On hiring a consultant

A client of mine who has built a successful enterprise software systems development firm over the last 15 years, is now wanting to hire a consultant(s) to help him define some strategic objectives going forward.  He finally has the disposable cash to do this kind of thing.  He had me review the consultant’s proposal, and here was my guidance to him:

I think getting a fresh perspective from the “outside” can be a healthy exercise, but there is also some measure of risk that it can lead you astray. So go into it with eyes wide open.

Here are some due diligence questions to ask yourself before proceeding:

  • Do you like these guys? Are you comfortable with them? Do you respect them? What does your gut tell you?
  • Have you asked for three references that you can call? This is VERY IMPORTANT!
  • What do they know about software and your market? Or, if they have no direct experience, do you think their general experience and skills can yield some valuable insights for your unique situation?
  • Last question is, all things considered, for the price they charge, do you think there is not much to lose, and maybe something valuable to gain?

If you can ask those questions and they pass the test, then I would give it a shot.


Recruiting protocol

Dear John,

I thought some more about it, and having been contacted many times by recruiters, I know the best practice protocol is to approach prospective candidates first by e-mail (if possible) before calling in to them directly. This gives them the chance to consider the position in private and decide whether or not they want to take it to the next step. So, I drafted such an e-mail which is below for your review:


Dear Mary,

I am an executive recruiter working on behalf of a software engineering firm based on the east coast. Your name was referred to me as someone who may know professionals who might have an interest in a position my client has immediately available; or, you may have an interest in this position yourself.

My client designs, develops, tests, and supports large and complex engineering and publishing enterprise systems and is seeking a marketing professional that has demonstrated skills and experience to support the following activities:

  • Website design and SEO
  • Digital graphics
  • Social media design, deployment, and analytics
  • Project management (in a software team context)
  • Brand strategy development and implementation

If you know of someone that may have an interest in this position, I would appreciate any information you can share. Or, if you would like to explore this position for yourself in confidence, I would like to set up a call with you at your convenience.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and I look forward to talking with you.

Scott Pickard
(217) 840-1871

Mexican migration to U.S. is declining

Manual labor for agriculture is getting harder and harder to find. For generations hard working immigrants from Mexico have come to US farms, nurseries and greenhouses to work, but that trend seems to be tapering off.  Shifting migration patterns have come to a point where migration from the US into Mexico is slightly higher than from Mexico into the US.

Population Immigration in general:  community-building: shelbyvillemultimedia | data: Migration Policy Institute | green card: roadmap | management system: www.immigrationtracker.com books, essays, films: Borderland NPR | Of Mice and Men Steinbeck | The Arrival Tan | The Real Story of the Superheroes Pinzón | Welcome | Welcome to Shelbyville Snyder Data | Economic | Education | Employees | HR | Issues | Jobs

A simple recruiting to-do list

by scott pickard

Human Resources Recruiting The best way to recruit is through the collective personal and professional (trusted) networks of your employees. sp In five minutes, could you explain something to me that is complicated but you know well?  Is our hiring process optimized to attract, recruit, and retain the best talent? (a) take the time to define a position’s requirements carefully before recruiting; (b) use a broad based sourcing strategy to identify candidates across multiple sources; (c) train hiring managers and monitor completion of defined steps in a company hiring process  What are the terms of engagement for outside search firms?  What are the barriers to recruiting qualified personnel? (a) competition; (b) salary pressure; (c) location  What are the major universities where the company recruits entry-level management and technical talent?  Does the company use lie detector tests?  Does the company use psychological profile tests? in general: background check: www.hireright.com, www.pre-employ.com | candidate matching and tracking: bullhorn, evolvondemand, monster, theresumator, smartrecruiters free | cross-enterprise collaboration: www.jobvite.com | employee screening: www.escreen.com | job networks: www.jobster.com, linkedin | mobile: assuredlabor low-medium wage | recruitinghop | multi-national, multi-lingual: kenexa | online people search database: zoominfo | recruiter network: www.dayak.com, www.ere.net | social media: bullhornreach | temporary: elance | video interviews talent management: www.cornerstoneondemand.com | www.enkata.com | kenexa | namely | oracle taleo | risesmart | silkroad | www.zapoint.com | assessment: iscopia | incentive systems pay-for-performance: bravanta, HRsoft Economics | Employees | Growth | IT | Job Search | Mobile | Social Networking

  • Draft job description
  • Establish salary ranges for new hires
  • Identify office availability for new staff and begin any necessary preparations
  • Establish salary ranges for new hires
  • Write ad(s) and place in appropriate newspaper with a closing date to accept resumes.  Newspapers generally have a special “positions available” section and it may be online
  • Log resumes, classify, filter, rank
  • Make telephone interviews to a first batch of say 10 candidates
  • Filter again and select short list of 5 candidates for in-person interviews
  • Schedule interviews
  • Conduct interviews
  • Debrief, rank
  • Conduct second in-person interview(s) if necessary
  • Select top candidate
  • Conduct reference check
  • Formulate offer and make offer by telephone followed up by letter
  • Negotiate terms as necessary with candidate
  • CLOSE: receive signed acceptance on letter offer
  • Plan orientation of new hire and get office and computer ready

- sp -