Sunday, October 3, 2010

Where are your best potential hires hiding? Not behind a job board.

I recently had a birthday and I don't know if it's from getting older or wiser, but something grabbed my attention: the number of birthday greetings and wishes I received. I got cards from restaurants, car washes, hair salons and even carpet cleaners. The only service provider from whom I did not receive a birthday offer, (and I am not complaining), was from a funeral home, (hopefully an offer without an expiration date).

Now that I think about it, I get these often, and it made me think that these emails are about recruiting. These companies that where targeting me were in fact "recruiting" me to come to their place of business in hopes I would spend money and improve their financial performance.

I wasn't looking to go there, nor was sitting around reading ads looking for their services (especially the funeral home). Nevertheless, I fit their patron demographics and they wanted to solicit me.

Well, as it turns out, they are indeed recruiting. Their patron demographics are just like "position requirements" while ads in the paper are analogous to the “want ads or job boards" that everyone sees regardless of whether or not they are a fit for the position. So, as they know that getting patrons that conform to certain demographics will enhance their business performance, they email targets that are most likely to purchase, just like a business looking to hire should seek out those people most likely fit into their corporate culture.

As employers, we can take a clue from this in a couple different ways. One is if we desire to build an infrastructure of stellar employees who will add more to the performance and positive culture of the firm, then you have to go out and cherry pick them. Whether you are a business looking to drive store traffic or to hire the right talent, just running ads and thinking that they will just walk in the door is right up there with waiting for your ship to come in.

You are a successful person in your field. You have passion for your work, and you are making money for both your firm and yourself. Moreover, you are happy there. Now ask yourself how many job boards are you looking at? How any resumes have you sent out, or do you even have a current one? You most likely are not looking and too busy making money and enjoying your work, right?

Well, that is what your best candidates are doing, and you are not going to see them beating a path to your door, or emailing you their resume. This brings me back to all those emails I received soliciting me to do business, and, guess what, it worked! I did use a few of the companies, was happy with the results, and I am glad I gave it a shot.

I was a candidate to them, and, while I was pleased with the current vender I was using, I listened and took a look and I am glad I did since I would never had tried them otherwise.

You see, the candidates I recruit are no different. They are performing well and have no desire to leave. However, when properly approached, candidates who have a strong passion for their work, are presented with an environment and culture that will feed their passion. It's a no brainer decision for them: they want to join you. It a win-win. The candidate joins a like minded team, and the employer builds a strong performing group that can out-pace its peers.

The most important element a recruiter can bring to the table - besides the candidate - is the skill to locate and evaluate the proper physiological and emotional fix to the firm's culture. The bottom-line is that it is very much like selecting your mate for marriage. Turnover is like divorce: painful and costly. But that is another blog for another time...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Introducing Edwin C. Ostrand, LLC

An introduction.

I am extremely pleased to be making my first (and over-due) foray into the world of blogging. The purpose of this first post is primarily to introduce my company, Edwin C. Ostrand, LLC and to give you an idea of what you can expect to read here in the future. My company specializes exclusively in retained executive search for the alternative asset management industry. The skills that I learned in recruiting assets overseas for U.S. intelligence have not only given me a keen insight into what makes an effective hire, but have also endowed me with the ability to find superior talent for my clients – talent that isn’t looking to be found.

Finding the best talent who aren't looking to be found.

With so many former finance-industry executives searching for employment and so few companies actively hiring, why should it be so difficult to find the best talent? The answer is plain: the absolute best talent is still employed. If that is the case, then how does Edwin C. Ostrand, LLC source the best talent for its customers? We certainly don’t simply sift through stacks of resumes, do postings on job boards and source databases like most recruiters. We bring our clients the talent that doesn’t need to read job boards or circulate resumes.

We introduce our clients predominantly to currently employed, successful individuals who demonstrate a passion for their work and who have passed a rigorous multi-screen filtering process. The benefit of this rigorous process to the employer is a higher gold standard of talent, exceptional performance and reduced turnover. Equally as important is that each potential hire must have a passion for what he or she does. We prescribe to Aristotle's observation that "Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."

A unique process that yields a perfect fit for your company.

Sometimes being the best simply isn’t enough. No matter how talented an individual may be, if he or she isn’t a good fit with the company’s culture, the likelihood is quite high that neither employer nor employee will be pleased and that crucial resources invested in the new hire will have been wasted. It is for this reason that we don’t take a cookie cutter approach to recruiting. Each search is a special assignment that we begin by interviewing the client to learn about what is important to them as well as in order to understand the special chemistry that makes their team function. This allows us to construct a detailed picture of what the ideal candidate looks like as a person, rather than just as a series of data points on paper.

Armed with this information, we build a customized multi-screen filtering process through which we pass a multitude of candidates. The few that make it through the initial interview to the second level of filtering are then evaluated using a proprietary behavioral interviewing system. If the candidate passes this stage, they are assigned a philological task to complete. Those who successfully complete our screening process are carefully reviewed once more before being submitted for an interview with the client. While we may speak with nearly 100 candidates over the course of the process, the client will only end up seeing 3 or 4. Of these, generally an offer is made to one. In the event that the client does not select any of the individuals presented, we will continue the process until we have completed the assignment and a candidate has accepted the offer.

What you can expect to read here…

As the weeks and months go by, you will get the opportunity to read more details about what sets us apart from traditional recruiters and how we deliver superior value to our clients. Moreover, mixed in with some occasional asides and comments on news and events that are affecting the alternative asset management industry, you will find this blog to be the online source for insights into the black-box world of hiring in the hedge fund universe. As always, if you are in need of exceptional talent, feel free to contact me at

Ed Ostrand


Edwin C. Ostrand, LLC.