Passion, Change and Awareness of Self!

March 14th, 2016

In 2011, I found myself taking the step back into self-employment. Granted, I have worked on commission for years, never getting a paycheck that I didn’t create with hard work and persistence. Knowing that I had residual income was some comfort, and yet I was giving that up. I am talented at people. Coaching them, motivating them, getting to the heart of who and what they are quickly and visualizing where they should fit. I also have had a passion around real estate. I was able to take these two passions and create a career in talent acquisition. My favorite industry to work within: Construction/Real Estate/Development.

Most people think their talents only lie in one area. I would disagree. Our passions are living, breathing, beings that are attached to us and we need to feed them to keep them well.

Unfortunately, I am consistently saddened through my observations of others who are not excited to perform their jobs. I previously thought I was simply more of an optimistic, positive, and happy person in general, than those friends and family members who complained about their jobs, co-workers, bosses, etc. After a few years of research, deep thinking, and reading a great book that I highly recommend by Simon Sinek called, “Start With Why”, I finally figured it out.

So many of those people I’d observed chose professions that do not match who they truly are. The difficulty we often run into within our society is that we can have a really hard time differentiating between what we think society wants us to do and what we truly want to do. Allowing ourselves to listen to that calling, we hear and feel deep down inside.

I’ve found a couple simple ways to discover where exactly people’s passions truly exist. The good news is I’ve found that most people already work for companies with the capabilities to really match who people truly are and to utilize their greatest skills – or “Freak Factor” as written about by author Dave Rendall.

One of the easiest ways to learn what people are truly passionate about is to ask the question, “What would you do if you won the lottery?” I’ve found that so many people think they are driven by money, so asking a question that implies the person would not have to worry about money typically gets right into that passion zone. It’s also rare someone says they would prefer to live on a tropical island and do nothing.

We all enjoy and strive to do something- it’s simple human nature. In the work environment, allowing a person to compile their own tasks or giving them the freedom to determine their priorities usually results in seeing what the individual really enjoys doing, which is where their freak factor typically exists. Given the choice, we are all often drawn to doing what we really like to do first.

What’s The Risk?
We are apt to hear the same complaints about jobs, bosses, and co-workers if people aren’t tapping into their passions and desires in the workplace. They will most likely be unhappy and it will present itself in a number of ways.

I challenge you to spend time thinking about what you’re truly passionate about and if you’re utilizing your freak factor skills. Share those passions and skills with those around you. If you are currently in a role and are dying to share your passion with others, take your manager out to lunch and lay your thoughts and ideas out on the table. If you are a manager that knows one of your direct reports has a certain knack or skill they are not be able to implement – put them on the right seat on the bus!
No matter what you decide to do in life, be you. The one thing each of us has the ability to be the absolute best at in the world, is being us.

Back in 2011, I made the decision to be me and tap into my passion and desire. My only hope is that you take this information and do something good with it. You can start with making sure that you match your profession with YOU!

Paying It Forward and the Art of Enrollment

August 28th, 2015

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote,
“In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.”
A few weeks ago my 24 year old son read an article to me while I prepared dinner. It was not the type of news story that draws his attention. He follows world news and politics closely but not much for the human interest stories.
The story was about a 75 year old man in Oregon who lived in an old home on a street filled with the bustling activity that is every neighborhood. Day after day people walked by on their way to the park, grocery, school and community center. An inspector, Josh, who was working across the street observed two high school boys walking by the property on their way to school one morning. Josh had been working across the street for 4 weeks and waved to the man every day but had not talked with him. One of the boys remarked about what an ugly house it was and that someone should burn that house down. He sits on the porch all day long. They said it loud enough for him to hear. “Josh” looked at the old man sitting on the porch with his head down and it got him thinking.

He went to a local lumber company and asked if they would be willing to donate paint for his house to make it look better. They agreed. Then he posted to his Facebook page asking if anyone wanted to help that Saturday and volunteer their time to paint this gentleman’s house. The neighbor looked at his garage where he had just stored unused paint from painting an outbuilding. He approached the old man and asked if he would allow him to use up his remaining paint and help. “I was brought up to treat people with respect, respect your elders,” Josh told a local newspaper. “He didn’t deserve that. I had to do something.  The old man, who had some mobility issues, was floored by the offer to help. “He was speechless,” Josh said.

Art of Enrollment in action!
He asked a few railroad coworkers to help with the labor, and also asked for volunteers in a post on Facebook. That post was shared more than 6,000 times. When Saturday came, over 100 people showed up at 8:00 a.m. to paint. The fresh coat of paint now gives the old man a sense of pride as he sits on the porch. Every time I see him, I wave to him still. He just smiles from ear to ear.

What’s The Risk?
The risk is dwelling on the negative. What would the outcome be if Josh would have ignored the teenager’s comments and judged the old man and his house?
It’s easy to miss the essence of what Emerson said. You really can’t ever pay someone back. Think about it. Can you really ever make things square with your parents, teachers, coaches, and others who looked out for you? But that doesn’t mean we don’t owe it line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent. And it doesn’t mean we can’t try.
And despite what Emerson said about not being able to directly repay someone, I’d sure like to try. Would you join me in doing a kind deed for someone else today? Maybe leave an extra big tip for someone that is deserving. Buy the lunch of the gal or guy sitting alone at a restaurant, or a celebratory glass of champagne to the couple having their anniversary dinner. Pick a family that is struggling to make ends meet, and have groceries delivered. Offer babysitting to the family with 4 kids so that the parents can have a few hours alone. There is no risk in that!

Placement Fees Are Cheap When You Look At Them This Way

May 13th, 2015

Employers seldom complain about the services of headhunters, it’s the headhunters’ fee that has become their pain point.
I recently heard a webinar presentation to a group of HR professionals about how to recruit like a headhunter. The presenter made the comment “if you are not using headhunters as your primary recruitment weapon, then you are not hiring the best talent in-the-market”. One of the listeners responded that the presenter didn’t know what he was talking about as they hire good people who are working out just fine, without the help of headhunters.
The presenter explained…”you really don’t need headhunters to hire the best talent on-the-market. However, what would you say was the difference between the best talent in-the-market and the best talent on-the-market?

There were many responses…the ones with the best resumes; or, the ones presently work for the big brand name organizations; or, the ones with the best education. An excited participant, yelled, “I have the answer…the best talent in-the-market not on-the-market.” Absolutely! They are most likely those who are not actively searching for a job.

Passive v. Active
It has been my experience from years as an employee that top talent expects to be sought after by a competitor. They need to be strategically motivated and consequently sold on the opportunity.
So, if you are not using headhunters, then you are hiring the best talent from among only the individuals actively looking for a new job. And, there is a significant difference in the caliber of talent when you compare those actively looking to those not actively looking for a new job.
We took a quiet survey.
1. How many of you know of someone actively searching for a job? Almost everyone raised their hands.
2. How many of you are actively searching for a new job? Three individuals raised their hands.
3. How many of you are not actively looking, but would listen to details about another job opportunity if you believed that it could be of some interest to you? Half the individuals in the room raised their hands.
4. How many of you are not actively looking, but would seriously consider another job opportunity if you were convinced the job would not only improve your standard of living, it would also advance your career to the next level?

Big Pool v. Puddle
He pointed out that the result of that survey was similar to recruitment activities in a niche market. The best talent most likely will be from the group of individuals that are not actively looking. So, if you are not using headhunters, you are not hiring the best talent from the entire talent pool; you are hiring the best talent from a puddle.
The question was asked, “With all the new recruitment apps that are available, the big job boards, and the growing appeal of social media, are you trying to convince us that headhunting is the most effective recruitment method available?”
He said yes…and why.
Recruiting Ahead of Need
The reason headhunting remains the most effective recruitment method is because as headhunters we recruit ahead of the need! The only way that is possible is if we are committed to building relationships from a recruitment perspective.
But, we also have to be passionate about recruiting to be committed to it; and when committed, will live and breathe recruiting 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. A good headhunter will know who the most talented individuals are; they can identify the hardest workers from the slackers; they know the ones who operate below the radar screen; and they also know the ones with the most potential. They do the hardest part of recruiting for you, which is developing relationships.

About that Fee
A participant asked, “what are your options if you don’t have the budget to pay headhunter fees?”
Therein lies the problem, the headhunter fee. But it is also a tremendous opportunity for headhunters to make more placements. How? They just need to do a better job of selling the economic value of using professional headhunters, or demonstrate creative ingenuity in the pricing of headhunting services, ie package deals or monthly contract recruiting. Headhunters can offer a variety of recruitment services as solutions to a unique need and budget.
The economic value is more profits, because employers who hire the best talent often win and retain more customers. Also, why not allow your competitors to do the hiring and the training? You simply rely on headhunters to recruit the best talent from your competitors after they are trained. Paying headhunter fees will be a drop in the bucket compared to the savings realized in salaries paid to average performers and from the profits generated by superior performances of the headhunted talent.
It’s about changing perception. A good recruiter/headhunter will partner with you and your company to build your teams, be a sounding board during the first 90 days and gather/disseminate feedback to all parties to ensure the best outcome. The end game should be an HR partner that is called upon to bring a different perspective about the organization and who will be the best fit overall, including culturally. Remember, the candidates will be more authentic and open with the headhunter, showing a side that may be important during future interviews. We are the middle man and the middle man sees and hears it all.


March 12th, 2015

In my job, I have the privilege of talking to all types of people every day. (Which honestly is one of the best perks of my job!) I’m in contact with people with jobseekers, current employees, HR, CEOs and after some of the candid conversations, I could write blog after blog on the dos and don’ts of workplace dynamics! So it’s not surprising that the overwhelming theme when talking with prospective employees about what they look for most in a workplace is CULTURE. Did you know that your company’s culture is important to your current and future employees? It really is.
Humans are emotional beings in every part of their life and the workplace is truly no different. We’re all searching for our place in this world. We are trying to find our purpose and trying to make an impact on those around us while soaking up everything the ride of life has to offer. It’s important to remember that while each journey is certainly different, we are all working towards a similar goal.
When the workplace has leadership that continuously discounts, criticizes, yells or uses colorful language while communicating with their staff, damaging the morale and stifling productivity, they become the biggest reason why employees make the choice not to stay. The truth is that employees leave bosses, NOT companies. Let me say it again – employees leave bosses, NOT companies.

There’s a reason this abusive type of behavior is happening and chances are the leader’s own internal issues and/or low self-esteem/personal disdain for themselves is the culprit. Regardless what it is, there’s no room for such behavior in the workplace. We all have a personal responsibility to treat others the way we want to be treated which is with respect and kindness, also known as the Golden Rule.
Maybe you’re asking yourself – how does the company culture really affect productivity? What can I do to gauge how my employees truly feel about their corporate culture? The answer is simple – ask them. Ask how they feel about coming to their workplace daily. Ask their opinion of the company culture and what could be done differently, if anything. Survey’s a great platform to honestly and safely express their thoughts on the environment without repercussions based on what’s said. Employees want to “feel” valued and appreciated. Productivity and customer service are essential to every successful business. And truthfully, it’s the employees delivering customer service that will make or break the business.

Are You There Recruiter? It’s Me, The Candidate. I Need Your Help!

February 6th, 2015

I need help finding the perfect position. An opportunity that pays a big salary, gives me flexible hours and the room to grow within the organization at the speed I choose. A job that has lots of glam, glitz and perks that recognize me for a job well done. I know what I bring to the table and I want you to get me this job – no questions asked.

And just like that, they wave a magic wand and make it happen like the fantastic recruiter they are. They find the perfect-for-you position so you and your new employer can ride off into the sunset toasting the future and its potential opportunities.

How many times have you had this request? Daily, right? To some, they might seem like unreasonable demands but a good recruiter sees the potential in every person and every situation – big or small. They listen to conversations; they pay attention to the small details (actually paying attention to all details is a must!) and anticipate the needs of their clients, both the candidate and the company they are working for. They are assertive, flexible, open-minded and adaptable. They don’t sweat the high demands and often-unattainable expectations but instead offer creative solutions, with a dash of realism, to get the job done in a way that makes the candidate and employer happy.

That’s exactly what you get at Athena Business Services. Our philosophy is that people come first. Our word is our bond, we are reliable, and we are serious about service. We are assertive by working hard and smart.

Our enthusiasm is our greatest asset and it overwhelms challenges and objectives. It’s contagious, which creates measurable momentum and higher productivity.

We appreciate our opportunities and nothing sparks enthusiasm like appreciation! We show our appreciation by being a premium recruitment supplier. We are big enough to deliver and small enough to care.

Contact us today to find out how we can help in your recruitment efforts!

Why your INTERVIEW PROCESS is so critical to your success

October 19th, 2014

Recently we had a new client that shared the story of their last hiring experience. Over the course of 10 weeks, they had over 200 applicants. Of those, they narrowed it down to 12 they wanted to interview. By the time they contacted the candidates, four of them had accepted jobs elsewhere. They conducted phone interviews, choosing four to invite in for a personal interview. They found the final two candidates but not until 3 more weeks had passed while coordinating the managers that were involved in the process. The top candidate was offered and accepted another position the next day, frustrated at the lack of communication. They started over by calling us to assist and captain the process. Making your interview process up as you go and pretending you have a plan in place can lead to a poor candidate experience. In order to find the best employees and ensure a smooth onboarding, you need to have an interview process.  The amount of money the company had invested to this point was substantial.
The following steps will ensure your reputation is secure and candidates continue to see you as an employer they would be proud to work for.

1. Establishing a Calendar
It’s crucial to establish a realistic hiring and interviewing calendar. How long will you leave the position open for applications? How many interviews will you have and who will be involved in the decision making?

2. Determine Search Leader
Hiring a talent acquisition firm can create a smooth and effective process, ensuring a timely result. Choose a firm that offers life cycle recruiting, with a vested interest in the outcome and candidates. Athena recruiters get and give feedback during and after the process, including up to three months after the onboarding experience. It can be very beneficial to your culture and outcome to have one person filtering all candidates and telling the company “story”.

3. Finding Candidates
In today’s digital job market, it shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Depending on what industry you work, there are a wide variety of job boards, but don’t forget about the strength of networks. It’s important to understand how the job boards work and the candidates they will attract. If you are working with a recruiter, they will decide where to post and how to filter. Make sure your content is engaging, descriptive, and very clear.

4. Screening
As the resumes and cover letters start pouring in, you want to start screening candidates. Depending on the volume of applications you receive, you will want to screen candidates based on resumes and based on a short phone interview. Use this as an opportunity to find candidates you can get excited about and ones that simply won’t make a great fit.

5. Interviewing
After you’ve screened the applicants and decided who you want to interview, it’s time to really start the process. Prepare your questions, developing a style that truly gets to the hidden talents and/or hidden problems that each candidate may have. Before each interview, you need to review the candidate, check their social media and LinkedIn profiles, check preliminary references and review their skills/experiences. You should be able to lay out the next steps and timeline for a clear understand by the candidate.

6. Offering the Job
Once you’ve gone through the interview process with candidates, it’s time to offer the job. Before you do this, though, you will want to do a thorough background and reference check. Ask references for experiences rather than closed-ended questions. Also, make sure you communicate all of your expectations clearly to the person you’ve selected. Review when the reviews will be done and what you expect to cover at each step.

7. Onboarding
The last step in your interview process is onboarding. The onboarding process is crucial to a company’s employee engagement and can ultimately make or break your reputation. Athena’s recruiters will offer feedback obtained from the new candidates regarding your onboarding so that you can continue your company improvements.

13 Things Mentally Strong People DON’T Do Part 2

October 15th, 2014

7. They don’t dwell on the past
They don’t dwell or wish things could be different.  They are aware and speak into what they learned from their past.  They don’t constantly relive bad experiences, blame others for them, or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

8. They don’t make the same mistakes over and over

Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

9. They don’t resent other people’s success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others experience success or achieve higher than they do. Instead, they recognize their successes and others, acknowledging that it comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

10. They don’t give up after the first failure

They don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

11. They don’t fear alone time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

12. They don’t feel the world owes them anything

They don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

13. They don’t expect immediate results

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.


13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do – Part 1

August 18th, 2014

Healthy habits are what make mentally strong people tick.  They set themselves up for success in all areas of life by managing their behaviors, habits, emotions, and thoughts.  Here are some guidelines to experience the same success.  If you are interviewing candidates, these are habits you can look for in their demeanor, attitude and conversation.

1. They don’t make the same mistakes twice.  They accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes.  The result?  These mistakes are not repeated multiple times.  They move forward, making better decisions in the future.

2. They don’t resist change.  There is no resistance to change.  they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible.  They accept that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt to change.

3.  They don’t fear taking calculated risks.  They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks.  Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they are fully informed of the potential downsides.

4.  They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves.  They don’t sit around being victims about their circumstances or what others “have done to them”.   Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand it isn’t always fair.  They accept their part in creating the situation.

5.  They don’t give away their power.  They don’t try to control others and don’t let others control them.  They take ownership of how they respond and don’t blame or point fingers.  You will never hear them say “My boss makes me feel bad” or “My secretary doesn’t support me”.

6.  They don’t waste energy on things they can’t control.  Speaking of control…they don’t complain that the traffic is bad or that someone got into a fender bender and it made them late.  They won’t blame the nail they ran over or the waitress that was overwhelmed at lunch.  They focus on what they can control….many times that is only their attitude and reaction.



How do you define LEADER?

June 17th, 2014

How many times have you given or participated in a training that gets derailed partway through because of a sudden debate among the class regarding definitions? “To me that’s not what a leader is.” “I don’t really look at customer service in that way.” All you can think is “let’s get this back on track, I have things to do.”
Maybe a better approach for a trainer is to open with an exercise that initiates a discussion of terms intrinsic to the course. You can use this discussion to introduce the definitions you will be using for these terms; ergo, the training never gets derailed over definitions.

Following, are some examples:
Leader. It’s astounding how many leadership training and development programs never bother to define leader. The “experts” differ on its meaning. Peter Drucker defined a leader as “Someone who has followers,” while John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence — nothing more — nothing less.” The dictionary defines leader as “One who is in charge or command of others.” Man, it’s easy to have a debate over “leader” with all these definitions flying around! I have been to leadership groups that begin by asking participants to name people they deem leaders and list the traits they believe make these people leaders in a table. We land on the definition of leader as “Someone who gets others to do what’s best for their team.”

Here are some key definitions that come up in leadership meetings:
Manager – Someone responsible for a team’s productivity.
Good Employee – An employee who does what’s best for his or her team.
Customer Service – Doing what’s best for the customer.
Remember to ALWAYS define key terms at the onset of your trainings and materials–it goes a long way to maintaining control, as well as clarifying the goals of the training as well as culture. Keep your definitions SIMPLE and AIRTIGHT–they must be applicable in any scenario.

The Top 7 Incentives and Perks Candidates Crave

May 11th, 2014

Who knows job seekers better thanGlassDoor? Their research provides regular resources for recruiters looking for insights into the job seeker’s mind. They conducted a 2013 study and revealed the top 7 incentives and perks that candidates are looking for in their next position.

Maintaining a competitive edge in talent attraction and retention means keeping up with the current needs and wants of the workforce. Employers can’t effectively attract talent without first knowing what that talent is looking for. How do you stack up against this list? Are you properly showcasing the incentives that youdooffer? What is there room for in the next quarter?

Think your followers want to know what the top incentives are right now? Tweet it!

#1 Incentive: 52% of respondents chose “Growth Opportunities”

Growth opportunities have a solid place in the job seeker’s heart. In fact, the #1 reason that employees leave a company is due to lack of career growth. If they aren’t moving up, they’re moving out. So we see that offering growth opportunities will not only be a strong attraction tool, it is also the strongest retention tool at your disposal.

#2 Incentive: 44% of respondents chose “401K”

HR expert at Innovative Employee Solutions, Elizabeth M. Rice explain the rising importance of offering 401Ks to employees in order to stay competitive in the war for talent.

“These days, pension plans are becoming obsolete and employees have to make it their responsibility to save or invest for retirement. To accommodate this shift in responsibility, as well as attract and retain good employees, more and more employers in the corporate world are offering 401(k) plans as part of their benefits package.”

#3 Incentive: 43% of respondents chose “Health Benefits”

With rising concerns about impending workplace healthcare changes, employees are looking for some security. Both out-of-pocket and private healthcare costs are skyrocketing, making health benefits a must-have on the average job seeker’s checklist.

#4 Incentive: 37% of respondents chose “Flexible Work Schedule”

The 9-5 is slowly but surely joining the archaic ranks of the typewriter and fax machine.

With the rising number of Millennials entering the workforce, their demand for a better work-life balance than their parents had is strong. The majority of this emerging workforce believes that work is what you do, not a place you go.

#5 Incentive: 23% of respondents chose “Work from Home Options”

With today’s technology, there is no reason for many workers to be bound to the office. Furthermore, organizations can save resources when more workers are out of the formal workplace. Flex time isn’t for everyone, but it should be considered as an option.

#6 Incentive: 15% of respondents chose “Equity/Stock Options”

We’re definitely seeing a trend of the demand for incentives that offer employees security. The recession hit hard and many of today’s workers have faced lay offs and hard times finding work. They are interested in forming a solid and secure future.

#7 Incentive: 13% of respondents chose “Career Planning Programs”

It’s not enough to offer room to grow; you have to give employees the roadmap and support to get there. This will involve succession planning, effective performance reviews and talent/goal alignment. Basically, employers are going to need to get more strategic about the future of their workforce.

Did you score a seven out of seven? Whatever you scored, I’d like to challenge you to find out how many of these incentives your candidates know are offered. Can they find perks like these on the company website, your job listings or even your social presence?


Article Credit: HR Kitchen from