Archive for the ‘Hello! – My transition into new adventures’ Category

To my thousands of blog readers (well ok – maybe 3), my apologies for not having posted any new content recently. 

My good fortune in being allowed to play a small part in supporting the growth of LivingSocial worldwide, has led me to working on sourcing candidates in 5 new countries in recent weeks.  Balancing this with my own full-time job search activities, has therefore led to this being an interesting and challenging period to say the least!

When I started to chronicle my career transition in this blog, I felt hopeful and confident of the path that I was walking. 

My journey so far, walking the roads of contingency recruitment and the sourcing of a new full-time position, has taken me on a journey through the lands of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good!

LivingSocial – one of the fastest growing companies in the world.  A revolutionary player in the social commerce space, who build their business on core values of honesty, transparency of their service offering and a commitment to not only being the biggest in their sector but more importantly, the best.  It continues to be an honour to play my small part in their success.

The Wetstein Group – it is only through the opportunity provided by Stu Wetstein and his wife Jean, that I have been able to serve LivingSocial.  The experience of working with this team has led me to encourage a # of talented recruiters from my professional network to sign up and also benefit from the LivingSocial experience.  Paying it forward like this has  held the greatest joy of all.

Other contingency clients – I have been provided with the opportunity of serving a range of other company’s hiring needs in the last few months; experiences for which I continue to be grateful.

Recruitment to Recruitment – I am fortunate to be having my full-time job search complemented by a # of recruiters whose service levels, work ethic and skill make them stand out from their peers.  For this, I highly recommend them – Jackie Rees, Alex Sorrell and Will Wood

The Bad!

Recruitment to Recruitment – yes, again!  Call me old-fashioned as far as service standards are concerned, but if someone communicates with you, is it not courtesy to respond back?  Further and in what consistently gives this industry a bad name, if you are unable to apply basic service standards yourself, how can you demand them of others?  To qualify this, an overview of my recent experience:

  • I reach out to a # of new ‘recruiters for recruiters’, asking them to connect on LinkedIn, including a short message of what assistance I am looking for from them, in regards to my full-time job search.
  • Most reply, agreeing to connect.  Only 20% send any kind of accompanying message, along the lines of wanting further information and/or seeking to arrange an appointment to speak with me!  For the other 80% – Strike 1!
  • ‘OK’ I think, ‘I’ll try again’.  I send a longer message to the others, this time qualifying my job search criteria in more detail.  No responses for several days!  Strike 2!
  • Then hallelujah, 3 more replies!  Except these 3 (remembering that they have left it up to a week before replying in any shape or form), send me a message to the effect that they are disappointed that I have connected with other recruiters, as they only like working with candidates who give them 100% exclusivity and unless I will give them this (and ‘sack’ those who responded brilliantly to me as a potential new customer), then they are not interested in working with me!!  What!  Hello?!  Strike 3 and out!

The Ugly!

Stalkers – unfortunately, the downside of being as active as I am on the social networking platforms, is that in addition to the great new connections I have made, it also leads one to attract losers other followers as well – you know who you are!  All I can say to these new ‘fans’ of mine is, get a life!

So here I am, on my journey of professional adventure.  As ever, my family are by my side.  There may be further bad experiences along the way; possibly some more ugly ones. 

However, good experiences are being encountered every day, with great ones lying ahead of us.

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One of the benefits of my current schedule, is the opportunity of building in extra curricular activities during hours of the day which fit in with my wife’s schedule.

Instead of being restricted to doing such things as exercising before or after regular office hours, I can now go to the gym with my wife during the day (recruiting schedule permitting).  Renewed gym membership in hand, I accompanied her to our first joint session 2 days ago. 

Like any good military exercise, our planning was faultless.  Our son was dropped off at school; our 4 yr old daughter in pre-school.  We took our 2 yr old daughter with us to the YMCA, to place her in the day care facility.  We planned on a 30 min window of exercise time before other commitments intruded  My wife led me to the elliptical machines – we were set!

However, I had forgotten to consider 2 important points:  I had never used an elliptical before and I hadn’t done any worthwhile exercise in months!

Unfortunately, I did not have the sense to remember these minor points, prior to doing what men are best at – jumping into the fray, not listening because we know best and letting pride come before a fall.

I jumped in.  I ignored the loving enquiries of my wife as to whether I knew how to use the machine and by the time I realized my mistake in this, it was too late.  While she seemingly effortlessly pumped her legs on the machine next to me, chatting about our lives and plans for the future, I glanced down to the countdown timer on my machine, as the muscles in my own legs began to tighten.

Based on the pain starting to form in my thighs, I judged that I must have been on the machine for at least a decade.

“3 minutes!  3 minutes!!  You have to be kidding me!”  Luckily, I kept the rising panic to myself.  Pride had kicked in, which unfortunately meant that the fall was coming.

The next 12 minutes passed in slow agony.  My wife continued to cheerfully chat about how enjoyable this was.  I silently called for my mother.

Then, salvation!  Just when I had reached the point of my machismo running out, as I was about to admit to her that I was going to have to stop, a call came over the PA from the daycare center, asking us to return.  Our 2 yr old, left alone for the 1st time had only managed to last 15 minutes before melting down.

After consoling her, we returned to the car.  Like all children, she bounced back quickly.  This is not my proudest parenting moment, but I have to be honest and admit that I’ve never been so glad to hear one of my children cry!

Over the next 24 hrs, the pain in my thighs increased until now, 2 days later, if you listen carefully you can hear them silently screaming!

Thankfully, the planning and delivery of both my current recruiting and search for the right FT job is proving to be better executed than my search for ‘buffness’.

I’ve gained another new client since my last post, I’m up to 13 people placed and I’ve got several interesting conversations lined up for the next few weeks for positions in Asia.

Unlike my thighs, I certainly can’t complain as to the twists and turns of the journey that I find myself on.

Contacts are being made; conversations are being held.

My efforts via social media to connect directly with employers and with recruiters, is resulting in some early morning and late night calls worldwide.

I’m truly honoured that key decision makers from around the world are finding me to discuss my career objectives.  I’m starting to discuss a variety of possible opportunities.

Asia?..  Australia?..  US?..  UK?..  The conversations have started in regards to some exciting ventures in all of them. 

In the meantime, I continue to temporarily offer my services to Living Social, working on filling some senior level positions in the UK and other open requisitions in Canada.

As I write this, my 21 month old daughter has fallen asleep next to me, her head snuggled up against me.  The rest of the house is quiet, time stands still.  It is our moment.

Where in the world do I want to be!  That question is to be answered in the future.

Right now, it’s right here!

This past week has seen my mind focused on growth; both my children’s and my revenue.

In the last few days, my son has turned 13 and is now officially a teenager (oh, joy!).  Also, in the past week our 3 yr old daughter officially gave up her pacifier.  To all the horrified parents out there, I know, I know – why did we leave it this long?  I admit that this was my fault, as my wife  recommended that we help her give it up for over a year and I was just too weak-willed.  In fact, I can’t even claim credit for it finally happening – it was my wife who marched our daughter to Toys-R-Us to exchange the pacifier for a toy.

I just sat at home, morose at the thought of how upset our daughter would be when she came home.  Of course and as usual, my wife was correct – our daughter had got over it in a couple of days. 

Shhh – don’t tell anyone, but I think that it was me who needed the Binky more!

On the same day I had to give up the pacifier, our 20 month old daughter decided that she was too old for diapers, stripped hers off and started to try to use the potty.

By the end of the day, my daughters were supremely proud of themselves, my wife was their loudest cheerleader and I sat uselessly by, lost in thoughts of ‘hang on – how did our children get this old, this quickly?!’

As my childrenare growing in front of my eyes, so is the revenue from my work with Living Social.  In 4 weeks of actual work (after training on their systems and minus vacation time), I’ve now presented 12 candidates worldwide and made 7 hires – a 1.71:1 interviews arranged/placements ratio.  Yeah!!  This kind of success will continue to allow me to take my time in sourcing the right FT job for myself in US, UK or Asia as in the meantime, I can provide as I would wish to.

I watch with unbridled pride as my children grow and develop.  I observe our income stream continue to grow with much satisfaction.  My love and respect for my wife grows quickest of all, as we live this life together.  I strive for personal growth constantly.

Gordon Gekko may have postulated that ‘greed is good’.  My view is that growth is better.

We’ve just come back from a vacation in the UK. 

2 full days traveling and 8 days running all over the UK with our 3 kids and my father in tow!

Luckily, my wife still loves me; we didn’t strangle the kids and my father says he enjoyed himself (although he’s always been a polite man!). 

However, needless to say…..I need to go on another vacation!

The other reason that I need to  go away again, is that in my absence Living Social interviewed the 1st 5 of the applicants that I presented prior to leaving for the UK and 3 have been hired!

As all staffing professionals know, things always seem to happen when we go away.  This is either due to blind luck or because of the hard work which we put it in to wrapping things up before we go.

In my case, I’ll choose to believe that it’s the latter of course!

With 2 candidates placed in Australia and 1 in the UK, my temporary full cycle recruitment career with Living Social is up and running.  Thank you to Stu Wetstein at The Wetstein Group for the opportunity and to my wife for putting up with me being on the phone early in the morning with candidates from the UK and late at night with those from Australia and NZ.

I’m now working on more open positions in the UK, Australia and NZ, as well as others in Canada and Ireland.

Who knows – I may earn us another vacation yet!

It would seem that I’m a hot commodity for the insurance/assurance market!

A few weeks after actively putting myself out there in the job market and I’m being inundated with approaches from the likes of Farmers Insurance.  Apparently, the business development success that I’ve enjoyed as part of my staffing experience makes me an ideal candidate for selling insurance!

Now, nothing against Farmers and their like but I somehow don’t see myself as an Insurance Salesman.  I’m sure that it’s a worthy field – just not for me!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks so far, balancing new temporary contract work priorities with the search for a FT job, while still trying to be the husband and father that I strive to be.

My temporary work with LivingSocial (LS), contracting through The Wetstein Group (TWG), is now up and running.  I’m up to speed on LS recruiting goals, vision and urgent staffing needs and I have been superbly trained in the processes TWG use to deliver their outstanding success to LS. 

I’ve also connected TWG with 7 of my former colleagues from within my social network, as the co seeks to meet LivingSocial’s expansion plans in 2011.  It’s been so nice to ‘pay it forward’ and give other experienced recruiters the opportunity to link up with TWG and their client, LS.

I’ve also taken on responsibility for full cycle recruiting of specific LS hiring needs in the US, UK and Australia and was flown into D.C. to sit in on one of LS’s ‘Super Session’ recruitment days and learn the methodology behind how they recruit.

Overall, it’s proving to be the new adventure that I hoped it to be – an enjoyable and professionally satisfying way to pay the bills, until such time as the right FT job comes along. 

Having now presented my 1st few applicants for consideration, we’ll soon see how many bills I can pay!

January 15th 2011

I am indeed a lucky man.

I have the most beautiful, vibrant woman in the world by my side during this period of transition.  I have 3 intelligent, healthy and passionate children.  As a family, we now walk the path which will lead to the next adventure in our lives following my job elimination.

The 1st step was taken about 10 mins after my COO and President left my office and 5 minutes after I had called my wife with the news.  I reached out to one of my contacts on LinkedIn, Jean Wetstein who I had corresponded with a few days earlier when she had announced that she had left Williams Lea and was joining her husband’s firm, The Wetstein Group.

She had let me know that they were looking for recruiters to support them in their work with their major client.  I had promised to let her know of anyone I would recommend her speaking with.

Now, on the day I was told that I had lost my job, the conversation took on a different perspective.

“Hey Jean, I’ve got someone for you – me!”

Long story short – 3 emails and 2 telephone conversations later, by the following day I was signed up to be a contract recruiter for Living Social – a great, short-term option for all sorts of reasons!

  • LivingSocial offers daily deals on handpicked experiences that can be shared with friends. Their mission is to add surprise to every calendar.  Innovation and imagination have made LivingSocial the fastest-growing company in the social-buying category.
  • LivingSocial lets anyone find restaurants, shops, activities and travel hotspots popular in their area, at a significant savings. The company has dedicated area experts on the ground in every market working directly with business owners and constantly researching the best in local attractions to bring a savings of 50% to 70% for consumers.
  • Their web site offers a new promotion every morning, announced through its website, daily email, iPhone and Android app. Live for 24 hours, the Deal is available to anyone who clicks on it. Additionally, LivingSocial’s unique referral model gives users their Deal for free if they refer three friends who also participate.
  • With an audience of 10 million subscribers, LivingSocial is able to provide local merchants with the unprecedented ability to reach both local customers and a worldwide audience as well as introduce great local experiences at incredible values.
  • Recently, LivingSocial launched LivingSocial Escapes, a travel site offering unbeatable savings on curated, unforgettable adventures. Just as LivingSocial lets people discover new services, experiences and attractions at deep discounts in their hometown or places they visit, LivingSocial Escapes helps anyone find one-of-a-kind day trips, packaged nearcations, quick escapes that don’t require air-travel or weekend excursions they might not typically pursue. LivingSocial Escapes is the company’s third vertical market launch, including its LivingSocial Family Edition with deals for families in select locations and Deals for college students offered through a partnership with Koofers.
  • They are tracking to generate $500 million in sales this year and are focused on winning new market share in 2011, following the $175 million investment from Amazon recently announced.
  • In the last year, they have grown to offering local experiences in 5 countries!

I am honored and excited to be offered the chance to assist Living Social with the latest phase of their growth; specifically in joining The Wetstein Group’s team of recruiters in sourcing Account Execs for Living Social in both the US and UK, as well as assist them in sourcing other new recruiters; utilizing the power of my own social networks.  Led by Stu Wetstein, they are a tremendously skilled and supportive group of people.

Through the power of networking, the stars have aligned to offer me this chance to flex my recruitment skills and earn some resulting income, while I search for the next big opportunity for myself and my family.

Did I mention that I feel lucky?! 

Lucky to have my family and their support, as well as being fortunate to have tremendous, generous people in my social network.