2007 Archive

Staffing Firm Blogosphere

Wed, 28 November 2007

Underlying photo by Giant Ginkgo.

Marketers in almost every industry today are turning to blogs as a channel to augment their interactive marketing strategy. Marketers of staffing firms are no different. We’ve read much of the advice (and hype) on corporate blogging and I’m sure a good majority of us are coming to grips with what that means for our staffing firms. The charter (I think) is to evolve our slick, brochure-ware website approach into content heavy “blogchures” that demonstrate our expertise, build trust with clients and candidates, assist our SEO, and give our companies personality.

There are a few staffing firms giving it a whirl already. They get kudos for entering the fray and learning from their mistakes. I’ve got their feeds nourishing my reader every day with tidbits of advice on resumes, quips on the industry they focus on, and in rare cases insightful new ideas on the Talent ratrace we all live and work in. Over the next few months I will follow the “Staffosphere” closely as I learn from my peers, and attempt to take Hudson into Blogland.

For now, here’s a short list of the staffing firm blogs I’m tracking (also included in my blogroll).

Candidate Focused Blogs

Client Focused Blogs

If you have a site to add I’d love to hear about it in the comments. I’ll provide my analysis on some of these sites in the coming days.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Staffing Firm Blogs | No Comments »

Our Dancing with the Stars Audition

Mon, 26 November 2007

Here is the long lost footage of our audition on Dancing With the Stars. My professional dance partner, Tricia Rzepkowski chose an upbeat ensemble from the 1970’s that shows reverence for the decade of our birth.

Posted in: Life, Music | 2 Comments »

Three from the Tree

Sun, 18 November 2007

It was a crazy deer-lover’s weekend indeed. From the exact same tree stand where Terry put one down earlier in bow season and where I bagged a doe on November 3rd, came news this morning that Terry got a doe to fill his extra Deer Management Permit.

In the waning minutes of his weekend jaunt to Western New York, he said that a gaggle of does decided to poke around the mowed corn and bean fields behind him. The biggest of the group walked to 50 paces and presented a broadside shot almost like a decoy. Terry said that it was one of the best shots of his hunting career. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there for the great event, but I’ve got the picture to prove it. Congratulations Terry on a great deer donated to the Venison Coalition!.

Terry’s Doe from November 18, 2007
Terry Rzepkowski and his doe from November 18, 2007

Posted in: General, Hunting, Life | 1 Comment »

Opening Day Starts With a Bang

Sun, 18 November 2007

Saturday, my dad got a nice deer to start the regular season. Of course we had already put plenty of time in the field during bow season, including Terry’s button buck on October 20th, and my doe on November 3rd. Plus, Gary bagged a buck on October 28th. Now, it was Dad’s turn to have a 2007 deer story.

Terry was in town for one last hurrah as the cheap pre-Thanksgiving flights allowed him to sneak in one more weekend. Saturday was a beautiful and chilly November morning. The sun came up earlier than usual because of the clear skies in the east. We were all up by 5am and on stand by 6:30am. Before first light we were already hearing plenty of shots in the distance (which is totally illegal, but doesn’t seem to bug some of the fine sportsmen of Livingston County). Round about 7:40am I heard a shot from my Dad’s general area, then a second only 10 seconds later. I flipped on my radio to hear the good news. Through his excited, heavy breathing Dad said that he had gotten a buck. It was a nice 6 pointer that came right into the open field to the side of him. He took one excellent shot from 40 paces. The deer did a somersault, and then kept on moving toward the woods. Dad took a second shot which was the final blow, and the deer expired immediately.

I thought I’d get down out of my tree stand around 8:30 to come help him out. By the time I reached him, the deer was already field dressed. He’s got this solo gutting thing down to a science now. We took the deer over to Steele Sausage and Catering in Avon, NY where our favorite deer processor and sausage man, Tim Steele took the buck as a donation to the Venison Coalition. Congratulations on a nice deer Dad!

Dad Rz and Kris with 6 point buck
Kris with Dad Rz and his 6 point buck on November 17, 2007

Posted in: Hunting, Life | 2 Comments »

Mason becomes Padawan Learner, Jedi Apprentice at 6th Birthday Party

Mon, 12 November 2007

Yesterday was Mason’s Star Wars birthday party held in the Jedi Training Center at our house. 9 of Mason’s friends and his sister Anna went through rigorous Jedi training exercises conceived by Jedi Master Tricia after she used the force to channel Yoda’s training methods. The Younglings demonstrated their weapons and lightsaber skills, physical abilities via an obstacle course, and mental abilities by pinning the Lightsaber on Yoda.

Afterward, Darth Vader (played by none other than my mom) made an appearance to test the newly trained students’ ability to resist the temptations of the Dark Side. Mason’s real birthday is December 22nd, but we are so glad we were able to dedicate the time and effort to his birthday prior to the busy holiday season. It seemed like everyone had fun.

Posted in: Birthdays, Life | No Comments »

Bounding Playfully Through the Woods

Sat, 03 November 2007

First, this Labatt’s commercial is priceless. It is a must see before any story of getting up at the crack to go deer hunting.

Now, onward to the tale of my first deer of the 2007 season. I went down to Conesus Lake to hunt with my dad at the same spot we hunted 2 weeks ago. We were greeted at 6:30 am by a crystal clear sky and a brisk 25 degrees. I headed out to the same treestand where Terry took his deer from, hoping lightning would strike twice. At first light (7:30) I got my first chance. A doe came straight at the stand not presenting a good shot. I waited for it to pass somewhere to the side where I could get a better look. Instead it kept coming to within 15 feet. I had nearly a straight down shot and missed.

As I was kicking myself over that missed opportunity, I turned over my right shoulder to see a 6 point buck bounding playfully through the open field behind me. Bucks do not typically do this unless they’re after something. Sure enough there was a huge doe not far ahead of him. Unfortunately, they never came closer than 100 yards – nowhere near my bow range. At 9am, still reeling from all of this action and missed opportunity, I hopped on the radio with Dad. That’s when I started to feel a little better (unfortunately).

Dad had hot and heavy buck and doe action all morning. First it was an approaching 6 point buck tailing a doe all around the fields near his stand. He glassed the fickle beasts to see if they were sticking their tongues out at him as they danced on the ridge beneath another hunter’s stand. As he took in this spectacle, he heard some crunching over his shoulder. An incoming doe was making her way right toward him at an extremely awkward angle. He turned slowly to try and get his bow on her and then caught an 8 point buck in the corner of his eye. This is where dad came down with a severe case of buck fever (as I would too). As his heart raced and breathing quickend, Dad pulled back his bow to a third of a pull…then the unthinkable -tink- he somehow hit the release, and sent an arrow on a slow arc nearby Mr. 8 Pointer. Luckily the buck was more interested in doe estrus than feverish hunter sweat. Dad slowly knocked another arrow and almost got a full draw on the buck again before it became wise and took an abrupt turn. Dad said the last he heard of it was 50 yards away where it absolutely mauled a sapling.

Well, 9:10am rolled around and I was settling back into my mental boredom. I replayed Dad’s story and sang some songs in my head. Right in the middle of my rousing internal rendition of Rascal Flatts’ Me and My Gang, my second opportunity of the day wandered into my path. It was fast. I see antlerless deer at 50 yards. I quickly choose a path where if she crosses into it, I’d have a decent broadside shot. She hides behind some brush for 2 seconds. I pull back, and line up the sites on the opening where she needs to step. She takes two more steps…breathe, site picture, squeeze the release…and thwap! I connected. I could tell it was a good shot. She ran off into the woods with the arrow in the right spot. I stood there for about 20 minutes with excited adrenaline. I called my dad 4 times on his mobile, but I couldn’t reach him. So I got down out of the tree and looked for a blood trail. I found a trail, and tracked for about 25 minutes until I found the doe expired about 150 yards from where I had hit her. After all that excitement, I tied her up and dragged her out to where we could do the field dressing. It was 10am by this time, and Dad had his radio on. I asked how his last hour had been…excitedly waiting for him to say ‘nothing’. That’s when I let him know that I was out of breath from dragging a deer out of the woods. I live for those moments!

Kris gets a doe November 3, 2007
Kris gets a doe November 3, 2007

Thanks Dad for being such a great hunting buddy. No matter who gets the deer, it is always great to get out into the woods and share the thrills, missed opportunities and comraderie. Maybe we should spend some time at Wal-Mart picking out pine scented cleaner. We might see a nice buck.

Posted in: Hunting, Life | 2 Comments »

A Karate Champ, Rallye Runner, Hunter, Godfather and More

Fri, 02 November 2007

‘Twas a weekend of insanity. I can’t think of the last time I’ve done so many diverse activities in the span of 3 days. On Friday, my volleyball team, ‘Junk in a Box’ managed to snare victory from the jaws of defeat, taking 2 of 3 games from first place ‘Cabo Wabo’ in our Hot Shots indoor beach league. We’re sneaking back into the playoff hunt after having a very up and down season.

Saturday morning it was off to Bayview YMCA Tiny Tigers Karate to see Mason get his first ‘tip’. He earns a tip (stripe of yellow tape on the end of his belt) for every session he completes. This was his first session in the new dojo, and he enjoyed Sensei Missy, and her assistant Kristen very much. The cool thing about this class was that the parents were asked to do all of the karate moves the kids learned. So, I did my first kata, consisting of a combo of blocks and punches. If I had time on my hands I think karate would be a terrific thing to learn.

Mason gets Karate ‘tip’
Mason gets his first Shotokan Karate ‘tip’

Saturday night Tricia and I embarked on our first Halloween Rallye with Mom and Dad Rz. and the MG Car Club. It was a very cool event. We started by meeting at the Chili K-mart. About 20 participating cars lined up for a staggered start about 2 minutes apart. At the start we were given an instruction sheet for a car-based scavenger hunt, and an “escape envelope” in case we got hopelessly lost in the dark. The object is to complete the hunt with the most accurate answers to all of the trivia questions, and also get closest to the goal time. The goal time is determined by people who know all of the answers doing the speed limit and completing the hunt – so you aren’t supposed to speed. Adding to the excitement was doing the rallye in the dark in the back roads of Scottsville and Ogden. In all, the event took us on a 40 mile adventure to cemetaries, “haunted” barns, and even a gentlemen’s club. The event ended at Rohrbach Brewing Company for a Halloween themed after-party. At the party, Tricia and I were somehow voted best overall in the costume category, which won us a nice bottle of Vampire wine. It came in a great coffin-shaped box, spoooooky. Check out more pictures that Tricia posted.

Kris and Tricia, Knight and Maiden
The knight and his lady hold court

I woke up Sunday morning fully expecting to head to church at Browncroft before my date as the Godfather at Lily’s Baptism. Instead I got the news that Gary got a deer out of his stand at around 8am. He couldn’t get it out of the gully, so I drove to Victor to help him drag it out of the woods. All the effort is worth it since 80% of the meat ends up in my freezer anyways. It was a nice 5 point buck that he posted more pictures of here: Gary’s 2007 Deer pictures.

Gary’s 5 point buck 2007
Gary’s 5 point buck

Then, the delight of the weekend was to become a Godfather for the first time. My Niece Lilyan Short became a member of God’s family on Sunday at noon. First, we went to Lindsey and Mike’s house for pre-event pictures. Then it was off to the church for the ceremony. Lily was wearing a dress that could have passed for a wedding gown – very pretty. It was great to be around the little one. She is so tiny and cute. It gets hard to remember my own kids being that small. Afterward Lindsey and Mike through a very nice party for the extended family at Keenan’s in Irondequoit. The food was good, and the company was even better. Congratulations Lindsey, Mike and little Lilyan!

Maureen Short (Godmother), Mike Short (Father), Lindsey Short (Mother), Kris Rzepkowski (Godfather), and Lilyan Short

This week was so busy with Halloween that it took me all week just to get a post up about LAST weekend. Now, it’s time to have some fun all over again.

Posted in: Leisure Time, Life | 1 Comment »

Monster Customer Advisory Board: Research Done Right

Thu, 25 October 2007

I’ve just returned from Maynard, MA where I spent 2 days with my staffing firm competitors listening to and speaking with the team at Monster. I have been to a few of these sessions now and have never really taken the time to reflect on what it has meant for me professionally, or my business as a client of Monster.

Kris being eaten by Trump
Kris being eaten by Trump, Monster’s friendly mascot

Meeting Format
The meetings take place twice per year. This time around there were about 40 of us who comprise the formal Advisory Board. The first day of the program involved a series of presentations by Monster’s Senior Management outlining the state of the business, product strategy, and marketing strategy. Customers were also encouraged to present key issues and opportunities in front of the entire audience. This was a spirited discussion of everything from macro issues like global pricing, to micro issues like user interface design and reporting.

In the afternoon, the group was divided into breakout sessions dividing staffing customers from enterprise ones. In the evening we attended a low-key dinner that allowed for customers to network with one another and with Monster staff. Returning the following day, we spent the entire time within our staffing specific breakout. There, we had presentations from Monster execs on new product developments specifically for staffing. We also were able to discuss key priorities for our individual businesses with regards to what Monster delivers.

Monster’s Strategy
I’m not able to comment specifically on any content within the meeting (what happens at the board stays at the board), or put differently that NDA IS in fact binding. However, I can give my overall personal impressions. I think Monster is back on track. Their restructuring looks to be behind them, and they’ve got a lot of very smart senior executives in key strategy and sales roles. Sal Ianuzzi seems to be a very no nonsense CEO who has the troops believing in a streamlined organization focused on the customer and also focused on the core business before anything else. It was telling to me when Sal himself mentioned the removal of the interstitial from the job search experience. The product strategy from Michael Madden for the first time in my recent memory seems to have a clear roadmap and release schedule. Joan Blackwood has decisively assessed the marketing strategy for Monster in her short tenure. Her next move is critical to the continued attraction of the candidates we pay so dearly to attract. So far, I believe what she’s cooking. I’m excited to see what the manifestation of it is in the coming months.

The most compelling character in leadership is Louis Gagnon. Louis has a firm grasp on the current web market place and is an excellent spokesperson for the newly consolidated innovation group within Monster. I know that he and Neal Bruce (recently obtained from the alliance team) are going to finally get Monster back into a technology leadership position. Monster spent a full 3 years monetizing (NASCAR-izing) their strong innovation from 1999 instead of continuing to develop the next great career experience. This allowed the likes of CareerBuilder, Jobster, LinkedIn, etc to leapfrog Monster’s user experience thereby stealing market share. The only question in my mind is how quickly Louis can turn his innovation into product.

Professional Outcomes
As a marketing person, I think the Customer Advisory Board concept is a brilliant one. It creates strong ties between a company and their existing customer base. I have no doubt that Monster employees leave these Advisory meetings with hundreds of ideas of how to better serve their customers. At the same time I know that one of my key vendors with whom we spend a lot of money has listened to my needs and honestly intends to address them. And if they don’t address them, I’m going to break their customer jar :)

Monster’s Customer Jar
Since we spend slightly more than what’s in the jar, it’s nice to know Monster is listening

Perhaps the most valuable part of participating on these boards is networking with peers from other firms. I have learned so many best practices from the marketers and operators of my competitors that I come back with a list a mile long of initiatives to undertake – not the least of which is a strong desire to create a Customer Advisory Board for Hudson. While these boards are costly, I am positive the research insight gained from 2 days with our customers would yield incredible ROI.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Recruitment Industry | 2 Comments »

Weekend in the Windy Woods, Bow Hunting

Mon, 22 October 2007

I took off from work on Friday to go blow the stink off with my Dad and Uncle Terry in the woods down by Conesus Lake. We have had unusually warm weather this October with some daily temps reaching the 80’s. This is not exactly ideal hunting conditions. The deer have been developing their winter coats, so frolicking in the fields in summer-like weather is not what they like to do. Instead they choose to spend much of their time taking naps. With Terry coming up from Florida for his only hunt of the season we had no choice but to make a go of it.

Friday morning was in the high 60’s low 70’s. As I sat in my tree stand I had to laugh as it felt like God was tossing a salad. First it was overcast and windy. Then it was sunny. Then it started to rain. Then it started to blow and BLow and BLOOWWWW. I was fighting off sideways rain and a blinding sun all at once. I did manage to see 2 deer in the distance, none in shooting range. Dad and Terry saw nothing.

Friday evening we were out at 3pm. We shouldn’t have been. Deer didn’t start moving until right at 6pm: dusk. I saw one running 6 point buck, and Dad reported nothing. Terry had a couple of small ones sneak up on him in the woods. He didn’t like the shot that presented itself, and took a pass.

Saturday morning I was on kid duty. While I was taking Mason to karate, and Anna to birthday parties, Dad and Terry sat in the woods. Nothing. Too bad. The weather was finally cooler. Saturday evening, 4pm I was back in action. I have never been in wind that blew so persistently in my life. I’m sure the wind was steady 35 MPH, and gusting to 45. I was standing up in my tree stand and holding on for dear life. I felt like I was on a sailboat with how much the tree swayed and creaked in the gale. I saw absolutely nothing to boot. I was getting discouraged as it seemed like the deer just didn’t want to move again. But on the radio at 6pm Dad reported seeing a herd of 7 antlerless deer in the field above him. And at 6:30pm Terry reported that he had arrowed a deer! It was great news since he was to be on his way to Florida on Sunday. He executed a perfect shot, and the deer did not need to be tracked far. All of Terry’s practice paid off.

Terry Rzepkowski’s Button Buck October 20, 2007
Terry Rzepkowski’s Button Buck October 20, 2007

Sunday morning it was time to give it one more try. I admit I was starting to get fatigued. 10 hours on stand for the weekend had already exhausted every song I could sing to myself, every life plan had been reviewed, every shooting angle rehearsed. The weather was beautiful this time. Calm and sunny. Unfortunately no deer. Dad and I saw nothing. Bored out of my tree by this point, I took plenty of practice shots…with my camera.

Kris in Tree Stand
Kris in a tree stand hunting deer

Fall Colors in Livonia, NY
Fall in Livonia, NY field where we hunt

Terry on the other hand reported the Wild Kingdom beneath his stand. He saw 2 small deer which he declined to take. Then turkey came by and he took a shot with a bow. The turkey apparently knew karate as it jumped upward to escape Terry’s shot. Another gobbler came by and just as Terry went to shoot, a pheasant came in and scared the whole flock away. Definitely a lot of action for his money on his last hunt before his return to Florida.

Dad, Kris, and Terry in the field
Straight from the pages of Field & Stream, the Rzepkowski Hunting Crew

Overall, who can complain about a great weekend with the guys? We got a lot of fresh air, comraderie and a few more stories to tell. What will stick out in my mind the most is shirt sleeve hunting in a hurricane force wind at the end of October. No weather surprises me anymore in Western New York.

Posted in: Hunting, Life | 3 Comments »

Good Business, Golf at the Administaff Pro-Am

Wed, 17 October 2007

Last week I had the good fortune to be invited to Houston, TX for job board strategy meetings with CareerBuilder and a little primo golf at the Adminstaff Small Business Classic Pro-Am. This was a trip of firsts for me, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

The experience really began for me 2 weeks prior when I was invited to attend. I was quaking in my boots at the thought of putting my golf game on display in front of pros, and even **eek** a gallery. But, I accepted the challenge anyways with a high handicap of 25 and the thought that this is a once in a lifetime experience. I’m not one to back down from this sort of thing, even if I’m scared sh!tless.

So, October 10 I flew to Houston for the first time. I’ve been to Dallas and Austin before, and was struck both times by how different Texas is from Western NY. Laid back, friendly and warm vs. high-strung, reserved, and always a bit nippy – to me Texas is a foreign country, but a beautiful one. I got in at around 8pm and took a cab to a dinner at Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille. There I met with the team from CareerBuilder and a few other staffing firm clients like Kelly Services, Select Remedy, and Volt. The highlight may have been the gigantic bone-in NY Strip that I’m still digesting to this day.

Thursday morning was a whirlwind. Up at 5:30am and to the Augusta Pines Golf Club by 7:00am.

Augusta Pines Golf Club, Houston, TX
Arriving at Augusta Pines Golf Club at 7:00am

I registered, got my rental clubs and RAN to the practice range for only 3 minutes of swings. Let me just say I didn’t straighten out my game within 3 minutes. We found that we were paired with R.W. Eaks so it was off to the 8th hole for the shotgun start of stroke play. This being only the second tournament I’ve ever played in, I barely understood how this was all going to work.

We briefly shook hands with R.W. and his caddie “Johnny Mac” who were both very personable guys. Then it was crunch time. I was shaking so much on the first tee that I could barely see the ball. And when I swung the ball ended up going no more than 20 yards – ouch. Luckily the other guys on my team at least got the ball down the fairway. The good news is that in however this scoring works, we could get no higher than par. If we were shooting above par on the hole, or the extra strokes given because of handicaps didn’t keep us in contention for birdie, we could just pick up the ball and let the other guys play it out. If none of the amateurs got birdie, but RW did, then we could take the pro’s score.

R.W. Eaks’s sweet golf swing
R.W. Eaks’s sweet golf swing

Well, I didn’t have enough good shots on the first 5 holes to even be putting :( however, slowly I could feel my nerves subsiding and some semblance of a swing return. By the 8th hole I was hitting some shots and taking some putts. The great news was that we had some excellent golfers on our team, especially Michael Morrow from Kelly. At the turn we were in a tie for 3rd place in the tournament!

Leaderboard at the Administaff Pro-Am
Proof that we were on the leaderboard

On the back 9 I actually managed to have the best score on 2 of the holes to help contribute. This was a great moral victory and therefore made the entire day perfectly enjoyable. We ended up the tournament at -19 in 4th place. No trophy, but a very respectable finish. I picked up some great tips from Johnny Mac, and got to see how effortless a tour pro makes this sport.

During the afternoon, I had more meetings with the CareerBuilder, then in the evening we had a real treat. We were able to attend the player’s dinner. Johnny Bench spoke as well as Roger Clemens, who had just returned from NY after getting ousted from the ALDS. Arnold Palmer also was a central figure. He’s the spokesperson for Administaff these days, and while he is getting on in years, he’s a very inspirational person to listen to.

Arnold Palmer at the players’ dinner
Arnold Palmer speaks at the players’ dinner

To top off the Texas evening they brought in a live, unplugged country music show featuring Pat Green and Jack Ingram. I’m no country music connoisseur, but I’m going to become one. Their music was awesome!

Posted in: Golf, Life | No Comments »


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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