Archives for April, 2018

5 Strategies for the Upcoming Job Apocalypse

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last 14 years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average base salary is $250,000, and last year I placed several executives north of a million dollars.

Disclaimer: Only represent executives I know personally or by referral. No online job postings, no candidate databases, no unsolicited resumes. No disrespect intended!

Probably best known for my monthly gaming/casino newsletter that goes out to 5,000 executives. Who got hired, who got fired and all the latest gaming/casino news. If you want to keep up in real time, follow me @GodfatherWaym on Twitter. End of promo!

Who remembers 2008? In August 2008 I had 120 open jobs; two weeks later I had 10. The stock market fell apart, the housing market fell apart and unemployment rates skyrocketed to 10%. In 2012 we started a long slow climb back to the prosperity, and the last two years have been phenomenal. But there are clouds on the horizon.  The stock market is fading, job creation has topped and actually started to slide, and interest rates are on the rise.

There are several reasons the American economy (and job market) could crash. First, political turmoil. America has never been more divided, which is very concerning.  Second, record debt. US debt continues to climb at a staggering rate. . Third, International volatility. America is still fighting wars in the Middle East while rattling sabers with North Korea. The tax cuts and deregulation helped corporations, however they did little for individuals. Top earners pay 37% as opposed to the previous 39%, but keep in mind just a few years earlier it was 34%.

I’ll never forget a Recruiter telling me in 2004, “Mark, everything is great…today.  But one day the pendulum will swing.  What goes up, must come down.  All the people that didn’t return your phone call, all the executives that dismissed you and treated you like dirt, they will all be sending you resumes and calling your cell phone.”  In August 2008 that is EXACTLY what happened.  This article is my counsel for what to do NOW to weather the storm.  How to maximize your opportunities during tough times, and set yourself up for success. Economies go up; economies go down. The job apocalypse is on the horizon.

Dig the Well Before You Need a Drink – My #1 career tip! When you need a job, where does it come from? Well, 85% comes from your professional network (referrals), 10% from Executive Recruiters and the last 5% from a variety of sources. You must, must, must have a strong professional network and be friendly with one to three Executive Recruiters. If you stick your head in the sand like an Ostrich and only come up once every three to five years when you are terminated and unemployed, no one is going to bail you out. You MUST dig the well before you need a drink. You MUST build the bridge before you need to cross the river. Stay in touch with your peers; build professional relationships with one to three Executive Recruiters.

Knowledge is POWER – My #2 career tip. Years ago I started a newsletter for my clients. Industry news and all the latest executive moves (who got hired; who got fired). Distribution is now up to 5,000 executives. So here is the interesting part. At the Manager level 50% read it, Director level is 60%, VP level is 75% and “C” level: 90%. Do you see the pattern? The more senior the executive, the more interested they are in what’s going on with their peers and in the industry. During the job apocalypse, all the bad hiring decisions of the last few years stick out like a sore thumb, and those executives are the first to be laid off.  You know who survives?  Those that are industry experts and have invested in continuous education.  Number of executives that “opted out” of my newsletter, then sent me a resume when they were terminated a year laster? Fifty! Sorry, once you opt out…you are OUT. No disrespect intended. Stay plugged in to your peers and industry! Knowledge is power.

Does Not Play Well with Others – Five jobs in five years is a tough sell for a Headhunter. “Oh, I can explain all that.” I’m sure you can, but as an Executive Recruiter, I can’t sell it. And to the hiring company it screams I DON’T PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS. Not judging. Not criticizing. Not trying to offend anyone.  My best advice is to find someplace you like…and stay there.  During the job apocalypse, last in is first out.  Those with short tenure are the first to be laid off.  Start working on job stability TODAY, and as your Mom used to say, “Play well with others.”

Burning Bridges – The best way to leave is a friendly wave on the way out. There is no upside to burning bridges, or bad mouthing your former company/boss. As Walt Disney said, “It’s a small, small world.” I can’t count the number of times I had highly accomplished executives get passed over for interviews because a former colleague submarined them. Not because they were not brilliant or talented; they just got sideways with too many people. Be grateful and appreciative; never burn bridges on the way out.

Recruiters Get Candidates for Job, NOT Jobs for Candidates – The best advice I can give you on Headhunters? Your job crisis is not their priority. Executive Recruiters only get paid if they place candidates in jobs, so they are laser focused on filling open positions, not figuring out your career dilemma. Personally, if the candidate is a former client, they are going to get more of my attention. Why? Because I’m the most loyal person you ever met.  But I’m not like most Executive Recruiters.  I own the business.  I don’t have a “quota.” I don’t have a Boss.  On the other hand, if a CEO candidate has never supported my business or charity work, my recommendation is that they work with a Recruiter they know personally. Don’t expect Recruiters to drop everything and help you – that is not a reasonable expectation.

Accepting a Counter-Offers – Worst job strategy ever. I would venture to say that 100% of the executives that take a counter-offer are terminated within twelve months. So I’m going to get a few hate mails from people saying, “I took a counter and worked out beautifully!” Well, one in a ten million people also hit the lottery. If you think your company wants to be leveraged for an increase in salary, you are sadly mistaken. If the economy tanks, you will be the first person out the door. Never, ever take a counter-offer.

Getting over Your Skis – Executives get promoted to the level of their incompetence. Just because you are a great Director, that does not make you a great VP. You may be an awesome VP, but that does not make you a CEO. Here is a situation I see far too frequently. Executives that have a huge impression of themselves, somehow weasel their way into a high level job they are not qualified for, and then get terminated in less than a year. Now they have REAL trouble because they think they deserve that job and compensation, so they sit on the beach for two years trying to replicate it. The story usually ends with them at a “B” company in a lower role making half the money. In the job apocalypse, know your limitations and be reasonable about compensation.

#CareerFail: Never Ask an Executive Recruiter this Question

What else you got?

So an Executive Recruiter approached you with a GREAT new career opportunity. You interview for the role, and although you did well, the company felt another candidate was “more closely aligned with our business requirements.” Translation: They liked someone else more. Happens…all the time.

There may be a hundred reasons why you didn’t get the job offer, and most of them have nothing to do with you. The hiring manager picked his buddy. Why? Relationships trump talent, and he knows, likes and trusts his buddy. Is it fair? Nope! But it is how the world works. Possibly the company’s expectation is too high. Another common situation. The company wants a $225,000 executives for $160,000. Sorry, not in this economy. A third reason is COMPANIES MAKE BAD HIRING DECISIONS. This year has been shocking on that front. Some of the executive hiring decisions boggle my mind. They are probably OK in the short term, but what happens when the economy falls apart? All those lousy hiring decisions will stick out like a sore thumb, and the companies will quickly be in financial distress.

And the biggest reason of all? Everything happens for a reason. We don’t always understand the master plan, however we usually get a glimpse at some point down the road. Be careful what you wish for! Just worked a Director, Human Resources role and my candidate did not even get an interview. The compensation on the role is well below market rate, and the company took two weeks to get back to me. Wow, real professional. You won’t be hiring any star athletes with that process.

Recently had two candidate situations. Secured them both interviews. One candidate was 85% of what the hiring company needed. They interviewed him and passed. They are STILL looking. The other candidate was the best person for the job and should have received a job offer. He did not. Trust me, I was disappointed, but at the end of the day, the decision was up to the CEO at the hiring company. Gave him the benefit of my knowledge and experience, but it’s 100% his call.

Both candidates asked me , “What else you got?” If you remember nothing else from this article, remember these two things. First, the Recruiter’s job is to secure the interview. YOUR job is close the deal. If you get the interview but not the job offer, the Recruiter did their job. Refer to the above – there may be a hundred reasons you were not selected. Don’t take it out on the Recruiter!

Second, Executive Recruiters get people for jobs, NOT jobs for people. There is not a long line of $300,000 career opportunities. The Recruiter has to focus on their open roles or they don’t get paid. They are not Career Coaches; they don’t have 10 jobs for you. Thank the Recruiter for their time and move on. Never ask “What else you got?”

Why Nobody Returns Your Calls…and Why they ABSOLUTELY Should!

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last 14 years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average base salary is $250,000, and last year I placed several executives north of a million dollars.

Disclaimer: Only represent executives I know personally or by referral. No online job postings, no candidate databases, no unsolicited resumes. No disrespect intended!

Probably best known for my monthly casino newsletter that goes out to 5,000 executives. Who got hired, who got fired and all the latest gaming/casino news. If you want to keep up in real time, follow me @GodfatherWaym on Twitter. End of promo!

Ever notice how mostly no one calls you unless they are asking for something? It’s true! More importantly, have you noticed how most people DON’T call you back? It is SOOOOO annoying!  Heck, there are executives I placed in $200,000 jobs that don’t return my calls so don’t feel like the Lone Ranger.  Surprisingly, after I help people with their careers, many forget my name.  Used to get emotional about it, but as Mother Teresa once said, “It was always between them and God; it was never between you and them anyway.”  Let’s examine why most folks don’t return your calls. And a few reasons they should!

The Secret – Here is THE SECRET to getting people to call you back. THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING FOR THEM. If they are not getting back to you, your value proposition is not strong enough.  Trust me, when I ping a guy about a million dollar job, he gets back to me 100% of the time. Or if I have COMP tickets to Celine Dion people are tripping over each other to get back to me. On the other hand, if you are calling to ask for a favor, unless they are truly a friend, they won’t get back to you. Telling you “no” is awkward. When you call or email someone, give careful thought to the VALUE PROPOSITION. Not what’s in it for you – what’s in it for them!

Why They ABSOLUTELY Should Call You Back: It’s the Right Way to Treat People – Personally, I respond to every email and phone call. Roughly 500 per day. Yep, even all the cold calls and unsolicited resumes. Why? Because my Dad taught me it was the right way to treat people. He said, “Son, treat the Janitor with the same respect as the CEO. Treat people with respect, compassion and professionalism. That probably sounds naïve in our self-absorbed, self-focused, “me me me” culture, however it was the way my Dad raised me and it’s how I live my life. People will still treat you poorly, but at least you know you took the high road and treated them right.

Why They ABSOLUTELY Should Call You Back: Remember 2008! – We were all just cruising along living La Vida Loca. Not a care in the world. In August 2008 the whole thing came to an end. All those people that did not return my phone calls, all the people that dismissed me and kicked dirt on me…were emailing me resumes. They were unemployed. THAT is why people should be calling you back. Trust me, one day they are going to need you, and if they treat you poorly now, it may be forgiven but it won’t be forgotten.

Headhunters and Referrals: The Golden Ticket – When I’m looking for a $250,000 GM I reach out to a couple hundred contacts for referrals. Those that respond with, “I make more than that now” get removed from my rolodex. Those that respond with, “Hey, ping Ed, he would be a good fit” get a Golden Ticket. Translation: Those that provide referrals are REMEMBERED. They get first shot at the best jobs. When they need a job, I’m their lifeline. Don’t you remember the people that go out of their way to help you? If nothing else, I’m the most loyal person you ever met.

The Godfather’s Sit Downs – These are my private client mixers. An opportunity to meet 100 of the best people on the planet. Now I understand that we are all busy, but I’m shocked at how many people won’t come out for an hour, and then want me to drop everything I’m doing when they get fired. My point is this – if you want to accumulate social capital, you have to try. That includes returning messages and shaking a few hands on occasion. People that live with their head in the sand quickly find they have no lifelines when have a job crisis.

The CIO Mixer at Hollywood Park – And on the topic of events, this is one of my favorite stories. I hosted a mixer at Hollywood Park (horse racing) for 25 CIOs. Only 15 showed up. Of the 10 that did not call or show up, 3 sent me resumes the next day. So you don’t have an hour to shake my hand, but you want me to get you a $400,000 job? Bahahahahahaha!

As Walt Disney Said, “It’s a Small, Small World” – Relationships trump talent in this world. How else do you explain all the mediocre executives in high level positions? Not judging or criticizing, just stating the obvious. Was with an executive the other day and we discussed a couple guys with checkered histories at his company. I said, “How the heck did those guys get jobs with you? Do you know why they were terminated last time around?” His response was, “Oh yeah, they are buddies with Joe and he juiced them in. And you are right, they are dreadful.” It’s a small world; always return your phone calls. It’s the right thing to do.

Why I Deleted 1,000 Contacts: How LinkedIn REALLY Works!

I was one of the first users of LinkedIn. My rolodex had grown to over 1,000 executives, so I signed up for LinkedIn (I think it was still in BETA) and started a monthly newsletter to keep in touch with friends, clients and business partners.

If 200 connections are good, 2,000 connections are great, right? Wrong! There is a huge difference between “networking” and “connecting.” I was immediately besieged by people asking for free hotel rooms, free show tickets, introductions and investments. My favorite is, “Can you introduce me to Tony Hsieh, the CEO at Zappos.” Bahahahaha! And from the private wealth guys, “Let me invest your money.” What? Do people really give their money to people they just met?

Networking is when you focus on what people can DO FOR YOU. Connecting is when you focus on what you can DO FOR THEM. Big difference. My favorite question is, “How can I help you?” The correct way to use LinkedIn is to ADD VALUE. And let me explain that.

Everyone has a UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION. Mine is getting people jobs (I’m a Headhunter), my monthly client newsletter, client events, introductions/referrals and charity work. Jobs is pretty obvious, but let me tell you a secret about Recruiters: The wrong time to meet a Recruiter is when you are unemployed. Yes, it’s what we do, but calling once every five to ten years to ask for a job is not a good career strategy.

Jobs: I get 20 to 50 cold calls a day. And pretty much all of them have an agenda. They want a job, they want to sell me something, they want me to introduce them to my clients. And I get it! I’m in sales too. I’m not offended! But I only represent executives I know personally or that are referred to me. It is far too risky to represent people I don’t know and have never met. Don’t misunderstand me. Totally have compassion for their situation. In many cases I give them pro bono career advice. My reputation is attached to every single candidate I submit, so I can only represent executives I know personally. No disrespect intended.

Client Newsletter: “C” level executives thrive on 411. The higher executives are in the corporate food chain, the more they want to know what’s going on with their peers and the industry. Only 50% of Directors read the newsletter, but 85% of “C” level executives do. It’s only available to my clients, and most of the information is not publicly available.

Client Events: I host quarterly clients events in Las Vegas and San Francisco. we have one purpose – for my friends, clients and business partners to meet each other. We have one rule – no soliciting. Unfortunately, some people wait until they are unemployed to get their head out of the sand. Those that attend my mixers will probably meet their next boss there.

Introductions/Referrals: Let’s talk about introductions and referrals. I am happy to make introductions PROVIDED there is a strong value proposition on both sides of the introduction. I’m not going to introduce hardware sales guys to all the CIOs I placed. I’m not going to introduce people raising money to my friends. Again, happy to make referrals provided it’s a win-win for both parties, but there literally has to be a very strong value proposition on both sides. Can’t count the number of Board Members I have rounded up for charities. Or the Moms, Dad, Kids, Sisters I have provided jobs for as a favor to client or friend.

And I don’t believe in LIONs. People with massive networks of executives they have never met. They constantly cold call me to place their friends or ask for introductions. Always remember this: Time is the great equalizer. You have the same 24 hours as Bill Gates. The #1 fear of high level executives is people that waste their time. We all have far more to do…than time to do it. I don’t reach to people unless I have something of value to offer.

So why did I just delete 1,000 connections? They were not adding value. They don’t stay in touch, and most of them only reach out to ask for favors. That is not a RELATIONSHIP, it’s a TRANSACTION. Again, I’m not judging or criticizing, however I’m only interested executives that believe in reciprocal relationships. I’m there for them; they are there for me. You are lucky to find 5 true friends in life. Mostly people are just acquaintances. Personally I would rather have a strong network with 2,000 members than a weak one with 20,000.

Why Do Good Companies Make Terrible Hiring Choices?

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last 14 years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average base salary is $250,000, and last year I placed several executives north of a million dollars.

Disclaimer: Only represent executives I know personally or by referral. No online job postings, no candidate databases, no unsolicited resumes. No disrespect intended!

Probably best known for my monthly casino newsletter that goes out to 5,000 executives. Who got hired, who got fired and all the latest gaming/casino news. If you want to keep up in real time, follow me @GodfatherWaym on Twitter. End of promo!

Have you ever wondered how mediocre executives continue to get job after job while highly talented executives sit on the beach? I sure have. Pretty much daily. These folks are like a cat with nine lives. They get terminated for embezzlement, drunken bar fights, soliciting prostitutes, then there they are again – they found ANOTHER new job. WTF?

This is a particularly troubling area for Executive Recruiters. We only get paid when our candidate is hired, so it’s frustrating when we submit the best candidate and the hiring company goes with someone we know has personal issues. Integrity issues. Addiction issues. But at the end of the day the hiring company is the Boss. It’s their choice.

This article is about the three most common reasons that perfectly good companies make terribly bad hiring choices. For the record, my completely unscientific survey shows that 90% of those bad choices result in the executive being terminated within 12 months. Cost of that turnover? Typically 300% of the employee’s salary. Pretty expensive, yes?

Companies Don’t have the 411 – This is a HUGE issue for companies that post jobs online and cold call executives. “Post and pray” has become standard operating procedure for HR departments.  They post jobs, shuffle through hundreds of unqualified candidates and eventually pick someone. The result is marginal hires (at best!) and high employee turnover rates. Another major issue is that resumes actually tell you very little. Candidates don’t list their drug, alcohol and gambling additions. They don’t disclose their sexual harassment lawsuits. They certainly don’t tell you they were terminated for embezzlement, inappropriate relationships or soliciting prostitutes on the clock. Here is a classic: Terminated for having sex in public at a casino he was actually managing. I’m not kidding. Every one of these examples is based on a true story. Still want to cold call people? If you are a senior level executive, STOP applying to online jobs! Use your professional network or engage an Executive Recruiter to assist with your career search.

Companies “Settle” – Sometimes the company searches for months and months without hiring anyone. Mostly that is because they are either not paying enough or the company has a bad reputation and can no longer attract quality candidates. That is what separates the “A” companies from the “B” companies: High quality management and an attractive company culture. I’m not judging or criticizing – everyone can’t be Nordstrom. What I am saying is that once good companies start making bad hiring choices they quickly become “B” players. Given this is the best economy in history, there is no penalty…today. But wait until the economy tanks. What goes up, always comes back down. Companies that made bad hiring choices are going to get crushed. Like 2008, many will go out of business. The difference between the winners and the losers is the hiring decisions.

Relationships Trump Talent – Mostly I work in the gaming/casino space, and as Walt Disney once said, “It’s a small, small world.” Las Vegas is Mayberry RFD, a city of 2,000,000 run by 200. And those 200 all know each other. If “juice” ran Las Vegas in the 60s, “relationships” run the city today. Unfortunately, in certain instances, that results in some pretty ugly hiring choices. Executives love to hire their friends. Why? Because they know, like and trust them. Hiring by referral is an excellent strategy, and it works out 85% of the time. Let’s talk about the other 15%. Over the last 14 years I have seen some pretty awful hiring decisions. Usually I just shake my head and think, “Do you have any idea why that guy was fired from the last job?” Look, I work for the God of second chances, but gaming is a highly regulated space, and Las Vegas is a town with no clocks or rules. It’s pretty easy to hurt yourself. If you have a propensity for vices, casinos and Las Vegas are not going to be a good career choice for you. If you are going to hire your friends, you better make damn sure they are highly competent AND you know why they were terminated from their last job. As a candidate, keep in mind that 85% of the senior level jobs go to REFERRALS. If you are looking for a new career opportunity, reach out to your professional network. If you are a CFO, email your CFO friends to see if they know of any good career opportunities.

#CareerFail: Don’t be Shallow Hal aka Why You MUST Follow the Hiring Process

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last 14 years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average base salary is $250,000, and last year I placed several executives north of a million dollars.

Disclaimer: Only represent executives I know personally or by referral. No online job postings, no candidate databases, no unsolicited resumes.

Probably best known for my monthly casino newsletter that goes out to 5,000 executives. Who got hired, who got fired and all the latest gaming/casino news. If you want to keep up in real time, follow me @GodfatherWaym on Twitter. End of promo!

This week I had to deal with a candidate we will call Shallow Hal.  He managed to break most of the interview rules, so I thought it would be a good test case for reviewing the interviewing/hiring process and how to follow protocol.  Here we go!

Take Personal Responsibility for Your Choices – Over the last 15 years I have review 100,000+ resumes.  Do you know how many of those candidates told me they were fired?  ZERO.  Not one.  It’s the company’s fault, the boss’s fault, the spouse’s fault, the parents fault…their dog’s veterinarian’s fault.  No one ever tells the truth.  Shallow Hal got himself fired.  Why?  Because he could not get along with people.  The #1 job killer in the nation.  Shallow Hal gave me the patented, “I resigned” pitch.  And he probably did, but it was in lieu of termination.  Not judging, but be honest with yourself and why you were terminated.  You are the product of your choices, good and bad.  If you made a bad choice, learn from it and move forward.  “A” executives take personal responsibility for your actions.

A Career Crisis on Your Part is Not an Emergency for the Recruiter or Hiring Company – Hiring the right people is essential to success, however it is NOT the only priority of the hiring company, the hiring Manager or Human Resources.  It is one of MANY priorities.  At the $250,000 level the hiring process can be four to eight weeks.  And unfortunately for many of the “B” companies its more like 12 to 16 weeks.  Shallow Hal expected everyone to drop what they were doing because he was terminated and needed a job.  NOT going to happen.  The hiring company has their timing, and I have 20+ executive searches going.  If you want to interview, you work with the hiring company’s timing.

This is NOT the TV Show “24”: Things Don’t Happen in Real Time – Shallow Hal was on me from day one.  Emails.  Phone calls.  Pressing on me to make things go faster.  Asking if he should circumvent HR and call the hiring manager directly.  Let me tell you how that comes off – smells like desperation.  Feels very needy.  That is not the behavior of an “A” executive, and probably one of the reasons Hal was terminated – too much ego.  Again, emailing and calling every day does not help your case, it only paints you as someone that is desperate and won’t color within the lines.  Executive Recruiters and companies will drop you like a hot rock.  I’ll never forget having a General Counsel interview, and he circumvented HR to tell the CEO of the hiring company to move faster.  The CEO sent me this message, “Withdraw him.  We don’t hire people that can’t follow directions.”  Ouch!

If I Would Have Interviewed They Would have Hired Me – So I submitted Hal for a senior level executive role, followed up and followed up, and eventually the response was that the company knew Hal and did not have interest.  Relationships trump talent.  It does not matter how brilliant and talented you are if you can’t get along with people.  And in this case the hiring company had previously interfaced with Hal and did not like what they saw.  When I told Hal they did not have interest, he started with the next behavior of a “B” players, “If you would have secured me the interview, they would have hired me.”  Let me be crystal clear: I don’t get paid unless I get Hal the job.  Do you know what I get for all the time and effort I invested on Hal?  Nothing.  Zero.  Nada.  Not a penny.  I did my job, yet I’m not going to get paid because Hal managed to alienate the hiring company at some point in the past.  Pretty much the same thing he was terminated for at his last job.  Is it me, or am I sensing a pattern.

Sour Grapes: It’s Their Loss – Another one of my hot buttons, candidates that are not gracious in defeat.  Anyone can win.  The true character of a person is how they handle defeat.  There are a hundred reasons you did NOT get the job.  And mostly none of them are about YOU.  The company may have gone with an internal candidate. Or maybe there were five candidates and someone else was a better fit.  Or maybe the company decided to reorganize and not hire for the role.  Remember, everything happens for a reason.  At the Director level and up, 50% of the “right candidate” is chemistry and culture.  DO THEY LIKE YOU.  It’s not about technical fit.  It’s whether you are a strong fit for the company culture, and whether the hiring manager liked you during the interview.  The correct response if you DON’T get the job is, “I truly appreciated the opportunity to interview.  Best wishes.”  Being bitter and acting like a horse’s ass has no upside.

#CareerFail: You Can’t Call People Once Every 10 Years aka Why Executive Recruiters Don’t Return Your Calls

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last 14 years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average is $250,000, and last year I placed several executives north of a million dollars.

Disclaimer: Only represent executives I know personally or by referral. No online job postings, no candidate databases, no unsolicited resumes.

Probably best known for my monthly casino newsletter that goes out to 5,000 executives. Who got hired, who got fired and all the latest gaming/casino news. If you want to keep up in real time, follow me @GodfatherWaym on Twitter. End of promo!

This week I received half a dozen unsolicited resumes. Translation: Executives that sent me resumes I did not request, and that were not applicable to any of the job searches I’m working on. It’s the equivalent of a cold call. Several of the executives had not contacted me in the last five years. One guy had not contacted me in the last 15 years!

So I thought it might be good to explain how Executive Recruiting works, and how we (Executive Recruiters) view this type of behavior (people that only call to ask for favors once every five or ten years). It will help you understand why most Recruiters don’t return phone calls. For the record, I respond to every single text, phone call and email (500+ per day) even if my response is, “No thank you.” Why? Because my Dad taught me that was the right way to treat people.

Executive Recruiters get People for Jobs…NOT Jobs for People – If you remember nothing else from this article, remember THIS! Recruiters get paid to fill jobs, not figure out your personal career crisis. Expecting them to drop what they are doing to help you is not a reasonable request. Personally, I have done that for a few friends over the years, however 99% of the Recruiters will not.  If they don’t fill the jobs, they don’t get paid.

I Need Horses, Not Jockeys – My race horse trainer used to say, “I have jockeys, what I really need are race horses. They pay the bills.” Executive Recruiters are focused on clients, not candidates.  There are an infinite number of candidates; a finite set of hiring companies. Candidates approach me like it’s an honor and privilege to represent them. Mostly…it is not. Every time I get a $400,000 job, I am overwhelmed with candidates.  Recruiters focus on clients, not candidates.

Stop Cold Calling Executive Recruiters – When an Executive Recruiter gets a $200,000 job, do you really think he is going to submit someone he does not know and has never met? Let me help you: Oh hell no!  Clients expect us to personally vouch for the candidates. Every time we send a resume, our reputation is on the line.  No way we are sticking our neck out for people we don’t know.  Any Recruiter that takes your cold call, is not someone you want representing you.  Talk to your peers and get a referral.  Better yet, have them call the Recruiter on your behalf and get you a warm introduction.

Stop Applying to Online Job Postings – Do you know how 95% of the best jobs (emphasis on BEST) get filled? 85% by referral (peers, networking), 10% by Executive Recruiters and the remaining 5% from a variety of other sources. If you make $100,000+, your chance of getting a job by applying online is one in a hundred. And I have a saying about “A” executives, “Any executive that applies online, is not someone you want to hire. Any company that posts jobs online is not a company you want to work for.”

Relationships Trump Talent – At the end of the day, it’s all about RELATIONSHIPS. Let’s say I have a $300,000 CFO role. Total compensation (W2) of $1,000,000. There are five candidates. Two I have known for 15 years. They are former clients, have supported my business for 15 years, and bought tables to my charity events. The other three reached out to me last week. Have not heard from them in years. One of them actually opted out of my monthly newsletter, but here he is 10 years later with his hand out for a $300,000 job. You tell me, who should I submit for the CFO job?  If nothing else, I’m the most loyal person you will ever meet, and all things being equal, I’m sticking with executives I know and trust.

Build the Bridge Before You Need to Cross the River – I used to get annoyed by two things. First, ungrateful executives that think it’s an honor and privilege to represent them. Placed a $250,000 CIO and she did not even bother to say “thank you.” What I have come to understand over the years is that I’m an Executive Recruiter, and I get paid to place people. That stated, a lack of gratitude goes to character. Won’t represent her again. And by the way, she has changed jobs every couple of years since. Second, people that only reach out when they want something are “takers.” I get it, I’m a Headhunter. They only call when they are unemployed. But again, don’t you think that goes to character? Executive Recruiters live on relationships, not transactions. Build that bridge BEFORE you need to cross the river.

Career Tips for When the Sky is Falling

Ain’t it grand! Record low unemployment, tax rates go down this year, real estate prices are up, people are throwing silly money at Silicon Valley phone apps, and stock market at an all-time high. This is awesome!

Reminds me of 2004 when I started my Executive Placement business. And I’ll never forget Kevin Rosenberg (CEO of a boutique Executive Recruiting firm) cautioning me back then, “Everything is great TODAY. But the pendulum always swings. And when it does, all those people that did not return your call will be texting you and and sending you resumes.” In August 2008 Kevin became a Prophet.

I’m not Chicken Little, and I’m not here to tell you the sky is falling. But what goes up always comes down. So here are a few career tips to follow while times are good, so that when this Shangri-La comes to an abrupt end, you will be positioned for success.

Ego is the Enemy – Yep, you are such a rock star…today. But tomorrow is promised to no one. Lose the Ultimate Hubris cologne. I can rattle of a dozen stories of senior level executives that thought they were a big deal…until the day they weren’t. And when you lose that big job, no one will return your calls. They say you are lucky to have five good friends in life, but one CEO told me, “When I lost my CEO job, not a single person returned my call.” Humble and genuine is attractive.

Stay Connected! – Relationships trump talent. How else do you explain all the mediocre executives that get job after job while highly talented people sit on the bench? I’m not telling you to attend the Chamber mixer, however it’s important to stay connected with your peers. They are the ones getting phone calls for the BIG jobs, and they may give you a referral that changes your life. You also want to be friendly with one or two top Executive Recruiters in your industry.  When I get a million dollar job, who do I put in the game?  Executives I know personally and that are on my radar.

An Attitude of Gratitude – Would it surprise you to learn that half the executives placed by a Recruiter don’t bother to say thank you? I kid you not. And I’m talking $500,000 executives. Yes, we get paid to place executives, however a little gratitude goes a long way.

Be a Giver, Not a Taker – Let’s face it, most people only call you when they want something.  Especially in my line of work.  If you are a GIVER, people will remember you.  Whether that’s doing someone a favor, helping out a friend, giving a referral for a job or donating to charity.  To whom much is given…much is required.

Follow the Golden Rule – The House of Blues motto is, “Help ever; hurt never.” Be kind, courteous and professional to EVERYONE. My Dad used to say, “Treat everyone the same, from the CEO to the Janitor. The same people you pass on the way up are the same people you will pass on the way down.” Everyone is on a challenging journey, so be kind.

Five Career Strategies that will Land You a GREAT Job in 2018

Be a Giver, Not a Taker – My favorite question of all time is, “How can I help you?” I started asking this question 20 years ago, right around the time LinkedIn got started and I was a Beta user. Most people only call to ask for favors, so GIVERS come across as incredibly unique. A few of the ways I personally give back include “pro bono” executive and Board searches for charity organizations, “pro bono” assistance for recent college graduates and connecting people that can help each other. Takers may prosper in the short run; however Givers win in the long run.

Value Relationships over Transactions – Most people these days are focused on transactions: What can you do for me? Of the 5,000 executive in my rolodex, maybe 200 are true friends. The rest are acquaintances. And that is OK. If you have 5 true friends in the course of your lifetime, you are exceedingly blessed. But consider this. When I have a $500,000 job, there are typically a dozen candidates. The three I know personally. They and have supported both my business and charity projects over the last 20 years. Then there is the thundering herd of acquaintances that I never hear from until there is a $500,000 job available. You tell me, who would you submit for the job? Relationships trump transactions.

Focus on the Long-Term, Not the Short-Term – America has become a culture of instant gratification. I want it all; I want it now. Gimme, gimme, gimme. In a word: Entitlement. In the career game, focus on your long-term strategy. Where do you want to be in five years? In ten years? Those that try to skip the hard work and get 50% pay raises typically end up in the unemployment line. Stay focused on your the long-term goals.

Stop Cold Calling Companies and Spamming Your Resume – If 85% of jobs come through your professional network, and 10% through Executive Recruiters, where does that leave applying to online job postings? You are better off buying a lottery ticket. And here is another fact: Companies that post online for $100,000+ jobs are NOT companies you want to work for. Why do you think they are posting online? First, they are cheap. Second, nobody wants to work there. Ask your peers for job referrals and make friends with one or two industry Executive Recruiters.

Never, Ever Quit – Best advice my Dad ever gave me. When I started my Executive Recruiting business 14 years ago, do you know how many companies and HR executives told me “no”? If I had $20 for every NO I would be living on an island in the Bahamas. And consider this, when you own the company, if you don’t sell you don’t eat. It was hard, hard work! Work hard, build a reputation of integrity and honesty….and never, ever quit!

The Fricking Executive Recruiter Won’t Return My Calls!

Personally, I respond to every single candidate, even if the answer is a polite, “no thank you.” Why? Because my Dad taught me to treat everyone with courtesy and respect. Most Recruiters are not so kind. They gang tackle you when you are a “C” level executive that can buy from them, and don’t return your calls when you need a job.  By the way, the WRONG time to meet an Executive Recruiter is when you are unemployed. So here are The Godfather’s four top reasons Recruiters are not returning your calls.

Executive Recruiters Get People for Jobs, Not Jobs for People – This is the #1 reason your calls are not returned.  They are trying to fill searches and don’t have time to figure out your situation. If they don’t fill the searches…they don’t eat.  Hit him/her at the right time (2% chance), they can help. Otherwise, they are focused on filling their searches.

Recruiters Don’t Accept Unsolicited Resumes – Runs a strong #2. Cold calling does not work. Get a referral from one of your peers. Better yet, a warm introduction over email.

Relationships Trump Transactions – I only represent executives I know personally or that were referred to me. Why? I don’t have time “vet” executives I don’t know and have never met. Plus, do I want to help executives I have known 20 years or do I want to submit strangers?  Hmmm…I’m going with my friends.

I Need Horses, not Jockeys – That’s what my race horse Trainer used to say. In Recruiting, we need clients (hiring companies), not candidates. Limited client set; unlimited candidate set.  Personally, I treat both clients and candidates with professionalism, but at the end of the day, the clients pay the bills.