My name is Mark Wayman, and I’m an Executive Recruiter focused on gaming and high tech. Or as some people call me: a Headhunter. Don’t care what you call me, as long as you call me for dinner.
Over the last thirteen years I have reviewed 13,000 resumes, represented 1,500 candidates and placed 800 executives. Compensation starts at $100,000, average placement is $200,000+, and last year I placed several executives north of $1,000,000. So I work at the high end, however these tips are good to review for executives at all levels.
Today’s topic is 10 career deal killers. Many will say, “Mark, this is just common sense.” And you would be correct, except that I see good people do silly things…every…single…day. So here is your refresher course and $50,000 of career advice. Pro bono.
Only Bring Me People of Integrity: Honesty is ALWAYS the Best Policy – One of my favorite quotes was from a CEO client many years ago, “Mark, only bring me people of integrity. If they lack integrity, I don’t care how brilliant or talented they are.” It is amazing how many executives are not honest or forthcoming. They spin the truth, “reimagine the truth” and outright lie. They lie about their college degree, their title, their tenure and most commonly, their compensation. And these are not dishwashers and housekeepers; these are $500,000 executives. As my Dad always said, “Honesty is the best policy. That way you never have to remember what you told anybody.”
Ego is the Enemy: Companies Don’t Hire Narcissistic Megalomaniacs – There is actually a book called “Ego is the Enemy” that should be required reading for all executives. Lord, send me $20 for every candidate making $200,000 that told me their market value was $400,000. Listen, even if I love you like my own Brother, no Human Resources executive will let me double your salary. Then there are the $200,000 candidates that have a market value of $150,000…but think they are worth $400,000. Not going to happen.. OK, one quick story. This guy was $400K at a big company, and after 20 years of tenure he was laid off. Referred to me by a friend, so I put him in for a BIG job. This guy just refused to listen. He knows more than everybody. Told him, “Let’s just say you are way smarter than me, but please keep in mind this is what I do for a living. Really need you to listen to me.” Nope! He sends the hiring company a message that reads, “I know that I’m far more qualified than the other candidates. Look forward to working with you.” He did not get the job. Humble and genuine is attractive.
Don’t Take Personal Responsibility for Your Actions – The American epidemic: Not my fault. You know how many of the 1,500 candidates I represented told me they were terminated? None. ZERO. It’s the company’s fault, my boss’s fault, my spouse’s fault, my poor upbringing…my dog’s veterinarian’s fault. Stop blaming everyone and take responsibility for your mistakes…and learn from them.
Build the Bridge BEFORE You Need to Cross the River – Every day of my life I get 50 to 100 cold calls. My business model is to only represent executives I know personally, and in some instances referrals from…executives I know personally. Are you seeing a pattern? I don’t have time to vet and validate people I don’t know. My advice to you: STAY CONNECTED. To your professional peers, and one or two good Executive Recruiters. I’m not telling to go to Chamber mixers and “network,” but I am telling you to build a strong professional network, so that when you need a lifeline, it’s there. Dig the well before you need a drink.
Demonizing Success: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others – The last few years America has done a pretty good job of demonizing success. You know what? Most millionaires did not inherit their money or hit the lottery. They are all self-made. Translation: HARD WORK. So why shouldn’t they be rewarded for the long, hard hours. Isn’t that the American dream? Stop comparing yourself to Joe that makes $10,000 more than you. Once placed a candidate at $225,000. Two weeks later he said, “Larry is getting $250,000. This is so unfair.” I responded, “Let me sure I understand this. You were unemployed for two years with zero prospects of a job. I got you $225,000, and you are worried that Larry makes more than you?” Quit worrying about everyone else. Worry about YOU.
Lack of Focus… and Distractions: Facebook, TV and Email – Inactivity, like trolling Facebook or sitting on the couch watching the Kardashians is easy. Hard work is…HARD. Most people opt for the former. Successful executives limit their “inactivity”. They don’t post on Facebook during work hours and they don’t watch five hours of TV each day (the national average). Amazing how productive you can be when you limit the distractions. Stay focused!
Bad Politics – Do you know why I won’t discuss politics? Because if I like Trump, 50% of the people with hate me, and if I like Clinton the other 50% will hate me. Politics is bad for my business, and it’s bad for your career. During the election we saw friendships crumble, family squabbles and ever divorces over the politics. Let it GO…and leave the politics at home. Which leads to…
An Obsessive Need to be ME – I can talk politics if I want to! This is a free country! Yep, but you might just submarine your career. Nobody wants to hear it at work. And those pictures of you getting liquored up at a Strip Club? Executive Recruiters and hiring companies are VERY good at vetting and validating. You are playing with fire.
You Don’t Play Well with Others – When I see a resume with four jobs in four years, it screams, “I don’t get along with people.” The candidate say, “Well I can explain all that.” No you can’t. You can explain one speed bump. Maybe two. After that, no want wants to hear it. Job hopping is job hopping.
Judging: That is God’s Job – We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. They do not. You know that every person in the world is unique, correct? They look different. The behave different. It’s not your job to be GM of the Universe and fix everyone. Correcting everyone will just alienate them. You might be right, but it will sure be bad for your career. Judging is God’s job. As Mother Teresa said, “It’s between them and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”