Corrections or additions?

This article by Bart Jackson was prepared for the July 11, 2001

edition of U.S.

1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Tips for Recruiting The Mothers of Invention

Alexander Graham Bell was a technical wizard. Bell also

was a businessman. Had he not been both, probably few people would

remember him at all. (They don’t call it Ma Bell because the phone

is ringing.) History has shown time and again that without the swift

lightning of sharp business acumen, the impressive thunder of


invention will just rumble away.

For this reason, the New Jersey Technology Council is putting on its

Regional Economic Growth and Planning Exposition on Tuesday, July

17, at 7:30 a.m. at the College of New Jersey. This exposition is

the second of three regional conferences, with the upcoming Southern

Regional planned for Friday, August 17 in Pemberton. Cost: $90. Call

856-787-9700. The Expo is designed to showcase resources for the


company from first launch through later expansions. Running concurrent

with the host of exhibitors’ booths will be several panel discussions,

including Site Planning and Real Estate; Recruiting and Retaining

Your Talent Pool; and Financing.

"Whether it’s a technical firm or not," says panelist Tom

Fuller, "the real keys to a successful business are its


people." Fuller has spent the last three decades hunting and


the exact right individual to the exact right corporate need. From

an Omaha childhood, he moved east to take a bachelor’s at Fordham

before working in recruitment for TMP Worldwide and other global


Five years ago, Fuller founded Epsen, Fuller Associates (

in Montclair. The firm specializes in procuring senior management

for major corporations.

Fuller refers to his firm as "human capitalists focusing on


team building." As Fuller explains his recruitment methods, one

sees the ultimate personal considerations — all achieved with

a fascinating touch of software. Here is his advice for finding just

the right techie for the job:

Identify the need . "We want a guy for this slot with

an MBA and four years experience in the field and ah, let’s see…oh

yes, and good consumer relations experience." Fuller slaps his

forehead. This is the type of request executives give search teams

all too frequently. "They are seeking credentials, not


he says. "They fill slots like some sort of recipe for the status


A company’s very first step in hiring anyone at any level is to very

specifically define its goal in hiring. Don’t just gobble up MBA


but examine your firm’s total nutritional needs. What do you need

to grow? Near term and long term?

Analyze performance. "Most people are, after all,

creatures of habit," says Fuller. Occasionally, some new job will

propel a long time plodder into high gear, but that’s seldom the way

to bet. The key here is to analyze more than an individual’s work

performance, and to talk with more than his past bosses. Defining

a person’s critical performance capabilities must entail as exhaustive

a search as the corporation has undertaken to define its own goals.

Panel moderator Terry Williams is founder of a Collegeville,

Pennsylvania, recruiting firm T. Williams Consulting. He says,


choose the right DNA over the right training."

Watch for behavioral clues . To attract an excited,


employee, the fit must be total. This includes an attitudinal,


and emotional mesh between the candidate, his fellows, and the


firm. Among other tools, Fuller employs a behavioral assessment test

consisting of an array of questions. For example, in one column there

are five traits: yielding, tenacious, flexible, understanding,


The candidate simply lists these traits in order of how others


him. Then in the next column several sets of different traits: for

example, believable, wary, compromising, relentless, courteous. Such

self-analysis spread over large numbers of questions yields a pretty

good idea of a candidate’s innate personality — and how it fits

with the company’s requirements.

All of this, plus the personal interviews, leads to a report of as

much as 25 pages per candidate. The process is exhaustive, but it’s

a whole lot easier than living with the wrong employee grinding along

squeakily in the wrong company.

Promote the Garden State . Finally, there comes the process

of compensation. Naturally, the entire menu of benefits that accompany

salary must be examined. But with the technical industry, relocation

often becomes a major hurdle. Williams notes that the pools of both

talent and industry in greater New Jersey are already so great, that

often the relocation distance is minimal and culture shock is slight.

Fuller, who has offices in Montclair, Houston, and Austin, says that

getting some employees to the Garden State is a challenge. "West

Coast people," he says, "generally do not want to budge."

Candidates from the South are more willing and those from the New

England climates are happy to come down where it is warm.


tend to be flexible.

In addition to recruitment advice, there will be a number of

recruitment opportunities at the Regional Economic Growth and Planning

Exposition as technical talent joins employers in sizing up the state

of technology in New Jersey in the summer of 2001.

— Bart Jackson

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