Saturday, 3 November 2012

No More Daylight Savings Time Please!

Daylight Savings Time ends in a few hours. My understanding is that it first began during one of the world wars as a way to conserve fuel. For some reason it was never stopped.

I grew up in Saskatchewan. At some point the province "sprang ahead" and then decided to leave the clocks where they were. I miss that.

We live in a 24/7 society. Very few people actually work 9 - 5 anymore so is DST even relevant now? Plus, it's a fact that more car accidents occur the morning following the time change. Plus, many, many people are late. The cost to the economy for this lost time and accidents is huge. And yet DST perseveres.

"But wait," you might say "at least we get that hour back in the fall." Unless you have pets or a toddler that is. Then you're up just as early (technically earlier) as always.

A coworker once said to me "it's so nice to get that extra hour every day though." Let me explain something: there are still 24 hours in a day. You do not get an extra hour!

I've decided that I will support any politician who promises to repeal DST. Come on folks - join the 21st century!

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A Job Offer's Not Real Unless It's On Paper

I hummed and hawed about writing this post.  Not because the information isn't important, but because I didn't want to "out" myself to my employer as a casual job seeker.  So I waited, and I waited, and now the time has come.

Last spring I was approached by a headhunter for a position within their own recruiting firm.  I politely declined.  I have zero interest in leaving my current role to work for a competitor.  I work for a great company and I do not wish to compete with them.  That same recruiter mentioned another role that I might be interested in - one with an online staffing services company (that's all I'm going to say about them).

I was intrigued and agreed to take it to the next step.  2 more phone interviews and a face to face meeting later I was offered the position!  I was so excited!  The base pay was a substantial increase over my current rate, plus there was commissions and a car allowance and other benefits of working for large company.  This was the end of June.  A week later and I still hadn't seen a formal offer.  I called the recruiter, he said he was "on it".  Then another week went by, then another.  Finally, 4 weeks later, I broke the recruiter protocol and e-mail my new would-be boss and asked him what's up.

A month after receiving the verbal offer, they rescinded it.  Not because they didn't want to hire me, but because the corporate office had put on a temporary hiring freeze.  Thank goodness I'm a smart cookie, I knew to wait to receive the formal offer before giving notice at my current job.

So that was this summer, now things have taken an interesting twist.  I was in initial talks with a different company to join their team.  I was to meet the Director at 1pm for coffee.  At 11 am the same day, this first company calls me to say the position is back on and am I interested.  "Sure" I said.  After all, it is a good opportunity and I had no additional offers. At my coffee meeting I got a second offer.

Yes, I did verbally accept both.  Could that be considered "douchy"?  Yes, but given my own, personal experience can you blame me?  Company #2 followed up the next business day with the written offer.  And, after much deliberation, I accepted.

So now more than a week has passed from my initial conversations.  I bit the bullet and called the recruiter for Company #1 to tell him that I had accepted another offer.  How did he take it?  Not well.  He's mad, very mad.  He said that I should have told him about the other offer so he could have negotiated a better deal for me.  He doesn't understand that it wasn't about the money.  His last e-mail to me bordered on being un-professional so I didn't respond.

I've worked in the recruiting industry for 10 years and I understand better than anyone else what this means for him.  It means that he won't get paid a fee.  I get that it sucks to be him right now.  But I know that he needs to learn that this stuff happens.  He hasn't lost the order from the first company, just the candidate.  He will still have an opportunity to earn his fee.

I've most likely burned a couple of bridges, and I always endeavour to act professional at all times, however, when it comes to one's career, you have to put yourself first.

Is there a lesson here?  Maybe, maybe not, maybe there are a few:

  • Always wait to receive the written job offer before you quit your current job
  • Communicate!  Never leave a candidate waiting for more than a day or two when an offer's on the line
  • As a candidate, be honest with your recruiter (technically I was since I didn't have any other offers on the table when they called)
  • As a recruiter, have a thick skin, you will need it.  This is a tough industry.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

What if Your Coworkers Acted Like Celebrities?

It seems to me that celebrities, be they entertainers, athletes, or even politicians, have a different set of rules than the rest of us.  I often wonder what the ramifications would be if workplace rules applied to them.

For instance: a couple of weeks ago, a CFL player was caught mooning the opposing team's fans. I tend to see professional athletes as either the PR department or sales department of a company.  They are the face of their team after all.  So imagine for a minute if one of your outside sales reps mooned your clients.  Do you  think that he would get away with only an apology and a fine?  Probably not.

And what about hockey?  It is well known that there is fighting in hockey.  While not exactly sanctioned, it's not exactly discouraged either.  Players fight and then they are punished for 2 or 5 minutes and then they return to work, sometimes they get to take the day off before returning.  Can you imagine if Bob and Mike from accounting were to throw down their calculators in the hall one day and start hammering on each other?  I highly doubt that the only "penalty" that they would receive would be to go home for the rest of the day.

Maybe I've worked in HR/Staffing for too long, whenever I hear of any such incidences I always try to put it in the context of the regular workplace.  Oftentimes I wish that others would too.

Monday, 17 September 2012

About Gratitude

By most accounts, I had a bad week last week.  Gas prices jumped $0.08 the night before my low gas light came on, I lost my debit card, I broke my glasses, I wasn't awarded a contract that I really wanted, and my office plant died.  Nope, not my best week by a long shot.  Even so, I managed to stay happy and positive all week.  For you see, a friend of mine had a much worse week; she had to bury her mother.

Each time something would happen, sure I'd get annoyed or frustrated, but then I would think of my friend.  I knew that she would gladly trade places with me. Her loss reminded me to keep things in perspective, a viewpoint I think that many of us lose from time to time.

This past week made me remember that no matter how bad things may seem to me, there is always someone who is worse off than me.  Knowing this, makes me that much more grateful for what I do have.  So I lost my debit card, big deal, I can get it replaced; gas prices jumped - at least I can afford to put some in my tank; broke my glasses? They can be fixed.  My dead plant, well, there's no resurrecting that one, but at least I enjoyed it for a while.

I have a quote from the Dalai Lama that I used to have stuck to my monitor at work: Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.  It kept me grounded for many years as I dealt with some things in my personal life. I think it might be time to put it back up.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

I Love My Clients

I've been in some sort of sales role for the better part of 15 years. I can honestly say that what keeps me here are my clients.

My clients have taught me so many things about their industries, their employee engagement strategies, their culture and language, among many other things. I can say with certainty that I like and/or respect at least 98% of my clients. I even have a few that I keep in contact with though they don't use my services.

Then there are the remaining 2%.

Now I can work with people who have difficult personalities or tough requests. In fact, I'm known for it. I have one client who I think is awesome and I was shocked to learn that many years before I started at my workplace that this client made a coworker of mine cry!

The people who I have a problem with are those who have no respect for me or what I do. When they need my services they're quick to call, but when the invoice arrives they're slow to pay, or worse they dispute it.

I readily admit that this entire post stems from a situation that recently happened. A situation that has appeared resolved on several occasions, but that the client keeps stirring up. What got me to this point where I feel like I need to publicly vent my frustrations is that this client actually questioned my professionalism and integrity. That crossed a big line.

Up until that point I happily addressed the situation with this particular client. I returned all calls in a timely manner and everything. What saddens me more is that I once had great respect for this individual.

But tell me that I'm unprofessional and any respect that once existed is gone. Kaput!

So what's my point? I'm pissed off. I did nothing wrong and in the end will have to discount my fees so the client can save face in front of the boss. If I truly had no professionalism or integrity I would name the client, but that would also cross a line, and I don't do that.

So instead I'll sit here and stew about it while my boss deals with it. And I know that I will think long and hard before ever doing any work with this particular company ever again.

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Over the past couple of weeks I have "written" several posts for this blog in my mind.  None made it past that point as, at least to me, they all came across as being "preachy", "whiny", and one was even a little "bitchy".  I know that this is my blog and therefore, I write the rules.  However is that how I want you to think of me?

We all have our moments when we need to bitch and moan about something.  I would prefer to get it out of my system in a forum that's not recorded for all time for all to see.  What if a potential client or employer were to Google my name and click on such a post?  Is that how I want to be portrayed?  And the thought of being portrayed that way by me makes it worse as I have complete control over what I say.

So while I do want to make this blog successful by posting regularly, I am also very cognisant of what it is that I'm writing (or not writing in this case).

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Pet Peeve

So I was reading Laurie's post yesterday on her blog about pet peeves.  We agree on a lot of things, not all cat related either.  It seems we both have issues with the "reply all" option on e-mails.

When you receive an e-mail as a part of a larger group (for instance, when a message is sent to the entire staff) it is not necessary to reply to the entire group.  It's great to receive an e-mail to notify you that there are fresh cookies in the office kitchen, it's not so great to receive 5 replies to that e-mail commenting on the quality of the cookies.

In my opinion at least, the "reply all" feature should be removed entirely from all e-mail programs.  At least make it hard for the user to find.  We all waste too much time each day as it is wading through e-mail, we don't need to waste any more.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Why So Down on Recruiters?

Recruiters it seems are getting a bad rap.  I can't read an HR/employment blog anymore without coming across at least one negative remark about recruiters.  I don't know where this is coming from.

Sure, like in any industry, there are good and bad recruiters.  So let me break down what it is that a recruiter actually does.

First of all, it needs to be said, that a Recruiter is not there to find you a job.  There, I said it.  Whew!  That feels better.  This is a huge misconception and I think the source of all of the negativity about Recruiters.

A Recruiter, whether corporate or agency, exists to fill vacant positions.  They get paid to source and screen candidates.  They are not paid by the candidates, this would be illegal - at least in Canada.  If you do not have the skills required for the position(s) that they are looking to fill, you will not be getting a call.  It's as plain as that.

A good recruiter is someone who builds strong networks that they then turn to when sourcing.  A good recruiter does not simply throw resumes at a position in the hopes that one candidate will fit the bill.  A good recruiter find her candidates via referral and direct sourcing.  If a recruiter is doing her job properly, it may only take one or two candidates to fill a role.

I know that it can be upsetting to invest an hour of your time speaking or meeting with a recruiter and not get a job.  But you know what?  That's life.  Currently in the USA there are 4 - 6 qualified candidates (not applicants) for each available position.  The odds are not in your favour.  In Calgary (where I live) we are in a labour crunch, but you know what?  Employers are not going to hire you just to fill a seat if you don't meet their needs.

When you meet with a recruiter, use the time to your advantage.  Treat it as good experience.  You should take that time to ask the recruiter for advice on how to improve your job search.  Ultimately it is  you and your skills and abilities, that will get you a job.  A recruiter may be able to get you in the door, but can't get you a job!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Grey Power?

Lately I've heard a lot, both in the news and from clients, that people just don't want to hire a candidate that is over 50.  This is short sighted and wrong, and here's why:

In our culture no one stays in a job for their entire career.  If you can get an employee to stay for 3 - 5 years, you're laughing!  The Millennial generation is even encouraged to switch jobs every 3 years or so to build up their skill set. Penelope Trunk even said that staying at a job for too long is career suicide!  So why are employers afraid to hire someone who is older when they will get no guarantee that a younger candidate will stay any longer?

Knowing that employee tenure is about 3 years, why wouldn't employers be scrambling to hire older workers?  If you know that you can hire someone who is only looking to work for another 5 - 10 years, shouldn't they be at the top of the candidate pile?

One may argue that a younger employee costs less.  In some cases this can be true.  Health benefits aside, a less skilled employee would definitely be at the lower end of the pay scale than a higher skilled employee.  However, if you've been upfront with what your salary range is, and you're paying market value for the role, and the candidate is interested, then what's the problem?

There are 2 types of older workers:  Those who are working because they enjoy it and those who are working because they have to.  That's not to say that they can't be both.  But there are those who have savings and a retirement plan, and who will work until the age of 65 and that's it.  Then there are those who, for many reasons, have no savings and no retirement plan, and need to keep working in order to survive.  Both types can be great employees.  Both can be loyal employees.
Plus, think of the maturity that an older person can bring into your office.  Oh sure, you have a "young culture" and you worry that they won't "fit in".  But maybe this is exactly what your office needs.  There's nothing wrong with a little variety.  Many Managers are managing with 4 generations in their workplace.

Ideally we all want to retire - at least I know that I want to retire.  Unfortunately I think that there will not be much "Freedom 55" happening anymore.  So toss out your misconceptions about older workers and give one a chance.  Please, I'm going to be one of them one day!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


My name is Kimberley.  I work in Staffing / HR.  I read a lot of blogs.  I often have things to say about the topics covered in those blogs.  After much thought, I've decided to publish those thoughts here.   The topics covered are sure to bounce around.  Most likely there will be a heavy emphasis on Recruitment and HR and maybe also cats and kids.  If you're reading this, please feel welcome.  Your thoughts and feedback are encouraged.