It's so distant that we call it "The" Ukraine. In reality, however, it's closer than we think. Click the job board on our website, GrosRecruiters.com, and you're talking to Ukraine. Yes, they have an office in Aspen, CO. And the servers are located, well, somewhere else in the ether (who knows where?). But the programming brains of this technology exist in Kiev.
Geographically, right next to Ukraine is Poland--home of world renown toolmakers. Your agent may be in the USA, while his steel craftsman is 5000 miles away, in Lodz or Krakow or Warsaw.
Recently I posted a job for graphic design on a North American website. The most talented artist who bid for this particular job resides in Latvia--north of Ukraine, and bordering Russia. I've never communicated with him verbally but via email he understood my requirements with clarity, and he did outstanding work!
All of which brings the events in Eastern Europe much closer to home. When the news broke that Russia absorbed Crimea, we received an update from our vendor in Kiev. All is well, they assured, because they expect Europe and the USA will protect them from Russia's aggression. I sent a polite reply, and wished them well. The follow up email from an employee in Kiev was much more personal. She's scared.
Today's news describes a continuing buildup of Russian troops and equipment on the border, facing Ukraine. I haven't heard from management of the job board enterprise within the last couple of weeks. I suppose they don't know what to say.
When you’re hiring, how long do you expect in tenure of your new employee? Whatever your answer, test your hypothesis against your employee records. You might be surprised.
The typical resume for professionals that tracks across our computer screens today shows a series of 2- and 3-year employment sessions. At one time, that fluid employment activity might be considered a stigma. Today, however, it’s the norm. When you see short stints on a resume, look deeper.
The most commonly cited reason for job changes often has little to do with the individual’s desire for employment. Usually, the reasons sound like this: “My company was acquired, and I was laid off.” OR: “My company hired me to work on a new product line, then abandoned the project.” In fact, the most frequently cited reasons for employment changes have nothing to do with the employee’s intentions.
Of course, some job-hoppers cite the same reasons for selfish motives. We believe in politely testing the credibility of candidate claims. “I was recruited away” is an excuse that raises our eyebrows in skepticism.
In today’s job market, we can’t define job-hopping in terms of years of tenure. There are two sides to every story. Did the employee quit? Or was she abandoned?
More candidates have declined offers of employment from our clients in the first quarter of 2014 than in the entire year 2013. What does this tell us about the marketplace of employment for professionals in plastics and packaging? Simple answer: The number of jobs now outnumbers the availability of qualified people.
Employers are competing for the top talent. Hiring manager: do you consider that while you're evaluating THEM, they're evaluating YOU! Here are interview tips to help you make a best impression, so you can be in a good position to hire Top Talent:
1. Your preparation. Have you looked at the candidate's resume?
2. Allocation of time. Do you respect the candidate's time by offering your undivided attention?
3. Engagement. Do you follow a set routine of questions, or do you foster a natural conversation?
4. Follow up. Do you describe a reasonable process for the decision? Do you maintain contact with the candidate to let her know your progress toward an offer?
Remember, compensation is only one factor in the candidate's decision to accept your offer. People like to work for people they like. Start with a good impression.
Have you considered the gap between the issues that need to
be discussed during an interview process, and those that are legally
allowed? The chasm is wide and deep.
Any employer worthy of her fiduciary responsibility needs to
evaluate whether the new employee will actually show up for work, right?
Here are some issues that might interfere with the new
employee’s attendance. Children need
attention, from the infant’s constant demands to the toddler’s curiosity to the
pre-schooler’s inquiry to the grade schooler’s forgotten book to the junior
high schooler’s personal taxi requirement.
Any of those situations is likely to bear on the employee’s punctuality. But don’t ask.
Maybe the candidate’s spouse handles any unexpected
household calamities. But you shouldn’t ask
whether the candidate is married or involved in a committed relationship.
Don’t ask whether the candidate learned the Spanish language
in Mexico, Europe, or at home. Such
casual conversation could have consequences.
Do you need time off to attend your religious service on our
busiest day, Saturday? What religious
holidays do you observe? Do you require
prayer breaks? No, No, NO!
Are you pregnant? ARE
YOU KIDDING ME? You’re too OLD to be
pregnant! Buzz…buzz... (that’s the attorney
The absurdity was highlighted this week when a
non-conformance appeared on a prospective employee’s background
investigation. The employer had issued a
conditional offer of employment, in accordance with current law, contingent on
the results of a pre-employment investigation.
The blip on his record was minor, inconsequential and explainable. However, the mere suggestion of communication
between the prospective employee and his possible employer raises caution flags
from the executive suite to the board room.
Pre-hire employment law is as complicated as the tax
code. All of us want to comply; and we
also want to learn enough about the candidate to determine whether we’re making
a wise hiring decision. Every day is a new
attempt to walk the line between informative and invasive interview
questions—those that entice informational responses, but remain within the
boundary of legal privacy.
The gigantic plastics trade show known as NPE is more than a year away, March 2015, but planning is in full swing right now. This week almost 800 people met in Orlando to parlay for the biggest, most prominent and easily accessible spots on the trade show floor. It’s a ritual in which the pecking order is dictated by seniority. In the process, most of the suppliers to the plastics industry are involved in a cheery meet and greet session that lasts two days. So you get to see everybody in one room. Our observations this year are very encouraging:
- Business is good. Companies are growing. Owners are smiling. Suppliers are gobbling up space on the trade show floor.
- More women are joining the ranks of the formerly all-male plastics manufacturing enclave. It’s a refreshing trend that becomes more apparent at each major meeting of the industry.
- The upswing in American manufacturing is beginning to lure young, bright minds. Although 20-somethings were not apparent in the booth selection crowd, the suppliers are talking about their need to reach young purchasing managers within their customer group. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media are no longer options—they have become necessary tools of business communication.
The weather in Orlando at this time of year is perfect! (Okay, this point has no bearing on the business trends, but I’m just sayin’….)
The vibrancy of on-line communications impacts all of us, and it REALLY impacts the professional associations. For example, the Sustainable Packaging Technical Committee of the Institute of Packaging Professionals published a letter this week, asking its discussion group for an opinion on the “relevance and viability of the committee.” Here’s the background: In 2012, the committee planned a stunning conference, with stellar speakers and a plant tour. Registration numbers were meager. The conference cancelled. Following that disappointing result, can you imagine the lack of energy remaining within a small group of volunteers!
Simply announcing an event and offering an in-person networking opportunity is no guarantee of success in the web-connected world. For example, Plastics News cancelled its conference on employment trends, originally scheduled in California last year.
Yet, some industry meetings thrive! Healthy events include the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Polyolefins conference, and the Plastics Recycling Conference sponsored by Resource Recycling. Healthpack for medical device professionals typically sells out.
If you would like to offer your opinion to the IoPP’s Sustainable Packaging Technical Committee, join the group on LinkedIn and post a note. Below is the letter from the IoPP Sustainable Packaging Technical Committee.
(Dennis Gros of Gros Executive Recruiters serves as Secretary Treasurer of the Sustainable Packaging Technical Committee).
IoPP Sustainable Packaging Technical Committee
To: The Members of the SPTC
From: Todd Van Gordon (Chair)
Dennis Gros (Vice-Chair)
Kurt Wiesemes (Vice-Chair)
February 6, 2014
Re: Discussion of the Interests and Future of the SPTC with the Membership
We are all very busy people and participation in volunteer organizations can be difficult with all the things we do. You may have sensed that the SPTC activities just seem to be a Linked In account with a lot of names and minimal communications.
The purpose of this letter to you is to ask your opinion on the relevance and viability of the committee. We have had a discussion with the leadership of the IoPP and have committed to find out what your needs and interests may be.
The frequency and quality of professionally run, packaging related, sustainability conferences diminishes our potential for value-added meetings. Do you see a need to invigorate the SPTC when there is so much out there to attend? Is there a need for regular live discussion or meetings on sustainability when the webinars are so frequent and free?
We did some brain storming with Brian Stepowany (VP IoPP Tech. Comm.) on what subjects might be of interest and use to the Committee members. Some of these topics are heavily covered in national conferences but some may not be readily available. Or, you may not have the opportunity to travel to conferences.
Please take a look and let’s start a conversation on Linked In that could show us the way forward. If you feel that the committee is redundant and not valuable today, please let us know. If you see a continued need to participate and revitalize the group, let us know that too.
Here is a list of topics to start a conversation. Should the SPTC start discussions on any of these? We can’t possibly know your specific interests and/or needs, so please add one or more to the list and let’s talk.
Dow Jones Sustainability Index
Full Body Shrink Labeling
Non-Bottle Rigid Recycling
Hot Topics for Today
Courier Packages and Recycling
LCA Tools and Usage
Life Cycle Indicators You
Luxury Items and the Environment
Optimization of Materials
Testing for Recyclability
What may come out of the discussion on Linked In may be no clear consensus on a path forward. A need for a Survey Monkey may come. So, learning about your interest in contributing to that effort would be appreciated.
Thanks for your attention to this matter of the Committee’s viability. Assuming that we will continue, which way(s) should be go?
Did you make more money in 2013? Or was your pay as 'skinny' as it was in 2012? Do you have a job? Or are you looking for a new one? Are you happy at work?
Gros Executive Recruiters teams up with the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) for an Annual Salary Survey, NOW OPEN! The 2014 survey addresses how today's economy impacts your career and how you feel your job has evolved (or not) during the the past year; if you feel secure in your position; and if you're moving upward or backward.
Soon you will find in your mailbox a report card of your financial success during 2013. What is that? Your federal W-2 form, of course! This is the time of year when we ponder our fortunes and project our future.
If you're on target to meet your financial plan, attaboy! However, not all of us are reaching our desired level of achievement. As someone told me this week, "At my annual meeting with my investment counselor, I asked him when I could afford to retire. He responded, shut up and keep working."
Do you need to improve your financial situation? Here are some suggestions that may stimulate your action plan:
- ASK FOR A RAISE. This may be the most obvious and most overlooked component of your plan. Most of you will shrug off this thought as a trip to fantasy island. But consider this--most managers WANT their workers to feel appreciated and fulfilled. They need to balance the equation with productivity. Can you find a way to contribute greater value to your employer? Improvements that are obvious to you are probably outside the radar of your management. OPEN THE CONVERSATION! For a handy guide to calculate your raise, click here: http://grosrecruiters.com/Candidate/SitePages/Raise%20Calculator.aspx
- RUN A SALARY COMPARISON. What is the market value of your job? Here's our chart, based on 2013 numbers: http://grosrecruiters.com/sitepages/2013salarysurvey.aspx Remember, averages are merely average, and no one is average. Your situation is unique. Yet, it's fun to see what other people earn.
- GO ON AN INTERVIEW--BUT ONLY WHEN YOU'RE SERIOUS ABOUT A JOB CHANGE. Interview minus commitment equals a poor presentation. Money is a major component of your remuneration, but not the only factor. We recommend that your motivation for an interview be based on at least one tangible cirumstance in addition to money. A good match between candidate and job is based on job skills, personality fit, and appropriate compensation. Be sure you can answer the question, "Other than money, why are you considering a job change at this time?"
As you reflect on 2013 and project the upcoming years, draw on your concept of overall job fulfillment, which includes the financial factors. And be positive! It's going to be a good year in 2014!
There's no appreciable job activity during the holidays, many say. IF YOU BELIEVE THAT, YOU'LL MISS THE BEST ACTION! Here's why: Savvy employers know the best time to reach successful job seekers is during business downtime--and smart job seekers use holidays to get a head start. Respond to job postings, watch your email, and stand ready to interview. 2014 is just around the corner, and the top companies won't waste time. Besides, the competition thinks this is downtime!
Hiring managers: be sure to use our free job posting service - yes, we said free! It's easy to set up and maintain and there is no charge - even when you hire someone who applies.