Viewing posts categorised under: Recruiting

The nightmare of the easy search

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

The nightmare of the easy search

Portrait of bald scared manEarlier this year, Flycast was engaged to conduct two searches by two separate management consulting firms at almost the exact same time; one for a Senior Manager level consultant and the other for an Associate Consultant with 2-3 years of experience. I turned to my best recruiter and announced, “The Senior Manager search will be tough, but the Associate COnsultants should be easy to recruit.” As the words left my lips, I felt a slight pang in my gut because I had a feeling I knew what was going to happen next. There is no such thing as an “easy search.”

I began seeing how difficult the Associate search was when the meager results from the first week’s recruiting appeared. By the end of the first month we had only one candidate for twice the effort that we would have normally extended. My 20 years of recruiting experience didn’t count for much in estimating the difficulty of this search, but we weren’t about to give up.

By the end of the second month, we had more than enough candidates, including two finalists, one of whom happily accepted an offer with the company. So, what changed in the course of the search that led to our success? Simple; we followed the data.

Many recruiters and recruiting trainers advocate searching for passive candidates using high-quality, low-volume outreach. They suggest a targeted approach, which emphasizes networking in order to recruit the best passive candidates. While that may have worked ten years ago, nowadays, we all have access to the same database of candidates. Yes, relationships and expertise matter, but increased volume will lead to increased yield with minimal, if any, decrease in quality.

In the course of our nightmare search, we were successful because we focused on candidate presentations. We believe that our system provides the best opportunity for management consulting firms to hire great candidates, but we are not so close-minded to think we have all the answers. Please let me know if your experiences disagree with our results. We have had great results, but I would still love to learn from you!

Interested in learning more about our recruiting techniques? Download our 5 step recruiting guide:

Help! My Client Isn’t Taking My Advice – link to McLaughlin video

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Recruiting | 0 comments

Almost every experienced consultant has faced a situation where a client failed to implement his advice. The reasons may be structural, organizational or a matter of priorities. But there are ways to increase your ability to get your ideas implemented and set the stage for winning more work by following three steps outlined in this 10 minute video from Michael McLaughlin.

Michael points to too many chiefs or too few influencers as a problem along with other red flags that indicate that your project may go south. He suggests selling the value of your work throughout the project and designing implementation steps into a strategic engagement as two possible solutions.

Check out his video and register for ongoing updates about the consulting field.

Accenture’s North American CEO acknowledges talent scarcity

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Recruiting | 0 comments

Wall-of-faces-300x300Stephen Rohleder, Accenture’s Chief Executive for North America, recently discussed his company’s daunting goal of hiring 5,000 people over the next year. Here are the main points from his interview withConsulting Magazine.

  1. The most interesting revelation comes at the end of the article, where Rohleder acknowledges the increasing scarcity of talent. He plans to collect comprehensive analytics about talent supply and demand and push information our more effectively to job seekers. Social recruiting anyone?
  2. He also sees a decrease in the standard of living over the next 15 years, but believes this may be addressed through the social recruiting that he mentioned earlier. Not much detail here, but I would love to hear more about this topic!

Two other main points:

  1. Growth will take place through organic hiring and acquisition, primarily in the banking and mortgage processing specifically, as well as insurance, health care and life sciences sectors.
  2. Social media, mobility, analytics, digital marketing and the cloud stand out as drivers of change within those industries.

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MicroStrategy places a bet on consulting

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Recruiting | 0 comments

August 19, 2014

MicroStrategy, the $500MM Big Data enterprise software provider, has made a key hire that represents a commitment to investing in their professional services arm. The publicly-traded firm(Nasdaq: MSTR) named Raj Joshi their new Senior Executive VP of Professional Services. Raj built his career at Deloitte before joining Infosys to grow their Consulting and Systems Integration group to over $2B as COO.

MicroStrategy counts Facebook, Starbucks, and Lowe’s as premier clients.

See the MarketWatch article for more detail and a stock price chart.


Accenture acquires energy consultancy

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Recruiting | 0 comments

A-photo-of-the-Accenture-007-300x180August 5, 2014


Another management consulting acquisition was announced this week. Accenture is bolstering its oil and gas consulting capability by acquiring Hytracc Consulting, a global specialty firm based in Norway.

I have been tracking these transactions for only a few weeks and have seen some major acquisitions already. It had me thinking that there must be quite a few and a little research has proven me right. Next week, I will publish a list of all the transactions we can find since Jan. 1 If you want to be the first to know, sign up for emailings here.

Confessions of a content marketing newbie

Posted by Jason G. Sanders in Recruiting | 0 comments

baby-with-computer-229x300When I began my first blog in 2008, I posted articles for over a year while waiting for somebody, anybody, to listen! I had a problem, but it wasn’t quality; it was just too tough to attract an audience.

How things have changed! The doors to content marketing have been thrown open by pioneers with much greater skill than me, and many have been kind enough to share how they have achieved success. Platforms have also been built that allow eager content marketers to get their information out to the world.

My first article on LinkedIn (with almost 300 views as of this posting) has gotten more attention than all of my BlogSpot entries over 6 years. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have learned enough to know about the challenges that newcomers face, and I have some ideas about how to overcome them. If this sounds like me trying to motivate myself, you are probably right. I need to continue to learn these lessons as much as anyone.  Here they are:

  1. Read all you can about the subject and listen to podcasts. There is so much fantastic information available that will help you learn best practices and motivate you to continue your efforts.
  2. There are a lot of badly written articles out there, but you still don’t need to author works of art to be useful and have an impact. In order to make content marketing work, you must produce new content frequently and consistently. Volume counts more than quality if you want to be recognized by google search results. And in order to sustain an audience, you need to publish regularly.
  3. Relationships are more important than social marketing in the short term. Content marketing is a longer-term strategy, and you can’t control who will take an interest in you. That means focusing on larger numbers, and not relying on your new followers  to buy from you.
  4. You get the most traction by providing information to your existing network. Your relationships make people interested in what you have to say.. Focus on delivering quality to your core group and let that network grow by attracting others that are interested in the same content.
  5. You must dedicate yourself to getting started and sustaining a content marketing strategy. I have worked more intensely on my business this way than on any other business effort in my career.
  6. You have to be optimistic. Doubts about seeing long-term results will kill your ability to sustain your creativity.
  7. There are lots of tools available to measure interim success. Some of these are paid tools, like  Hubspot or Marketo. Here is a list of alternatives. LinkedIn provides statistical data, if you choose to publicize your content there. And there are other tracking tools available to help you measure traction, like page views and traffic sources.
  8. It’s important to capture email addresses. If you miss this, you miss the opportunity to turn your readers into a community. And if you can do that, you have reached the holy grail of content marketers and social media business people. Your own mini-Facebook!

If you would like to receive updates on the progress of Flycast’s social media and content marketing activities, please sign up here.

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

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?

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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
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