28 March 2013
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement unveiling the “We Are Made in New York” initiative brought exciting news to New York’s tech and digital media community. Bloomberg, a tech founder himself, has recognized that the city’s booming tech industry provides New York with many new opportunities for growth. As he noted at the conference, “Growing our local tech industry is an important part of our economic development strategy to bring new businesses to our city and more jobs opportunities to New Yorkers.” To encourage the growth of this burgeoning industry, Bloomberg has developed the “We Are Made in New York” initiative, aimed at establishing New York City as the country’s hub of innovation by offering resources to job seekers and incentives to NY entrepreneurs and start-ups that qualify. Companies that qualify for the “Made in NY” mark of distinction include tech businesses that base 75% or more of their development in New York City, have at least one employee, and boast 10,000 users or monthly visitors. This distinction qualifies them for a number of resources, benefits, and programs geared toward company growth. For example, on twitter, Made in NY companies will be allowed to use the hashtag, #MadeInNY, to advertise employment opportunities and other important announcements regarding their companies; thus giving them a new networking platform to expand their audience. The initiative is also comprised of a comprehensive website and digital and print advertising campaigns that feature 900+ companies that are already established as #MadeInNY. For those seeking a job in the tech industry, the list of Made in NY companies is also a valuable resource. The initiative features a Jobs Map that allows jobseekers to view all “Made in NY” companies and filter through all companies hiring. It has quickly become clear that the Mayor’s program will create a new flood of opportunities within the City’s tech and digital industry. “A tech boom in NYC could be just the boost jobseekers need,” comments Bradley Sona, Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology department. “Successful, fast-growing technology start-ups don’t just need IT professionals—they also need assistants, administrators, consultants, marketing departments, HR staff… the list goes on.” Employers can apply for the Made in NY logo on the initiative’s website. The site also offers resources for job seekers, students, and other professionals in the field.
27 March 2013
The Execu|Search Group is pleased to announce that Barbara Giallombardo, the Managing Director of our Physician Recruiting division, has been appointed to the National Association of Physician Recruiters’ Board of Directors. Barbara has held a leadership position at NAPR since 2011, when she was elected to their Services Committee. On the Services Committee, Barbara has worked to improve the association’s sourcing programs, primarily focusing on attracting physicians to the organization. Established in 1984, the National Association of Physician Recruiters “is dedicated to the enhancement of all physician recruiting activities through a spirit of openness and cooperation in the exchange of ideas and the pooling of resources.” Each year, it helps Physician Recruiters place physicians globally with healthcare organizations. For more information about the National Association of Physician Recruiters, visit their website at www.napr.org.
25 March 2013
Earlier this month, Yahoo and Best Buy both announced the end of their work-from-home programs. Both highly controversial decisions, which have been hotly debated in the news, have faced more criticism than praise. Despite public outrage, the two giants are standing by their decision. For example, Yahoo believes the ban is, “what is right for Yahoo! right now,” and is needed to fix a deteriorating work ethic amongst Yahoo employees, while Best Buy explains they need “all hands-on deck” to transform their struggling business into a healthy competitor of online stores such as Amazon. Though Best Buy and Yahoo are two drastically different companies, the question of employee productivity seems to be at the forefront of their CEOs’ minds, and the leading factor in their coinciding decisions to revoke company work-from-home privileges. Though their concerns are reasonably justified, many companies continue to have a flexible work-from-home policy in order to accommodate their employees’ needs and there are many employees that attribute their success and productivity to this flexibility. If you ever find yourself working remotely from home, here are some steps you can take to ensure you are working effectively and efficiently: Set up an office: That’s right, an office; not a designated “desk” on your kitchen table or family room ottoman in front of the TV. If you work from home, it’s important to separate your home and family life from your work responsibilities. As a result, if you have a guest or extra room, or even a quiet alcove in your place of residence, furnish it with a desk, computer, printer, and other professional business materials. If you have children or a roommate, you should tell them that when you’re working in your office, they should treat you just as if they would if you were working at your company’s office; with limited interruptions and for emergencies. Keep your home office clean: Messes can be distracting and having mountains of papers piling up on your desk can be overwhelming. If you feel overwhelmed and distracted, the quality of your work may be compromised and you may find yourself becoming gradually less productive. To keep yourself organized, use labeled folders, post its, desk organizers, and a waste bin to discard old documents and unneeded papers. Schedule your work hours: One perk of working from home is you have the ability to work outside of the standard 9-5 schedule. If you feel you’re more focused in the morning, start working at 7, and end earlier in the evening/afternoon. If you have small children, and need to take care of them while they’re home from school, work around the hours they’re out of the house, and at night, when they’re sleeping. Regardless of what hours you choose, when picking your schedule, make sure that your productivity will be at your highest and your distractions will be kept at a minimum. To develop and maintain your routine, make sure you keep your hours consistent. “Leave” work at the end of the day: Though we live in a world where smart phones and email make it difficult to completely “unplug” from work, it is still important to uphold a work/life balance. Working from home, doesn’t mean you should be working from home 24/7. You need time to relax, refresh, and spend time with family and friends. Maintaining a balanced work/life schedule will help you feel more fulfilled, productive, and positive, rather than burnt out and unhappy. After you get used to your work schedule, it will be important to leave the “office” at the end of the day and only respond to work-related emails that are considered urgent or high priority. Dress like you’re going into the office: When you’re on the clock, you should dress professionally. You don’t have to wear a suit and you can dress comfortably and casually, but a professional and put-together outfit will make it much easier than your favorite pajamas or sweatpants for you to remain focused on your responsibilities. Make a ‘to do list’: On the days you work from home, a ‘to do list’ can keep you focused and on track. Put your list of daily responsibilities in a place that is easy for you to see, such as a corkboard or white board above your computer. The more visible your daily objectives are, the less likely you will be to procrastinate. Communicate with your office: To successfully work from home, it is imperative that you communicate clearly and regularly with your supervisor (if you have one), your co-workers, and clients (if you have them). You need to have a complete understanding of your responsibilities, what your company and clients expect from you, and whether or not you’re delivering quality work.
22 March 2013
As the economy recovers, companies are increasing their hiring efforts, and at The Execu|Search Group, we’re experiencing a not-surprising uptick in staffing needs from new and existing clients across the board. However, converse to expectations, one type of employee approaches us with increasing frequency: currently employed executive assistants. “When the economy collapsed, employees who worked on the administrative level were the first ones to be let go. Unfortunately, although we are in a state of recovery, budgets for administrative staff still remain low,” comments Kim Caruso, a Director within our Human Resources and Office Support Divisions. Kim continues, “As a result, one executive assistant might have to do the work of two or three. Therefore, highly talented administrative professionals are coming to me overworked, stressed, and discouraged.” Losing a highly valued executive assistant can be just as detrimental as losing a high-level executive. In reality, skilled executive and administrative assistants are much more than simple “assistants.” They know your work style, they know your family, they understand your expectations and what you may need even before you do, and most importantly, are always willing to step up when the time comes. Think about all the things you don’t have to think twice about because your EA has already prepared them for you. After all, when you really think about it, executive and administrative assistants are the glue that holds the organization together. They ensure all operations run efficiently and all tasks are completed in a timely and professional manner. If one of your best EAs was unhappy and wanted to leave, wouldn’t you want to know, so you could do something about it? Kim explains, “Most of my candidates looking for new jobs feel they don’t have the opportunity to tell their employer they don’t feel appreciated or have too much work. Their employers typically don’t find out their EAs are unhappy until they give their notice.” To find out whether or not your EA is happy, Kim suggests taking some time to evaluate your EA’s workload and initiating regular meetings to touch base. If you get the feeling your assistant has become overwhelmed with work, or they tell you at one of your meetings they’re spread too thin, depending on your needs, it may be time to hire an “Assistant to the Assistant” on a part-time, per-diem, or temporary basis. The Assistant to the Assistant will help mitigate your EA’s stress by easing their workload and allowing them to focus their attention on fewer tasks at one time, or even take some time off. You and your EA can work together to determine when or how often you need to bring an extra pair of hands on board. Kim expects that if you set some time aside to do this on a regular basis, “You will see that your executive assistant will greatly appreciate and recognize your efforts to ensure their happiness, while you, in turn, may see an increase in productivity, quality, and loyalty.”
18 March 2013
Administrative assistants are like the glue that holds a department or staff together. One well-organized and multitalented administrative assistant can surge productivity and diminish expenses across the board. Conversely, an administrative assistant who requires extensive training or has a weak grasp of current technology sets everyone back. In the current hiring climate, employers agree—more administrators do not make for better overall administration. In an effort to minimize expenses, many businesses have cut back on their administrative staff. However, this actually increases the demand for truly skilled administrative assistants, since often one assistant takes on a workload previously shared by two or three employees. Shana Cohen, a Director in The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support/Human Resources division, believes that “There are several rewarding positions available these days for truly well-rounded and polished administrative professionals, however, the job market is very competitive so it’s essential to have top-notch technical skills and a college degree.” Here’s what will set you apart as a candidate: A Formal College Education Historically, administrative assistant positions don’t require a college degree. However, as administrative positions become more competitive and demand a higher level of responsibility, a college degree is an invaluable asset. There are several advantages that come along with having a college degree, including: College graduates tend to have more job opportunities than uneducated professionals because of the skills and knowledge they possess A college education will give you the general problem-solving skills and means of thinking necessary to tackle a bevy of administrative challenges Opportunities for higher pay Without these skills, you will only have your employer to rely on for education, and may take significantly more time to acclimate. To complete your degree, you have the option to either go to school online or attend a traditional college campus. Online learning typically costs less than traditional learning, and it provides a more flexible schedule. Either way, a college degree is almost as vital as a high school diploma. Shana believes that “Nowadays, having a four-year college degree is essential, whereas five-to-ten years ago, a degree was a plus. In this job market, hiring managers are weeding out applicants who lack a formal college education.” Understanding of Digital Technology In today’s business world, administrative assistants are typically the first line of response when a technical problem arises, so possessing certain digital technology skills will definitely set you apart from other candidates. If you are familiar with: Google productivity programs (Google Docs, Gmail, Google calendar) Photoshop or other graphics software Basic web design and HTML Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) Various social media outlets, companies will favor your resume over other administrative professionals who lack this type of skill-set Gone are the days where secretaries complete everyday office work. Driven by technological developments, the administrative profession has transformed, creating unique and substantial opportunities for office workers. Administrative professionals have become vital partners in the world of business and are more empowered than ever to drive business growth!
18 March 2013
At Execu|Search, we appreciate the value of an exit interview. While occasionally awkward, these interviews provide unclouded information about your company and can be a valuable resource for organization improvement. “When helping our clients find great placements, it’s extremely helpful for us to know why the person who previously filled the role left, or didn’t work out. This way, we can help you improve employee retention by understanding the challenges of the role and finding the right person,” explains Jennifer Nyman, a Director at The Execu|Search Group. For those companies that don’t already conduct exit interviews, consider the following benefits you can expect to gain from implementing an exit interview process. Honesty. A departing employee has less to lose than a currently employed one, and perhaps will be more candid with his or her interviewer about the company’s weaknesses. This way, you can determine possible threats to talent retention and eliminate them. Number crunching. While it’s not possible to address every little issue an employee brings up in an exit interview, the results provide fantastic data for tracking trends. This way, you can see who is leaving and why, and adjust your company policies accordingly to increase employee retention. For example, if female employees are leaving because they are new mothers and need more flexible hours, this is an issue you can address through policy change. Information transfer. Often, a departing employee has vital information and contacts that make his or her job easier and more successful. More often than not, these employees are willing to share that information when asked, perhaps by providing a contact list or by training new staff. There’s more than one way to interview. If you feel like your business can’t afford to perform exit interviews, consider your options. While face-to-face interviews trump all, online and written exit interviews are also effective in eliciting a response. Relationship building. No one wants to leave a job on a sour note, especially if they might need a recommendation somewhere down the road. An exit interview provides the opportunity to tie up loose ends and part on a congenial note. Exit interviews are crucial to the efficacy of any business. While it’s equally as important to ask your current employees how to make their work experience better, departing employees provide a unique perspective that shouldn’t be overlooked. Jennifer even suggests asking current employees, ‘If you were going to leave, why?’ “A company that makes itself vulnerable to criticism for the sake of its employees comes off as humble, reflective, and sensitive to employee needs—all of which fosters honesty and a healthy company culture.”
15 March 2013
Interviews can be nerve racking for anyone, whether you are an experienced professional, or not. You have to be able to explain why your skills, experiences, and credentials make you qualified for the position at hand, while showing how your personality jives with the company’s culture. It’s a lot of pressure, and nerves can get in the way of answering a question clearly and coherently. No matter how prepared you may be, there is the possibility that you’ll be asked a question that catches you off guard, leaving you fumbling for the right answer. Trust us, if that happens, you will not be the only person in the history of interviews to hesitate or stumble. Try to disregard your nerves, and take a few seconds to think and answer the question to the best of your ability. If you’re not satisfied with your answer or the interviewer looks at you with a confused expression, here are a few tactics to keep in mind when you need to do some damage control. Rephrasing/Reframing If you are asked a question that you may not know how to answer, it’s a good idea to ask the interviewer to rephrase their question. This buys you some extra time to formulate a more specific answer. If this doesn’t work for you, we suggest turning to the “reframing” tactic- something many politicians do when asked a tough question. To reframe, think about the original question, focus on the particular part of it you can answer, and express your thoughts on that specific aspect of the question. The key is to keep your answer detailed and relevant to the original inquiry. Continue Asking Questions If you’re still worried that your recovery wasn’t adequate enough, you can counter it with a couple of related questions of your own. For example, if the interviewer asks you to tell them about a time where you faced a challenge and how you were able to get around it, and you feel your answer wasn’t sufficient, you can ask this: “Can you tell me about a typical challenge I would face in this role?” Counter questions show you can think on your feet, project confidence, and may take the hiring manager’s mind off your weak answer. This tactic can also transition the interview into a different topic you may have more insight on. Emphasize Your Qualifications Don’t let one blunder lead the interview into a downward spiral. You hold the fate of the rest of the interview in your own hands. One mediocre answer, or an answer infused with nerves, is not going to ruin your chances of being considered for the job, but more than one slip-up can. Therefore, if you feel like you didn’t answer a question to the best of your ability, don’t harp on it. Move on and don’t let your disappointment in your gaffe shine through in your next answer. To do this, you should reiterate your applicable skills and experiences that gave the hiring manager a reason to consider you a suitable candidate in the first place. The goal is to show you are confident in your abilities and keep them interested. Use Your Thank You Note You should always send your interviewer a thank you note regardless of whether you think the interview went well or not. If you do feel that you screwed up on a particular question, or need to clarify anything, the thank you note is the perfect place to make up for it. After thanking the interviewer for their time and expressing your interest in the opportunity, you should briefly reference the question and explain whatever you wish you had said or whatever you want to clarify. Make sure this part is brief, precise, and professional; you want the hiring manager to acknowledge your explanation and consider you a candidate, not harp on it, and move on to someone else.
14 March 2013
We are pleased to announce that this year’s Chairman’s Circle trip was our largest gathering yet. The trip, which took place last week at the El San Juan Resort & Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is designed to recognize and reward our top performers. Everyone’s hard work really paid off! This year, an invitation to Chairman’s Circle was extended to 27% more employees than last year, and all offices were represented. The attendees were treated to a long weekend filled with volleyball, tennis, beach time, relaxation, and most importantly, camaraderie. We would like to thank everyone who qualified for their hard work and dedication, as we know that our mission to provide top-level service would not be possible without them. Congratulations to all!
10 March 2013
Your company has its own culture that you worked hard to develop, so it’s natural that you want to find the right individuals for any open positions. You’ve set out to find that perfect match and you’re close to the end—but then it narrows down to two. What is an employer to do when there is only one position, but two strongly qualified candidates to choose from? Give them homework! The only way to make a discerning decision is to get to know each candidate just a little bit more, and actions speak louder than words. Certain exercises can bring out the qualities an employer particularly looks for that might not have been highlighted during the interview process. Here’s how to delve a bit deeper into the hiring process when you’re stuck. Give them a “practice project.” Having your candidates complete a project similar to those they would receive on the job, or an old one that has already been satisfactorily completed, will give you an accurate measure of how well they will be able to handle their day-to-day duties if selected for the position. You can ask them to present the project as they would on any given workday; this also allows you to gauge their relevant industry knowledge, confidence, and other required skills that they may not have already demonstrated in the interview process. Give a time limit—or don’t. Giving a time limit on a project can help assess a potential hire’s punctuality and work ethic. Is he or she giving excuses as to why the work is late? Submitting it early, but riddled with errors? A good hire will take his or her time to complete the project but be sure have it in on time. If a project is going to be late, does the candidate let you know or let the clock tick without notice? Likewise, giving an open-ended project can be extremely telling of a person’s capabilities and personality. Ask your candidates when they would like to submit their work or to simply get it in when they can. This is a good test not only of punctuality, but of independence. Ask them to problem solve. Like giving a project, asking potential hires to brainstorm solutions to a problem and report back with their notes can be highly effectual. You don’t want clock-punchers; you want creative thinkers who are invested in making a difference in your company. By offering a hypothetical—or maybe even real—situation that needs attention and asking them to return with their suggestions, you can gauge their thought processes, investment, and interest in the company they hope to call home. And, subsequently, whether or not they intend to call that place home for long.