The Buzz Newsletter – January 2018

Click on a recruiter’s name and/or industry to read newsletter.

Prudence Thompson – Electrical Distribution Newsletter – January 2018

Pati Kelly – Wire/Cable Newsletter – January 2018

Ted Konnerth – Leadership Newsletter – January 2018

Brooke Ziolo – Lighting Newsletter – January 2018

Rob Wieska – Power Distribution Newsletter – January 2018


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Will the Real John Smith Please Stand Up?

I have had companies ask me about assessment tools and what I think of them. I believe they have some value in evaluating personalities or cultural attributes, but I know of no assessment tests that can predict success in your company.

Think about it. We’ve all known a smart kid in high school that tested poorly on the ACT/SAT. Test anxiety is real, and can discount a quality person. Sometimes, assessments may be misleading and a Skype or in-person meeting needs to be scheduled to truly know and understand a candidate. Assessments are only one data point to evaluate prospective employees.  And many people are poor interviewers. As recruiters, we rely on performance assessments…we evaluate their past performance and if they’ve delivered results, predictably in that role; they’re worth meeting.

Hiring is like internet dating. The person looked great online, emails exchanged, talked on the phone and sounded like someone you want to know better. You meet for coffee, and s/he is terrible, and you’re wishing the date was over.

In recruiting, we see similar situations. A candidate’s resume looked great, phone interview was fabulous, and candidate passed assessments with flying colors.  Then, the candidate interviews with the company and the person either has no personality or is not culturally fit, or dressed like they were surfing.

Don’t count on one candidate to be perfect, be open to others. Use various tools in your interview process. Meet candidates and see if they are they’re what you’ve have been looking for. Interview quickly, as 2018 is here.

Pati Kelly is a contingent and retained recruiter exclusive to the electrical industry with a specialty in Wire and Cable. To learn more about how she can help your company identify and attract talent, check out her biography, view her LinkedIn profile or send her an email at


Part 1: Branding Your Company to Attract Top Talent

Interviewing isn’t just about bringing a candidate in and asking them questions. It’s an opportunity to sell your brand and company. Eighty four percent of the candidates I placed were employed when I contacted them. Candidates are not actively looking and need to be courted. If you want to attract top talent, you need to have a top notch recruiting process. Here’s how to represent your company:

1. Make sure every interviewer has a strong answer to: why should a candidate quit their job to work for your company? Explain what sets you apart from your competitors. Have your top three candidates speak with a champion or cheerleader of your company; ideally, a long-term employee who’s energetic and enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is infectious!

2. Respond in a timely manner; within 1 – 2 days! The candidate is anxiously awaiting your response the second their resume is sent. Timely schedule interviews, provide candidates feedback, make an offer, etc. Timeliness may be difficult if you are posting jobs on your own and receiving dozens of resumes with irrelevant background; however, when you are working with an industry specific recruiter, such as Egret Consulting, you’re presented 2 – 4 qualified candidates, who have been recruited to your company. You should be able to quickly determine which candidates to move forward. Delays can suggest you’re not serious about filling the position or your company is slow at making decisions. Candidates will assume these delays will carry over as an employee. Candidates are, also, naturally paranoid…delays imply you don’t like their background, or you’re making an offer to someone else and stalling them as a second choice.

3. Carefully plan the face-to-face interview. Ensure the booking process is clear, seamless and the candidate understands who is booking the trip. If the candidate is booking the trip, explain how and when they will be reimbursed (this is especially important for sales people who book travel on a regular basis). If your company is booking the trip, make sure it’s an easy process and is booked in a timely manner. If the trip requires a hotel, house the candidate in a nice, 3+ star hotel. Inform the candidate about the area, suggest places to eat and/or take them out to dinner. If you treat them to dinner, it should be with the person they will report to. If not, choose someone who will be working with them closely. If the position requires relocation, offer to fly out their spouse and let them stay an extra day or 2 to tour the area and look at houses (this can be done in a second interview).

Each part of the recruiting process is a branding opportunity. Every person and meeting is a chance to show how great your company is. People talk if they have a bad experience. You only hire one person, but you want the other candidates to leave with a strong impression of your company; they work in the industry as well!

Stay tuned for part two…


Brooke Ziolo is a contingent and retained executive recruiter working exclusively within the Lighting Industry. To learn more about how she can help your Lighting company, LED company or Lighting Design Firm attract talent, check out her biographyLinkedIn profile or email her at

We Know You

In over 18 years of professional search, we’ve ‘met’ a lot of people. We’ve had 100’s of 1,000’s of conversations over those years. Of those, we’ve captured over 113,000 individual contacts within our database. Many of those, we’ve had detailed conversations with and have recorded information on qualifications, career moves, education, income, ability to relocate, and much more.

One of the more common responses we have with a new client is that they already know ‘everybody’. Our typical retort is that we have well over 100,000 people in our database, plus we’re connected on social media to over an additional 100,000… the people you ‘know’ are the ones you see. Larger companies only benchmark large companies. Smaller, local companies only benchmark direct competitors and typically only ‘know’ the visible people: sales, mostly. We have over 30,000 companies in our database; all in the electrical industry. Most companies only ‘know’ a dozen or so companies that are competitive to themselves.

One of our largest clients has a history of hiring people from her earlier career… since she feels she ‘knows’ them and trusts them and feels they will do a great job in her company. Yet there is no comparative process of benchmarking the known people versus the unknown.

The typical talent process boils down to contacting the small population of people you ‘know’ or posting jobs on social media or job boards to attract actively looking candidates.

Well, each example is likely to produce talent. Some of those approaches may be successful; most won’t be in this talent market.  But let’s clarify what we do versus how most companies find talent:

1. We work only in exempt positions; generally, from street sales up to C-level. At the lowest levels of our expertise, the minimal salaries typically are above $75,000, and most of our position salaries are beyond $100,000. Our C-level candidates are typically over $250,000/yr. As such, we are not in the ‘staffing’ business, nor are we active in searching for hourly or any non-exempt position. Posting jobs to a mid-management candidate is highly unlikely to be effective; including posting on LinkedIn or Facebook.

2. We focus on qualifications, not ‘who’. Our process is to reach as broadly as feasible and deliver of breadth of candidates; which may include some people you know; but it always includes people you don’t know. The key to identifying talent is to look outside of your field of vision.

3. We deliver breadth and diversity. Our candidates are qualified to do the job; as defined by your specifications. We reach into companies that aren’t on your daily dashboard and include people who may be a ½ step below the title, but are qualified to make the move to that level. The key value is assessment of talent.

Realistically, this is a very competitive market for quality talent. The process to identify the next candidate has to be focused on finding as many candidates as possible; through every means available. Relying on word of mouth, job postings and LinkedIn searches will limit the pool of candidates to the ‘interested’; but not always the ‘qualified’.

We’ve been very fortunate to become the largest, professional search firm dedicated to the electrical industry. In May of 2017, we were honored to be included on Forbes’ Top 250 Search Firms’ list. We’ve grown, we’ve worked with scores of companies and have a tenured staff of people who simply just ‘get it’. We’re part of the industry, we talk with leaders in the industry every day and we share that collective knowledge across our company. For us, talent acquisition is not about sending resumes, it’s all about finding that person that fits our clients’ needs; with the industry savvy to ramp up quickly in their new role.

After 18 years of collecting data.. we’re now poised to add the next level of service to our clients. In February, we will be launching a new platform of services to assist our clients in ‘connecting’ with people. We will be leveraging 18 years of our own connections and offering services that no other firm has ever had the opportunity to offer. A sneak peek:

● Mapping services

● Compensation surveys

● Introduction services

● Matching companies’ products to potential customers

● And the launch of the expanded and improved:

2018 will be our best and largest year in our history… stay tuned on how we can help you achieve your best year as well.

professional recruiter electrical industry ted konnerth

Ted Konnerth, Egret Consulting Group’s founder and CEO, recruits on a retained basis, helping leaders in the electrical and lighting industry identify their next C and V-level hire. He is also the executive director for the International Retained Search Associates, allowing him to liaise with skilled recruiters around the globe. To learn more about how Ted can help your company attract talent view his biography, check him out on LinkedIn or email him at

Ask the Expert – January 2018

Q: I was reading your (Prudence) thoughts on LinkedIn on the ban on asking for salary history. I am starting to look for a new career and felt very uncomfortable filling that section out. I am in sales, good base but I get commission. What is best to do? Take an average over the last three years?

A: I think it depends on the state you’re in. If you aren’t in MA, WA, CA, OR, DE or NYC, where they can’t ask that question…then they’re looking for your exact earnings and are within their rights to ask for a W2.


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