are able to put in the position and location they are interested in, but it doesn’t really provide them with a list of the most relevant jobs. In addition to making certain opportunities more difficult to find, candidates may not know exactly what they are best suited for — for instance, a Project Manager at a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company requires many different skills from a Project Manager at a VC-backed tech startup.”

Finding the right fit

A job search tool that launched yesterday can help you discover positions that are a good fit for you. ApplyApp.ly, created by Careerimp, uses your experience to tailor job search results to show the positions for which you’re best suited. It analyzes information provided by you, such as your LinkedIn profile or resume, and semantically compares it against job descriptions sourced from job boards and directly posted by employers and then provides personalized job matches. Additionally, it also assesses positions based on your Myers-Briggs® personality type, which helps to determine if you will be satisfied in the position. Not only does this lead to a more diverse pool and better ranking of opportunities, but it also helps you optimize your efforts when applying for a new position.

Once you’ve found a position of interest on ApplyApp.ly, you can then use Careerimp’s other service, Resunate, to convert your qualifications into a resume and receive objective feedback to improve your resume for the job before applying to it. ApplyApp.ly currently has job postings from the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and Pittsburgh but will be expanding soon.

Did you struggle figuring out what you wanted to do in your career? What advice do you have for others in similar positions?

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New survey suggests passive candidate recruiting is about to accelerate

Posted by sweens on April 19, 2012

http://talent.linkedin.com/blog/index.php/2011/12/passive-candidates-accelerate/

LouAdler | December 19th, 2011 | 5:30 am

Last year I worked with the remarkable LinkedIn Research Network on a major survey of professionals’ job-hunting status. We refreshed the survey this year, and surprisingly, not much has changed: 83% of fully-employed respondents are not actively looking while only 17% are. Within a few percentage points, this is the same as last year.

The graph below summarizes the job-hunting status of the 4,550 respondents and what each group would look for if they were to switch jobs. Obviously, the less active the person, the more selective he or she was from a job needs standpoint.

Interestingly, of the 17% who were active candidates, less than half were first going to a company career site to find a job of interest. Instead these active job hunters were either trying to get a referral through an employee, or first searching for a job using a search engine or aggregator.

job-needs-by-job-hunting-status-4

The 83% who classified themselves as passive split up into three big groups. The Tiptoers, 15% of the total, were very quietly and selectively contacting former co-workers to see if anything of merit was available. So in some way, these people could be considered slightly active. However, they would only move for a better job. Explorers (40% of the total respondents), who were open to explore a situation if a recruiter called, would only consider a major career move to make the switch. Super Passives, at 28%, were not looking at all, but most were still open to connect with a recruiter for future opportunities, making them a great group to network with.

In my mind, the sweet spot for sourcing and maximizing Quality of Hire includes Explorers, Tiptoers and Searchers. Searchers are active candidates who have just entered the job-hunting market, and getting to them first is a huge competitive advantage. This is where SEO/SEM comes into play. But you’d better not use boring job descriptions to capture their attention, since they’re looking for something better than what they now have. Remember, they are fully-employed and more discriminating than the very active candidates.

Since Tiptoers have indicated some interest in leaving, the best way to connect with them is through your employee referral program. Make sure your employees reach out to their best former co-workers and connect with them ahead of time. Then when the Tiptoers start looking, they’ll find your employees first. But again, make sure your jobs are compelling. Tiptoers are looking for something much better than they now have.

To find Explorers, I suggest using LinkedIn Recruiter by connecting with your employees and searching their first degree connections. Cherry pick the best from their network, ask your employee about their qualifications, then contact them. Since they’re prequalified and will call you back, you’ll be able to shorten the time to build a slate of final candidates to a few days. However, to be successful, it is vital you understand how to recruit and network with these people. Recognize that the recruiting process and workflow needed to source and recruit passive candidates is far different than the process used for active candidates. Explorers in particular will only engage with a corporate recruiter if the opening sounds like a great career opportunity, and even then they’ll want lots of information before proceeding. Despite this, Explorers are worth the time and effort.

As the labor markets continue to heat up, the first half of 2012 could be more challenging from a recruiting standpoint than thought just a few months ago. LinkedIn Recruiter is a great asset though, and in the right hands can help you through the toughest of recruiting challenges. All it requires to take full advantage of this vast network is a great recruiter and a great job. What else could you ask for?

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What Recruiters Look At During The 6 Seconds They Spend On Your Resume

Posted by sweens on April 10, 2012

Although we may never know why we didn’t get chosen for a job interview, a recent study is shedding some light on recruiters’ decision-making behavior. According to TheLadders research, recruiters spend an average of “six seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision” on candidates. 

The study used a scientific technique called “eye tracking” on 30 professional recruiters and examined their eye movements during a 10-week period to “record and analyze where and how long someone focuses when digesting a piece of information or completing a task.”

In the short time that they spend with your resume, the study showed recruiters will look at your name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education.

The two resumes below include a heat map of recruiters’ eye movements. The one on the right was looked at more thoroughly than the one of the left because of its clear and concise format:

 

recruiters resume

TheLadders

 

With such critical time constraints, you should make it easier for recruiters to find pertinent information by creating a resume with a clear visual hierarchy and don’t include distracting visuals since “such visual elements reduced recruiters’ analytical capability and hampered decision-making” and kept them from “locating the most relevant information, like skills and experience.” 

NOW READ: 11 things you should never include on your resume>

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-recruiters-look-at-during-the-6-seconds-they-spend-on-your-resume-2012-4#ixzz1reobbhH6

 

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5 Ways To Spot A Bad Boss In An Interview

Posted by sweens on December 15, 2011

A boss can literally, make or break your career. Here are five ways to spot the bad ones before they become yours.

A great boss can make you feel engaged and empowered at work, will keep you out of unnecessary office politics, and can identify and grow your strengths. But a bad boss can make the most impressive job on paper (and salary) quickly unbearable. Not only will a bad boss make you dislike at least 80% of your week, your relationships might suffer, too. A recent study conducted at Baylor University found that stress and tension caused by an abusive boss “affects the marital relationship and subsequently, the employee’s entire family.” Supervisor abuse isn’t always as blatant as a screaming temper tantrum; it can include taking personal anger out on you for no reason, dismissing your ideas in a meeting, or simply, being rude and critical of your work, while offering no constructive ways to improve it.  Whatever the exhibition of bad boss behavior, your work and personal life will suffer. Merideth Ferguson, PH.D., co-author of the study and assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at Baylor explains that “it may be that as supervisor abuse heightens tension in the relationship, the employee is less motivated or able to engage in positive interactions with the partner and other family members.”

There are many ways to try and combat the effects of a bad boss, including confronting him or her directly to work towards a productive solution, suggesting that you report to another supervisor, or soliciting the help of human resources.  But none of those tactics gurantee improvement, and quite often, they’ll lead to more stress. The best solution is to spot a bad boss—before they become yours! Here are five ways to tell whether your interviewer is a future bad boss.

1. Pronoun usage. Performance consultant John Brubakersays that the top verbal tell a boss gives is in pronoun choice and the context it is used. If your interviewer uses the term “you” in communicating negative information ( such as, “you will deal with a lot of ambiguity”), don’t expect the boss to be a mentor.  If the boss chooses the word “I” to describe the department’s success—that’s a red flag.  If the interviewer says “we” in regards to a particular challenge the team or company faced, it may indicate that he or she deflects responsibility and places blame.

2. Concern with your hobbies. There is a fine line between genuine relationship building, and fishing for information, so use your discretion on this one. If you have an overall good impression of the potential boss it may be that he or she is truly interested in the fact that you are heavily involved in charity work, and is simply getting to know you. On the other hand, the interviewer may be trying to determine whether you have too many commitments outside of work. The interviewer can’t legally ask if you are married, or have kids, so digging into your personal life can be a clever way to understand just how available you are.

3. They’re distracted. The era of email, BlackBerrys and smartphones have made it “okay” for people to develop disrespectful communication habits in the name of work. Particularly in a frenzied workplace, reading email while a person is speaking, multi-tasking on conference calls and checking the message behind that blinking BlackBerry mid-conversation has become the norm of business communications. But, regardless of his or her role in the company, the interviewer should be striving to make a good impression—which includes shutting down tech tools to give you undivided attention. If your interviewer is glancing at emails while you’re speaking, taking phone calls, or late to the interview, don’t expect a boss who will make time for you.

4. They can’t give you a straight answer. Caren Goldberg, Ph.D. is an HR professor at the Kogod School of Business at American University. She says a key “tell” is vague answers to your questions. Listen for pauses, awkwardness, or overly-generic responses when you inquire what happened to the person who held the position you are interviewing for, and/or what has created the need to hire. (For example, if you are told the person was a “bad fit,” it may indicate that the workplace doesn’t spend much time on employee-development, and blames them when things don’t work out).

You should also question turnover rates, how long people stay in given roles, and what their career path has been. All of these answers can indicate not only if the boss is one people want to work for, but whether pay is competitive, and employees are given a career growth plan.

5. They’ve got a record. Ask the potential boss how long he or she has been at the company, in the role, and where he or she worked before coming to it to get a feel for his or management style, and whether it’s what you respond to.  For example, bosses making a switch from a large corporation to a small company may lead with formality. On the other hand, entrepreneurs tend to be passionately involved in business, which can be a help or a hindrance, depending on your workstyle.

Goldberg also recommends searching the site eBossWatch, where you read reviews that former employees have given to a boss. If you’re serious about the position, she also suggests reaching to the former employee whose spot you are interviewing for, and asking for their take on the workplace. (LinkedIn makes this task easy to do). The former employee’s recount may not necessarily reflect your potential experience, but it can help you to determine whether his or her description of the job and company “jibes” with what the potential boss said.

Stephanie Taylor Christensen – http://www.linkedin.com/share?viewLink=&sid=s755095096&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eforbes%2Ecom%2Fsites%2Fstephaniechristensen%2F2011%2F12%2F11%2F5-ways-to-spot-a-bad-boss-in-an-interview%2F&urlhash=fDFs&pk=nprofile-view-success&pp=&poster=3827504&uid=5552045561047166976&trk=NUS_UNIU_SHARE-title 

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What Colors To Wear To A Job Interview

Posted by sweens on August 11, 2011

We all know that dressing professionally for a job interview can leave a good first impression with the employer, but what about the color of your attire? Have you ever wondered why doctors wear white or police officers wear blue? Or why black represents power and red implies passion?
Different colors influence people in different ways, emotions from trust to aloof and everything in between. Color psychologists and scientists have been studying the impact of colors for years and how people respond to different colors listed below. Keep this in mind when choosing what colors to wear to the job interview.

Black: Represents authority, power, and drama. Black can also make you appear unapproachable and overpowering. So avoid it when interviewing, unless in small amounts or as an accent color.

White: Symbolizes of purity, chastity, and cleanliness. White is a neutral color that goes with everything. It’s usually worn in shirts and blouses year round.

Blue: Signifies tranquility, authority, trust, and loyalty. It’s the best-selling color globally, and the one with the biggest success rate in job interviews. Blue is the ultimate “power color”.

Brown: Addresses credibility and stability. It’s the color of the earth and abundant in nature. Brown creates a neutral environment for open discussion.

Beige and tan: Similar to brown, are calming, stress reducing, earthy colors that invite communication. These colors are perceived as nonassertive and passive.

Gray: Denotes neutrality and sophistication. After blue, it’s the second most popular color to wear to a job interview. If you want to look confident without being overpowering in black, go for gray.

Red; Implies heat, danger, power, passion, and strength. The most emotionally intense color, red can stimulate a faster heartbeat and breathing. Use red as an accent color to motivate people to make quick decisions and increase expectations. It can also increase emotions during job interviews, so avoid wearing large amounts of red.

Orange: Like red, can stimulate strong emotions. Related to warmth and autumn, individuals who wear orange are perceived as having a strong personality. Bright orange, like bright red, will attract attention and induce intense emotions, so wear moderately in job interviews.

Yellow: Promotes a wide range of emotions, from cheer and goodwill to caution, and jealousy. However, people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms than in rooms of other colors. It is the most difficult color for the eye to absorb, so it can be unbearable if overused. Wear in small doses in job interviews.

Green: Indicates nature, success, wealth, and security. A calming, refreshing color, green is the easiest color on the eye and most relaxing. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth. People will feel comfortable with you without standing out in a job interview.

Purple: Symbolizes royalty, richness, power and sensitivity. It’s also the color of passion and love. Purple is often viewed as a “feminine” color, so avoid wearing purple when attending a job interview with a strong gender bias.

Pink: Inspires a variety of emotions, from fun and excitement to calm and low energy. Pink is viewed as a feminine color, and, like purple, should be worn with discretion in job interviews.

Information provided by, Moshin Manji, HRinmotion.

HRinmotion, your complete employment center.

For business, we provide online education that can be branded to help you prepare your candidates for job interviews and write better resumes. Since our employment center can be branded with your logo, it will not only strengthen relationships, but increase your placements. If you are looking to hire, post your jobs online and receive top applicants from Canada, USA and UK.

For job seekers, our online education and services will help you get more job interviews and more job offers. Use our employment preparation services to give yourself a stand out resume and sharp interview skills. We have made job search easier than ever by providing you one of the largest job boards in Canada, US and UK. We have over 1.5 million jobs online, apply today and find the right job!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Moshin_Manji

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Tech companies going all out to recruit talent

Posted by sweens on August 4, 2011

Michael De Frenza scans the crowd of 50 or so well-dressed professionals mingling near a bar at the W Hotel in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. De Frenza, a recent transplant to the Bay Area, is here looking not for a date, but for a job. Yet he’s far from desperate.

In five weeks, De Frenza, 34, has received five offers. “I’m taking my time trying to find the right fit,” he says.

I Love Rewards, which provides companies with services to motivate employees, arranges cocktail parties like this one every other week at the W Hotel to help recruit 40 people by Sept. 30 for a new West Coast sales office.

“Just in time for us arriving in San Francisco, the market has gotten extremely hot,” says CEO Razor Suleman. “San Francisco is coming back to the days when candidates have two or three job offers,” he says.

Competition for cloud computing engineers, security experts and mobile developers as well as sales professionals in the technology industry has gotten so fierce in the past six months that companies are going to greater lengths to woo prospective employees. They’re throwing lavish parties, handing out free food at conferences, doling out $50,000 signing bonuses, and offering perks such as free haircuts and medical care at the office.

Nearly full employment

The tech sector is fueling a job boom that stands in stark contrast to the malaise of the general job market. The nationwide unemployment rate ticked up to 9.2 percent in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, the unemployment rate for tech professionals dropped to 3.3 percent, from 5.3 percent in January. “That’s pretty close to full employment,” says Alice Hill, managing director of technology career website Dice.com.

“It’s such a thin market, it feels like everybody is employed already,” says Adam Pisoni, co-founder and chief technology officer of Yammer, which sells software and services for social networking in the workplace. “Engineers have 10 recruiters calling them.”

The San Francisco company would like to hire between 50 and 100 engineers this year, Pisoni says.

Companies are employing a variety of strategies to attract talent. Saba Software and Digital River recently paid C-level executives $50,000 signing bonuses. “While signing bonuses at tech companies are not uncommon, their use has become more prevalent recently as the economy has improved and competition for talent has heated up,” says Aaron Lapat, managing director of the technology practice at executive recruiting firm J. Robert Scott.

Back to the boom times

Recruiting tactics from the late 1990s are starting to make a comeback, too.

In 1998, when Mark Barrenechea worked for Oracle, he hired an ice cream truck and parked it outside of then-competitor Siebel Systems. At the time, he was a senior vice president for applications development trying to find engineering talent. The bells and music would signal employees to come outside, he says.

In his current role as CEO of supercomputer maker Silicon Graphics International, Barrenechea uses a different tactic. “We haven’t had to resort to ice cream trucks and cocktail parties,” he says. Instead, SGI is going after employee referrals and targeting companies where there’s organizational change.

The CEO says the company has found supercomputing talent at Oracle’s Sun Microsystems and may find technical sales talent from Cisco’s upcoming layoffs. SGI plans to expand its sales force 10 percent this year, adding about 25 positions. Suleman at I Love Rewards also encourages employees to refer job candidates.

He’s offering a luxury trip to Las Vegas in September for any employee who refers a new hire. Even though each employee will stay in a suite, Suleman says it’s 80 percent less expensive than using a recruiter.

As companies compete for a limited talent pool, they’re upping the ante. “There’s so much poaching going on, and now we see the rise of the crazy perks,” says Hill at Dice.com. Hill says she’s seeing companies offer a range of services, from car washes and free haircuts to on-site doctors, dentists and notaries. “Qualcomm has a weekly farmers’ market,” Hill says.


No doubt these developments are a welcome change for workers after the recession. For companies, though, this means an increase in labor costs as salaries rise and businesses try to retain workers with perks and retention bonuses. It may also force companies to grant richer stock option awards to attract the right programming talent, according to a Fitch Ratings report released last month.

Stock awards up

The percentage that stock-based compensation makes up of total operating expenses can serve as a proxy for technology labor market tightness, says Jamie Rizzo, an analyst at Fitch Ratings. At Adobe, options and other stock awards accounted for 8.6 percent of total operating expenses in 2010, up from 7 percent in 2007. Intuit saw that number increase to 5.7 percent in 2010, from 4 percent in 2007.

The rush to find workers is symptomatic of a deeper problem in the tech industry. The supply and demand of talent is out of sync, says Professor Peter Cappelli at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Companies are looking for exactly the skills they need today to deal with their clients.

“We don’t want to have to train anybody, and when those skills become obsolete, we don’t want to retrain them,” he says. Companies tend to hire people with IT engineering degrees, use those skills for five years, and then they want a new crop, says Cappelli, who researches human resource practices and talent management.

“It means they are hiring and laying off at the same time,” Cappelli says. “It’s a really bad thing for the economy and for the companies themselves, because it’s putting them at the mercy of the labor market.”

This article appeared on page D – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/02/MNMM1KIDEU.DTL&ao=2#ixzz1U424LNo3

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Coming to Terms with the Consumerization of IT

Posted by sweens on July 14, 2011

By: R “Ray” Wang
R “Ray” Wang is Principal Analyst and CEO at Constellation Research Group.
The corporate e-mail server is down, but work doesn’t grind to a halt. Everybody just switches to Gmail, Skype, or BB Chat to get around the inconvenience. For the most part, they’re using these consumer technologies at work already — often because they’re better than anything the IT department can provide.

Except at financial, defense-related, and other firms that still lock down employees’ network access for reasons of security and legal compliance, this is the new reality. Technologies available to consumers at low cost or even for free are increasingly pushing aside enterprise applications. They’re not just more familiar and more attractive to use, they’re often more reliable. Software-as-a-Service and Cloud vendors mostly deliver 99.9% uptime. In an upcoming Constellation Research survey of IT departments, preliminary results show internal reliability ranging from 97% to 99.1%.

For the next generation of knowledge workers, entering the workplace often feels like entering a computer science museum. Newly minted college grads face resistance to bringing their own devices to work, have to collaborate with ancient tools that lack basic Google Docs functionality, and face social media policies crafted by clueless legal teams without an understanding of the social psyche. That alone will add what I estimate to be a one-third productivity tax on the newly entered workforce — because workers have to hunt for information, applications inhibit collaboration, and legal requirements prevent business innovation.

Business Leaders Now Drive Technology Purchasing

For IT leaders accustomed to having control over corporate technology, this represents a huge challenge — and it’s one they’re not meeting very well. While overall corporate tech spending is up by 17 to 20% in our latest data, spending by IT departments is flat at best. It’s business leaders, not their IT colleagues, who are driving purchasing decisions. Which makes sense: business leaders are tasked with deploying technologies for strategic advantage. They must move fast to gain a competitive edge.

The big danger in this business-driven approach to technology is that it can be slapdash, leaving IT to spend all its time in clean-up mode. When IT leads the purchasing, systems remain structured, orderly, and efficient. However, businesses suffer under the weight of this standardization as market conditions change and IT can’t react fast enough.

So what’s a business supposed to do?

An Enterprise-Class Checklist for Consumerization of IT

From conversations with over 100 early adopters, we’ve found some elements that help IT teams and business leaders come to terms with the consumerization of IT. These six elements have emerged as a quick checklist for determining what kinds of consumer tech are appropriate the enterprise:

1. Simple. Solutions should embody design thinking at the outset. Technology should not require a manual. Solutions should be easy to use and self-service.
2. Scalable. Solutions should flex up and flex down as demand changes. Technology must work in a wide range of environments.
3. Safe. Organizations expect these solutions to not only integrate with ease but also not to harm existing systems or jeopardize how users perform daily work and operations. New technology must not adversely impact another proven system.
4. Secure. These solutions should pass encryption requirements, prevent data intrusion, and protect key intellectual property assets. Resources must be invested to fend off internal and external digital threats.
5. Sustainable. Consumer technologies must meet requirements for flexibility and adaptability over longer periods of time (e.g. 7 to 10 years). Platforms must allow users to extend and expand their functionality. Solutions should be extensible.
6. Sexy. Solutions must draw passion among users. Users must enjoy using the software.

The Bottom Line
IT and business leaders need to work together and operate in parallel. If IT slows down the business capability to innovate, the company will suffer as new business models emerge and infrastructure will fail to keep up. If business moves ahead of IT in technology, then the company fails because IT will spend years cleaning up technology messes. As technologies mature, IT should take over the commoditized technologies and drive efficiencies. With new technologies, businesses should start with some basic requirements to ensure future compatibility with existing systems. We’ve yet to see many organizations succeed in building a coordinated plan, but one can expect that those who figure it out will be among tomorrow’s leaders.

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/07/coming_to_terms_with_the_consu.html

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The Unemployed Worker’s New Friend: Outsourcers

Posted by sweens on July 12, 2011

Job Hunters Pay Firms to Launch Résumé Blitz
By: Joe Light

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303499204576387511296578664.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

Last summer, Mel Moomjean was unemployed and looking for a job as a sales director, but without meaning to he also applied for work as a receptionist, manicurist and fitness coach. His résumé, which highlights more than 20 years’ experience managing sales teams, even landed at the beauty salon his wife goes to. It was looking for a stylist.

Gary Bauer, the salon’s owner, thought Mr. Moomjean was joking. “I talked to his wife, and we had a good laugh about it.”

It wasn’t a joke. Mr. Moomjean had outsourced his job hunt.

For a $10 monthly fee ($40 for the first month) an automated service called MyJobHunter.com sent out more than 500 job applications in five months on Mr. Moomjean’s behalf. Within a day after a job opening hit the Web, the service scanned it for certain keywords. In Mr. Moomjean’s case, the words included “sales” and “retail.” If the listing was a match, the service would fire off a résumé to the employer without so much as showing it to the applicant.

Mr. Moomjean, who had been mostly out of work for two years, said the salon misfire was just a bit of collateral damage, a cost of his scattershot approach to finding work. “I think I was overqualified for the receptionist job,” he said facetiously.

Clients among U.S. job seekers are hoping to beat the soft job market and tedium of searching with the help of fast-growing niche outsourcing services that rely on computers and workers in India. Customers can send thousands of job applications in a flash, but spamming employers with résumés leads to some strange mishaps.

MyJobHunter is unique in its reliance on software. Customers of JobConcierge.com pay $30 a week to have their job applications sent out by workers based across the U.S. and abroad.

At JobSerf.com, candidates pay up to $98 a week for one of a team of workers in Visakhapatnam, India, to find openings and apply for jobs. Many of JobSerf’s workers join the company because their English is too rudimentary for them to work in a call center, says CEO Jay Martin.

So language difficulties do crop up. When JobSerf six years ago first tested its service with a few U.S. executive clients, its Indian workers applied on their behalf to a number of adult-entertainment companies.

“They were porn magnets,” says Mr. Martin. “They’d apply to CEO and CFO jobs at every porn outfit out there,” says Mr. Martin. The company quickly taught the workers to avoid listings with “XXX” or “adult entertainment” in their descriptions, he adds.

Even with the rules in place, applications still miss the mark. Frankie Balint, 24, of Washington, D.C., hired JobSerf last fall to apply to finance jobs and openings with nonprofit organizations involved in politics or foreign affairs. But one of his first callbacks was for a position selling playground equipment.

“I emailed the guy in charge of my search in India to set new parameters,” he said.

Ultimately, Mr. Balint’s Indian team helped him land a job at Brooklyn Bridge to Cambodia, an outfit that helps small-business owners.

The shotgun approach to applications has other drawbacks: When recruiters call candidates about a job, they often don’t realize that it is something they have applied for.

A district manager for a Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise was taken aback when she called Mr. Moomjean about his application only to learn he had no idea what she was calling about.

“He didn’t know who I was or where I got his application,” recalled Melissa Surby-Curtin, the franchise group’s district manager. “I thought ‘Oh, this isn’t a good start.'”

Mr. Moomjean explained the service to Ms. Surby-Curtin, who now says that Mr. Moomjean’s qualifications fit what they were looking for so perfectly that she didn’t mind how he initially reached out.

Despite the initial confusion, Mr. Moomjean landed the position last August—fund-raising director for the group.

While many U.S. employers have received applications from the outsourcing services, few know they even exist, says Mr. Martin. They mask the email address to make it appear the application has come straight from the applicant. Job seekers, who sometimes aren’t clear in stating their requirements, are to blame for misdirected applications, said Sanjay Dasgupta, head of the JobSerf team in Visakhapatnam. MyJobHunter officials also say their automated system is only as good as the job hunter’s search parameters.

In a span of 240 hours over three months last summer, JobSerf’s staff applied to 711 jobs on behalf of IT manager Colin Campbell, 34, of Cincinnati. Mr. Campbell said he got dozens of calls from potential employers. But he didn’t get his current job that way; he got it through a personal connection.

On a single day last summer, Greg Moffitt, 47, of Houston, sent out more than 100 applications via MyJobHunter. An irritated recruiter, who got his résumé three times, eventually called to ask him to stop.

“I knew that 20% of positions were a complete miss, but I’d rather have too many submissions than too few,” Mr. Moffitt said.

Clients can set search parameters as wide or as narrow as they want. And that can result in either sending out just a few applications in a day or hundreds. Occasionally, the sheer abundance of job applications some clients send can spin out of control, forcing the services to cut them off. MyJobHunter’s service was once slowed by a customer who set his parameters so wide that he applied for more than 20,000 jobs, said Lee Marc, CEO of eDirect Publishing Inc., which owns MyJobHunter.

“They’re like junkies,” said Mr. Marc, who once had a customer apply to 10,000 jobs in a week.

This past fall, JobSerf accidentally forwarded the résumé of a New York University law student to a firm he had asked them not to contact. He had wanted to handle the application for the summer associate position himself.

Although the student’s own résumé was ignored, the JobSerf application landed him a phone interview, said the student.

Syracuse, N.Y., lawyer Joseph Mancuso also received an application from the candidate and was surprised to learn that he had received an outsourced application. “I respond to every single [application] individually,” he said. “I personalize the form letters myself.”

 

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Receive A Job Counter-Offer? Don’t Take It

Posted by sweens on July 12, 2011

Hal Reiter
http://www.forbes.com/2008/06/28/counter-offer-employer-lead-careers-cx_hr_0630counteroffer.html

Pitting your employer against another in a bidding war for you is often career suicide.

A few years ago, I recruited an executive to run a mid-level company. The night before he was supposed to start his new job, the executive called to say he was staying put. The board of directors at his current company–a major multinational retailer–had offered to name him CEO in one year’s time.

I was aghast, but my former candidate could hardly envision a better scenario. He had leveraged an offer to run a mid-sized company and used it to land the coveted top spot at a retailing giant. No greater career coup exists, right?

Wrong.

After three tumultuous years as CEO, my former candidate was fired. This executive was not yet ready to run such a large organization. Had he accepted the job at the smaller company, he could have gained the necessary experience to successfully run a major multinational in due time.

Instead, he lured his company into a bidding war and forced the board to make a rash decision about retention in the name of corporate competition. As a result, his career ultimately suffered a mortal blow, not to mention the damage he caused shareholders, who watched their stock drop as a result of his inexperience.

Unable to land another CEO position, he took an early retirement.

In my 25 years of experience, I have learned that accepting a counter-offer is usually career suicide. Watching your boss scramble to keep you may be a heady experience, but in exchange for that sweet moment, you’ll have squandered your honor, a sacrifice that will haunt you for many years. Even more troubling, you may never know exactly when or to what extent your reputation has been sullied.

There’s a good chance hiring executives might blacklist you from other employment opportunities.Aside from refusing to ever hire you again, executives have long memories and will bad mouth you any chance they get.

I remember sitting on a plane with a group of retail executives when someone mentioned, by name, a seasoned retailer. The group listened intently as one of the executives launched into an unflattering tale of how the employee had used the executive’s perfectly good job offer as a bargaining chip for a fat buyback. By being dishonest with one company, the employee harmed his reputation with all of the executives on that flight.

Whenever I deliver a short list for a top job to one of my clients, I feel obligated to mention which potential candidates have accepted buyback offers in the past. Often my client will choose not to proceed with one of these people. Remember: Recruiters never forget a buyback, and computer files help us immensely.

Bosses don’t forget either. Initially, the company that retained you delights in winning you back from the competition. But after perhaps six months, management will begin resenting you for essentially extorting money or power from the firm.

A bitter taste of disloyalty lingers. Now you’re tacitly expected to perform like a new hire, proving yourself all over again to justify your new salary or position. You had better be up to the task.

Anytime you use a new job offer as a bargaining chip with your boss, there’s always a risk you’ll lose the bet. Next thing you know, you’re sitting in a strange office, having left a trail of ill will in your wake.

To be fair, counter-offers can provide an opportunity for employees to voice issues or concerns about their jobs. When you are recruited for another job, ask yourself: What are the pros and cons of my current position? If the negatives outweigh the positives, you simply must leave. However, you may decide you genuinely like your position, aside from one or two problems, in which case it’s time to have an open, honest conversation with your boss–before you accept the offer.

Down the road, such a conversation will be far more valuable if you choose not to force your boss into a buyback offer. You will retain your reputation for honesty, and, in my experience, this will serves you far better than a single raise or promotion ever could.

Hal Reiter is chairman and CEO of Herbert Mines Associates, a senior-level executive search firm specializing in the retail, fashion, beauty and consumer products industries.

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Don’t bet on RIM takeover: analysts

Posted by sweens on June 24, 2011

Published on June 24, 2011
The Canadian Press

Research In Motion, once the most valuable company on the Toronto Stock Exchange, may look like a bargain today for a potential buyer, but analysts say investors shouldn’t bet on a takeover.

The list of companies that might be willing and able to make a bid for the BlackBerry maker is short with Apple and Google – two of the largest players in the field – serious rivals to RIM with the iPhone and Android operating system.

Meanwhile, Cisco is looking to streamline its business and Microsoft is working with Nokia to develop its Windows Phone software.

“If Samsung were to acquire Nokia and abandon the Microsoft relationship, then perhaps Microsoft would turn to RIM,” National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson wrote in a recent report on the company.

Thompson noted that HP or Dell may be interested, but HP already has Palm and it was unlikely that Dell, with a market cap of $30 billion, could pull off a deal of this size.

“IBM should technically be able to raise enough money for this deal. IBM is an enterprise-centric IT services, software and hardware vendor. This deal could make sense but is likely a long shot,” Thompson wrote.

Cormark Securities analyst Richard Tse said rumours of a takeover bid for RIM are nothing new.

Tse noted that Microsoft has most often been mentioned as a possibility, but he discounted that notion because of the software company’s deal with Nokia.

“I wouldn’t rule it out, but I think the chances of that are not that high,” he said.

Complicating matters is that none of the companies speculated about are Canadian, which makes it likely that any potential bid would come under review of the Investment Canada Act, which would require a deal to be a net benefit to Canada.

The Conservative government has killed two deals under the act including a proposed sale from MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.’s (TSX:MDA) of its space business in 2008 and BHP Billiton’s hostile takeover bid for PotashCorp (TSX:POT) last year.

Making matters even more difficult is that RIM co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis together hold a roughly 10 per cent stake in the company – not enough to block a hostile bid, but likely enough to cause headaches for an unwanted suitor.

RIM shares were worth more than $140 at their peak in 2008.

And even after the a precipitous drop during the turmoil of the financial crisis, to around $45, the stock had bounced back to more than $90. But since then shares have trended lower before hitting a downward slide earlier this year to trade for less than $30.

The stock was hammered last week after RIM reported its latest quarterly results, only to be given a boost after unsubstantiated rumours about the possibility of a takeover bid.

That’s not to say that RIM stock is not without value, and a potential recovery in further value if the market favours its next wave of products.

The company is pushing ahead with plans for new BlackBerrys including a touchscreen version of its popular Bold model and a transition for its new phones to the same powerful operating system that runs its PlayBook tablet.

The company also has roughly $3 billion in cash and billions worth of patents and intellectual property.

Thompson raised the possibility of a private equity investor looking at RIM, but suggested the appetite for such a deal may be low because of RIM’s declining fortunes in recent months.

“We’ve recently had discussions with private equity participants that suggest there may be an appetite for high-yield debt tied to a private equity transaction,” Thompson wrote.

“The difficulty with this type of deal is determining sustainable cash flow in a market that is fiercely competitive and probably undergoing a transition to lower gross margins across the sector.”

http://www.obj.ca/Technology/2011-06-24/article-2611098/Dont-bet-on-RIM-takeover%3A-analysts/1

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DON’T FORGET, HUMAN RIGHTS LEGISLATION EXTENDS TO JOB INTERVIEWS!

Posted by sweens on June 10, 2011

You have narrowed your list of candidates after reviewing resumes and now you have a potential candidate coming in for an interview.  The interview process is the lynch pin of the recruiting process, allowing employers to identify whether the candidate has the requisite skills and abilities for the position as well as ensuring that they are the right fit for the organization. Given the importance of the job interview, asking the right questions is of central importance.   However, organizations need to be mindful about avoiding the wrong questions during a job interview since failing to do so could result in a human rights complaint.

Generally speaking, job candidates are protected by human rights legislation and care should be taken to make sure that interview questions are tailored to only get information about qualifications and job requirements. The prohibited grounds vary from province to province and federally and therefore particular attention should be paid to the specific grounds applicable to the interview.  It is also very important to note that an organization can be found liable for discrimination under human rights legislation where questions relating to a prohibited ground are asked (unless they are justified on the basis of a Bona Fide Occupational Requirement (“BFOR”)), even where the prohibited ground has no impact on the decision not to hire (or even hire) the candidate.  Where the candidate identifies disability-related needs as an issue in an interview, disability and accommodation measures related to the essential job duties can be discussed. Other than at an applicant’s request, interviewers should only discuss on-the-job accommodation after making a conditional offer of employment.

A recent case from the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal [Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. Systématix Technologies de l’information inc., 2010 QCTDP 18] serves as a good reminder to organizations that their interviewers should avoid discussing anything that relates to a prohibited ground (absent a BFOR), even if the employee brings the issue up for discussion.  Specifically, a Quebec employer was recently ordered to pay $7,500 to an applicant because an interviewer asked questions about the applicant’s Muslim faith, even though the decision not to hire him related only to his lack of experience. In the Tribunal’s view, just bringing up the subject violated the candidate’s human rights. In arriving at its decision, the Tribunal noted that it did not matter who brought the subject up, and that proceeding with questions about a prohibited ground would cause a reasonable person to feel compelled to answer them.  The Tribunal also noted that the candidate’s willingness to answer the questions did not constitute a waiver of his rights under human rights legislation. 

Bottom line: Unless questions respecting a prohibited ground relate to a candidate’s ability to perform the essential duties of the job, they should be avoided.  It should be noted that the onus to prove the questions were related to a legitimate job requirement is high.  Employers should establish a standard interview questionnaire in order to ensure that questions asked during an interview are consistent and do not tread on prohibited grounds.  Employers should provide training to all managers or supervisors who may be part of the interview process on appropriate interview etiquette, including questions which may and may not be asked.

If you have any questions about appropriate interview questions or what may qualify as a BFOR, please contact one of our e2r Solutions® service providers.

e2r Solutions®

“Real Human Resources Advice in Real-Time”  

70 The Esplanade, Suite 401  |  Toronto, ON M5E 1R2  |  1.866.327.7657  |  tel 416.867.3093  |  fax 416.867.1434

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Sales, Lies, and Interviews

Posted by sweens on May 19, 2011

These two articles have been floating around my office today and I couldn’t not share…

Sales, Lies, and Interviews

by Eliot Burdett on December 9, 2007 in Ethics in Sales

 

Peak does a lot of interviews with salespeople. I mean a lot – tens of thousands a year. The bulk of candidates with whom we meet are ambitious, capable, diligent, accomplished professionals, but from time to time, we come across those who would rather bend the truth than embrace the truth. Some become deceivingly good at it and if it weren’t for a series of useful tests and tricks we employ, they might slip through our process undetected. Luckily it is easy to spot most liars since they overconfidently assume they are smarter than the rest of us and that no one is on to them – arrogance is usually pretty easy to catch.

So I thought I would share the five most common lies we hear in interviews and what they actually mean.

1. I was laid off but it had nothing to do with my performance. Real meaning – My previous employer didn’t feel I performed well enough to keep me on the team, but was kind enough to lay me off rather than fire me. It is almost always about performance and employers rarely part with a performer without a fight. (Related lie – I was on contract and left because the contract ended.)

2. I can’t use my previous manager as a reference because I am not sure where they are now. Real meaning – we didn’t have a strong relationship when we worked together and still don’t. Previous employers offer significant insight into what it is like to employ a candidate.

3. I wasn’t able to be successful at my last company because the company didn’t support the sales team. Real meaning – I need the sun, moon and stars to line up in order for me to make a sale. Top performers let nothing get in the way of closing business and don’t have time for excuses.

4. My career is not about the money. Real meaning – I don’t know how to negotiate. Businesses exist to make profits and people work for money. Anyone who says it isn’t about the money probably doesn’t have much. It is always about the money.

5. I worked for my wife’s pet grooming business for a year and a half. Real meaning – I interviewed for a year and a half, but couldn’t find employment, so I have put my wife’s home business on my resume to fill the gap. This lie is not a lie if candidate successfully closed a shiitake load of business and made his wife a millionaire.

If you have other lies you have seen, please send them along and I will be happy to share them with our readers.

Eliot

http://peaksalesrecruiting.com/sales-lies-and-interviews/

Top 10 Dumb Lies Reps Tell Managers

Contrary to what many people think, sometimes it’s OK to lie to the boss.  After all, your manager is lying to you about salaries, layoffs, office politics, etc..  Since that’s the nature of the business world, you have the ethical right to lie in return if it serves your career.  (Example: lying about taking the morning off to interview for another job.)  Even so, there are a set of lies that sales reps tell their sales managers that most sales managers know are bogus.  Here they are:

  • LIE #10: Budget is not an issue with this customer.  Truth: budget is always an issue.
  • LIE #9: These are all qualified opportunities.  Truth: Some must be more qualified than others.
  • LIE #8: It’s a qualified lead, but they have no money.  Truth: No money means they’re not qualified.
  • LIE #7: I have all the important customer notes in my head.  Truth: I’m too lazy to write them down.
  • LIE #6: I entered all the details in our CRM system.  Truth: You entered the minimum required.
  • LIE #5: I am working from home this morning.  Truth: Yeah, right.
  • LIE #4: I made 100 cold calls today.  Truth: You made some calls, but probably not THAT many.
  • LIE #3: I don’t cold call because it is not a good way to generate new business.  Truth: You don’t cold call because you hate cold calling.
  • LIE #2: These new leads just advanced right before this funnel review meeting, so I don’t have all the details.  Truth: You’re not on top of your accounts.
  • LIE #1: I expect to hit my quota, but as luck would have it, most of my customers will be making a decision in the last week of the quarter.  Truth: You’re praying that something will close by then.

READERS: Is this the right list?  What else should be on it?

By the way, the idea for this list (and most of the contents) came from observations about real-world sales behavior by Peak Sales Recruiting, a company that, in the words of one executive, is a “passionate defender of ethics in the sales profession.”

The remarks about being allowed to lie, though, are IMHO.  Or rather, to be truthful, they’re an opinion I borrowed from Scott Adams, who pointed out during an interview that if a company asks you to work unpaid overtime, you are within your rights to use some of that time to create your own business.

http://www.bnet.com/blog/salesmachine/top-10-dumb-lies-reps-tell-managers/1607

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UPDATE: Google bids $900M for Nortel’s patent portfolio

Posted by sweens on April 6, 2011

Published on April 4, 2011
Elizabeth Howell

Google Inc. will be the stalking horse bidder for Nortel Network Corp.’s patent portfolio, the last piece of lucrative business standing after the former Ottawa telecom titan went bankrupt in 2009.

The sale, should it pass the muster of United States and Canadian regulatory authorities, would involve around 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning wired, wireless and digital communication technologies, Nortel stated in a release.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to acquire one of the most extensive and compelling patent portfolios to ever come on the market,” stated George Riedel, Nortel’s chief strategy officer and president of business units. 

The bid will go through both the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware along with a request to let other “qualified bidders” submit their offers, Nortel stated. The firm aims to hold the auction in June.

When reached by OBJ, Ottawa patent portfolio firms Wi-LAN Inc. and MOSAID separately said they would not comment on whether they would submit bids.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, which has 900 employees in Ottawa, is also pegged as a potential bidder. The Waterloo-based firm did not immediately respond to a query from OBJ.

In a statement on its official blog, Google said that patent lawsuits, an exploding business of late, may “stifle innovation” without reform. The California search-engine firm has already been named in several patent infringement lawsuits in the past year, including from firms Gemalto, NTP Inc. and Oracle.

As such, Google is looking to acquire Nortel’s portfolio to guard against such action in the future. 

“If successful, we hope this portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community — which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome — continue to innovate,” stated Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice-president and general counsel.

“In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it’s the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners.”

A few weeks ago, Microsoft Corp. picked up around 666,000 web addresses from Nortel that use the now-defunct IPv4 technology.

The $7.5-million deal will allow Microsoft to use these addresses without needing to upgrade to the new standard, IPv6.

The Ottawa tech giant, formerly known as Bell Northern Research, once made up the bulk of the Toronto Stock Exchange at the height of its powers, with a $366-billion market capitalization in 2000.

From that dizzying high, the 95,000-employee firm fell hard from the tech boom as the demand for traditional telecommunications products fell, and several accounting scandals shook Nortel’s reputation.

Nortel filed for creditor protection in January 2009 when its stock price, once trading for $1,600 a share, was at a nickel. Its stock was delisted immediately afterwards.

It has been selling off pieces of its business, as well as its former Carling Avenue property, ever since.

NORTEL SALES

Other major asset sales of Nortel in the past two years:

– March 2009: Israel’s Radware picks up Nortel’s data-switching division for $17.7 million.

– July 2009: Nortel sells its wireless assets to Ericsson for $1.13 billion, and its enterprise solutions business to Avaya Inc. for US$475 million.

– October 2009: Hitachi Corp. buys Nortel’s next-generation packet core network component assets for US$10 million.

– November 2009: Nortel sells its GSM business to Ericsson and Kapsch for US$103 million, and its optical unit to Ciena for $769 million.

– December 2010: Ericsson buys Nortel’s Chinese joint venture for US$50 million.

– February 2010: Nortel directly sells its carrier business to GENBAND for $182 million.

– April 2010: LM Ericsson buys Nortel’s share of its Korean joint venture with LG Electronics for US$242 million.

– September 2010: Swedish wireless giant Ericsson buys Nortel’s multi-switch business for US$65 million. Avaya purchases Nortel’s enterprise solutions unit for US$915 million.

– October 2010: Public Works buys the 370-acre Nortel campus for $208 million.

– March 2011: Nortel sells around 666,000 iPv4 web addresses to Microsoft for US$7.5 million.

http://www.obj.ca/Technology/2011-04-04/article-2398768/UPDATE-Google-bids-900M-for-Nortels-patent-portfolio/1

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