Master Hashtags like Timberlake and Fallon

Master Hashtags like Timberlake and Fallon

Master Hashtags

If you want to learn how to master hashtags in business, study Late Night host Jimmy Fallon and pop icon Justin Timberlake. They have been on the leading edge of social media hashtags, and may even be responsible for helping make #hashtags a thing. They largely did so by making hashtags entertaining.

If you can master hashtags, you can leverage one of most effective ways to network in business today. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) that is used to identify messages on a specific topic.leverage on social media. People tag their tweets and Instagram posts as a way to attract others interested in the same topic.

At a Timberlake concert I attended at Madison Garden, the pop star had his fans send him tweets while waiting for the show to begin.

Timberlake now has more than 64 million followers on Twitter -- that's million with a capital M.Click To Tweet Fallon serves up weekly Late Night Hashtags. On Twitter, he weighs in with a respectable 50 million followers. Who better to poke fun at hashtags in a comedy bit for taking over our everyday conversations?

Timberlake puts his social media savvy to use in marketing campaigns promoting his work, as marketer Stephanie Frasco’s blog details.  In fact, he’s invested in social media, putting up a major stake in the purchase of MySpace from News Corp. (Oh, well.) Of course, Justin not only invested in social media, he starred in the motion picture. The Social Network written by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin tells the story of how Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg created the social network that we now call Facebook.

Social media serves as regular fodder for Fallon’s comedy bits. Fallon unearthed rare footage of The Beatles after their Ed Sullivan Show performance proving the Fab Four were really, really ahead of their time.

Amber Whiteman blogging for the digital marketing group Metia Group this month highlighted 5 social media trends of which we should be aware. The hashtag video by social media gurus Fallon and Timberlake hashtag made the top five.

So if you want to master hashtags, study Timberlake and Fallon. You can use hashtags to build a following or to find a community of like-minded people. In fact, you can use hashtags to find interesting topics of conversation to cultivate business relationships. I’ve written previously that retained executive recruiters can be hard to get to know. It may be easier to get to know a recruiter on Twitter than it is on LinkedIn, which has far too many candidates vying for a recruiter’s attention. (To increase your chances, check out my post Top 20 Things Headhunters Want to See in LinkedIn Profiles.) Master hashtags and the art of online conversation and you just might be able to get in front of a retained search partner before they have a search to discuss. (You can find me at @KristaBradford.)

Executive Search Trends 2014| What’s In and What’s Out

Executive Search Trends 2014| What’s In and What’s Out

Executive Search Trends 2014

Executive Search has undergone a revolution.  The Good Search Highlights the latest executive search trends in our list of What’s In and What’s Out in for 2014. Executive search buyers are seeking stronger slates of candidates. Employers want smarter data-driven executive search.  Companies don’t want to be nickel-and-dimed by search firms billing indirect expenses. Increasingly, employers are seeking flat fees instead of percentage search fees that have a build-in conflict of interest.  Last, they want the candidate research as an audit trail. They want transparency and what to know what a search firm is doing.


Executive Search Trends 2014 graphic 2

 Executive search trends on what’s in and what’s out in in 2014.

What’s In:

  • Stronger Slates
  • Data Driven Research
  • No Indirect Expenses
  • Flat Fees
  • Shares the Research

Whats out:

  • Missed A-Players
  • Outdated Search
  • Indirect Expenses
  • Percentage Fees
  • No research sharing
What Retained Search has in Common with Mark Twain

What Retained Search has in Common with Mark Twain

What Retained Search has in Common with Mark Twain

Executive search has a lot in common with Mark Twain these days. Though executive search is about recruiting and Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmons) is about writing, rumors about their respective demise have been strangely similar.

Retained Search Is Doing Just Fine, Thank you

Retained search revenue grew by 8.8% quarter-on-quarter and 18.4% year-on-year, which is especially noteworthy considering the profession has recorded two consecutive years of record-breaking growth. That statistic comes from the most recent State of the Industry survey by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). Average revenue per consultant is on the rise 11% year-on-year. All told, the number of searches, total revenues and average revenues per consultant increased. Overall, this indicates that clients are turning to our profession for their critical executive talent needs and would suggest that we are on track for another strong year.

Rumors of Retained Search’s Demise

However, a good many thought leaders have been predicting the downfall of traditional retained executive search since the economic downturn a decade ago. Consequently, for the past several years, retained executive search firms have had a great deal in common with Mark Twain.

After learning that his obituary had been published in the newspaper,  Mr. Twain is reported to have said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”  That’s the quote attributed to him, but it is not exact. To be more precise, what Mr. Twain actually said was, ‘The report of my death was an exaggeration.” Mark Twain clearly was alive at the time he said it.

Like Mark Twain, reports of the death of retained executive search have been greatly exaggerated

How LinkedIn Killed The Recruiting Industry

The Destruction of the Head Hunting Industry

LinkedIn Disintermediation

Without a doubt, LinkedIn has disintermediated executive search firms that have failed to distinguish themselves with a unique value proposition. But retained firms that make it a practice to stay ahead of the curve are benefiting handsomely from the seismic shift in executive search. Ahem.

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Things We Love: Kate McKinnon is an Icon We Love.

Things We Love: Kate McKinnon is an Icon We Love.

Kate McKinnon is an Icon We Love.

The surest sign that Kate McKinnon is a comedic icon is not her ongoing featured work on Saturday Night Live, which is where we first fell in love with Kate McKinnon. We noticed her arrival at SNL well before her famed Kellyanne Conway sendups.

Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway impersonation went from one inspired by the musical Chicago to a Kellyanne version of the decidedly darker lead character Pennywise from the Stephen King novel and movie It.


Rather, what sealed Kate McKinnon’s fate as a comedic icon is making the Vanity Fair photographed by none other than Annie Leibovitz in a shoot styled by Jessica Diehl. (For the full cover story, see Vanity Fair’s The McKinnon Report.)

Kate McKinnon Photograph by Annie Leibovitz; Styled by Jessica Diehl.

Actress and Comedian Kate McKinnon. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz; Styled by Jessica Diehl for Vanity Fair.

We First Noticed Her as Connecticut Mom and Gonzo Gamer

We first noticed her before her star had ascended as a Connecticut Mom obsessed with Grand Theft Auto V. At that moment we counted her among the Things We Love. The Good Search is a retained search firm that recruits senior executives and legendary games technologists in the gaming industry. As it happens, we’re headquartered in Westport, Connecticut in the Greater New York City Area. So when SNL did a sendup of a Connecticut Mom hooked on Grand Theft Auto V, the latest release from Rockstar Games. . .  well, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

At the time, Kate McKinnon talent was overshadowed by SNL’s other funny women: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Kristen Wiig. But even back then, it was clear Kate’s had it going on. Check out her impersonations of Ellen on Ellen and of Penelope Cruz. Kate’s rise to comedic icon is been relentless. She is gender-bending and gleefully impersonates Russia probe special counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

 Prior to “SNL,” McKinnon performed with numerous Harold and Maude Teams at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. She gained a following in the New York comedy community for the three one-woman shows she wrote and performed at the UCB: “Disenchanted,” “Best Actress” and “Kate McKinnon on Ice.” McKinnon studied theatre at Columbia University.

About The Good Search

Founded by a television journalist who worked at NBC in their offices at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and whose spouse has performed on SNL, The Good Search is an executive search firm with media DNA.  We specialize in recruiting top performing senior executives and technologist to leading advertising and media companies that include Omnicom, Time Warner and Clear Channel.

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Occupy Wall Street: Preoccupied Recruiters

Occupy Wall Street: Preoccupied Recruiters

Occupy Wall Street: Preoccupied Recruiters

Whenever there is a market dip with round after round of layoffs, executive recruiters serve on the front lines.  That’s what we do. We bare witness to the devastation that downsizing brings.

During Occupy Wall Street, we became preoccupied. Recruiters can sense the desperation in our dealings with candidates who have been unemployed far too long. While recruiters do not make jobs — we fill them — we still wonder during any Great Unfilling, “what can we do to help?”  What should the collective response be from the very professionals who specialize in jobs, jobs, jobs?

A group of Americans gathered to occupy Wall Street, in large part, due to massively high unemployment — particularly for young people.  An article by Noreen Malone in New York Magazine entitled The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright details the stark statistics.

Millennial Statistics

College students are graduating with bone-crushing debt, which for the class of 2016 averages $37,172.  U.S. student loan debt now totals $1.45 trillion, surpassing even credit card debt total of $1 trillion. Total student loan debt is rising as other debts are tapering off. Delinquency has increased, too, since the height of the financial crisis, to 11.2%.

Many recruiters do what we can ad hoc to introduce college-educated millennials to the career opportunities they need. But the work is solitary. It lacks scale. It helps but a handful. I would like to think that we, the recruiters who stand at the epicenter of the jobs could figure out a better way to help.  I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

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Sir Richard Branson on How to Lower Unemployment Rate to 1.6%

Sir Richard Branson on How to Lower Unemployment Rate to 1.6%

How to Lower Unemployment

Sir Richard Branson has an intriguing idea on how to lower unemployment to a rate of 1.6%. Branson claim we can lower unemployment in three easy steps:

  1. Talk to the 10-20% of the workforce who want to work less.
  2. Let them.
  3. Then give those hours to the unemployed to get them back to work.

Sir Branson made the suggestions on how to lower employment recently during an appearance on  CNBC.  He said, “If I was running America, I would make sure that the 10% of people are out of work were given jobs and the way I would do that was I would say to companies, ‘talk to your workforce, find out how many of them are willing to work 50% of the year rather than 100% of the year. How many are willing to job share? How many more would be willing to go part time?’ And you will find that in every company there’s something like 10% to 20% of the workforce who would actually like to work fewer hours. . . .” Branson believes as many as one out of every five workers would choose to work less if they did not fear losing their jobs.

Now, Sir Branson’s plan doesn’t create new jobs or new revenues to grow the economy. But it does hold the potential of making people happier and of preventing foreclosures and bankruptcy. Stressed out workers who want to work less than 40 hours a week would have the chance to dial it back a bit.  In addition, unemployed people would then have the chance to get back to work, reducing the financial devastation that chronic unemployment brings. As Sir Branson noted, it is a simple solution and it is one that can be implemented very quickly. Sir Branson estimates it will reduce unemployment to 1.6% overnight. That rate would be lower than it has ever been in our lifetimes. So why not give it a shot?

Startups Are Not Just For Technologists

Startups Are Not Just For Technologists

Startups Are Not Just For Technologists

Startups are more focused on sales and marketing and less on coders these days, according to Mark Birch of Birch Ventures.  The NYC entrepreneur and investor has pointed out in a recent blog post entitled “Don’t Look to Tech Startups to Fill the Jobs Gap” that fewer engineers are needed to build something really cool because our technology is smarter. In others words, startups are not just for technologists

More Marketing and Sales Jobs

More intelligent computing lowers barrier to entry and increases the number of early-stage companies battling it out for market share. Consequently, while it may seem counter-intuitive, tech startups generate non-tech job growth in sales and marketing roles. That, in turn, creates a need for more support and administrative staff.  The smarter technology becomes, the fewer technologists we need for tech startups. That’s why startups are not just for technologists. But tech startups still need sales and marketing people to win. 

Fewer Tech Jobs

Consequently, the talent that startups need to win is not engineers, but rather sales and marketing people. Those executives who are commanding increasingly higher salaries due to increasing competition in the labor market and record-high valuations in venture capital funding. 

So, if you accept Mark Birch’s premise, the irony is tech startups are not just for technologists anymore.

Most Workers Want to Leave

Most Workers Want to Leave

Most Workers Want to Leave

The vast majority of workers (71% Percent) are actively looking for a new job. That according to a survey by the nonprofit group Mental Health America and the Faas Foundation. That means most workers want to leave — nearly three out of every four employees. The main reason for worker unhappiness: lack of recognition.

The 2017 Mind the Workplace report surveyed more than 17,000 U.S. workers in 19 industries and found that 71% were either “actively looking for new job opportunities” or had the topic on their minds “always, often or sometimes” at work. Only 19% said they “rarely or never” think about getting another job.

What is a CEO to do to reduce the impulse to quit?

Research on workplace wellness confirms that work environments that provide positive recognition and reward, and promote professional development generate higher levels of employee engagement, promote quality employee performance and increase organizational stability. When most workers want to leave, workplace perks and benefits make a difference.

I Quit

Workplace perks/benefits have been identified as key factors that influence working conditions, and are predictors of employee engagement and workplace stress levels. Research on workplace perks confirms that perks incentivize employees, boosting productivity and improving workplace morale. Organizations offering perks that exceed basic benefits (insurance and office benefits) create a work environment that convey an interest in attracting and retaining its employees.

The benefit that contributed the most to workplace health and retention:

  • Flexibility Work Arrangements/ Workday Flexibility: Flexibility in structuring your work schedule to allow for personal demands and needs.
  • Open door and relaxed work environment: accessibility to management; two-way communication (feedback) is encouraged.
  • Opportunities for professional growth: trainings to enhance company knowledge and employment skills; increase responsibilities/duties; continuing education.
Unethical CEOs Under Fire

Unethical CEOs Under Fire

Unethical CEOs Under Fire

Unethical CEOs are not getting away with abuses of power as much as they used to before. That according to a study by Strategy& on CEO accountability. PWC’s Strategy& reports that CEOs involved in fraud, bribery, insider trading, environmental disasters, inflated resumes, and sexual indiscretions are being shown the door more often. In fact, firings for ethical lapses have been rising as a percentage of all CEO successions. Dismissals for ethical lapses rose 36 percent from 3.9 percent of all successions in 2007–11 to 5.3 percent in 2012–16 worldwide.  The increase was more dramatic in North America and Western Europe where dismissals for ethical lapses rose from 4.6 percent of all successions in 2007–11 to 7.8 percent in 2012–16, a 68 percent increase.

Executive Carrying Box


Is the number of Unethical CEOs on the Rise?

Of course, the increase raises the question whether more unethical CEOs are acting badly; whether more CEOs are simply being held accountable for bad behavior; or some combination of the two. (While more bad CEOs are being shown the door, it turns out most good employees are actively looking for their next jobs.  See Most Workers Want to Leave. )

Strategy& reports:

First, the public has become more suspicious, more critical, and less forgiving of corporate misbehavior. Second, governance and regulation in many countries have become both more proactive and more punitive. Third, more companies are pursuing growth in emerging markets where ethical risks are heightened, and more companies are relying on extended global supply chains that increase counterparty risks. Fourth, the rise of digital communications has exposed companies and the executives who oversee them to more risk than ever before. Finally, the 24/7 news cycle and the proliferation of media in the 21st century publicizes and amplifies negative information in real time.

A digital paper trail and being caught on video is resulting in a greater degree of accountability by CEOs. In the end, the rise is the result of risk mitigation. CEOs who wish to avoid ethical must not only talk the talk but also walk the walk. Their behavior must be beyond reproach and they must respond immediately to any whiff of misconduct. In addition, the CEOs must institute the processes and controls needed to maintain what Strategy& calls a culture of integrity.

Retained Search Firms: How the Mighty Have Fallen

Retained Search Firms: How the Mighty Have Fallen

A Nor’easter hit my hometown of Westport, Connecticut — rather, more like a hurricane, with wind gusts exceeding 60 miles per hour. It rendered my town impassible. Downed trees blocked egress on virtually every major and minor thoroughfare. We were without power, cable, television, and phones for a week. Hotels within an hour’s drive radius quickly sold out, their rooms filled with displaced victims of the storm and CL&P crews brought in from surrounding states to repair the damage. We felt lucky to find room at a Marriott just 30 miles away, and even luckier that we could stay there the full week while others who did not foresee an extended stay were forced to find shelter elsewhere.

In retrospect it seems an fitting metaphor for our financial crisis, and, in turn, for the crisis experienced by the executive search business, especially retained search firms. The massive trees felled on our property serve as testimony to how swiftly the mighty have fallen.

According to my CPA, the executive search business has always been cyclical. He does the taxes for number of search firms, large and small, retained and contingency. He’s noticed these companies are always among the first to get hit in a financial downturn and the among the last to recover. Hiring executives pull back hard on hiring at the the first signs of a slowdown and they often postpone hiring until they’re sure a recovery is well underway. Ironically, retained search is always hit the hardest: it seems they have the most to lose.

Experts believe we have witnessed what will remain the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. In fact, many are predicting that the retained executive search business has been forever changed. Companies reduced their use of retained search starting in 2007 and, some say, many learned to live with it quite simply because it is so costly. Traditional retained search charges as much as 33% of a candidate’s first year compensation plus expenses. Moreover, nearly half of the time the money’s wasted because, according to industry expert David Lord, 40% of all retained searches fail to complete. And it appears, a growing number of corporations have had enough.

Korn Ferry’s stock price is still down 30% since before the financial collapse from a high of $26 in June of 2007, dipping to as low as $8; Heidrick & Struggles stock price is down 40% from a high of $51, dipping to as low as $14. Heidrick is now ranked among the bottom five companies in the Human Resource & Employment Services industry as measured by the potential gains between the current stock price and the projected average analyst target.

As a result, the major retained search firms have diversified their service offerings to make up for the deficit in search engagement revenues. But the writing is on the wall. An increasing number of employers are breaking with tradition and are turning away from traditional retained search and toward more innovative firms that offer a better return on their investment.

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