ALC Consulting

October 8, 2009

From the Other Side of the Table

Written by a medical device recruiter, but the recommendations apply to any situation working with a recruiter.

For more information, go to: http://recruiterearth.com/profiles/blogs/confessions-of-a-medical

Confessions of a Medical Device Recruiter (Posted for all my Recruiter Friends – do I hear an Amen?)

How to Get the Attention of Your Favorite Recruiter

I love the recruiting business. Nearly 25 years in the medical industry and I’m still like a junkie about the newest Gee-Whiz device or “inside scoop” into what’s going on in … your company…

But, in the past few months, with this oddly strong need for fearless and unflinching leaders in our Client companies, I find myself struggling to keep up with staying in communication with viable candidates I’ve known for years who are among the unfortunate thousands being laid off through no fault of their own.

My daily email drawer has swelled to 200 – 400 per day – not counting the Viagra and WOW ads nor the 1000 or so emails that go to our general mailbox or to one of my staff. It’s daunting to open up Outlook and see that 329 emails have come in since I left the office at 9pm the night before. Incoming phone calls have increased to a dizzying pace and I hear the urgency in the voicemails of many of the candidates.

To combat this, I’ve increased my average of 20-40 telephone appointments per day by decreasing the average time on each call and tacking on an extra hour or two to the day. My team is charged with reaching out to 80 people per day “live” on top of their other responsibilities which include research, staying current on industry news, email and writing up the final 2-5 candidates that they will submit for open positions.

I try to talk fast and listen faster and feel like I’m in “auctioneer training” half the time because the sheer velocity of the conversation.

Like most of you, I’m now working 70-80 hours routinely in the office despite having added two more employees to try to stay responsive to the candidates and clients that have built our company into such a player in the industry.

But I feel bad when I can’t get to you as quickly as either of us would like. Why? Because we really do try to help and there’s just not enough hours in the day. Most good recruiters – and all the great ones – want to create that “Perfect Storm” of matching executives to the right companies.

So here’s some tips to get your message out to your favorite recruiter(s):

1. Be succinct in communication. I do care. But if I can get a 16 second voicemail with your basic information and purpose of the call, I can get back with you faster. Name, most recent company, phone number (speak clearly and/or leave the number twice so I don’t have to replay) and purpose of the call are fine. Hopefully, you’ve checked my website and can give me the title or Job ID so we can get to the point quickly. And chances are, if you’ve been laid off, I probably already know the reason – and that it’s not a reflection on you. I understand.

1A. Be flexible. Please don’t leave a rambling 8 minute message and then tell me you’re available between 4 and 4:15pm next Tuesday. I do want to communicate with you, but like you, schedule my appointments a week or so in advance to be as productive as possible.

2. Email when possible. I can answer emails late at night even when I can’t phone you.

3. If possible, ALWAYS “apply” online on my website for a position you’re interested in rather than asking me to look over your resume and see what I have that may be a fit. When you express an interest in a position, it “flags” one of my recruiters and puts you at the top of the heap to be contacted – generally within a day or two. If I receive a general “please let me know what you think” query, I save it for the weekend and then assign it to one of our administrative staff – and currently – as of today there are 3291 resumes in queue for general processing. Actual number. And we can only process 100-200 per day per staff person. By applying online and telling us what you’re interested in – you’ll generally get a response (either phone or email) within a few days on most positions.

(Note to self: hire another recruiter).

4. Look at our forum
Medical Device Guru. There are nearly 5000 articles, resume tips, news stories and tons of ideas – that we update daily. You may also want to join the Linkedin Group of the same name or on Twitter .

5. On that same topic, make sure your resume is pristine – and descriptive, including not only your current/most recent company and a brief description- but the website as well – embedded in your resume. If you list your company as “Tyco” or “JNJ” rather than the division or SBU, I can’t as quickly assess where we might have a spot for you. By embedding the URL that best reflects your role, or describing the functional areas of responsibility you managed, my staff and I can have a greater understanding of your career relative to your total organization.

6. Link to your favorite headhunters – like me – on LinkedIN

7. Be generous in recommending other people to us if a position we present to you is not a fit. If it’s a confidential referral, we will honor that. Interestingly, you should know that the single biggest referral source I have for the most senior level positions that I typical work on – is YOUR BOSS. Of course, I can’t tell you this, but more often than not, if you’re talented, but have no room for promotion in your current organization, your boss will confidentially share your name. There’s a lot of good people in medical – and it’s such a small world, is it not?

8. Be patient with us – and any recruiter you work with. The medical device world is still hiring a strong pace. The New York Times reported on January 24, 2009 that white-collar unemployment is 4.6% as opposed to 11.3% for blue collar workers. This is little solace to the 4.6%, but I believe that medical device will continue to fare well in the near future. Even at our company,we’re fortunate to have more opportunities today than this time last year. But the bar is higher and candidates that are difficult, uncooperative and demanding are not getting in front of our clients. It’s human nature. There’s a great saying in my business… “People are hired for what they do – but fired for who they are.” In this environment, as everyone is trying to do more with less, your work-place demeanor and ability to work – and play well – with others is being assessed throughout the interview process. Right or wrong (though it doesn’t happen often) I’ve pulled candidates that were egregiously rude to my adminstrative assistant simply because they could be an HR nightmare to my clients. (Remember that the title of this blog is “Confessions of a Med Device Headhunter… I’m just telling the truth…)

9. It’s OK to “touch base” every week or so if you’re in active consideration for a position and haven’t heard anything. We’re not perfect and sometimes things DO fall through the cracks – especially when the hiring manager is taking a few weeks to set up interviews because he/she is working 70 hours+ per week and doing three jobs – or has lost admin help – or is travelling. We do try to communicate the process, but so much of it is out of our control. By the same token, give us a little breathing room. Noone want to place you more than WE do.

10. Do your homework once we have an interview scheduled for you. While we will do a verbal prep with you and send you materials on our client, you can increase your odds by doing your own homework on the company. We’ve created the Interview Prep Guide for Medical Device Careers as a help – it’s 24 pages packed with medical career interviewing ideas. And its free.

Finally, every day – many times a day – I get asked how the job market looks – quick answer – it’s very strong in many niches within medical device. The smaller companies seem hungry to add top talent and even some of our Fortune 500 clients are planning responsible additions in Q1. Frankly, no company is going to grow without smart, dedicated, and creative talent to weather the next few quarters. While Legacy MedSearch is but one executive search company (and there are alot of great companies like ours), we had a 40% growth last year and are already ahead of plan for 2009 as of May with a week left to go. My guess is that we’ll place 4 people again this month and at least as many in June

I really hope one of those people – is you.

Thanks for working with us. We really are trying our very best.

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October 4, 2009

Enjoying Life

Filed under: LIfe Balance,Passions,Professionalism — Anne Cloward @ 11:49 pm
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My sons bought tickets several weeks ago to see an award winning flamenco guitarist named Jesse Cook. I had heard several of his albums before, but had never really listened to him. My mistake, for sure. I had no idea what an accomplished artist he is how enjoyable the evening would be.

Last night changed my mind. After struggling to find a parking spot (I declare that can be as difficult a task as it was in St Paul), and walking two blocks on bumpy sidewalks, we made it to the theater, which has seen better days. Inside, though, there was nothing but excitement. Ardent fans assured me I was in for a treat. As the band quickly entered, they picked up their instruments and began to play. Within 30 seconds, I knew something special was happening. Those in the know were already cheering. Jesse’s pictures all look like this, which is misleading, because most of the time he is performing, he is smiling and enjoying himself.

For the next two hours, they played to a most appreciative crowd. They were having fun, lots of it. We bought CDs, grateful they had them there for us. After the show was over, the band members started to pack up their gear, but they were stopped by ardent fans (including me and my son) who wanted to express appreciation and have them sign their CDs. Brief conversations followed, as they got ready to go on to their next stop. They are just regular guys with extraordinary talent doing what they do best, giving of their talents to an appreciative audience.

For more information on this remarkable artist, go to his website, http://www.jessecook.com/#/home/

What has this to do with a job search?

  • Jesse knew at a young age what he wanted to do with his life. He got training and learning his craft. He still does. This tour is in support of his 7th album, which has just been released.
  • He surrounds himself with equally as talented and passionate artists who go out on stage and give all they have to their customers.
  • What do you do with such passion in your life? How can you create that kind of joy for yourself and others in your work?

June 17, 2009

Interviewing—More Homework

Filed under: Interviewing,Preparing,Professionalism — Anne Cloward @ 4:47 pm
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Step 2- Looking for Connections

Now that you have the scoop on the company, go to LinkedIn. You do have a LinkedIn account, don’t you? (I will publish a quick start on Linkedin one day.)

No matter what page you are on, the search functions is always at the top of the page. Look at all the Search options you have. Look up the company and then look at people who work there who are on LinkedIn. Read as much as you can about the company and its people.

Step 3—Logistics Planning

This is just common sense, but bears repeating. You know the address of the place you are going to visit since you asked the Admin who made the appointment for it. If you are the slightest bit unsure of where you are going, either plan a route using, MapQuest, Google Maps, or the local public transportation planner. If you have a GPs, and plan on using it, program in the address.

Even better, (and I have done this before) make a dry run the day or night before your interview. By doing this, you will be sure you know where you are going. If there is any local construction, you will be aware of that too.

Step 4—Your Folder

Compose a folder for your interview. I like to do this the night before, so I don’t forget things. It should contain:

  • Two copies of your résumé (someone may not have read it, so be prepared)
  • Any notes you have on the company, or questions you might want to ask at the end of the interview
  • All your job history information. (If you need to complete an application, you will have dates, company names and addresses)
  • The names, addresses and contact information for your references
  • Any confirmation information that you have from the company, including the phone number of the person who you need to report to.
  • Your directions to getting to the interview site.

Next: What to wear to an interview.

May 23, 2009

Quick Link on Deleting Content on the Web

Filed under: Professionalism — Anne Cloward @ 8:37 pm

Christopher Null blogged about how difficult it is to delete those awful drunken pictures you posted on Facebook last winter.

Go to No such thing as “deleted” on the Internet for the complete story.

‘Nuff said.

May 11, 2009

Clean Up Your Room, Part II

Today’s post is by a guest, Patrice Sevrin from Momentum Management Resources, Inc. It echoes what I posted earlier. I have added a few graphics here.


Job seekers, beware! That MySpace photo of you doing a keg stand may get a few chuckles from friends, but it’s no laughing matter in the job market.

Employers are increasingly scouring the Internet for “digital dirt” to help them weed through job candidates. In fact, 83.2 percent of recruiters acknowledged to using online search engines in 2007 to uncover information about candidates, according to ExecuNet, an online referral network for executives and recruiters. Of these recruiters, 43 percent acknowledged eliminating candidates based on the negative information they found.

Everything from racy Facebook profiles to scathing posts on community message boards to public arrest records are to blame for why perfectly qualified candidates often miss out on great job opportunities. Ellen Sautter and Diane Crompton, authors of “Seven Days to Online Networking”
(JIST), add that digital dirt doesn’t even have to be disastrous to knock candidates out of the running for a job.

“Digital dirt comes in all shapes and sizes. For example, the Internet might reveal that you’re a member of a controversial association or that you’re part of a moonlighting business that could be a conflict of interest with, or distraction from, your primary work. It can simply be something that is irrelevant to your professional reputation and distracts people from the real message you want to get across about who you are and what you have to offer,” Sautter and Crompton state.

Many job seekers think they’re squeaky clean in cyber space, only to discover that someone with the same name is soiling their reputation with recruiters. Sharing a common name with people who work in the same field or live in a similar area can be extremely problematic for job seekers if negative information is lurking online.

In their book, Sautter and Crompton offer the following four strategies to clean up digital dirt.

Wash over it
Create so much new online content about yourself that the negative or irrelevant information is buried under fresher, more relevant and more positive content. This method is useful when you’re dealing with content that relates to someone else who shares your name. The more positive, relevant content you can create that is truly yours, the more you’ll stand out from the pack of Jane Smiths and John Does.

Wash it out
Get rid of it entirely. Having online content deleted is not easy. Unless someone you know well created or posted the content in the first place, you might have a difficult time getting the owners of the site to remove the offending content.

Wait it out
Take no active measures to hide or delete the content, but just let nature take its course. Nature, in this case, is the natural sequence of events in most reasonably active, visible professionals’ lives. This approach is recommended only if you write, speak or blog often.

Call in the pros
Now you can employ the services — for a fee, of course — of businesses that will keep an eye on your online reputation and help you keep it clean. One of the pioneers in this field, ReputationDefender, goes on a search-and-destroy mission. This organization scours the Internet to dig up every bit of information on you and then sets out to destroy (at your request) any negative information by getting it corrected or removed, whenever possible.

Sautter and Crompton encourage people — whether they’re job searching or not — to remember that everything they do online leaves a digital footprint. It’s up to each individual to determine whether those footprints take a step in the right — or wrong — direction in cyberspace.

May 10, 2009

How to Lose a Job in Six Days or Less

was asked recently what I wanted to accomplish with my blog, and it is a question that I have been mulling over for a while. I can’t say that I have a complete answer. I know that I want to write about hiring and how to avoid the pitfalls of doing stupid things that cost people jobs. There is plenty of career advice out there, but most of it is bland, poorly written and not very original. I hope my take is more original and helps you, my readers, look at unemployment in new ways.
Today’s column is a cautionary tale taken from my own experience. In August of 2007, I started a contract with a Very Small Company in Minneapolis (not pictured).

We were quite high tech and all seven of the employees were issued laptops. We were linked by a private network and docked our laptops at our desks when we hit the office. It wasn’t long before the boss, who was running a very lean operation, hired a key new team member, Joe, the Network Administrator. It was his job to keep the network running. As a part of our jobs we were roaming over cyberspace and could be picking up nasty things that could compromise the network. We had a firm rule that we did not download ANY software without letting Joe know what we were doing. Licenses were applied for and authorizations obtained. Joe knew what was on our machines and that the network was safe.

Fast forward to a Very Large Company in Portland (company not pictured). This employer has over 4,000 employees including contractors.

The issues confronting their Network Administrators are the same as Joe’s. The network needs to be protected and no unauthorized software is to be downloaded to their network. This is part of the formal agreement that is signed by all new hires and contractors.

A new developer (contractor) came on board to the Very Large Company in Portland. He was placed by a reputable firm, which checks out their people before placing them. He thought he knew more than the old fogies in Network Security and wanted to download some development software on his machine. He applied in writing and was told NO in writing. The Very Large Company in Portland did not have any licenses for it. They also had not performed any integrated testing and had no idea what it might do to their network. The contractor’s manager also told him he was not to put the software on his machine. He told the manager that he was going to anyway. After six days and several hours on the job, the contractor was escorted out of the building by security guards.

The contractor really messed up here. He has a black mark against his name. The contracting firm will not take a chance on him again and they are busy repairing their relationship with the Very Large Company in Portland. I know this is a true story, because one of the other developers on the team told me. He was dumbstruck that the guy used such poor judgment.

It’s a cautionary tale. Networking security policies are not about heavy handed people making rules to make your life miserable. The are there for a reason; to keep the company up and running and producing products so they can sell them and make enough money to pay your salary. Stupid things like the actions of this developer jeopardize their ability to stay in business. They can’t take a chance on someone who uses such poor judgment.

May 2, 2009

A Must Read for Job Seekers, Contractors and Recruiters!

Susan Tait, a very intelligent and competent writer whose beat is the Portland unemployment scene, has published some great articles on successful job searches and abusive recruiters.

Check out her columns at

http://www.examiner.com/RSS-3773-Portland-Unemployment-Examiner

We find ourselves dovetaling a lot these days. Susan is an excellent resource.

Add her columns to your ” must read” list.

April 16, 2009

Oops! How to Lose a Job in Two Days

Filed under: Professionalism — Anne Cloward @ 3:26 pm
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16dominos_span

From the New York Times

April 18, 2009

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

Read how two Dominos employees got fired.

When two Domino’s Pizza employees filmed a prank in the restaurant’s kitchen, they decided to post it online. In a few days, thanks to the power of social media, they ended up with felony charges, more than a million disgusted viewers, and a major company facing a public relations crisis.

In videos posted on YouTube and elsewhere this week, a Domino’s employee in Conover, N.C., prepared sandwiches for delivery while putting cheese up his nose, nasal mucus on the sandwiches, and violating other health-code standards while a fellow employee provided narration.

The two were charged with delivering prohibited foods.

By Wednesday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than a million times on YouTube. References to it were in five of the 12 results on the first page of Google search for “Dominos,” and discussions about Domino’s had spread throughout Twitter.

As Domino’s is realizing, social media has the reach and speed to turn tiny incidents into marketing crises. In November, Motrin posted an ad suggesting that carrying babies in slings was a painful new fad. Unhappy mothers posted Twitter complaints about it, and bloggers followed; within days, Motrin had removed the ad and apologized.

On Monday, Amazon.com apologized for a “ham-fisted” error after Twitter members complained that the sales rankings for gay and lesbian books seemed to have disappeared — and, since Amazon took more than a day to respond, the social-media world criticized it for being uncommunicative.

According to Domino’s, the employees told executives that they had never actually delivered the tainted food. Still, Domino’s fired the two employees on Tuesday, and they were in the custody of the Conover police department on Wednesday evening, facing felony charges.

But the crisis was not over for Domino’s.

“We got blindsided by two idiots with a video camera and an awful idea,” said a Domino’s spokesman, Tim McIntyre, who added that the company was preparing a civil lawsuit. “Even people who’ve been with us as loyal customers for 10, 15, 20 years, people are second-guessing their relationship with Domino’s, and that’s not fair.”

In just a few days, Domino’s reputation was damaged. The perception of its quality among consumers went from positive to negative since Monday, according to the research firm YouGov, which holds online surveys of about 1,000 consumers every day regarding hundreds of brands.

“It’s graphic enough in the video, and it’s created enough of a stir, that it gives people a little bit of pause,” said Ted Marzilli, global managing director for YouGov’s BrandIndex.

The Domino’s experience “is a nightmare,” said Paul Gallagher, managing director and a head of the United States crisis practice at the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. “It’s the toughest situation for a company to face in terms of a digital crisis.”

Mr. McIntyre was alerted to the videos on Monday evening by a blogger who had seen them. In the most popular video, a woman who identifies herself as Kristy films a co-worker, Michael, preparing the unsanitary sandwiches.

“In about five minutes it’ll be sent out on delivery where somebody will be eating these, yes, eating them, and little did they know that cheese was in his nose and that there was some lethal gas that ended up on their salami,” Kristy said. “Now that’s how we roll at Domino’s.”

On Monday, commenters at the site Consumerist.com used clues in the video to find the franchise location in Conover, and told Mr. McIntyre about the videos. On Tuesday, the Domino’s franchise owner fired the employees, identified by Domino’s as Kristy Hammonds, 31 and Michael Setzer, 32. The franchisee brought in the local health department, which advised him to discard all open containers of food, which cost hundreds of dollars, Mr. McIntyre said.

Ms. Hammonds apologized to the company in an e-mail message Tuesday morning. “It was fake and I wish that everyone knew that!!!!” she wrote. “I AM SOO SORRY!”

By Wednesday evening, the video had been removed from YouTube because of a copyright claim from Ms. Hammonds. Neither Ms. Hammonds nor Mr. Setzer were available for comment on Wednesday evening, said Conover’s chief of police, Gary W. Lafone.

As the company learned about the video on Tuesday, Mr. McIntyre said, executives decided not to respond aggressively, hoping the controversy would quiet down. “What we missed was the perpetual mushroom effect of viral sensations,” he said.

In social media, “if you think it’s not going to spread, that’s when it gets bigger,” said Scott Hoffman, the chief marketing officer of the social-media marketing firm Lotame. “We realized that when many of the comments and questions in Twitter were, ‘What is Domino’s doing about it’ ” Mr. McIntyre said. “Well, we were doing and saying things, but they weren’t being covered in Twitter.”

By Wednesday afternoon, Domino’s had created a Twitter account, @dpzinfo, to address the comments, and it had presented its chief executive in a video on YouTube by evening.

“It elevated to a point where just responding isn’t good enough,” Mr. McIntyre said.

April 1, 2009

Just when it seems so dark

Filed under: Professionalism — Anne Cloward @ 11:43 pm
Tags: ,

05_04_51-candle_web

After posting my anguish on Monday, my view of the world was still very dark. Life seemed bleak. On Tuesday, everything turned around. I facilitate a group of eight professionals who meet to share leads and strategies every Monday.  We each have our own niche, but there is a lot of crossover in that we feel our mission in life is to help others through our communication skills. That covers a wide range of skills and job descriptions, everything from organizational change to training and web-based tools for elearning.  

I have enjoyed meeting and learning from each of them. I know that each of these talented people have struggled with finding employment and have found creative ways to network and market themselves. On Tuesday, all that hard work paid off.

TWO MEMBERS OF OUR GROUP GOT JOBS!!!!!

(Note: I hate excessive punctuation, but this calls for it.)

Both of these jobs were gained through classic networking. C had worked at a large company a while back on a project. As with all projects, it came to an end. She did good work, and the company recognized her worth. They had an opening for two people, and they called C’s recruiter a day before the req went out and asked if she was available. Since she was, they offered her the job right there.  She starts on Monday.

G has a dream of affecting organizational change using his communication skills and training. He had successfully done this at a previous position. When he found himself on the job market, he kept putting himself out there, and taking any opportunity to meet others and present himself and his ideas to all comers. It resulted in a contact, interviews, and finally, an offer of a position that he describes as his “dream job.” He also starts on Monday.

Both C and G had gone for along time without any formal nibbles or interviews, as long as four months, before things happened. They both admitted being very discouraged last week.

So things are picking up. Efforts and networking and presenting yourself to others and just keeping at it do pay off. We are all going out to lunch on Friday to celebrate. I firmly believe in sharing the successes of my friends by sharing a celebratory meal together.

Congratulations, you two!

March 31, 2009

We now return to our regular programming. . .

Filed under: Professionalism — Anne Cloward @ 6:23 pm

tv-set

Yesterday I violated two of my personal cardinal professional rules;

1.   I confused the personal and professional parts of my life. This blog is supposed to be about sharing and helping others to understand the process of contracting. I do have a personal blog that I use to share my view of the world and things that have nothing to do with work. I have family, passions and dreams that are laid out there. (If you want to see lots of hand knit socks, go there.)

2.  Whenever I write something fueled by excessive emotion, I should let it sit for a while and gel.  There is a place for emotions in the business world, but things run smoother at work if I temper my feelings and focus on solving problems, not complaining all the time.

If I am responding to good news, (Congratulations on your new job! So glad to hear about your promotion.), that’s fine. But if I am on a negative tear and feel the world is not treating me fairly, I get whiny, and I need to let things settle before posting.

Almost every situation changes in the light of day, and with a little time and perspective, things fall into place. Last night I took a look at myself and realized that there is still much I can learn and do that I have not done in my job search. While many of my job searching methods are sound, I have not been stepping up the plate and following through or fully embracing some practices that will help me land my next gig. I am a stubborn learner sometimes, I need to acknowledge that if something is working, I had better look at myself and see how I can improve things. 

There is a change in the wind. Things are happening. I need to prepare for them. One thing I know about myself is that I love learning new things, once I see the need to learn them. It’s up to me to get going and find resources to learn what I need to know to keep working.

Another friend has been an example of updating her skills during her job search down time. She has been using this time to research the Internet and find free courses and overviews of new developments in her field. She spends time taking free courses and seminars on the new tools in her field and how to use them. She sends me links to these seminars on a regular basis.

That is a much better job search strategy than looking for positions that rely on past technology and older applications. She is ready for the recruiter who calls asking if she has experience with  some of these latest tools. I admire her for doing this on her own. Her determination to keep up to date gives her an edge over the rest of us who are coasting on our past achievements.

Now, it’s back to business. My business here is to write a blog that will help people in learning about contracting, how to adapt to the changing workplace, not whine. The times are tough, but that doesn’t mean they are going to stay that way.

We need to be ready for whatever comes our way and not be playing catch up.

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