Author archives: Acumen

Oregon’s 2018 Job Outlook

According to the Portland Business Journal’s article “What we’ve learned about our state’s employment outlook”, Oregon’s low unemployment rate at the end of 2017 signals for the beginning of 2018, “a coming bounty for job-seekers.”

If you’re looking to make a change, the outlook is very good.  More than 30 companies, such as SolarWorld, Nike, Umpqua, and OHSU, are looking for hundreds of workers.  Companies range from technology to apparel and footwear.  Positions range from quality assurance engineers to medical assistants to account managers.

Salaries in Portland were ranked against the rest of the nation in twelve jobs, such as retail, registered nurses, and civil engineers.  It was found that on average, Portlanders earned $25.94 to the nation’s $23.86 in those positions.  Registered nurses, sheet metal workers, clergy, and retail workers, amongst others, all do better in Portland than the rest of the nation.

The PBJ noted some industries that experienced the most growth: construction, mining & lodging, and manufacturing.  Some that experienced the least of amount of growth are information, government, and financial activities.

Overall, now is the time if you’re looking to make a switch.

Suzanne Hanifin will be a Mentor

Come see our very own Suzanne Hanifin of Acumen Executive Search at Bizwomen’s Mentoring Monday! On February 12, 2018, she will be available for “speed mentoring”, a 7-minute block of time where you get to pick her brain and ask her any business-related questions.  Suzanne is excited by this opportunity to help fellow business women advance their careers and would love to see you there.  2018 is the year of the woman.  Get it off to a great start by taking advantage of this amazing opportunity!  Register now and use promo code MENTOR for 20% off the ticket price:

Tracking the right sales metrics

Last night I read this article from L’areal Lipkins through Vistage’s network. It made me pause and it hit home as Acumen works with our clients to help determine who is the best candidates for them. More importantly “Who” will be the best cultural fit while meeting the professional skillsets required to do the job.

As a business consultant partner, we see companies through an outsider’s lens.  Leaders, C-level executives and boards members come to Acumen to find managers, directors, and C-level professionals. Some of the questions we ask our clients reveals so much and are important questions we ask to determine the metrics they use for success:

Describe your culture in five words or less.
Who will work best in your current state (behaviors, personality traits)?
What are three top problems that this person needs to solve?
How are you measuring their success?

All hiring managers that are hiring or planning on hiring need to ask themselves these question. Then look at their answers to see if they follow L’areal Limpkins definitions.  Here is what Ms. Limpkin wrote:

Are you tracking the right sales metrics?

created by L’areal Lipkins in Manufacturing NetworkView the full blog post

There are three metrics high performing sales organizations track: behaviors, leading indicators, and lagging indicators.

Most organizations only track lagging indicators like revenue, profit, number of new customers, close ratio, etc. The problem with just tracking lagging indicators is that it’s history and there’s nothing you can do about it. This is especially problematic if you have a long sales cycle.

You should also be tracking leading indicators such as appointments, demos, proposals, or whatever makes sense for your business. Leading indicators will give you a red flag that your sales team is on or off track much sooner than waiting until the end of the month, quarter, or year. For example, if you know you close 1 out of 3 proposals and your goal is to bring on 3 new customers, theoretically you need to have 9 qualified proposals. Now obviously we can work on different techniques to improve our close ratio, but the key is you, your sales leader, and your sales people should know what the critical leading indicators are and how they impact results.

Lastly, you should track behaviors. What activities should your sales people be doing every week to get in front of prospects. Maybe it’s cold calls, referrals, prospecting emails, LinkedIn connections, or networking. Again, the goal is to improve our output by improving (or increasing) our input. If we just try to fix the results, we’re fixing the wrong end of the problem. Your sales people should know their top 3-5 prospecting activities and how much they should be doing each week to keep their funnel full and drive leading indicators.

About Ms. L’areal Lipkins:

L’areal Lipkins is Managing Partner at Acuity Systems, and she specializes in helping companies streamline, systematize, and scale their sales efforts. L’areal is a Vistage Member and Vistage Speaker.

Bad Hires Can Be an Expensive Mistake

A CareerBuilder survey shows three out of four employers have made bad hiring decisions, and the cost of a bad hire is almost $15,000.   The bad hire can cause less productivity in the workplace, compromised quality of work, and time lost spent recruiting and training the new worker.

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder said in part “there’s a ripple affect with bad hires. Disengagement is contagious — poor performers lower the bar for other workers on their teams, and their bad habits spread throughout the organization”.  And while most managers quickly realize they’ve made a bad hire, it takes about 9 weeks to let them go.

Employees also sometimes realize they’ve made a poor choice.  Two in three will accept a position, only to realize it was a bad fit, with 50% quitting within six months.  Their reasons for leaving include toxic work culture, the boss’ management style, and the job not matching the initial job description.

New hire retention rates can be improved by over 80% with strong onboarding processes.

Oregon Laws Changed – Employers Need to Know

As of October 6, 2017, a provision of the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 is already in effect.  An article written by Liani J. Reeves of Bullard Law discusses this provision pertaining to legal changes around requests for salary history data.  (see full article here).  It is now unlawful for prospective employers, recruiters, and others involved in the hiring practice to seek an applicant’s or employee’s salary history.

Now employers may not:

  • Seek salary information from an applicant or employee
  • Seek salary information from an applicant’s or employee’s current or former employers
  • Use salary history information to determine a starting pay offer.

However, employers can consider an employee’s salary history for a promotion or transfer to a new position with the same employer or ask for salary history after a job offer has been made that includes the proposed compensation.

What does that mean for those involved in the recruiting and hiring practice?  They will need to immediately change their hiring policies, application forms, interview questions, and compensation policies.  To fail to do so will put them in violation of the Bureau of Labor and Industry and open them to fines, lawsuits, and class action claims.

Our 10th Anniversary Celebration!

14.06.2017 Acumen Uncategorized

June 14, 2017- The team at Acumen Executive & Talent Search is excited to announce our 10th anniversary celebration! Since 2007, Acumen has completed over 500 direct placements to our wonderful clients. You are invited to celebrate with us.

Save the date for early October, 2017. Stay tuned for the official invitation.

Acumen delivers successful results to their clients with a 99% success rate for retained searches and a 92.7% employee retention rate, which is triple the national average. Acumen continues to grow! In addition to improving these impressive figures, we have won several awards. In 2013, Acumen was named the top woman-owned business. In 2015, Acumen was awarded the Portland Business Journal Orchid Award. Acumen has also received the top recruiting/staffing firm award every year from 2013-2016.

We cannot wait to share our success with you and to say “thank you”.  We love our clients, candidates, business partners, and friends.