Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession



Why You Don’t Get Better Client Feedback

Pros and cons buttons - free

As a client I tried to provide my agency partners transparent and honest feedback regarding their candidates. Agencies hate hearing that a candidate was not a “cultural fit” or the team just didn’t “see it.”  So I always tried not to be that type of client.

This open feedback, though, needs to be filtered when delivering the negative news to the candidate. Just because I said something to the recruiter doesn’t mean it should be said to the candidate. The candidate invested time and energy to come visit with my team so I want to be respectful of their effort. However, some candidates don’t have the maturity to accept the feedback in the spirit of professional improvement in which it is intended.  


Candidate Case Study: Is Kelly the Candidate Worth Your Time?

Feedback - Stuart Miles - free

Things move fast in recruiting. You speak to dozens of candidates daily, giving both positive and constructive feedback.

Today, we are studying the case of a candidate named Kelly G.

Kelly earned an MBA from Duke and worked in mid-management marketing positions at Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines over the past four years. She looks great on paper, but does not get past the first interview. Hiring managers go from excited before the interview to cold as ice afterward. Feedback typically is along the lines of: “Just not a good fit,” and “We found another candidate that was a better fit.” In other words, she blew the interviews.

How-To, Interviews

Why You Should Ask Questions Like A 2-Year Old


tough-interview-questionsInterviewing candidates centers on a conversation — a give and take. Your ability to question well supports the organization, competence, and rapport building skills that you bring to that conversation. There are some specific ways to sharpen that ability.

To get an overview of the process, consider this mnemonic device, which reinforces the critical elements of good questioning

2 + 6 over F x 4 = Good Questioning

The parts mean this:

  • Question with the curiosity of a two-year-old
  • Use the six interrogatives: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How
  • Lay that on top of follow-up
  • Make sure to cover all four of the discovery areas: people, places, things, and events in time

This may appear simplistic, but after countless hours of analyzing


When the Candidate Rejects Your Feedback, It May be Time to Walk Away

Defensive posture

Defensive postureThings move fast in recruiting. You speak to dozens of candidates daily, giving both positive and constructive feedback.

Today, we are studying the case of a candidate named Kelly G.

Kelly earned an MBA from Duke and worked in mid-management marketing positions at Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines over the past four

How-To, Interviews

Here’s How to Screen Prospective Leaders for Risky Behaviors

leaders org chart - free

leaders org chart - freeThe numbers of fallen leaders in sports, business, entertainment, and politics grows each day. Why do so many influential leaders engage in risky behavior that sends them plummeting from positions of power?

Consider the cases of NYC mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner, Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, and hedge fund manager Steven Cohen. Some candidates barely make it out the gate (Herman Cain) before they become “disqualified.”

As employment professionals, we may ask: “How can we develop a more failsafe way to weed out leaders who may have risky, impulsive, addictive, and possibly immoral lifestyles? Do we have a role in directing them toward the help they need?”

Here are three guidelines that will help:


What This Classic Interview Question Can Tell You

interview - Freedigital

interview - FreedigitalWhere do you see yourself in five years?

Is this weathered old interview question still effective? In this dynamic age where entire industries can disappear in five years, is this question obsolete? Far from it, this question is like a classic movie – it sticks around forever. Where do you see yourself in five years reveals a great deal about a candidate’s personality and potential.

Take a look at these common answers to the question. Right or wrong, you form an impression very quickly based on the type of response. I know you have met more than your share of these candidates.

How-To, Interviews, Staffing

A Tech Freelancer Says: Here’s How To Recruit Me

talent in spotlight

How does a team of technical co-founders recruit a top notch designer?

Maybe they realized it; maybe not. But whoever posted that question to Quora asked what every recruiter on the planet has wondered at one time or another: How can I recruit the best candidate for my job?

It’s a simple question, yet one to which there is neither a simple answer nor even consensus about just what combination of characteristics, background, skills, experience, personal traits, and so on make someone “the best candidate” or even a “top notch” candidate.

Yet right there on Quora, amidst the predictable suggestions about searching GitHub and hitting the networking circuits, is a blueprint for building a recruiting program to attract not only a coder-designer. but an entire team of tech talent.

Industry News, Interviews

Forget the Brainteasers. Google’s HR Boss Says Behavioral Interviews Are Better

Laszlo Bock

Those peculiar interview brainteasers used by tech startups and adopted so widely that Glassdoor has an annual list of 25, are out at Google, the company that if it didn’t invent them, made them infamous.

Calling them”a complete waste of time,” Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, told The New York Times  “They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

His comments, published last week in The Times, have exploded all over the internet. Not only have bloggers and business pubs discussed what Bock had to say about Google’s hiring discoveries, but so have search firms.

ACATalent observed, “Scientific methods like behavioral interviewing cut to the core of why a candidate might or might not make a good hire.” CyberCoders, writing for its tech candidates reported that Google has done away with the brainteasers, saying, “This is good news because you can prepare for these questions much more thoroughly than the brainteasers.”


How Your Sendout Can STAR At a Panel Interview

Woman interview - freedigital

Panel interviews are often used for executive positions, as well as positions in academia and government. This is a very dynamic and effective technique for organizations to evaluate a candidate as a group. It gives key leaders a chance to provide feedback regarding the candidate’s ability to fit in with the management team and helps to measure potential success.

Here are a few tips to share with your candidate so they’ll shine at a panel interview. Done properly and with confidence, your candidate can leave the competition in the dust as they move forward to the next phase in the process!

How-To, Interviews

A Resume Is So Yesterday. Your Candidates Need Portfolios

stack of resumes

I have some ideas as to how I am going to approach this and would like for you to take a look and give me your thoughts.

My response was as usual, “Talk to me first as to what you are thinking and then send me your draft [s].”

The lady I was helping methodically walked me through her thought process and how she was going to take it and transfer it to marketing collateral.

I realized after hanging up that a job search today is beyond anything that we have ever witnessed in years past. The day of just sending out a generic resume is a thing of the past. There is an entire cottage industry that has been built around resumes and LinkedIn bios.