Posts Tagged ‘vaco’

A Recruiting Firm Partner As a Lifelong Ally

Never used a recruiter? The best executive recruiting firms have contacts in your industry at companies that you might not even realize are looking for someone like you. Many of these companies conceal their recruitment activities from competitors—just as you do not want to advertise that you are looking for a new position.

The reasons to establish a relationship with a recruiting firm partner who knows your industry are many and varied. Such a partner knows the employment marketplace better than you do and has the contacts necessary to move you forward in your job search.

The best recruiting and consulting firm partners have pedigree and experience as well as deep relationships in the discipline they serve, whether it is accounting, financial services, telecom, oil and gas, information technology, gaming, construction, legal, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, health care—you name it. These firms will know of the existence of emerging companies and their needs long before others in the industry. They know how to find such companies and match them with just the right C-level executive candidate.

The best candidates—and this is probably you—are well known to others within their industry and area. It is a sensitive issue for a company to approach a candidate about an executive level opportunity. High-level executive searches are often  kept confidential to prevent the loss of a company’s reputation and threat from competitors. An executive recruiting firm partner comes in very handy as an intermediary and can ascertain your interest before revealing your name to the organization, or their name to you.

As a star executive, you probably do not surf the job boards, but you should fully appreciate the extensive value of a partnership with a recruiting firm. Such firms have a winning strategy to help leading companies locate their next impact player. A high quality recruitment consultant knows his or her market niche intimately, and can give you excellent advice and help you negotiate a comprehensive compensation package.

Perhaps you are reading this because you are an HR professional who lacks the time to maintain the professional network that yields qualified candidates for various positions at your company. Senior level recruitment processes tend to be lengthy affairs. Whether you are an executive considering a new challenge or an HR professional in an emerging company seeking top talent, think of your trusted executive recruiter as a “Millionaire Matchmaker” and lifelong professional ally.

For more information on how executive recruitment play a part in securing your desired employment in the Raleigh and Research Triangle Park area, call (919) 719-6500 or e-mail our executive recruiter team:

Christiaan Heijmen, managing director for executive search

Dan Davies, managing director for executive search

Bob Reuss, vice president of business development



12 2011

The Value of a Mastermind Group

By Christiaan Heijmen

Napoleon Hill first introduced the concept of the mastermind group in his classic book, “Think And Grow Rich.” He defined the group as two or more people who work in harmony to attain a purpose.

The benefit of belonging to a mastermind group is that you can use or borrow the experience, education, influence and maybe even the capital of others to accomplish your objectives. With problem-solving, brainstorming, inspiration and motivation as their primary goals, mastermind groups take individual members to higher levels of accomplishment and insight than what any could achieve on their own.

The executive team at any company can be a mastermind group if it functions properly (remember, Napoleon Hill specified working “in harmony”). But as a C-level executive, you should also consider the idea of a mastermind group of your peers, in which members come from non-competing industries.

Let’s say you’re a CEO, facing the same challenges and problems that other CEOs in other industries face. Seek them out. The reason behind this approach lies in protecting trade secrets from your competition. When your mastermind group is composed of CEOs from other industries, you do not have to worry about divulging trade secrets.

Invite five or six people to meet with you on a regular basis, even if it’s only a few times a year. It’s important that everyone in the group commits to these meetings and to the group process. Confidentiality is an absolute requirement. Sit down together, and ask these other CEOs for their advice about what you should be doing and how you can advance yourself and your company. Besides CEOs, maybe you can include a banker and an accountant in the group. Most people will be flattered when you ask them to participate in a mastermind group.

After you gain commitments from your chosen individuals, make sure that you do not waste anyone’s time. Be prepared with a set of topics or questions to discuss, and provide the agenda to everyone ahead of the scheduled meeting so that they have time to ponder their input and do research.

At the meeting, listen and take the suggestions of your mastermind group very seriously, and act on their advice. Nothing will happen unless you follow through. You must demonstrate to the group at the following meeting that you acted on their advice, and tell them the results. 

Christiaan Heijmen is the managing director for executive search at Vaco Raleigh, LLC, where he is part of a team dedicated to building the company’s executive recruiting practice by developing relationships with senior executives throughout the Triangle.

Photo Credit: Flickr User Simon Blackley



12 2011

Alternative Job Search

As many Americans still find themselves unemployed, people are getting creative with ways to go about finding the perfect job. As seen in the News and Observer, by creating his own website, Cris Cohen was able to draw attention to aspects of his professional experience that would not ordinarily be on his résumé, our own David Rhode, managing partner at Vaco, has a few thoughts for job seekers like Cohen.

Offbeat website reboots job search

BY DAVID RANII – Staff Writer

After Cris Cohen was laid off from his job as a contract worker for Cisco Systems in April, he decided a conventional job search just wasn’t going to cut it.

“The typical way of looking for a job has always been very frustrating, the whole thing that you have to present yourself in the format of a résumé, which is two pages and has all the excitement of insurance literature,” said Cohen, 40, of Cary.

So Cohen ventured down the unorthodox path of creating a website, “Cris Recruits A Company,” that provides a more engaging, more personalized showcase of his talents – including his writing skill.

“Hi. I’m Cris and I am looking for a company to join, one that needs people who can do more than just one job, people who can adapt,” Cohen states on the home page of “Although I favor communications work, I am the employee equivalent of a Swiss army knife in that I have multiple skills and I look good in red.”

Indeed, Cohen’s varied work history is anything but résumé-friendly since it is, as Duke Ellington would have said, beyond category. As Cohen points out on his website, “I am experienced in communications, sales operations, project management, and certifications security enforcement (I swear I did not make that last job up).”

In case you’re wondering, certifications security enforcement work was what Cohen did as a contract worker at Cisco for the past four years. It turns out that there’s an active black market in Cisco certification exams, and Cohen, according to his website, was a project manager whose responsibilities included “creating tools, processes and programs for identifying illegal replication and distribution of Cisco testing and certification materials.”

Given the struggling economy and the high unemployment rate, job seekers across the country are trying new methods – video résumés, renting billboards – to stand out from the crowd.

It’s an extra tool

David Rhode, managing partner at Vaco Raleigh, an executive placement and consulting firm, said a website such as Cohen’s enables job seekers to call attention to pluses that might not make a résumé. In Cohen’s case, that includes the speaking engagements he has booked to promote a humor book that he plans to self-publish in September, “Staying Crazy to Keep From Going Insane.”

But, Rhode cautioned, it’s not a replacement for the traditional tools of job seekers: networking, applying for positions online and preparing a résumé.

“If you think you are going to build it and they will come, you are mistaken,” Rhode said.

Cohen agrees. He’s hoping the website will give his job search some extra oomph, but he’s using it as a supplement to a conventional job search. That includes, among many other things, “communicating with any and all family and friends” that he’s on a job hunt.

Rhode also stressed that anyone who takes this approach needs to “make sure it is done really well and really professionally” – a standard that, in his opinion, Cohen has met.

Issues such as misspelled words or haphazard organization, Rhode said, could turn what should be a “positive differentiator” into a negative one.

Finding a role model

Cohen was blindsided when his boss at Spherion Staffing Services, a company that provides contract workers nationwide, told him that he was being let go as part of a downsizing at Cisco. The day before Cohen had been given a new work assignment.

“It was one of those typical situations where you’re going 100 miles an hour and then suddenly somebody says you don’t have a job anymore,” Cohen said.

Cohen is a fan of a blog written by Seth Godin, a best-selling author and marketing guru, so he decided to ask him for advice on how to conduct a different kind of job search. Godin referred him to the “Susan Hires A Boss” website. It was created in 2009 by a protégé of Godin’s, Susan Villas Lewis, when she was seeking a job.

Cohen liked what he saw.

“My superpower is getting things done,” Lewis boasted on her website ( main.susan ). “I battle the agent of chaos. I overdeliver. I delight. I amaze. And I’m looking for a place in need of a super hero like me.”

Lewis said in a phone interview that she was contacted by 40 or so companies from across the country who saw her website, including a software development firm in Nashville, Tenn., that ultimately hired her for a marketing job. However, she had a not-so-secret weapon that Cohen doesn’t: Godin promoted her website on his blog ( seth ).

“That was a huge advantage,” she said.

Still looking

“Cris Recruits A Company” has been up for about six weeks and, so far, hasn’t produced any tangible results for Cohen. But he isn’t discouraged.

“I know times are difficult,” he said. “I like that it’s a proactive step. I like that I can update it and it’s not just ye old resume.”

When he communicates with a prospective employer, he makes sure to refer them to the website.

His hope is that executives will visit and say to themselves, “I like that he is doing something different.”

Photo Credit: Flickr User SOCIALisBETTER



11 2011

The Effect of Charitable Activities on Your Employment

Many people do not realize how their charitable activities can play a part in securing their desired employment.  Although it only makes sense to volunteer for an organization that you hope to someday work for—such as a hospital—in order to get your foot in the door, there are reasons to volunteer your time and money to any number of nonprofits that may have nothing to do with your industry or choice of career.

Serving on nonprofit boards allows you to give back to your community and gain a certain prominence at the same time. Whether your specialty is accounting, marketing, computers or construction, you’ll be able to find a nonprofit that will welcome you with open arms. 

Being an active volunteer for nonprofits and charities affects your employment in the following positive ways:

  • Adds credibility to your resume and makes you appear well-rounded
  • Demonstrates that you have clout in the community
  • Shows who you are and what you care about
  • Opens doors to meeting other people, especially prestigious and powerful leaders 
  • Helps you win awards

People are attracted to others who display a social conscience, and that includes potential employers.  Many firms encourage their employees to be active on boards and to participate in charitable activities, because it reflects well on the company and builds public goodwill.

If you have ever wanted to volunteer for a cause, a nonprofit or a charitable organization, but are unsure which one or where to start, take a look at Charity Navigator, ( ) a 501© (3) non-profit organization that provides information on more than 5,000 charities. One or two will probably attract you. Find one that means something to you.

For more information on how charitable activities can play a part in securing your desired employment in the Raleigh and Research Triangle Park area, call (919) 719-6500 or e-mail Crystal Suazo at

Photo Credit: Flickr User HowardLake



11 2011

The Future Of The Gaming Industry In Raleigh

The Future of the Gaming Industry in Raleigh


Over 30 video game companies  have set-up shop in the Raleigh area providing another profitable, technology-based industry for the Triangle on which to pride itself.  This sector of the entertainment industry has brought over 1,000 jobs and increased attention to the benefits that Raleigh has to offer.

The Wake County Economic Development industry website breaks the gaming industry into three categories; engine development, gaming development and serious games. Each sector targets a different audience and brings in a variety of workforce specializations.

 A combination of tax breaks, education and area amenities make the Triangle a “triple threat” in the gaming industry.

Tax Breaks

With technology becoming more accessible to people of all ages, the gaming industry is reaping the benefits. With higher profitability comes greater competition between states to become the center of the gaming world. To stay a top contender in the fight, Governor Bev Perdue signed into law, effective last year, Tax Breaks that provide companies a credit on compensation and research efforts.


As popularly mentioned when discussing the Triangle, the area universities play a major role in the success of the industry. N.C. State, UNC – Chapel Hill, Duke University and even local community colleges, including Wake Tech, all offer degrees in fields that are beneficial when gaming companies are looking to higher. Around 2,000 students are in computer sciences programs, and, with degrees including game development, graphic design and game design, these future generations are continuously pushing the envelope and introducing new technologies into the field.

Life in the Triangle

Wake County Economic Development says Raleigh is “a mix of big city flair and small town values.” Raleigh residents take pride in their community, always working to better where they call home. The city is affordable and offers a multitude of opportunities for ways to enjoy your time; including being the center for many major college and professional level sports teams.  With an area that offers so many benefits to its residents, those who work in the gaming industry based in Raleigh, have an additional positive environment outside of the work place.


As Raleigh continues to provide the three aspects that make it a “triple threat,” it is only natural to see the gaming industry continue to grow. Local news stations WRAL and News 14 Carolina have reported for the past two years that the gaming industry has been prosperous despite the severe economic conditions. The Raleigh area provides a beneficial environment, both in and out of the work place, and greater numbers of gaming companies are taking note. The game industry is here to stay, and will continue to provide jobs and bring attention to the developments that are being made in the Triangle.

For more information on job opportunities in the Raleigh and Research Triangle Park area, call (919) 719-6500 or e-mail Crystal Suazo at

Photo Credit: Flickr User Alfred Hermida



10 2011

The Importance Of Good References For Job Candidates

When interviewing for a job, the references that go along with your resume are usually going to be what seals the deal between you and your future company.  It is a scary thought to think that the opinions and views of others (those you listed as references) are what could make or break this job for you.  A common misconception is that companies don’t call the references you have listed, but on the contrary, there is nothing further from the truth.  Although it is true that the reason for references isn’t to do a background check, make no mistake that the company you are applying for will certainly call one or two of your references. 

If you and one other person were tied in terms of qualifications for a job, it is vital that your references are people that you can completely trust to give you a good review if called upon.  Suggesting to the new company you apply for that they call your past CEO at the old firm might not be the best idea.  You want someone who can accurately describe how you are as an employee and as person.  But in order for that to happen, it needs to be someone who has worked closely with you. Your references need to be people who know what you are capable of as a worker.

Notifying your references before you list them as a reference is also a must.  There is a possibility that they would not want to speak on your behalf, or might not feel like they could present the most accurate representation of you to your future employer.  You want your references to feel familiar with this process, and you need to make sure that they feel comfortable helping you out.

The references you list in addition to your resume are one of the most important aspects of the interview process, besides your qualifications, of course.  You need to be able to trust those you listed as references, and you need to be confident that they will do nothing but help you gain this new job.  It is frightening to know that your “dream job” is in the hands of others, but you can make the references you list work to your favor.

For more information on job opportunities in the Raleigh and Research Triangle Park area, call (919) 719-6500 or e-mail Crystal Suazo at

Photo Credit: Flickr User DeclanTM



10 2011

Today’s Favored Techniques For Writing Resumes

Three Techniques For Writing Resumes

Like it or not, an employer will only glance at your resume for about 15 to 20 seconds, so knowing the purpose of your resume is extremely important.  The main purpose of your resume is to land an interview, and in turn hopefully that interview will land you a job.  The biggest mistake that job seekers make is to cater their resumes to getting the job and they forget about the interview process altogether.  Be careful that your resume doesn’t turn into a boring piece of work that makes you look desperate for a job.  

 A resume is designed to showcase your strengths as a professional.  It is important to backing up your qualities and strengths by connecting them with real life experiences that will provide evidence that you do actually know what you’re doing.  Here are some tips for making your resume as effective as possible.


In the high tech world that we live in, a lot of resumes are stored on computers.  If your resume does not have certain keywords that might be specific to the companies wants or needs, you might be out of luck before they even get a chance to view your resume that you worked so hard to compose.  Before writing your resume, research the company and the description of the job and try to include keywords and language found in the job description.

Attention Grabbers     

Because an employer will spend less than a minute reviewing your resume, the title under which all of your information is listed really needs to grab your potential employer.  Be as expressive as possible so that your future boss can get a good idea about your past work experiences.

Bad Title:  Engineering

Good Title:  Hydraulics Engineer

Past Experiences

Every job that you’ve ever had in your entire life is probably not relevant to the job you might be applying for now.  Working in a bakery when you were 16 probably isn’t going to help you land an executive position.  Most experts agree that the past 20 years of your work experience are enough to determine if you are qualified for the job.  Also, don’t be afraid to list volunteer positions!  Even though you might not have been paid for work doesn’t mean that it isn’t applicable to the job you are applying for.  As long as it’s relevant, don’t leave it out!

Need help composing a resume? is a great source for creating and maintaining a resume.  We are also here to help you take your job search to the next level.  For more information, call (919) 719-6500 or e-mail Crystal Suazo at

Photo Credit: Flickr User juhansonin




09 2011

Contract and Special Career Opportunities Out of State

If you are a contract, contract-hire, or special project consultant who is pursuing career opportunities out of state, you must rely on multiple channels to find jobs and complete the hiring process. Here are some factors to consider when pursuing contract and special project career opportunities out of state.

Utilize Internet-based recruiting tools, such as Monster, Dice and Careerbuilder, as well as online networking and contact with recruiters. Often a recruiter can help you prepare a resume that highlights the technologies in which you specialize, including keywords for expertise such as: Java Developer, Infrastructure Architect, Bioinformatics Systems Administrator, Oracle/SQL Developer, Network Engineer and so forth. 

Much of your screening and pre-qualification prior to presentation to managers or others involved in the hiring authority will be conducted by a recruiter, especially if your industry is in a high-tech area such as software, biotechnology, healthcare or related industries. Use social media sites such as LinkedIn to collect testimonials from internal or external customers thanking you for your help and praising your actions and the results. If you have website skills or are willing to hire someone who does, an online portfolio of your work can be very effective.

More than likely, you will have to negotiate salary and/or hourly pay rates over the phone as well, so be prepared with a game plan. Get your references in good order and be prepared for any online-administered skills testing. And when you do land the position, make sure that you fully understand what travel, room and board, administrative and other costs will be borne by the employer, and get it in writing. For instance, often general purpose software or hardware are not chargeable to specific grants and contracts unless explicitly budgeted, justified and approved in the project proposal.

For more information on contract and special career opportunities in the Raleigh and Research Triangle Park area, call (919) 719-6500 or e-mail Crystal Suazo at

Photo Credit: Flickr User lizzardo



09 2011

4 Mistakes To Avoid With an Interim Job Interview

An interim job is one you take with the knowledge that it will be temporary, often within a specified, brief time period, and sometimes with a specific task attached.  But just because it is temporary does not mean that an interim job will not have a long-term effect on your career.  And if you want that job, you must prepare yourself and take the interview process and the job itself very seriously.   

Avoid these four common mistakes as you prepare for an interim job interview:

Mistake No. 1:  Too Cavalier An Attitude

The job is important enough to your potential employer to take the time and money to staff it, so you must not adopt an attitude that is casual or indifferent toward the responsibilities of the position, especially if you are overqualified or believe the job is beneath you.  Instead show your earnestness and your strong desire not only to accomplish what the position demands, but also to excel at it.  In other words, be prepared to give 100 percent or more to ensure your success at this job, and be sure to let that attitude show in the interview.


Mistake No. 2:  Failure To Obtain the Complete Picture

This mistake has to do with communication and is quite common.  Often a company will hire an interim manager, for example, yet fail to inform the manager fully during the job interview exactly what the needs of the organization are and what they hope to accomplish.  This lack of complete communication only sets you up for ultimate failure, so be sure to ask plenty of questions during the interview process.  The more you understand about what the company’s objectives are, the better you will be able to perform.


Mistake No. 3:  Lack of Preparation

Do your research about the company interviewing you ahead of time and do not skimp on this step just because the job is temporary.  Insider knowledge is invaluable if you can get it by contacting and speaking with a business acquaintance or someone from your social media network who knows about the company in question.  Sometimes a company will hire an interim employee with unrealistic expectations about what that person can accomplish during the specified time period.  If you do your research and find out all the detail possible prior to the interview, you will know what questions to ask.  And if the expectations or timetables are unrealistic, be prepared to let the interviewer know why and exactly what you believe you can do for the potential employer, given the time and the situation.   It’s also important to consider the agency placing you on the job and their knowledge of the company, manager, and position you are interested in.


Mistake No. 4:  Not Giving the Interview Your Full Attention

You would be surprised at how many people make this mistake!  It almost goes without saying that you should not chew gum, nibble a sandwich, check emails, send a text or answer your cell phone during an interview, but people do. 

For more information on interim job opportunities in the Raleigh and Research Triangle Park area, call (919) 719-6500 or e-mail Crystal Suazo at

Photo Credit: Flickr User buddawiggi



09 2011

Obama Stresses Science and Technology as a Crucial Part of Economic Growth

President Barack Obama’s desire to create more jobs in an effort to boost economic growth has caused much talk in the technology-centered Triangle area. Science and technology sector job growth will play an important role in boosting national economic strength.

According to White House data, for every one job opening across the nation, there are four job-seekers. Science and technological jobs are the opposite. In fact, many science and tech businesses are finding it difficult to fill their open positions with high-skilled workers. Why is there such a low level of competition for these types of jobs?

Currently, only 14 percent of undergraduate students are studying science, technology, engineering or math.  Of that small percentage of students, nearly one-third will change their individual course of study over their college careers.

Why Can Technology Make a Greater Difference?

The president has recently credited competition from other countries for the increased need for a strong science and technology industry. China and India, two of the nations that value the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in these fields, are taking charge of the job market. They are taking jobs from the American people, and, in turn, are reaping the benefits of success. With a lack of interest in technological careers, the United States is falling behind in science-related fields that are crucial to our national success and international reputation.

By keeping these industries and jobs in America, our nation can continue to drive the global economy in an upward direction.

What You Can Do

As an individual looking for a job, already working in a steady position or working to excel in your career, there is no room for complacency.  To keep yourself competitive, you must work to improve yourself, your education and your professional standing.

By taking additional courses or attending industry-specific conferences and seminars, as a professional, you can not only improve your chances of getting a better job, but also help in growing the technology industry as a whole.

For more information on job opportunities in the tech industry in the Raleigh and Research Triangle Park area, call (919) 719-6500 or email Sid Mitchener at

Photo Credit: Flickr User RMTip21



08 2011