Monthly Archives: January 2014
Due to lower than expected fourth-quarter profit, Intel, a household name in semiconductor R&D and manufacturing, is planning to lay off 5,400 workers or almost 5% of their 107,600 total, worldwide employees! One culprit was Intel’s server chips area, which grew less than expected.
This is in direct contrast to the last 7 years where their employment has increased steadily. In fact, since 2006 when then CEO Paul Otellini engineered a restructuring, Intel’s recruiting has soared. Therefore, many engineering recruiters, scientific recruiters, IT recruiters and technical recruiters had made a fortune from just focusing on technical recruitment for Intel!
However, Intel’s priorities have changed since last May when Brian Krzanich took over as CEO. For example, Mr. Krazanich has increased Intel’s efforts to develop semiconductor chips for wearable devices, smartphones, smartwatches and tablets. As a result, he has planned to not only reduce employment, but also shift employees to different jobs within Intel. This has meant that many executive recruiters will have to look elsewhere for revenues. It also brings up the question, “What should the over 5000 displaced Intel workers do next?”
One thing they need to do immediately is develop a quantitative resume. As part of this process, our engineering recruiting agency recommends including a lot of “numbers.” Numbers include quantitative accomplishments, dollar savings, percentage improvements and patents. Unfortunately, most employees create qualitative resumes (e.g. I was part of the team that implemented the new semiconductor manufacturing robots) instead of quantitative ones (e.g. I designed the new A47B Fanuc robot, which saved Intel $45,600 per day in direct labor costs and reduced manufacturing errors by 27%). Please go to http://www.strategicsearch.com/interview-preparation-tips/interview-preparation-tips.php and view for more details.
Changing the pattern from a qualitative to a quantitative resume is not easy. It takes a lot of work and discipline. However, internal management recruiters at hiring companies and external executive recruitment firms salivate when they see “numbers.” Also, many job boards and engineer recruitment aids are designed to pick up keywords with a quantitative focus. Therefore, it behooves not only the displaced Intel workers, but also anyone looking for a new job to put in the extra time to make your resume quantitative!
In the course of executive recruitment, many hiring companies have committed major blunders due to not properly vetting engineering, scientific, IT and technical candidates. This can create a very costly, time-consuming and painful experience!
This spotlights the need for our company’s main mantra, being thorough. We recommend extensive background investigations including checking criminal records, civil records (e.g. bankruptcies), educational credentials and references. As part of this process we have retained an ex-FBI agent, private investigator, who doesn’t just rely upon mass databases, which are often outdated and riddled with errors. Instead, he digs deep by going directly to the courthouses where key information is housed. He takes this extra care because past behavior is the best predictor of future missteps. We have even trademarked our unique process, which is called Accu-Check™. Please go to http://www.strategicsearch.com/accucheck.php to learn more.
This thoroughness has paid dividends many thousands of times over including during our 2012 search for a CEO of a venture-backed nanosensor company. During the vetting process we unearthed several DUI’s with one of the top candidates. Though he adamantly denied the infractions, I repeatedly quizzed him about this (Key: I learned from my investigator to ask and restate the same question in a variety of ways in order to “trip up” candidates). One version of my questioning was, “why would you agree to pay fines and do community service if you were not guilty of this infraction?” He folded under repeated questioning. As a result, my client was saved from the trauma of hiring the wrong candidate due to misinformation.
So remember when involved in executive recruitment, make sure that both your internal management recruiters and external executive recruiting firms engage in very thorough background investigations. Do not rely upon the conventional and often outdated mass databases for candidate information. Instead, physically send one of your representatives to the courthouses in every municipality where the candidate has lived in order to check criminal records and civil records (e.g. bankruptcies). Also, do very thorough checks of educational credentials and references. Especially for scientific, engineering, IT or technical recruiting, the cost of not doing so will be astronomical and bog down your entire executive recruitment process!
As I reported previously, private industry R&D and innovation can more quickly produce exponentially more revenues for U.S. companies and jobs for our nation’s economy than any direct government efforts. Unfortunately, one field that the government has severely hampered research and development is online gambling. Until recently the U.S. government considered online gambling unlawful and even charged companies with illegally taking online bets!
As a result, other parts of the world have passed up our two, prominent gambling meccas of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. For example, a little more than ten years ago, few could have imagined Macau becoming a worldwide gambling leader. However, Macau racked in $45.2 billion in revenues in 2013 compared to only $6.4 billion in Las Vegas and $3 billion for Atlantic City! This represented a 19% increase over 2012 for Macau. Furthermore, analysts expect Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, to grow by 20% in 2014 and eventually hit $77 billion by 2017!
Additionally other Asian countries, including Singapore and the Philippines, are growing as well. Analysts estimate that 20 new casinos will open throughout Asia over the next five years. This will further increase the competition U.S. gambling centers face.
As a result, governments should not only, step back and repeal arcane laws, but also encourage research and development, scientific breakthroughs and engineering in the online gambling industry. Inspire product developers to engineer new forms of online gambling and physical gambling machines. Sponsor events similar to the Robotics Challenge Trials where the Department of Defense (DOD) has encouraged the development of rescue robots. This will stimulate R&D, innovation and jobs creation.
Instead of past, stifling legislation, which prevented industry growth and jobs creation, the government should become a catalyst to drive private sector companies, to push the limits of science, engineering and research and development in online gambling. The result will be many more jobs for project engineers, automation engineers, artificial intelligence scientists, expert system developers, electrical engineers, software engineers, mechanical engineers, design engineers, process engineers, quality engineers, material scientists, game designers, product developers and IT professionals; all professions I focus on as an engineering and scientific recruiter!
As I shared in my last article, trial by combat is a useful tool for companies considering promoting their engineering, scientific and technical talent. It can also be useful in readying a company’s next CEO in the event of a retirement, ouster or unexpected departure. Unfortunately, this point is underscored with Microsoft’s current CEO recruiting to replace Steve Ballmer.
Founded on April 4, 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen as a small company to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for Altair 8800 they have grown into a giant multinational with multiple businesses, countless management layers and a complex organizational structure. Also, unlike most Fortune 500 companies, Microsoft has had only two CEO’s in their history: Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
As a result, uncovering their next CEO will be a monumental recruiting endeavor for several reasons:
- They need someone who has a rare combination of countless skills including technology savvy, vision, turnaround expertise and the ability to manage a giant company. Few worldwide have such an amalgamation of abilities.
- This is one of the most critical decisions for Microsoft coming at a key turning point in their history. It impacts their brand, workforce, customer base and investors. All can be severely harmed by the wrong choice!
- Their past pay scale is considerably under market. MR. Ballmer’s salary was only $1.26 million versus one of their desired candidates; Alan Mulally earned about $21 million last year! Furthermore, the norm, for an outsider recruited to take over as CEO, is a 30-40% increase in salary.
- Many of the strong, internal candidates fled over the last decade. This means that the internal “cupboard is bare.”
To avoid being cornered in a situation like Microsoft finds itself today, it is extremely important to place your high-level engineering, scientific, IT and technical executives in impact situations that can quickly challenge their competences. Furthermore, these situations must be critical to your company’s success. Then judge how the candidate performs when deciding whether or not to promote them in the future.
Additionally, go to great lengths to retain star performers. Even if it means overpaying them, it is nice to know you will have a strong bench when and if one of your top executives unexpectedly departs.
Living in Chicago and being a major Chicago Bears admirer I am among the multitudes of fans that were riveted to their televisions this past Sunday, December 29th during Chicago Bears versus Green Bay Packers game. This latest edition of the oldest of NFL rivalries was critical to both the winner making the NFL playoffs and to Jay Cutler’s future as a Bears starting quarter back. This is the case since MR. Cutler is seeking a huge, new contract to replace his current expiring one.
Unfortunately, Cutler lost 33-28 bringing his record to only one win and eight losses versus the heated rival Green Bay Packers! This lack of productivity will probably be a major contributor to him not receiving a major promotion from the Bears.
This trial by combat demonstrates an important lesson for companies considering promoting their engineering, scientific and technical talent. Extrapolated to your company, it is extremely important to place your plant managers, directors of engineering, mechanical engineers, design engineers, process engineers, quality engineers, material scientists, chemists, polymer scientists, product developers, electrical engineers, software engineers and IT professionals in impact situations, like this season finale between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. This will quickly test their mettle. In doing so, ensure that these situations are critical to your company’s success. Then judge how the candidate performs when deciding whether or not to promote them in the future.
Unfortunately, many engineering, scientific and technical candidates flock to our recruiting firm seeking new job opportunities because their current firms don’t allow them better promotional opportunities. Then the previous employer will have to both: a) spend a lot of time and money recruiting to fill their positions and b) wait 6-12 months for the new prospect to go down a learning curve before becoming productive. This detracts from a company’s R&D, engineering and manufacturing innovations. Instead, place candidates in trial by combat situations like the Chicago Bears placed Jay Cutler to quickly test their abilities. This will save a lot of training costs and the uncertainty of replacing a trusted member of your staff.