Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


John Zappe

John Zappe was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. Never a recruiter, he instead built online employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. As VP of one large media operation, his employment revenue alone approached $2.5 million. Besides writing for ERE, John consults with digital content operations, focusing on the advertising side. And when he’s not doing either, he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility events.

Articles by John Zappe

Industry News

Retail, Manufacturing, Tech Jobs Are On Top 10 Hardest to Fill



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Hardest to fill jobs 7.2013There are some surprises in a new CareerBuilder survey about the types of jobs recruiters find the hardest to fill.

Marketers and mechanics are among the top 10, according to the survey. So are truck drivers, which is less of a surprise to anyone who’s seen the help wanted signs on the back of many semis.

So much  has been written about most of the other jobs on the list that no recruiter or hiring manager will be surprised to see IT, nurses, accountants, and engineers there. Many search firms have one or more desks devoted exclusively to each of these occupations.

Celebrating Successes, For Managers

As You Give Thanks, Be Thankful For Good Followers



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Stephen Covey said, “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” Leadership and management are two completely different things, but often confused as being interchangeable. To be a good leader, one must first be a good follower. But what if you don’t know how to follow?

This is a challenge that cuts to the very core of ambitious, driven individuals.

Thanksgiving may seem an unlikely time to ponder this challenge. Today, after all, is when we give thanks for what we do have. However, it’s also a time to reflect on what lead us to this point, which brings us, if even only briefly, to thinking about the future and what we can do to continue moving up that ladder and make sure it is still firmly anchored against the right wall.

Industry News

Jobs Report: U.S. Adds 243,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Drops Again



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Strike up the band. Break out the confetti. The market’s going to love this. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent and non-farm jobs grew by 243,000 in January.

This morning’s monthly report from the U.S. Department of Labor blasted through even the most optimistic of expectations. The jobs gain would have been the largest since May 2010, except that the Labor Department’s data group adjusted 2011′s jobs numbers. Now, only March (+246,000) and April (+251,000) had stronger numbers.

January is the second consecutive month to beat estimates. Economists predicted anywhere from MarketWatch’s tepid 121,000 to the more optimistic 182,000 in the Bloomberg survey. None of the widely reported surveys saw a decline in the unemployment rate.

Indeed, the unemployment rate, which has been declining very slowly since hitting a peak of 10.1 percent in late 2009, is now at the lowest point since February 2009. The government report also put the number of unemployed at 12.8 million. A year ago it was at 13.9 million.

While governments continued to cut jobs — federal jobs were cut by 6,000 and local government cut 11,000 positions — the private sector added 257,000. This was more than 50 percent higher than the ADP estimate earlier in the week.

Industry News

ADP Report: 170k New Private Jobs In January



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HR services company ADP says the U.S. added 170,000 private sector jobs in January, providing more evidence that while the economy isn’t backsliding, it also isn’t advancing.

Indeed the January number came in below the average of 182,000, which is what economists in a Bloomberg survey were expecting. A Dow Jones Newswires survey however put the number right at 170,000.

The ADP report also adjusted down the December numbers from the initial 325,000 to 292,000.  Nearly all the January gain, says ADP, came from companies with fewer than 500 workers, and all but 18,000 of the new jobs were in the service sector. Manufacturing added 10,000 workers during the month.

A year ago, ADP said 190,000 private sector jobs were created in January.

Industry News

This Time, the Growth in Temps May Be Here to Stay



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“Unemployment is expected to remain above 8 percent for the next four years.” That gloomy assessment of the U.S. economy from FedEx Chief Economist Gene Huang is echoed in any number of reports and economic predictions.

“Most predictions,” says an economic analysis by the Society for Human Resource Management, “are less optimistic now than they were when 2011 began.”

What especially worries economists is whether the slow job growth is due to employer cautiousness — in which case growth will accelerate when economic confidence returns — or whether it is structural, meaning some jobs have been permanently eliminated, much the way automation obsoleted elevator operators.

“It is a fair bet that aggregate demand remains the main problem while pockets of skills mismatches persist, despite the high number of job seekers,” says the SHRM analysis.

Industry News

2011 Ends With Lowered Unemployment and 200,000 New Jobs



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Surprising economists and putting an upbeat end to 2011, the U.S. unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent in December while the economy added 200,000 new non-farm jobs.

It was the fourth consecutive month of declines in the unemployment rate, and the sixth month of six-figure job growth. December’s unemployment rate is the lowest since early 2009.

The official numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor beat all but the most aggressive estimates. Economists were expecting the unemployment rate to rise, and predicted new job numbers in the 150,000 range.

Industry News

Could Monster Be a Takeover Target?



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Last week, Bloomberg reported that Monster Worldwide Inc. (MWW) is being removed from the S&P 500 after losing almost $5 billion in market value in the last five years. With a stock price low enough to force the world’s largest online-recruiting company out of the S&P 500, there’s some very public speculation that the global employment advertising company could be bought by a private equity fund. According to the Bloomberg article, the company has plunged 66 percent this year, the most in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as American businesses remained reluctant to hire.

Rumors have periodically made the rounds of a potential or even pending sale — 20 of them since 2006, according to Bloomberg. All have proven false. But now, says the financial news service, financial analysts and some of Monster’s largest shareholders say the time and price may be right for a takeover.

“The valuation is absurdly cheap,” Eric Green, a Philadelphia-based fund manager at Penn Capital, told Bloomberg. With 3.2 million shares of Monster stock, Penn Capital is one of the company’s largest shareholders.

“The stock has been a clear disappointment,” Green is quoted as saying. He suggested a takeover price of $15 a share. That’s more than a 92 percent premium over Friday’s closing price of $7.71. “I would love to see someone buy it,” he said.

Monster’s stock price has declined steadily since hitting a 10-year high of $59.28 in May, 2006. In the last 12 months, the stock has been as high as $25.90, reaching there in January, when the economy seemed ready for a hiring surge. Since August, it has been under $10 a share. The market value of the company is now about $1 billion, $5 billion less than it was worth in 2006.

Industry News

Jobs Report: Unemployment At Its Lowest Point In 2+ Years



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The unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in November, the lowest it has been since March 2009, as the U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs.

The job growth announced this morning by the U.S. Department of Labor was at the low end of the various estimates of what economists were expecting, though some predictions were upped following a robust report Wednesday from payroll and HR services firm ADP. The company said 206,000 private sector jobs were added.

The U.S. Labor Department report said private sector, non-farm payrolls increased by 140,000 jobs, but cuts in government jobs decreased the overall number.

The government also revised up the number of new jobs originally reported for September (158,000 to 210,000) and October (80,000 to 100,000).

Wall Street responded to the report by driving up stock prices, not with the same frenzy as it did earlier this week, but still with strength. At mid-morning in New York, the Dow was up almost 100 points.

Industry News

ADP Reports 206,000 New Jobs in November



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Payroll and HR services firm ADP spread around a little holiday cheer yesterday when the company said 206,000 new jobs were added to private payrolls in November.

It came as a surprise to economists who had predicted a more modest increase of about 130,000, according to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires. In addition, ADP revised its October private-sector growth number by 20,000 to 130,000.

The ADP report sparked a stock rally that ignited after it became known that the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks were coordinating efforts to help Europe’s debt crisis. The Dow rose more than 400 points, settling at just under that after lunch in New York.

Industry News, The Business of Recruiting

“The Headhuntress” Airs Tonight on Bravo



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Bravo is airing a one-hour special tonight that may do for executive headhunting what Simon Cowell did for talent shows.

In the space of 60 minutes (commercials included), Wendy Doulton dispenses such bits of advice to her six-figure job candidates as “You need to lose the cleavage,” and “You make me feel like taking a nap.”

Born in the U.S., educated in London, Doulton’s blunt, unvarnished advice is delivered, in a clipped British accent. “A résumé should be like a skirt,” she declares. “Long enough to cover the basics, but short enough to keep them interested.”