Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession

Dave Staats

Dave Staats places top executives as well as implementation consultants with software companies. He also has made more placements in Artificial Intelligence than any other headhunter. His career began during the SDI (Star Wars) years and included placement of scientists in laser, stealth, and other high-tech fields. During a short hiatus from the recruiting industry in 1994 he obtained a Private Investigator's license which he keeps as a constant reminder that a headhunter is what he really is. Dave is on the Board of Directors of The Pinnacle Society and a founder of The Tennessee Recruiters Association. He has a BA from Western Illinois University. Dave also blogs at Truth, Justice & the American Way of Headhunting

Articles by Dave Staats

Social Media, Technology

Why Do We Need These Clones?


A good old-fashioned quick rant. I like Yahoo Groups. It was the first version I saw for what I needed at the time. Now there’s Ning and Google and LinkedIn and many others doing what they do best but also trying to copy Yahoo Groups.

And Yahoo is messing with me too now. I got an invite from someone to share pictures and status updates and all the same crap that’s on FaceBook via Yahoo. Why do we need ten different versions of Facebook now? They won! Let it go! Just stick with your main Yahoo stuff.

Just yesterday I saw a new search aggregator that says it’ll search about 10 of those things at once for info on people.

Maybe we all need a ‘personal portal’ that will handle all these requests from all these entities so we can actually get something done.

Now I need to go update my LinkedIn status so it’ll go out on Twitter and Facebook so people will know I have a new blog entry. If I send it on Plaxo and my Yahoo Profile it’ll also go to people who spoke to me once and could not care less. In fact, what I should really do is just call Tom, Ron, and Clyde. Then the only three people who were going to read it anyway can say…he’s at it again…

original post from Dave Staats

Fordyce Forum

Fordyce – A Time-Honored Tradition


If I don’t stop to do this at lunch I just won’t do it. Work has been busy for a few months so I have not been blogging. Q1 was busy because clients were all filling their shopping carts, getting in line, and then leaving the store. NOW, they seem to be lining up five deep to fight over the same “Code Me Elmo” doll. And, it also seems the ‘commercial world’ is coming back. This has to be short because we have hot new clients who want us calling people, which is always a good thing. Maybe I can get back to finding something to poke at on Fridays.

Until then, I just had to stop and reiterate something I said at the end of our Pinnacle Panel at the Fordyce Forum in Las Vegas last Friday. I told David Manaster, in slightly less detail, that I have really appreciated how the Fordyce name has been honored since ERE took over. Having read almost every issue of TFL since I started recruiting in 1985, I was very worried about what would happen when Paul Hawkinson left. It has been long enough now that I think the best compliment I can pay is that it just doesn’t seem a lot different. I also want to thank ERE for making the last four Fordyce Forums happen. I have been to three of them and want to say, for anyone considering the next one, there’s nothing like a Pinnacle Society meeting for me… but if I didn’t have them, the Fordyce Forum comes pretty close. This year’s venue, The M Resort and Spa, was a great place for this event and the content is stuff that just isn’t available elsewhere. The Fordyce brand remains dedicated to search and placement; no other organization that I know of is. (No offense intended NAPSers – I am a member and a CPC but just not into ‘staffing’) David, Todd, Kate, Amy, and Amybeth…oh and that Jeff character…Thank you VERY much for a great event!


My Idea of a Job Ad in the Cleared Technology Niche


I’d rather hear what you want than tell you what I need.

If you are a JAVA SW dev professional with a high-level security clearance, the last thing you need is a list of reqs to read. You can have six jobs next week if you just return your voicemails. As the basis for a relationship, this must benefit you before us. I’d like to have a chat about whether our client companies, who retain us just for this purpose, might be of interest.

We want to talk to the person who thinks, “I think I have what I need already, but it would be nice to know for sure.”

We hope to tell 80% that, “Yes, you are in the right place already!”

Our candidates become our clients eventually because they know how we treat people.

I know this sounds great. I just like having opportunities to put it to the test.


War on Sigfiles


Ok, here is what we’ll use to start the fire du jour:

“If I have to scroll to read your sigfile it is TOO DAMNED BIG, PERIOD!”

You need to FIX IT!

Truth, Justice and the American Way of Headhunting

Rockin’ Robin Will Tweet Tweet No More


It’s interesting to me how some things are tied together…or maybe professionals would find interesting how I tie them together. Either way, I wish I could claim this utterance from someone yesterday. He won’t even let me attribute it to him but it is just too beautiful to claim it as my own. The guy I was talking with said “Yeah, Twitter is just like CB radio.”

What a moment THAT was for me. I was 52 yesterday and just old enough to really appreciate that statement. CB radio was a fad. Lots of people who had no need or purpose were adopting ‘handles’ and “Hey,good buddying” each other for a few years there in the mid-70s. CB radio today remains a good tool for some very narrow purposes and is of limited use.  I think that’s where Twitter will end up too. No disrespect to my buddy Harry Joiner who may just be the CW McCall of his age.

Why the song reference?  On the same day my ‘good buddy’ made his CB reference it was announced that the King of Pop and Hero of (censored) was gone. Just as Twitter indeed does feel like a recycled CB Radio fad, Rockin’ Robin was a recycled hit from right around the same time as the CB craze. There is one big difference though… I believe Twitter will go much more quietly.

Truth, Justice and the American Way of Headhunting

One True Statement Among Many


“If I am more successful than you it is because I heard more NO’s than you.”

Before I get to my point, I need to say that having just missed my first Forum, I plan to be there in 2010. I really have been busy…and while I can use that as an excuse for not having bloviated here in a while, I don’t plan to use that one on myself next June when it is time to go to Las Vegas.

For those of you who have never gone to a Forum…ask yourself if a guy who thinks he has heard it all and said it all in the past 23 years regrets making time now that it is over is enough reason to go to the next one yourself. It should be.

Back to the subject… I have no issue with Barb Bruno’s quote and none with her over it because all sales trainers say similar things. I am also certain this is true for some people. But not for all people.

We all remember in school there were kids who looked and acted like Jeff Spicoli but still got As because they just took the test and the stuff was just there in his head. We also knew kids who did nothing but study all the time who also did well.

All you bosses come and shoot me now for telling the real truth. I absolutely agree that more nos=more yesses but I’ll also tell you that there are one heck of a lot of people who learn how to do a few elements better and since they do it better they can do it less. They also continually focus on improvement of those elements.

I find it demoralizing and debilitating to be told over and over and over that the path to success in this business is 4 hours a day of actual phone time. It may have been true in the past…but not in the 23 years I have been doing this. Maybe it is A way but it is not THE way.

I also average about 1 ‘marketing’ (sales) call a week. I can’t fill our jobs.

I just think more people should focus on finding the things that matter in our business and doing each of them better and better instead of doing them crappily over and over and over.

Since this theme may go on for a while, I’ll stop here for today with a statement I believe is a bit more empirically true.

“If you are more successful than I am it is because you are better than I am.”

Truth, Justice and the American Way of Headhunting

Twitter Is At Least Another Car On The Race Track


Here’s what I got from the responses to the question last Friday about how to use Twitter and what it is good for.

First, I want to thank Scott for plugging me in a bit. I know he just wants to see me eat my blog. Thank God for those printers that print on cake icing now :-) (BTW, all these comments except for the ‘anonymasses’ are on last Friday’s blog for reference).

I want to thank Jason for calling me and hooking me into www.splits.org . For people who can do and want to do splits , I can see that Twitter could be very useful for that and Splits is extremely easy to use. Unfortunately, for me it just makes it easier to reinforce that splits are hard to do in the cleared defense tech market. 

Harry Joiner’s link  http://www.marketingheadhunter.com/2009/04/twitter-and-b2b-marketing.html    is an excellent training tool on how to use Twitter and for a marketing guy and brand-builder I can see it’ll be a great thing for him and others who have the ability to do what he suggests.

Dave Graziano posted this Link to Animal’s radio show http://cli.gs/DBSPy9 This has more very useful technical information on things you can do with Twitter that are not obvious to new users.

Jim Durbin had a couple useful ideas in the list of things he posted. There’s also a link that I have not yet followed that Jim says has more info on how to use Twitter. There’s a fee for that one. 

I can now see that it is at the very least, a valid tool with value for certain types of recruiters. It’s like the opposite of Jott for me. When I discovered Jott I was SOOO excited and used it maybe 10 times. I think the idea of Twitter will grow on me after seeming totally over-hyped.

For now, for people who do what TFL readers traditionally do, I’d recommend that people use Twitter when they can show it is better than the other communication tools they already have.

Harry has done that…And I am still here writing blog entries for an audience I’ll never sell anything to. Don Ramer has me thinking about THAT a LOT.

To paraphrase Tom Keoughan ,who pretty much nailed it for me. Just LET Twitter prove its usefulness, don’t try to MAKE it do so.

Reminder to the Anonymasses, comments that can’t be tracked back to real people will only be up until I have time to wipe them off.

Truth, Justice and the American Way of Headhunting

NOT a Rant, Just a Simple Question about Twitter


Well now, THIS ought to confuse the commenter who refers to himself as “Tallis.”

Two weeks ago, I played around a bit and was not quite clear. This is not a joke. I’d like someone to give us some kind of tutorial on how Twitter can be used in the search business.

We don’t need single anecdotes like, “This guy tweeted my job posting and this candidate called me.” I did hear that, and it is not even an example of something WE could do.

I’ll challenge Harry Joiner here to back up his comment from last week. I have talked with Harry. He’s a good, smart guy who knows what he is doing and doesn’t seem like a time-waster, but his comment last week was just totally empty.

And another guy meeting a split partner there? Ok, fine. No explanation of how it was different than meeting someone on this network or a bar or a grocery store. And that guy said he hates it as much as he loves it.

I didn’t single out that guy because I also want to say the part of his comment questioning the value of being HERE on TFL is just totally wrong. That does not even need to be debated.

So think of the old song “War” when you sing “Twitter, HUH, Wha-at is it good for? Absolutely Nuthin’ , Say it Again…”

I would love to print and eat this post on a video as soon as two known trainers add how to use Twitter to their repertoire.

Note added Sat. 25th. I am deleting comments from ‘fake’ people when I see them. That could make some comments from real people seem strange at times.  And, yes the times are a’changin’.  Now people can do and say things without consequences sometimes. Makes them very ‘brave’.

I plan to respond to the comments here in the next blog entry…or whatever the brave/fake critics would have me properly call it.

Truth, Justice and the American Way of Headhunting

Very Short Friday Rant (140 Character Limit)


DAVE: is waiting for someone like Neil McNulty to tell him how Twitter will add ANY value we (recruiters who follow the Fordyce model) do not already have…

DAVE: does not want to hear this from people who use job boards…

DAVE: would love a serious answer since he already has some time invested trying to find a use for Twitter himself…

DAVE: drank too much tea…he is now going to have to… HEY! Now I get it!

Truth, Justice and the American Way of Headhunting

Open Letter Instead of a Rant


Some of you might want this for a template after changing the niche-specific part. I put all the politeness and hope I have left here. :-)


Please don’t take this wrong. I am…well…not ‘bombarded’ but certainly ‘overwhelmed’ with offers of tools that are free and will save us, or make us, money. The problem is that even the majority that start out ‘free’ and remain ‘free’ cost ME about $225 an hour to evaluate, test, and use.

The last one that has made a difference and MIGHT have paid for itself was LinkedIn. That was several years ago. I say might have paid for itself because I can’t trace actual business to it but I think some of the info I got have been helpful. It’s kind of like taking aspirin… I am never sure if the aspirin or the time made my headache go away.

If you remain in the mood to provide more and very specific information…here’s my problem:

  • I am interested in finding and getting to know very talented technical people with very high security clearances who, by definition, believe they have no need to know me…because most top talent feels this way and the ones with clearances really feel this way.
  • In my headhunting niche, people who are LOOKING for opportunities are almost always people I cannot introduce to my clients.
  • The VERY FEW other recruiters who have ‘ended up’ in my niche (only a nut would do this on purpose) understand this and we consequently end up doing very little split business.
  • The considerable number of others who flirt with this niche or think they are in it have wasted tons of time trying to make this job easier than it is. I have allowed myself to waste tons of time trying to evaluate these people to see if we could do some business together.

Given all this, I still didn’t want to simply trash your offer. What, if anything, can you tell me that will have me fight through the apprehension of lots of emails of futile explanations to people who want ‘just a little more information’ after I sign up for your offering?

Thanks, Dave