Archives for December, 2015

The Godfather on Giving Back: It is Better to Give Than to Recieve

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last eleven years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average placement is $250,000, last year I placed eight executives north of a million dollars.

My passions are church and charity.  Each time I place an executive, I donate a portion of the revenue to charity.  This quarter those charities included Opportunity Village, Shade Tree, Noah’s Animal House, Safe Nest, the Animal Foundation, the Epicurean Charitable Foundation and the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The holidays are a time when Americans focus on giving. Giving cards and gifts. Giving to church and charity.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  As someone with a passion for philanthropy, here are a few of my thoughts on giving back.

It is Better to Give Than to Receive – Before you start thinking I’m some kind of saint, let’s be clear, I am far from perfect. Was a “taker” for the first 40 years of my life. Spent every nickel I had on me, me, me. My house, my car, my vacation. My stuff!  By the grace of God, when we sold our company in 2004, I had an epiphany similar to the Grinch, “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!” For the last 11 years I have focused on giving back and helping others.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – The majority of charitable giving happens over the holidays. Wouldn’t it be great if every day was Christmas?  Philanthropy is an attitude.  It’s a lifestyle.  It’s a mindset – “Whatever you did for the least of My Brothers, you did for Me.”  You don’t have to give a million dollars.  Give what you are able, and do it all year, not just at Christmas.  There are time when I get over my skis on charity (give more than my budget), however God always provides.  It’s like Christmas…you just have to BELIEVE.

My Passions are Children and Animals – There are 3,600 registered non-profits in Nevada. Obviously you can’t support them all. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, I select three or four charities to focus on for the following year. Would rather be good at three or four than mediocre at five or ten. My passions are causes that help children and animals for exactly one reason – they didn’t pick their parents.  You have to decide what YOUR passion is.  What pulls at your heartstrings?  Follow your passion!

I’m a HUGE Believer in Education – First person in my family to have a college degree. Undergrad from CSU Fullerton; MBA from Texas A&M. That stated, the 39% I pay in Federal taxes is to cover education. To my mind, our education system is failing, and throwing money at the problem is not the answer. Huge believer in education; not a believer in throwing money at a broken system. Education is not a charity.

Make Sure the Money Goes to the Cause, Part 1 – Over the years I have raised millions of dollars for charity. It never even occurred to me to “take a piece of the action.” In other words, get paid to raise money. I do it because I’m exceedingly blessed and have a passion for helping those less fortunate. It comes from my heart. As such, I don’t support “professional fundraisers” that get paid to raise money for non-profits. I want 100% of my donation to help the people it’s intended to help.

Make Sure the Money Goes to the Cause, Part 2 – Be sure to investigate how your charity dollars are spent. If the charity raises $1,000,000, the CEO should NOT be getting $300,000. I have abandoned several charities over the years that paid their executive staff inflated compensation packages and/or had high administrative overhead. At the end of the day, be sure your donation is being used to help people and not fund the CEOs lifestyle.

If You are on the Board…Get on Board – This is probably the one part of charity that I dread, the Board of Directors.  Everyone wants to be on a Board.  Great resume builder.  And THAT is the problem.  Many of the people just want the PR.  They don’t show for the Board meetings.  They don’t donate or raise money.  Most non-profits require a $5,000 give/get.  Meaning you either donate $5,000 (you or your company) or you raise $5,000 from outside sources.  I was on the Board of a charity with 25 Board Members.  Maybe 10 showed up for the meetings.  Worse yet, 6 of the 25 never donated or raised a penny.  Unfortunately, this is pretty common.  If you are a Board Member, do three things.  Show up for the meetings.  Fulfill your give/get.  Donate your time and talent to support the cause.

Pseudo Charities and Vanity Projects – We have thousands of charities in Nevada, and I’m sure they are all lovely.  But in some cases, I’m challenged to understand how they are a charity.  The Smith Center is a prime example.  I love the Smith Center and I love Broadway shows.  That stated, it’s not a charity and it took millions and millions of dollars away from non-profits that desperately needed funding.  In another example, there is a charity that does exactly what Goodwill does, except Goodwill has been doing it forever.  Again, be sure to research your cause and ensure it’s a charity and not a vanity project.

There are MANY Ways to Contribute – You don’t have to write a check! So many times people say, “Mark, I don’t have your financial resources.”  Don’t think you have to donate money. Non-profits are always looking for Board Members and volunteers. When I was on the Board of Make-A-Wish I used to say, “Anyone can write a check. The true heroes are the wish granters that volunteer their time to work with the kids.”  Donating your time is far more valuable than writing a check.  Many years ago someone asked me for free tickets to a charity event I was hosting.  Told him the ticket was $50.  Pretty reasonable.  This is a guy who bought a Starbucks every morning and went drinking pretty much every night.  Guarantee you his nightly bar tab was at least $50.  I’m not judging, just saying that you do have to make responsible choices if you want be a philanthropist.  You will have to give up something for yourself…to help others.  God bless you!

Offers and Counter-Offers: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last eleven years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average placement is $250,000; last year I placed eight executives north of a million dollars.

This article discusses the topic of offer and counter-offers from both the hiring manager and candidate perspectives.  How do job offers work?  Should I consider a counter-offer from my current employer?  There are exceptions to every rule, however in general, after 11 years and 700+ high level placements, here are my insights.

Hiring Managers and Human Resources Executives

NEVER Make a Counter Offer – Always remember this, HAPPY EMPLOYEES DON’T QUIT. Mostly they leave for a better offer (title and/or money), and you can’t blame them for wanting to improve their position in life. In many cases, they may be unhappy working for your company…for whatever the reason. And unfortunately is some cases, they are trying to leverage you for a pay raise. Regardless, NEVER MAKE A COUNTER OFFER. Top performers don’t use quitting as a tactic to get a raise. One of my clients engaged me to replace a VP that gave notice. To my mind this VP was mediocre, so my thought was “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” I queued up three excellent replacement candidates. At the eleventh hour, the incumbent decided to stay (his new job probably did not come through). Even more surprisingly, the President decided to keep him. As Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.” The company lost out on three great candidates, and you guessed it, the incumbent was gone six months later. All you did was give him time to find another job. Never, ever make a counter offer.

Don’t Short Sheet Candidates at Offer time – Always get consensus on the compensation package prior to interviewing a candidate. No need to waste your time on candidates that are out of range on salary, or with the ones that are unrealistic about compensation (and they are many!). On the other hand, if you agree on compensation up front, don’t lowball them at offer time. For example, if you agreed on $200,000, don’t make the job offer at $175,000. It paints your company in a bad light. If you have an agreement on compensation, honor your commitment.

Great Employees Don’t Get Fired – In many cases, companies ask me to perform a CONFIDENTIAL SEARCH because the incumbent is still on payroll and is not aware they are being terminated. And that makes sense. My only comment is that once you make the decision to terminate someone, follow through. One time a CEO communicated he was firing one of his “C” level folks. He asked me to provide candidates to backfill the role. Identified an excellent replacement, however at offer time the CEO decided to give the incumbent “one more chance.” Big mistake. Big. Huge.   Once you decide to terminate an executive…get them gone.

Death by Due Diligence – This is a terrible hiring strategy. As of today, November 2015, we are in an ultra-competitive talent market. In other word’s it’s a sellers’ market. Sellers being the candidates. All the good executives are gainfully employed and not moving around. My philosophy is, “If it takes you three months to hire someone, you won’t be hiring anyone good. They will have three other jobs offers…and be long gone.” A two to four week interview window is all you are going to get. If it’s a technical role, you might only get a week to wrangle them. The job market is THAT hot. If you think it’s an honor and privilege to be you on your payroll, you are wrong. Treat candidates with professionalism and respect; move through the hiring process quickly.


NEVER Accept a Counter Offer – If you don’t remember anything else from this article, remember this: COUNTER OFFERS ARE ALWAYS A BAD STRATEGY. You just let the boss know you are unhappy, and by accepting a counter offer gave him time to transition your job to someone new. I would say that is accurate 95% of the time. You will be gone in three to six months. And if you leveraged your boss/company for a pay raise, do you REALLY think they appreciate your arm twisting for a few more nickels? Never, ever take a counter offer.

All You Have in Life is Your Word and Reputation – A client recently emailed me that he invested significant time and effort interviewing a candidate, only to have the candidate accept an offer from another firm at the last minute. My best story in this regard is an SVP that had me rush him through the interview process, then told me he already had an offer from Microsoft. If I could beat it, he was in. Not only did I beat it, I blew the Microsoft offer away. The candidates used my offer to sweeten his Microsoft deal, and left me twisting in the wind. Here is my point. If you have multiple irons in the fire (interviewing with several companies), be honest and let the hiring companies know. They are investing time and money to interview you, so the least you can do is be honest and not pull the rug out from under them at the last minute. Here is another good story. Worked on a “C” level search and got the candidate an outstanding offer. More money than he ever made in his life. He declined, stating he had a sick relative. That was pretty odd – never mentioned it during the two months of interviewing. Come to find out he was interviewing for a “bigger” position down the street. Unfortunately for him, I was the Recruiter on that one. Wow, bummer, huh? He is now making half what I offered him, while living in San Francisco and paying 13.2% state income tax. All you have in this world is your work and your reputation, be a person of integrity.

Once you Accept an Offer, Honor Your Commitment – Over the course of eleven years I have seen three executives accept offers, then reneg on their commitment. For me, integrity is everything, and when someone goes back on their word, I won’t deal with them again in the future. There are too many great executives to deal with the ones that lack integrity. I had a VP, Casino Marketing executive that accepted an offer from one of my clients. On the first day of work he was a no show, no call. When I contacted him he stated, “Oh yeah, I got a better offer from the Las Vegas Sands, so I took it.” Kid you not. Honor your commitments.

Fighting Over Nickels – If you have decided this is the job for you, don’t fight over nickels. Take the offer! Placed a candidate years ago that fought with the hiring company for three weeks to get…$5,000. When he was terminated two years later, I declined to represent him. Pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered.

The Answer is YES! – There are several HUGE errors in judgment I see at offer time. First, candidates that use the offer to leverage their current employer. They accept verbally, and then renege to take a counter offer. As discussed previously, worst career strategy ever. Second, candidates use the offer to leverage an offer from a second company, playing one off against another. Another bad strategy. There is a good chance you will get “middled” and end up unemployed. Don’t play games. If you are expecting multiple offers, bravo! But be sure each hiring company is aware. Pick the job that is right for you, but don’t expect one company to hang around while you see if a better offer is coming. Third, if you say anything other than “YES” to a job offer, you have declined the offer and it is no longer valid. Just like buying a house. No one is opposed to negotiation, however you don’t want to appear greedy. If you don’t say YES, the company can withdraw the offer at any time.

No Sour Grapes – Never cry sour grapes if you don’t get the job offer. There are many valid reasons that you got passed over, but here are the two most common ones. First, there may have been a dozen highly qualified executives being interviewed, and one of them was more qualified than you. Second, possibly it was not a culture/chemistry fit. This is actually pretty common. Could be you are highly qualified, but don’t interview well. Regardless of the reason, it does NOT make the hiring company a bad place to work, so don’t run around town badmouthing them. And it’s not the Recruiter’s fault, they got you the interview. Actually, it’s not anyone’s fault. If you don’t get the job offer, understand everything happens for a reason…and move on!

The Godfather’s Top Recruiting Tips for HR Executives

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last eleven years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average placement is $250,000, last year I placed eight executives north of a million dollars.

This article is geared towards Human Resources professionals.  For the last eleven years as an Executive Recruiter, I have hustled 24×7.  In my business, if you don’t sell you don’t eat.  Literally reviewed 100,000 resumes and thought it would be interesting to share a few of my completely unscientific findings about candidates you do NOT want to hire.  There are exceptions to every rule, however in general, after 11 years and 700+ high level placements, here is my insight.

The Unemployed – There are very few good reasons for a candidate to be unemployed.  Again, there are always exceptions, however for the most part the best executives are NEVER unemployed.  They foresee issues and/or layoffs and proactively manage their way out of it.  Layoffs are a great excuse to drop non-performers. Never saw a company layoff a good sales guy! The economy is strong right now, so if someone is unemployed, there is probably a good reason for it.

You Know People Can Google You, Yes? – When a candidate sends me a resume, the first thing I do is check their LinkedIn profile. Then Facebook. Then Google. You would be amazed what I find. EEOC and workman’s compensation law suits, pictures of the candidate half lit at a nightclub, tax liens, DUIs.  With regards to off color items on Facebook, some candidates have “an obsessive need to be me.” They don’t care what anyone thinks.  I know a CEO who fills his Facebook page with pictures of him at nightclubs with young girls. While I don’t judge anyone, that is not going to make a good impression with employers. One last note on this topic. How about the candidate that used the email address  Maybe they should use something more professional. How about first initial and last name?

Job Hoppers – Executives that change jobs frequently typically come in two flavors. First (and most likely), they don’t play well with others. When I start checking references on a job hopper, invariably I hear the person was not well liked and could not get along with anyone.  Specifically, his/her boss!  Second, job hopping gives the impression that the executives is not terribly loyal. Who wants to invest in an executive that may not stay around for long? I rarely represent a candidate that has not been in their current role for three or more years.

Education – I have seen some great non-degreed candidates, mostly in high tech, when technical people rush to the workforce for the big dollars.  That stated, most companies require a college degree for management level jobs. Does it make you smarter? Maybe not, but it shows you had the self-discipline to spend four years of your life becoming more educated and worldly. There are many valid reasons for an executive to not finish college. I’m not judging. The ones that REALLY concern me are the candidates that list a college on the resume, but don’t have a degree. They only needed a “few more credits.” That’s even worse! Why would you drop out with a semester to go?

They Don’t Price Their House to Sell – When people sell their house, they have a propensity to get emotionally attached and price it WAY too high. In a like manner, when folks consider new career opportunities, many price themselves out of the market.  They are unrealistic about compensation. I can read a CV in 60 seconds and tell you a candidate’s market value.  Why?  Because I do it all day and every day.  Also because I know how much everyone makes, so I can compare education and experience between executives.  One of they stories I frequently tell is about an executive making $275,000 that was fired.  He asked me for a job at $350,000. My response was that $225,000 was the right number. He declined. He was unemployed for a year, got a job at $225,000 (I hit that number right on the nose!) for six months, then moved to a job at $160,000. Again, not judging, but in general candidates that are disconnected from reality on compensation…and not good candidates.

Needy and High Maintenance – Be wary of desperate candidates! If someone has no rainy day fund and needs a job today to make their mortgage payment…that is a MAJOR issue. Top performing executives don’t place themselves in that position. Also beware the candidate that “is not looking”, but rides you like Secretariat. My experience is that any executive that leads with “I’m not looking” is desperately looking. And in probably 50% of those cases, I find out the executive was terminated within a week or two thereafter.

They Read Their Own Press Releases and/or Lack Integrity – How many resumes have you seen with two paragraphs of “I’m king of the world!” at the top? Top executives don’t need to trumpet their success. Others do it for them. My preference is candidates that stick to the facts. Give me company, title and tenure. Follow that up with several bullet points on how you improved revenues or reduced costs. The biggest issue I see with candidates, even at the million dollar level, is INTEGRITY. It is absolutely shocking how many executives lie to me. You can call it “spin” or “not forthcoming” or “not straightforward”, however candidates that are dishonest are a total deal breaker for me. As one CEO told me, “If they don’t have integrity, I don’t care how brilliant or talented they are.” Amen!

Bad Life Choices – Regardless of your feelings about drugs, they are illegal in most places. And I have a saying, “If you can’t pass the drug screen you can’t get a job.” Only had one candidate in ten years fail the drug screen, a $300,000 CFO. Or should I say a $300,000 CFO with no common sense? Other areas of concern are criminal record, DUIs, tax liens and financial trouble. Executives that make bad life choices also have a tendency to make bad professional choices.

Leaving Las Vegas – Name the Casino President that broke two Las Vegas casinos in less than two years, was unemployed for the next two years, and then was hired by a Native American casino “after an exhaustive search.” If a gaming executive cannot get a job in Las Vegas, THERE IS A REASON.  Usually because they burned all their bridges or can’t pass a compliance check.

Counter-Offers are Never a Good Career Choice – A client called me for a $250,000 search. Apparently a VP emailed in his resignation. Who does that? After an extended search, we were down to two strong candidates. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the guy renegs and wants to stay. Translation, the wheels came off his new job.  The CEO decides to keep him. Seriously! Let me tell you how this story is going to end. That guy won’t last another year, and to my mind showed a total lack of character by quitting, then reneging. At the end of the day, the CEO is at fault, and the story will not end well. Never, ever extend a counter-offer to a candidate.

Salary Surveys are BOGUS! – This is my bonus tip. I have to smile when I see salary surveys. Let’s face it, the candidate is worth whatever you offer them. I have seen $200,000 executives take $100,000 offers due to desperation. Also seen $80,000 technical candidates get $150,000 because they have a rare skill set. The funny thing about the gaming industry salary surveys is that typically the companies sending them out have no way of knowing how much anyone makes. Why? Because they place $50,000 individual contributors. How would they possibly know what a CIO, CFO or VP makes…they never work on those jobs.  And you have to love the candidates that don’t believe cost of living is a factor. A $250,000 job in San Francisco pays $100,000 in Las Vegas. California has a 13.2% state income tax, and for $5,000 a month you get to live in a shoebox.  Some companies have open checkbooks and can hire the best people; some pay below market and the get the leftovers.  Money is not everything, but anyone that tells you it does not matter….doesn’t have any.