Archives for November, 2014

Why Nobody Calls You Back

People that don’t return messages is a hot button for me. My Dad taught me to treat people with respect, which includes returning your calls and messages. It’s just the right thing to do. I personally return every call and email (several hundred a day), even if my answer is a simple, “No thank you.”

So why don’t people call you back? In my business, Executive Recruiting, timely responses are critical to hiring top executives. If the hiring company is slow or unresponsive, a strong candidate will three other job offers and be long gone. Here are a few possible reasons why your call was not returned.

No Value Proposition – This is by far the most common reason: your subject is not important to them. It you have a great value proposition like free tickets to Bruce Springsteen or a job with a 25% pay increase, you will always get called back. Unfortunately, most people only call to ask for something. A job, investments, introductions. That is not a strong value proposition. Actually, that is you calling in favors, not offering value. Here is a great story that illustrates the point. I’m hosting a mixer at the Foundation Room and talking with the CIO of a Fortune 500 company. A sales guy from Cisco walks over and says to the CIO, “Hey, I left you a bunch of messages and you did not get back to me.” The CIO did not miss a beat and responded, “Do you know why? I’m the CIO of a $10B company, and I have a fleet of people that deal with buying routers. It’s not on my radar; buying hardware is not a priority for me.” The higher your value proposition, the more quickly your calls will be returned.

Your Topic is Not a Priority – Most people are running on the treadmill of life these days. One long, continuous air raid siren. Too much to do and not enough time. The second big reason people don’t return your call because they have other priorities. Your topic is undoubtedly a priority for you, however it may not make their radar screen. No one is going to drop everything they are doing for a topic that is not a priority for them. They are not trying to be rude, just preoccupied with something more important.

CEOs are Busy, Busy, Busy – Business Owners and CEOs are REALLY busy. Be patient. Getting your calls returned takes time. That is no disrespect to you, more a function of the CEOs schedule. My model is to email the person, then wait a week. If there is no response, I’ll follow up with a second email. Still nothing? Then I pick up the phone and call them directly. And for any situation that is HIGH PRIORITY, I skip the emails and pick up the phone. Understand that senior executives have their hands full, so give them a few days to respond.

Health Issues – When you are down with the flu and a fever, the last thing you care about is checking your email. Or maybe they have a sick Mother or child. Family health issues trump pretty much everything, including your email or phone call.

Travel – When I travel, I only respond to high priority client messages. Too much work to write extensive emails on an iPad. Again, if it’s important, I can call them on the phone. And how about people that send an email, then call you ten minutes later to ask, “Did you get my email?” Well yeah, probably, but I don’t stare at my computer screen all day waiting for you to send me something. Personally, I check messages twice a day. Available by phone from 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM, then the phone gets turned off. Nothing is so important that it won’t wait until the morning. Keep in mind that when executives are on the road, it may take a few days for your call to be returned.

You are no Longer “The Man” – You find out who your friends are when you are unemployed. All the people that used to call asking for favors no longer return your calls. Why? Because they know you are looking for a job, and they either can’t help or don’t want to. Don’t feel bad, they were never your friends, just acquaintances. Your career situation is an emergency for you, not them.

You Can Stay Ahead of 90% of the People…Just by Showing Up!

Background – My name is Mark Wayman and for the last ten years I have owned an Executive Recruiting company focused on gaming/casinos and high tech. This year I placed six executives north of a million dollars. My last article was titled “What Josh Altman (Million Dollar LA Listing) Taught Me About Networking.” I’ll give you the conclusion to the Josh Altman experience at the end of the article. Today’s focus is on one of my primary business principles for success – SHOWING UP.

The Godfather Sit Downs – Many years ago I started hosting mixers in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Palo Alto. Invite-only for my friends, clients and business partners. Guest list is “C” level corporate executives, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, entertainers. Exactly one purpose – for my friends, clients and business partners to meet each other. Exactly one rule – absolutely no selling, marketing, promoting of soliciting. Just an OPPORTUNITY to meet 70 high quality people at an attractive venue with no pressure or agenda.

The No Shows – The most interesting part of my private events is how many people DON’T show up! Yeah, yeah, yeah, we are all busy, but you miss out on 100% of the shots you don’t take. Someone once said that “good luck” is mostly hard work and showing up. By ducking out, you accomplish three things. First, you miss out on meeting new people and creating new relationships. Second, you miss out on any opportunities that might present themselves. Third, you may not get invited back!

No Shows for Charity Events – Especially disappointing are folks that don’t show up for charity events. On several occasions I had people drop out after I paid $1,000 for their seats. Mediocre people are “no show, no call”. Good people will give you plenty of notice and offer to donate to the charity. Let me tell you what “no call no show” translates to, “Our relationship is not important to me. You are not important to me.” And that, my friends, is a bad deal. The host gets offended and certainly does not strengthen the relationship. Ten years ago my mixers had a 20% “no show” rate. Today, 3% because the “no show no calls” don’t get invited back.

My Favorite No Show Story – One of my favorite stories is about a CIO event I hosted at Hollywood Park. Of the 30 CIOs on the guest list, only 15 showed up. The day after the event, two of the “no show, no calls” sent me resumes and asked for jobs. Seriously? I have never met you, you don’t show up for an hour to meet in person and shake hands, but you want me to place you in a $400,000 job? I love that strategy!

Acceptable Reasons – Obviously there are emergencies and valid reasons for not having to cancel. Here are a few good ones:

  • Sick or Medical Emergency – Completely understandable. Things happen, and family always come first. But being “tired” does not count. We are all tired; we are all busy. I once hosted and Oscar Party for the Arthritis Foundation with a 104 degree fever. Five hundred people were counting on me, so I dragged myself out of bed and honored the commitment. My wife once attended a dinner party when she was REALLY under the weather. She made the best of it and had hot toddies all night.
  • Client Related – For my entrepreneur friends, if you don’t sell…you don’t eat. This one I am intimately familiar with. If you own the business and need to focus on a client situation, that is perfectly acceptable.
  • Work Related – For my celebrity friends, if they get a paid gig…they are out. For my CEO friends, sometimes critical issues come up and as the #1 in the company, they need to give it their full attention.

Not so Acceptable Excuses – There are too many excuses to mention. I have seen and heard them all. Here are a few common ones:

  • I’m Too Important – Yeah, I don’t know about that. The folks at my event are high profile, highly successful, and in many cases, high net worth. If you don’t show up though, you will never know.
  • Too or Busy – We are all busy. I get 50 phone calls and 400 emails a day, however if I make a commitment to attend, I keep it. For my personal event, the value proposition of meeting 70 executives is HUGE. Where are you going to meet 70 high quality people, all in one place, and all in one night?
  • Bigger Name on the Other Line – This is a hot button for me. You made the commitment, and now you have a “cooler” offer. Personally, I don’t do that. If I say I’ll be there, I’ll be there. OK, maybe if Jesus calls, I will need to duck out, but not for anyone else.
  • Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time – This is probably the most frequent excuse. And when I look at my guest lists, I can almost always pick out the ones that won’t show. They are the people that drive you crazy trying to get ON the list…then don’t show up. All I can say is you are going to miss out on many, many opportunities.

So Josh Altman and I were supposed to meet prior to my last Los Angeles event. He emailed me just prior and said he had another commitment. Don’t really know him, and I’m sure he had a great reason. That stated, he missed out on an opportunity to meet an executive with 5,000+ executives in his rolodex. Next!

What Josh Altman (Million Dollar Listing LA) Taught Me About Networking

Million Dollar Listing is a reality TV show about Real Estate Brokers in Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Josh Altman is on the LA version, and one of the top brokers in Southern California. Love this show, which is about Realtors selling multi-million dollar homes.

As an Executive Recruiter, I’m in that same business. Josh matches buyers and million dollar houses; I match companies with million dollar executives. Josh hosts Brokers Open events; I host Godfather Sit Downs for my clients, friends and business partners. The part of Million Dollar Listing I enjoy most is when a Realtor is negotiating a home price since I spend much of my day negotiating executive compensation packages.

Ten years ago I started hosting my own private mixers after attending a dozen “open to the public” networking events. Anything that is open to the public is going to have subsets of solicitors, professional networkers and folks that showed up for the free drinks. No disrespect; just not my thing. So I created The Godfather’s Sit Down. We have exactly one purpose – for my friends, clients and business partners to meet each other. We have exactly one rule – absolutely no selling, marketing, promoting or soliciting. Invite 30 of my friends and each person is allowed to bring one new guest. Half the crowd is my friends; the other half is new and exciting executives. Guest list is “C” level corporate executives, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and entertainers. Very diverse and eclectic group.

Back to Josh Altman. Invited Josh to attend my Godfather Sit Down in Hollywood. Interestingly enough, we did not have a single common friend on LinkedIn; however keep in mind that “weak networks” where you don’t share common friends are of great value since you are connecting two BIG networks. Here are the four lessons I took away from my interaction with Josh:

Return All Your Messages – When I emailed Josh, he responded immediately. Many executives only return messages that are self-serving. Although I understand the concept, my personal business model is to return every email and phone call, even if my answer is “no thank you.” Why? Because it’s the right way to treat people. Although Josh did not know me, he was professional enough to return my message. That immediately puts him in the top 2% of people I know.

No Risk, No Reward – Which brings us to lesson two: no risk, no reward. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Josh took a risk by getting back to me. He has plenty of other things on his plate, however he probably Googled and saw that I’m well connected in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and the Silicon Valley. And there is great value in knowing well connected executives.

The Larger Your Network, The Larger Your Opportunity – Recently read a book on “luck” that stated “the larger your network, the luckier you get.” Why? Because the more people you know, the more opportunities they will forward your way. In my case (Executive Recruiter), the more executives I know, the better my chance of making job placements.

The Town Called Someday – Josh could not make my Hollywood event, so he offered to meet at lunch. My schedule was jammed full, however rather than walk away, we did the sacred calendar sync and found a mutually agreeable one hour time slot. While many people are living in the town of “Someday”, Josh and I made the meeting happen. As Jim Lovell once said, “There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.”

Career Search: Why You Did NOT Get the Job!

My name is Mark Wayman and for the last ten years I have owned an Executive Recruiting company focused on gaming/casinos and high tech. Placed 600+ executives from $100,000 to $2,000,000. Although most of these tips are targeted for senior level executives, they can be applied to all jobs.

While most books focus on what TO do, my book “The Godfather’s Career Guide – What To Do If You Get Whacked” (Amazon) focuses on what NOT to do. Here are a few amusing stories with some very poignant lessons.

Being a Narcissistic Megalomaniac – The number one reason that candidates do not move forward in the interview process – ARROGANCE and EGO. No one likes a self-absorbed, self-serving elitist. Just about the worst candidate I ever represented, we’ll call him Mike, was an outstanding executive that could not get over himself. One of those guys that says, “Enough about you, let’s talk about me some more!” Met him for breakfast and told him he needed to ratchet the self-promotion down a bit to be successful. At the next interview he tells the CEO, “I wouldn’t work here. You guys are a hot mess.” He was unemployed for two years an recently got a job making 50% of his last salary. Remember, humble and genuine is attractive!

Honesty is the Best Policy – People lie about everything from education to experience to An Executive Recruiter can only present candidates that have NOT applied to the hiring company in the last 12 months. The first two questions I ask every candidate is “have you applied in any way, shape or form to the hiring company in the last 12 months?” and “do you have any compliance issues?” Recently I two situations where the candidate swore they had not applied, but in actuality had submitted a resume previously. So here is the deal Neil. First, if you applied and did not get interviewed, it’s because the company does not feel you are a fit for the job. Second, I’m not going to represent you going forward because I have a real affinity for honest people. Are you with me?

Just say NO To Drugs – Pretty straightforward, yes? Just had a $300,000 executive fail the drug test. Whaaat?? If you can’t pass the drug test, you won’t qualify for most jobs.

Bitter is NOT Attractive – The #1 reason executives don’t get the job.Companies want happy, positive, enthusiastic executives. Making negative statements about your last boss or company is a complete and total deal killer! A perfect example is Mike (again), who spent most of his time lamenting “how they could lay me off after all my years with the company.” That is why they make the windshield large and the rear view mirror small. Let go and let God.

Unrealistic Expectations – If I’m hiring for a CFO, I want candidates that have 5+ years of CFO level experience. Same with VP roles: 5+ years experience AT the VP level. I’ll get a dozen Managers and Directors with a note, “I can do this.” And they probably can, however companies don’t want to provide on the job training. They want executives that already did the job, at the level, for several years. And compensation is another challenge. Welcome to Depression 2.0. This is NOT the job market of ten years ago. Compensation has fallen drastically. Tim was an executive at $250K. Mostly because he was in the same job for ten years. Put him in for a $200K job, then after two months of interviewing he demanded $250K. Request denied. Tim remains unemployed.

Relationships Beat Talent Every Day of the Week – Believe it or not, most big cities are more like Mayberry RFD. In Las Vegas, there are two million people, however only two hundred people make most of the decisions…and they all know each other. Do NOT burn bridges. If someone likes you they will tell one friend. If someone does not like you, they will tell ten friends. At least once a week I hear, “He is probably a good executive, but Bob worked with him before. Pass.”Don’t burn your bridges!

Relationships are a Two Way Street – There is a scene in the Godfather where Bonasera is asking the Godfather for help. The Godfather responds, “Bonasera, we have known each other many years, but this is the first time you ever came to me for counsel or help. I can’t remember the last time that you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee, even though my wife is godmother to your only child. But let’s be frank here. You never wanted my friendship.” Remember, relationships are a two way street. Don’t be the person that falls off the map for five year years, and then cold calls everyone for a job. As an Executive Recruiter, I get that every day of my life. People that dismissed me and kicked dirt on me, then send me a resume when they get fired. The worst perpetrators? Human Resources executives. If I had $20 for every HR person that beat me up, then needed a job, I could retire. Always be kind to people…and stay in touch!