Archive for December, 2009

Ethical Recruiting Part 2

December 15, 2009

O’Leary is the principal of Loss Prevention Recruiters a leading Retail Loss Prevention Recruiting Solutions Provider. He is a former Loss Prevention Executive who has provided Loss Prevention Career Guidance for over 20 years. You can reach him at 440-210-1867 or

Published in LP Magazine March/April 2010

Every Search Firm shares a responsibility to offer world-class customer service when working with both their clients and candidates. Customer service, of course, is the backbone for any successful service provider, and recruiting is no exception. And to that end, the number one value of any recruiter, without debate, is ethics. Without ethics you are simply a “head hunter” looking to make a buck off anyone and everyone you can. It is critically important to take the approach that you are devoted to providing both quality customer service as well as a commitment and clear understanding of how your actions may impact an organization and/or someone’s career.

I totally support our free enterprise system (at least whatever the federal government doesn’t own) and hope that everyone achieves personal and financial success. However, I do not support this at any cost – and certainly not at the cost of anyone’s career.

The purpose of my last article about ethics in recruiting was to advise candidates and companies that it is in their best interest to research and become more aware of the search firms that they are working with; and to make sure those that are used practice ethically. Another goal of the article was to help prevent future unethical acts by pointing out some of the unethical recruiting practices that can potentially occur – and have occurred – in our industry. My hope was that anyone involved in such unaccepted practices would look in the mirror and start doing the right thing. Being a half full glass kind of person, I like to think positively about everything. However, in this case I was unfortunately wrong.

There was an incident where a very well-known search firm breached a candidate’s confidentiality in a non-exclusive search they were conducting. After discovering that another search firm was representing this particular candidate, the well-known search firm for obvious self-serving reasons informed the candidate’s employer that they were interviewing with another company.  And not so coincidentally, this well-known search firm also represents this candidate’s employer.

This type of incident is without question one of the most unethical acts that any recruiter could ever commit! It is an unconscionable and an un-defendable practice that not only puts a person in jeopardy of losing their job, but also dramatically impacts the family that depends on them.  There is no rationalization or excuse for doing this.  None.  Period!  This is the type of unethical practice that lends credence to the negative reputation that the recruiting industry has.   No one in our industry should ever fear working with any search firm in order to better their future. There are several reputable search firms that give sound and ethical advice. They are sincerely interested in each person’s success and above everything else, will protect their confidentiality.

In an industry built upon ethics and integrity my question is, why would anyone continue to do business with any firm that continues to practice unethically, and clearly exploits others for self-serving reasons?

I will continue to call out these unethical practices until our industry is free from those who choose to continue to act in this way, regardless of who they are. But I cannot end it alone. I can only write about it and tell you about it. It is up to each of you to get involved and take a stand.  Only you can end this by refusing to work with any company that practices unethically. Do you really believe that these types of companies would not hesitate to throw you under the bus if it would benefit them?

This story does have somewhat of a happy ending, as the candidate in question fortunately did not get fired and decided to withdraw from the search process and stay where they are. I can hardly blame them, but they should have never been put into that place to begin with.

Marketing Yourself in Any Economy

December 12, 2009

O’Leary is the principal of Loss Prevention Recruiters a leading national Retail Loss Prevention Recruiting Solutions Provider. He is a former Loss Prevention Executive who has provided Loss Prevention Career Advice for over 20 years and can be reached at 440-210-1867 or

Published in LP Magazine May/June 2009

There is so much information out there on the subject of marketing yourself that it probably would rival books on golfing but with a well thought out game plan you will put yourself in a better position to pursue and obtain that new career challenge.

Education is a key factor and will make a difference when competing with other candidates.  I recently conducted a study of over 1,200 executives in our industry today and found that almost 60% lacked college degrees. What that tells me is that you just increased your odds dramatically that your resume will be seriously reviewed among the hundreds and hundreds of resumes that end up being submitted online for the same position by having a degree and experience. Some companies will simply not hire you today without a degree. Certainly those without degrees feel that their experience should override the lack of one but consider where you could or might be if you had both. There will always be a great demand for quality executives in our industry and that will never change. Having a degree will make a difference and will be the standard, so don’t get left behind!

Industry specific certifications will also increase your marketability. The Loss Prevention Foundation’s LPQ and LPC certifications are leading our industry by providing relevant and challenging educational resources. Certified Forensic Interviewer or CFI represents the elite interviewers in our industry as well as the industry standard Wicklander-Zulawski Interviewing & Interrogation training programs available to you.

Your resume speaks volumes about who you are and should be limited to 2 pages. It should be more about accomplishments and less narrative pontificating. People do not have time to read resumes so make it easy to read and to the point to generate interest and more importantly an interview.

Most interviewers will ask you “so why are you looking?” Unfortunately these decisions are sometimes made for us with cuts and realignments but generally speaking, you really need to ask yourself “is this really the right career move and is it the right time for me personally to consider making a move?” Participating in a job search process to simply see what they have to offer is wasting everyone’s time and if you take this approach it is highly unlikely that you will make it through the process. Only pursue an opportunity for the right reasons and only if you are serious. If you take a dysfunctional approach to your job search then you will get dysfunctional results.

Promotional or career advancement opportunities have no time line, so when that career opportunity knocks on your door you should give it serious consideration. Every move that you make in your career is an investment and the next building block to help you reach your ultimate career goal. If it makes sense then you should investigate it further for your career and for your family.

Loyalty to your current employer is admirable and each person needs to approach this in their own way, however loyalties should not interfere with your career.  I have heard way too many “blind” loyalty stories over the years and regrets about not considering career opportunities to think otherwise. The real question is “does this opportunity truly help your career and does it make sense?” Most leaders in our industry will be happy for your success and actually see it as a compliment not only to their leadership skills, but also as a win for their organization and their department’s success at developing another executive for our industry. Success breeds success and it becomes a domino effect, as your success will create opportunity for someone else to move up and their replacement as well and so on.

When you get that call to interview prepare like it is a final exam because it is! Each step in the process could be your last so it is imperative to maintain your focus and drive throughout the entire process. Do your homework. You should know everything there is to know about the new company. Visit some of their stores and engage with their management and employees to get a sense for their LP culture or perhaps the lack there of. It is common practice to review opportunities with your peers or someone who previously worked in the company you are looking at however, are you really getting accurate information and unbiased opinions? A word of caution, the more people you involve the more you increase the odds of someone breaching the confidentiality of your search. You can make your own determination after going through the interviewing process. Remember, this is not only about whether are you right for the new company but are they right for you.

During your interview you should be prepared to talk about all of the key contributions you have made to the companies and programs you have worked in. Be specific because results are what matter the most. And finally it is critical to be yourself and to connect with the interviewer as a person, if you do not chances are that you will not be the “final” candidate.

Working with an LP Search Firm Partner

December 12, 2009

Published in RILA 11/08 Asset Protection Report

As leaders in our industry, you have hired many executives in your careers and probably some with the help of a Search Firm partner. With all of the internet job boards that are available and you’re own networking capabilities then why would you need to partner with a Search Firm? Won’t you be saving your company money by not using a Search Firm? Well, perhaps but let us consider the following.

Did It Really Save You Money?
During a recent conversation with a pyramid head they shared with me that they were about to make a third offer on a field level position that has been open for 6 months. Of the two previous offers, one was turned down and the other person accepted a counter offer from their current employer. It is their opinion that this individual used them to get more money from their employer. If this was the case then it was certainly a very short sided decision by this candidate who has put their reputation in serious jeopardy. So by not using a Search Firm partner did it really save them money? You be the judge. A qualified Search Firm partner would have filled the position in less than 6 months and probably would have closed the deal the first time. They also would have been able to identify and screen out the individual who played the counter offer game.

Leverage All of Your Resources
By leveraging all of the resources available to you in your quest to find the best candidate you will significantly increase the odds of being successful. Relying only on networking and the internet you will miss out on the largest group of candidates out there, the candidate who is not looking. Your objective is to find the best candidate and your qualified Search Firm Partner will help you to identify those individuals who are not looking.

Budget Concerns
In this current economy, spending money is especially a concern for any organization. But as we all know shrinkage losses occur no matter what the economic conditions are and selecting the right person will help to ensure the success of your Loss Prevention efforts. This is a 42 billion dollar problem that is not going away.

Overlooking Potential
Potential is something that I need to keep in focus when working assignments for my clients and as hiring managers you should as well. It is very challenging because everyone would love to hire someone who has “been there done that” or someone who can “hit the ground running”. But let me ask you something, didn’t we all get to where we are in our careers through hard work and because someone gave us a chance? I realize that in many instances you need that “has been there done that” person for your challenging positions, however overlooking potential is a mistake because why should someone make a lateral move in their career? If you hire that “potential” candidate you will find a person who is more motivated and enthusiastic about their opportunity to move up the ladder and prove themselves to your organization and to our industry. As a leader, there is no greater satisfaction than developing others and watching them progress throughout their careers.

Working Together
It sounds simple but as the hiring manager, are you on the same page and directly involved with your internal and external recruitment team? Who is screening potential applicants for you and do they understand what they are looking for? Working together will expedite the process and you will reach your objective of finding the right person. Information should be available to these teams to help attract and recruit the top talent available in our industry. Be realistic, it is very competitive out there when it comes to attracting the top talent in our industry. You need to ensure that your internal and external recruitment teams work together to help you find the best person available for you. If you take a dysfunctional approach you will be putting yourself and your organization in jeopardy with hiring mistakes that will cost you more time, cost you more money and you will have to begin your search all over again.

Ethical Recruiting

December 12, 2009

O’Leary is the principal of Loss Prevention Recruiters, a leading Retail Loss Prevention Recruiting Solutions Provider. He is a former Loss Prevention Executive who has provided Loss Prevention Career Guidance for more than 20 years. He can be reached at 440-210-1867 or

Published in LP Magazine May/June 2008

After being approached about contributing an article to LossPrevention magazine, I immediately felt honored – but then quickly had to ask myself, what would be the best topic or subject that I could possibly write about from a Career Development standpoint that hasn’t already been written. Being that this is my first article for the magazine, I really felt that it had to be something special; something that would add value and substance to the Loss Prevention community. I seriously doubt that this has ever been written about before.

Ethics obviously do not only apply just to those that we serve in our industry, but it must also apply to those of us who serve it. Working with a Search Firm should be a positive experience that is beneficial both to the candidate and for the hiring company. A reputable Search Firm will provide you with sound and productive advice that can help you with your career decisions and choices.

Unfortunately, unethical recruiting practices can occur. However, you can avoid being taken advantage of by having a better understanding of how some of the basics in the recruitment process should work and more importantly how they should not work.

Let’s say that you call the Search Firm that placed you in your current position or they represent your company and you inquire about new career opportunities posted on their website. A reputable Search Firm will provide you with sound career advice but also tell you straight up that they cannot recruit you at this time because they placed you or that they represent your company. A reputable Search Firm will advise you to apply directly with a hiring company or to contact a different Search Firm all together, as much as that may cause them pain and discomfort. Remember this is about you not them and they should be here to help you.

But let’s say that they don’t give you the straight up ethical advice and they recruit you for a position anyway. Why would they do that you ask? Well, chances are they are probably doing it to manipulate the search process by never intending to submit your resume to the hiring company. But you say again why would they do that? By not submitting your resume they are in effect taking you out of contention for the potential career opportunity because you are probably viewed as competition to those candidates that they already have in the process. But of course, you will not know this and even if another Search Firm calls you to recruit you for the same position, you will most likely tell them no thanks because you believe that you are already involved, but in reality you are not because your resume never even got close to the hiring manager’s desk! This would also probably keep the Recruiter out of trouble with their client (your boss) because they never sent in your resume.

Remember, the best Career Advisors thrive and build their reputations based upon candidate success through sound advice and ethical behavior. They are truly concerned with providing all candidates with accurate and truthful advice. Reputable Search Firms do not manipulate a search process for personal gain. As a strong advocate of the Kiss Principal (Keep it simple stupid) it is rather simple. By helping candidates with their careers everyone wins. The candidate takes on a new and exciting career challenge. The company hires a candidate that is motivated to be successful and the Recruiter gains the credit for doing what is right.