Open Letter to the NFL RE: Playoff Tickets

Dear NFL-

I don’t expect you to see this, nor care what your fans actually have to say. But you should be concerned that 3 of the 4 home playoff teams needed extensions in order to sell their playoff tickets- one town, Green Bay, being the supposed ‘mecca’ of the NFL.  If this hasn’t grabbed your attention, then it should.

As a fan and Seahawks season ticket holder, I would just like to make sure we’re all on the same page as to why.  You (NFL) seem to think it has to do with the “in game fan experience.”  I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit.  It has to do with the in-game costs associated.

Fans don’t want more loud music during timeouts. We certainly don’t want PA announcers to start sounding like they’re broadcasting an “And-1” basketball game like the NBA has done. We don’t need you to hand out little TVs so we can sit in the cold, but still see and hear it on TV.NFL Money Grab

What we need is an affordable way to experience being at the GAME, watching the GAME since we’re there for the GAME.  Not the other fluff and crap that you think “enhances” the experience. We don’t prefer to sit at home and watch because of the “experience.”  We choose to sit at home for the same reason that I chose to sell my tickets to the Vikings-Seahawks game, despite Percy Harvin making his one and only appearance of the season: $116 in overpriced tickets, $9 beers, $30-$40 parking, drunks using language that will guarantee I don’t bring my child to a game until they’re 16 and the horrendous traffic and poorly executed traffic logistics by the Seattle PD after the game. I guess part of that is the experience, but for me and, I’m guessing a lot of other people, the drunks and traffic would be more bearable if I wasn’t paying more than my car payment to go to a game.

The upcoming Seahawks home playoff game is a great example.  After shelling out over $200 for tickets that cost me $58/each during the regular season, I’ll drive down to CenturyLink Field and probably pay inflated prices for parking as well- I’m guessing around $40-$50.  Then I’ll have at least one beer – $9.  The game hasn’t even started yet and I’ve already dropped about $250.

Not to mention, I’m paying for tickets with money the team with which I’m going to support will never see. For a second, I thought that TV advertising revenue was pretty important to you since we have to suffer through extended TV timeout after TV timeout during the game.  But since you’re willing to blackout games that aren’t sold out, it can’t be that important.  Since that’s the case, let’s move to 30 seconds between change of possession and if you want to show a slideshow of pugs or puppies or drunk Raider fans doing something stupid, that would be acceptable.  Or you could just play a conintous loop of the monkey riding the dog from the Broncos halftime show during their game against the Patriots in 2011.  Now that was great halftime entertainment!

My point of all of this being…the NFL is so disconnected from their fan base that they continue to raise ticket prices, thinking that the demand curve will operate minus the “invisible hand” of the actual market.  Everyone has their “price” but the NFL thinks that fans have no ceiling.  We do.  You just went through it.

My advice. Cap player salaries.  Find ways to cut costs, but preserve the integrity and experience of the game.  Get rid of the new BS rules that slow the game down (that’s a whole other blog topic).  Either become publicly traded as a league or give each team the option to become publicly traded to raise more revenue as well as improve accountability.  Give the teams the money they deserve for selling tickets.  Stop blacking out games so people will actually be able to develop an affinity for their home team and want to go to games outside of the one time per year their new favorite team, the rival team, comes to town since they’ve been able to watch more of their games than the home team’s games.

Also, if you continue to force season ticket holders to pay for pre-season games either scrap the pre-season or count the money we just burned to watch practice toward the price of our playoff tickets.  If you’re the Browns, then nothing will change.  Your fans will still pay for meaningless pre-season games.  Again, another future blog topic.

It’s not rocket science.  It’s economics.  Simple economics…that even someone who did poorly in econ 101, like me, can understand.  I also understand that I have the right to choose not to pay the prices and to not go to the games.  And, this year more than years past, the reality of the cost hit me more despite being better off financially than in previous years.  The ROI on my season ticket investment is narrowing and I will be thinking long and hard about what to do about the 2014 season.  Pretty soon the stands will be filled with scarf-wearing, Audi-driving fans that don’t understand the game, have never played a down in their life, but are there because it’s the prestigious thing to do.

Sincerely,

Travis Scott

Seahawks Season Ticket Holder (2005-2009, 2011-Present) / Possible future Bengals Season Ticket Holder


Passive Aggressive Pervasion in Recruiting

Hug it out and play niceI don’t know if you could even call it passive aggressive or just plain aggressive, but I’ve seen a trend lately in blog posts by recruiters that are pretty negative. You can say I’m guilty of this as well based on my last post, but with a new year on the horizon, it’s time to put this behavior behind us. 

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on topics along the lines of “you’re a crappy recruiter if you do x, y and z” or “you may have gotten away with doing X a decade ago, but that doesn’t work now.”

Here’s my advice to those of you with easily bruised egos:  get over yourself.  Let’s face it, we’re in a profession that has a low barrier to entry given the fact that some agencies (not all mind you) will hire anyone with a pulse, pay them less than minimum wage and dangle the golden carrot of a huge commission in front of them.  Then turn them free with little to no training.  This breeds spamming and other unruly behaviors that make legitimate recruiters look bad.  I had the good luck of starting out at a small agency in which the principals of the company took the time and had the patience to teach me the right way to recruit.

But there’s no need to take it personally.  What we do isn’t rocket science, but it does take skill to be successful in the short and long run.  Until being a recruiter requires a medical or legal degree with $100K worth of student loans piled up, there will always be a lot of us – many of whom are either just learning the ropes or are just not very good at it. So keep that in mind and focus on being the best recruiter you can be and don’t worry yourself with what everyone else is doing.

In the meantime, here are some things that do work regardless of what year it is:

  1. Put in the time:  Recruiting and sourcing the right candidate takes time.  There’s no way around it.  If you don’t block off time each week for uninterrupted sourcing, you’re going to be wondering why your pipeline is as dry as the Atacama Desert.
  2. Persistence:  You’ve put in the time, now don’t be a one-and-done recruiter.  If you just spent hours searching for prospective candidates why would you send one email or leave one voicemail and never try again?  It usually takes 2-3, maybe more, contacts to finally get a reply.
  3. Build a Network and Stay Top of Mind:  This is a long-term strategy that people like to talk about but they usually aren’t very good at because it requires you to sometimes reply to people that…wait for it, wait for it….aren’t a match for anything you’re recruiting for today (more on this next). With a robust network that is organized and allows you to easily reach out to it over time, you will be able to hit the candidate who is having a bad day at work and is now looking for the first recruiter that comes to mind.  You’ll also have a nice trickle of referrals headed your way.
  4. Treat EVERY candidate the way you would like to be treated:  Think about the time, before you were such an awesome recruiter, that you were trying to get your foot in the door with a company or the profession that you actually got a degree in.  Remember that feeling when you would not get a response or you would get a brush off.  Yeah, so do I. It sucks.  So don’t be a dick. I reply to every email or LinkedIn message I get.  You never know what that person will be doing three years from now and you can guarantee they’ll remember the recruiter that took the time to reply with a nice message, maybe offering a nugget of advice that helped them improve their skills or job search strategy.
  5. Last, but not least- Don’t take yourself of what you do too seriously:  Again, what we do isn’t rocket science.  I can tell you from personal experience.  I got into recruiting, like most of us, by accident.  I was working with an agency in Denver as a marketing intern during grad school, helping them with their marketing strategy when they asked me if I’d like to take a stab at a VP role for a local mortgage company.  I took them up on it and, within a month, had my first hire.  My first hire was a VP-level candidate!  I did this with zero experience. So, it doesn’t take someone with an Albert Einstein IQ to do what we do, but it does take someone who is willing to do the first four bullets I mentioned to be successful in the long-run.

So, now that we’re on the same page, let’s hug it out, play nice and plan on 2014 being the year we put our egos on the shelf and help make each other better.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 


Recruiters, You’re Not Marketers

Enough with the latest craze among recruiters of wanting to say they are marketers.  Yes.  There is some degree of marketing involved.  But let’s face it and call recruiting what it is: sales.  You’re selling an opportunity for someone to advance their career (or make a lateral move with the hope of advancing their career in the near future). To be a successful recruiter you need to think more like a salesperson than a marketer.  Thinking like a marketer will only help a little in filling the top of the funnel with mostly active job seekers.

salespersonSales people fill the funnel with quality candidates, who have a mutually loyal professional relationship with their current employer- they don’t want to leave and their employer really doesn’t want them to leave.  A sales person is the one that is going to get them to listen to what you have to say.

Marketers spend a good portion of their time pouring over data, creating strategies and “go-to-market” plans.  They provide the sales team with insight, the guns to go to battle with, so to speak.  Recruiting Managers should be marketers.  Recruiters should be sales people.

Sales people know its a numbers game.  They do the digging to find the right people.  They add those people to a CRM or some kind of tracking mechanism to create efficiencies in managing their large pool of prospects.  They send out the email.  They follow up with another email or call when someone is not responding.  They should be reaching out to a prospect multiple times before moving on and then they should earmark that person to be contacted again 3-6 months down the line.  Recruiting, like sales, is about persistence and timing and usually persistence helps you nail the timing.  All you have to do is find a buyer (or candidate in this situation) at the time that they have a need or want.

As a sales person and recruiter, you realize that you will send out 100 emails and only 5-10 will reply with interest.  Of those 5-10, only 3-5 will make the cut after your initial call.  Of those 3-5, only 1-2 will likely make it out of the next round and ultimately, you’ll be lucky if 1 of the 2-3 that interviewed onsite gets an offer.

You can obviously have better ratios than this, depending on the type of role you’re recruiting for, but the fact of the matter is, not everyone you contact at the time you contact them will be in a position to “buy.”  Those people are responding to the job postings and other mass campaigns that your recruitment marketing team has put together to help build leads.  When marketers call people, its usually to get feedback on processes and the message or to conduct a survey.  Again…it all goes back to building and analyzing data to create the tools and strategy needed to help provide your sales team (aka recruiters) with more leads and targets.

I know all of this because I’ve been a recruiter for nearly a decade and have broken that up with a couple of sales stints here and there.  Plus I have a MBA in Marketing and run a freelance marketing consulting firm in my free time.  I understand the difference between sales and marketing and it bugs me when people can’t distinguish the two.

Again, don’t get me wrong, there is a marketing element to recruiting.  There’s no question about that, but I think staffing organizations are thinking about it wrong.  At least at the corporate level. So recruiters, stop thinking that you’re marketers and get back to selling and managers, you better start thinking that you’re marketers and develop recruiting strategies, campaigns and pour over the data that will help your sales team, errr recruiters, land more deals, errr hires.  If you’re a recruiting manager and you don’t have the time or expertise to do something like this, then you probably shouldn’t be a recruiting manager, but you can also hire a marketing person or small team to do this for you.

This is my personal view and I’d love to hear your feedback on this topic. I welcome you to prove me wrong.  Constructive feedback is one of the best teachers, almost as good as failing at something and not giving up.


Adventures in Home Brewing: Chipotle Brown Ale

 

I’ve recently begun brewing beer and brewed my second batch on November 24th.  I couldn’t decide what to brew so I put it up for a vote across my social networks and brown ale just edged out IPA, so I decided to brew a Chipotle Brown Ale.

partial grain mini mash tun

Partial Grain Mini Mash Tun

I’m about to graduate to all-grain brewing but have started with partial grain recipes.  While my all grain mash tun is being outfitted with a custom-fit false bottom I created a mini-mash tun for this and future partial mash brewing.  To do this I used a 2-gallon cooler and built a custom spigot with a ball valve to control flow.

Recipe:

Grain/Malt

1 lb – Pale Two-Row

1 lb – Maris Otter

0.5 lbs – Chocolate

0.5 lbs – Crystal 60

Extract

7 lbs Light Ale LME

Hops

- Willamette (0.25 oz First Wort Hopped)

- Amarillo (0.25 oz First Wort Hopped)

Willamette Hops

Measuring Out the Willamette Hops

- Warrior (0.50 oz for 90 mins)

- Willamette (0.25 oz final minute)

- Amarillo (0.25 oz final minute)

- Amarillo (1.0 oz flame out)

Other Ingredients:

1 – Whirlfloc tablet (15 minutes)

4 – dried chipotle peppers, stems and seeds removed (1 minute)

1/2 tsp – Yeast Nutrient (1 minute)

Yeast

Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Mash Schedule

Saccharification Rest 152ºF 60 minutes

First Wort Hopping

Hops added to the first wort, pre-boil

 

Immediately following the boil, I added a wort chiller to quickly lower the temperature of the wort about 65ºF or lower.  I had decided that I was not going to do a secondary fermentation so I had transferred the cooled wort into a glass carboy for primary fermentation because I wanted to watch the yeast do it’s thing.

My plans quickly changed when my rubber stopper, still wet with sanitizer, slipped completely through the carboy opening and into the wort.  The only thing I could do was transfer the wort to my plastic primary fermenter and try to fish out the stopper later.

The only problem was that I had already pitched the yeast and I have a feeling that transferring the wort after the yeast was already pitched may have impacted the fermentation since I had a lower than expected final gravity reading following a week of fermentation.

Fermentation in the primary took about 5 days and the following weekend I transferred the fermented wort into the glass carboy for secondary fermentation. In hindsight, this was probably a good thing since it will probably help the flavors to become more pronounced- especially the chipotle flavor.

The beer has now been in the secondary fermenter for about two weeks and I plan to transfer it into a 5-gallon cornelius keg in the next few days.  This will be my first time kegging, so I’m sure it will be an adventure unto itself.  Stay tuned to find out how that goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Why Job Descriptions and Titles Matter 8

I’m not gonna lie.  I enjoy having a name like Microsoft behind the jobs I recruit for.  That, in and of itself, is great for getting people’s attention and even driving passive candidates to our career website to apply.

 

However, not every recruiter out there hires people for Microsoft or Facebook or Apple.  I’m guessing a lot of you work for small companies and even startups who are just trying to make a name for themselves.  Which, the fastest way to do this is to hire super motivated, super smart people.  Notice I mentioned motivated above smart (that’s a whole other topic).

 

Before I get off-topic, I’ll try to finish this thought….

 

A lot of times I think recruiters and hiring managers think of job descriptions and titles as an after-thought or just something we have to do before we can start hunting for candidates.  However, if you take the time to formulate an attractive job description and title you can save yourself a TON of time on the back-end by actually attracting the targeted talent you are looking for versus the time-consuming task of sourcing through sources like job boards and LinkedIn.

 

Your job description is an ad.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Your title is the first thing that prospects see.  You NEED to get their attention.  As a recruiter, you need to look at this as your advertising, your hook that is going to peak the right person’s interest and then move them to apply.

 

The first paragraph of the job description should get to the point and tell the prospect why they should apply; why your company, this group and this job is a great opportunity for them to further their career.

 

If you don’t nail this first paragraph, they’ll probably move on.  Its like any other form of internet collateral.  You have 10 seconds or less to make your point and get them to either read more or move to the next desired step.

 

Another topic that I will discuss in more depth in another post is making sure that you can collect, analyze and measure the data around your postings.  You should have an analytics system of some kind built into the page/site that hosts your job descriptions.  It is important for you to know what is going on with that posting besides just how many applicants you receive.  You can make much better decisions about the effectiveness of your posting when you know how many times it has been viewed and measure that against applicants to begin to establish a benchmark for measuring the future success of your job postings.

 

Honestly, I’m tired of hearing people talk about all of the tricks to boolean searches and internet sourcing.  That’s time consuming.  Attract the right talent from the beginning and save yourself and your organization some time.  In this economy, individual recruiters are now handling the workload of 2-3 recruiters so it’s important that you work smarter, not harder.  Approach your recruiting strategy with a marketing strategy and it will pay off in the long run.