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Paul Feeney

Certainly, anyone who works in today's corporations knows that far too few employees are trying to do far too much work with far too limited resources. At some point in the last century, people were those companies' most important resource - but that was then and this is now, dude. If not ignored or placed on hold by corporate edict, hiring has become a necessary evil as opposed to a golden opportunity. And with every possible ounce of cost being wrung from corporate budgets, it seems to make sense to hire on the cheap: waste-not, want-not. This has led to the creation of computerized "vendor management systems" for personnel procurement; applicant-tracking software that classifies, files and retrieves r'esum'es electronically; "preferred recruiter" lists based largely on search firms' willingness to discount their services; increased reliance on online job boards, and so on. Read on...

Paul Feeney

It's the 'Main Event' - the face-to-face interview - at which new careers will be launched or left at the dock. The employer is deciding whether to extend a job offer, while the candidate is deciding whether to accept one if offered. This is clearly an interview that's going nowhere. Totally monotonous and stuck in an endless loop of resume verification and leading questions. Indeed, no effort is required to conduct it. By contrast, great interviews require a clear understanding of what information the interviewer hopes to obtain - and what kinds of questions will produce the intended results? Here are ten questions that do an especially good job of revealing what makes a candidate tick... Read on...

Paul Feeney

Chances are you've built or inherited a team that most days seem to work pretty well. Perhaps you yourself are a part of a higher team. Perhaps your team members have their own teams in place. Looked at from this perspective, the entire organization is a collection of overlapping teams - from the board of directors to the smallest sales office and production unit. The organization thus functions like a complex molecule, with the various teams as its atoms and each leader as a nucleus. And as long as any given team does not show obvious signs of radioactive decay, the comfortable assumption is that it's stable and performing as intended. Naturally, team members have their foibles. Tom, for example, tends to become passive-aggressive when assigned tasks he doesn't enjoy. Amanda is too inclined to criticize other members of the team. And Ed shoots first, asking questions later. How many - if any - of such foibles should be accepted as normal human behavior? And how are they affecting overall team performance? Could the team be doing better than it does? Read on...

Paul Feeney

There is no end to surveys proving that people change jobs for a variety of subjective and objective reasons, most of which have nothing to do with pay. All that having been said, executive recruiters know one great truth: While candidates have been known to decline high-paying jobs, few will accept low-paying ones. Many employers, nonetheless, find it increasingly difficult to offer superior candidates superior salaries. That's because salary ranges have fallen victim to disappearing merit budgets, the flattening of corporate organization charts and the growing emphasis on pay-for-performance incentives in place of high base pay. Hiring managers and HR professionals can address this challenge by keeping three compensation principles in mind: (1) there is more to compensation than salary; (2) not all components of compensation serve the same purpose; and (3) different kinds of organizations need different kinds of compensation plans. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Professional baseball teams have developed a lucrative sideline letting middle-aged males sweat it out for a week at a real-life training camp. It's the dream of a lifetime for avid fans, and their mates pay dearly to send them, usually in honor of an otherwise depressing birthday. Travel with us instead to Fantasy Interviewing Camp, where Major League players make the hard-to-master process of candidate attraction and selection look easy. Note that we said "attraction" as well as "selection," because interviewing is a two-way street. It's great that you have chosen Mary as better qualified than Joe, but what if she has not chosen you? Oh, yes: And leave your baggage behind. If your organization is like most others around the world, interviewing is a hit-or-miss process, with more misses than hits. Let's take a fresh look. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Are your employees simply showing up most days? Half of all workers hate their jobs. Wait, scratch that: let's be more precise. According to a new survey by The Conference Board, a non-profit organization that studies business issues, just 51% of all American workers say they are satisfied with their jobs. That figure stood at 59% just seven years ago. Perhaps most alarming, workers aged 35-44 had the highest level of satisfaction in 1995 (at 61%) - but today have the lowest (at 47%). Read on...

Paul Feeney

Recession and recoveries both have a way of sneaking up on the unsuspecting. With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, government economists now believe that the current recession began the early part of 2001. In fact, the warning signs of an end to a decade of seemingly boundless growth stretched back to the previous fall, when various engines of growth began to sputter. Those warning signs included the implosion of the dot-com economy, lagging sales of telecommunications and computer hardware, a sagging stock market, the drying up of capital investment and the curtailment of corporate hiring. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Organizations seldom set out to pick the wrong person for a job - but all too often succeed at that task despite themselves. When the hoped-for superstar proves to be not so super, or maybe just a poor fit, much of the benefit of filling the position has been lost. Last year saw a record number of new CEOs lose their jobs, as their Boards decided that one misstep was one too many. At lower, less visible levels the weeding-out process may take longer. But, sooner or later, mistakes must be corrected, or they will begin to eat away at organizational effectiveness. Read on...

Paul Feeney

Is there a silver lining inside the clouds of the economic slowdown and the slow recovery out of recession hanging over the U.S. and other countries? Is a less overheated economy secretly good news for employers desperately seeking employees? As we all know the current Conflict with Iraq has put a major halt on economic growth. As layoffs increase the pool of unemployed workers, will companies have an easier time of hiring - now and in the future? Is it therefore time to slow down from overnight job offers and scale back those astronomical hiring bonuses? Read on...

Paul Feeney

Interviews are like blind dates: one prays for the best but fears for the worst. The job candidate hopes that he or she will find the perfect next place of employment - bright people working for a great organization that has its act together and operates with a powerful sense of purpose and high degree of urgency. The employer, likewise, hopes to find that rare individual who walks on water and motivates others to follow. Yet sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the parties fail to put their best foot forward, spend a frustrating day learning little about each other and part company uncertain about the outcome. Much has been written about the interviewing mistakes that candidates make. Less has been written about the other half of the equation. But, as one byproduct of tens of thousands of candidate debriefings after their "blind dates" were over, Sanford Rose Associates has compiled a list of 10 common employer mistakes, along with some practical suggestions for avoiding them. Read on...

Paul Feeney

The truth is that leadership is generally more apparent by its absence than by its presence. How often in recent years have corporations replaced their CEO with either the current Number Two officer or with the savior from outside the company - only to regret the decision within months, if not days? The answer to that not entirely rhetorical question is more than half the time. Companies, nonetheless, crave leadership and cite it in survey after survey as the most needed ingredient in CEOs and general business managers. Many search firms therefore tout their skills in identifying that elusive trait. Read on...

Paul Feeney

As the old saying goes, if there weren't problems, God wouldn't have created managers. And anticipating problems is at least half of the battle for solving them. The smart manager therefore, with the active participation of the organization's HR professionals, will do a little brainstorming to identify the "what-ifs" that may be lurking just around the corner. The even wiser manager will address existing issues and concerns as well. Read on...

Paul Feeney

What began as a dream search turned into a recruiter's worst nightmare. The top candidate for Marketing Director of the company's consumer products division had impeccable credentials, understood branding like few other individuals in the universe and was a natural leader. Highly recommended by the outside search consultant and by numerous references, he had survived tough interviews with the vice president to whom he would report, as well as a senior HR professional. Now it was time to meet the other division officers. All went well until he walked into the office of the division's legal counsel, who said, "I think I've met you before." Read on...

Paul Feeney

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL recently confirmed what many long have suspected - namely, that "Online job boards have lost their cachet." (July 12, 2005) Why? According to the Journal, they are yielding "landslides of r'esum'es" that mostly come from unqualified candidates. "The trick - something that executive-search firms and headhunters have known for decades - is that the perfect candidate is usually working happily at a desk somewhere." The Journal is exactly right. Read on...

Paul Feeney

When it comes to people, we tend to think of the workplace as pretty homogeneous. Certainly our inner circle of peers consists of people pretty much like us - in age, schooling, professional background, athletic and cultural preferences, family size, residential choices and even attire. Workers older than we may not seem quite "with it," while younger ones may dress a little funny. Nonetheless, the employees of any particular organization (be it corporate headquarters or manufacturing plant) seem to be cut pretty much from the same bolt of cloth - or are they? Read on...

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Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.