Career Change

This morning, Brian Mageirski  pointed me to an article in TechCrunch about  a Reduction in Force at Jive Software in Portland, Oregon.  The post highlighted a former employee’s take on the layoffs, and his thoughts on why he felt the company mismanaged the process.  This employee was not laid off – he had already found another job and given his notice, but he was surrounded by the folks who were caught off-guard by the layoff.  Chris’s post and the associated comments didn’t say anything different than what we heard during the dot com bust.  There’s nothing surprising or outrageous here.  Nothing I didn’t hear from (or, for that matter, say to) my friends and family when my husband was laid off.  What’s different this time is the audience.  Chris is no longer sharing this with his closest friends and family – he’s sharing it with the world.  And the world is listening and responding.

And so are the world’s former and future bosses.  Uh-oh.  Are those bridges I smell burning?

This, of course, started some conversations internally.  I was talking to our Social Media Studette, Susan Scrupski, about it, and she mentioned that this was something she was already addressing.  We got into a discussion about how we have a choice as we move forward…  We either change the way we react to other people’s honest postings, or we encourage self-censorship to head off potential future problems. 

Social media advocates (like Susan) will say we need to change the way we react. They believe that this type of transparent, vibrant, open discussion is how we’re changing the world.   We need to “get over ourselves and our big egos” and encourage people to say what they feel, and use that to develop better processes and solutions in the future.   They’re drippy, lovey Liberals that way… 

I, on the other hand, am terribly old-fashioned.  I encourage self-censorship.  Thinking before you post.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again – the internet is pretty much permanent.   If you might be embarrassed by something five years from now, I suggest you refrain from posting it.  I’m a boring, old, humorless Conservative that way…

Back to Chris’s post, though…  There are some important points in this post.  Companies might be able to take away some valuable lessons about how you treat exiting employees.  Keeping their personal items isn’t just harsh – it’s sort of stealing.  And it looks REALLY bad.  Even if we don’t have all the information, it doesn’t matter.  Perception is 9/10ths of reality, and Jive’s going to have a hard time recovering their employment brand after this.  And, what’s worse is that it was a pretty cool brand before they kept people’s wedding pictures.

Employees might be able to take away some valuable lessons, too.  Remember that HR doesn’t generally make the decisions about who stays and who goes during a layoff.  That’s a decision that’s handed down from the business leaders.  And most of the time, HR doesn’t have a lot of input into severance packages and exit details.  So, projecting your anger on the messenger (HR) isn’t fair, and it’s not healthy.  HR people get laid off and find new jobs, too, you know. 

I can understand the anger (my husband was working and laid off during the dot com era, too), but I could appreciate who made the decisions and who had the unenviable task of delivering the news.  Be careful how loudly you cry and gnash your teeth – your potential future employers might not be able to fully empathize with your circumstances, and your on-line behavior may be used against you in your job search.  Google is a hiring manager’s best friend, after all, and in a market where there are more potential employees than there are open jobs, hiring managers will be picky.

I guess Chris got a lot of feedback, because while I was writing this post, I was alerted to another post by Chris, which comes across as much more positive.

The very best reply of the entire year came from someone claiming to be Chris’ mother:

Chris, you are blessed beyond words in so many ways. God protected you and gave you another job before this all happened. Don’t forget that Jive was a blessing for you. You made a lot of new friends and learned a lot. Changes in your life have always been for the better and this won’t be any different. Your new company will be better to have you just like Jive was!! I know you aren’t upset about this, just surprised that stuff in the world happens in the manner in which it did!!

If we’d all just listen to our mothers, our lives would be so much easier.

And, since it’s my birthday, I need to give a hat tip to my mother and father, Bernadette and Bob Carty.  Thanks folks.  I appreciate the gift of a very happy life.  Here’s to another 36+ years!

I try. I really do. I want to help the nGenera software engineering team so much that I’ve been trying to write Ruby on Rails code. The only problem is, I don’t have what it takes. I’m just not a good programmer. Oh, sure, I USED to be an awesome programmer, but that was before I moved into the frou-frou world of “Talent Acquisition.” Today, my programming skills are creaky, and I’m not even capable of putting together the simplest of “Hello World” programs in Ruby on Rails. I’m so disappointed in myself – I am ready to run upon my sword.

But, then I took a step back and thought… People read this blog (well, a couple, at least). Maybe some good programmers will read it. In fact, maybe YOU’RE a good programmer. And if you ARE, I am betting that you can take this code and fix it with one click of the keyboard.

puts ‘nGenera is the absolute coolest company in the world. It’s the greatest, even!’

If you can spot the bug, we would really like to hear from you, because we have some cutting-edge Ruby on Rails code we want you to write for us.

If you can fix it and you want a job, just comment below or send me an email at I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Please save the software engineering team from their well-meaning recruiter. Please??

First, I have a crazy sense of loyalty to Steve Papermaster. The man gave me my first job out of college, and kept in touch with me in the intervening years. When he was ready to start BSG Alliance, he asked me to be a part of his team, even though I’d been out of the paid workforce for 6 years. He’s engaging, funny as all-get-out, and someone who people just naturally want to follow. I love BSG Alliance because it’s a place where I have the opportunity to work with Steve again.

Second, BSG Alliance has given me the opportunity to embrace an entirely new career path. I’ve always been a people person – I freak out my family with my ability to remember names and faces (an ability I am proud to have passed on to my oldest child, Emma), but I was also a very good programmer (if I don’t say so myself). When Tom and I made the decision that I would stay home to care for our kids, I really didn’t know where I might fit when I decided to come back to work, which I knew I would. BSG Alliance has given me the opportunity to use both my people skills and my technical knowledge to really a make a difference.

Another reason I love BSG Alliance is because my co-workers really care about whether or not I succeed.  This week, one of my colleagues (Mike Corino) took time away from his wife and 2-year-old son to give me an excellent overview of the Financial Services marketplace.  He also took the time to really understand my constraints (both budgetary and time constraints), and I feel that it gave us both a great foundation for a strong working relationship.

There are lots of other reasons I love BSG Alliance.  For example, many years ago, I zipped one of my co-workers in a suitcase.   I get to work with him again.  How cool is that?  And, I get the opportunity to use all sorts of Enterprise 2.0 technologies.  6 months ago, I don’t know that I would have been able to tell you what a wiki is – today, I use a wiki constantly, and I understand its benefit! I also get to help people find career paths that are in line with what they want out of life.

BSG Alliance is a great place. It’s a place where excellence is not only rewarded, but expected.  It’s a place where you can grow your career, and a place where you have mentors to help you move forward.   It’s a place you should consider joining.

Have a great week!

About two months ago, we had two people not bother to show up for interviews at our New York office. I had set up the interviews, the interviewers had made an effort to be available, and I had confirmed with the candidates two days earlier that the interviews were still scheduled. And yet, they didn’t bother to show up, nor did the bother to call and let us know that they would not be there.

After the no-shows, I called both candidates. I got voicemail for both. I left messages. Two days went by, and I didn’t hear anything. I emailed both candidates. I got no response. About a week later, I emailed again, just to follow up and close my process. One candidate responded that he was really sorry he hadn’t made it, and would call me that day to explain. You guessed it… he never called. Oh, one other important point: both candidates had submitted their resumes to us. These were not passive candidates, they were actively seeking out new opportunities, and sought out BSG Alliance.

When I called my boss to see if that was something to be expected, she was pretty surprised. She’s been in recruiting for a long time, and she hadn’t really encountered that behavior. But, she’d never been a recruiter in New York, so she thought that maybe the very tight labor market allows people to get away with such poor behavior. It’s hard to find good people in New York, and I guess that some of these candidates figure that they can get away with whatever they want because employers are desperate for good talent. Well, I can tell you this: BSG Alliance is always looking for talented developers, but we’re not “desperate” by any means. We look for people who will help us build a team, not people who think so highly of themselves that they can’t show common courtesy to others.

So, you’re asking why I am bringing this up so long after it happened. Well, it’s because I had a similar situation last week. A candidate found a BSG Alliance job posting, and submitted his resume. I scheduled a phone interview with the candidate for the following day. I blocked off an hour on my calendar, which gives me enough time to really get an idea of what makes the candidate tick. I made the phone call to the number provided, and… I got voicemail. Now, I have to admit that this isn’t unusual – sometimes my candidates are in a meeting from which they can’t extricate themselves, for example. What was unusual is that I left a message, and never got a return call. I called back about 15 minutes later, and still got voicemail. I left another message, and followed up with an email asking to reschedule. All were ignored. This candidate now finds himself on my “NBM List” (Not BSG Material – a holdover from my days as a sorority girl).

I also had a candidate recently who was unavailable during the time we had scheduled to call. Actually, he had been “unavailable” twice before, but had rescheduled both missed calls, so this was my last shot with him. The number he gave me for this particular call was his home number, and one of his family members answered, none too thrilled to hear from me. I waited for a 1/2 hour for the candidate to return my call, and when he didn’t, I sent an email letting him know that we were no longer interested. About 5 minutes later (when I was preparing for another call) the candidate called my cell phone. Since I knew that I didn’t have time to devote to an interview, I let it go to voicemail. The candidate proceeded to call me back at 3 minute intervals for the next 45 minutes, leaving 5 voicemails. I finally spoke to the candidate, and explained that after the amount of time I spent scheduling and rescheduling, only to have him miss a third appointment, I didn’t think he was a good fit for the organization. I almost felt sorry for him, because he didn’t seem to understand that his behavior was a pretty big red flag for me.

I guess this all brings me back to the concept of bridges – more specifically, the burning of such. I like to keep communications open with all candidates, whether or not they’re a good fit for BSG Alliance today. And I hope that people see the value in keeping contact with recruiters who might be able to help them in the future. When someone doesn’t show up for an interview, or is unavailable for a scheduled phone call, and they don’t offer a valid explanation, they find their way onto my NBM List, and they burn my bridge.

At BSG Alliance, we pride ourselves on respecting the time and talents of every candidate we encounter. Common courtesy says that the candidates should also respect our time and efforts. If a candidate can’t show that respect during a job search, then I fully expect that they will be unable to show respect to their co-workers on the job. They are not the kind of people I want on my team.

So, long post short: If you don’t show up for an interview, or aren’t available for a scheduled call, you’re going to make it onto the Recruiter’s list of people that they won’t consider for employment – EVER. Not a good place to be.

Have a great rest of the week. Make sure to check out my cool jobs on the BSG Alliance website.


When I was just getting started in the Recruiting business, a very successful recruiter told me that one of his red flags was a typographical or grammatical error in a resume. His point was that a resume is the most important document a person uses to “sell” his/her skills, and he/she should make darn sure that there are no errors. My mentor told me that a lack of attention to detail on something as important as a resume often indicates an overall lack of attention to detail on the job.

I found a resume on a job board today, for example, where the job seeker meant to type “skillset,” but instead typed “skillets.” If he were looking to be hired as a cook at Denny’s, that might have been okay, but since he was looking for work as a Senior Developer, his skillet experience doesn’t quite fit. Although, now I’m craving an omelette.

But I digress… Lately, I have noticed typos in resumes that aren’t necessarily indicative of a lack of attention… Instead, they’re more likely a result of English being the job seeker’s second language. A good example of this kind of typo is one that I come across frequently: using “familiar in” instead of “familiar with” to describe exposure to technologies and concepts. Missing “a” and “the” qualifiers (“I am Java developer” instead of “I am a Java developer”) are also common errors in these resumes. Oftentimes, this is how people who have learned English as a second language speak, so it doesn’t appear incorrect to them when they type it on their resume. And, I’ve checked in Microsoft Word… the grammar checker doesn’t always pick up these types of errors.

When I see a resume like this, with minor grammatical errors, I stop myself before making a judgment call. These job seekers have worked very, very hard to learn a language that is nothing short of incredibly difficult to grasp. There are nuances to this language that don’t exist in a lot of other languages (the sheer volume of irregular verbs, for example), and it can be very difficult to learn. Heck, many of my fellow Americans can’t even speak the language properly, so I feel I should give some leniency to those who were born elsewhere and took it upon themselves to learn the language.

This makes me think about what my resume would look like if I had to write it in Spanish. My guess is that it would look something like this:

Sra. Katie Tierney

Calle Rojo
Chaska, Minnesota

Yo soy una “recruiter” de una compania de software consultado en Tejas.

As you can no doubt tell, my Spanish resume would really suck.

I do have a suggestion to the job seekers out there who don’t speak English as a native language. Take the time to have a native speaker review your resume. A native speaker will probably be able to help you flush out some of the errors that might not be evident to you, but can be very evident to hiring managers. It doesn’t take too much time, and I know there are lots of people out there who would be willing to help.

And, once you’ve got it all proofed and prettied, take a look at the jobs on

Have a great week!


BSG recently launched a new section of our website dedicated to careers. We want our potential employees to not only learn about our amazing organization, but we also want them to become a part of our on-line community, where you can share ideas, learn about new technologies, and collaborate around the world.

BSG Alliance delivers Enterprise 2.0 technology to the corporate world. We’re building NGEs – Next Generation Enterprises… Organizations that know how to take advantage of the tools, collaboration, and innovation that surrounds us on the internet. We bring strategy, delivery, and applications together to help companies remain flexible and agile in the hypercompetitive global marketplace.

At BSG, you’re free to be… NGE. Free to collaborate. Free to seek out new and better ways of doing things. Free to drive your career where you want to go. Free to be a part of the Next Generation of the internet. Free to be NGE.


Check out the new career site, and feel free to email me if you have any comments, suggestions, or complaints.


Have a great Thursday evening and a wonderful Friday!



Are you a heads-down Java programmer? Someone who comes in every day, grabs those specs, codes, tests, and heads home? Someone who gets the job done each and every day? Someone who has a neat cube, with no messy pictures or trinkets to clutter it up?

You are? Well, then… I don’t particularly want to talk to you.

Instead, I want to talk with the Java programmer who is excited to get to the job every day. The Java programmer who grabs the specs, finds ways to improve the performance and usability of the system, and who has a life outside of work. I want to talk to the Java programmer who is interested in making a difference. Building a team. Delivering solutions that exceed, not just meet, the customers’ expectations. I want to talk to the Java programmer who can not only code the most specific piece of functionality, but who can talk with the C-level executives about the overall driving strategy for the system. I want to talk to the Java programmer who is motivated, driven, and unique. I want to talk to the Java programmer who has the ability to make a difference at BSG and for our clients.

In short, I want to talk to the Java programmer who has the desire to be part of the coolest consulting team in the world.

Does THAT sound like you? Then I want to talk. Take a look at the Java opportunity on BSG’s NEW CAREER PAGE, and send me an email.

Have a great week!


Well, I finally have a minute between calls and emails and lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! Now, I can sit down and write a little review of the Recruiting Roadshow Unconference. Overall, let’s just say that it was not a waste of time (scared you, didn’t I, Paul?). In fact, I gathered so much good information, I think my little newbie head might just burst.

The morning started with donuts. Lots and lot of donuts. Pink donuts. Chocolate donuts. And some danishes. I heard that they were good, but I was a good girl and ate none of them. I had to save my calories for cookies after lunch.

Then, John Sumser spoke about the Generation Gap in hiring. John is a Baby Boomer, and spent time explaining the tightening job market, and how it affects your recruiting processes. John’s main point was this: there is one worker for every job, and you have to know how to attract and retain employees who may have a different work ethic than you do. Which, from what I gathered, was no work ethic. John pointed out that a Generation Y employee will do what he is asked, but will not sit in the office if he’s not tasked with something at that moment. Paraphrasing John: “I’ll do what you ask, but if you don’t give me something to do, I’m going to the mall.” Then he pantomimed sending a text message to all his friends telling them to meet him at the Food Court. Here’s my concern with that mentality: if I haven’t given you something to do, why aren’t you proactively seeking out new challenges? The Recruiting Animal had an interesting post on this subject this week. Hippies. heh-heh. He said hippies.

Anyway, John was an interesting speaker. As I have heard said, he can be somewhat, um, what’stheword?, abrasive, and can rub some people the wrong way. He tried to do that with me, by claiming that educated women don’t have a lot of children, and adding something to the effect of “he doesn’t blame them.” After the conference, when I was hanging around being a groupie, I called him on it by engineering an introduction that began with “she has 4 kids.” He’s a good sport, though, and we had a laugh.

Some important points from John: Transparency. Collaboration. Flexibility. Employment Branding. Sounds like BSG to me!

And so we move on… Next up was Steven Rothberg of Steven started his presentation with a lead in from the Wall Street Journal about the perceived entitlement mentality among the Generation Y workforce. Steven hypothesized that the Generation Y fascination with themselves (a.k.a. self-absorption) is exasperated by social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Thus began his very informative discussion of the whats, whys, and hows of using social networking to build a workforce.

Important points from Steven’s presentation: be careful what you look for on MySpace and Facebook, since how you use the information you find could put you in a big old pot of boiling water. Utilize MySpace and Facebook to build an employment brand. Social networking can be beneficial to your recruiting efforts, especially when used correctly.

Steven also briefly mentioned Second Life, but only to say, and I quote “It’s really cool, it’s useless, and it’s really cool.”

The next presentation was a round table of sorts about blogging. I am a bad woman because I didn’t get everyone’s name, but I assume will have that up soon. This was enlightening, especially since Paul took the time to introduce a wonderful new blogger by the name of Katie Tierney. Perhaps you’ve heard of her? I hear she’s absolutely amazing and terribly humble. But, I digress…

The panel provided various points of view for why people should blog, and how to go about getting started. The consensus was that blogging is important to building an employment brand, and that people interested in blogging need to read the blogs first, and then find their voice.

I know that Josh Kahn (who graciously convinced Best Buy to allow us to use their facilities) was on the panel, as were three other great people whose names I just flat out don’t know.

Last, but certainly not least, Nicole St. Martin and Doug Berg of provided a great presentation on search engine optimization and employment branding. This was a great look at how you can make simple changes to your career communications that will engage candidates for the long-term, rather than for short-term, need-it-now searches.

Main points to take from Nicole and Doug: candidate communities are essential to effective long-term recruiting and staffing. Communication should be bi-directional, media rich, interactive, relational, and easily accessible via RSS and XML feeds.

Overall, this was a great unconference (what does that MEAN??). I had the opportunity to meet lots of new people, saw an old MOMS Club friend, and had some great conversations about recruiting and life in general.

I want to thank Paul, Steven, Josh, and John for putting together a program that didn’t suck. In fact, it was great, and I was lucky to have been able to attend.

Have a great weekend!


Update – 7:21 PM – Paul posted a nice little entry that named all the folks in the blogging roundtable (well, they weren’t at a table, and it was more of a straight line, but you get the point). You can check it out here.

I’m a very, very spoiled woman. I work from the comfort of my own home. I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s noises or smells invading my workspace. I only have to worry about the odd smell from the baby when he gets too close to my office door. But, he can’t help that. He’s only 14 months old, for goodness’ sake. I am isolated from the distractions of others, and I kind of like it. I can concentrate a lot better when I don’t have to hear someone else clacking away at the keyboard or singing along to their iPod. Yes, even though you think headphones make you silent, they don’t – they make you louder. And your voice is horrible.

I have a very close friend who is dealing with a tough workplace situation right now. She works for a company that often utilizes contractors. One of the contractors they hired is, to say the least, difficult. My friend says that the co-worker does his job well, but he has these personal habits that drive the other co-workers mad. For example, his gum chewing is noisy. Jackhammer noisy. Bird in an airplane engine noisy. And, if you’re trying to write detailed client reports about very important financial transactions, the last thing you need is someone slapping their gums together in harmony with all that surrounds him.

Plus, my friend’s coworker talks a lot. He comes in each and every Monday morning and provides the gory details of his weekend. He does a lot of things that are considered less-than-mainstream, so his stories not only take up a lot of valuable time, but they also leave people feeling like they need a shower. Apparently, for example, he no longer wears underwear. He’s become “so minimalist that way.”

It’s a difficult situation for my friend. At this point, she’s not in a position to terminate the co-worker’s contract, and the person who is in the position doesn’t feel that it’s the right move. After all, the co-worker completes his tasks when he says he will, and they are technically sound. The problem isn’t really the co-worker – it’s the people around him, who are unable to concentrate on THEIR tasks, and, therefore, unable to get their work done as efficiently and effectively as possible.

I counseled my friend that it’s time to take a stand – she needs to let the holder of the purse strings know that by not taking action on this situation, the holder of the purse strings is creating a culture where respect is not valued. Basically, the etiquette-challenged co-worker doesn’t respect his colleagues, and by not working to solve that situation, the holder of the purse strings shows a lack of respect for the the colleagues. Management by Ignorance – the holder of the purse strings ignores the problems, hopes they’ll go away, and enforces the discontent among the other colleagues, who are all high performers.

In order to maintain an organization where the delivered products (whatever they might be: cars, technology products, boxes of cereal) are better than the competition, managers must, first and foremost, respect their employees. The employees are the center of value creation, and when management allows situations like the one my friend finds herself in, the employees begin to focus less on the job, and more on the inherent icky-ness of the situation. They do not see that their contributions are valued, because they are more focused on the day-to-day working conditions, which are far less than desirable.

And the hit to productivity can be significant – in my friend’s case, she plans her time so that she spends as little time at the client site when the co-worker is there as possible. Luckily, her job is a little flexible in that way – she has several clients, and can schedule herself at other places when she knows the co-worker will be at the office. But, a lot of jobs don’t offer that flexibility, and you run into people hiding in break rooms and coat closets just to get away from the problem employee.

If the holder of the purse strings would simply take a step back and look at the situation more objectively, I think he would see that the time has come to take action on the co-worker, and show some respect for the other employees. The other employees will see that their opinions and work are respected, and will see immediate gains in their productivity.

Have a great week, and make sure that you turn up your iPod so that you don’t hear me singing along to “Irreplaceable” in the background.


P.S. I am sure that some people are wondering what I mean when I say “take action on the co-worker.” I think that the manager needs to address the outstanding issues, and offer a performance improvement plan. If the co-worker continues to show blatant disregard for the other employees, it’s time for the contract to be terminated.

I think my friends are getting sick of listening to me. Well, they’ve probably always been a little tired of listening to me talk since a) I like to hear myself talk, so I can talk about nonsense for hours and b) my voice sounds like a cross between a tortured hyena and a wounded elephant. But, that aside, I think that my friends are very tired of hearing me talk about how much I love my job. I look forward to my “office days,” when I get to sit at the desk, research, call, write, and generally do whatever recruiting-related tasks need doing. I guess I come across as though I am bragging – nanny, nanny, boo-boo! I have a cool job, and youuuuu doooon’t!

I’ve come to realize, though, that a lot of people aren’t as lucky as I am. A lot of people don’t particularly like their jobs, but don’t have the “get up and go” to, well, “get up and go” elsewhere. I was talking to a candidate today who told me about a past company for which he’d worked, and he pointed out that a lot of his former colleagues are still there, even though they’re miserable, because they can’t get the inertia to look elsewhere. It may not be comfortable for them, but at least they consider it safe. These are the folks who struggle in to work every morning, bang at the keyboard for 8 hours, sigh, and head home, just to do the same thing tomorrow. They’re not excited about their job, their employers don’t respect or value them, and they are literally wasting away in the land of career despair.

Serendipitously (my new favorite word for the week), I happened upon a link to this post, which details some of the signs that you might be ready for a career change. And, upon further Googling, I came across a (very old) post by Suze Orman on Yahoo! Finance that also lists some signs (she only lists 5 – Orman must be an underachiever) that a career change is a good idea.

I have one sign that I want to add to these two lists:

It’s time to look for a new career path when you’re jealous of your friends’ jobs. As soon as you look at Betty Lou and think to yourself “She is so lucky to own her own hair and nail salon – I am so jealous,” then it’s time to consider whether or not you, yourself, should be the owner of a hair and nail salon. Well, maybe that’s extreme, but it should at least make you think about whether or not what you’re doing with your career is truly making you happy. If you are a Java developer at an Investment Bank, for example, and you see all the really hip guys from the new consulting startup down the street doing the cool things you want to do, it’s time to consider a new opportunity.

For me, I found these tips interesting from a different perspective – the “recruiter perspective.” These tips help me come up with some ways to identify passive candidates who really aren’t as passive as they would believe. If I can identify any of the signs in my friends’ behaviors, I know that it might be a good time to discuss opportunities with BSG.

In the end, a bit in Orman’s post really summed it up for me:

You deserve to enjoy your job, to feel appreciated and challenged by it, and to be fairly compensated for your work. If that’s not how things are playing out at the moment, it’s time to take responsibility for your future.

Have a great weekend. Get out and enjoy your life. And if you’re not enjoying your job, take the first steps toward making a change.



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