Holidays and Spirited Worker’s Productivity

The holidays are upon us, with excitement for all. Warm wishes, good cheer, a gift of thanks, toasts to the New Year and worker distractions championing productivity lows is all around us. We at BLK ( are working very hard to overcome these distractions.

I feel like a “scrooge”, no maybe I am a scrooge, because getting the happily employed to expedite the perils of the unemployed sometimes feels like crashing a party with gloomy news. What I mean is those who have jobs, especially corporate recruiters, have the empowerment to make an unemployed or underemployed person’s holiday season go from one of doom and gloom to one of high hope and excitement.

A scene for the movie Kramer vs. Kramer ( depicts this situation perfectly. Dustin Hoffman is desperate for a job because of his upcoming divorce hearing. He arrives at the headhunter’s office to find they are in the mists of a raise your glass holiday party. The recruiter tells Hoffman to return after the New Year and he will schedule his interview. Hoffman in a rage picks up the recruiter’s phone, shoves it in his ear and tells him to dial his client. The recruiter very taken by the hostile situation obliges Hoffman, gets him the interview and Hoffman lands the job before his divorce hearing. He leaves the office happy and in good holiday cheer.

Well I guess my point is that we in the employment field, especially those here at BLK ( should never take for granted the ability our careers have to lend a helping hand to others lives. It is without a doubt the single most important aspect of our jobs in all seasons. So I guess the holidays should be celebrated by all of us with our family and friends, but our office/work time should remain focused on helping make our job-seekers’ holidays the best they ever had. May the HR spirit of the holidays be upon us all.

Today’s “1” Job Numbers

U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by just 112,000 jobs in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today, down from October’s 303,000 gain and far short of economists’ consensus forecast. This year, economists’ forecasts have been off by an average of 93,000 jobs per month, but who’s counting? October’s job boom was apparently a mirage, caused by September’s hurricane frenzy, and prior months’ gains were trimmed. So does anyone really know what is going on?

Here at BLK we continue to see a steady stream of new job orders and clients are making hiring decisions in shorter timeframe than in the prior 3 years. So although the economists are disappointed in these job creation numbers, our limited sample at BLK seems to point in a much more optimistic upward trend during November. Orders for December have also been steady across a number of disciplines.

Reality Check: Today at the gym I meet a friend (former Information Technology Manager) who has been unemployed for the past 24 months. We had a conversation about these numbers and his response “I only care about ONE number, and ONE job for me” put this all into a very real perspective. Our leaders need to find a way make all productive by creating systems that generate good jobs for talented people like my gym friend. We at BLK apologize again for another talented person that we can’t match with one of our clients. I pray that someday in the not to distant future we at BLK can at least create the “ONE” job for each of you.

Staffing Process Warranty

We at BLK had a very successful month of November. The common success denominator was process cooperation between the job-seeker, BLK-staff and the hiring-authority. The very essence of this cooperation revolves around the foundation of all relationships “trust”.

The job-seeker trusted the BLK staff to match their career desires with the appropriate hiring-authority. The hiring-authority trusted the BLK staff to identify the right talent. And the BLK staff trusted its internal processes and team to seamlessly orchestrate the match. Sounds simple in theory, but is very complex in execution. All three parties have multiply responsibilities, implied and un-implied warranties and the need for continuous communication. The process can breakdown at any point with a negative impressions and disappointments experienced by all.

I am very interest in leaning from each of you about some of these disappointments. We at BLK work very hard at meeting our hiring-authorities and job-seekers requests. But I know that by the large numbers of visitors to our website that our processes can be improved on, so I look forward to your comments. Thanking you in advance.

A Thankful Week

Maybe the job creation numbers are really getting better as BLK clients placed orders for 17 new assignments this past week. Including an increase in HR and IT direct hire and contract assignments. (Click on “job-search” on our webpage to view openings). This keeps the mood here at BLK very positive as we work hard to match the most qualified job seekers with these employers. Interviews have already taken place this week, with numerous additional interviews schedule for next week. This increase in contingency business combined with an exponential rise from repeat “Tier” clients keeps our short Thanksgiving week busy and thankful.

Our BLK “Tier” program continues to lead the industry in repeat business and has revolutionized our clients pricing & service modular. (If you are reading about this program for the first time call Susan Cocchiaro, CTS, PHR 201-556-2883 for an online demo and she will explain the process). As the president of BLK, I am so proud of the warm reception this “Tier” program continues to receive from hiring authorities. I also never stop giving thanks to the wonderful BLK staff that promotes this “Tier” process with new and established clients. And although this “Tier” process is design for hiring authority convenience; it is the job seeker who ultimately is the beneficiary as they secure new improved employment.

As I look forward to the Thanksgiving week I am optimistic that improved job creation numbers will help those unemployed secure meaningful employment in the not to distant future.

Changing Job Requirements

Today was a good day and a rough day here at BLK If it was a good day for several of you job seekers who secured some new and exciting positions through our BLK staff. If you are a hiring authority you are pleased with the excitement of adding to your human capital with these great talent acquisitions. Both parties are wide eyed with high expectations.

But if you had a challenging day as a job seeker, it is because the hiring authority, change specifications after your successful interview. We had two of these situations develop today.

One client after interviewing several qualified candidates as per their initial skill requirements. Decided to upgrade the position to a more senior level. The net effect of this learning curve is that several days of BLK researcher and recruiter work that was devoted to prescreening these candidates was wasted. And of course the poor job seeker (the ultimate suffer) lost time interviewing, suffered expectation disappointment & return to either a job that is no longer satisfying or worst yet continues in the unemployment ranks.

Another Client decided to put several positions on hold until next year. This again had the same effect of generating job seeker disappointments, BLK wasted effort and in this case disappointment from the hiring authority who really wanted to line up new talent before the start of next year. The good news about this scenario is that the client plans to resume a rapid hiring pace after January 1, 2005

So how do we all prevent these mid-course corrections? We at BLK do everything to help the client qualify the staffing need, suggest a time line for fulfillment and review the availability of talent. And yet still these situations arise. I would be very interested in hearing suggestions from you on how to prevent or minimize these occurrences. Thanks for your patience’s and I look forward to always offering each of you the “Best Staffing Options”

Candidate Selection Methods

Today during our lunch and learn recruiters session Susan Cocchiaro, PHR, CTS and Joanne Ellerhmann, PHR reviewed their findings and observations from this weeks 2 day NJ SHRM conference. Some of the speakers had some interesting insight into the future of staffing but all seemed to agree that a talent war will emerge sometime in the not too distance future. This should make for excellent career advancement conditions for job seekers. And create a very competitive climate for the employers.

At the completion of their informative presentation the recruiters and myself entered into a debate about the best method for our clients to interview the most qualified job seekers.

As most job seekers know, recruiters usually review resumes, network within various niches; talk to numerous qualified and unqualified candidates, interview and present to the client the finalist resumes with their evaluations. The potential problem with this system is that the hiring authority is finalizing the selection process from this short evaluation and the text of a resume. They are missing the additional personal interpretations, gut reactions and other intangibles that are not reflected in the resume. If the client allows the recruiter to pick the best candidates they are able to expedite the process, take full advantage of the recruiters’ judgments (such as communication, cultural match, energy level, referral information and other soft-skills) that are important indicators for successful job performance. As recruiters we debated the importance of this process and continue to be puzzled why some of our clients continue to make judgments on whom to interview solely from resumes. Image the state of corporations if hiring decision were made solely on resumes?

We at BLK are proud of the number of special “Tier Clients” that work within this recruiter’s selection process. These clients have discovered that this method has added greatly to successful hires, condensed the order to hire time line, lowered costs and made for very satisfied line managers. We at BLK are proud partners with these clients assisting them with building their most important asset “people”.

Job Creation Numbers

Yesterdays job creation numbers were very positive, with a growth rate of 335,000 plus jobs, even adjusting the number for the 70,000 plus construction jobs created by hurricanes, these are good numbers. And I hope this will continue to accelerate the number of new jobs over the next few years, so that all that want to work can find employment.

I am especially pleased with the growth in the professional business category since all of the jobs we work at filling here at BLK are this type. As for the number created in New Jersey, those numbers are not released for another few weeks, but my prediction is not as optimistic based on order growth here at BLK. However, the predictions from the economist are about 10,000, which is an ok growth rate for our garden state. I hope my projection is wrong!

One area that appears to be sparking growth is in the professional temporary or professional contract segment. We here at Berman Larson Kane have seen a dramatic increase in this type of order, and hopefully these will eventually turn into direct hire positions. This past October a number of our consultants’ were converted to our clients payrolls. And many of new positions we are filling clients have future plans of eventually converted these new temps into direct hire status.

New Jersey Staffing Meeting

Today I attended the New Jersey Staffing Alliances annual all day planning meeting. The NJSA is the trade association representing the 1100 staffing firms in the state. This volunteer board of directors were in ( I am pleased to report) a very up beat mood. With the majority seeing a increase in hiring for the 2005.

This is really a dedicated group of staffing volunteers that are committed to making the recruiting industry better for both the job seeker and the hiring firm. This organization has assisted BLK over the years.

Things that were decided included a external news release that will keep job seekers and hiring managers updated on the data reporting the status of hiring trends, and the planning of numerous educational programs that will keep certified staffing professionals current with their CEU’s or continuing educational units.

I must say that this is a great group to be associated with, and I know that all those in need of staffing services should choose a NJSA member firm when considering whom to do business with…One of my duties is to establish a committee of EX-NJSA presidents to share some of their experiences with the current group.

Election Reflections on Employment

Now that Bush has been elected to a second term, as a firm and person who earns his living on job creation, I really hope that this second term will create jobs here in the US.

The past few years have been really rough not only on our firm, but for many of our long term clients. Many have taken either drastic pay cuts or continue to be either under employed or unemployed. As a professional, this ecomony has serverly limited my abiltiy to secure employment and interviews for this large segment of the populaation.

Our BLK clients continue to seek bargains, and for the first time in my 27 years in the employment field have I witnessed wage deflation. Never before have I seen so many earn less then the year before as they seek new employment.

Well, now that Bush has secured another term, I hope that his programs and policies will begin to create new jobs and better opportunities for all. Here at Berman Larson Kane we have seen a small increase in orders, but nothing to brag about….and I hope that this is the beginning of the creation of new and better jobs for all. I will keep each of you posted as the remainder of the year unfolds.