October 30th, 2014

Leaders Don’t Stop At The Decision … They Ensure Success

Jim Rohn quote on leadershipAs a leader, whether you run a business, a division within a business or a very small group, you try to improve your situation. It might be trying to improve productivity, increase sales, improve quality, and improve working conditions or any number of things.

The process you will likely go through will involve understanding the current situation. This is best achieved by talking to the people involved, getting their perspectives, thoughts and ideas. NO doubt they will differ but that will be for you to sort through.

You will need to understand options. This may take some research, but again the current people may have ideas for options, things they have seen work before. You may have your own experiences to bring. You can get consulting help. You can research what other companies and organisations are doing. You can look for industry best practices.

Then you will likely evaluate those options, perhaps weighing up pros and cons, costs and return on investment, complexity and likelihood of success in your environment.

All of these steps will likely happen with collaboration. There may be a team of people working on the project, or you may be doing it mostly yourself with input from others. Likely that will be dictated by the size of your organisation and the complexity of what you are trying to achieve.

Ultimately you will reach a decision about what the solution should be and communicate that to those people responsible for implementing the changes.

Some leaders think that now their job is done… when actually the hard part is just beginning!

Good for you in reaching a decision. You passed a test by doing that, because too many leaders are indecisive. However now it is time to roll the (metaphoric) sleeves up!

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John Maxwell

Change is hard! You already know it… and maybe you feel that someone else should now implement the change. After all, as the boss, you have handed out the orders!

Welcome to the real world.

If you want your project to succeed you will need to be VERY involved, pushing, pulling, motivating, selling, cajoling, encouraging and yes, rolling up your sleeves doing stuff to ensure its success.

Yes, others will do most of the work. Yes, you should delegate that effort. Yes, you should expect your next level leader to make things happen. However… if you do not stay close enough to (a) ensure things get started right; (b) the project is progressing as planned; and (c) make I clear that YOU own responsibility and accountability for its success… you will be setting yourself up for failure.

Passing a project off to a project manager (who might just have a day job) is a recipe for failure. That project manager needs active executive support (you), someone willing to have their back (you), to make tough decisions that ensure the project happens as it should (you).

Don’t be THAT leader. The one who thinks that just because they say it, that “it” will happen.

Be accountable. Be involved. Be a LEADER!

“Earn your leadership every day.” Michael Jordan

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 29th, 2014

10 Routines To Improve Your Productivity

Routine quote from Mason CurreyWe all have routines in our lives, and they are a great way to be efficient… and even to complete the most mundane of tasks.

For example, I have an evening routine (apologies for being boring) but:

  1. I put my apartment key in the drawer by the door. I then always know where it is, rather than searching pockets.
  2. I empty all of my pockets into one place in my drawer. This way I know that when I am heading out of the door the next day I am not going to forget something.
  3. I then take yesterday’s suit off the pant presser (yeah I know) and hang it up.
  4. I then put today’s suit on the pant presser. So it will look in decent shape when I next wear it.

It is a simple little routine that saves me time and means I am less likely to leave home without something important.

William Blake had a routine, “Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”

We can use this same technique in our work lives to be efficient. Here are 10 little routines you could easily build into your routine.

  1. The daily check. Did you get everything done (yesterday or today, based on when you do this review)? Make sure unfinished items are carried over to the next “To Do” list. Capture any notes you might have missed during the day. Identify any emails/tasks that still need to be actioned.
  2. The end of week check. Update “To Do” lists. Send “thank you” notes. List people who you are due to follow up with. Add to the reading pile (interesting articles, reports that have come in).
  3. The quarterly check. Review annual goals and progress against them. Adjust plans accordingly.
  4. The monthly contact update. Add to your “mailer lists”, “Holiday card list” etc. anyone new that you met this month.
  5. The monthly health check. Review exercise program and weight against targets. Adjust plan as necessary.
  6. The weekly calendar review. Ensure all important meetings are scheduled in. Look out for several weeks to ensure you are ready for upcoming meetings, travel etc. (take advantage of advanced travel pricing). Take advantage of any spare time in calendar.
  7. The annual goal setting. Review results from last year against goals. Set new targets for this year. Adjust plan based on lessons learned.
  8. The special events review (monthly perhaps). Ensure you are aware of upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, special days, for people in your life. Family, friends, colleagues, clients etc.
  9. The training review (twice yearly?). What training have you done? What do you need/want? What is available in the coming months? What do you need to do to get on the training?
  10. The Report Cycle. If you do a weekly/monthly/quarterly report for your boss then you want to build that into your routine.

How Do You Use This?

  1. Decide which routines work for you, maybe some or all of those I listed. Maybe some of your own.
  2. Create a calendar entry for each of them. Identify how long you will need. For example you might need 15 minutes for the daily check. Create a 15 minute meeting with yourself every workday (morning or evening to suit you.) Set the reminder feature to remind you 10 minutes ahead of time. Do the same thing for each of your routines throughout the year.
  3. Now remember that each of those meetings is important. You MUST have them, although it is OK to reschedule them when you need to.

You now have a system that will help you to be efficient. Work with it, add to it, adjust it to meet your own needs and enjoy the positive benefits of building conscious routines!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 28th, 2014

Working With Underperforming Salespeople

Selling quote from Robert Louis StevensonSalespeople have a tough job. There is no hiding… they either sell or they don’t. They are either meeting their quota or not. It is black and white.

When a salesperson is not meeting their targets then the next best thing they can do is to demonstrate that they are doing the right things. Again… there is no hiding. Their numbers of calls, number of meetings and number of opportunities generated are all typically known to their manager.

“Winning is a habit. Unfortunately so is losing.” Vince Lombardi

A good sales manager will know what kind of activity will ultimately lead to closed business, and as long as the salesperson is doing the right things the sales manager will usually cut them some slack, with the expectation that results will come.

It gets a little trickier when the salesperson appears to be doing all of the right things, but is still not closing business. At this point the sales manager should try to understand why the results are not coming.

Here are a few things for a sales manager to look at when their salesperson is not delivering:

  1. Is the salesperson actually having the meetings that they say? Stranger things have happened!
  2. Are they meeting with the right kind of people? Some salespeople like to “call high” but if the buying decisions are not made at that level then the effort might be wasted.
  3. Are they meeting enough of the right people?
  4. Do they have a good agenda heading into those meetings? Business focused.
  5. Do they understand what those clients really want?
  6. Do they understand their position against competition?
  7. Do they ask for the business?
  8. Are they diversified in the industries, companies, maybe even geographies that they have tried?
  9. Alternatively are they focused enough to actually make a difference? Sometimes salespeople can be “all over the map” and not focused in on the clients where the business should be coming from.
  10. Do they understand the client’s needs, and present your company solutions in a credible way?

“For every sale you miss because you are too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you are not enthusiastic enough!” Zig Ziglar

If, after getting the answers to these questions there is hope for the salesperson, then there should be a plan to help them to be successful. This might involves classic sales training to help them better understand the sales cycle, it might be “role playing” to ensure that they are executing effectively; and it might mean “4 legged” calls with the sales manager so a better assessment can be made.

Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, and as with any employee it is better to understand that sooner rather than later!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 27th, 2014

Be Focused, Avoid Distractions!

Parable. Chase 2 rabbits, both will escape.I was riding my motorbike on the weekend and one of the aspects of riding that I like, is the total concentration required to stay out of trouble. The biker needs to not only be very aware of the bike and its surroundings, but also be vigilant for potential mistakes by other road users.

The car ahead of me was erratic in its road positioning, so I slowed down and gave it some extra room. It drifted onto the shoulder a little and I could see the driver doing something, other than driving. Fiddling with something on the dash and talking to the passenger. This carried on for a little while before I turned off onto another road.

This is NOT uncommon. I see it every day. People get distracted by their phones, their passengers, their radio or any number of other things.

At times like this I want to repeat my dad’s philosophy of driving, which he shared with me as often as he could. “Nothing else matters. When you are driving, do not be distracted by other people in the car, day dreaming or anything else. Stay alert and focused on what you are doing!”

Good advice, and many years ahead of the introduction of cellular technology, smart phones and any other technology distraction that modern day drivers utilize.

“Your results are the product of either personal focus or personal distractions. The choice is yours.” John Di Lemme

The advice goes well beyond just driving a car. There a whole host of reasons why a lack of focus will impact you in your job. Here are just 10 of them:

  1. If you are distracted from your primary task, then you are not going to perform at your best.
  2. If you focus on something else, then you might miss something critical related to your primary task.
  3. If distracted you may not actually do your job, the way it is supposed to be done.
  4. Distractions will undermine your credibility.
  5. Lack of focus will leave you unhappy with your own performance.
  6. The impact of not being focused on your job may mean that you disappoint a colleague.
  7. Even worse you might disappoint a client.
  8. Almost certainly the resultant lack of performance will mean you disappoint your boss.
  9. Your lowered productivity may mean you need to work more hours to get your work done.
  10. If cuts are needed it will often be the least productive that go first.

“Work is hard, distractions are plentiful and time is short.” Adam Hochschild.

You are at your most productive when you are totally focused on the task at hand, not distracted by anything around you and able to give your full attention to completing your work.

Alternatively, trying to be productive is difficult while flitting between web sites to check the news, the weather, your stocks and the latest sports results. It is also difficult to work when people wander into your office and interrupt while you are in the middle of writing a report, working on a spreadsheet or laying out a plan.

Focus when driving is critical, because the alternative can kill people.

Focus at work should be critical for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly if you want to be your best.

“Always remember your focus determines your reality.” George Lucas

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 24th, 2014

10 Tips For Surviving Networking Events

Mary Kay quote make people feel importantThe very idea of networking can send some people into a cold sweat. As the event approaches they are dreading it. They try to think of reasons not to go. When they do go they will seek out someone, anyone, hopefully that they know already but worst case someone just like them… and hide in a corner with them for the event.

I recently read an article that tried to change the perspective on networking, from that “meet a bunch of strangers and make small talk” type of event, to a “relationship building” event. The premise being that finding and engaging interesting people is very different than small talk with a bunch of people that are of no interest to you.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Dale Carnegie

It makes a lot of sense, and anything that can take a little of the fear out of “networking” is a good thing. Here are some thoughts I have about networking:

  1. Be interested in other people… VERY often you will be pleasantly surprised. As opposed to feigning interest, or going through the motions.
  2. Remember that everyone you know (barring family) you had to meet for the first time.
  3. Everyone at a networking event has something interesting to tell.
  4. Think about the other people… not about yourself.
  5. Ask lots of questions. Prepare a few in your head before you go. “Do you come here often?” is a little lame. “What do you like about these events?” might create more conversation.
  6. Know that everyone, even the most comfortable networkers, has that same fear to varying degrees.
  7. It does not take much to break the ice… a smile, a kind word, a thoughtful question.
  8. If you are at some kind of networking event then you already have something in common with everyone else there… it is relatively easy to have a conversation with people who something in common.
  9. Set yourself a goal to meet some number (give yourself a target) of new people when you are heading to such an event. Get others to introduce you; make sure to talk to people you sit with; find people standing on their own (they are likely feeling uncomfortable); circulate and find opportunities to talk.
  10. Take a deep breath and go for it, you might just meet your next best friend or even a future partner! The risk is small, the potential is huge!

“Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you” Rasheed Ogunlaru

Like most things in life a little preparation helps. Think about your strategy before you go (read something like these 10 tips at a minimum), think of some questions to ask people, set yourself some goals and then jump in the deep end… it really isn’t so bad!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 23rd, 2014

Feeling Low Energy? 10 Tips To Stay Sharp

The serenity prayerWe all hit those low energy periods from time to time. It might be because there is a sustained period of pressure at work, it might be because of stress at work or at home, it just might be because it has been a while since we took some time off. It could be too much business travel, long hours, hotel beds and restaurant meals. Whatever the reason, we all need to recharge the batteries from time to time.

Conventional wisdom says that we cannot be at our most productive when we are tired and stressed, so we need to find ways to look after ourselves in order to be productive. That requires taking care of both body and mind.

Here are 10 tips for you to ponder:

  1. Plan your vacation time. Don’t wait till the end of your year and cram in some time off. Try to take at least one longer vacation, a week or ten days at minimum. “A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” Earl Wilson
  2. Know what works for you to relax… sitting on a beach is heaven for some, torture for others! Some people need to climb mountains, run marathons or get in a boxing ring!
  3. Take mini breaks through the year… doing the things that make you feel good. A few long weekends sprinkled through the year, the occasional day off to do something for you.
  4. Have interests outside of work. It should be personalized and does not have to be all consuming, just something that you can focus on other than work.
  5. Look after your health. Try to be moderate in your drinking and eating, and find time to work out. “The greatest wealth is health.” Virgil
  6. Make time in the day when you can think, rather than do.
  7. Develop great time management skills… to help reduce your stress.
  8. Laugh, it is nature’s medicine! “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh
  9. Invest in friendships.
  10. Set goals. Having a sense of where you are going is far less stressful than going with the flow.

None of us live in a perfect world, and perhaps at this point in your life some of these things are not possible. Do what you can do to keep your energy levels up and don’t beat yourself up about things you can’t control.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 22nd, 2014

Client Meetings Are NOT Social Events

Effective Meetings quooteSalespeople are paid to generate business for their company.

A big part of establishing credibility and earning the right to be a supplier comes from a relationship that develops between the client and the supplier. People like to do business with people that they like. People do NOT like to do business with jerks.

One of the mistakes that many salespeople make is to focus too much on the relationship. They will have meetings with clients where the majority, if not all of the conversation will be about personal “stuff”. It might be a common interest or current events, it might be about family or something of interest happening in the city. Both parties will enjoy the conversation, but no business interests are advanced. This is actually a waste of time for both people … and sometimes when a client looks back on such a meeting they will be reluctant to spend more time with that salesperson, because they can’t afford to waste their productive work time.

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” Zig Ziglar

The right thing for a salesperson to do is to focus the majority of a sales call on business, because that will best serve the interests of both the client and the salesperson. Yes there should be some “rapport building’ through some personal conversation but it should never dominate the meeting.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Abraham Lincoln.

Here is how I would make sure the meeting is productive:

Have a business goal (or several goals) for EVERY client meeting. Just some examples:

    1. Get an order;
    2. Get a referral;
    3. Understand a business issue;
    4. Understand future business opportunities;
    5. Understand the process of becoming a supplier.

 Use an agenda.

    1. Keep it simple;
    2. Align it with your time constraints;
    3. Share it with the client, either ahead of time or at the meeting;
    4. Give the client input;
    5. Use it to demonstrate thoughtfulness about the meeting;
    6. Use it to demonstrate a desire to stay on time;
    7. Use it to ensure you reach your business objective;
    8. Use it to ensure no important topics are forgotten.

Experienced salespeople tend to have the agenda in their head after a while, which is deceiving to the new, junior people who think they should emulate their more experienced counterparts. Don’t take short cuts, especially if you are new to sales, new to a company or new to selling the product or service you represent. Be prepared, do the work!

Planning takes work. When clients see you come prepared then you build credibility. Building a relationship from a foundation of credibility will lead to more business. Spending whole business meetings talking about your favorite sports team is a waste of people’s time.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 20th, 2014

10 Reasons to Vote!

Municipal election 2014In a weeks time, voters across Ontario will elect their municipal candidates (Manitoba is later this week, PEI and BC vote in November).  Across Ontario there will be 2,800 council members plus 700 school board trustees elected.

These people have a big impact on all of us … as an example here are the general responsibilities of municipal government:

  • water
  • sewage,
  • waste collection,
  • public transit,
  • land use planning,
  • libraries,
  • emergency services,
  • animal control, and
  • economic development.

So if you have an opinion about any of these services, the transit system, economic development in your area, waste collection or how your municipality is dealing with developers … then you need to vote.  If you don’t like what your mayor and council are doing then vote for change.  If you think your elected representatives are doing a GREAT job you still need to vote, because someone else might not like what they are doing and vote them out!

Here are 10 reasons why YOU need to get out and vote:

  1. This is a privilege of our democracy that people in other parts of the world would love to have;
  2. This is a privilege of our democracy that our parents and grandparents fought and died to preserve;
  3. This is your chance to influence the government that affects you;
  4. If you are reading this then likely you are intelligent, we NEED intelligent people voting;
  5. If the wrong people are elected they might spend YOUR money unwisely;
  6. The wrong people elected might represent YOU and YOUR municipality in a way you do not want to be represented;
  7. Voter turnout in Canada is low, Municipal elections are the lowest (in a 2004 Calgary election voter turnout was 18%!) … don’t let a few voters decide the fate of your municipality;
  8. If you have been embarrassed by your elected officials, vote for change;
  9. If you think your elected officials could do a better job, send a message with your vote;
  10. If you want to set an example for the future generations, then demonstrate that democracy is a good thing by voting.

There are probably 100 good reasons to vote, but hopefully the 10 I mention make you think.

Understand the issues in your municipality.

Understand what the candidates offer.

Vote with your head, and be a part of Canada’s democratic process.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 17th, 2014

Canadian Job Market Review for Third Quarter 2014

Newspaper jobs sectionGeneral Observations:

At the end of the third quarter in 2014 it would be hard to suggest that this has been a banner year for Canada’s economy. There have been plenty of bumps along the way although we have thus far been lucky to avoid natural disasters such as the Alberta floods last year.

When writing this market review, I use a number of “indicators” and try to factor in Eagle’s own experiences, as one of Canada’s larger professional staffing companies. The intent is to give the reader a view “from the trenches” to support the bigger picture view from the statisticians. This may be used by job seekers to understand at a high level where the opportunities might be, and for potential employers wondering if they will be facing skills shortages.

The employment situation did improve this quarter over last, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6.8%, from 7.1% at the end of Q2. In the last 12 months Canada has added 150,000 jobs which is 78,000 more than could have been said at the end of Q2 (for the previous 12 months).

TSX One of the indicators that I use to gauge the state of the Canadian economy, and hence job market, is the TSX. All of the markets have been volatile for some time, with a general trend upwards. At the end of Q3, the TSX was at a high of 15,500 which was up 500 points since the end of Q2, when it was already high. Since then, however, we have seen the markets retract somewhat. As an indicator, it would suggest that companies listed on the TSX are generally healthy, which would suggest that they are hiring.

oil rigsCanada’s oil sector continues to face numerous problems. There is currently a surfeit of oil which has driven the price of a barrel down from the end of Q2 price of $108 to $85 a barrel at the end of Q3. Canada is keen to expand its market beyond the US; however, attempts to build pipelines are currently facing serious challenges both in the US and here in Canada, primarily on environmental grounds. Despite all of that, the oil patch enjoys low unemployment, good benefits and continues to be one of the better places to be looking for work.

Lots of paper moneyPerhaps a close second to the oil patch for employment opportunity is Canada’s financial sector, centered primarily in Toronto but with a healthy presence in Montreal. The highly competitive industry employs a huge number of people and seems to have an almost insatiable appetite for talent. Regulatory change, innovations in banking, technological advances and the need to address the retiring boomers are all reasons why the banks continue to hire.

Mobile antena. Communication conceptThe telecommunications sector is another very large sector that is always looking for talent. This is another very competitive environment, with a need to innovate and attract customers. The demands on their infrastructure, technology advancements, retiring boomers and expansion into new markets are all drivers of their need for people.

ConstructionThe construction industry is a great place to find work, both in the trades and in the head offices of the large companies. There are construction sites in most major cities with infrastructure projects, office towers and condo developments. There are also continued development in places like Fort MacMurray and the oil sands. To top the demand off, if you have ever tried to renovation project, small to medium sized repairs of just home alterations you will know how hard it is to find skilled tradespeople available.

Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments continue to struggle with cost containment; however, they are huge employers, and people with the right skills are always in demand. The downsizing is most often achieved through attrition and there is always work to be done. Regulatory change, policy development and general administrative needs dictate the need for a large and skilled workforce that receives competitive incomes and very attractive pensions and benefits.

The Canadian Staffing Index is an indicator of the strength of the largest provider of talent in any economy and an excellent barometer of the health of Canada’s economy. The index continues to show an economy that has tepid growth and the latest reading of 112 is down slightly from the same period last year (113) but up from Q2 reading of 108. Here at Eagle we saw a drop of 5% in candidates applying for jobs, and an equivalent drop in demand from our clients. This can be attributed to a seasonal trend accounting for the summer holiday period. We do still see shortages of “in demand” skillsets, and a steady supply of candidates with skillsets in other areas.

More Specifically:

cn towerDemand in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is always fairly high, although we experience slightly less demand during the summer months. With the largest metropolitan area, the most head offices and the financial center for Canada, the GTA generates 60% of the talent demand here at Eagle. This is the city offering the best opportunities, and the hottest sectors would be the telecommunications sector, the financial sector, the insurance industry, the retail sector and the municipal and provincial governments. We don’t service the construction industry, but it too is a hot sector in the GTA (let’s not discuss the amount of road closures!).

The Saddledome in CalgaryCalgary is the “hub” for Western Canada as the capital of the oil patch. The city has the second largest number of head offices and, when coupled with the attractive tax situation in Alberta and the low unemployment rate in the province (4.4%), it is a popular destination for companies to set up in business, and hence to find employment. Saskatchewan enjoys the lowest unemployment rate of the Canadian provinces at 3.5% so it too is a great place to be looking for work.

Parliament building in OttawaEagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal and “the Maritimes”. Montreal continues to be fairly busy, particularly in the financial sector, the telcos and the construction industry. There is also some demand in St John’s, NFLD (population about 200,000), and in Halifax (approx. 400,000) but they are not big markets and the unemployment rate in the Eastern provinces is amongst the highest in Canada. The Federal Government in Ottawa continues to move ahead on some of its large initiatives, creating some demand, and this market is looking healthier for professionals than in some time.

The types of people that seem to be in constant demand from our clients have been fairly consistent. We see a consistent demand for Program Managers and Project Managers while Business Analysts are also always in demand. It might just be our focus, but Change Management and Organizational Excellence resources are in relatively high demand too. Big data, analytics and mobile expertise are specializations that we are seeing more and more. On the Finance and Accounting, side we see a consistent need for financial analysts, accountants with designations and public accounting experience plus controllers as a fairly consistent talent request. Technology experts with functional expertise in Health Care is another skill set that sees plenty of demand


So far 2014 has been very similar to 2013, with the unemployment rate slowly edging down in a two steps forward, one step backward kind of way. The stock market has done quite well, but the economy has not followed, suggesting that there is still a lack of confidence which otherwise would have fuelled a boom. Government cost cutting, uncertainty in the oil patch and a general global malaise seem to restrain us here in Canada. The US economy has recovered faster this year and typically that has a positive effect on Canada’s economy so perhaps we will see a strong fourth quarter. The retirement “bubble” of baby boomers should start to be felt over the coming year, so that will create employment opportunities and advancement opportunities for job seekers.

We expect to see more skills shortages in our knowledge economy, partly fuelled by the boomers retiring, but also caused by our education system not turning out the right skill sets and the advancements in technology creating a shortage as the skills catch up.

The unemployment rate around 6.8%, (7.1% in Ontario) is better than it has been for more than 5 years, and if we can keep at the level or better, it will be a good sign for job seekers. However the employment rate for professionals is more like more 3.5% or 4%, which is very near to full employment. This means that professionals should be able to find work if they are willing to be flexible in their demands.

For those people willing to go where the work is, we see continued opportunity in the oil patch, with obvious demand in Fort McMurray and all areas related to the oil sands. The cities with higher talent demand include the GTA, Calgary, Regina, Montreal, Edmonton and to a lesser degree Winnipeg, Vancouver and Saskatoon. The industry sectors that have the most demand have not changed and include banking, insurance, construction, telecommunications and the sectors that serve those industries.

That was my quarterly look at the Canadian job market and some of its influences.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiterservice?

October 14th, 2014

Sales Conversations

Kevin on his new motorbike ... Kawasaki VaqueroI recently bought a new motorcycle, not the one I had intended to buy, but I am happy with my purchase and the fact that it was significantly less expensive than my intended purchase did not hurt.

I had intended to buy a Harley Davidson. It was an emotional decision based on the brand, my experience renting them and the fact that I could afford it. The problem began when I started to talk with the dealership. I was buying a demonstrator and had an expectation that a demonstrator would not be selling for the “list price” as a new vehicle. I had made a deposit, and when deciding to close the deal asked the question, “What are you going to do on the price, given that it’s a demo?” was given the answer “Nothing”.

I asked again, “The bike is a demonstrator with 500kms on it, surely you are not going to charge me full price?” The answer was “Yes”.

I was emotionally invested in buying the bike.

I had made a deposit.

I had sent very clear buying signals.

I ended up walking from the deal. (The bike is still for sale 3 months later).

The salesperson did not engage me in a conversation. She had no idea what I needed to close the deal. She did not try to explain their policy. She did not offer any kind of carrot.

If she had offered some discount on accessories, or clothing or service or… something, I would probably have gone ahead.

Conversations are wonderful things… you can actually understand what people are looking for, what their “hot buttons” are, when they are likely to buy, what pain points they have, why they are looking to buy, what else they might be interested in and all kinds of fairly relevant information that can help a salesperson to guide a buyer to actually buy.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

A picture of a man pulling an ass with the phrase when you assume you make an ass out of you and meYet too many salespeople ASSUME.

They will assume they know what you want and why you want it.

They will assume that if you are asking for a discount then you must NEED one.

They will assume that if you question a contract clause then it must be a problem for you.

They will assume that because one client baulked at a price, then all clients will react that way.

They will assume that because you are a senior person you won’t take time to meet with them.

They will assume ALL KINDS of things that make sense to THEM.

As salespeople we just don’t know what is important to a buyer until we have a conversation.

If the Harley salesperson had engaged me in a conversation instead of shutting me down she most likely would have got a sale.

“I was so sure that I knew what they needed and what I wanted to sell them that I never stopped long enough to find out what it was they wanted to buy.” Chris Murray

Ask questions… and listen! It is amazing what you might learn!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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