Saturday, December 5, 2009

December: Great Month for a New Job

Most job seekers, whether actively looking or passive (just interested in other opportunities, but not looking), put job search activity on hold in December, under the assumption that employers aren’t thinking about hiring.

An article Friday on points out that December can be a great time to explore a new job. Hiring managers are relaxed, and perhaps under less pressure, so they can invest time in candidates. Because fewer people are looking, there is less competition. And, although more hiring actually occurs in January, many employers would prefer to hit the floor running fully staffed in January, by making the hiring commitment earlier.

Over my 25 years in the executive search business, I’ve never had a slow December. Many companies do their next-year staffing plan in September or October. Budgets and head counts are set, and plans put in place. In fact, in some cases, when hiring managers do procrastinate, it can actually be to the advantage of the job-seeker, because you may inquire and find an opening that hasn’t been posted, and no one else knows about.

So if you want a new job, use the next two weeks (up until 12/18 or so) to make contact with hiring managers. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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Posted by Mark Bregman at 10:37 PM

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Leadership Development Lacking for Execs

It didn’t surprise me to learn that a recent survey by a top talent research firm revealed that only 37% of survey respondents (352 participants) would rate their executive leadership “excellent”, and less than 20% rated first-line supervisors excellent.

The study found that focused development effort is lacking for top executives. Not enough top people are getting “continuous improvement” of their leadership skills.

The survey report is titled Leadership Development Factbook: 2009: Benchmarks and Analysis of Leadership Development Spending, Staffing and Programs. It was produced by Bersin & Associates, and is available for purchase on their web site. You can download an executive summary at no cost.
I have some additional thoughts on why top leaders may fail to achieve excellent ratings. Several personality and psychological profiles have established that there is a distinct range of task vs. people/relationships. Some people are more task oriented, some more people oriented. Their behavior on this scale is mostly automatic – they manage in keeping with their preferred tilt on this scale.
In my 25 years in executive search and talent management consulting, I’ve seen many companies promote people up into the executive ranks based on production of specific results. This is fundamentally a good thing. People should get promoted based on producing results. However, the managers who are most driven toward results are usually more task focused. Often they lack strong people skills, and this is the area in which they need the most development. Hopefully, corporations, and even the leaders themselves will realize that investing in courses, coaching, etc. to improve leadership skills is very valuable to optimize corporate performance.

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Posted by Mark Bregman at 12:06 AM

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More on Lying…

Usually my blogs are meant to inform – today I’m going to vent a bit. I’m one of those people who says when I put my head on my pillow at night, I don’t worry about what I said to who – because I just tell everyone the truth. I’m beginning to feel like I’m in the minority.

In April, I wrote a blog on lies told by job candidates, with advice to employers on how to get at the truth. In the last six months, I have had an astonishing number of candidates lie to me. How do I know? They get caught!

Everyone engages in some “spin” in telling stories. Spin to me is a skillful, selective portrayal of the truth, that positions you well. An example: A job seeker felt that his last boss was a jerk, who provided no real empowerment, and no opportunity for growth. The “spin” on this is: “I realized I needed to be in an environment with a supportive, mentoring boss who would empower me to accomplish great things and advance my career.” The truth, told to the candidate’s advantage.

Telling a recruiter that you have or haven’t done something when the exact opposite is true and in fact verifiable is just stupid and dishonest. Stupid dishonest people will get caught. Say the title of this blog three times fast….

Posted by Mark Bregman at 5:25 PM

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Advancing Your Career – Take my Survey

If you receive my newsletter – this month’s article will be on Advancing Your Career. (If you would like to receive my newsletter, send an e-mail to

Help your fellow readers get good results by taking my survey on LinkedIN.


Posted by Mark Bregman at 11:28 PM

Saturday, October 24, 2009

More About Automation and the Human Touch

Yesterday I wrote about the need for the Human Touch in recruiting. Today’s LA Times has an interview with Leonard Kleinrock, one of the fathers of the internet. While Kleinrock is mostly positive about the impact of the medium on society, he does point out a pitfall that aligns with what I was saying yesterday: That today’s kids are un-learning the basic human skill of reading another human being in person. Kleinrock’s quote: “It [internet] gives them a larger reach, [but] they’re not getting out in the sun, playing with other kids and looking in their eyes and watching their body language as much as they used to, which I think is a shame and can create a kind of indifference in the way in which you deal with your peers. Excesses include things like notifying your significant other [by computer] that you’re no longer significant to them.”

As a society, I think it is worth maintaining this skill of being able to size up what another person means, just by looking at them, and listening to how they express themselves. Parents will have to model this at home, and, in the workplace, I think companies will ultimately have to teach this skill to millennials who would rather text than talk!

Posted by Mark Bregman at 4:56 PM