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06 Jul



The New Sales Cycle: Forecast Failure in 8 Easy Steps

July 6, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

Every motivational speaker uses Babe Ruth as the example to just keep swinging for the fences. Joy always comes with persistence. Keep Swinging!

This is a lie.


Your Business Blogger

with sales baubles:

Always avoid

braggards and


like this.

Managing salesfolks is the best job in the world.

And the worst job in the world. Your Business Blogger has had a number of sales teams full of Babe Ruths. The swings, the misses, the whining. The winning.

The pain. Even for the Babe, striking out would hurt.

But not all sales guys have Ruth’s talent.

Most fail.

And here is the script so that you, too, can see failure coming down the track. Like a whistle before the train wreck, listen for these clues.

It starts in the interview. The bragging sales guy [ tout chapeau aucun betail ]says, “Hire me…”

1) I can sell anything, (You Want Refrigerators in Antarctica? I’m Your Man) and so he begins,

2) Exaggerate the client’s interest, (They Love Us, Baby) with

3) Unfounded optimism, (The Deal is Done — Good as Booked) then

4) Excuses Galore, (The Order is Coming — Next Quarter, You Can Take That to the Bank) — here it is:

5) Disaster, (My Contact Quit, Stabbed in the Back, Poor Bugger.) followed by

6) More Optimism (We’ll get ‘em Next Quarter — Guaranteed) and later

7) Finger Pointing (It’s a terrible territory; It’s not the man — it’s the land.) finally

8) Abandonment (Great concept; a little too soon…Sign this expense report.)

And he’s off to another start-up making even more money. (Not that I’d know.)

So, if your need something to sell; You Want Refrigerators in Anartica? I’m Your Man.

Meanwhile, check out my upcoming post on working with super star Bono — coming tomorrow. U 2 can be a star. (See #2 and #3 above.) “Hire me…”


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Be sure to know When to Quit.

And visit my weekly column in Anita Campbell’s Small Business Trends.

Get a Blog; Get Hired — And the First Question

July 3, 2006 | By | One Comment


Blogs are better

than classifed ads Whenever Charmaine or Your Business Blogger have to hire someone, the first question we ask ourselves is,

Who do we know?

So we then tap into our network of contacts and friends and get the background propaganda on candidates.

But to really, really know a candidate, we’d like to check deeper on:

Their Opinions, and

Are their Opinions worthy? and

Does the Candidate want those Opinions known, and

Does the Candidate want to make a difference?

To learn it all fast and easy, we ask, “Does she have a blog?

We now have an (unwritten) rule: We like to hire only those who write and read blogs.

The most recent example is Joe Carter from Evangelical Outpost. Charmaine hired him for some work, and we only knew of his talents through the blogosphere.

For example, Tom McMahon quotes Joe in Important Stuff,

Why do so many people buy into the ridiculous notion that a daily diet of “current events’ is anything other than a mindless (though perhaps harmless) form of amusement? Even ardent news-hounds will admit that the bulk of daily “news” is nothing more than trivia or gossip. How much of what happens every day truly is all that important? How many of us have ever even stopped to ask why we have daily news?…

As Malcolm Muggeridge, himself a journalist, admitted, “I’ve often thougt…that if I’d been a journalist in the Holy Land at the time of our Lord’s ministry, I should have spent my time looking into what was happening in Herod’s court. I’d be wanting to sign Salome for her exclusive memoirs, and finding out what Pilate was up to, and…I would have missed completely the most important event there ever was.”

Indeed, imagine if Dan Rather had been a reporter during that era: “…three revolutionaries were crucified on Golgatha today. Included among the executions was a man called Jesus, who some Jews considered to be the messiah. Those hopes were dashed, however, around three P.M. when Roman soldiers declared Jesus dead. And now…this….”

Oz Guinness also wrote about our fast-paced world; the, “Now this…culture” where every event is superceded by something, anything, to hold our short attention spans.

Joe Carter is a guy who knows signal from noise.

And a guy who thinks like this is someone we needed on the payroll.

I wish we could get Tom McMahon.


To help in your job search see PASS this test.

Basil’s Blog has a picnic.

09 May



Job Interview: 3 Questions for Your Prospective Boss

May 9, 2006 | By | 4 Comments

In your job search you are prepared to answer many questions.

But there are questions you should be prepared to ask. Questions for your possible new boss. And not just the trite and true, “Tell Me How You Came To XYZ Corp.” My questions are to (dis)qualify him. You may not want to work for him. And if you really, really need the job, you at least won’t be blind-sided.

1) Love. Does he love me? I was humbled to have Jesse Brown, the former Veteran’s Administration Secretary for Bill Clinton, as a business partner.

“Does he love me?” was Jesse’s one rule for taking on a new client or a new job. “If the love’s there, all else will fall in.” Look for; get the feel for the love. Yes, yes, I know it’s an emotion. But so is misery. Look for the love.


The Honorable

Jesse BrownJesse was an honorary campaign manager for the Al Gore presidential race. Which meant he was a $100K contributor. And could have any job he wanted. So I asked him why he gave the money, he wasn’t going to take a position in a new administration. “I wanted to help my friends get jobs.” He didn’t need anything for himself; he sincerely wanted to help others. Including me. And no, I was not about to take any Gore job. Please. But he could have made it happen.

2) Strategy. What would you do if you hit the lottery? Or the IPO is successful, the rich uncle dies. What would your potential boss do if he had a sudden windfall of piles of cash? I asked that in a job interview and was surprised. The hiring manager leaned back, and with a far away look in his eye talked about opening up a marina. His big dream. His big dream was not in that building and I wasn’t a part of it. I didn’t feel the love.


JJ Abrams with Tom Cruise

Credit: Stephen VaughanThe right answer is seen in JJ Abrams, the director of Mission Impossible III with Tom Cruise. He was recently asked what he did with all his money and about his work,

Next up for Abrams is a “Star Trek” movie, now in pre-production, which will unleash his inner geek as never before. He’ll also be working on “Lost,” trying to ensure the show doesn’t splinter into so many directions that it chokes on itself or stops moving.

There’s not a lot of talk from him about downtime.

Asked if he has any plans for his money, he seems confused.

“What money?”

You know, the money you get paid for all this incredibly lucrative work.

He thinks for a moment, then tilts his head and points to his locks.

“Hair care,” he says.

The reporter’s question was met with a joke. JJ Abrams really didn’t think about the money, didn’t think about the stuff it could buy. Or taking long vacations. He was consumed with his passion of making movies. The Love.

If you had the wealth of Solomon you should be doing exactly what you are doing now. The right answer from your potential manager is, “If I struck oil in my front yard, I’d still be doing what I’m doing now.” And he is really saying, “I love it here and so will you.”

3) Tactics. What classes are you taking now? Continuous learning is, well, continuous. Life-long-learning is the hallmark of leaders.


Benjamin Franklin“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” said Benjamin Franklin. An outstanding prospective boss is reading a compelling book, just finished a seminar on international business etiquette, or studied parallels on initiative between business units and military units for a board presentation.

Education and continuous improvement is the one thing every boss should care about.

I was surprised to learn this.

Your Business Blogger once acted as the COO of a Fortune 350 size organization. In my first meeting with the human resource directors, I asked them what was the one thing our employees wanted.

I thought it would be more money. More time off. Vacations days. Sick leave. The typical union demands.

Nope. The nine HR professionals, who happened to all be women said, unanimously, education. More budget and time for improving knowlege, skills and abilities. More opportunities for studies and credentials. (Then they’d clamor for increased pay based on increased efficiency. Clever buggers.)

So we opened attendance for adult education programs at local universities and community colleges. And squeezed out budgets for fancy business consultants to teach advanced management skills. Everyone was happy. Our employee retention rate improved.

If your new manager doesn’t care about adult education for himself, he won’t care about it for you.

So you are now armed with three qualifying questions to test your next boss. Or try them on your current boss if you are looking for an excuse to leave. But get a new job first.

And let me know how it goes.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Jesse Brown passed away almost 4 years ago. I still miss him. My inaugural post was dedicated to him.

Basil’s Blog has a Picnic.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

Charmaine is Hiring: Media Relations, AV Production, Web Editor

April 28, 2006 | By | One Comment

The wife of Your Business Blogger is hiring talent in Your Nation’s Capital.

At the Family Research Council. Defending Family, Faith and Freedom.

If you know of a candidate, please email me or comment.

Director of Media Relations

Under the direction of the Vice President for Communications, develops and implements FRC’s daily communications strategy. Develops media messages and strategy and implements plans for both immediate response news items and long-term projects on FRC issues. Builds relationships and conducts interviews with news outlets. Promotes FRC president and other FRC experts to news outlets. Oversees the distribution of FRC publications to the media. Assists Development department to increase donor awareness of media activity. Serves as an FRC spokesperson. Works as an Associate Producer of FRC Simulcasts. Manages Media Coordinators.

Manager of Audio & Video Production

Under the direction of the Vice President for Communications, produces and edits FRC’s 90-second daily radio commentary and the 30-minute Washington Watch Weekly. The Manager of Audio and Video Production maintains the production schedule for FRC’s radio studio. The incumbent manages production, distribution, and marketing of FRC audio projects; to include radio programs, public service announcements, commercials, and audio tape productions. The incumbent also has responsibility for all video needs in the organization; to include taping, editing, and posting FRC events on the web, in coordination with the Web Editor. The incumbent in this position will also be responsible for special video projects as they are developed.

Web Editor

Under the direction of the Vice President for Communications, serves as the editing and preparation channel through which all publications, papers, and communications from all FRC departments are funneled for the most effective presentation on FRC website. With assistance and expertise of information technology staff, insures posting, revision, and arrangement of material on website. The incumbent works to enhance FRC’s Internet presence and image as a public policy research, education, and advocacy organization. The incumbent is responsible for managing the content and appearance of FRC web sites. Prepares all materials (publications, papers, legislative updates, press releases, etc.), including promotional material and FRC merchandise, for posting on website. Monitors web site traffic and provides weekly reports on traffic trends.

This position requires an undergraduate degree in political science, history, or social science and three years in a professional office environment, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Requires the ability to engage with all levels of staff and mgmt with tact and diplomacy. Excellent organizational skills, ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, and demonstrated ability to function in fast paced environment. Incumbent must have demonstrated conceptual, writing, and editing skills along with technological expertise in html and web design. Previous web editing and image design experience a must. Knowledge of the public policy arena as well as family and cultural issues is essential.


13 Apr



Illegal Interview Question: Are You a US Citizen?

April 13, 2006 | By | 4 Comments


Hire the Best People,

but don’t get sued

The law is an *ss — an idiot…

Charles Dickens

Your Business Blogger once ran the Human Resource function for a 14,000 employee enterprise. The boss demanded, “Get the best talent!”

And don’t get sued. It was like playing defense. You can’t win it, but you can lose it.

Anyway, when interviewing job candidates, a series of trick questions are necessary to:

1) Get answers and

2) Stay within the Law

Sometimes mutually exclusive, because the law is, well, an *ss.

So. During the interview, I would say, not ask, to the job candidate,

“That is a beautiful ring [on the third finger on the left hand]…”

“I have the five best kids on the planet…”

“I love California! I was born in San Diego…”

“I’ve been married to Charmaine for 16 years this May…”

This work is best left to your anti-personnel, personnel department. The HR professionals have become as vital as lawyers. And can kill a contact or contract even faster.

Here’s more from our friends at,

Illegal: Are you a U.S. citizen? Where were you or your parents born?

Legal: Are you authorized to work in the United States? What other languages do you speak? This question is okay as long as it relates to the job you are interviewing for.

Illegal: How old are you? When is your birthday?

Legal: Are you over 18 years of age? Again, this question is considered legal if it relates to the job.

Illegal: What’s your marital status? Who do you live with? Do you plan to have a family? How many kids do you have? Do you have childcare arrangements?

Legal: Travel is an important part of the job, would you be willing to travel as needed?

Illegal: Do you belong to any clubs? What are your affiliations?

Legal: Do you belong to any professional trade organizations that you consider relevant to your ability to perform this job?

Illegal: How tall are you? How much do you weigh?

Legal: Are you able to lift a 50 lb weight and carry it more than 100 yards for this job?

Illegal: Do you have any disabilities? Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations? If so, please list the dates of these operations.

Legal: Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job with or without reasonable accommodations?

Illegal: Have you ever been arrested?

Legal: Have you ever been convicted of a crime? The crime in question should be related to the performance of the job in question.

Illegal: If you’ve been in the military, were you honorably discharged?

Legal: What type of training or education did you receive in the military?

And this is why you will never hear back from a company about why you didn’t didn’t get that job. It is rude. But it’s not personal. It’s personnel, and

It’s the Law. It has made us all *sses.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Photo credit US Navy.

And this is why managers are socio-paths.

Basil’s Blog has a picnic.

Mudville has Open Post.

Job Search? PASS This Test

September 21, 2005 | By | 2 Comments

See how “Sarah” is getting it right. To get your next job, assignment or project PASS this test! See how the mythical composite Sarah learned new behaviors to find new opportunities.


As first appeared in The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, Virginia, January 20, 2002

To get a job, first get a plan and then get busy

by Jack Yoest

Two years ago Sarah, a technology worker asked, “How do I get a life?” Now she asks, “How do I get a job?” With unemployment the highest in six years, uncertainty has arrived this holiday season like the proverbial lump of coal: How would she find work?

Sudden unemployment, or looming job uncertainty, is one of life’s great challenges. It’s a stress test, but it’s one you can learn to pass.

Here’s how: use this coming New Year as an impending event to trigger the start of new behaviors. This is the time to be jolly, reduce uncertainty and increase paycheck security. Here’s how Sarah, and you, will PASS this test!

Get a Plan. New Year’s Resolutions notoriously never make it past the Super Bowl. So get a plan. Don’t confuse the ultimate goal — new job or new assignment — with the individual steps you will take each day. Write down the actions you will do every day, every week.


PASSing involves managing behaviors, not goals. One of Sarah’s action items was to shake ten hands at every event she attended.

Your Plan should be concrete and specific; your behaviors should be discrete and measurable: include numbers of phone calls, numbers of people you meet, number of letters you send. Numbers, Numbers, Numbers. This is important. What you count, counts.

Get Accountable. Find a friend and let them know your plan. Regularly update the friend who might be your spouse, relative, or bartender. This is the most difficult part of the process: ask for help and manage your mentor, someone who cares about you. If you can’t find a mentor, email your plan to me. (I don’t care about you either, but what works is telling someone what you will do and then reporting that you did it.) Asking for input is key — people may not have a job for you, but they will always have advice.

Get Seen. The cliche is wrong: it’s not

Read More

Hire Citizen Smash: The Indepundit

September 20, 2005 | By | 2 Comments

Citizen Smash is looking for a job.

The number one characteristic a hiring manager should study is not on a candidate’s resume: Character. Hiring committees know only about an applicant’s mettle from a third party observation.


This is an openly biased endorsement for Citizen Smash at Indepundit.

We all can evaluate track records, competencies. We can objectively measure and manage knowledge, skills and abilities.

The subjective measure of a man is more challenging.

The most important component in getting a measurement of character is checking references. In critical positions I like to have an enthusiastic champion for the candidate somewhere in the “degrees of separation” between us.

I’ve never met Smash, but please accept my reference. Here’s how I know Smash is one of the good-guys:

Charmaine, my better half at Reasoned Audacity, was working the G8/Live8 in the UK when her site crashed. Our host didn’t take kindly to the spike in traffic volume.

So there was Charmaine in London on 7/7 and she couldn’t post. We were racking up transatlantic charges working to get her back online (with an unresponsive web hosting service — a topic for another post.)

Smash immediately understood the frustration of a fellow blogger and quickly posted her most recent entries from the Google cache.

If he would do this for an unknown “large mammal,” then it is a reasonable bet that he might be a bit more responsive to a supervisor who signs his check.

Hire Smash. Contact him. Or contact me.

He’s looking for a job in IT. Please pass this link on to someone who might know someone.


Come back for later posts where we discuss the biggest mistake a manager can make.

Thank you (foot)notes:

BloggerJobs and Hiring.

9Rules is hiring blog writers.

Belmont has discussion on culture.

Hiring Tech People has two questions for candidates.

BNET has hiring for passion.

Woodster has good news for geeks.

My Blog of HR has blogging makes the world go around.

Basil’s Blog continues in this public service.

Report to Mudville Gazette for Open Post. And while you’re there see WILLisms reporting on Europe’s anti-American leanings and unemployment (only Will could put them both in the same post and pull it off.)

Good posts at Outside the Beltway with Traffic Jam.