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What Every Company Needs to Know About Recruiters, The Real “Behind- The- Scenes” Story… DAC IS IN AUSTIN…Again, My Thoughts…

Friday, June 16th, 2017

…Note… While I know it may seem that by writing this, I am asking for sympathy for the work I do, I am not…well maybe a little. What I am simply doing is to try and give an alternative perspective, a broader understanding of what it takes to fill just one Job Opening. I am talking more to the companies that engage us as it is essential for me to explain the reality of the real work that we do daily. It is that understanding that can make the entire process so much more productive for all of us and allow us to actually achieve our goals of a hire and a placement. I am doing this for some 20 years, and I am expressing these thoughts after talking to numerous other recruiters that have similar frustrations and experiences.  I honestly believe that most companies lack a thorough understanding of the extraordinary time it takes to find a few decent candidates, worthy of submission.

Most of our work comes from contingency recruiting, meaning we only get paid after the candidate is hired AND starts.  The hire must also stay for a specified period as well. Today, unlike the recent past, most companies come to us for help after they have already exhausted their own contacts and resources, thus making the possibilities exponentially that much more difficult. Since we are the leader in EDA recruiting, we understand those needs and try to only present candidates that match (by at least 80%) the given requisition. Needless to say, our goal is to search for these needles in a haystack until we find a worthy candidate that a company might actually consider.
I can honestly tell you that we go through an enormous amount of muck to find one piece of gold. Our work is all done in good faith, without any payment or guarantees for doing so. We will spend days, weeks, even months to find these candidates and could spend thousands in postings and advertising. Each req., with its exacting parameters, requires extreme focus and dedication, and we can only look for one req. at a time, meaning other companies that have engaged us, will not get the attention they also need and deserve.

Because of this, we have a legitimate right to expect the company that asked us to find them a particular candidate to also act in good faith and follow through on the process.  I can tell you that this expectation in and of itself, is an arduous task and clearly it should not be. Should we find the candidate that the company has asked us for (or someone close), we have a right to expect that company to act on that submission by reviewing the resume and either declining or following through on the interviewing process, IN A TIMELY BASIS. Timely is the BIG key as over and over again, delays are proven costly, as the best candidates get hired elsewhere and everyone loses.  That delay or inaction is a complete waste of all of our time and effort. What could have been a great hire or win for us both, turns into ZERO. That delay or lack of attention to the process means the company lost a real positive prospect and our work and effort was for naught. It is a reasonable expectation for a recruiter to expect a company to answer on a candidate submission within 72 hours.  If they were paying us a retainer for our work, I am quite sure they would be more reactive.  But since there is no cost from their side, it is no loss for them…but the loss of a possible next great candidate should be and therein lies my point.  Remember, our income is not based on our effort and results, it is based solely on the company’s actions and ultimately hiring, of our candidate.

Admittedly, fortunately most companies are terrific and quite responsive.  They engage us because they have a real need and work with us to accomplish filling that need.  They understand and appreciate the process and the work we do in good faith, with no up-front remuneration, just our hope of making a hire for them and a placement for us.

Let me further make my point with a somewhat parallel analogy that every company can relate to…Imagine an EDA company has engaged a company and the company has said they want your tool. They tell you (basically), that if it works, and meets what they need, they will buy it. You embark on making that happen, allocate the resources and start the process…benchmarks, evals, demos, team calls etc. an enormous outlay of time and effort, to get them what they need to solve that particular problem.  (I am framing this loosely for this example). Imagine if you will (and this is certainly not a stretch) that the engagement is difficult on its face and to complicate it further, has several revisions by the customer after you do the work you were asked to do. Perhaps this happens after days, weeks, even months of your effort working to fill their requested need.  Perhaps the company gives your project a lack of focus and attention, making it that much more difficult to achieve your goals. Think about that; your investment of time, effort, hard work going nowhere or moving very slowly, because of their lack of attention…how frustrating would that be.  Further perhaps, the company’s demands are so exacting that no matter how much you do to meet the need, you have almost no chance of meeting that exact standard, making that achievement near impossible, no matter how close you get. But still you work day in and day out to try and achieve what is needed, knowing that is the only way you will get paid.

Imagine further that after all that work, the company changes their parameters or the initial scope of work, or worse, that they become non-responsive for extended periods of time. Or worse yet, they simply decide to end the project after all the time and money you put in to make this deal, sometimes without even telling you as you continue your efforts for them. Imagine doing all this without a contract or any up-front costs that guarantees you some protections for your hard work and expenditures.  Imagine the frustration or aggravation you would feel when you are doing everything the company wants and not getting paid a dime for your efforts when after all, it was the Company that engaged you and initially told you what they needed!

I am sure see the parallels I am laying out and I hope you can agree that this could be not only frustrating but quite costly as well. The point I am making and what I am suggesting is that when you engage a recruiter to help you fill your company’s needs, that you work as aggressively with that recruiter as you would with a customer, to achieve success. Understand that like in the previous example, the engagement to find you the right candidate is time and resources spent and that dedicating time to your needs is taking the time that could have been dedicated elsewhere, that could be bringing that recruiter revenue.  We should all enter campaigns earnestly and in good faith hoping that eventually the customer will sign off and the intended goals will have been achieved, equaling success for everyone.

Just like with your engagements, we work hard to meet your needs and expectations….we work hard to make that deal, to earn that revenue that all of us desire to achieve. You as a company give us the spec, we discuss the spec, learn the details of the position, learn the “elevator” pitch so we can properly sell your company’s merits, and only then start the process of finding the candidate. Every spec has a LOT of idiosyncrasies and revisions are somewhat common which makes communication key and absolutely necessary. There is so much back and forth needed to narrow down the parameters of the positions…less placement more routing…candidate does not have synthesis (even though they originally never asked for that), more analog, less layout, we need digital and so on. Companies used to be thrilled to get a top notch candidate that could pick up their particular space…no longer is that the case. Needs are exacting and it is not realistic to expect a recruiter to implicitly understand the total scope, of your company’s particular needs.

To wrap this up, let me briefly explain the process of the work that goes into finding a few good candidates, as I am quite sure most have no idea. Typically, it takes days, more likely weeks and as I said, even months to READ hundreds and more likely thousands of resumes to find a few qualified candidates worthy enough to actually present. In addition, we can spend thousands of dollars in Job listings searching for folks that fit that exact bill. It is only after we have identified those few prospects that the real work starts…contacting the client and staying on them until they respond, getting their resume and then talking to them about the position, the company and vetting them on all the particulars, hoping they are still interested in the position, the company, and the comp, and meet all the specification of the company.  Or disqualifying them because they do not.  This is all before submitting, which is where the most attention by all is needed.

After that we hope the company likes them and finds them relevant to the position. This further shakes out a big part of the appropriate limited pool. This is where the company has the obligation and responsibility to be responsive and follow up.  This is the process starts and getting companies to react (as I explained earlier) can be quite the challenge and should not be. Am I bitching, of course, but variations of this kind of stuff is the reality of our business and this part is what makes recruiting such a difficult job.

Having said all that, I must say that the MAJORITY of the candidates and companies” we deal with are wonderful and the process while usually tenuous, is overall enjoyable. It is my hopes that by reading this, more companies will put more of an effort into their hiring and respect the time of the people they are engaging with, just like they expect to be respected by the companies they are engaging with.  I know for me, just laying this all out is a stress reliever but I hope it serves to bring a broader understanding and respect, to the process of recruiting.

Let’s start with DAC, yes it is in Austin again, ughh, though not that all bad.  Austin is actually a great city, perhaps one of the best, relatively speaking.  DAC simply feels different when it is in Austin.  The good news is that because DAC was in Austin last year, more of us, know more about the city, especially if you have had to make that trek from the beyond. Certainly more liquor is consumed in Austin than say San Francisco, which leads to more hangovers the next day and perhaps looser pockets and more open minds which will equate to ”Hurry with the DEMO, yes we will buy, just stop talking”!  But beyond that, the attendees feel somewhat different in attitude as assuredly, more are from Austin and don’t get out of Austin all that much, making DAC exciting for them, which on its face is hard to understand. Austin, a significant EDA Tech Hub, has hosted DAC three times in recent years.  It gives locals an opportunity to experience a major EDA conference,  which I am not sure has any over-the-top relevance as DAC is not the most exciting place on the planet, and that was the nice way of saying it. However, it is a place to meet new colleagues and make new contacts and that my friends is what DAC HAS ALWAYS been about.

I talk to a LOT of people at DAC and the conversations range from “we have had an AMAZING show” to…ummm…”DAC sucks”, (to put it bluntly). I honestly feel that anyone that says the latter did not put in the time and energy necessary to make DAC a success or plain and simple, they do not have an overly compelling application that companies feel compelled to see (at DAC). The work of DAC happens before DAC; the making of appointments, the making sure you have your product ready or have made any new announcements that compel people to STOP BY your booth.  This does not negate the importance of knowing your prospects-clientele and having the right mix of personal that can get people to STOP-IN for a look. DAC, as with any trade show, is also about presentation.  I have always admired my friend Prakash from Real Intent as he has typically created an engaging booth that people notice. A sign saying some boring jargon, is simply NOT ENOUGH to get people to stop and chat. You get 2-3 seconds to be noticed at a trade show, make the most of it!

I expect DAC to have similar attendance to last year and if memory serves me correctly, it was pretty darn good as the post reports showed. As I always say, those that you want to see, need to see, are there, the rest is up to you.  DAC brings us together, you need to do the rest.  Of course, I will be in my WHITE Jacket combing the isles so please say hi when you see me.

Recruiters–Do You Have Any Idea What We Do?…How Much Work Goes Into Finding One Good Candidate?…The Service Offered to Both Candidates and Companies…

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Surprise Short Answer…A Lot of Work with Often Little Respect, Let Me Explain…

No, this will not be an umm bitch session (LOL) about how recruiters are used and abused but rather an insight into the difficult work we do, the services we provide and how we typically get paid. It just might surprise you to learn what it takes, to make just ONE placement.

I am writing this because I think it is important for both sides to understand the service we provide and the difficulties of the process. Many think that all we do is send a resume of someone we know, and they interview, get hired, and we get a check. While that has fortunately happened, it is far from the reality of our day to day efforts. In this month’s column, I will cover the Candidate’s side and next month, the Company’s.

I like to think that I’m different from most recruiters, even though we all basically provide a similar service of furnishing candidates to companies, trying to fill some very exacting positions. What makes my services different, and why I suppose am the most called-on recruiter in EDA, is because first and foremost, even though the company is the one paying me, I strive to make the hire, satisfactory for both sides. My goal is to make sure the process is on solid ground…that the Candidate is excited about the company AND the company about the candidate.
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Why More BIG Companies Are Using Our Expertise….Hiring, What Lies Ahead…DVCON’s Coming…

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

It has always been difficult for recruiters like myself to work with larger companies but that tide has been changing.  Our Bread and Butter has always relied on smaller Start-Ups that have always clearly understood the value in using specialized recruiters, versus finding talent on their own. They understand the cost benefit versus the resources it takes to find just one good resume. They understand how time taken away from productivity to read countless resumes, has countless, much larger costs associated with it. Time is money, lots of money and companies want their engineers working on substance, things that have a real ROI (Return-On-Investment) attached to them. Now, more and more of the big guys realize that too. While admittedly, we are not flush in these big company requisitions, we are building more relationships and getting more job reqs from them. It seems that they too recognize the difficulty in finding EDA talent, which as most of us know, is a rather arduous task because of the small pool to choose from.

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WOW, DAC Was Better Than I Thought…BIZ Has Picked Up Since DAC….The Amazing “Peggy” Wrote About Yours Truly…

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Let me start by thanking Peggy Aycinena for her article.

It was nice to have the tables turned on me by one of our brightest; take a look… http://www10.edacafe.com/blogs/whatwouldjoedo/2016/06/30/mark-gilbert-white-coat-white-hat-big-fish/

Heading to DAC this year in Austin, I was prepared for a snooze fest, as the general consensus from most folks I talked to was that they were not expecting all that much this time around.  Well to the contrary, DAC was quite interesting this year and by quite interesting I mean “quite interesting for DAC”.

I am constantly asked; “SO, did you see anything interesting or exciting”? How do you answer that?  Is anything at DAC really interesting or exciting?  Well perhaps for the select few ultra brainiacs (of which we have a ton) that get off on EDA and find it exciting and kind of umm interesting, it was umm DAC!  Perhaps I could have said, “Wow, XYZ company simulator is x times faster”? That is certainly “exciting”! Or maybe, “ABC Design can verify a design in x less time”? Wow, talk about interesting! How bout, “Power at RTL is so much less with the new GHI tool”? I mean, that is BOTH interesting and exciting!

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DAC In Austin, What To Expect…How’s The Year Been For Start-Ups…Polish That Resume, You Never Know When…BEST TECH CARTOON I HAVE SEEN…

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Pic Mark Gilbert 2016-06-05
There is a significant amount of decent buzz surrounding DAC Austin, which for me, is a bit surprising.  On the plus side, I think DAC will see a lot of folks from the region that simply cannot make the trek west; the typical home for DAC.  Considering that Austin (and surrounding Texas areas like Dallas) is probably the second biggest hub for EDA type engineers, I think DAC will see a lot of fresh faces. After all, the conferences are second to none and it is a great experience for those that have never walked the DAC floor.  We all know the usual suspects, those that rarely miss a DAC, will certainly be there. Austin will not preclude (plug in Intel, Freescale, TSMC, Global and the rest) them from going.
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Landing The Interview Is About More Than Your Technical Skills…Must Read Advice For Anyone Interviewing

Friday, April 15th, 2016

I have placed more candidates than I can count and have additionally prepared more candidates for their interviews, than I have yelled at my kids… (OK I admit to stretching there a bit).  I cannot begin to tell you how many candidates make the most elementary mistakes during their first interview(s), serving to eliminate themselves before they have even had a chance to prove their worthiness.  It is certainly great to possess the needed technical skills for the position but it is even greater to know how to showcase those skills, to give you the best shot at acing the interview.

Here are a few of my more basic tips and what I always tell my candidates before they interview. I explain to them that the simplest, most logical goal is to have one single objective…and that is to get through the 1st interview successfully. Since most first interviews are phone screens, the discussions can vary depending on the company and the person doing the interviewing.
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