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A Third Party Recruiter's effort to help Job Seekers.

Last Build Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2007 05:26:32 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2007 James Heilman

Common Job Interview Questions and How to Respond to Them

Wed, 15 Aug 2007 04:12:52 GMT

  Another recruiter, Diane Sobota, President of  The Plastics Group and I decided to make a list of commonly asked interview questions we have encountered in our manufacturing  and Third Party Recruiting (Headhunting) careers to give to our candidates before their interviews.  We thought these interview questions, and our recommendations on how to respond to them, might help other job seekers so we are offering them to anyone who is getting ready for that big interview.  This is not an all inclusive list and we plan to add to it as we become aware of additional questions.  We hope this helps.   1.      Do you have any weaknesses?   Few of us want to admit that we have any weaknesses, except maybe for chocolate candy.  I recently had a candidate that answered the question with a strong NO! which did not set well with the hiring manager. The important thing to remember when answering this question is to think of a trait you might have that could be a weakness turned into a positive.  Thinking about how you would answer this question ahead of time will allow you to be better prepared and answer this question easily. An example of a weakness that would benefit the employer is, "I am a workaholic who is not happy if I am not at work."  Another good answer might be that you fail to delegate enough because you are something of a perfectionist.   2.      You mentioned that you were the Project Manager on the Widget Project, was the process successful and what did you contribute to the project?   First of all, if the project was not a success you should not have listed it on your resume, so the correct answer is: "Very successful".  The project was complete under budget, on time, and greater cost savings were achieved than originally anticipated.  Realize that you will be quizzed about achievements on your resume and you had better be prepared to answer them quickly.  Bringing along any samples of your work to the interview is also a good idea it confirms the validity of your project and shows the potential employer some examples of your work.    When answering the "what did you contribute to the project" question this is no time to get modest.  The interviewer wants to know what YOU contributed so don't give an answer such as; "I had a great team so all I really had to do is act as a conductor".  You have to detail how that on the eleventh hour the project was on the brink of disaster due to no fault of your own (contractor going bankrupt or some such thing) and you stepped in to save it and then provide the details about how you snatched the project from the jaws of disaster.  Remember, the company is hiring YOU, not your project team!   3.   Tell Me About Yourself!   If you are not prepared, this can be a very scary question.  Just remember the company wants to hear about you and any experiences or education that will make you an outstanding employee.  This is your opportunity to sell yourself to the interviewer/company.  Knowing as much about the company as possible is very important because everything you have to say about yourself should relate to the employer and/or the position you want.    Talk about how your experience as a salt miner will help when you come to work for the company designing salt mines to hold nuclear waste.  The answers to this question should be thought out ahead of time and practiced on someone who knows you.  If they laugh at you, practice some more until you can answer this question without making them laugh.  Remember,  "In business sincerity is everything, once you learn how to fake it you have it made".   4.  Why do you want to leave your current employer?   An important thing to remember is to always be positive about the companies you have left.  No company wants to hire someone who bad mouths a company because they then will worry coul[...]


Thu, 19 Jul 2007 22:34:24 GMT

As a third party recruiter in the plastics industry, the most commonly asked question is "How is the job market?".  Overall, the job market has been pretty good in the manufacturing industry for the last year or two but I believe the market is starting to slow.  I base this belief on several leading recruiting indicators:

  1. THE GRUMPY CANDIDATE INDEX.  The Grumpy Candidate Index is based on the number of frustrated candidates that take the time to call me to ask why I have not found them a job yet.  This is a completely unscientific index that I have found to be pretty accurate over the years when trying to answer the "How's the Job Market?" question.  The index is at a fairly comfortable 6 at this time but that is up from 4 a few months ago.  The index scale is from 1 to 10 where a one is at least one call a week from a frustrated job seeker and a ten is where at least one candidate shows up in my office with a gun each week.  Recruiters really do not like either extreme.
  2. THE GRUMPY HR MANAGER INDEX.  The Grumpy HR Manger Index  is based on the number of HR Managers that call demanding that I e-mail them at least 3 candidate resumes by sundown, matching the job requirements listed on a document they have not sent me yet.  Unlike the Grumpy Candidate Index, the lower the index number the slower the Job Market.   The Grumpy HR Manager Index is also based on a scale of 1 to 10 where a one is getting at least on phone call per week from a HR manager threatening never to work with me again if he does not see three excellent candidate resumes by sundown, to a 10 where HR Managers will not even return our telephone calls.  This index is at a fairly comfortable 6 also but that is up from 3 a few months ago.  This means we are at somewhat of a nexsus in the third quarter because dividing one index by the other equals one.  By combining these two unscientific indexes, one gets a much more accurate unscientific answer to the "How is the Job Market?" question.
  3. The July, 2007 MONSTER Local Employment Index.  The MONSTER Local Employment Index is compiled each month by the researcers at Monster Worldwide, Inc., owners the Monster Job Board.  This Employment Index provides a monthly analysis of online job demand in the top 28 United States metro markets.  The index is down from a year ago for almost all of the 28 metro markets but the drop is not statistically significant for most of the metro markets. 

Obviously, the Job Market is still pretty good but it is starting to cool.  The Job Market is also in quite a bit of flux with certain displines being hot one month and fairly cold the next.  I believe this reflects United States Manufacturing trying to react to pressure from China and India.  Stay tuned because things are going to get a lot more interesting.  Just remember the ancient Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times".

"I Just Have Too Much Experience To Put It All In My Resume"

Fri, 06 Apr 2007 04:30:31 GMT

Frequently, in my role as a Technical Recruiter for the Plastics Industry, I respond to resumes sent to me for specific positions via e-mail with "your experience does not fit the job requirements" and almost as frequently I receive the following in response "I just  have too much experience to put it all in my resume".  Resume writers are told to keep their resumes to one or two pages, so why do I expect job seekers to put so much information on their resume?   The answer is, I do not  expect job seekers to put all of their experience in their resume, what I expect them to do is to put the experience on the resume that is pertinent to the job they are seeking.  If the candidate is responding to a posting for a position on a job board for a Maintenance Manager, two words that should appear somewhere in the resume is Maintenance and Manager

Ten years ago or more writing only one resume and having it printed on fine or colored paper made a lot sense because it was so difficult to change a resume but in this era of cheap (free on Google) word processors, writing only one resume makes no sense.  Each resume should be tailored for the position the job seeker wants.  Trying to respond to every position with the same resume is a mistake, especially if the position calls for experience the job seeker has, but does not have in the resume.  If the job seeker does not have the required experience, then he or she should probably not be applying for the position in the first place.  Just responding to a job posting because one lives in the same town and wants to stay there wastes everyone's time, and may prevent a good candidate from getting the position. 

Some experts say that a cover sheet can be used to fill in experience that has been left out of the resume.  I agree with using a cover sheet to tell the recruiter the position being applied for and to highlight some pertinent experience, training, and/or education, but the resume should still relate to position the job seeker wants.  If the resume gets too long (sometimes a well written 3 or 4 page resume is not that bad), try leaving things out of the resume such as; I worked my way through college as a sack boy at A&P.  Paying your own way through college twenty years ago may have been important when applying for the first, or second, position after graduation but twenty years later it is irrelevant. 

The bottom line is that when applying for a job, read the job description thoroughly and respond only if the experience and educational requirements are shown somewhere in the resume.  No recruiter, be it a headhunter or a company Human Resources Recruiter, has the time to sift through a resume and try to read between the lines to determine if the job seeker is worth interviewing.  Also, there is almost never a second chance to change the recruiter's mind once they have decided to reject the job seeker's resume.   An indignant response to the recruiter's rejection e-mail or letter rarely gets them to change their mind, they have moved on to the next candidate.




Fri, 30 Mar 2007 23:22:33 GMT

Most college students receive their degrees in May or early June and many still do not have jobs (much to their parents horror).  How do I know this?  I am a third party recruiter, recruiting for companies in the Plastic Industry at Discovery Personnel, Inc. and my electronic in-basket is overflowing with resumes from graduating college students.  Don't get me wrong, I welcome the resumes because it gives me a chance to develop business relationships with engineers starting their careers in plastics and associated industries but there is one ugly secret that keeps me up nights, THE ODDS ARE VERY HIGH THAT I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FIND ANY OF THESE YOUNG ASPIRING COLLEGE GRADUATES A JOB! 

Is this because I am not a good recruiter?  My boss would probably answer yes to that question but the truth is, I am a successful recruiter by most standards.  So why is it so unlikely that I will not be able to find these recent college graduates their first meaningful position in the business world?  The answer can be summed up in one word, MONEY.   Most companies do not want to pay recruiters for finding employees with no experience when they believe they can find all the recent graduates they need. 

Am I writing this blog to ask graduating college students not to send Third Party Recruiters (Headhunters) their resumes and as for help? - NO!  The reason I am writing this blog is to tell graduating college students not to rely on Headhunters solely to find jobs.  Third Party Recruiters should be only one arrow in the job hunters quiver.  Networking through the college is without a doubt the best method of finding an entry level position when graduating.  Be sure to utilize all the resources that your college provides and don't be afraid to let friends a neighbors know you are graduating from college and looking for your first career position. 

And don't even get me started about using job boards to find your first job after graduating from college.

The Future of Plastics Salespeople? - NO MORE WILLY LOMANS

Sun, 21 Jan 2007 03:24:47 GMT

Arthur Miller's Willy Loman in The Death Of A Salesman has always defined what is a salesperson for me, possibly because I am an engineer by training and never really understood salespeople.  Willy Loman always worked very hard creating relationships with everyone from the receptionists to the Chief Executive Officers of companies.  I doubt that Willy would have understood that what he really did was reduce friction in the sales process, even though he believed creating relationships was what he was all about.  Through Willy's sales efforts, he was able to bring together people who needed whatever product  he was selling at the time with people wanting to purchase that product or something very similar.  What he really got paid to do was simply to find a buyer and seller and reduce the friction in the selling process.  I think Willy would be shocked today to find out that sales relationships are not nearly as important today as they were in his era.  The flattening world and the Internet have taken much of the friction out of the sales process.  Buyers can look up the price of copper, coffee, plastic resins, paper bags, etc. on the Internet and get a very good price if not the very best price.  Getting the very best price or product value still may require some help and that is where the salesperson of today enters the fray.  In my capacity as a Third Party Recruiter for the Plastics Industry, I have several clients who are looking to sell plastic bags, plastic resins, plastic colorants, etc.  The companies are all struggling to find the salespeople they need.  Part of the reason for the paucity of sales candidates is money.  If you are not a salesperson, you must understand that money is very, very important to salespeople.  Salespeople often depend on money to help establish their self worth.  Taking a new sales position with less base pay may have little affect on them financially, especially if they can make up the money through commissions, but the lower base salary may impact the salesperson's self worth.  Let's face it, scientists and engineers usually determine their self worth by unique knowledge or skills, others do not have.  Self worth is very important to all of us. Unfortunately for salespeople who have grown fat on friction, keeping the high base salaries and incomes in an increasingly hypertransparent world is becoming increasingly difficult.  I have the resumes of several hundred plastic salespeople who once had a six figure base salary and are now out of work.  They are not out of work because they have poor sales skills, most are very good salespeople but the loss of friction in the sales process has reduced their value to potential employers.  The Web's price-deflating impact and the ever Flattening World, as described in Thomas L. Friedman's book titled The World is Flat, has reduced the ability of companies to pay the salaries many salespeople believe they should still be earning.  Instead of six figure base salaries, our clients want to pay experience salespeople with industry contacts base salaries of $40,000 to $65,000 plus commissions and/or bonuses.  Obviously, cutting the base salary in half that a salesperson is use to making will not only negatively impact them financially if they cannot make us the difference with commissions or bonuses it will also negatively affect their self worth.  I believe that the potential loss of salespeople's self worth is the reason they turn down these positions with lower base salaries even though they are unemployed.  Salespeople are also very optimistic, they have to be, and they may also believe a position paying their old base salary or more is just around the corner and I hope for their[...]

Planning To Go On Strike For More Money? - Don't

Fri, 12 Jan 2007 03:07:36 GMT

Recently in my role as a Third Party Recruiter for the Plastics Industry, I have run across what seems like an epidemic of people leaving their jobs in order to find a better job.  Not being employed while looking for a job might have okay in the late '90s, but this is 2007 and things have changed.  Companies are much more selective about who they hire than they were about 17 years ago in spite of the Government "statistics" (lies, damn lies and statistics) to the contrary.  If you have a great resume and good contacts in the industry, getting a new position is not too difficult but anyone with multiple job changes in the last few years (often through no fault of their own) and limited contacts is finding job searching much more difficult than they imagined.

One individual I talked with recently left her job because she had not received a pay raise in the last two years and she "had to pay the rent".  The problem is that when she left the job she did not have another position.  Now she has been out of work for several weeks and cannot understand why recruiters and job boards cannot find her another job.  Unfortunately, being out of work and a couple of job jumps recently makes helping her find a new position very difficult.  Another job seeker I talked to has been out of work for several months and he said "I would not have left my job if I had known finding another would prove so difficult".  He had a very good job but became disenchanted with his company and decided he wanted to leave to provide more time to seek a new employer.  He has had 20 plus interviews but no offers.

Leaving a job to devote ones self to finding a new one sounds good but too much time on ones hands can work against you, especially if desperation sets in.  Interviewers, like sharks, can smell blood in the water and that can really work against the interviewee.  The job seeker can also become too aggressive when search for a position and alienate the very people he needs help from.  My advice is; if the job is not totally broke, don't leave until you find another position. 

There really is enough time in the day when you are still working to search for a position especially in this era of cell phones.  Even if you get caught looking for a new job and are fired, I believe being fired while looking for a new job sounds better than leaving a job to devote more time to finding a new job.   My grandfather worked for the Nickel Plate Railroad and when I was young it always seemed like he was out on strike.  The strike would finally end and he would get $.10 more per hour after being on strike for weeks and it would be years before he would achieve any real benefit from that raise because of all the pay checks lost while he was out on strike.  I never understood the economics of leaving a good paying job just to try to make a little more money then, and I certainly don't now. 

Plastics as a Career?

Sun, 03 Sep 2006 00:56:36 GMT

One of the most famous lines in modern movies (The Graduate) is when Mr. Robinson takes Dustin Hoffman aside at his college graduation party and offers him some career advice, which was one word, "PLASTICS".  Unfortunately, Dustin Hoffman's character spent the summer having an affair with Mrs. Robinson so we will never know if he followed Mr. Robinson's advice and made plastics his career.  Plastics is the fourth largest manufacturing industry in the United States and probably China (if anyone has any numbers to prove me right or wrong please email me) but it remains a distant career choice for most people in the United States, including many who have actually entered the plastics industry.  In my role as a third party technical recruiter for the plastics industry, most candidates tell me they kind of fell into plastics.  

Currently, there are several good colleges for training engineers (and hopefully future managers) to enter the exciting world of plastics manufacturing; Ferris State University, The University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Pittsburg State University, Penn State University, and Ball State University.  One advantage of these schools is that the curriculum does not have the entry level emphasis in Mathematics and the Sciences that most of the major universities use to weed out engineering schools.  These schools actually want students to graduate and the math and science is included in the plastics curriculum.  Not everyone has the math aptitude that engineering schools such as MIT, Purdue, Georgia Tech, The University of Michigan, Stanford or any of the other major engineering schools expect of their entry level engineering students, but most of these students still have exceptional mechanical, and electrical aptitude that is sorely needed in the plastics industry.

Recently I attended the National Plastics Exposition in Chicago in order to stay current on plastics equipment and manufacturing processes.  Fortunately, I was able to find (not easy, it was well hidden) and stop by the Ferris State University booth to talk to Robert Speirs who is the Department Chair for the Ferris State Plastics Engineering Technology National Elastomer Center.  At a time when many Engineers with IT related degrees cannot find jobs, nearly every graduate from Ferris State receives 3 job offers and companies are very disappointed that they cannot hire more plastics engineers.  Many of the engineers I place in the plastics industry come from India and China where they have a strong emphasis on more vocational (less theoretical) engineering training.  If you think Ferris State University (located in Michigan) might be for you, you can contact the school at  Companies that recruit from Ferris State University includes; General Electric, Johnson Controls, Visteon, Parker Hannifin, Delphi, Federal Mogul, etc. 

I realize most recent High School Graduates have already chosen their colleges but if things don't go as well as hoped, or you find that traditional engineering is not really for you, consider plastics engineering.  The plastic engineering schools will welcome you with open arms.




HOW'S THE JOB MARKET?????????????

Fri, 28 Jul 2006 18:16:15 GMT

Talking to candidates in my role as a Technical Recruiter serving the Plastics Industry, I am constantly asked "how is the job market".  The job market for the first two quarters of 2006 has been hot for what I call the good hands people; engineers, production managers, quality managers, process technicians, etc.  The rate of placements for sales managers, vice-presidents, presidents, etc. has not been quite as good because of all the consolidations in the plastics industry, reducing upper management opportunities.  Having said that, at Discovery Personnel, Inc. we are seeing a definite hiring slow down and given the following data, it is easy to see why. 

The US Federal Government recently reported that in the second quarter of this year (April-to-June 2006) that employers added an average of 108,000 jobs a month and that is down from 176,000 a month from the first quarter (January-to-March 2006).  The government and businesses are tightening their belts.  Government spending is growing at just 0.6 per quarter, compared with a 4.9 percent growth rate in the first quarter and business spending has dropped to a 1 percent pace, the first cut in 3 years.  Gross Domestic Product has decreased  from the first to second quarters by more than a half.

Basically, the economy is contracting as inflation increases.  This does not bode well for those seeking jobs in the plastics industry in the near future, and I suspect for most industries because the plastics industry is the fourth largest manufacturing sector of the United States economy and it is closely tied to the automotive industry, the largest manufacturing sector.  I say all of this because many jobs seekers and potential job seekers have become complacent. The job market has been something of a buyers market for almost a year (although not all companies caught on to this reality) but that is changing quickly.  If you have been considering a job change, or if you are looking for a new job, now may be the best time to make a dash for the finish line.  It is also a good time for job seekers to start readjusting their mind set to a buyers market. 


Mon, 27 Feb 2006 05:05:29 GMT

It has been a couple of months since I posted my last blog imploring job seekers not to lie on their resumes (actually not lying is an even better concept but if I can have some positive impact, no matter how small, I'll feel a little better) but the lying on resumes continues.  The number of jobs in the Plastics Industry, where I place candidates, has increase dramatically in the past couple of months (the main reason I have not written a blog for a couple of months).  Hiring is also up in most other areas of manufacturing as well.  One might think that with the increased pressure companies are experiencing to fill jobs that they would be getting less picky and less stringent in their hiring requirements.  Quite the contrary, companies seem to be working harder than ever to fill positions with the best possible people and the companies that I am working with do not consider people who lie the best people.

I lost one placement a few weeks ago when a standard reference check revealed the candidate left previous jobs off of his resume and also stated he was working at a company where he was no longer employed.  I lost another placement a week ago when a basic reference check revealed the candidate had not worked for the company that he had listed on his resume as his present employer  for several months.  He even said he was still working their during the interview (the fact that his address was in a State several hundred miles away may have been a dead give away). 

Yet another placement was lost because a candidate stated he had a degree on his resume and when asked where he received it from he said, "Missouri State".  Unfortunately, I have an office in Missouri, and most of my family lives there, so I knew there is no Missouri State University or College.  The sad part was that he really did not need a degree because the company would have hired him in spite of not having a degree, if he had not lied about having one. 

Companies are fighting for top talent and people with strong ethics, even as it seems more and more people believe the end (getting hired) justifies the means (lying).  The "End Justifies The Means" did not work for the Communists, and I cannot understand why so many job seekers think it will work for them.  

Next.....................Lying on Job Application Forms. 


Tue, 27 Dec 2005 19:40:58 GMT

A recent straw poll of approximately 1,700 recruiters, members of the Top Echelon Network (the largest group of independent recruiters), found that over 33% of all job seekers lie on their resumes.  The lies range from stating that they have degrees, that they do not have, to vastly overstating their job skills and experience.  Probably the largest single lie is the candidate stating that they are still employed by a company when they are not.  I know a lot of job seekers feel justified stating they are still working for a company when they are receiving some type of compensation but if they are not physically going to work every day, they are not working for the company.  The first question I ask every potential candidate is, "are you still working for the XYZ Company?"   If the job seeker is not working for the company but the resume indicates they are, I still work with them but my write up on the job seeker that I present to my client company or a fellow recruiter (headhunter) states they are not working.

Why is telling such a seemingly white lie bad for the job seeker?

  • When the recruiter (corporate or headhunter) sees on the resume that the job seeker is still employed, they do call during the day because they believe the job seeker is not available.  This forces the recruiter to call at night which they may or may not do if their schedule is too busy.  I call on the average 10 potential candidates every evening and find out half of them are not working.  This takes time away from my family and when I find out the job seeker is not working its me with the feeling that I may not be dealing with an honest job seeker.  Starting out on the wrong foot with a corporate or third party recruiter is not something a job seeker really wants to do.
  • When the recruiter finds the candidate has lied on the resume, they may not present the job seeker to their company manager or their client company for ethical reasons.
  • In my previous life, I spent 16 years in engineering management.  I withdrew several offers when I found out my potential employee had lied about still being employed.
    I felt that if they would lie to me about that, what would they lie to me about when they reported to me?  How could I trust someone to handle hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars of corporate dollars who was less than honest on their resume?
  • If one of the first things the hiring manager sees on the resume is not true does it then make sense to take what the job seeker says about their contributions to their past employers at face value.  Does the job seeker really want statements made on their resume discounted unnecessarily?

Maybe the hiring company or recruiter is not as appalled by the lack of honesty I am seeing on resumes as I am, but do you really want to roll the dice with your career when really good jobs are hard to find?  Really good jobs are getting scarcer despite the less than honest government reports to the contrary.   Being unemployed in this era does not carry the stigma it once did but being dishonest still does.

Resume Writing 101 - Include A Brief Description of Past Employer Products or Services

Sat, 05 Nov 2005 04:42:04 GMT

When writing a resume be sure to include a brief description of what the company manufactures or the service(s) it provides for each company listed on the resume.  These statements can be as brief as "manufactures injection molded plastic components for the automotive industry" or "manufacturer of non-invasive blood glucose monitoring devices". 

Including a brief description of your past employer's services or products seems very basic but probably 30 percent of all the resumes I read lack this information.  I realize that a lot of job seekers believe that if they have an engineering degree they can engineer anywhere or if they have sales experience they can sell anything.  Maybe this is true, but it does not matter if the company will not hire an engineer or a salesperson who does not have experience in their specific industry.  Companies do not hire recruiting firms just to send them resumes of all engineers or all salespeople.  They pay us to find people that match their job requirements and if there is no product or service experience on the resume recruiters have no way of knowing if it is worth contacting the job seeker. 

It should be remembered that the average recruiter receives over 100 resume per week, and Corporate Recruiters at large companies receive many times that number.  If 20 minutes are spent talking to each person who sends a resume, approximately 33 hours of the Third Party Recruiter's work week will be spent just talking to candidates that may or may not have the experience their client companies want.   Third Party as well as Corporate Recruiters depend on the employer's products or services being stated on the resume as one of the primary screening criteria.  If there is no mention of past employer's products or services, the person doing the screening usually assumes the job seeker does not meet the job requirements and discards the resume.  Hopefully a word to the wise will be sufficient but I have written about this problem in the past and it is still pandemic.


The Most FAQ by Job Seekers

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 04:36:53 GMT

In my role a Technical Recruiter (think Headhunter), the most frequently asked question the job seekers continue to ask is "how is the job market?"  This is a difficult question to answer because the response depends on the job seeker's work experience and education.  Companies are still looking for people (a few like Careerbuilder are looking for monkeys) with very specific job skills and education.  A more general answer can be found in The Pinnacle, a publication by The Echelon Network, Inc.   The Top Echelon Network is the largest network of independent recruiters in the United States and Discovery Personnel, Inc. (my employer) is a member.

In The Pinnacle, an article written by Mark Demaree to recruiters titled, "Exporters, Start Your Engines!"  Mark, states:

"This probably isn't news to you, but for the past several months -- even for as long as the past year, the market has been tipped in candidates' favor.  Candidates are not only receiving more offers than they have been in the last few years, they've also been receiving multiple offers at the same time. " 

I think those two sentences essentially sum up the overall state of the job market.  In other words, the market is good for many job seekers but unfortunately, not for all job seekers.  The following information from the The Pinnacle article, although not statistically significant (approximately 10% of all recruiters belong to the Top Echelon Network) provides some additional insight into today's job market.   

"The industry that comprises the biggest percentage of our placements is that of Industry and Manufacturing.  Despite the fact that only 14.4% of the job orders in the Network are related to that industry, it accounts for a whopping 32.1% of the placements in Top Echelon."

That is the good news.  The bad news is ".... Industry and Manufacturing candidates make up 41.8% of all Top Echelon candidates" so obviously, not everyone working in the Industry and Manufacturing sector are finding jobs.  

Surprisingly, the IT industry has the second most placements on the Top Echelon Network despite all of the outsourcing we have seen in the last few years.  Third place on the Network belongs to the Healthcare Industry with 11.9% of all placements.  Healthcare should be a lot higher because 33.3% of all positions listed on the Top Echelon Network are for Healthcare.  The reason the percentage of Healthcare placements is so low is because there are too few qualified candidates.  Obviously, anyone looking to change careers or begin studying for a career should look hard at the Healthcare Industry.  Sales and Marketing, and Engineering are Industries doing well right now also. 

For anyone looking for a job, or looking to change jobs, this is the probably the best window of opportunity we have seen in the past several years.  Now is the time to be in the job market!  Tomorrow may be too late.


Thu, 06 Oct 2005 05:24:03 GMT

It has probably been a long time since I mentioned that in addition to having been a Third Party Recruiter for the past ten years or so, I was a Mechanical Engineer in my previous life for 25 years.  At the risk of being sued by my alma mater for revealing the following information, I have a BS ME degree from Purdue University. When I started doing machine design, I used a Jacob's Square and large triangles.  When drafting machines came out, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  

Recently, in order to feed my inner geek, and to try to make a little extra money, I took a short course in SolidWorks, the 3D Cad program.  I have not decided to buy the program yet, but I just found a book that may make my decision much easier.  The book is titled "SolidWorks FOR Dummies" by Greg Jankowski, who is a SolidWorks Customer Satisfaction Manager (whatever that means).  The class I attended by one of the SolidWorks resellers was very good but I felt a little naked because I did not walk away with a manual.  This book is an excellent substitute for a manual, although, it does not attempt to be a complete reference manual.  As the author says, "I have focused on the key and commonly used elements of SolidWorks."   I have really enjoyed going through the book and it has helped me play with the sample program I received at the training session (I still highly recommend the reseller training sessions).   Unfortunately, I do not make any money by endorsing this book but I felt obliged to let my immense readership know about the book.

Now for the advertisement from your blog sponsor, me.  I am currently trying to fill a Solidworks Design Engineer position in Minneapolis, MN and one in Kansas City, MO.  Both offer an excellent salary and benefits.  If you are interested or know someone who might be please email or call me at 1-800-459-1940. 

Want To Get Paid What You Are Worth? - Stay Away From Job Boards

Wed, 05 Oct 2005 02:50:35 GMT

I attended a meeting of Third Party Recruiters (Headhunters) this weekend in Chicago.  The topic of the meeting was, surprisingly enough, recruiting.  One item that came up over and over again was that candidates are reducing their value in the job market by posting their resumes on job boards such as Monster, Careerbuilder, Hot Jobs, etc.  Unfortunately, when your resume is found on one of the job boards the company recruiter or third party recruiter immediately assumes you are in a fire sale situation and your value immediately falls.

I am not saying that you should not post on a job board but I recommend that you try traditional networking or list yourself with a recruiting company that specializes in placing people in your field of expertise, e.g. Discovery Personnel, Inc. specializes in placing job seekers in the Plastics Industry.  Then if you fail to get the response you believe you should be getting, list on the job boards but list on the job boards as a last not first option.  Too many job seekers start their job search by listing on the job board because it is easy.  Do you really believe companies want people that take the easy way out? 

If you do list your resume on a job board and a Third Party Recuiter finds it and sets you up with an interview (this is much more likely than a company finding your resume and requesting that you interview), never tell the company that the recruiter found you on Monster or one of the other job boards.  Just tell them that the recruiter found you through their research department.  If you tell the company the recruiter found you on the job board two things are going to happen.  The first is the company is going to feel cheated because they are paying recruiter fees for someone that was found on a job board (I am somewhat of a loss as to why this is the case because they  are looking to hire someone to meet a need in their company).  The second thing that will happen is the company is not going to look at you as warmly as they would have and will try to reduce their perceived losses by offering you a lower salary or just deciding not to hire you.

An example of a reason not to tell anyone that your resume was found on a job board follows.  I once found the perfect management candidate for a company many years ago on Careerbuilder (it was called at the time) and the candidate passed all of interviews and testing with flying colors.   The individual was essentially hired for the management position but the last step in the hiring process was to have dinner with the president of the company and the Human Resources Director.  The candidate and the company president were getting along well over dinner until the company president asked the candidate how I found him.  The candidate told him  The company president immediately took the human resources director aside and told him not to hire the individual and to do their own postings on the job boards to find people.  In the end everyone lost and the best candidate did not get hired.  Later I filled the position with another candidate who was good but not the best. 

This is just food for job hunting thought.     


Hiring Mangers Read Your Email Address!!

Fri, 05 Aug 2005 04:18:47 GMT

Almost everyone includes their Email address on their resumes these days and that is a good thing (I hope Martha Stewart has not patented that saying yet).  The bad thing is that some individuals are using some Emails addresses that might reduce your chances of getting hired, if the Human Resources or hiring manager does not have a sense of humor.  Examples of some of these email addresses are:




and my all time favorite,


I had not given too much thought to Email addresses until I submitted a resume to another third party recruiter and she called to tell me she was going to remove the Email address from the resume before submitting the resume to her client company.  When she told me what the Email address was, I had to agree.  Email addresses should present a sense of professionalism, or at very least be fairly neutral.  Remember, the person you want to impress, and will decide if you get the job, is reading your Email address.


Tue, 19 Jul 2005 23:40:16 GMT

As a Third Party Recruiter and former engineer, I am very sensitive to degreed engineer salaries.  I have noticed a definite decline in the salaries offered to degreed engineers with experience the last few years.  Surprisingly, entry level degreed engineer salaries have kept pace with inflation over the last ten years, while there has been a definite compression of salaries for degreed engineers in the manufacturing sector as well as others.  This compression has gotten so bad that I have declined opportunities to work with several companies wanting to hire degreed engineers because I was too embarrassed to approach candidates and tell them the salary.  Believe me when I say that I do not turn down opportunities to make money lightly.  I conducted a straw poll (non-scientific) with recruiters that belong to the Top Echelon Network of independent recruiters ( and they agreed that indeed degreed engineer salaries for experience engineers  have decreased over the last ten years or have held steady with no adjustment for inflation.  We also agreed that engineering salaries are starting to increase, albeit slowly.  My main purpose of this article is to recommend that degreed salary engineers look carefully at any offers they receive and possibly negotiate for more.  I believe we are on a supply and demand cusp for engineers right now and that demand is going up but salaries are not going up nearly as fast.  Some traction for increasing engineering salaries seems to be underway. Will degreed engineering salaries eventually increase to the relative position they were at a decade ago?   Probably not.  The reason engineering salaries will not be rising rapidly is explained rather well in an article by Alan S. Brown titled "where the engineers are" subtitled "It may begin with simple services, like CAD conversions, but it's the first step in outsourcing the advanced jobs to Asia".  This was the featured article in the June Mechanical Engineer Magazine.   The article can also be found on the Internet at  The crux of his article (although the article is very interesting for several reasons) is to point out that what has happened to IT engineers may happen to Mechanical, as well as other engineers, in the near future.  The last part of the article by Alan S. Brown states: "IT Today, ME Tomorrow" Visa programs that allowed Indian information technology professionals to come to the United states and replace U.S. workers jumped into the headlines last year.Is this trend the future of mechanical engineering? Like mechanical engineers, IT professionals need firsthand knowledge of customer needs, said Ronil Hira of the Rochester Institute of Technology.  "The visa programs allow Indian outsourcing companies to bring in foreigners to deliver the high level customer interactions, " Hira said.  "These folks know the cultureand interaction back home.  They don't hire Americans." Hira estimates that there are 900,000 foreign professionals working in the United States working in the United States under temporary visas.  Many are employed in information technology.  A single Indian firm, Tata Consultancy Services, employs more than 5,000 foreign consultants in the U.S.  Often, they directly replacedomestic workers.Cost is the driver.  Hira points to a $15 millions State of Indiana IT contract with Tata that called for 65 guest workers as programmers earning an average of $36,0[...]


Fri, 08 Jul 2005 05:07:51 GMT

Before I begin my latest tirade (blogg) I want to let everyone know I am not opposed to cell phones.  My wife and I have both had cell phones for many years.  I enjoy talking to friends, relatives, etc. on the cell phone and using cell phones can save money on long distance calls and I am all for saving money.  In my role as a third party recruiter, I even call candidates over the weekend because of the free long distance.  However, I have never called a client company on a cell phone and I never will.  It just is not professional and that is the underlying theme of this blogg.  If any part of a job search can be misconstrued as unprofessional, do not do it! A candidate for an plastics engineering  position returned my call today.  I was calling him because he had sent his resume for the engineering position I am trying to fill and I wanted to open a dialog about the position.  Unfortunately, he decided to call me back on his cell phone while driving home from work.  The normal cutting out encountered when trying to talk while driving was not too bad, but combine that with someone who has just left work and is not fully engaged in the conversation because they are driving, the conversation takes an immediate downward spiral.  Now combine the cell phone cut outs and the driver's (think candidate) heavy Asian accent and my Hoosier (Indiana) accent, the conversation became more of a yelling match by two very frustrated people.  In the end I gave up, hung up, and threw away his resume even though his resume showed a very good match for the position.  You have to understand that I do not like to throw away potential earnings but if I cannot communicate with the candidate, I have to believe he or she will not communicate well with my client company.   If my candidate cannot communicate well, or is not a good match for the position, my client company thinks less of me (assuming that is possible).  I realize that third party recruiters (think headhunters) are considered somewhere below used car salespeople in the food chain but very often we stand between the candidate and the job the candidate is interested in pursuing (usually more important than buying a used Saturn in the long term).   Therefore, it is important to communicate effectively with the third party recruiter who is, in effect, the gate keeper for the company.  Failure to communicate effectively with any recruiter will immediately put an end to the your chances of interviewing for the position you want.  Many candidates today do not have a land line and rely solely on their cell phones.  I understand why people do this, they can save money.  Again, I am all for saving money but not at the expense of losing the opportunity to interview for what might be an excellent job.  I have called candidates who have gotten very irritated because I called them while they were shopping in Sam's Club.  I would have felt bad about that but since the cell phone number was the only number available to call, their resume went into the circular file.  What if the hiring manager for my client company had made the same faux pas?  At the very least, if relying solely on a cell phone, the candidate should provide the best times to call and if returning calls, do not do it while driving a car in Chicago traffic.   Many of the candidates I talk with have heavy accents and very often they only have cell phones making communication extremely [...]


Sat, 02 Jul 2005 04:25:50 GMT

A friend sent me a link to Joel Spolsky's web site that featured an extremely interesting, informative and accurate article titled "Getting Your Resume Read" Posted on January 26, 2004.  The article can be found at  His article not only reinforces most of my previous comments on how important writing perfect resumes is in today's market but he writes with a certain passion from the perspective of a reader of resumes that makes his article so relative.  If anything Joel is even tougher on resume writers than I am which is saying quite a bit.  I had just finished reading his article when I received a resume from a candidate applying for an Injection Molding Supervisor position who consistently misspelled numerous words such as maintance(sic) even though the file was in Word so he must have had access to a spell check.  A second resume from a candidate responding to the same job had no space between about every other word.  Please read Joel Spolsky's article for the insight it provides on why it is so important to take the time to write a resume with as few mistakes (or no mistakes) as possible.


Wed, 22 Jun 2005 22:34:49 GMT

Previously, I have talked about the fact that when an individual interviews for a job, the purpose of the interview is to get the job.  Recently another of my candidates lost an excellent job that he fit perfectly because he was worried about the potential commute during the interview.  The company took his reticence during the interview as an indication that he really was not interested in the position or the company, when really he was worried about driving to work in heavy traffic.  When told that he was not getting a job offer he was very disappointed because he had decided he really wanted the job.  When asked why he acted so cool during the interview process he explained that he was worried about the potential commute.  He asked to have the company reconsider him for the position but the opportunity was lost and the ironic thing is that he was probably the best candidate I would have ever placed with the company in that job.

Unfortunately, the traffic he saw was from the airport to the plant site and the company was located in a suburb and had he driven a few miles west he would have found that he could have lived virtually in the country.   The moral of this story is during the interview, concentrate on the interview process and getting the offer.  The details can be worked out later or if the concern is real and cannot eliminated, the offer can be rejected.  


Tue, 03 May 2005 05:28:33 GMT

Ken Nunley, a third party recruiter and owner of Ken Nunley Gate House Consulting gave me a Questionnaire that he asks candidates to fill out and submit if they are interested in one of the positions listed on his web site  I am sharing this Questionnaire, with Ken's blessing, with my avid readers four a couple of reasons.  The first reason is that Ken is a very successful third party recruiter and this list provides excellent insight into what information a recruiter wants from a job applicant.  The second reason I am sharing this questionnaire is that before Ken became a very successful third party recruiter, he was a very successful human resources manager and has inside knowledge of what information companies want from job applicants.  The following questionnaire should be used as a guide by anyone preparing  a resume, responding to a company job advertisement, responding to a third party recruiter job advertisement, or during a telephone or face-to-face job interview.  The questions are not in any particular order of importance but yet, they are all important.  As a part of our QUALITY process please indicate your SALARY and RELOCATION preferences, what type of products and/or industries you're experience with? What is prompting you to leave your current or last employer? What prompted you to leave your next to last employer? What is your completed BS degree and/or your advanced degree in? Your  SALARY or RELOCATION preferences? Salary Range? Relocation - Urban, Suburban, Rural? Is the salary posted for this position within your interest range? Will you consider CONTRACT work? Are there any required skills in this job description that you are not experienced with? What types of products and/or industries are you experienced with? How many years of experience do you have in each industry? What is your availability to travel domestically and internationally? For DOD and DOE job submittals or no-US citizens - what are your current citizenship/VISA status and/or past or current security clearance? Do you require relocation support because you are a current home owner? Please list the contact numbers at which you can be reached, HOME #, CELL# and WORK#. Employment tenure of less than 36 months with any employer should be explained, i.e., lay off, plant closure, released, etc. Employment gaps of more than 1 year should be explained! Please provide us with the following information from your last two jobs: -  What was produced at that site?1.  Employer/Company name and product/services produced?2. Employer/Company name and product/service produced?               -  Who were your major customers?              1. Employer/Company name and services/products sold to?              2. Employer/Company name and services/products sold to?               -  With what process were you most involved?              1. Employer/Company name and your focused contribution and            accomplishment?              2. Employer/Company name and[...]


Sat, 16 Apr 2005 00:53:19 GMT

This is going to look like my most petty posting but a stand needs to be made against the use of incorrect state abbreviations on resumes.  Many, many, candidates are hurting their chances of finding a job because they are using incorrect state abbreviations.  I know you are thinking, "what difference can using an incorrect state abbreviation make?" but anything that is incorrect detracts from your resume.  Very intelligent and highly degreed people often make state abbreviation errors and I tire of correcting the resumes.   Resumes are expected to be perfect.  I receive resumes every day with things like, LA (actually Los Angles, not Louisiana), Al. (Alabama, not A-1 steak sauce), Pittsburgh, Penn., Indianapolis, Ind., AR for Arizonia instead of Arkansas, etc.  The following is the recognized list of state abbreviations from the IRS (I am using the IRS list because today is April 15th ).

AL = Alabama
AK = Alaska
AZ = Arizona
AR = Arkansas
CA = California
CO = Colorado
CT = Connecticut
DE = Delaware
DC = District of Columbia
FL = Florida
GA = Georgia
HI = Hawaii
ID = Idaho
IL = Illinois
IN = Indiana
IA = Iowa
KS = Kansas
KY = Kentucky
LA = Louisiana (Not Los Angles)
ME = Maine
MD = Maryland
MA = Massachusetts
MI = Michigan
MN = Minnesota
MS = Mississippi
MO = Missouri
MT = Montana
NE = Nebraska
NV = Nevada
NH = New Hampshire
NJ = New Jersey
NM = New Mexico
NY = New York
NC = North Carolina
ND = North Dakota
OH = Ohio
OK = Oklahoma
OR = Oregon
PA = Pennsylvania
RI = Rhode Island
SC = South Carolina
SD = South Dakota
TN = Tennessee
TX = Texas
UT = Utah
VT = Vermont
VA = Virginia
WA = Washington
WV = West Virginia
WI = Wisconsin
WY = Wyoming

Do not place a period after the state abbreviation but do leave two spaces before a zip code.  HAPPY APRIL 15th!