Friday Funny

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Humor | 0 comments


How do we know it’s not full of consultants?
Christopher Weyent, New Yorker Magazine

Ernst and Young merges with The Parthenon Group

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Recruiting | 0 comments

EYJuly 24th 2014

Ernst and Young announced its acquisition of The Parthenon Group, a global strategy consultancy with 300 professionals in offices in Boston, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore.

The deal follows an acquisition trend highlighted by Deloitte’s purchase of Monitor and PwC’s acquisition of Booz & Co. All three acquisitions give the larger firms more capacity to provide strategic consulting services, and solidify their abilities to provide end-to-end consulting services.

The best brief article on the merger can be found on the Financial Times website. They require registration to access it. The Wall Street Journal offers a comment, and you can find the official press release here.

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ecruiting Essential # 4: How to create a sexy position description

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Recruiting | 0 comments

Bikini Car WashIf your job spec is just a list of requirements and qualifications then you are unlikely to hear these words: “I don’t usually take recruiter calls, but this position intrigued me so I wanted to hear more.” It’s the classic passive candidate response, and if you want to hear it more often you need to create a position description that sells.

The position description formalizes all the work that went into the first three essential recruiting steps: building the business case for hiring, describing the career case to the candidate, and delivering consistent messages through every step in the recruiting process. Those three elements make up the basis for a strong sales-oriented job description that gets the attention of the very best candidates.

Sure, you need to state the requirements for the role, but a lot of them can be inferred from less information than you might think. Don’t use a long list of responsibilities and qualifications to express your needs without thinking about how to get a candidate to consider your open position in the first place.

I recommend using a paragraph form wherever possible in order to involve the reader more fully in your story. Bullet points have their place, but a rapid-fire list may not convey the depth and context of your opportunity.

Here are the basic steps to creating a selling job description:

1)      Begin with a simple, yet powerful description of your company. Your objective is to be memorable, so don’t focus on a long list of positives. Instead, choose the one or two differentiators outlined inRecruiting Essential #3 and substantiate them by describing your firm’s vision, success stories, or social proof.

2)      Tie in your company’s vision. Connect the position description to the vision for the company in order to give an impression of the growth that the new position will offer. This is a subtler way to convey  the growth track than simply describing promotions or compensation.

3)      But that does not mean ignoring the direct approach, so you will want to outline the career case in the spec as well. The career case describes the growth path for the position, which may include: the ability to take on more responsibility, learning opportunities, promotional track, unusual benefits, or financial upside if it is above market or involves company ownership. The career case should integrate with the firm’s business case in order to sound more realistic.

4)      Responsibilities for the role should also fit logically into the business case and career case, and should provide an idea as to how the position reflects the immediate needs of the firm. If the responsibilities are described well and in narrative form, they will create context and excitement about the role. For a little more on this point, check out the post “Is Your Job Description Driving Away Candidates?

5)      A qualifications section can generally be shorter than you might think. The responsibilities section will indicate many of the basics, and so the minor points should be avoided. For example, if the new hire must write proposals and make presentations to executives, then it is unnecessary to call for outstanding communications skills; that is self-evident. Instead, focus on the two or three critical skills or experiences that you will screen for the most. This is likely to be industry experience, functional experience, and level. Any specific technical needs should be described, as well as non-experiential, but critical needs, such as travel or visa status.

6)      Conclude the description on a high note. This could mean a brief reiteration of the career case or some indication of growth potential that you may not have described in that section. A basic note on compensation or promotion potential may offer an appropriate closing.

A position description is a required document for a search, but it should not be taken lightly. The production of a good position description allows you to sell more effectively. It also has the benefit of highlighting any flaws in your business case or career case, since its creation creates the opportunity to rethink the justification for hiring and the reasons a candidate would want to join your firm.

For more ideas about how to recruit great management consultants, download our free 5-Step Guide

Download the free 5 step guide to recruiting management consultants

Top Ten Things You’ll Never Hear from a Management Consultant

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Humor | 0 comments

Laughing-woman-and-dude-300x200OK, it’s a little corny but still cute. Enjoy!

Top Ten Things You’ll Never Hear from a Management Consultant

  1. You’re right; we’re billing way too much for this.
  2. Bet you I can go a week without saying “synergy” or “value-added”.
  3. How about paying us based on the success of the project?
  4. This whole strategy is based on a Harvard business case I read.
  5. Actually, the only difference is that we charge more than they do.
  6. I don’t know enough to speak intelligently about that.
  7. Implementation?  I only care about writing long reports.
  8. I can’t take the credit.  It was Ed in your marketing department.
  9. The problem is, you have too much work for too few people.
  10. Everything looks okay to me.

Get a few more consulting lists here

Accenture’s career site caters to experienced consultants

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Management consultant recruiting, Recruiting | 0 comments

WereHiring-300x300A few years back, I heard a lot of complaining about the poor use of corporate career sites. That may have been true at the time, but the sites are definitely bouncing back and many of them can give us great ideas about how to organize our own recruiting efforts.

A couple of interesting trends are the rise of social media and career communities. It’s not all good news, but in this case Accenture offers an example of a career site that addresses the specific needs of experienced management consulting recruits. Here is our review:

The best elements:

  1. Experienced hires are addressed separately from graduates: This eliminates a one size fits all approach, which usually defaults to junior consultants. This approach allows for different sales messages and a forum for addressing the specific concerns of experienced management consultants.
  2. An overview of the recruiting process sets expectations. The site offers a high level overview of the hiring process, which includes a place to find opportunities, how to apply and who your main point of contact will be.
  3. Accenture includes a section called “Your Career Coach,” which provides relevant advice in video and written form to establish a connection with the recruit. Much of this advice is not Accenture specific, which adds to the information’s credulity. It also gives a superficial sense of the company’s culture by allowing the viewer to see non-verbal cues in the videos.
  4. It has a social capability, “Accenture Talent Connection.”  I am not a member, so cannot comment on the quality, but the concept is great.

What could be improved:

  1. Content could be more carefully selected. While much of the content is directed at experienced hires, some is awkwardly repurposed from the graduate hire site. Experienced hires do not need to know how to “Prepare for your career while you are studying,” or “Boost your employment chances with internships,” so it’s better to leave this kind of info out.
  2. Make social more prominent. While Accenture offers social recruiting capability, this part of the site is not front and center. The blog does not include an icon to share on LinkedIn. It’s a relatively minor point, but if the blog can be shared easily on Facebook and Digg, it should also be sharable on the largest professional network, as well.
  3. Finally, the look and feel could use an upgrade. It’s not bad, but could be refreshed by using more imagery, especially photos of Accenture consultants and could be organized a little more clearly.

Overall, Accenture does a good job. The site gets a B+ because the site provides allows experience consulting recruits to get a good sense of the company and what they can expect without having to try and pull this information from a site focused on students only.

This article was posted in July 2014 and we have posted archived screenshots here. For a comparison to the current version, check out this link.

Recruiting Essential #3 – Why company culture doesn’t sell

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in CEO Advice, Management consultant recruiting, Recruiting | 0 comments

Hercules-300x200I recently sat down with one of my management consulting firm clients, who began describing his firm by telling me what a great entrepreneurial culture they had. I nodded politely waiting for more, but the conversation shifted to a description of qualifications and responsibilities for an open position with his firm. I brought the discussion back to the topic of the firm’s entrepreneurial culture, but had some difficulty figuring out how I would represent this to an experienced consulting candidate. Finally, he told me the story of a consultant who was promoted within a year of hire based on his outstanding performance. This made the younger employee a peer of consultants many years his senior; an opportunity he never would have had with his previous employer. Now, that got my attention.

Almost every management consulting client who I have ever worked with describes their firm’s culture in glowing terms. It makes sense. Everyone wants to work with great people in a place that treats their employees as valued team members. But simply describing a firm’s culture is not enough. In order to be effective, a firm must describe itself in terms that are memorable, substantiated, consistent and repeatable. Uniqueness is also helpful, but not essential. Let’s look at each point in turn:

1) Memorable. People tie memories to emotions and generally remember only a few feelings and concepts. So choose one or two specific areas to emphasize, and work on the clarity and emotional content of your message. What your message says is less important than how you convey it. Focus on distilling your message rather than creating a long list of what makes your consulting firm special.

Examples of memorable messages include: deep industry focus, high-level client access, rapid advancement tracks, above-market compensation, recognized thought leadership, differentiated sales messages, a reliable sales platform, rapid expansion, interesting project work, deep client relationships, as well as unusual benefits such as stock options, paid sabbaticals, low travel, or charitable involvement.

2) Substantiated. Simply stating the benefits of joining your firm does not make your claims believable. You need to convey proof through your actions, true stories, and social proof. Your time is better spent considering how to demonstrate your claims, rather than considering how many great attributes your firm has.

You can substantiate claims about your company by highlighting your firm’s recognition or awards, thought leadership, success stories relayed verbally or on a website, depth of discussion on a topic, preparedness, and demonstrations of positive traits such as punctuality or preparedness.

3) Consistent and repeatable. A memorable, substantiated message must also be easily repeatable in order to make a strong impression on candidates and to enhance a company’s employment brand. A few simple bullet points discussed repeatedly in staff meetings or sent in reminder emails before an interview day will help you convey your intended message so that you can ensure that your organization is perceived in the way you would like. Consistency and repeatability also help you qualify candidates because they help you both understand how aligned your values are.

4) Uniqueness (possibly) – Uniqueness is a great attribute to have, so it is worth a mention, but it is not a critical selling point. There are many similarities among consulting firms and so differences between firms in a specific area are usually subtle. Memorable firms do not need to promote uniqueness, but they must communicate powerfully, consistently, and truthfully in order to be most effective.

The best experienced management consultants will have multiple career options, and will have the capacity to effectively evaluate your message. Identify your strongest messages by brainstorming a list of all the positive traits, refining them to one or two standouts, and providing as much verifiable evidence for your claims as possible.

A knowledgeable recruiter may offer essential guidance based on his understanding of what will resonate most powerfully in the market for consulting talent.

Interested in learning more about the essentials to successfully recruiting management consultants?

Download our free 5-step guide and learn how to:

Engage the best candidates through your messages and screens
Lay the groundwork for an effective interview process
Save time and energy through advanced preparation
Create momentum to allow better hiring decisions
Prepare for successful integration and retention
Download the free 5 step guide to recruiting management consultants

What LeBron James Can Teach Us about Recruiting

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Management consultant recruiting, Recruiting | 0 comments

tumblr_inline_mmehy7uUyq1qz4rgp-200x300When you want to win an NBA championship, are you more likely to try to recruit LeBron from the Miami Heat or search Akron, Ohio high schools for potential Rookies of the Year? This is the kind of question that HR executives must answer and then deliver on in order to function at their best. A BCG study tells us that recruiting has the highest business impact of any HR function.

John Sullivan, a recognized authority on human resources topics, explains that this fact can be difficult to discuss due to corporate politics. As a result, the business impact of recruiting that the BCG study reveals has been muted in most corporations. While the lack of attention to recruiting impact may be true in a broader sense, the management consulting field does a much better job of tracking and understanding how recruiting affects their businesses.

Most of my clients track interview-to-hire and time-to-hire statistics. They certainly calculate the margins generated by their billable hires, and many understand the hidden costs of hiring. Despite these strengths, management consulting firms can still learn about HR resource allocation from John’s article.

Spoiler alert: the Lebron reference isn’t mine!

Hidden Gem about Selling Management Consulting Services

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in CEO Advice, Consulting Sales | 0 comments

David-Maister-Headlines-273x300Some great information stands the test of time and David Maister’s article, “How Clients Choose,” fits that category. The plot of the story is not so new…see things from your client’s perspective. In this case though, David delves deeper into the topic by walking step-by-step through the elements of a consulting sale. It can be difficult for management consultants to shift from expert mode to selling mode and here are some useful tips about how to do so. Read more…

Painful job posting that I received yesterday

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Management consultant recruiting, Position descriptions, Recruiting | 0 comments

Screaming-woman-with-tears-300x200I am a bit nervous about posting this and revealing the weaknesses of a friend. So I won’t name names, but do want to share an example of a surprisingly poor description of a management consulting role with a well-respected, global consulting firm. I offer my suggestions for improvement at the end:

Management Consulting Director – Strategy & Transformation (Healthcare)


• Lead key business development activities in the Healthcare industry related to Strategy & Transformation initiatives including targeting key C- level clients, proposing services and closing opportunities
• Drive C-Level growth strategy creation, market development identification and transformation execution
• Oversee highly skilled client and consulting firm’s work teams throughout the project lifecycle by leveraging our approaches and frameworks and helping to ensure timely execution of project deliverables
• Establish client value propositions that tie financial metrics (CFO focus areas) and clinical quality performance measures
• Participate in continual development and publication of thought leadership and service offerings
• Assist partners with practice administration including resource allocation, career development of staff, and other people management decisions


• Eight+ years of management consulting experience in the Healthcare industry providing Strategy & Transformation related advice and services to clients, including strategy planning/deployment, finance and risk management, operations transformation, systems integration and program development
• Bachelor s degree in finance, engineering, operations analysis, medical trachnology or a related field from an accredited college/university; MBA preferred
• Demonstrated ability to assess, improve, and execute post merger integration services across strategy, finance and operations in the Healthcare industry
• Demonstrated knowledge and experience with quality of care and cost of care strategies with payers or providers
• Knowledge of healthcare reform preferable
• Demonstrated experience developing relationships with senior clients in a professional services environment
• Excellent written and verbal communication, facilitation, and presentation skills
• Ability to travel at a significant level

Here is how I would fix this:

1. Start with a description of the consulting firm and all of the great selling points and awards that they have won. At their scale and level of success, they probably have a long list.

2. Follow with a description of the practice, including it’s current stage of growth and overall vision.

3. Make the career case by linking the vision to the growth path for the new hire. Optional: Give an indication of the rewards for success while describing the career case.

4.  Describe the context of the responsibilities, not just list them. There is clearly a drive to grow this management consulting group, but what does the platform look like and what are some of the ideas that the practices leaders have for using it to grow the business. If this role depends strictly on the new hires connections, then it must be stated even though such a position won’t be as attractive. Beyond the primary responsibility of selling management consulting engagements, what is the context of the other responsibilities. A paragraph about the job would provide a lot more information to a potential candidate than a generic list.

5. The qualifications hint at the vision for the position. Through the qualifications section, I understand that the role focuses on post merger integration within the health insurance industry. The opportunity is driven by the Affordable Care Act and engagements are not specific functionally, and so I gather that they will be driven by the Director’s individual sales. Knowing about a specific initial project would be very helpful.

6. I would end with an appealing description of the growth potential afforded by the company.

Interested in more info about launching an effective search? Download our free 5 step guide to recruiting.

Download the free 5 step guide to recruiting management consultants

Recruiting Essential #2 – How to Create and Use a Career Case to Ensure a Quality Hire

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in CEO Advice, Management consultant recruiting, Recruiting | 0 comments

Career-Planning-Package-300x200A few weeks ago, I sat in a meeting with a prospect who was interviewing a few firms to help him hire a team of management consultants. I asked the hiring manager what would make a candidate want to join his firm, and he was surprised to hear a question that no other recruiter had asked him. I was taken aback by his statement because it is hard to imagine conducting an effective search without being able to describe the career case to a potential hire. While this situation represents an extreme case, many consulting firms do not consider how they appear from a candidate’s perspective.

The career case connects the overall direction of the organization to the reason for hiring and subsequently to the growth path for the position. When you take the time to consider and clearly state what your firm has to offer, you will stand apart from consulting firms that concern themselves primarily with their own needs. In addition, you can use this information to screen candidates more effectively. If a candidate’s aspirations do not fit the career case, then no amount of skill or experience can create a good fit. Understanding this element will also help you predict whether or not a candidate will accept an offer, and if he will remain with you after the initial excitement of joining your company wears off.

Recruiters, hiring managers, and other interviewers all must understand and convey the career case to each candidate. A consistent message will impress candidates by transmitting stability and alignment.Hiring managers and other interviewers must understand the career case in order to adjust screening criteria not found in a position description. For example, the candidate with the best interview skills, but who does not fit the career case may not meet your needs as well as a candidate with less impressive interviewing skills, who will be more satisfied with the growth potential that your firm offers.

The answer to the question, “Why would a candidate want to take this position?” may be simple or complex. In the case of a contractor, for example, the response typically focuses on compensation and the nature and length of the project. It may have to do with the prospect of a full-time position or travel considerations, but there does not need to be a strong connection to the business vision. Recruiting an experienced management consultant, by contrast, requires the creation of a tight link between vision and career case in order to help candidates understand the growth path within your firm.

Your ability to clearly articulate the career case will also enhance your company’s employment brand.Your position descriptions, job postings, and discussions about your firm highlight your vision and display compassion for your staff based on your understanding of their needs. Regardless of which stage your search is in, keeping your firm’s career case in mind will help you maintain focus on your needs instead of overreacting to the various hurdles that you may face in your search.

Interested in learning more about the essentials to successfully recruiting management consultants? Download our free 5-step guide:

Download the free 5 step guide to recruiting management consultants

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