Archives for April, 2020

Too Much Time on My Hands: Being Productive During the Zombie Apocalypse

I don’t have an opinion on the zombie apocalypse. Not qualified to comment on whether this is Revelations and the end of the world, or just a total overreaction by media that want to keep the sheep glued to their TV screens. Nevada is completely locked down for 30 days…but NYC is not. And tens of thousands of college students are partying in Texas and Florida for Spring Break. Huh? Regardless of your opinion, here are a few ways for overachievers (me included!) to keep our minds occupied in a positive manner.

Take a Vacation – No better time than the present. All your worry, stress and anxiety is not going to change anything. Las Vegas is locked down, so take a week or two off and decompress. Soon enough we will be back in the game.
Spend Time with Your Family – You remember them. The folks you used to know before you started working 70 hour weeks. Your kids. Your parents. Your siblings. Great time to reconnect.
Get Healthy! – The gyms will eventually reopen. In the meantime, there are endless trails and parks. Or go biking. Or lift weights at home. No excuses!
Pick Up a Musical Instrument – Played guitar as a teen, and recently picked it back up along with a lifelong goal: Piano.
Learn a Foreign Language – My personal favorites are Spanish and Mandarin, but I might take a shot at German. It’s fun to overhear conversations when people don’t think you understand their language…but you do.
Read a Book – Whether it’s continuous education, self-improvement or the latest novel, reading quiets the mind. Personally, I like biographies and historical education. Here are 3 must reads: Half Time (Bob Buford), Your Best Life Now (Joel Osteen) and Ego is the Enemy (Ryan Hanson).
Binge Watch – Not a huge fan of TV, however with streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and AppleTV, there is no shortage of choices. And there are plenty of great series to binge watch. From Stranger Things to Big Little Lies to Handmaids Tale…to an infinite number of documentaries.
Be of Service to Others – It takes a pandemic for some folks to understand what the rest of us knew all along: Whatever you did for the least of My Brothers you did for Me. “But Godfather, you don’t understand – I don’t have money and can’t donate to charity.” Forget the money part! Volunteer your time – those are the real heroes. Help a neighbor. Let someone go in front of you in traffic or at the supermarket. Be kind.

The Godfather’s Career Strategy for the Zombie Apocalypse

Was getting an avalanche of requests for career advice, so I put this together for my active candidate list, roughly 100 executives. Hope it helps!

This is NOT the End of the World – First and foremost: You WILL get another job. I was fired once. L.A. Gear fired me in the 80s for being a whistle blower. I carpooled that day, so I sat on the curb with a cardboard box of my belongings thinking, “OMG, I’ll never find a job.” But I did. And so will you. For now, if you are gainfully employed, keep your head down and make the best of it. If you are on the street, keep working your network. THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

Hiring Update – Of my 22 executive searches, 20 were placed on HOLD or CANCELLED. Nearly 100% of companies have instituted a HIRING FREEZE. We don’t know how or when this ends. So in the meantime, I have assembled a few recommendations for you, based on my 15 years as an Executive Recruiter that lived through 9/11, the bank crash of 2008, October 1…and now this. You don’t have to agree with me. That’s what I love about America, we can agree to disagree and still be friends.

Depression 3.0 – We have seen this movie before. In August 2008 I had about 30 active executive searches. A week later I had zero. So from my side of the table I know how to navigate this. My clients are grumpy, and for good reason. I’m not going to pressure them for work. For me, that is poor form. I was on the other side of the desk for 20 years and feel their pain. When we come out the other side, and we will, hiring will pick up. Best guess? There is absolutely no way to know. We don’t know how bad or long this takes until we emerge on the other side. I do not have any confidence that we will reopen on April 16 in Las Vegas. Someone far smarter to me said Memorial Day May 25. I pray that he is right.

What Companies are Looking For – When we get to the other side, companies will be looking for the same things they have for the last 20 years, so maybe now is the right time to rethink your career strategy. First, education. Although I have an MBA from Texas A&M, I’m not here to debate the value of an education. If the clients wants a four year college degree, I can only submit candidates with a four year degree. Period. Never too late to go back to school. Second, stable work history. Again, this is not a Mark Wayman decision. If the hiring company requires three to five years in your current role, I can only submit candidates that meet the requirement. If you have moved around, find a home…and stay there!

Stay Connected – Even in these hard times, there are many people that don’t get back to me. I totally don’t get it. Then years later they send me a resume and want me to drop everything to help. Stay connected! Double check your LinkedIn profile and make your PERSONAL email is on there. Update your LinkedIn profile. Review your LinkedIn connections. You might trip over someone that can help you.

Be a Giver – At the end of the day, no one likes a taker. You know those people. You see their name come up your cell phone and you just know they are calling for a favor. Don’t be that person! When someone asks how I became so successful my answer is always the same, “They call me Godfather because I helped a thousand people get jobs and probably did another 10,000 favors knowing full well those people would never be able to pay me back.” Kindness costs zero.

85% of Career Opportunities Come from Your Network – Most of your career opportunities will come from people you know. For instance, if you are a CFO, who do think is getting the Executive Recruiter calls for CFO jobs? That is correct – your peers. First thing you want to do if you get RIFd is check with all your peers for opportunities. Work your network! Mostly online job postings are for companies that can’t hire quality executives. And you will be one of 200 people applying for that job today. If you are $60,000, applying online makes great sense. Once you reach $100,000, you have a better shot at winning the lottery. Every day of my life I get good candidates that have applied to a spreadsheet of companies and five Recruiters. It handcuffs me and I can’t add value for them.

10% of Career Opportunities Come from Executive Recruiters – Most of the BIG jobs go to Executive Recruiters. Why? Because top performing companies don’t want to spend hours and hours shuffling resumes and trying to qualify people. My clients hire me for two reasons. First, I have access to 6,000 executives. No cold calling; no trying to figure it out. Second, I know where all the skeletons are buried. People that were terminated for drugs, alcohol and sexual harassment. For most of my candidates, I can quote scripture and verse, tell you their strengths and weaknesses, and whether they are a fit for the company culture. THAT…is why companies use Executive Recruiters. Source the best people; eliminate the bad actors.

The Two Rules of Executive Recruiting – First, the wrong time to meet a Recruiter is when you are unemployed. For me, when we hit the hard times like 2008, I had 50 personal friends out of work. They all get a line pass. Why? Because I’m the most loyal person you ever met. Because I know them all personally and can vouch for them. Because they have supported my business and charity work for 25 years. I don’t apologize for that. Second rule: Recruiters get people for jobs, not jobs for people. If we don’t place executives…we don’t eat. Personally, I would love to help every single person that approaches me. That would be millions of dollars! But I’m realistic, and I would rather be stellar on a handful of searches than mediocre on a high number of searches.

Relationships Trump Transactions – During hard times, or when you lose your job, you get to find out who your five real friends are. I can’t count the number of people I got a job and never heard from again…until they were unemployed. Not a thank you; not a cup of coffee. That is a transaction. And yes, I’m Executive Recruiter and got paid to place all those people so I’m not complaining. But I will tell you this after 15 years and 1,000 placements: Relationships trump transactions; relationships trump talent.

Establish a Rainy Day Fund – There is a story that goes, “The monkeys all got together during a rainstorm and decided they absolutely MUST build a roof once the sun came out. Getting poured on every time is rains was dreadful. But when the sun came out, the monkeys all went back to playing and forgot about the roof.” Fact: 40% of Americans can’t afford an out of the ordinary $400 expense. When I got clobbered after 9/11 I set aside three months’ pay. Then when the banks failed in 2008 I set aside 12 months’ pay. Unfortunately, America has become a nation of consumerism. Our media says you must have all this “stuff” to be happy. Don’t buy the hype! If you are healthy, have family and friends, you are already rich. And if you did not put away money for a rainy day, once we get through this…do it.

Not My Fault! Stop Deflecting, and Start OWNING It

My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last 15 years I have owned an Executive Recruiting company focused on gaming/casinos and high tech. Probably most famous for my client newsletter that goes out to 6,500 executives. Who got hired, who got fired, and all the latest industry news.

Disclaimer #1: Only Represent Candidates I Know Personally or by Referral, and Only Connect to People I Know Personally – No disrespect intended. My clients expect me to personally vouch for each and every candidate, and I can’t do that with people I don’t know and have never met.

Disclaimer #2: I’m Not Here to Judge People: That’s God’s Job – My examples are intentionally vague, because I’m not here to embarrass anyone, just highlight the behavior.

Disclaimer #3: Why I Love America – We can agree to disagree and still be friends! I welcome all opinions and viewpoints provided they are professional and respectful. Trolls will be deleted and blocked.

Several recent incidents reminded me of an epidemic that has been sweeping the country for years: Not My Fault Flu. As my Dad drilled into me, “Son, when you are wrong, say you are wrong. Make it right, take it as a learning experience, and don’t do it again.” Using a few real-life examples, let’s review the right (and wrong!) way to acknowledge a mistake or misstep.

Want to Hear a HUGE Candidate Mistake? – Do you know how many candidates told me they were fired? None. As an Executive Recruiter, it’s really annoying. Be forthcoming about why you left your last employer. Don’t blame it on the company, your Boss, your parents, your spouse, your kids, your dog’s Veterinarian. Take personal responsibility for your actions. Honesty is the best policy. THE CORRECT ANSWER: “MGM2020”, “I got sideways with the wrong guy”, “I was terminated for cause. Here is my explanation.”

Your Boss Calls You Out at Work – You are in a meeting with the management team when one of the top people gives you constructive feedback on your department. Gulp! You have two choices. You can deflect (not my fault!) or you can “own” it. Owning it means accepting full responsibility for the situation and a commitment to make it right. Everyone in that meeting already knows your department has issues, so when you deflect or choose “not my fault”…you become part of the problem. And eventually you will be gone. THE CORRECT ANSWER: “You make a good point, and I would like to get together after the meeting to hear your concerns and address them with my team. We will make this right.”

The Sales Weasel – You work on a big sales deal with a colleague. When it looks like the deal is in the bag, you cut your partner out of the deal and take 100% of the commissions. Yeah buddy! Except everyone knows that partner was instrumental in securing the deal, no matter how much you deflect. So you go from hero to zero, and like Bill Clinton and the blue dress, your legacy will be that you poach deals and screw people. THE CORRECT ANSWER: “Let’s get together and work through this. You definitely added value to the deal, and I want to be fair with the commissions. Relationships are far more important than any one sales deal.”

CEOs Don’t Get to Deflect – Had a client that was incredibly high maintenance. My friends, not all business is good business, however I considered the CEO a personal friend and did my best to help him out. When I heard they were moving to another Recruiter, I was not real disappointed. The CEO called to let me know, but tried to deflect and blame it on one is direct reports. My response was, “You don’t get to do that. You are the CEO – the buck stops here. There is a Recruiter on every corner, and I’m not offended that you want to make the switch, but don’t blame it on someone else. At the end of the day, YOU make those decisions.” THE CORRECT ANSWER: “My VP has a Recruiter friend that lives across the street, and she wants to try him out. Let’s see how that goes, and we may come back to you in the future.”

The Charity Circuit – My wife and I are Philanthropists. We support a dozen national and local charities, and I donate a portion of each executive placement to making the world a little bit better place. One time I asked a charity why we were not invited to a particular event. Rather than own it, the Director deflected, giving me a handful of excuses. I never did get to the bottom of that, however there are 3,500 registered charities in Nevada, so we simply moved on to someone that valued our participation. THE CORRECT ANSWER: “We greatly value both your financial contributions and the way you promote our cause in your newsletter. I apologize for the oversight. We will always have room for you as one of our top Donors.”

The Artful Dodger – In addition the Executive Recruiting company, I own an entertainment company that books bands and shows. One of the groups met a client at my quarterly client mixer and booked a gig directly. Next time around the company told me they would be more comfortable booking the band through me. Long story short, the band did an end around and booked directly again. They got $9,000. I was going to get them $12,500. To this day they continue to deflect and have never taken responsibility. THE CORRECT ANSWER: “We met the client through you Godfather. We value our relationship with you and would never risk it to save $1,000 on a commission.”

The Godfather OWNS It – This last example is how I personally own my mistakes. One of my Artists overpaid me on a commission last year. We decided to true up on the next show – he would just keep my commission to make us even. Booked him recently, but I forgot about the commission situation. When he graciously reminded me, I quickly replied, “So sorry, 100% my fault. Keep the commission, and I’ll do a better job of tracking this in the future.” We all make mistakes. It’s how we handle those missteps that defines our character and how people perceive us. Take personal responsibility for your actions and decisions, own it, apologize, and then communicate that it won’t happen again in the future.