Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


Deborah J. Millhouse

Debby Millhouse is the Owner and President of CEO Inc. Founded in Charlotte, NC in 1994, CEO Inc. is a full service recruiting firm providing direct hire placement, temp staffing and human capital services for clients nationwide. Millhouse has been honored as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women by The Mecklenburg Times, inducted into the Business Leader Hall of Fame as one of the top entrepreneurs in the Charlotte area, and given the Women in Business Achievement Award winner by the Charlotte Business Journal. CEO Inc. has also been honored with the Charlotte Ethics in Business Award, Charlotte Best Places to Work Award, and recognized as one of the top 50 diversity-owned businesses in the state of North Carolina. She is a Certified Staffing Professional (CSP) as designated by the American Staffing Association, Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) and Certified Temporary Staffing Specialist (CTS) as designated by the National Association of Personnel Services. She can be reached at 704-372-4701 or visit CEOHR.com for more information.

Articles by Deborah J. Millhouse

How-To

Email Ruling You? Here’s How to Fight Back



Email illustration - free

Email illustration - freeAll the technology in the world will not help you if you cannot manage your time or tasks. Recruiting is a complex sale, but the process is not rocket science. More than anything it requires organization and focus. Keeping the process as simple as possible means you’ll produce more, better and faster.

Without question, the top culprit for stealing your time is email. Even in this age of tweets and texts, in the business world, email is still king and it’s easy to find statistics that show the average American office worker wastes as much as 40% of their day lost in email. So you have to ask yourself: Is email running your life or your company?

Learning to rein in and control the email beast is crucial for our employees and for us. Don’t assume recruiters and support staff automatically know how to efficiently organize their email or their time. While nobody wants to feel micro-managed, at least put some suggested policies in place to teach your people the value and advantages to well-managed email and time organization. Below are some ideas I have discovered and implemented over the years.

Fees

3 Tips to a More Successful Full-Fee Negotiation



Negotiation cartoon-free

Negotiation cartoon-freeEverything begins with a sale. Be it a product, service or idea, we are all selling something. But even the greatest salesperson has nothing if the sale is without profit.

A common pitfall in today’s business climate is for sales professionals to become too enamored with the sale itself, and then lose the deal through poor negotiation. This is an unfortunate outcome our firm has worked hard to avoid and, through mastering negotiations, our team is realizing some of their highest commissions and profits in 20 years. Not bad at a time when I still see so many blaming circumstances and playing the slow economy card.

External factors are rarely the problem. Instead look inside, be honest, and focus on the internal issues — issues you actually have control over. You can achieve the same results once you understand and implement some simple strategies of power negotiating and stop giving yourself and your company away.

Closing

Don’t Let the Client Bulldoze You Into Making the Offer



Under pressure - free

Under pressure - freeYou’ve worked hard and spent weeks assessing the client’s needs and interviewing potential candidates. Finally the perfect match has been found and the client is anxious to have your candidate come onboard. As recruiters it is our moment of shining glory. The stars have aligned and we stand at the apex of everything we are about and work for. Then the client puts the entire process into a tailspin by doing the unthinkable— insisting that they make the job offer to the applicant.

STOP! Do not let this happen. Nothing could be worse for the client, the candidate or for you!

Motivation

Your 2014 Recruiting Resolutions: How Are You Doing?



2014 calendar resolutions-free

2014 calendar resolutions-freeThe New Year has come and gone and already so have many of our resolutions. This was the year we were going to get more organized, start a regular workout schedule, network more frequently, lose weight, and, of course, make more money.

But statistically speaking, by the end of January’s first week 25% of us already gave up and dropped our resolutions. By the end of June, only 30% of us will still be at it, and by year’s end that number drops to 14%.

Why is this? Why do so few have the resolve to stick with it and achieve their goals? Perhaps we over think the process and make things harder than they should be. True success begins when we resolve to keep it simple. Block out all the noise and don’t get lost in the technology, social media, past failures or successes. The key to winning the recruiting game is simple and can be reduced to three basic components: Activity, Quality and our Target Market.

How-To, Viewpoint

There Is Not a Meeting In the Ladies Room



Business women

Business womenWhen my friends at The Fordyce Letter suggested that I write an article about specific issues facing women business owners in the recruiting industry, my first thought was, “Okay — I’m a woman. Glad they noticed.” It’s also true that I have owned a successful recruiting firm for almost 20 years. Then I tried for a month to sit down and commit something to paper that fit the bill.

The difficulty for me is that I don’t think in those terms. I was raised in a fairly average middle-class family and we all worked. We were taught the value of establishing a good work ethic and that you could go as high as the next guy if you applied yourself, worked hard and worked smart. Understand, these values were not presented as some sugary “girls can do anything boys can do” philosophy. Gender was literally never factored in. All I ever heard was hard work equals success — period. So when first entering the workforce, it never really occurred to me that being a woman could somehow be a hindrance to achieving my goals.

Motivation

Simplify Your Life To Reduce Stress and Bill More



stress compass illus

stress compass illusNot so long ago, the term “stress” was not part of our everyday language. Sure, we all had problems and challenges, but the prevailing wisdom and expectation of the day was to cowboy up and deal with it. Anything less was considered weak and whiney.

I am not sure why, but somewhere back in the 80’s we changed and bought into the philosophy that everybody gets to do everything. Suddenly football practice was accompanied by piano lessons, running for school president, church choir, horseback riding club and more. This do-more-all-the-time attitude soon spilled over into the business world and consequently we now find ourselves in multi-task overload with our lives and our brains overflowing with too much garbage. So, having now adopted an over-stuffed lifestyle that creates buckets of stress, we’ve got to cowboy up and deal with it.

Motivation

Simplify to Bill More and Feel Better



Stress illustration

Stress illustrationNot so long ago, the term “stress” was not part of our everyday language. Sure, we all had problems and challenges, but the prevailing wisdom and expectation of the day was to cowboy up and deal with it. Anything less was considered weak and whiney.

I am not sure why, but somewhere back in the 80s we changed, and bought into the philosophy that everybody gets to do everything. Suddenly football practice was accompanied by piano lessons, running for school president, church choir, horseback riding club and more. This do-more-all-the-time attitude soon spilled over into the business world and consequently we now find ourselves in multitask overload with our lives and our brains overflowing with too much garbage. So, having now adopted an over-stuffed lifestyle that creates buckets of stress, we’ve got to cowboy up and deal with it.

Business, Fees, Staffing

Stop Being Bullied: It’s About How Much the Client Saves. Not What You Charge



Negotiation image - freedigital

Negotiation image - freedigitalThere’s a nasty little trend that seems to have permeated our industry, and I am baffled to understand why or how. Frankly speaking, there are far too many recruiting firms who either do not realize or significantly undervalue what precious assets temporary employees can be to their business.

As a rule, our industry is far too willing to allow clients to tighten the thumbscrews on temp bill rates, and simply roll over and cave at the first sign of pushback or hesitation. Too many of us practically give away temps at huge discounts, often out of desperation and because we’ve been tricked into reactionary fear thanks to our old friend, the economic recession.

If you find yourself sheepishly nodding in agreement, consider this a wake-up call: Providing our services for a profit is priority one!

Yes, I love what I do but no, I’m not going to be so impertinent as to suggest for one minute that I’d do it for free. You are here to make money — and I hope you value your work enough to insist on making a lot of it — by not letting margin and profit slip through your fingers.

For Managers

A Checklist to Help You Know If You’re Leading or Just Managing



fordyce-default

TeamLeadThe business world is full of managers. Even in the face of recent economic-fueled cutbacks and downsizing, managers remain in abundant supply. Yet despite all the management, so many companies remain starved for genuine leadership. That’s because while businesses (budgets, market strategies, production quotas, etc.) need to be managed, employees need to be led.

So stop managing and start leading! Begin by learning what true leadership qualities are. While we’ve all known and admired that “natural-born leader,” more often than not most leadership skills simply lie dormant or undiscovered. If we just open our eyes and look, we can find and develop leadership.

Social Media

LinkedIn Profiles: Puffery Or Outright Fraud?



Scott Thompson was forced out of Yahoo after his resume embellishment was discovered.

Scott Thompson was forced out of Yahoo after his resume embellishment was discovered.

There’s been an unsettling trend in business over the last decade or so to make every member of the workforce appear and feel just as important as the president or CEO. Receptionists are now the “Director of First Impressions,” while our janitors became “Custodial Engineers.”

Now I truly have all the respect in the world for the hardworking people who hold these challenging and important positions but let’s keep it real — directors and engineers they are not. Not surprisingly, this phenomenon of rebranding, and exaggerating basic functions has now spilled over to the average resume and, in particular, on LinkedIn profiles.

I do not mean to disparage LinkedIn; in fact, my company uses it a lot. But there are flaws in the system that both hiring companies and job seekers need to be aware of.  At the core, there simply seems to be no methodology in place for monitoring accuracy, and frankly, with almost 200 million subscribers, maybe that’s just not realistic.