2007 Archive

Prayer Request for Aunt Wendy’s Cancer Healing

Mon, 31 December 2007

As is always the case when a family member says that they have something to tell you, you mentally prepare yourself for all sorts of unsettling news. My Mom and Dad normally just blurt it out with no preamble necessary. This news was shocking. They held an uncomfortable pause then informed me that my Aunt Wendy has breast cancer. WHAT?!? Is she sure? How? When? **deep breath**. Much as I didn’t want to hear the rest, it’s true. On December 8th she found a suspicious lump. December 12th she had 2 mammograms and an ultrasound. On December 14th, a biopsy, and finally on December 18th test results revealed cancer…ductile carcinoma. The oncologist determined that it is stage III cancer from which 1 in 30 patients survive. Since the cancer has spread to her lymphnodes, there is a risk that the cancer is in other parts of her body, all of which will be tested over the next few days.

Apparently Aunt Wendy has had this for quite a while undetected. Regular mammograms cannot detect some kinds of cancer. A simple ultrasound would have revealed the issue, but this is not a standard procedure in preventative care. I’ve got a couple of doctors in the family, so I’ll try not to pretend to be one. However, I can’t stay away from Google and its ability to find guidance that shows women should be getting ultrasounds in addition to their mammograms, and that the National Cancer Institute is testing a variety of methods of detection. Plus, it is very likely there is a link between prolonged use of the pill and breast cancer. This is enough sour grapes (I guess) on how she got here.

Let me give my personal testimony about Aunt Wendy before I ask for prayers for her. Wendy Vosper (nee Rzepkowski) has been my kindred spirit from birth. She became my aunt on her 10th birthday in 1975, giving us a closeness in age that almost makes her a big sister. Ever since then, she has given me a special kind of unconditional love that no parent, wife or even my own children can offer. When I was a kid, she was the “cool aunt” who would play with me when my parents had enough. Christmas time was ALWAYS my favorite because she went nuts for it. From her famously over-taped wrappings, to the ever-present stuffed animals (she’s a stuffed animal freak), Christmas was a spectacle.

Aunt Wendy and Kris Birthday 2004
Aunt Wendy and Kris celebrate our birthday in 2004

As we grew older, Aunt Wendy became a stunning beauty who always had a boyfriend. That didn’t stop her from taking my sister and I with her on dates to the Putt-Putt or the ice cream parlor. Through my most awkward teenage years, she was the one who built me up and called me handsome, even though I always felt like such a dork. That kind of encouragement from someone so beautiful on the outside showed me what I always knew – how beautiful she is on the inside. In adulthood, Aunt Wendy has remained a positive influence on my life. She, along with my grandmother have the most faith-filled life of anyone I know. Through the ups and downs of money, marriage, and jobs I can always talk to Aunt Wendy about anything. After we talk, we always come out the other side knowing that we’re there for each other.

Now is my time to be there for her. If there is anything I’ve learned from Aunt Wendy, it is how to be there for someone you love. We live far apart, so I can’t physically be in South Carolina with her. The best I can do is pray to God every day, and ask that he take me to be with she who has been my Guardian Angel in her times of need. I ask everyone who reads this blog entry to add my Aunt Wendy to your prayers. Ask that God’s will be done, and that his grace be given to someone who so deserves it. Aunt Wendy has the fight of her life ahead of her, our collective prayers will give her strength. If you’d like to provide direct words of encouragement to Aunt Wendy, view her CarePage where she will be keeping us up to date on her treatment.

This summer, I had the chance to be a part of her wedding to Ian Vosper. At the time I’m sure ‘in sickness and in health’ was furthest from both of their minds. Now Ian has to provide her with support. Please pray for Ian to be strong to support Aunt Wendy. Pray for God’s grace on Ian as he takes on a bigger challenge than he has ever had to tackle.

I’m hoping through this to continue to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure who seems to provide some of the best information and support for those who battle breast cancer.

Posted in: Family and Friends, Life | 7 Comments »

Beyond Sourcing on Social Networks: Finally!

Wed, 19 December 2007

Scott Allen guest blogged at Six Degrees from Dave the other day about 15 Creative Ways Recruiters Can Use Professional Networking Sites.

The way I see it, any hack can figure out how to type a few keywords and do a search — where it gets really interesting is in all the other things you can use the tools for to grow your business, attract more candidates and differentiate yourself from the thousands of other recruiters out there.

I’m happy that someone is turning the conversation about social networking away from “Does it have better candidates than Monster?” discussions, and its close cousin “How can I use Social networks as background checks?”. I tried 3 years ago to articulate what recruiting would be like when online professional networks became commonplace. I wasn’t smart enough at the time to predict exactly how Linkedin, Facebook, etc could change the dynamic within the recruiting process.

Unfortunately, the media messages and recruitment industry discussion of social networking sites often support these simple questions.

I’m interested in the use of social networking to provide maximum value to candidates. Along those lines, I support the following:

  1. Recruiter profiles should be detailed and specific. The ‘mystery recruiter’ will be increasingly unable to compete against those who have made public their professional and personal credentials. Within the first 5 seconds of any recruiter call, you have already been Googled. If you’ve been hiding from Social Networks, you’ll get the big **click**.
  2. Recruiters should prep candidates. Scott points out that you can send your candidates the profiles of hiring managers. Amen to that. If hiring managers want to know so much about candidates, the least they can do is let them peak into their backgrounds
  3. Recruiters should friend candidates when the time is right. Having a Friending protocol to determine when they should invite candidates to connect will be important. I personally think that right time is after an in-person interview, or a second phone screen. Of course open networkers think differently. Whatever the case, an invitation to a recruiter’s personal network after some rapport has been built is a nice way to say I value you.
  4. Recruiters should spread at least a little knowledge. Candidates should become incrementally smarter as a result of their relationship with a recruiter. A simple way to do this is for recruiters to share what they are learning about with candidates. They can use Del.icio.us or other social bookmarking tools instead of Internet Explorer favorites to save each everything they are reading about their industry. Then they can invite candidates to follow their feed. It’s not a blog, or actively maintained Facebook presence (which is far more time consuming) but at least candidates are deriving value from being connected online.

The time is definitely right to move recruitment away from using online social networks as purely another resume database, or sourcing engine. It is a game changer in bringing networking relationships to the forefront of people’s professional life.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Professional Networking | No Comments »

Holiday Snow Ball Fight

Sat, 15 December 2007

Here’s another little ditty of the Zips plus uncle Matt mixing it up Jib Jab style.

Posted in: Holidays, Life | 2 Comments »

What is the Voice of your Staffing Firm Blog?

Thu, 13 December 2007

Matthew Grant over at Aquent offers an introspective look at the voice he uses while blogging on behalf of his firm.

What are the characteristics of the “corporate voice”? It is essentially educated, relatively formal (no cursing/minimal slang), and thoughtfully diplomatic. More significantly, the topics it discusses are “safe.” Aside from being relevant to the business of the corporation itself, in my case, “marketing staffing,” it shies away from topics that could potentially offend any of my more or less anonymous, more or less accidental readers. That means: no direct discussion of political or religious issues (to the extent that the two can be separated in the United States), no commentary on the actions of our current or potential clients, and, naturally, no criticism of the staffing industry or particular staffing firms.

This gray area of corporate transparency that distinguishes an individual blogger’s views, style and approach from the corporation’s (especially a public one) seems to be getting in the way of his voice. Matt goes on to mention:

But what if using the “corporate voice” was not in the best interest of this blog? What if the blog would be more popular if I spoke in a voice closer, if not equivalent, to my own?

This is a really timely topic for me as I think about the tone and structure of the Hudson voice in the blogoshere. The point of blogging for a corporation (as opposed to the more formal marketing website) is to bring your own voice to the matter. I doubt anyone is going to hang out very long at a blog if it lacks the author’s true voice. I’ve always read Matt’s content as authoritative, if perhaps only a little dry. Sure, it reflects very well on the Aquent brand as does the design of their website, and the other authoritative video content they put out there. Aquent comes across as knowing their stuff in marketing for sure! I think perhaps the only mistake Matt is making is that he’s the ONLY voice. Tim Donelly’s But Less About Me, a blog written more in his own voice, functions very separately from Matt’s. I have no clue who is getting more traffic, but I’d bet Tim is. The corporate voice of Aquent is the sum of the talent they’ve chosen to retain. Why not bring the two closer visually and architecturally so that both blogs serve to support the corporation. And why not invite more Aquenters into the mix?

Another interesting staffing voice is the Manpower Blawg. I have no doubt that Mark Toth is using a voice other than the corporate one of Manpower. It seems to be a bit off kilter to me from a corporate branding perspective, yet at the same time his blog is a very targeted and engaging read. Surely not everyone at Manpower is an employment law expert, yet the fact that a high ranking employee of the company is using his voice does say something about the company and its corporate culture. Similar to Matt at Aquent, I do think that more voices from Manpower need to join the conversation for it to become a meaningful corporate communications vehicle.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Staffing Firm Blogs | 2 Comments »

I Heart NY (and Hoboken)

Tue, 11 December 2007

Over the weekend, we took a short family jaunt to New York City for Tricia’s 33rd Birthday. We stayed with my college roomate Dana Deskiewicz in his awesome pad in Hoboken. It was a terrific weekend to take in all of the holiday festivities. From the Empire State Building to the tree in Rockefeller Center, we packed it in. Mason and Anna did awesome. I can’t believe their little legs still work after all of the walking we did. Explore the Google Map below to follow us on our two and a half day odyssey. Be sure to click all of the icons for pictures and stories of what we did.

Here’s a larger map to navigate our trip more easily!

Check out more pictures in Tricia’s account of the trip.

Posted in: Birthdays, Life | No Comments »

What Google Trends are Interesting for Staffing Firms?

Thu, 06 December 2007

Google Trends is a fun toy to play with if you are trying to figure out whether Paris Hilton or Britney Spears is more popular on Google. There are other interesting comparisons within Marissa Meyer’s Google Trends Tutorial that coincide with an analysis of the hottest searches of 2007. My question is, how can this Google popularity contest be used if you work at a staffing firm?

Competitor Popularity
Google Trends analyzes how many searches have been done for the terms entered. From reviewing Hudson’s own weblogs I know that a LOT of incoming traffic to our website is from users typing our company name into Google and not the browser address bar. I often use this as a gauge of name recognition. A person heard our name someplace and is on the hunt to find us. Let’s have a look at a few staffing firms shall we?

Staffing Firm Comparison on Google Trends

Vendor Popularity
Can we then find out the popularity amongst the general public of our job board and sourcing friends by seeing their relative popularity in Google Search? Try putting in your favorite vendors and see how they’ve been trending over the last few years.

Job Board Vendor Comparison on Google Trends

Job Market Popularity
You can get a general sense for the size of different job categories by feeding those into the tool. It is interesting to see that the searches on all of the categories follow a volume pattern that decreases from Q1 through to Q4, except in 2007 when Q3 seems to have more seekers in the market.

Job Market Comparison on Google Trends

Perhaps you can comment with other interesting Google Trends you see that are relevant. Once the impending API for Google Trends gets released, maybe some smart developer can make a website out of Google Trends for recruiting. I would love to see it mimic the “Today’s Hot Trends” list, and make it be Today’s Hot Job Trends.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Staffing SEO/SEM | No Comments »

All that is Wrong with Job Board Vendor Cold Calls

Tue, 04 December 2007

Ring, Ring…Kris checks the caller ID: ‘jobclicks.net’…he frowns and ignores the call. Kris already knows it is a vendor cold call and not someone important from the office. 15 minutes later, just wanting that voicemail light to stop flashing, he listens to a message so annoying that he wastes 5 good minutes of his life transcribing the call into Notepad for inclusion in this very blog.

Hi Kris,
This is Jason S___. I’m calling with JobClicks.net? Uh…I was giving you a call today to offer you access to candidates seeking employment through our partnered websites emailmyresume.com and resumezapper.com. The service is free to you and can provide the opportunity to receive great candidates to fill your job openings. If you could at your earliest convenience, please return my call. I would like to demonstrate what these sites can do for you. I can be reached at 540-372-3009 xt. ___. Thanks Kris, have a great day.

People who know me well understand that I have a voracious appetite for all that is new on the internet. Most Interactive Marketers at staffing agencies would tell you something similar. So, let me give out some friendly advice to all job board vendors, and other marketing software/service vendors for that matter, on what is wrong with your cold call approach.

  1. You Don’t Do Your Homework. Before you even pick up that phone you ought to know that you are calling a centrally based marketing director not a recruiter. You would therefore know that I have no need to find candidates for ‘my openings’. I work for my 150 field recruiters. Somehow you managed to find my name. The least you should do is find something out about me and my company.
  2. Your Message Isn’t Targeted. Does anybody need more random, unqualified candidates filling their recruiters’ inboxes? That’s what I hear when someone offers ‘great’ candidates for free. If you had done your homework you would at least know the types of candidates we place by simply looking at our online job board. No Cold Calling

    Even saying you have more great IT candidates wouldn’t have gotten a response from me though. If perhaps you had sent an email to me prior to the cold call with some statistics on how many resumes you get in the niches our company serves or sent some example profiles, you might have at least gotten some interest.

  3. You Don’t Respect My Time. Do you really think you are the only vendor that calls on me? I average 4 cold calls per week. You first ask me to return your call, and then scare me into thinking that the results of that return call will be a boring demo (which usually average 30 minutes). Both of which disrupt my day. Trust me when I tell you that I enter the demo with the wrong attitude, and leave the demo saying no thanks to any sort of purchase. Now you’ve wasted both of our time.

    Instead, you should already know that anyone buying products or services of any kind today is going to research you online first. So why not acknowledge that? You should only ask me to review your website at my earliest convenience. You should then follow-up 2 times with reminder phone calls to see if I have looked at it. If you still don’t get me to pick up my phone, you can assume that I didn’t like or need what I saw. Move on to another prospect.

I understand that everyone has to put food on the table and I truly don’t consider myself to be an un-responsive professional. But, for my own personal productivity I’ve got to help end the deluge. If you cold call me please try to follow the rules. Otherwise, don’t plan on hearing from me.

original photo by markhillary.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Job Boards | 2 Comments »

A Holiday Tradition: The Leonardo Strassi “Black Box”

Mon, 03 December 2007

Leonardo Strassi LogoThe holiday buying season sometime in the late 70’s must have been momentous for a clothing company named Leonardo Strassi. One Christmas, my Dad’s family gave too many zippered ski vests, bell-bottom jeans, or wide-collared flower shirts from the same store. These items of good taste were all packaged lovingly within the same kind of black garment box from Leonardo Strassi. When all of these suspicious boxes were retrieved from under the tree, then opened at once, the legend of “The Box” was born into Rzepkowski Family lore.

“The Box” is a bit strange by today’s garment box standards. It is all black, illustrated only by a Unabomber-looking gentleman with a gigolo moustache and some fine sunglasses. It is a thin box that only can contain the slightest of gifts. Underwear? Yes. Sweatshirt? No way! Every Christmas since that time, the Boxes have arrived under the tree. At first, there were some chuckles as Leonardo showed his classic good looks. Then, in the early 80’s the family realized that these boxes were becoming treasured family heirlooms to be passed down from generation to generation. The rule became that the holder of “The Box” must regift it to another family member sometime in the upcoming year. It was used not only for Christmas, but also for Birthdays, anniversaries, and any other momentous life occasion.

So rich became this tradition that my grandmother began inscribing the lid with the giver and receiver of “The Box”, the event, and the date. After 30 years of keeping up this ritual, “The Box” has become a gift in of itself. Opening one provides many minutes of joy as you first feign surprise that you didn’t know what it was, then recite the previous holders of the treasure, and finally let the awesome responsibility of passing it on set in. The younger generation can all recall when we received our first Box.

Leonardo Strassi Box Interior
Interior of Leonardo Strassi Box, 2007

As legend has it, there are only 4 Boxes left in circulation (no one really knows), each with a colorful history of birthdays, Christmases and anniversaries gone by. The histories reveal new family members, special events, and of course 30 years of Christmas memories. So, this year instead of a Nintendo Wii, or an iPod, a tattered black Box is on the top of my list.

Kris & Mason with “The Box”
Mason with his first Box in 2002

A note to the Rzepkowski clan. If you have more clarity on the details of this story, please leave it in the comments. I submitted this story to a request at the office for holiday traditions. Quite honestly I couldn’t remember all of the details, so this account sounded close enough, but I want to get the record straight :)

Christmas 2007, a Box returns to the Rzepkowski’s of Webster
As if she were channeling Leo himself, Tricia executed the perfect reveal of the “Box”. This time around, Leo was overstuffed with a fleece sweatshirt which disguised the normally slim form factor. When she tore into the present, the first thing we saw was the Gigolo man staring right back at us. Have a look at the amazing video…

Posted in: Holidays, Life | 5 Comments »

Wired & Hired: Your Website Sucks

Mon, 03 December 2007

Hot damn this is a good blog post from a staffing firm. Apparently Talent Zoo, has enlisted a recruiter named Michael to write for their candidate-focused blog Wired & Hired. Michael takes his real world creative recruiting experience and wails on the non-website building creative class. Then he tops off the post with the obligatory hideous dog pic. Well-done Michael!

Of course the title of my post is a bit of a misnomer. The Wired & Hired blog is a beacon in the fog of boring staffing firm blog content. Staffing firms that recruit creative and marketing professionals are definitely the most clever. While these firms’ marketing departments have created online publications like the Creative Group’s Ezine, finding recruiters within the business who can blog is a high art. Could it be that they are themselves frustrated creatives who found more dollars sourcing the best talent rather than being the best talent? Hey, whatever it takes. Find me an engineering or IT recruiter that can capture candidate attention and build an audience. I mean it…seriously…no really, ’cause I want to read some of their stuff too.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Staffing Firm Blogs | 2 Comments »

Staffing Firm Blogs: Where’s the Value?

Thu, 29 November 2007

I found John Sumser’s analysis of Talent Pools today to be easily applicable to staffing firm blogs:

  • Talent Pools are not (primarily) ownership vehicles. They are places where value flows from the employer to the potential employee. The potential employee is better off because of their membership in the pool.
  • Value is not another word for job listing. Value is better understood as cash or cash equivalents. White Papers, Training, Networking Opportunities, Technical Information, Advancement Aids, Parties, Vacations, Discounts. For a talent pool to work, real value must flow towards the Potential Employee.

If the care and feeding of Talent Pools is on your list of blog goals, then DO NOT put a job listing in the body of a blog posting. That’s just tacky. Put them in a sidebar like on the Aquent Talent Blog, or perhaps a separate bloggy looking page like this one for the MN Headhunter. Candidates will find you and your jobs when they’re good and ready, as long as you’ve provided value.

Value, is the challenge we face when creating a blog within Big Staffing. Just Look at James Durbin’s comments.

If you want a candidate blog, you need a local blog, and the local line recruiter is swamped with too many job orders. The time and effort to create a local recruiting blog, while I believe it will pay off in terms of placements or hires, is not yet regarded as the best use of time.

If you can get your recruiters to provide the insight, technical information, job market pulse, and local humor relevant to the talent pool in the local market via a blog, by John’s definition, there’s real value to the candidate. Would it be better for your recruiters to do it via the phone? No way! You can only scale your company’s expertise if it is available to a much wider audience.

Posted in: Blogging, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Staffing Firm Blogs | 1 Comment »


This is my Life as a 37 year old husband and father of two and my Work as Executive Director of Marketing at Bennett International Group in Mconough, GA relocating from home in Rochester, NY.
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