Unsolicited Emails: I See Spam – Some See Bacon

Spam As I’m sure you do, I get tons of email – much of which is spam or
unsolicited – but I’ve come to accept that as something that goes with
the territory of having a pretty public presence on the internet. So I spend a portion of each day eliminating
the junk. Unsubscribe. Block. Delete. You know the drill.

rarely give these unsolicited emails much attention after the first
sentence or two, but recently, one pulled me in – at least long enough
to annoy me more than usual. I’ve included it below for your reading

Dear Jennifer,

The title “HEADHUNTER” is often gratuitously adopted by some within the employment industry.

be blunt, I’m reaching out to you for one of two potential purposes
while illustrating an important differentiation within the recruitment

1.  To solicit you for search assignment business.
2.  To inquire with you about your current personal career status as a potential candidate for future search assignments.

that understand the real intended meaning of the word “headhunter”
don’t view it as a slur. In fact, recruiters like myself view this
title as a “badge of honor” because it suggests that real search is
done by the recruitment practitioner.

Many in the employment
industry adopt the title headhunter when in reality they are in fact
just “Head-farmers”. “Head-farmers” don’t do active research and/or
cold calling to accomplish their mission. Head-farmers primarily use
advertisements to attract candidates and in essence operate as
advertising campaign managers. In fact and ironically, the seemingly
benign usage of the word “agency” can be more offensive to a true

What’s the point?

Sometimes the best
candidate isn’t “looking” and they must be HUNTED! Sometimes there’s a
need for a “silent search” where discretion is paramount and
advertising can’t be done.

We certainly would like to be of
service.  While we are somewhat flexible in the assignments we will
take on, we focus primarily on the IT professional services, IT
consulting, management consulting, ERP software, specialty applications
software and IT solutions marketplace.

Generally, our
assignments have packaged compensation programs ranging from $150K to
$1MM. We are usually looking for the consulting director, executive
deal maker, subject matter expert or sales professional. Often our
assignments require candidates with specialty vertical market
expertise.  Depending on the assignment, we will work upon either a
contingency or a retained basis.

I welcome your inquiry and would be very interested in elaborating on our capabilities at your convenience.

Best regards,

President you’ve never met from Unknown Recruiting Firm

Here’s What Annoys Me About This Email

It’s impersonal and not at all targeted.
Even though it was addressed directly to me, there’s
no mention of how this person got my name or why they thought I might
interested in receiving it. They also didn’t take the time to do any
research on who I am – a Recruiter (not a potential client) who has never once been confused for an IT professional (their stated focus).

Lots of words – but none of them about results.
All the smack talk about being a Headhunter? Whatever Dude.
Clients don’t care what we call ourselves. They DO care about results.
How about listing successful placements made in recent months, touting your candidate
to placement ratio or mentioning the percentage of clients who do repeat
business with you? Now THAT would potentially be interesting.

What Do You Think? Does This Approach Ever Work?

Maybe there’s some business development magic in this formula I’m missing that only the “true headhunters” mentioned in this email know.

If so, I’m open to being educated – and I do like Bacon – so please school me with your thoughts.

Spam with Bacon uploaded by srqpix

Wanted: A Positive Onboarding Experience

Lone Ranger Earlier this week, Michael VanDervort shared a post on his blog The Human RaceHorses about his first day on the job in HR. It’s a great read and made me think about my own “first day” experiences. Unfortunately, I’m long overdue for a good one.

Job 1

My first job post graduation was at Margaret’s Employment Service. I responded to a “Help Wanted” sign in Margaret’s front yard and when I met her – a recruiter for 30+ years – she put down her phone only long enough to say “You’re hired”. I was provided a desk, chair, phone and the Yellow Pages and my training consisted of “Make calls”. So I smiled and dialed. Within a couple of weeks, someone actually talked to me at a bank that was hiring and I scheduled an interview. For me. I don’t think Margaret noticed when I left.

Job 2

My new job was an Internal Auditor position – a job typically filled by Finance grads and MBA’s. Clearly, someone wasn’t paying attention in the interview process. (Me.) My first day involved showing up in the wee hours of the morning to drive to a branch office where, like Ninja, our secret arrival was timed with the opening of the doors. Once inside, the auditors scurried off immediately to capitalize on the element of surprise. I was instructed to count and balance the cash drawers of the Tellers. And I had no idea how to do that. Left alone to count more money than I’d ever seen in my life, it wasn’t pretty. One. Two. Three…

Job 3

After 18 months of terrorizing bank employees, I networked my way into an HR Manager position in a small company. On my first day, I entered the Plant Manager’s office full of youthful hope and exuberance. He looked at me and said: “I don’t know anything about HR. Don’t expect me to help you. There’s some books in your office.” And he went back to smoking his cigarette. So I found my office and started looking at books. I was a little less hopeful, but thrilled to finally be working in HR. Even if no one else cared.

Job 4

A few years and a relocation later, I took an HR role with a new start up that was part of a bigger company. On my first day, I showed up at the main office as instructed, but since I’d been hired for the new company (still being built) and I wouldn’t be located there, there was no place for me. My boss suggested I find an empty desk and make plans for recruiting and training the new employees that would be needed. I worked on that project (making plans) for the next 5 months at random locations before the new building was finished. During that time, I worked in a crowded office, but wasn’t really part of a team – because there wasn’t one for me yet. As a result, I attended lots of meetings with myself. They were very efficient.

Job 5

Eventually, I was recruited to a position at a company with a new CEO who’d been brought in for a turnaround and wasn’t seeing eye to eye with the VP of HR. It was a confidential search, so once the current VP was notified of his unplanned departure, the CEO and I were supposed to meet with him the following weekend while the offices were closed so he could pass the torch and provide me with the keys to the kingdom. Except the CEO forgot to show up that Sunday so it was just the two of us. Awkward. The next day I met with the HR team that had just been informed of my arrival the Friday before. They told me that because of the changes that had taken place and the way things were handled, they felt like outcasts. And I knew how they felt because I’d been there before. Thankfully, we were able to fix that.

So Why The Big FAIL When It Comes to Onboarding?

All of the companies that I worked for were great places to work (except maybe Margaret’s) and they were filled with smart and capable people. A couple of my bosses were even amazing and inspiring Leaders to work for who really challenged me and helped me to grow. But all of the companies I’ve worked for – both the small ones and those in the Fortune 500 – failed me as a new hire on my first day because they didn’t plan effectively for my arrival or take the time to make me feel welcomed.

Research shows that 90% of companies believe that employees make their decision to stay at a company within the first six months, but many of us have experienced an onboarding process that started our career with the company off on the wrong foot. Things that make you go hmmm…

Do you have an awful new hire experience similar to or worse than mine? What was your worst (or best) first day/week on the job like?

I showed you mine. Now you show me yours. Tell me about it.

Don’t Call It a Comeback…

LailaAli_01 “Don’t call it a comeback / I’ve been here for years”


Many of you probably recognize the first line as coming from rapper LL Cool J’s 1991 hit song Mama Said Knock You Out.

Those of you that are readers of this blog may also recognize the second line as coming from – well, me.

You know. The Random Blogger.

Oh, I’ve got reasons. Lots of reasons. All of which are poor. I overthink potential blog posts: “it’s too personal”, “it’s off-topic”, “it’s been too long since the news broke”, “Kris Dunn / Laurie Ruettimann / Lance Haun beat me too it” – or, my personal favorite – “I haven’t posted in a while, so I need to write something really good first, before I post something like this”.

Whatever. Bad blogger.

The reality is, blogging is one of the best things I’ve ever done in terms of building some great relationships, learning, my professional growth and developing business opportunities. So every day missed is a missed opportunity. Seriously.

And I don’t want to miss anymore opportunities.

So I’m going to post more often. Not just for the sake of posting, but I’ll be scheduling time for writing as part of my job and not treating it like a hobby. Sometimes posts may be short and to the point (the ultimate goal). Sometimes I’ll share something I found elsewhere that I’d like to pass along that you may or may not have seen. I’ll also continue to write about my experiences – both what I’ve learned and what I’m learning – and I’ll share my opinions on stuff that’s going on in the worlds of recruiting, HR, leadership development, career management and social media.

2010’s going to be an interesting year for me – and also for many of you! Some
new focus and re-branding is in order here in my world (too bad RandomBlogger.com and BadBlogger.com are already taken) and you’ll want to stick around for that journey.

Please know that I really appreciate each and every opportunity to connect with you here. Make sure you’re a subscriber – either via RSS or by email – and contribute to the conversation by commenting on posts that spark a thought or reaction. I don’t have all the answers and sometimes (gasp), I’m even wrong. I just can’t recall the last time either of those two things happened…

I’ll take the liberty of borrowing just a little bit more from LLCJ. Here’s what’s ahead in 2010:

“I’m gonna take this itty bitty world by storm / And I’m just gettin’ warm…”