A Headhunter’s Dirty Little Secret No. 1 – Poaching Candidates

Want to know a recruiter’s secret about luring top-notch executive talent from other organizations?


Believe it or not, the Fall season is one of the most ideal times to hire executive talent for a charitable, non-profit, or social-profit organization.

Why is this the best time of year to hire? Consider the following:

  • Those who come to the realization they are ready for a career transition often do so once they return to work and daily routines after a leisurely summer vacation.
  • In many people’s minds, the start of the New Year is a logical time to start a new job.
  • The Fall season initiates the beginning of networking events and seasonal parties when natural interaction among professionals occur, making it a great time for people to organically talk about and promote an opportunity at your organization among their respective networks.
  • There is a natural breaking point in this sector around the Christmas and New Year holidays, thereby making it a great time for executives to resign and take a week or two off before starting a new role.
  • It is easier for executives to disengage from their present charitable organizations at the start of the New Year because most of the high-volume fundraising work is over after the Christmas season.

With this in mind, during this season when your executive recruiter goes tapping your favourite executives from other organizations on the shoulder on your behalf about a career move, you may find there is an overwhelming allure to a leadership role within your organization.

Problem is, many leaders in the charitable, non-profit, and social-profit sectors fail to maximize this time of year. Instead of attempting to secure talent and solidify a strong leadership team in the months leading up to the New Year, organizations focus on the panic and immediacy of end-of-year fundraising.

As a result, most searches for executive talent are pushed off until the start of the New Year, when your most desirable executive candidates have already secured roles elsewhere.

But don’t just take our word for it. Consider the data released by Executives Online in July of 2014, which affirms that January is:

third from the bottom of the twelve months in terms of new jobs. What makes January even less advantageous to the job-seeker is the New Year’s resolution effect: Candidate registrations surge in January, which may make it harder for yours to stand out. The ratio of new candidates to new jobs – a figure we’ll call the Search Competition Index or SCI – is highest in January of any month, by a considerable margin (24% higher than the next month). Too much noise in the market also makes the employers’ and recruiters’ task of selecting the right people for shortlist and hire more difficult. It may be better, when hiring, to wait for a calmer month. (Beitel, 2014, para. 3)

If you really want to be a charitable, non-profit, or social-profit organization that is truly set apart from others in the sector, why not start by growing and strengthening your executive leadership team when no one else is doing the same.


Beitel, Anne. (2014, July 31). Data reveal best time of year to hire, find a job. Retrieved from: http://www.executivesonline.fr/en/blog/2014/07/31/data-reveal-


Coffee the App

You know us, we rely on networking and are very intentional about engaging our network. It’s the core of who we are, really: “We make connections with exceptional people who have exceptional connections.”

Yep, that’s us alright.

What you may not know about us, is that we’ve been integrating social recruiting more intentionally too. It has become a means for us to add greater value to our network and  be more encompassing to the leadership and hiring needs of those we serve in the not-for-profit sector.

As you can imagine, when we stumbled upon the Coffee app, which is designed to “create a mobile community of hiring managers and job seekers” (Bernard, 2014), we were eager to try it out.

Coffee_ScreenshotQuite simply, Coffee connects job seekers with hiring managers or recruiters. It quite literally allows you to strike up a conversation with the people you’d like to work for or with folks you’d like to hire in the same way you’d strike up a conversation over a face-to-face coffee.

With this in mind, Nathan Bernard, Founder and CEO of Coffee says, “At Coffee we don’t believe that a job posting should represent a person. Instead, a person should represent a job posting. You’ll learn a lot more about a company by seeing, connecting and chatting with a real employee / hiring manager rather than just reading a boilerplate job posting . . . This sort of social recruiting is going to be huge.”

It’s new – like brand new – so if you’re going to notice it currently has limited exposure to executive nonprofit professionals, Canadians, and nonprofit organizations, but that’s why you should download the app and try it out! The more people who begin to use it, the more beneficial it will be to the overall userbase!

Our social recruiter tried Coffee out last week and ended up having a “coffee” with Nathan Bernard, himself!

Nathan was happy to receive our feedback about how the app could better encompass the charitable sector and those who work and hire in not-for-profit organizations. He assured us that tags to reflect nonprofit interests are in the works for version 2, as well as a web app for hiring, and a way to indicate on your swipe card that you are hiring.

So download it! Try it out! Strike up conversations! The more nonprofit Canadian talent that uses the app, the better it will be!

Read More:

Huff Post Tech:The Coolest Networking App You’ve Never Heard Of

Bostinno:BU Alums Create Coffee to Connect Yo-Pro Job Searches

LinkedIn: Millennial Job Search Gets a Cue from Tinder

Boston Globe: New App Makes Job-Hunting a Social Experience

#CharityTuesday – ALS Canada & #IceBucketChallenge

This #CharityTuesday post comes one day early.


Well, Paul Baltovich and Dana Baltovich nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and thus I only had 24 hours to make good on the nomination by both pouring a bucket of ice water over my head and donating to the cause as per the rules of the viral charitable exercise.

Honestly, though, our desire is not to highlight the #IceBucketChallenge, but instead to focus on the organization of ALS Canada – an organization whose good work is supported by the donations from the challenge.

According to its website, ALS Canada’s vision is simple, “To find a cure for ALS”. The organization is committed to:

  • Support research towards a cure for ALS.
  • Support provincial ALS societies in their provision of quality care for persons living with ALS.
  • Build public awareness of ALS and its impact.

As with many charitable organizations, there are many ways that you can get involved and support the organization through various fundraising events.

Turns out, that the Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t the only creative and daring fundraiser through which you can get involved either. Why not skydive in tandem for the cause with the Jumping 4 “PALS” (People with ALS) campaign?! Uh, let’s just not nominate me for this type of dare!

Oh. I almost forgot – see below for my video proving my fulfillment of the #IceBucketChallenge.

As per the rules of the challenge, I nominate three other Presidents of executive search firms in Toronto who serve the not-for-profit sectorMarnie Spears of KCI; Deborah Legrove of Crawford Connect; and of course, David Hutchinson of Hutchinson Group Inc. Would love to see your videos posted to #nfpsearchfirms if possible!



About #CharityTuesday: Each week, we’ll use the popular CharityTuesday hashtag and Twitter recognition to highlight our Tuesday blog post on Canadian charities that are close to our hearts!

…& a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

A couple of days ago I had a LinkedIn article delivered to my inbox entitled, “Top 5 Design Makeovers for 2014“, written by Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO.

In his article, Brown chose five technological advances and highlighted how each has be redesigned either in shape or purpose, including Amazon’s use of a droid to deliver a package to a customer in 30 minutes! (Apparently, Amazon has referred to this experimental delivery project as Amazon Prime Air. Maybe Canada Post can find inspiration from this company’s exceptional level of customer service in delivering packages…)

What I liked about Brown’s article in particular, however, was that while he highlighted redesigned, he also questioned how such technology could be creatively adapted to be take a more “human-centered” approach. For example, here are the questions he asked in regards to each of the redesigns:

  • Drones: “It sounds like an oxymoron now, but how might we make “delightful drones” a reality in 2014?”
  • Big Data: What if we took a human-centered approach and designed transparent data platforms that created value for companies and consumers alike? What if consumers could monetize their own data?”
  • The Mobile Experience: Inspired by experiences like Uber, how might designers create apps that seamlessly integrate into our everyday lives?”
  • 3D Printing: “How might we create simple, engaging, creative tools that will shape a new wave of democratized design?”
  • Self-Driving Vehicles: How might we ensure that the auto industry takes a human-centered approach in all aspects of vehicle design in the coming year?”

This article seemed like the perfect way to start off the our company’s blog posts for the New Year given the emphasis on a human-centered approach. After all, our desire here at Philip J.W. Smith & Co. is to be human-centered, making sure that we do the best for you – whether “you” are a candidate, client, or conversation.

With this desire to be more human-centered, we’ve started the year of 2014 with a new look and redesigned our website! We’ve aimed to make it more user-friendly; to answer more of your questions upfront about who we are and what we do; and to offer you a variety of ways to connect with us based on your personal preferences and comfort level.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2014!

Recruiting for a Change: Scratching The Job Search Itch

Ah, the job search itch.

You know what it is – it’s the feeling of being unsatisfied or under-whelmed in your current role, which leads to daydreaming about all of the other possible jobs or careers you may like to explore.

In turn, the job search itch begins to lead to the job search daydream.

In the daydream phase, you dream about how different your life would be if you had “one of those jobs” that wasn’t as stressful, where work didn’t follow you home, that offered you steady pay cheque from week to week, and that didn’t require an unhealthy attachment to your smart phone. Read more

Recruiting for a Change: Maximizing Creativity

Now more than ever, candidates engaging in the job search or recruitment process are expected to be creative.

There are likely a number of reasons why creativity is in such high demand. For one, it allows a candidate to stand out from the rest. No longer does having a bachelor degree or even a masters degree set you a part from others on the short-list. It’s likely even your experience is comparable to that of the other candidates in the process. Perhaps you hope your skills would prove to give you an edge, but you probably all have the typical 3-5 years of experience in something; a working knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite; and have mastered punctuality. So, what’s the secret to standing out among the rest in a job search process?

Creativity. Read more

Recruiting for a Change: SocialHeadhunter.com

You never need a recruiter until it’s too late.

As a candidate, you never need a recruiter until you’ve lost your job, been fired, or resigned. And then, at that point, you’re not the ideal candidate no matter your experience because you’re an active job-seeker rather than passive. It’s always easier to place someone who has a job than one who is without a job.

On the other hand, as an organization you never need a recruiter until your President, CFO, or VP of Philanthropy resigns and you’re left trying to fill a gap in the interim while completing a search process and burning out your remaining staff in the meantime.

In the spirit of our newest blog series “Recruiting for a Change”, it seems that recruiters need to make more time for you now – when you don’t need them and they don’t need you. Read more

Recruiting for a Change: Google Says GPA’s Don’t Matter

Spoiler Alert! Have you seen the movie The Internship?

Apparently two middle-aged guys with a background in sales, who have no relevant education, can indeed be hired – and be successful – at Google! It’s not an out-of-reach-fairytale-happy-ending after all!

Discovered this revelation after reading a refreshing article this week on LinkedIn entitled, On GPA’s and Brainteasers: New Insights from Google on Hiring and Recruiting.

The article written by New York Times’ Corner Office Columnist, Adam Bryant, shared the following insights from an interview with Google’s Senior Vice President for People Operations, Laszlo Bock: Read more

Leave a Legacy, Not a Mess: Perfecting Leadership

I can’t tell you why I hadn’t understood this before, but I only recently discovered that it is impossible for me to be the perfect leader to any given organization.

Dying to know why!?

It’s because there is no such thing as the perfect leader. Read more

Size Really Does Matter [INFOGRAPHIC]

Ever since I got my iPad, I’ve grown an genuine appreciation for Pinterest (much to wife’s sheer delight).

Now, while she tends to spend her time on the social platform exploring categories such as “Things that Sparkle” and “Healthy Meals that Taste Gross to the Rest of the Family”, I on the other hand, have been indulging in my love of infographics.

It just so happens that I stumbled upon a fantastic little infographic that makes a great case for my little boutique executive search firm; concisely explaining what I already knew – that size really does matter when it comes to recruitment! Read more


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