Posts Tagged ‘Loss Prevention’

Are You Getting The Most Out Of LinkedIn?

May 22, 2012

By Chris O’Leary, Loss Prevention Recruiters Published LP Magazine Newsletter May 24, 2012

By now most of you are familiar with LinkedIn the professional social network which has amazingly surpassed 150 million users recently. Some might say that it has turned into a job hunting social network but either way it has become the number one professional resource for networking, staying in touch with former co-workers, benchmarking, searching for jobs or posting jobs and it is free!

I joined in 2007, four years after it had launched and became a business customer with an annual fee, but for those of you who are simply getting your names out there and networking, utilizing the free service makes the most sense.

Unfortunately as much of a terrific resource LinkedIn is and can be there are way too many users who do not utilize this free service to its maximum potential. As a result you could be missing out on a lot, especially if your goal is to market yourself and be discovered for your next career move.

Company in-house recruiters and external recruiters alike are utilizing LinkedIn to locate and identify potential candidates for the positions they are searching for. Consequently your LinkedIn profile should make it easy for them to not only find you but to contact you as well. And the best way to be found is to make sure that your profile in complete and kept current.

Basically your LinkedIn profile should mirror your resume, so it is to your advantage to take the time and completely fill it out and keep it current. It should include your educational information and industry related certifications like the LPQ, LPC, WZ & CFI. Additionally your profile should also include what you are responsible for in the positions that you have held such as number of stores, sales volume and number of direct reports. Instead of just writing a paragraph of your basic job description go ahead and list your accomplishments like shrink reductions, safety frequency reductions and of course special recognition awards for achievements.

To really enhance your profile, users should also include recommendations and keep them current as well. These are essentially references so don’t be afraid to ask current or past supervisors, peers or business partners for one. Chances are your boss will ask you for one as well!

The final item that should be included on your profile is your contact information. Sounds simple but you might be amazed at how many people do not include their email or a phone number. Why are you on LinkedIn again? Anyone attempting to connect or reconnect with you or is trying to reach you needs at least an email address to do so.
When it comes to recruiting the bottom line is that retail company in-house recruiters and external recruiters are looking for experience levels, education and results while searching through the LinkedIn database. Those of you who are doing a better job of completely filling out their LinkedIn profiles are most likely to get noticed and contacted first.

You Should Never Overlook Potential

January 26, 2012

By Chris O’Leary, Loss Prevention Recruiters
Published in LP Magazine Newsletter Jan 26, 2012

We all know that old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ and this is absolutely true when you are filling your field positions. It is also true that you also get what you pay for based on what you can afford.

Being an astute business person who is simply attempting to keep their budgets in line and their bosses happy is commendable but unless you are lucky enough to find someone who is unemployed your field positions will probably stay open much longer than anticipated if you are focused solely on that ‘hit the ground running’ type candidate.

Everyone wants to hire someone who ‘has been there done that’ but what about potential? The reality is that because of what some multi-store field type positions are paying, potential is exactly what you will be able to afford.  And this is especially true if you are recruiting in major high cost of living markets where you will typically find that most candidates with the experience level you are seeking are already over- priced and out of your reach. But don’t worry because there is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring potential!

The fact of the matter is that I have typically found these candidates to be very motivated. They have more to prove and will do whatever it takes to be successful. So I wouldn’t be so quick to reject those resumes with less experience because you just might be overlooking a future superstar. And believe me there are some retailers with realistic expectations that understand what potential is all about and if you don’t call these candidates they will.

Considering that the top incentives for changing companies are stepping up in your career from a responsibility standpoint and of course also from a compensation standpoint. So where is the incentive in making a lateral move? I seriously doubt that as a hiring a manger that you would even consider making a lateral move so why should they? As a career advisor I would challenge you if you called me and were thinking about making a lateral move unless it was for the right reasons such as your current company was in serious financial jeopardy or perhaps you have a geographical preference or  that the new company simply offers much more stability and advancement potential for you.

Remember that we all advanced in our careers because someone took a chance and believed in our potential. The easiest path to take is to look for that over qualified candidate but as a leader and developer of people and teams what are you doing to produce the future leaders of our industry?

And as a leader there is no greater satisfaction than seeing that ‘potential’ or that ‘diamond in the rough’ type hire not only meet your expectations but exceed them. Then when it is time for them move onto their next company and step in their career you can take great pride in saying that you were an integral part of their development. Who knows maybe someday they will take a chance on you!

Why Are Your Field Positions Open So Long?

November 17, 2011

By Chris O’Leary, Loss Prevention Recruiters
Published in LP Magazine Newsletter Nov 17, 2011

The term analysis paralysis comes to mind when thinking about the variety of retailers out there and the processes in place to hire field loss prevention executives. Most are not very efficient and the average position remains open way too long which of course causes remaining team members and additional resources to be utilized to pick up the slack until the open positions are filled. This can be very costly and stressful for your team members because they already have objectives to meet. You will also probably see an increase in shrink/losses that could have been prevented.
For an example let’s look at the district level manger position. Most retailers will run ads on the internet job boards and the hiring manager at the regional level might network in an attempt to identify viable candidates. Most of the potential candidates however will come from the internet because these are the candidates who are looking. This approach of course ignores the largest potential candidate pool and that is the passive candidates who are not actively looking. By not working with a qualified and reputable search firm partner you are typically only going to see those candidates who are looking from the internet.
Once potential candidates are identified then a human resources representative or recruiter will screen resumes and then conduct phone interviews with those candidates that are deemed viable for the position. If this goes well then the remaining candidates will be either phone interviewed or meet in person with the hiring manager. If these steps do not produce a candidate of interest then HR needs to find more potential candidates by re-evaluating previous applicants and waiting for more internet candidates to apply.

When it does go well the top 1-2 candidates will typically go to corporate for additional and perhaps final interviews with senior executives from LP, HR and Operations. There could also be psychological/aptitude assessments to go through as well. Now from a timeline standpoint to get to this point you are probably looking at 60-90 days into the process. If those steps go well then there could be a few more interviews with the local field level business partners from Operations and HR. Now we are definitely at 90 days into the process and probably about 8 interviews.

Let’s say that an offer will not be made because there was not a unanimous consensus to hire this person. Or that they are a ‘maybe’ but it is decided to look at additional candidates prior to making a final decision. Or an offer is extended but the candidate decides to turn it down and remain where they are and accept a counter offer. Or that they decide to stay because the offer was not what they were looking for. Or maybe they decide to accept an offer from another company because remember they are actively looking so chances are they have more than one iron in the fire. Now you are back to square one and have to start all over again! So it is not that surprising to see many field positions go unfilled over 90 days.
Remaining in control of your organization is important but at what cost? And I understand that it is important to be politically correct and bring other departments to the hiring table but really? How many from LP are invited to the table when other departments are hiring in the field? If you are then let me assure you that you are in the minority. So then why are the field hiring managers not making their own hiring decisions? They are after all responsible for millions of dollars in inventory/property, employee and customer safety but they do not make their own hiring decisions.
Why does corporate have to be that involved? Is it because that is the way it has always been? The more people involved in the process does not equate into the perfect hire. If that were the case then turnover ratios would be significantly lower. And taking the position that its part of the recruitment process by bringing candidates to Corporate in an attempt to impress them does not make much sense when compared to the cost and the time investment for everyone involved. Ever hear of Skype? It has been my experience that the more people involved in the hiring process then the less likely there will be a unanimous decision reached and less likely that positions are filled in a timely manner. You do have options to fill these positions more efficiently and empower your field leaders to do what should be one of their key functions in the process.

References: Truth or Fiction

October 6, 2011

By Chris O’Leary, Loss Prevention Recruiters
Published in LP Magazine Newsletter October 6, 2011

A reference is just as much about the person providing it as it is for whom it is about, especially if you were a direct or indirect supervisor. Needless to say I have conducted countless references over the past 20 plus years as a Career Advisor and these are some of my observations…
As a supervisor, reviewing an individual’s strengths is the easy part, but what about the developmental side? Many would prefer not to talk about this area and promote only the positives, but self reflection just might reveal that you could have done a better job of working with the employee to correct or to improve their developmental opportunities or ‘weaknesses’. If that was the case then use it as a learning experience for yourself. As a leader you not only have to ask the tough questions but you have to answer them as well.
Sometimes it is difficult to provide an un-biased reference, especially when the relationship between the supervisor and employee ends on a sour note. And often I have seen an individual’s body of work broad brushed away in a heap of cheap shots with only one objective in mind. A true leader has the ability to separate the personal from the individual’s actual and real contributions to the organization and provide an accurate reference. Misleading and inaccurate type references are easily detected when references are thoroughly conducted. However, if only one or two people are contacted then the entire picture is not revealed. Thorough references will include not only speaking with former supervisor’s and peers but also the just as important internal business partners. Just remember, at some point and time in your career someone will be calling to conduct a reference on you and there is no doubt that you would want that reference to be a true picture of your entire body of work.
And finally, life changing events happen to us all. Anyone of us could easily lose focus on our careers, especially when our families become the only priority. After all we are not robots. It is not fair or right to damage anyone’s career with a ‘bad’ reference that could haunt them because they unfortunately took their eye off the ball. It is not always black and white or right or wrong. It is the body of the work that should be revealed when providing a reference each and every time.

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

Navigating the Internet Job Boards

September 6, 2011

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 e-Newsletter 8-25-11.

I have found and to be excellent resources to keep current on what is going on job wise in our industry. LinkedIn has established itself
as a terrific resource for candidates to get their names out there and be discovered by internal and external recruiters. However, there is a lot of frustration out there for Loss Prevention/Asset Protection job seekers who utilize the internet job boards and it is easy to understand why. The number one complaint that I hear frequently is that after making the online application they never hear anything back. No email rejection because they did not fit the profile let alone acknowledgement that their resumes were even received. It has been described as like applying to a black hole. Many applicants are left wondering if their resumes went through correctly and apply again just to be sure.

Companies on the other hand are overwhelmed with applicants every time they post positions and many are not equipped to deal with the huge responses or simply choose to only respond to those applicants who interest them. There are many candidates who apply that have no LP/AP experience, but there is no doubt that companies could do a better job of at the least confirming the receipt of a resume, especially for those applicants who are in our industry.

As a candidate, the best thing that you can do is continue to apply for those positions that you are qualified for every time a company posts a new position and do not give up because your persistence
can pay off.

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.