04.30.09

Internet Going Brown

Posted in Brenda at 10:03 am by livefood

Everyday we get some weird revelation. I think it’s because I look for it. I read a lot of news feeds. Of course I’m trying to focus on employment news, but usually one thing lead to another and I end up reading lots of just plain junk.

Octomon is trying to trademark the word. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that her attorney is trying to trademark the name on her behalf.

No news about Susan Boyle in the last week or so. At least she got more than the usually 15 minutes of fame.

Swine flu isn’t just for pigs anymore. There is some push back from the Chinese who don’t want to have them labeled at the source. I now know that 36,000 people die in the USA each year from normal flu viruses.

If you do a crime and get your mug on the interent, please take the time to comb your hair…or at least run one through the tangles.

It’s just a weird world out there.

It’s hard to concentrate on business when the weird world is coming at you so fast, don’t you think? Well there may be some equally weird relief coming at you fast also. Apparently at least one think tank (and the the report is that they are a well respected group) is estimating that the internet is approaching capacity and we can expect brownouts as early as 2010…followed by their thinking (they are a think tank afterall) that as early as 2012 there could be periods of time when the internet just denies access to a computer for 4-5 minutes at a time rendering the system as a “toy.”

The capacity of the internet, once thought of as endless, is being used by new media-like groups like YouTube…high bandwidth used that just a few years ago were nothing big…now they are huge.

What would brownouts do to SaaS models in the healthcare industry?

I know, you were wondering where I was going with this post. But now you know. I am concerned that IF the thinkers thought correctly AND the internet starts to brown on the edges…will the healthcare software model that some think is superior (SaaS) be a liability in the short term? Something to ponder as I read about other bizaar events.

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04.29.09

I’ve Talked About This Before

Posted in Brenda at 9:31 am by livefood

So it’s a bit slow for clients who are hiring and for the would-be candidates looking or thinking about looking for work. Now is an excellent time to examine processes that one is using to find employees and work. Don’t take the valuable time when “things” are hot…use the slower times (like now) to read, research, ponder and examine what worked in the past and what didn’t work so well.

Recently, I’ve been qouting from ERE.net as follows:

  • “Free time. Although your budgets might be lean and hiring may be frozen, this “lull” is a great time to rethink your past approach. Once the frenzy of new hiring begins, there will be little time to think strategically and to develop a workable plan. This lull time will also allow you to identify new and emerging tools (mobile phones, Twitter, social networks, talent communities, etc.) and to adapt them to your company’s needs.”

My thoughts on using slower times to prepare for busier ones is not unique. But apparently, it needs repearing. This is not the first slow period we have seen and gone through. We’ve been in the recruiting business for 25 years, so we’ve seen a few. There are seasonal slow periods every year and each time we use the same plan because it works so well.

You can use the same concepts for your business or your job search. Not everybody will use the concept so there is always plenty of opportunity left for those who do.

It’s basically very simple. Continue to work…make calls when colleages are not…visit clients when competitors are pulling back…examine your presentations and tweak where they squeak…keep yourself moving as the rest of the office sits in their chairs reading online feeds.

Every year we hear that the Christmas Holidays are a slow time…it’s a bad time to look for work…and “nobody” is looking so why try to hire…WRONG…on both sides of the employment isle. As it trns out, December is a great time to hire and to look…for those who do. Because most people seem to listen to the downsided banter and they don’t look either for employees or for employment…so if one is not looking, what should one expect to see…nuttin’. So the prophesies beceom self-fullfilling.

So those who look may have less to look at but the number of people looking is a more determined number and they have a greater chance of success.

This same concept…that is to keep working, coupled with the idea of self examination and retooling will loft some people into a much better position as the economy starts to improve. The folks who don’t change during the slow period will perhaps find themselves “out” when the times changes…because the employment picture will not be the same as it was…so if you con’t change you will be “old news.”

Rebrand, retool, research, plan…but move forward. We’re certainly not going backwards.

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04.28.09

Early Bird Might Choke On The Worm

Posted in Brenda at 10:58 am by livefood

Continuing from yesterday a bit, the same article said,

“Right time” advantages. The key is to “ramp up” recruiting at the “right time,” rather than being too early or too late. If you start active recruiting too early, you’ll leave a large number of recruits waiting in limbo before you can take action. If you start too late, you’ll miss out on the first movers (i.e., forward-looking talent who is among the first to be willing to assume the risk of a new position and firm).”

It’s hard to be doing any of this recruiting thing at the “right time” without a plan. So put one together. If your looking for a new position you need a plna. If you are looking for new team players, you need a plan. Plans are good.

We do two types of recruiting. One we call tactical…we have an assignment from a client and we work to fill that assignment. The other type of recrutiing we call strategic. We look for candidates who either now or later would be good folks to consider for our clients. Some of the folks we find that way may not get a phone call from us for a year or more. This strategic work is one of the reasons our database of candidates is so rich and unique. But we couldn’t develop a database like this without a plan…who we are, what we do, where are we going.

You know the routine on building a business model. Use those same principles to build a plan for talent acquisition. Remember the “right time” thought from above. This is one of those times when “The Early Bird Gets The Worm” becomes a bad thing…sometimes the bird getting the worm chokes. We certainly don’t want to choke on finding a new position.

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04.27.09

Thinking About Strategy or Susan Boyle

Posted in Brenda at 10:27 am by livefood

Nothing really new in the following information but it’s a great way to bring some enphasis to the point:

One a recent email, I saw the following bullet:

  • Competitive advantage. During economic recoveries, organizations that can react quickly can pick up market share from competitors not quite as agile. This is especially true if your organization isn’t the largest or the most well-known in your industry.”

Well…you probably have heard it before, but it really should be said over and over during this slow down period. We have clients who have had small layoffs, some have restructured, some have rebranded. It’s all about getting leaner and meaner and preparing for the economy to do some more serious uptick.

Some of that energy needs to be placed in planning a program that will attract the best talent to help fuel the growth…and from the candidate’s perspective, what will your firm look like in the new economy. Will you look like you thought ahead or will you look like last years model? When the candidate comes to visit the company to “kick the tires,” what will they think about the way the company peformed in the down cycle. It will tell them a lot about how well the company might do in the up cycle.

Do you have a plan that tells you what types of people your organization will be needing? Have you discussed that plan with your recruiting team? Do you have the abiltiy to think and act quickly if the market changes and begins to pass you. Can you get in front of the wave? Can you ride the top of the wave? Will you be in the curl? Preplanning is a good way to invest in future growth.

And frankly, since many of us have heard that the economy is a bit slow, which is a better way to spend time in the office, planning for the future or watching YouTube performances of Susan Boyle?

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04.24.09

Hiring and Separations

Posted in Brenda at 9:56 am by livefood

In a report titled, ” JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER: FEBRUARY 2009,” the opening line is, “On the last business day of February, there were 3.0 million job openings in the United States…”

Of course, like all Bureau of Labor reports, it’s complicated and convoluted. The complicated and convoluted nature of the report is probably a good reflection of the nature of the employment picture.

The report is not all that uplifting…generally, it’s numbers reflect a “flat” employment picture for the period. But, if you are an optimist, that is good news…the employment is not declining, the unemployment is not increasing at a faster rate…there still are jobs to be had and manufacturing is taking a tiny bit of an increase.

One of the interesting, but rarely talked about statistics in the report is one about, “Separations.” For the purposes of the repost, the government is defining separations as, “separations includes quits (voluntary separations), layoffs
and discharges (involuntary separations), and other separations (including retirements).

So the repost goes on to briefly analyze the stats concluding that the numbers were essentially unchanged because the numbers of voluntary separations (they call them “quits”) continues to decline and offset the involuntary separations…layoffs and terminations.

The report goes on to explain that the “quits” can be seen as indicating the climate of employees feeling of security…are they will to look for new employment? Are they willing to leave a position they have for one they might want? Are they willing to take a risk? To some degree this would be more like, “are they willing to take a risk in this economic environment?”

Currently, well in the February report anyway, the rate is the lowest in the last 8 years. What I found to be more interesting was the note that said that the quits number has been declining since December of 2006. That’s nearly 2 1/2 years ago. The economic downturn is not a recent development (well…unless of course perhaps one considers all of World history), but the employement world has been feeling the pinch for over two years. We’re finding that feeling of pinch as we talk with candidates also. Folks are wanting to hear about stablity and benefits…they want to hear about a future without having to look for new employment anytime soon…they want a comittment and they are willing to make one.

So while the quit rate is very low and generally speaking people are not wanting to look for a change in their careers, there are some things that we can agree on…good jobs with good companies still have the best change to attract employees for the growth that is going to come.

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04.23.09

Hookup on Linkedin

Posted in Brenda at 5:18 pm by livefood

Want to do your friends a favor that doesn’t cost you anything?

Even if your friends and family are employed at the moment, you should point them to Linkedin (www.linkedin.com). If the perfect opportunity comes up and it matches your friends background perfectly, don’t you think they might want to hear about it? Don’t think so? Ask them. Perfect opportunities can only be defined as pefect by the parties involved…it’s really not something even an experienced recruiter can decide.

We use a number of “tools” in our office…some big boards, some not so big. But the quality of the candidates coming from Linkedin is some of the best. One of the reasons could be that we have to do a bit more work to hook up with folks on Linkedin…less of the robot looking and more of a person looking. But if your best firned is the best candidate you want them to be in a position for us to find them.

If you use an analogy of a fishing net…we mend the net as we go with Linkedin…on some of the larger boards, there are holes in the net and good opportunities can slip right on by. From our perspective, good candidates “get away.”

So where do you think we look first…the larger boards? HA. We look within our database first and contact potential resources from within our data…then we go to Linkedin…then the smaller boards (within the specialty area) and then to the larger megaboards.

So do your friends a favor and hook them up on Linkedin…employed or not. When the economy starts to move a bit more quickly you certainly don’t want you and your friends left behind.

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04.21.09

How Cool Is This

Posted in Brenda at 10:33 am by livefood

I’m sitting here in my Father-In-Laws place waiting to get him to the eye Doctor’s…the follow up to the catarac surgery that was performed yesterday. So what you ask?

I’m also sitting here with my partner and we’re hookup up to our cell based router…so the laptops are operating much like they do in our office…a tad slower, but most of our day is typing and talking not browsing…so the tad gets a bit blurred by work. It’s amazing that we can work just about anywhere we can get a decent cell to work from.

So I may be “out of the office” but I’m definitely not out of touch (well except for the Twitter thing). I’m getting a pretty heavy dose of NBA, NFL, AL, and NL…that’s what Dad “watches” as he sleeps. But still, I think I can live without my CNN on the big screen for a few days. We get the feeds on the desktop anyway.

The biggest difference in the day is that the dog (her name is Montana) is not begging for the walk. She had to stay at home this trip. But by and large the office stays in tack as we travel.

That’s a far cry from when we started some 25 years ago. Not only were we tied to the office for business (even forwarding phones was a huge hassle and expense), we we were slowed by the lack of technology. So as I sit here typing on the BLOG, I’m in between talking and typing with candidates and clients about searches…locations of the parties and job sites cover five states…and I’m not in the office.

Yesterday I was sitting in the eye clinic waiting for Dad to come out and during the wait I was chatting with a younger gentleman. He was lamenting (okay, I was too, a bit) about the “old days” and how they were so fine. But in the end, we agreed that the tools and toys that we have available now are just wonderful and we wouldn’t want to give them ups to go back in time. We do miss the notion that the World was safer (but was it?)…and that kids were safer (but were they?).

All in all, it’s a pretty fantastic world we live in. If I just had the dog with me, it would even be better.

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04.20.09

Will I Ever Catch the Virus?

Posted in Brenda at 11:11 am by livefood

There is a lot of talk about the advantages of “social networking” now days. Networks of people have been important in our industry since I’ve been involved. Mixers of about any sort…service clubs…tip clubs…now we have Twitter (et al).

I just can’t get into the twitter deal yet. What would I say. I sit here and talk to folks all day…either on the phone or by email (sometimes doing both). Other than mentioning that our dog (she’s named Montana) is taking a nap or not…perhaps throwing in what we’re having for lunch, I just can’t think of anything to add to my Tweets. I mean I do have a Twitter account but only get feeds through it. Punching in something that would be meaningful just isn’t happening.

Lately, I’m sort of glad I’m not that into the twitter deal. I mean really, if I had one more email “turning me on to” Susan Boyle…you know the UK’s Got Talent super celeb, I think I would want to cry. I’m sort of in the dark when it comes to watching UK proramming, and got into the SB thing about 3 days post event, but over the weekend, yet another new email from someone just catching the story for the first time. GO SUSAN…there’s still folks out there who need to hear you.

I hate to think about how much more I might have heard about the SB deal if I had been twittering in addition to my email.

The fact that some refer to the social networking as VIRAL networking should give us all a bit of pause. What good ever came from anything that was viral?

Oh well, I may be slow to catch on but hopefully I’ll get it and then get with it. I may not have a choice. Most viruses don’t have a cure so you end up having to deal with anyway.

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04.17.09

HIT Monopoly in the future?

Posted in Brenda at 9:19 am by livefood

Article Link

The article starts out with, “The New England Journal of Medicine is the holy scripture of the medical academic left, so it’s worth noting that the magazine has just punched a hole in the many blandishments about electronic medical records.”

The stimulus package of the Obama adminstration is devoting $19 billion ( or 13B as mentioned by HealthData Management on April 17) to go digital. As reposted by the New England Journal in this article, that 19B may come at an insidious price in a large part because the government process may limit “free enterprise” solutions.

Our government tends to think that big is better…staid is good…bueracacy is a good thing and on and on. Of course, my entreprenueral blood gets pumping when I think of big as beautiful. I know that small can elegant and gorgeous. If the government, through the process of letting 19B into the industry, gives a tacid “stamp of approval” on some software solutions over others, they may be incouraging a situation where hospitals and other groups rush prematurely into intallations of large and costly solutions and in effect throw cold water on the process of IT innovations…which could be driven by smaller firms.

It would be a tragedy if small firms found themselves changing direciton to “follow the money” rather than to forge ahead with new and creative ideas.

So “show me the money” but don’t rubber stamp anything that would stifle innovation in the process. Nineteen billion won’t put IT into every doctors office or into every hospital. It can help push the envelope around the top of the table and get folks moving on this whole HIT concept, but the real money and the real solutions will have to come from the marketplace.

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04.15.09

Spelling

Posted in Brenda at 10:54 am by livefood

We’re in the midst of rebuilding a section of our web site. Part of that process is about layout, part is content development. But since most of us have done that sort of work (or heard about it at least), I won’t go into the ins and outs of the normal web site edit challenges. What gets me the most is the nit picking little details that one has to go through to make it presentable.

Spelling…okay, I said it. It’s my worst nightmare. First, personally I really don’t care too much about it. If you can read it and understand what I mean, why is spelling such a big deal. I’ve always felt that way. The reality of the situation is that spelling does matter. So personal feeling aside, from a corporate standpoint spelling matters. A small mistep for example can change the word “from” into “form.” Spellings of through and threw OR there and their, can be confusing, but in the very least misspelled words may show that the author didn’t care to take the time (and your time) to read through (not threw) their own material…rather an elitist approach.

So I “get it.” I’m suppose to care about spelling. Which I don’t…but I do try. The physical problems begin in my hands. I have some nerve damage in my fingers and the brain tells some of the fingers to do such and such and they don’t comply. So the diabetic neuropathy takes a bit of a toll on the typing. The Dupyytren’s Contractures in the palm of my hands don’t help and that is getting worse through time. The neuropathy also creates small areas on the fingertips which don’t have feeling…so when I type some keys my brain compensates for the lack of feeling and I may think I’m typing correctly, when in fact…naw, it’s a typo.

Enhancing the problem is the diabetic retinopathy. That’s a problem with the vision. Oh joy. We love to see 10 point fonts in this modern webby world. So while most of us read as we type…I just don’t see the problems unless they are really very obvious. Even the typo helping tools are enjoying some font shrinkage. So if I can get by the fingers creating some interesting new words I sometimes find myself flailing through the spell check tools and just picking the wrong solution. The “o” and the “a” can look very similar…”m” and “n” same deal.

So, when that new web stuff is out (or even on the old material), if you see a typo, cut me some slack. I try (even through I don’t care). But if you want to share where you found the mistake I sure would like to know…I guess I really do care.

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