Organizing a Work Plan for “Unique Talent”

Here at BLK ( we are always having clients and potential clients calling us for immediate results. Or, what I should say having the expectation that we have qualified candidates for their “unique” needs one finger click away from our desk to theirs. On some occasions this is true especially in our local office support division but for the majority of searches a unique work plan is needed to service their “unique” request for “unique” talent to meet the client’s “unique” staffing requirements.

Therefore for the majority of requests we at BLK have to organize a work plan to make sure a wide net is cast over the three distinct giant talent pools.

Pool #1 – Qualified but Not Looking Talent – The majority of talent is not looking for a new job. Even if they are not 100% satisfied most employees are sitting at their desks doing a good job and bringing great value to their employers. Reaching out to this pool requires, organization, automation, tenacity, persistence and a very labor intense effort by our staff here at BLK. In organizing a work plan we at BLK need to discuss with the client, competitor sources, optional titles that this person might bear, email blast lists, lures to temp a passive candidate into speaking with the client, advantages to working with the client, career path, current and potential compensation and competitive advantages. All of these steps and many more require a very organized detailed plan.

Pool #2 – Qualified Actively Looking Talent – These are the millions of job seeking candidates that have their resumes displayed on the web. Whether they are displayed on the public, private, and niche or discussion boards. Sifting through this vast resource to isolate the “unique” requested talent is an art and a science and requires seeking, qualifying, and as the market becomes more competitive luring talent.

Pool # 3 – Actively Selective Looking Talent – These are what we refer to as web surfers. They do not have their resumes displayed on the boards nore are they sending out mailing to announce their availability. This is a group of talent that check job boards and selective websites on a regular basis looking for the ideal position or career move. To get the attention of this group one needs an organized web campaign that includes job boards, niche sites, corporate sites and agency sites. Along with the correct image, reputation and ethics. However, to attract the correct “unique” talent” using this method always means sifting through the 1,000 of incorrect responses to isolate the few correct ones.

So as you look to fill your jobs or find the best career move, remember jobs and hiring are very serious undertakings and the step of isolating the best talent is a very labor-intensive undertaking. We here at Berman Larson Kane have been attempting to get it right for the past 25 years. Thanks for all your business and understanding.

53 Yrs. Old Today Sales People & Computers are Calling

Yesterday I celebrated my 53rd birthday. Celebrate is a generous description, since as I get older the only birthdays that have any significance are the milestone decade transitions. So my secret wish is for these birthdays to pass with minimum acknowledgement. But our front office software here announces birthdays to all Berman Larson Kane ( on network login. So much for anonymity? But the computer wishes didn’t stop here.

When I checked my voice mail during the day I received at least 20-25 birthday wishes from sales reps who are either prospecting or have prior sales history with BLK. Another 20 or so I believe auto-generated e-cards arrived from various organizations, retail establishments and others seeking favors. What was the sincerity of these wishes? I believe the intent is sincere but would these wishes have arrived without automation. I think at least 90% would have not. How some of these groups obtained my birthday information is a mystery. Is there a market out there for the four digits of (mm/dd) of passage? I guess so!

In contrast to these automated wishes I have 6 siblings, 3 of them called to wish me a happy birthday not bad at our ages for 50% of them to remember. Would hazard a guess that none of them where generated by computer ticklers, but more likely by my mother’s nudges (God bless her). The group here at BLK had a lovely cake, singing and a great card with warm wishes, very meaningful. My 3 children and great wife all remembered with presents and phone calls. I am truly blessed with family, friends and co-workers.

So what is the point of this entry I don’t think it has one? Just my rambles about a not so natural observation “computer generated b-day wishes”.

As for the real celebration, everyday is a gift and is a present. And as I get older I appreciated all the wonders of life that each day brings without automated reminders. One day, one breathe, one nanosecond at a time. As for computers they are a most wonderful amazing invention, the best organizational helper ever, they just don’t need to remind me that I am getting older and older with so much efficiency.

“April is the Cruelest Month”

“April showers they bring those May Flowers” “April is the month of Death & Taxes” and this April is the 25th anniversary of Berman Larson Kane.

So what has 25 years in business taught me? What lesson can I pass along to 25 years of helping employers and job seekers?

Observation # 1 – Change is a Constant/ Predicting Change is a Crap Shoot
In 1980 when BLK started, resumes were typed and snail mailed. Bicycle messengers peddled from mid-town to down town with urgent resumes that needed to be delivered for next day interviews. I thought the fax machine was the greatest invention, only to have an exclusive life cycle of only about 3-5 years before email made faxing resumes obsolete. I thought the Internet job boards would never be able to deliver quality job applicants. Now we at BLK have our own job search and registration system. Were have all the programming jobs and programmers gone? Maybe Peter Paul and Mary had the answer “it’s blowing in the wind”.

Observation # 2 – Values are the Foundation of Business/Life and Remain a Constant
Over the past 25 years our mission statement has adjusted, some years becoming longer and other years shorter. The type and mix of services is constantly adjusting at our clients and job seekers request. But the Value of offering “The Best Staffing Options” has always been the foundation of our Berman Larson Kane’s success.

Observation # 3 – Providing Excellent Service is a Continuous Journey
I know that we offer a great staffing service and have the best employees in the staffing industry working here at BLK. A great group of experience, smart, dedicated employees looking to assist job seekers and employers with matching careers aspirations to jobs that need to be performed. Our service is dedicated to making sure that both job seeker and employer are winners. How we accomplish this is a daily journey. Our previous experience is only one of the tools that make us who we are. Continuous learning is another part of the journey. Understanding and listening is a continuous process towards providing the “Best Staffing Options”.

Good I love this Journey…. may it continue for at least another 25 years. Special thanks to all that have joined us and assisted us on this value driven, constantly changing and continuous journey. Berman Larson Kane

March Madness

March is the season for College basketball playoffs and this year it is the month of job madness. We here at Berman Larson Kane ( continue to see a dramatic increase in the number of our clients that are hiring at a March Madness pace. A welcomed contrast to the lackluster hiring “sadness” of the past few years.

Hot areas that have re-emerged include technology/brokerage/finance, logistics, lease administrators, sales/marketing, programmers, database administration, human resources, corporate recruiters and customer service. Competition for these skill sets will be creating a war of talent to staff growing business.

Another interesting trend is that the technology survivors of the era have seen a recent business surge creating a need to hire rapidly to increase/maintain their market share. A dramatic change from recent layoffs and business failures.

As a staffing company we at Berman Larson Kane hope this activity continues for the talent that still seeks employment. If these needs continue to accelerate we might even see employers willing to train US job seekers in needed skills. Evident of this is our HR department is beginning to see scattered requirement for training & development professionals.

One word of caution, the wild card in this March Hiring Madness is the price of oil. We at BLK remained concerned that if this spike at the pump continues it will put a halt on this new hiring cycle. As for now job seekers should enjoy the competition on and off the court.

Cupid Arrows and Job Performance

Effortless, seamless, natural, instinctive, in the flow, is the heart-warming expression for those with the right partners and/or the right careers. We at Berman Larson Kane ( are always in awe.

“Valentines Day” the hallmark/retailers holiday of love. A day to formalize our expressions of love for romantic partners with gifts of flowers, jewelry, cards and foods. For those lucky enough to be in a solid loving relationship all days of the year or at least most of those days are caring expressions of love. (No daily gifts needed) But occasional flowers and jewelry don’t hurt.

Well although it is different type of love. Think of those whom you know who are in the right career and jobs. They are usually successful, but would do their jobs with the same energy and passion no matter what the pay or hours. We all know this person; it might be a maintenance worker, sales professional or the CEO. It might be your accountant (probably not your lawyer just joking) or another service worker who is in a zone that allows them to perform their job perfectly, joyfully and gracefully everyday on every project. These lucky people are the cupids of the work world. These true work-a-world valentines are the ones that carry a company to greatness. Are the ones that all your customer’s love. Are the ones that you always want to embrace on your project team. And are the staffing professionals that you want filling your positions or assisting your careers.

On this day as you buy your gifts, write cards and make those expressions of love to your partners and/or those whom you are wooing. Take a brief moment to feel if this is a natural or forced activity. If it is natural you are in the flow. If it is forced I hope that it is a temporary situation. Because if it is not? Difficult choices could be on the horizon.

One final valentine career thought. Think of your job, as you’re other lover, friend and guardian. Read each hallmark sayings applying it to your job and career. Are you in that love zone? If you are, you are a very fortunate person. You are the ones that our clients love to hire and the ones lucky enough to be guarantee effortless career success. If it is forced? Career challenges are probably in your future.

Our Berman Larson Kane valentine wish to all is may the love of cupid strike your heart in all areas of your life. Enjoy the holiday and if you aren’t in the flow, at least you can drown your sorrows with chocolate.

Jobs will be Created

We at Berman Larson Kane ( are excited about job creation for 2005.

Well the January job numbers were disappointing with only 150,000 being created. Manufacturing continues to lose jobs with a small increase in the service sector. Unemployment numbers edged lower, but the reason for lower numbers is an increase in discouraged job-seekers that are not counted in the UE figures. So for my interpretation of the big employment picture all remains about the same.

However, I did see a bright light that was over looked by many economists. The rate of productivity growth decreased to its lowest level in several years. The meaning of low productivity growth translates into rapid job creation.

Let me try to explain. We all know that the economy has done well during the past 24 months. But unemployment has remained high and job creation numbers remained negative to slightly positive. My simple reason is that for each percentage increase in worker productivity numbers translates into unemployment remaining a percentage higher because companies are producing goods at lower personnel costs. Or increases in goods are achieved with fewer workers, good for the profit of corporations but not good for job growth.

The fact that maybe productivity gains have peaked, will translate into very rapid hiring because the only way for companies to produce additional goods will be to hire additional personnel. And this will make the unemployed happy, will make us here at BLK delirious and will create competition for good employee’s, which will increase salaries. All good things for the country and long term for the hiring corporations!

We here at Berman Larson Kane ( looking forward to a good year.

Dual Free Wills and the Hiring Process

Here at Berman Larson Kane ( issue of “free will” is always present, as this toaster purchase so profoundly illustrates.

Visualize going to an appliance store and purchasing a simple low-tech toaster. You review the models, colors, features, warranties, and prices and make your selection. Now imagine the toaster having the ability to “review” YOU. What color is your kitchen? How many slices of toast will I be making each day, week, and month? Do you have plans to upgrade your kitchen in the near future? If you remodel, what assurance do I have of fitting in with the new décor? How many vacations will your family take? (So I can plan my non-toasting rest.) How often do you replace or rotate your appliances? Will you be cleaning my crumb trap regularly? What are your expectations of my toasting speed?

Well, as you can see, if a toaster had a free will, this simple purchase would become a very complicated, free-wheeling exchange. Each party – the purchaser and the toaster – has a free will, each has its own agenda, and each is looking out for its own best interest. Any answer that is not satisfactory to either party will negate the exchange. The possibilities of this purchase taking place are diminished with each question.

Now, take this toaster’s free will a step further, and imagine the toaster having legs, giving it the ability to leave your kitchen for any reason. When it arrives at your counter it decides that your kitchen’s color doesn’t compliment its own, so after two days the toaster leaves and returns to the store and awaits another buyer. Or worse, after 88 days of adjusting to its workings, the toaster decides that your microwave is unfriendly and departs. Even more insulting, the toaster runs off to your neighbor’s falsely perceived clean white kitchen, believing you neighbor only makes toast on Sundays, and leaving you with UN-toasted bagels.

Well, I am sure by now you get the point. Replace the toaster with “job-seeker” and the purchaser with “employer” and you can envision the complications of the hiring process. Or you can replace toaster with “employer” and purchaser with “job-seeker”.

Employers and job seekers should never lose sight that this free-will exchange is a continuous challenge to both parties during and after the hiring process.

At the very least, it continues to make the staffing business so fascinating to me. Even after 28 years of attempting to facilitate these freewheeling exchanges here at Berman Larson Kane (, I am always surprised by some new unique spin. Such is life as a recruiter.

2005 January Jobs a Rolling

Three workdays into the year, will job growth increase in 2005? We at BLK ( are feeling positive vibes from our clients.

Today, one client whom will be adding 50 plus additions to staff during the first quarter, place and order for 5 direct hires and one temporary consultant. The temporary assignment is for a HR recruiter to assist the client with additional hires making for good news on this horizon. Another NYC based client called for a proposal to staff 3 information technology positions to develop the automation of new business lines. Additionally ordering a temporary person to coordinate these projects. Another NJ pharma hired a temporary long term BLK contractor to assist with technical staffing and has our HR team on the lookout for two more. These clients are starting the year helping to lower our unemployment numbers. All being signs that employment should be increasing for the first two quarters and hopefully beyond.

During the month of December many clients had promised an increase in hiring, and these early orders are signs that they will be following through on these promises. Our BLK January newsletter’s lead article will address the increasing value of employees to employers as competition for talent re-emerges after 4 years of high unemployment. This should be great news for the job seekers.

One observation that is making this year different than other here at BLK is a increasing percentage of these hiring demands are coming from employers with less that 500 employees. Small business has always been an engine for new positions, but from my observations during the most recent 6 months they are beginning to run on all cylinders, surpassing the fortunes in momentum and career opportunity.

New Jobs, New Careers & the New Year

From my staffing hat perspective 2004 was a better year then the prior three years. The economy had some positive job growth. Wages for contractors, consultants and temporaries stabilized with some even increasing. The number of clients requesting our BLK ( ) to fill direct hire jobs grew and our “Tier” program experienced another year of exponential growth. We at BLK are still not at levels of past years but are moving rapidly towards our previous highs.

But still with all of this positive news unemployment remains too high, qualified job seekers remain under and unemployed. High competition for job seekers continues for many skill sets. While wars for talent exist in a few niche markets like nursing, scientific and regulatory. The job-outsourcing model seeks its level of optimal efficiency along with the off-shoring phenomena. Giving mix signals to both employers and job seekers.

As president of BLK my prediction for 2005 is for a continuing march towards improving job growth. The economy will continue to create new and better jobs as the dollar weakens and our USA products become more competitive around the globe. Many of our clients have or are reaching peak worker productivity numbers and will need to add to head count to continue to grow sales. All of these signs point to a return to excellent job creation.

As for my predictions for the next decade they are extremely positive. During the next 10 years the oldest members of the baby-boom generation will reach retirement age. This retirement trend will gut the ranks of managers and skilled workers leaving a gap to be filled by a new generation. Many have predicted that we do not have enough “generators” of any letter to replace these workers. For example, I recently read an article that a high percentage of librarians are close to retirement age. The art of being a librarian is only being taught in a few schools and the future holds an extreme shortage of librarians. Will GOOGLE replace this art?….I think not… time you visit your local library take a close look around….the next book you are searching for may never be found, if we don’t start making adjustments…..we will experience this in many other occupations and this my friends is the best news for our new college graduates…..who can be assured that they will have many choices beyond “McJobs”.

Corporate Gifts and the Holidays

My desk is covered today with an assortment of food items. Gift boxes of goodies coming from a variety of vendors from whom we at BLK ( purchase products and services. It’s very nice to be thought of during this holiday season, and these small tokens of thanks are nice warm gestures.

As I open the gifts each day (before they are devoured quickly by BLK staff) and the cards that accompany them I feel a twinge of ungratefulness. Why am I ungrateful for being fed by people and companies that we do business with? Many of these vendors have added no personal touch. I am left with feelings that BLK is just one more customer on their list. The gifts reflect this lack of personalization. Omaha Steaks (I am a vegetarian), selection of nuts (allergies not considered) gourmet chocolate (diet out the window) wine (one day at a time?) cookies (diabetic?) fruit basket (the safest bet).

Not one vendor called ahead to thank me for the business, personalize the note or better yet stop by our office to offer their tokens of thanks. An accompanied telephone call of “thanks” or better yet a “visit” to our office would mean so much more. For along with the thanks, would come a discussion on our needs for the future. This celebrated moment would be and opportunity to learn of our experiences with these services. And most important a moment for these vendors to “personalize” their thanks. And myself the customer will at least have the “illusion” of being an important client.

I will send all of these vendors personalized notes and calls of thanks. But secretly I hope for voice mail keeping this masquerade alive.