Friday, October 16, 2009
Just when I thought Kforce couldn’t give me anything more, I was completely surprised. About a month ago, Kforce made me a mom…in a very unusual sense of the word.
That’s right, a mom…to Carl Dunn and Jordana Valle, my little baby technical recruiting birds.
To most of you, it is no secret I am in the process of moving to California to embark on a crazy (and exciting!) journey with our San Francisco office. (To the rest of you, get with it.) Because of this, our Orlando team was in desperate needs of some new, insanely good recruiters. There was a lot of fretting, lost sleep and appetites because my greatness is very hard to replicate. There were even rumors that Big Brother was toying with the idea of closing Kforce all together; after all, what is Kforce Orlando Tech without Megan “Hoppy” Hopkins? Fortunately, they recognized that it was very shortsighted to throw the baby out with the bath water and instead, focused their efforts on finding someone almost as impressive as me. After scouring the world (or just Orlando) and interviewing countless people…they succeeded in finding some awesome talent…and that awesomeness came in the form of 5’7” (3/4) Carl Dunn (who, you don’t know, but…) and Kforce’s own OnStaff rock star, Jordana Valle.
At first, I was overwhelmed at the idea “training” anyone. (Ok, who am I kidding? I loved it. Not only am I a great recruiter, I’m an even better bosser-arounder.) The idea of molding them into the technical recruiters they needed to be was intimidating; everything I did they would mimic and I was going to greatly affect their moral compass and help them become responsible recruiting adults. If I said a foul word, I was afraid they’d pick it up, too. If I lashed out and hit a candidate, would they do the same? Was spanking appropriate? Lord help them. (No, seriously…Lord, help them.)
Fortunately, after about a week I realized these two fledglings had a pretty good understanding of recruiting and they were going to mature just fine. There were a few times where I had to help young Carl fly straight, but for the most part, he was dying to jump face first out of the nest and get recruiting. I even had the pleasure of being around for his first word, (“mythology” and his first sentence, “My name is Carl Dunn. You don’t know me but…”). Being a mother was definitely proving to be a very rewarding experience.
As time progressed, things got better and better. My two birdies grew stronger and wiser…until finally….
…the time came. I had to stop feeding them worms in the form of great candidates, contacts, and unknown technical knowledge and let them leave the nest.
That time was today, folks, at 2:34pm, when I left the Orlando Kforce office (after 3 years!) and hit the road for the airport…and San Francisco. Though I will miss my two feathered young, I know they will do great and will make their mama proud.
…Ok, enough weirdness.
In all seriousness, today was my last day in the Kforce Orlando office and I have turned over the recruiting reigns to Carl Dunn and Jordana Valle. Though both are new to the Kforce Technology team, they have been recruiting for years and anyone that works with them is in GREAT hands.
Carl Dunn joined Kforce about a month or so ago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a wealth of technical knowledge (just ask him...) and is equally as street savvy. He enjoys horseback riding, fly fishing, Indian food, Greek mythology, and classical music. Rumor has it that he is plays the harp in his spare time but that has yet to be verified.
Jordana Valle has been with Kforce for over three years and has experience recruiting everything under the sun. She can be reached at email@example.com and is anxiously awaiting your correspondence. She has a great nose (for food…and BS) and is a great recruiter to have in your corner. In Jordana’s spare time, she enjoys classic literature (she is an old soul), day trips to Disney, hiking, children, and has a particular interest in telecom.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I’m not the most coordinated person when it comes to dressing myself. In fact, it is a running joke in my office that I ALWAYS wear a dress to work…and not because I’m exceptionally girly. Instead, I am borderline lazy when it comes to clothing and dresses are easy. There is no matching involved (other than your shoes…and I almost wear the same pair everyday so that’s simple enough) and you only have to throw one thing on in the morning and you are ready to go…and look quite cute to boot. Dresses are my thing.
Recently a lot of my posts have been inspired by crazy stuff my candidates do…and this one is no different. I harp a lot on looking presentable for interviews (with a staffing firm and the “real” company), first day at work, etc. and there is a reason for that. When you dress the part, it makes a good first (second, third…seventh) impression. In my three years with Kforce, I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff. (And when I say “crazy”, that means plain freakin’, WTF were you thinking doing that/wearing that NUTS.)
Let me take you back to the beginning of my wild and crazy career with The Force.
It was a dark and stormy night…ok, not really, but a little added suspense never hurts.
I had been working with Kforce for a few months and I had recently recruited a killer candidate and he was going to come in and meet with me for an in-person interview. I was excited…very, very excited. Not only was his resume absolutely freakin’ awesome, he was articulate, and I was positive that he would present wonderfully in person.
I got a call from the front desk and she told me that Nameless Candidate #1 had arrived for his interview. I walked out, anxious to meet my .Net stunner and I was stopped dead in my tracks. For a split second, I thought I was being punked. As I looked at his outfit and tried to make sense of what was before me I couldn’t help but…laugh (terrible, nervous habit). Before me stood a pair of corduroy pants about six inches too short (almost capris, but not quite) riddled with holes, tube socks, (if I hadn’t known better I would have sworn he was sharing socks with my little brother), some rockin’ Velcro shoes…and a Guy Harvey shirt adorned with a big marlin. For the record, I love Guy Harvey and I was still turned off. To top off the look, he was sporting the Prince Charles all-the-way-to-the-ear part and some HUGE glasses. He looked hot. Immediately, my opinion of this candidate changed. Though I was very excited about his background and the way he presented verbally, I was terrified to put him in front of a client. I had been pretty clear that professional dress was required for in-person interviews and if this was his idea of professional dress…Dios Mio, I was in trouble. Against my better judgment, I took a chance on him anyway (after some serious wardrobe counseling)…and he showed up wearing the same freakin’ pants to his client interview. My client actually called me after and asked me if I had found him on the street. (For the record, no, I found him on Monster.com…the other street). My client did recognize that he had the skills to do the job but couldn’t get over his appearance. As a result, Nameless Candidate #1 remained unemployed.
About a year later, I met Nameless Candidate #2 and unlike Nameless Candidate #1, he looked awesome when he came in for his in-person interview with me. This guy was sharp and to top it off, was a technical wizard. I was extremely excited to get him presented to some of my clients. I presented him to a few things that didn’t pan out and finally to a job that he eventually got. The only crappy part was this job wasn’t slated to start for over a month from the time of the interview. Fortunately, it was a big love fest between Nameless Candidate #2 and my client so my candidate agreed to wait and start the job in about five weeks when it opened up. Everything was perfect.
Or so I thought.
The five weeks passed pretty quickly and I went to walk Nameless Candidate #2 on for his first day (and give him his brown bag lunch…or not). As soon as I walked up, I noticed something was off but I couldn’t quite place it. He looked different.
And then it hit me.
Nameless Candidate #2 thought it was a stellar idea to put gauges in his ears.
So Awesome, in fact, his manager called me about an hour or so later and told me that HR had big issues with the gauges (shocker!) and I needed to counsel my candidate. Again with the damn counseling! Perhaps he could wear Band-Aids over the large holes in his ears? In any event, I gave him a ring, informed him that gauges didn’t scream “Hello, I’m a professional” and told him that he would have to wear Band-Aids over his ears during the workday. Very awkward situation...
…but certainly not the most awkward one I’ve been in. No, no…that honor is reserved for Nameless Candidate #3 that decided to dye her hair bright red (Lucille Ball has nothing on this lady) after I advised her to groom herself a little.
I met Nameless Candidate #3 much like the others and while she didn’t come dressed like a frump to her interview with me, she wasn’t overly put together. She was average and a little bit of a hippie…and that was f-i-n-e with me. I love hippies…I am moving to San Francisco, after all. She interviewed telephonically with a client of mine and he liked her enough to bring her in. She went in for her first in-person with the client and did reasonably well. His only criticism was that she was a bit of a “naturalist” and she might need to clean up a little before the final round of interviews (panel). Though I was not thrilled about advising someone to brush their hair etc. (should be common sense, but who am I to judge?), I told her to spruce it up a little and she should be good to go.
And thus began the breakdown in communication. Apparently, when I said, “Spruce it up and brush your hair.” she took that as, “Dye your hair the most obnoxious and unnatural color you can find…oh, and don’t use gloves…and pay no attention to your hairline.”
You see where I’m going with this, right? Yeah….
The day of the final interview rolls around and I meet Nameless Candidate #3 onsite at my client’s. She is dressed appropriately (kind of)…but wait a second…what is all of that red stuff all over her???? Has she been sacrificing animals in her spare time? (She is a proud PETA advocate so I quickly ruled that out…and noticed her flaming red hair.)
Instead, it seemed that she thought it was a wise idea to sex it up a little and color her hair and take no care to wash her hands…face…neck, forearms…etc. It was awful. No, it was beyond awful it was a train wreck…and a half.
I was inclined to spit on my finger (mommy style) and start rubbing the stuff off of her but I had no time. Mr. Client came out and escorted my little hair dye warrior into the interview room. To her credit, she held her own in the interview…but did not get the job. Before I received any technical feedback I was asked, “Was she in an accident?”
“Define accident”, I thought. If you mean she covered herself head to toe in dye because she wanted to spice it up, then yes, she was in a terrible, terrible accident.
Sadly, this stuff seems to happen all of the time and I guess channeling my inner “Queer Eye” is part of my job description. While I think it is common sense to dress appropriately (translation: wear a freakin’ suit) and not make any drastic alterations to your appearance before interviewing or starting a job, it isn’t as obvious to a lot of the people on the job market. I sincerely wish that candidates could get a job solely based on their technical prowess but there are so many other factors that are considered, namely team fit, environment fit, and appearance (and when I say appearance, I just mean look normal). So, for what it is worth (and I know I sound like a broken record), always remember to dress appropriately and maintain a “normal” and professional appearance.
Corduroy, red hair dye, gauges, and Guy Harvey (especially Guy Harvey) are hot…but save it for your house…on the weekend…when you are all alone…in the dark.