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Advice from an Executive Recruiter

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Jim Blue

Jim Blue


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Today's guest is Andrew Philip, an executive recruiter based in New York City. A former senior executive in the consumer products industry, Andy established his search firm in 1994 specializing in the recruitment of executives within the Cosmetics and Accessories industries with a focus on luxury brands. His firm has become the premier search firm in these industries. Prior to entering the search business, Andy served as President of Shiseido Cosmetics-North America for 10 years, and held a number of key executive positions in the cosmetics industry.


Join Andy and Jim Blue in a discussion on how technology has changed the nature of the search business and what job seekers need to know about finding a position in these tough economic times.


0:12 Introduction

Welcome to the Keeping Technology Simple Radio Program. Jim Blue, your host, is a corporate executive that takes the mystery out of tech and now president of bluetutor.com, Jim Blue.

0:34 Jim Blue

And this is Jim Blue, the bluetutor, and this is the program that keeps technology simple. My goal is to take the fear out of technology. The last few weeks, we have spent a lot of time talking about people that are in career transition either because they have been downsized out of corporate life or left to start the wrong business or simply looking to reenter the job market looking for a job. We had people on the program that have gone through this process and needed help with their technology and that's we have been really focusing on. Today, we have with us Andrew Philip, an executive recruiter based in New York City, He is a former senior executive in the consumer products industry and he established the firm in 1994 specializing in the recruitment of executives within the cosmetic and accessories industries with the focus on luxury brand. His firm has become the premier search firm in the industries prior to entering the search business and he served as president of Shiseido Cosmetics, North America for 10 years. He was the president of an accessory company and held a number of key executive positions in the cosmetic industry. I have known Andy for many years. We were associates in the accessory business. We know what it was like as far as the job market a number of years ago before we both started our businesses about a year or so apart, so we can really talk and experience and I think you will find this a very, very helpful and worthwhile time. Andy, welcome to the show and I'm glad you're able to join us today.

2:12 Andrew Philip

Jim thanks so much. It's a privelege to be with you and as I look at your website and I look at your picture, I want to reaffirm to my friends and relatives that that is not my picture. Jim and I are sometimes taken for brothers so that's Jim's picture, and I think we both look like Larry David and have somewhat of a sense of humor and approach to life. So I am priveleged to be here. I am also understanding that there maybe a number of people out in the audience, who are themselves in the midst of reinventing themselves and in fact, looking for job. So I'm going to handle my presentation, let's call it, from the standpoint not just as a recruiter but as a candidate in the marketplace. And frankly speaking, before I was a recruiter, I was a candidate. I had made several career moves and I myself was out of work for a point in my life and so I was a jobseeker and now I'm a recruiter. So I have a number of vantage points and experiences I want to share with you and I do want to tackle the whole issue of how to find a job and how to work the internet. Jimmy have got some questions for me, I think.

3:36 Jim Blue

Yeah I think the first thing and you and I have known each other for quite a while. You know we're familiar with what the job search process was like, not only from a recruiter standpoint but from a job seeker standpoint when both you and I were probably, you know, in the job market at the same time and how we used cellphones. You know, get on the phone, read some letters up, which were never answered and it's really a whole new approach now and I think the first question I've got is let's talk about the search business. How that has changed as a result of the internet since you start your business in 1994? Terrific.

4:14 Andrew Philip

Let me tell you what the similarities are. Lots of differences in technology made a difference, here similarities. It's always been on the part of companies a drive competitively to find talent. And so that has been the basis of the recruiting business. It is building a talent pool within an organization or a company no matter how large or small they were. So that's no different and it's getting even more competitive for companies to find talent. And from a candidate and job seeker stand point, they need jobs. So it's about getting people together and back in the earlier years, the recruiting agencies play the major role and they started beginning their importance in the whole search process where recruiting agencies and we'll pop a little bit about how that agency world has evolve. Fundamentally, though the business is really no different in technology. It has really enhanced the connectability and most important the speed with which companies can find people and job seekers can find places to work. So a lot of what happened is speed from those days when Jim and I maybe use to sneak out of our offices to the local resume creator and get resumes together and then bring them home and put them in envelopes and send them in the mail. That myself was three or four days just to have the mail reach the recipients, usually a recruiter or often a company. And so it was snail mail and then they would be responded by mail, so it was literally a week from the time you send a resume at the quickest to the time you got a response. And it has laid down somebody's desk for a while, you may not hear back for a month.

6:12 Jim Blue

If at all?

6:13 Andrew Philip

Exactly. If at all and often there was no response then big, big breakthrough and speed, the fax machine entered. And I was beginning my recruiting business when the fax machine came in and I was fortunate in that we cut the cycle time from a week between a snail mail back and forth to a matter of a minute with the ability to send a resume by fax to a company. That was a big quantum leap in speed to go from a week to a minute. That was probably one of the biggest revolutions. Then with the evolution of the desktop, then the laptop, the internet and email, the revolution continued. So, what really is the same as getting people together, it's just the speed and now the highway is a lot faster. You're on a high speed highway and as a job seeker and a candidate, you're on that highway travelling incredibly quickly and now what has happened with the internet, there are lots and lots of side roads to take, lots and lots of choices. It's an absolutely terrific time not to be unemployed, but a terrific time to be a job seeker. The avenues are many. The highways are faster and it's a good time because of the evolution of the internet to really have the ability to explore lots and lots of career opportunities. So what I would like to talk to about a little bit is, and Jim, I may be going a little, a little too fast on that, is a little bit about how people are making connections these days, and I think you were then going to ask me about another question or lead right back into this.

8:18 Jim Blue

No that's okay. I think you've given everybody a pretty good background. My understanding is you know when we talked about this a number of years ago, my understanding is that the number one resource that you use as a recruiter is LinkedIn. And the ability to go in and looking for in specific industries, jobs. In other words, if you're looking for a marketing person you can go into LinkedIn, look at companies, etc. You know and it's very, very important for job seekers to understand the significance of how you as a recruiter using the internet and a source like LinkedIn operates?

9:00 Andrew Philip

Yes. LinkedIn has been an incredible, incredible development and in terms of the recruiting business and the candidates, it really works both ways. And as I've said, the people, there really are no barriers to entry to the recruiting business. There really are no licenses required. There is no regulation of it and all a person really needs is a Blackberry to be a recruiter. And now with LinkedIn, anyone can find anyone. So I want to talk about that as how LinkedIn, which is really open source, meaning anyone has access to LinkedIn, whether they are an internal company recruiter or as I am an external recruiter retained by companies to find candidates and from a candidate standpoint, how LinkedIn can help you and it's an enormous, enormous boon to the business and it has created another sub mini revolution in terms of the whole marketplace of bringing talent to companies and how that works and later, I'll talk about LinkedIn and how it can be used by a job seeker. Some of the little secrets of the recruiting businesses as to how we use, it but in terms of the tools that we use LinkedIn, of course, is incredible, but let's start with the devices and the hardware and Jim you've been helpful in that work in my office and getting me to be incredibly efficient and it's about speed. Speed define candidates. Speed to schedule candidates with busy clients and speed to access a number of viable candidates themselves.

10:52 Jim Blue

Well I think what you're saying. I'm sorry. I think what you're saying is 100% correct. You know on one of the things I've tried to counsel people on because most of my clients now are people in career transition is to make sure that the information that I've got on their LinkedIn page is accurate, it's up to date, because you know, instead of someone like yourself, having to make 15 phone calls to people to get references, they can very easily -- you can very easily go on, look people up, check with some of the people that you know much faster than having them give you references, etc. We're going to talk a little bit more about this process that Andy uses. We're going to take a short break and we'll be back in a moment.

12:23 Jim Blue

We're back and today's guest is Andrew Philip, an executive recruiter based here in New York City, who specializes in getting former executive setup with the companies in the cosmetic and accessory industries and it focuses on luxury brands. We're talking about some of the tools that have allowed Andy to fill positions much quicker. We touched a bit on LinkedIn. I know that you're a big Skype user where you can now actually do interviewing with people. You know, over the internet without having them fly in and without, you know, having to setup in at least number of meetings. Andy, we started the talk before the break about some of the ways that LinkedIn would help and let's just continue on that thing.

13:08 Andrew Philip

Sure. Sure. And yeah we'll get into Skype, and ladies, you better get your makeup ready because everybody can be looking at you and that's the next, next way is video conferencing and video chats but -- and even predating LinkedIn, I want to talk a little bit about some other ways to conduct the search from a job seeker standpoint and they're important and they sort of relate to LinkedIn, which is incredible but only one of the several tools. And really it all, all begins with your own personal network and the best way to find the physician office is through friends and relatives and people working in companies that you'd like to work for. In fact, a number of companies reward their employees and give them a bonus sometimes $500 or $1000 for recommending someone who gets hired. It's a good way to reduce recruiting fees, just get the employees themselves, who are the best ambassadors of a company to find someone, so, the friends that you have are working -- who are happy and working in companies, those would definitely be contacts for you. So start with your own circle of friends and acquaintances and relatives. That's a very important circle. You expand that circle into LinkedIn, but it really starts with your own personal associations and LinkedIn is a tool and a vehicle to expand on those because it's six degrees of separation. You know that term and that's really true in terms of LinkedIn when you see everybody is connected and you will see that and it's remarkable when you looked at LinkedIn to see everybody is connected to everybody ultimately. But back to some other ways in addition to LinkedIn, the best way is to target companies and send a resume directly to the website or companies post and therefore targeting companies and sending resumes.

15:09 Andrew Philip

The job boards you're all familiar with those master career builder, LinkedIn has become a job board. Facebook is also a source for sending resumes. There is an aggregator called indeed.com that aggregates many, many listening and is organized by industry. So that you don't have to look at all the different job boards like monster and career builder and individual company postings indeed.com is probably the best aggregator of job postings organized by category and functions.

15:47 Jim Blue

You want to spell that for our listeners just to make it right.

15:49 Andrew Philip

Indeed.com I N D E -- I N D E E D.com

15:56 Jim Blue

Just the way -- just the way of sounds. And the interesting thing is to have a post to the past they can go into any of these sites and really target specific individuals to write to as opposed to not even knowing you know who the right to own a company.

16:10 Andrew Philip

Exactly. One tool and necessary vehicle that has not changed over the years, although its format has changed and the ability customer's lives that is changed is the resume. That is -- that's your passport. Time should be taken in developing a resume and the great news about word processing is one can customize a resume and target it by industry and company. Very important as to how we recruiters use LinkedIn, how company screen out for candidates when you send in to a company's website, it ends up with an internal HR recruiter and human resources recruiter has been assigned to fill the position and they are the recipient of the resume that was sent widely into their website. Everything from Google to LinkedIn to the pursuing of the resume by the HR manager is keyword driven. Let me say that again, keyword driven. As you look at Google and you post in a keyword; movies, restaurant then you need some detail, it's all about the keywords. Therefore, your resume and your passport should be as inclusive as possible using the keywords of your industry. Let me be clear on that. There is jargon in a language that's native to every industry. In the industries I have been in, the cosmetic industry, the jewelry industry, there are certain passwords. The design, product development, merchandising, inventory controls, sales analysis. Whatever the passwords are of those industry that's on your passport. That's the language that you use for your passport. The computer purses for keywords and essentially are looking for keywords in a resume that match your job description. And often, the internal recruiter as a generalist, and not very familiar with the particular job and so instead of pursing it by computer, they're looking at with their eyes and matching up the keywords on a job description to the words in the resume. If there are enough words that match, either the computer where it is pursed by a computer or the human is selecting out those resumes where the keywords match the job description.

18:58 Jim Blue

That's pretty -- that's pretty interesting they can do that industry as well.

19:02 Andrew Philip

In fact Jim yeah. Yes. Yes. So in terms of the resume itself, it can be customized and very often people look at a job description and customize including some of the key words that are important to that company. Those resumes will tend to emerge at the top of the file. Also importantly the electronic pursing goes from top to bottom. If the keywords are missing at the top, but only buried in the context maybe at the bottom of the first page or possibly on the second page, that computer will give up and those human set of eyeballs will give up and not look to the second page. So quite imperative that the key words and passwords in your industry appear I would say in the top two to three inches or perhaps four inches of the resume and it could well be in a professional summary where you use the words for your industry, whatever your specialty is.

20:10 Jim Blue

No I think the biggest weakness a lot of our people have and if I can just interject for a second is the ability to put a good resume together. There are places that you're familiar with, where they may be able to check out a template that will help to come up with the right resume?

20:25 Andrew Philip

Yes absolutely. Yes. Good question. There are in the most source including Best Buy and Staples. Programs that had various formats for resumes and any recruiter you'll talk too will probably have a different idea of what a resume should look like. And lots and lots of different ideas and a lot of it is, -- what's customer in your particular industry? And you should want your resume and it's format to be individual to a degree but not totally out of character with the industry that you're in. Be real careful with the number of things that would seem to be obvious that may be not. On the top of your resume is your name of course and typically your telephone, contact, your email address. The first thing we look at some time is the email address. If the email is slung funky kid.com we wonder whether that is a really serious candidate. So really be careful with the email address that you put on your resume. It sounds basic, but very, very important. There are different ways to format resumes, use a professional service as needed, but there are a fair number of programs available with different formats for resumes as relatively easily to do and relatively easy in a word document more PDF to modify your resume and target it to different companies. Also just a quick word on resumes, not that we're talking about that, but note accomplishments real, real important and make sure the font is within a common font. Times Roman, etc., etc., __22.24__ because a lot of the computers are not able to pick up script on the resume and your resume will be ignored.

22:34 Jim Blue

Yeah. I think the other thing -- there are two things I just like them to check correctly. 1. I do suggest that when people have an email address that they have a separate email for their job search and a separate one for their personal use as well, but the other thing is try to avoid graphics. You know some people like they to put cute little pictures and things all over the place if they were a designer and the computers, it's not going to pick it up. You have to really stick with text.

23:01 Andrew Philip

Yes. Thank you Jim that's important. You want your resume t get through the crowd the get through the computer. A couple of things also back to LinkedIn for seconds and it's an amazing tool and vehicle and it allows the candidate also to target companies. There are listings by company, by industry and by zip code. Very importantly, most people in terms, desire for quality of life want to reduce their commuting. So you would be able to via LinkedIn put in your zip code 10175 50 mile radius or 30 mile radius or whatever you're comfortable with, and LinkedIn will immediately give you the corporations by size of company within that zip code and further segmented by industry. They will also...

23:55 Jim Blue

That's pretty good because you want to make sure that you're going to be in the geographic area. You know you don't want this thing to be looking you know if you haven't to live in the greater New York area to be out Missouri or Florida or reverse etc. So I think that's a very good point to make.

24:10 Andrew Philip

And that's the way I as a recruiter work. We're doing searches in California. We're doing searches in Florida and I'm not totally familiar with those areas, but I sure know the zip codes of where my company headquarters is. My client headquarters and I look for candidates that are within the 50-mile radius. So very importantly on your resume make sure you have there the right zip code on it and you will be found. A couple of other things just that would seem to be particularly important is cellphone number on the resume becomes extremely important. Everyone has cellphones now, but I know a lot of resumes that have the home number. This is a business of speed and when we recruiters want to reach someone, we don't want to spend a day calling a home number. Always put the cellphone number on it. I assume everybody has a cellphone and an email address. It's a game of speed and a lot of what we do is recruiters after finding the terrific candidates to schedule them. What's happening in terms of the evolution recruiting as in commerce, it's mobile right now. We need to not wait till someone gets home to access their email because it may be an important meeting or schedule changed. So as everything is going mobile, in the Blackberry's and Smart phones, candidates need to be accessible. Now you can send your resume by Smart phone. We can receive resumes of course by Blackberry cellphone. So the way the business is evolving both from a candidate standpoint and the recruiter and the company standpoint, it's mobile. We need to reach candidates within 15 minutes to let them know that the interview is going to be late or in fact that you're caught in traffic and you're going to be late. So it's all going mobile right now. Everything is going to be on that tablet. My wife just got an iPad. I become a user of the iPad.

26:21 Jim Blue

I love it.

26:21 Andrew Philip

And so it's all going mobile right now.

26:25 Jim Blue

We've got a couple of minutes left, Andy. Believe me or not, the half hour is almost over, and if you can just briefly talk about Skype and how that's helped you, we've got a probably couple of minutes left. I will say one other thing about the resume, I encourage people to only put their cellphone on there because that's the way you're going to get contacted immediately. So if you can take about a minute or so, I know it's a very long discussion and we talked about the fact that this would go, talk about Skype.

26:56 Andrew Philip

Skype is important, it's -- and I've used it with California searches where I can get to meet the candidate and of course you learn interesting things about people when you interviewed them and on their on the kitchen as their dog is barking and the kids are screaming in the kitchen. So A, I love it because you really get to see the whole person, the real person often in their homes, and I as a recruiter also like to see things, people care about it's a show and tell with Andy. I want to see pictures of products you develop. I want to see reports you develop. One of the great things about Skype is I'm able to interview, for example, jewelry designers far away and they can show you jewelry designs.

27:44 Jim Blue

Oh yeah. See what they have come up with. That's a very good point.

27:47 Andrew Philip

Or products they developed. So Skype is clearly the future. It's going to happen very quickly. It may not be called Skype, Microsoft, but Skype they are going to be -- all other guys are going to figure out how to use video conferencing and I think that's the next wave. It's all going to be video, whether you're communicating on a mobile device, person to person, with pictures or not. So that -- so I think your final question is where is it going. I think it's all going to be more personal.

28:15 Jim Blue

It's going to be the vendors.

28:16 Jim Blue

And what they're going to do. Yeah. Well this has been great. Unfortunately, we are running out of time. Perhaps, we will do this again. Andy, I want to thank you very much. We can go on for hours and as I've said before, we may do this again at some time. I think a couple of things important that as I've mentioned, Andy and I talked about before, this program can be listened to at anytime and we encourage people that if they have heard this program and they think it could be helpful to some of your friends that are looking for jobs, just tell them they can click on the link and listen to it at anytime. Andy, I want to thank you.

28:55 Jim Blue

I'm sure we will talk soon and I'm so glad you're able to join us today.

28:58 Andrew Philip

Thank you, Jim.

28:59 Andrew Philip

I'm glad to help out.

29:02 Jim Blue

And this has been Jim Blue, the bluetutor, and you have been listening to the Keeping Technology Simple radio program. If you enjoyed the program, tell your friends. We will be here every week to help you understand the relevant technology issues of the day. To reach me after the program, you can -- my phone number is (917) 921-4518, and my email is jblue@bluetutor.com and as I have mentioned in prior programs, if you go to my website which is www.bluetutor.com, you can register and get my free white paper on tech tips regarding setting up a home office and how to become active in this mobile world. We will see you again next week.