Cool Job

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??

One of the worst parts of being a virtual employee is that I rarely get the opportunity to physically interact with my coworkers. I sit in my office at home, and use the phone, Skype, Twitter, and Instant Messenger to communicate with the other BSG Alliance folks. So, when I have the opportunity to fly to Texas and have some face time, I always jump at the chance.

This week, my chance was the People Team meeting in Austin, TX. We’re sitting around, drinking copious amounts of diet Coke and discussing plans for making sure that we can effectively innovate solutions for our human resource challenges.

As part of the meeting, we had a working lunch from Jason’s Deli. They brought in a big platter of sandwiches, cookies, brownies, and a big old bag of ruffly potato chips. As we were eating, my boss held up a chip and said:

Wow! This looks like Texas!

Our Texas-marked chip

And it did. So Katie “Rockstar” Meenan, our new recruiter for the New York office, decided that it might be fun to put the potato chip up on eBay. As she was adding the eBay entry, our brainstorming took hold, and we had her add a link to the BSG Alliance careers site. After all, BSG Alliance paid for the potato chip, so we should get some benefit from Katie’s eBay sale!

Katie started the bidding at 50 cents. Within minutes, the bidding was up to $2.00. This morning, it’s at $3.25. Bidding ends next Monday. I fully expect that Katie’s winning bid will be well over $5. And I hope that the word-of-mouth we generate helps establish BSG Alliance as the kind of fun, innovative company that people really want to join.

UPDATE – 1/29/08 – 2:02 PM CST

Katie is donating the proceeds to the Austin Parks Foundation. Get those bids up there!

The bids are up to $74.  Let’s get this puppy above $100 and show Austin Parks Foundation that people really DO care!

My boss and I were talking today, and she mentioned that, every so often, she runs across a candidate who is literally scared by the innovative way BSG Alliance delivers value. I agreed with her – I have seen a few of those candidates myself. You see, BSG Alliance is focused on transforming our customers into Next Generation Enterprises. Next Generation Enterprises are flexible, and will remain highly competitive and profitable because of their unique management of internal and external human resources, their delivery of unique and distinctive customer experiences, and their ability to develop and implement agile, collaborative technology solutions. In short, Next Generation Enterprises are INNOVATIVE.

In order for BSG Alliance to properly guide our customers on their journey to NGEness, we must lead by example – we must be NGE. And we are. We are so innovative and NGE, in fact, that Business Week recently gave us a plug in their Innovation Predictions 2008 article.

We understand how to provide our customers with exactly what they need to increase their profitability. We understand how to build flexible, agile software. We can provide the right solution, right now, on demand. That’s a very innovative way of doing business.

But, for some people, this is a scary proposition. Being innovative means that we’re in uncharted waters. People aren’t familiar with Agile Talent, or Distinctive Customer Experience, or Agile & Collaborative technology. They are afraid of the unknown, and unwilling to leave their comfort zone; unwilling to escape the hierarchical, traditional ways of doing things. Unwilling to acknowledge that the future of business is changing, and BSG Alliance is leading that change (back at BSG version 1.0, we used to say that BSG was Leading the Change, and Changing the Lead – we were then, and we are now).

So, we’ve had a few candidates hear about how we deliver this exceptional value proposition, and decide that they’re more comfortable in “SuperMegaLargeHierarchy Industries.” Which is fine, really – they aren’t the kind of people we need to make BSG Alliance successful. And, 10 years down the road, when BSG Alliance is a household name, they’ll realize that it may have been a good idea to be a part of the new way of doing business. We may be innovative, but our innovation is what make us unique. And our innovation is why people like me, Tom Steinthal, Brian Magierski, Susan Scrupski, and a host of others have been drawn to BSG Alliance. And, at the end of the day, our innovation is what makes us better able to truly address our customers’ pain points, and provide them with a path to enlightenment – a path to becoming NGE.

Over the past several months, I have been in the throes of a candidate tracking system selection and implementation process. It was a daunting task. There are hundreds of systems out there, and I had to narrow it down to the right one for BSG Alliance. We look at all of our software (our platform for doing business, as it were) as a strategic advantage. We needed a candidate tracking system that not only fulfills our needs, but does so better, faster, more efficiently, and more profitably.

At the end of the day, that system was Jobvite. And, interestingly enough, there was a writeup about Jobvite in VentureWire (subscription required!) today, which pointed out:

Jobvite Inc. hopes to make hiring more streamlined – and more viral.

And that viral part was the key.

Jobvite treats the entire organization as a recruiting machine, leveraging the social networks of all employees to build a pipeline of great candidates for open jobs. At its heart is the concept of a “Jobvite,” which you can liken to an invitation to visit a job posting on your career site. You send Jobvites to your employees and your social network, and, through the magic of viral marketing, you get your job postings in front of (potentially) hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates. Since we started sending Jobvites on Tuesday, we’ve had 4 candidates submit their resumes for some of our very important open jobs. That’s a pretty impressive return for what amounted to 15 seconds of work on my part to send out the Jobvites!

As far as tracking the candidates and requisitions once they’re in the system, Jobvite is excellent. It’s intuitive. It’s easy on the eyes (that is, well-designed). It was incredibly simple to implement. It’s flexible. It’s easy to customize. It allows you to manage “collections” of candidates, to make classification easier.

The customer service is phenomenal, and the longest we’ve waited for an enhancement or customization is 12 hours. The Interview Scheduling facility integrates with Outlook, but only on Windows XP or older, and it could use a little tweaking, including the ability to schedule ticklers directly from the system. That’s my only complaint. Everything else is really incredible.

Jobvite is targeted towards small and mid-sized businesses. It requires no software installation – it is a true Software-As-A-Service tool. Pricing is competitive – an all-inclusive setup fee, and an all-inclusive monthly fee (not a fee per hiring manager, per recruiter, per HR rep, per interviewer, etc.). That monthly fee allows every single employee in your organization to access and use Jobvite to automate and streamline the recruiting process. Did I mention that using Jobvite can make your entire recruiting process, from candidate identification to hiring, paperless? Think of the reams of paper and forests of trees you can save!

I have to thank Jen Overholt from Jobvite, as well as Hans Larsen, who have done an amazing job throughout the implementation process to work with us to make sure we have the right system for our needs.

If you want more information on the process, and the other systems we reviewed, please feel free to drop me a line at I’m happy to help!

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!

Okay, this is more a call for help than a real blog post. If you’ve got input, please feel free to comment….

I am in the process of looking for an expert in C++ performance tuning. The person I need must understand high-volume, real-time transaction processing systems, and must have experience in tuning those systems in the past. I’m not going to be using third parties for this search, so I’m working to find the candidate myself.

My first step is always to use the job board to which we are subscribed. I didn’t find anyone using my standard Boolean searches on the board:

C++ and (“performance tuning” or “performance enhancement” or “improved performance”)

Coming up empty-handed, I moved on to my super secret Google searches. Well, they’re not super-secret. I use inurl and intitle to help me limit my results to resumes, and I use standard Boolean logic to construct the search (thank goodness I was a programmer before I became a recruiter, and I actually deeply understand Boolean logic). So, I run a Google search that looks like this:

(inurl:~resume OR intitle:~resume) “New York” C++ (“performance tuning” OR “performance enhancement” OR “improved performance”)

This isn’t all that fruitful, either. So, I pull a trick from the Bag o’ Recruiter Stuff, and start to think about where I might find a website where C++ performance experts congregate. Maybe I could find a niche board. I’ve had good luck with niche boards in the past –, for example, is an excellent place to post for people with experience in FIX Protocol implementations. I commenced searching. And, much to my chagrin, came up with very little. Where do all the C++ programmers hang out? I found a community that focused on Quantitative Finance, but it’s run by a publishing company, doesn’t appear to be very vibrant, and has no job board. I also found a couple of C++ usenet groups, but they don’t allow job postings.

I’ve searched LinkedIn, and even though I’ve got over 2.5 million people in my LinkedIn extended network, I haven’t come across anyone with the skills I need. I’ve got a trial of ZoomInfo, so I’m going to try that, although I’ve been warned that it’s more focused on higher-level executives than mid- to senior-level programmers. I don’t mind cold calling – I’ve just got to get the names.

So, here’s my plea… Some of you awesome recruiters out there must have some thoughts on where to find these stellar C++ experts. I could use your guidance. I’m still new at this, and I know when to ask for help.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!


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.


Today was a good day. Today was one of those days that energizes someone like me. Today was a day full of really good candidates, a glowing reference for someone we’d really like to hire, and an overall renewal of my faith in Generation Y.

The day started with an excellent conference call with the BSG Alliance Recruiting Team. Yes! We’re now officially a team! Leeanne Hallquist, a former BSGer and stay-at-home mom like me, joined us last week as a Recruiter, and has hit the ground running at warp speed. I’m so happy to be able to have her as a support system, and as someone I can bounce ideas off. She and I talked with our boss, Susie “Recruiting is in my veins” Buehler, and made a lot of progress.

Then, I went right into interviews. My days lately have been one big blur of phone interview after phone interview after phone interview (which explains why I haven’t been blogging very much). And I’ve interviewed some good candidates, but a lot of them haven’t been exactly the right fit. It gets kind of discouraging when you think you may have found the right fit, only to find out during the interview that the skills you expect aren’t there, or that the candidate isn’t actually interested in the opportunity you’re presenting.

Today, though, it seemed like everyone was a great fit. I talked with a database developer who had just the right skills for one opportunity, a business analyst with a great background and a beguiling voice, a project manager whose skills seem a perfect match to our requirements, a fascinating discussion with someone providing a reference for another candidate, and, finally, the culmination of my day…

I talked to a gentleman who will be graduating from a very prestigious university this Winter. He came through in the interview as driven, articulate, detail oriented, hard-working, and willing to work to make a difference for BSG Alliance. After talking with a lot of young people, and reading a lot of interesting studies and statistics on the behavior of Generation Yers, I’d started to lose my faith in Generation Y. I can say that this young man singlehandedly renewed my faith in the youth of this country. A word to the Recruiting Animal (my hero!): it looks like not ALL Generation Y employees have a “what’s in it for me?” attitude.

In any case, it’s been a long week already (can someone explain how I have managed, since Sunday, to already work my 30 hours?), but I am excited to get into the office tomorrow and find some more rocking candidates for my rocking job openings.

Thanks to everyone I talked to today. Thanks, especially, to Susie Buehler, who gives me more guidance and mentoring that she can imagine.

Have a great rest of the week!


Here’s my dream… One, central social network. With ways to easily separate friends and business acquaintances. And ways to keep email addresses up-to-date. And link to pictures and videos. And meet new people.

Early last month, Tom Steinthal blogged about the Web 2.0 bubble. His very last line is the one that I found most interesting:

Bottom line, I don’t see a bubble here at all, with the possible exception of a small one around the myriad of social networks.

I am now a member of 9 social networks. That’s too many. Yes, they help me keep up with my friends, and they help me come up with great new leads for the incredible Java jobs I need to fill, but they also make my head spin with their sheer volume. I simply don’t have the time to keep track of every network the way I need to. If I were to fully participate in all 9 networks, it would take up more than half of my day, and I need to be spending that time sourcing, screening, evaluating, and building.

I want the Social Network bubble to pop. And I want someone out there to be brilliant enough to build everything I want into the Perfect Social/Business Network. And I want it yesterday.

Have a great week!


I’ve been engaging in something this week that a lot of people find to be, well, let’s see… vile. Yeah. That’s a good word – a lot of people look at what I’ve been up to as vile. I don’t think it is, though. I think I’m actually providing a service. I am giving people an opportunity to do something that they might not be able to do otherwise… I’m trying to help them find a new, different, exciting, COOL job.

Yes, yes. I’ve been cold-calling (insert dramatic music here).

Essentially, I’ve come up with a list of people from various companies that we think might be good additions to the BSG Alliance team. I know where they work, so I’ve been calling the switchboards and being put through to the extensions. When I get a person, I try to take the first 15 seconds to introduce myself (stressing that I am not a headhunter) and to explain what the BSG Alliance opportunity is. So far, I have had one polite “No thank you, but I’ll keep your name,” lots of voicemails, and one very, very angry New Yorker.

Now, in the interest of full-disclosure… As much as I would like people to think that I am a native Texan, I was, in fact, born in New York. My mother and father were both raised there. My three older siblings were born there. I spent every summer until I was 12 years old on Long Island. I am a Texan, but I am also a *cough* New Yorker.

So, I feel qualified to say that New Yorkers, on average, tend to be angrier than, let’s say, Mid-Westerners or Texans. They have little patience for people who they feel are wasting their time. And, apparently, this woman felt I was wasting her time. She yelled at me. Actually raised her voice, kind of like I do with my little kids when they do something naughty, and screamed at me. I would venture to say that the cube prairie dogs popped up on her end when she started in on me, since it was *that* loud. I stammered a half-hearted apology, and quickly dropped the phone, lest she reach through the line and smack the crap out of me.

But, besides giving me excellent blog fodder, the experience also drove me to do a little more research on my cold-calling tactics. Turns out, I have a lot to learn (well, I expected that, I guess). I read a well-timed article on about Tips to Consider When Directly Sourcing Candidates by Scott Beardsley. He had some great advice, but I was most intrigued by this section:

The best way to do that is to make sure that each and every person you interact with is offered something before you ask for something.

Well, Scott, pray tell… How does one accomplish that in the 15 seconds you’ve got to get a candidate interested? Scott has an answer:

Too often, recruiters make DSNI calls with one thing in mind; how can the person on the list help me? They contact a total stranger and before they even get to know them, they’re asking for help.

That approach goes something like,”Hello, my name is Harry Swanson, a recruiter with ABC Company. I’m networking for a software engineer for one of my clients and thought maybe you could help me.”

While that approach is straightforward and evokes a person’s natural instinct to help, it’s also intrusive, disruptive, and can easily turn off the lead before you truly get to solicit their help. This is especially true if the person gets many calls from recruiters. They may be tired of being everyone’s helper and may wonder what’s in it for them.

Watch how they respond when offered something first. “Hello, my name is Harry Swanson, a recruiter with ABC Company. I’m currently representing a fast-growing, highly successful software firm looking to add new talent to its team. It’s a really good position, and the company has many benefits for its employees. It offers three weeks of yearly training, has an excellent employee value proposition, and is currently designing the next generation of software for the XYZ industry. Do you have any friends, family, or colleagues who might benefit from knowing about this great opportunity?”

Scott goes on to explain that the subtle difference in tone makes potential candidates feel that you are offering something, rather than asking for something. Scott has some other interesting insights in the article, as well, and I am going to use them tomorrow as I get back to work on the list. I’ll keep you updated on my progress as I work to find my voice.


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