Use the Interwebs to Get Your Way

Posted in Business, People by Harsha on December 4, 2011

To those who think they don’t have a voice (at least in the United States), think again. Christopher Null penned this great how-to in WIRED’s recent issue. As my part, I wanted to assure you that it is neither impractical, nor difficult to do what he says. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the old saying goes, and so here are a few examples of what Chris is talking about.

I have three great examples to share about how I got three big companies to listen to me. It took almost no effort (considering what I would have had to do in pre-internet days) coupled with a bit of social media savvy. My successes included Chris’s Twitter suggestion, in addition to using email and my blog as a way to gripe and to get what I wanted.

The first and my most memorable experience was with Bank of America. I wrote a few posts about it, so read the before first, then a quick update during the resolution process, and after my problem was resolved. I got a cool $50 gift card to out of it. By reading the posts, you can pick up a very easy way of harnessing the power of “we” to get your way.

The second experience was with Best Buy. I have not blogged about it yet because it sort of moved really quickly, via Twitter. If you follow me, then I think you should be able to see my tweet from 2010. Essentially, I did what Christopher suggests in his article. Briefly, this is what happened:

I had purchased a TV from a Best Buy store where the sales representative assured me it was Wi-Fi enabled. But of course, when I got home, unwrapped and installed the TV, it turned out to be Wi-Fi “unabled”! I had plugged in a Samsung wireless dongle as it is known, to the new TV, which did not work. So I re-wrapped the TV and returned it. But I ended up leaving the dongle inserted into the TV and realized it after the fact. When I called the store, they checked and said that they did not find it still plugged into the side of the TV. Now mind you, I am a “silver level” member (or something like that) at Best Buy because I had spent over $2500 with them in one year. I took to Twitter with my gripes, used @bestbuy and lo and behold! I quickly heard from one of their social media watchers. She did some investigating, called the store etc., and then decided to send me a Best Buy gift card worth $80 to make it up to me.

The third experience was one that my wife had with DSW Shoes. She had recently tried to use a $30 DSW coupon on their website, but it did not work. The coupon was due to expire that same day, so she emailed them to complain. Guess what happened next? She got that coupon back, in addition to another $20 coupon that had expired a couple of weeks earlier. In addition, they sent her another $10 coupon in the mail with a letter of apology. To top it all, she received additional regularly scheduled coupons bringing her quite a good haul.

So thank you Chris for not only a great reason for me to restart my blog, but for also providing readers with a realistic how-to on getting one’s way with big companies


Sourcing Outsourcing

Posted in Business, New, People by Harsha on February 18, 2011

Why do you think staffing agencies are not finding much success with off-shore sourcing teams?

It is neither the time difference nor the perceived language barrier (there are more English speakers in India than the US) that hinders your success in using off-shore resources. It is the fact that we do not celebrate sourcing as the most important task in the staffing process flow.

I believe that the size of one’s staffing database, is irrelevant. A good recruiter can staff up any opportunity, if she has the aptitude and tenacity to know what and where to look. I am sure you also have numerous examples of your own recruiting success because your sourcing strategy was better than the internal and external competition’s. Sourcing is everything that stands in your way of putting the right person on project and generating billing dollars. 


My two step recommendati0n to underscore the importance of sourcing for you is to:

  1. Accept that sourcing is the most important task in the staffing workflow
  2. Find tenacious people and train and retrain them in sourcing strategies



Recruiting success begins with your acknowledgment that sourcing is the most important task in the staffing workflow. Make no mistake, it is absolutely the most important task in the staffing workflow. Sourcing is what separates the wheat from the chaff. Good sourcing relies on an individual’s tenacity and aptitude, which are excellent skills for any person to possess. Such an individual is also a hard-worker with a focus on results. So finding someone that can demonstrate good sourcing skills, will help you find top notch recruiters, even if you are hiring from outside our industry.

Acceptance of “the sourcing mantra” starts with:

  1. Acknowleding that sourcing is an “intelligence function”, not grunt work
  2. Spending more time and effort on identifying the right sourcers
  3. Setting and rewarding a good source-to-deal ratio (example – 20:1)
As you know, recruiting is an art and practising and learning about it only makes recruiters better at their work. Since there is not much science to it, you need to try various strategies and ideas to find a path to success. You may know of many companies, and yours may be one as well, where recruiters are hired, given initial training and then left to fend for themselves. You don’t find the the time to retrain them or hold round-table discussions to talk about ideas, strategies or problem-solving. When you expand this approach to your outsourced sourcers, it only gets more sticky.
While you may plan to retrain your recruiters on a regular basis, you can experience tremendous sourcing success as well by:
  1. Prefering sourcers with a Master’s degree and some staffing experience 
  2. Reviewing every resume submitted to your recruiters
  3. Meeting weekly to discuss performance issues

I believe that staffing success begins with both the acceptance of the importance of sourcing and being dedicated to (re)training sourcers regularly. Sourcing is not grunt work, even if it feels like the heavy lifting you don’t want to do. While it sounds great if you or your team came to work in the morning and had a nice list of 10 people per requisition to call on, it is a simplistic view that dilutes the importance of having the correct 10 candidates on that list.

World of MSP blog on

Posted in Business by Harsha on February 18, 2011

Assuming that I am going to get a few more minutes over 24 hours, I created a new blog over at

About: ERE contains thousands of pages of content relating to recruiting, and continues to drive traffic from more than 58,000 loyal members, most of whom receive its publications in their inbox each day. Having established a strong brand associated with the cutting edge of the recruiting industry, the website continues to add new content and functionality regularly.

I plan to echo over there, what I will be writing here related to staffing.

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Staffing Databases are Irrelevant

Posted in Big Thought, Business, People by Harsha on December 13, 2010

Staffing companies pride themselves in their “database”.

Ask ANY sales person that works in the industry and it will most definitely be one of the main selling points that they will make to you. They will shill for their vast database of resumes (1m, or 5m or whatever) giving you the impression that they know so many people that they can find you any skill set for any project or need that you have. Period.

I take a different approach.

I believe that owing a large database is highly overrated. When I started in this business, it was with a startup with barely any database. In fact, the founders has a set of 5,000 some names, none of which were ever used in my knowledge, at least by me. That company then went on to becoming one of the 500 fastest growing private companies in America in 2008, as ranked by Inc Magazine. So I came to the conclusion that owning a large database, or any database is highly overrated. There is one exception to this statement – a database is highly relevant in niche skill sets. At the same company, I have seen this in play. My constertation is with a generic across-the-board staffing agency sales person pounding the desk claiming to have a large database that includes tons of resumes across tons of skill sets.

It is never the database but the data mining tools and data mining strategies that are much more important. Oracle probably recognizes this through its various acquisitions. The database company is now almost ubiquitous in many other unrelated areas of software development and delivery. The art of mining for candidates is the true differentiator between one agency and another. More specifically, the abilities of individual recruiters and their tenacity in finding the right person for the open job outranks a database, in my humble opinion, by a million times to one.

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My Favorite Email from a Novice Marketer

Posted in Business by Harsha on November 7, 2009

Obviously an ironic title to this post. Enjoy!

I really don’t want to annoy you by barraging you with requests to speak with me if you are not ready to make a buying decision yet. However, I know that 80% of leads don’t close immediately; but with careful nurturing it is possible to convert about a quarter of those leads.The fact is that you are one of my sales leads. Our software makes it very easy for me to nurture you as a prospect; so I’ll be straight with you:

  • I want to stay on your radar.
  • I want to be the salesperson you call when you realize that you do need the best lead management software out there.
  • I want to make sure that now that you are one of my sales leads I don’t waste you.
  • If there’s a chance that you will chose XXXXX over one of our competitors simply because I am more thorough in my follow-up than they are, then I want to take advantage of that.

I therefore intend to send you regular emails with information that I think may be useful for you and that may trigger a buying impulse.

If you tell me to stop emailing you, I will. Otherwise, I hope to keep a dialogue going for the next few months or until you are ready to make a buying decision. I anticipate that the emails I send you will provide interesting facts and useful resources that will also make it easier for you to evaluate whether you need our software or not.

Hopefully, if you think about it, you’ll realize that you want a software system for your sales team that allows them to follow-up with their leads as tenaciously as I intend to follow up with you.

My favorite part from this email is:

I therefore intend to send you regular emails with information that I think may be useful for you and that may trigger a buying impulse.

Happy 30th Birthday To Me

Posted in Business, New, People by Harsha on May 3, 2009

I am giving myself the CEO spot on UAC Inc.

Employees Suck

Posted in Big Thought, Business, People by Harsha on March 28, 2009

A great presentation shared on SlideShare, my personal favorite!

While not all of us can become founders, owners, entrepreneurs (someone has to do the nitty-gritty work!), there is definite power in scaling up!

This presentation shows founders, owners and entrepreneurs on how they need to better manage their people: Please open up your minds. Stop boxing in innovation and cutting-edge ideas.

Think in short, small sentences and increments. It helps!

Mark Bao

Posted in Business, People by Harsha on March 26, 2009

Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Meet Mark Bao. Not only is he working on more than one startup at the same time, but he is also putting himself totally out there, online, unlike him. Here is a quote from his “Life Goals” page:

help those who can’t help me


You can check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.

That Old Saying Needs To Be Replaced

Posted in Business, People by Harsha on March 15, 2009

Someone did re-invent the wheel, sorry.

CNN video or Wikipedia entry.

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Posted in Business by Harsha on March 14, 2009

It’s “Elevator Pitch Friday”. This time it is Restrict all your snickering to TechCrunch. I am still recovering from my laughing fit episode.