Executive Search veteran Mark Bregman writes on issues related to senior level recruiting, executive retention, job hunting, etc.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
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.
Tags: improvement, leadership development, people skills, survey, task oriented
Posted by Mark Bregman at 12:06 AM
Thursday, November 5, 2009
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
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Posted by Mark Bregman at 11:28 PM
Saturday, October 24, 2009
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
Lately more and more of our contact with candidates and even with clients (employers) is electronic. “Conversations” occur by e-mail and text, and even through neutral sites like LinkedIn. It should come as no surprise that there are even robot interviewers where you record your questions, and the candidate records his/her answers. One company providing this service advertises that you can turn a stack of resumes into the perfect candidate “while you sleep.”
However…. Once the candidates get to the hiring manager, chemistry, personal presentations and all the human factors come into play. So, how can a professional recruiter, whether internal or external, adequately evaluate a candidate without knowing what the candidate is like, how the candidate expresses him/herself, etc.? I would say you can’t. Perhaps my age is showing, but I think that one of the primary skills a recruiter must have is knowing who is or isn’t a fit, and why, based on their personality.
If you’ve read my stuff before, you know that I preach using a Performance Based approach, determining if a candidate can produce critical results. Can you use a recording to determine that? Not sure. I think I hear results in tone, inflection, confidence, etc., as much as I hear from the words.
If you have an opinion on automation in recruiting, please let me know. I think this is evolving, and it will be interesting to see where it all goes.
Tags: automation, interviewing, interviews, recruiting, robot, screening candidate
Posted by Mark Bregman at 10:44 PM