Previous month:
March 2006
Next month:
May 2006

Rick Born And RBA Consulting

A small update on Rick Born and his venture back into the information technology consulting market here in the Twin Cities. I had this post back in December, Welcome Back Rick Born, linking the Star Tribune story but they do not archive their pages for very long and I did not take any quotes from the story.


I hear that there is a billboard out on Hwy 494 in the west suburbs advertising the new consulting firm. The new name is RBA Consulting and this is the web site, RBA Consulting.

ePrecis, A Better Search Engine Than Google?

In the April edition of Twin Cities Business is a story on page 42 titled “The Google Stalker”. Unfortunately Twin Cities Business does not post their content online or I would link it here.


This is a story of a Minnesota man named Arnie Schultz and it starts in the 1960’s at the University of Minnesota where he was a student. He got a job at the medical school to “electronically index complex medical abstracts alphabetically and by category.”


This was his entry into a lifetime of “assigning numerical weight to every word in the English language in order to perform more useful, contextually correct electronic text searches and summaries.”


This work has resulted in a software program and now search engine called ePrecis.


The article goes into how the software works but essentially instead of searching for words or phrases words are assigned numerical weight and context. It’s much more complicated than that, I really wish this article were online, as I cannot adequately describe how it works.


ePrecis was written about in a post on ZDNet ePrecis - next generation search and at Online Marketing Blog, ePrecis an impressive search tool.


A group of Minnesota investors at a local incubator ZH Computer own ePrecis. According to the article ZH Computer is in discussions with Google, Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and West Publishing to work on licensing agreements.


I am going to send this post on to my friends at I started using this instead of Google last week as I have found long word searches are more reliable than on Google. I am curious what my colleagues think.

Federal Reserve Beige Book Released, Good Employment News

Today the Fed released their latest Beige Book. Last time I did one of these posts I was asked what the Beige Book is. My response was the latest report on local and national economic activity.


For a more academic definition, try this:

The Beige Book is released two weeks prior to each FOMC meeting eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its district through reports from bank and branch directors and interviews with key businessmen, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by district and sector.


From the 9th District-Minneapolis Summary:

The Ninth District economy grew at a solid pace since the last report. Increases in activity were noted in consumer spending, manufacturing, tourism, mining, agriculture, construction, and commercial real estate. Meanwhile, residential real estate softened. Overall employment levels and wages increased modestly. Significant price increases were noted in gasoline and some construction materials.


On Employment, Wages and Prices:

Overall employment levels increased modestly since the last report. According to a survey of Minneapolis-St. Paul companies by a temporary staffing agency, 29 percent of respondents expect to increase staffing levels during the second quarter, while 9 percent expect decreases. Montana bank directors reported tight labor market conditions in many areas. March initial claims for unemployment insurance were flat from a year ago in Minnesota.


From the National Summary:

Reports from all twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that economic activity continued to expand in March and the first half of April. Three Districts--Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco--characterize growth as "solid," while a number of others describe the rate of economic activity as "modest," "moderate," or "steady." Richmond notes a quicker pace of growth, and Dallas indicates that activity continued to strengthen. By contrast, New York says the rate of growth may have slipped a bit since the last report.


On Prices and Wages:

District reports from Boston, New York, Richmond, Kansas City, and Dallas say that labor markets are tightening, especially for skilled positions. Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Atlanta indicate that labor markets remain tight in at least some parts of their Districts. Contacts in Atlanta, Richmond, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Dallas state that truck drivers are in short supply. Wages continue to move up, but only a few Districts--New York, Dallas, and Kansas City--mention a pickup in the pace of raises, while Philadelphia cites firms more often paying in the high end of salary ranges. Richmond reports no pickup, but a continuation of "brisk" wage increases in services. Boston says manufacturing wage increases are in the same range as last year, Chicago cites a steady pace of labor cost increases, and Cleveland notes no reports of accumulating wage pressure, while Minneapolis and San Francisco mention moderate overall wage increases.

Happy Equal Pay Day

This may not be a news flash but MN Headhunter, me, I am a dude. I know the picture in the upper left corner of me holding a fish last fall is probably a give away but just in case you are using an RSS feed or are receiving this in some other form.


I am not sure that I have ever once worried about my pay in relation to my gender. I am not sure that in my years of being an I.T. Recruiter I have ever seen evidence of a woman making less than a man.


Maybe I have been naïve…


I was sent this article Now It’s Time For Women To Get Even (Washington Post) from a friend of mines wife who works in a mid-size, family owned company in Minneapolis. Turns out the first line female managers and under have been talking about a potential unfair pay situation based on gender.


I have to admit, I know very little on this subject and now knowing feel compelled to look more into it.


The article starts with this:

Tuesday marks a very special day: It's Equal Pay Day. Why Tuesday, you ask? Because that's how far into the year the average woman must work to earn as much as a man earned by the end of the previous year.


And this just infuriates me, I heard it was less but this much?:

It is 2006, and as has been true for about a decade, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar men make.


A response to the reasoning behind it:

So let's just get this straight right now, says Murphy: That 23-cent differential is not because some women take time off to give birth or raise children. The pay-gap figure measures only women and men who work full time, for a full year. It does not include women who took time off during the year or worked part time.


The article uses the State of Minnesota as an example of unfair pay in the 1980’s and how it was resolved:

As a result, 8,500 employees received pay equity raises. In 2002, according to Murphy, women who worked for the state earned about 97 cents for every dollar men made.


So I hope in some small way I am doing my part. I could care less what race, gender, creed or whatever separates us as people. As long as they do what is expected pay and treat them well.


Check out the Wage Project web site for more information.

Time For The Spring Evaluation

Three times a year, December, April and August, I come up for air from the daily grind of the recruiting game and look for an idea, a technique, a thing that I can incorporate into my daily routine.


I am going through all of the newsletters I have not fully read and links to web sites I “meant to get to”. I did not come up with any earth shattering ideas yet but I did find the following articles from Net-Temps that have me thinking for one reason or another.


Staying On the Phone When You Don't Want To


23 Ways a Researcher Will Help You Make More Placements in Less Time


All It Takes: Twelve Good Calls a Year


Low Cost Marketing Ideas


Low Cost Marketing Ideas


Recruiter's Nightmare: The Job Description


Ten Ways to Attract More Business


What Raising a Teenager and Running an Organization Have in Common

Ernst And Young Recognizes Local Entrepreneurs

Ernst & Young has announced the 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year nominees. This is E&Y’s 20th year of recognizing entrepreneurs. The awards dinner for the Minnesota and Dakotas region will be held June 6, 2006 at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center.


This years nominees for Minnesota and Dakotas are:


Bahram Akradi, Life Time Fitness, Inc.

Albert T. Annexstad, Federated Insurance Companies

J. Hayes Batson, Regency Beauty Institute

Mark Buller, Norcraft Companies, L.L.C.

Dr. James Carlson, PRACS Institute, Ltd.

John Folkestad, SALO, LLC

Ashish Gadnis, Forward Hindsight Inc.

Mark S. Gorder, Intricon Corporation

Tricia Hamrin, UpFront Productions, Inc.

Chris Hamrin, UpFront Productions, Inc.

Ken Johnson, CMS Direct

Jeff Kiesel, Restaurant Technologies, Inc.

Jill Kolling, Forward Hindsight Inc.

Amy Langer, SALO, LLC

Lonnie Moulder, MGI Pharma, Inc.

Paul Plooster, Restaurant Technologies, Inc.

Quintin Rubald, Summit Fire Protection

Erik Saltvold, Erik's Bike Shop

Brett Shockley, Spanlink Communications, Inc.

Aaron Weber,, LLC

Ryan Weber,, LLC

Robert John Weber,, LLC

Minnesota Career Resources

What follows is a list of resources I put together for the 2005-2006 job search and networking seminars for the college students.


Most of the sites listed can be used just as well for experienced professionals.


General resources:

Quintessential Careers, Email templates, phone scripts, job search tips, networking tools, contact logs

Networking for Professionals, Creating an elevator pitch

Minnesota WorkForce Centers


Local trade, networking, association sites:

MBBNet, Biomedical and bioscience

LifeScience Alley, Life sciences

Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association, Web-based marketing, design, publishing, development and promotion

Public Relations Society of America, Minnesota, Public relations

Twin Cities Human Resource Association, Human resources

NetSuds, Technology and venture capital

MedSuds, Med-tech, Bio-tech, life sciences

Ad Fed, Advertising, marketing, public relations

Minnesota Information Professional Society, Information technology

AIGA, American Institute of Graphic Arts Minnesota, Graphic Arts

American Marketing Association, Minnesota, Marketing

Minnesota High Tech Association, Technology

Minnesota Telecommunications Association, Telecommunications

Midwest Direct Marketing Association, Marketing


Blogs:, job search tips, resume help, find out what hiring managers are thinking

MN Headhunter



United Way Twin Cities

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits


Job Aggregators:

Fetchster, a Minnesota only site


Simply Hired


Local Publications, Daily and Weekly:

Star Tribune

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Finance & Commerce

Business Journal, Minneapolis and St. Paul


Local Publications, Monthly:


Twin Cities Business

Minnesota Business


Researching companies:

Business Wire

PR Newswire

PR Web



Social Networking Sites:




Salaries:, Salary


Economic and Employment Statistics:

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)


College sites:

St. Thomas University Career Center

Hamline University Career Center

St. Cloud State Career Center


College Job Fairs:

Private School Job Fair, 2006

MnSCU Job Fair, 2006

University of Minnesota Job Fair, 2006


College Portals:


College Grad


U.S. Job Banks:

Americas Job Bank

Hot Jobs


Craigs List


Minnesota Job Banks:

Minnesota's Job Bank


Job Dig

Minnesota Job Network

Jobs in Minneapolis

Job in St. Paul

Twin Cities Employment Guide

Networking, Give Back and Stay In Touch

Back in March I accepted an invitation to speak to two leadership programs at the University of Minnesota, Tom Burnett Advanced Leadership Program and LeaderQuest.

The first program is named after Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. one of the heroes on United Flight 93. Tom was a graduate of the University of Minnesota. The program is made up mostly of graduating seniors. In this case most of the students are heading to graduate school or have already accepted their first job after graduation.

LeaderQuest is made up of sophomores and juniors.

Our topic was networking with some job search tips sprinkled in. We had about 90 minutes and covered a lot of ground.

Prior to the event I had asked what they wanted to know. I was pleasantly surprised with one of the questions, "How do you show appreciation to someone who has helped you, been a mentor to you".

I had a few responses (these are universal whether you are in college or in the workplace for 20 years):

-A simple thank you always covers it.

-Ask the mentor how you can be of help to what they do professionally. (You may not be able to but ask)

-I have learned that most people who volunteer or mentor do so in multiple places at the same time. Ask if you can volunteer with them or if there is a group they know that can use you.

-When you have the chance, do the same for someone else that was done for you.

-Stay I touch once or twice a year. Send a card, an email, something with an update.

There are others that I had but these are the five that are the most important.

Especially the last two.

One day, give a hand to someone like it was given to you and stay in touch. If a bond was formed it will last well into the future.

BlogBurst Adds MN Headhunter

Pluck Corp. has started a service called BlogBurst which will service newspaper publishers with content from 600+ bloggers. I am happy to say I have received and accepted an invitation from them.

This is exciting for a local/regional blogger like myself. As they add newspapers a little closer to home and technology publications my content will be available to a much wider audience.

So far BlogBurst has signed up the following publishers:

Gannett Co.

Washington Post

San Francisco Chronicle

Austin American-Statesman

San Antonio Express

Going To A Link Swap

Not quite a flea market. Not like going to a dance (or a Geek Prom). Heck, I am not even going anywhere.

This week my friend Jim Durbin at has proposed an idea to help blog writers gain some search engine credibility and do a "link swap". If I understand it correctly it would be one posting with links to a set of blogs. Not sure of the number but it could be 20, 30 or more.

He has been challenged (probably too strong a word) by some and I am paraphrasing some of the comments I have seen.

First, I do not see anything wrong with supporting a group of bloggers that regularly visit a community portal. For me this is a team game and if my support helps others and their support helps me, I am in.

Second, one comment was made good content brings links and traffic. I agree with that for the most part but the blog world in the macro sense and the recruiting blog world in a micro sense is getting crowded. I find it hard to believe that all of the good content is really getting noticed.

Third, it has been suggested that linking to a blog is a sign of approval. I agree with that. It has also been suggested (and I could have taken this the wrong way) that not linking to other blogs is sign that they do not have interesting content. I do not agree with that.

I can understand that for the heavy hitters who have been around a while they probably are asked all the time to add another blog. I am sure that is annoying and I am sure that some of the sites are not producing good content but if I read the quote correctly no link, no interesting content.

Hmmm, I would like to see what the criteria is for good content.

This is starting to turn into a rant and that was not my intent.

I think this is a good way for some of the new folks to the blog world to get some attention. I am coming up on my first year of blogging, I wonder if I am still a newbie?

Here is what I have learned about writing a blog specific to a region of the country. Because the content is written for Minnesota and more specific to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul much of my blog is written off at first by those on the coasts. Yet most of my email comes from those on the coasts as they are finding useful information.

Maybe I should have called it Midwest Headhunter. Or better yet I should have stepped up to the challenge of the Canadian Headhunter and represented the Stars and Stripes.

Eh, I'll stick with carving out my own little niche here in Minneapolis…

5th Annual Geek Prom

A big event is happening this weekend and highlighted in this story, At this prom, the geeks are the cool kids.

That’s right, the 5th Annual Geek Prom will be held this weekend at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Complete with admission set at different levels: Terabyte, Gigabyte, and Megabyte.

From the article:

Attendees wearing taped-up glasses, Klingon battle garb, marching-band uniforms and old, appallingly out-of-style promwear will get to engage in grand acts of geekiness, such as playing video games on one of the museum's giant movie screens and posing for prom photos inside the mouth of a T-Rex.


So what is a geek, exactly? Typical prom attendees can be a bit hard to define, Lundgren admits. But their behavior, in many cases, will give them away: Some may engage in impromptu prom-floor "Dungeons & Dragons" sessions (something they could do anywhere) or carry their escorts with them ("Inflatable, cardboard or otherwise inanimate dates will be admitted at no charge," the museum says.)

Inflatable dates, I am not going to go there.

More information on the group can found at the Geek Prom web site.

Recipe For A College Recruiting Plan

Whew, I have been waiting so patiently in recent days to do this post. Kind of like the feeling when the microwave is still at 15 seconds and counting down. You know you need to wait but it is hard not to pull on that handle.

Since the first of the year I have had quite a few inquiries on students and the college hiring market. I may see college students 1-3 times a week but I know more about their socializing, relationships, academic work and leadership ability than how to hire them.

OK, I may be an “expert” on how to relate to them and I may have an idea how corporations can recruit them but I know where the expert is and have been reading his last 14 posts to feel comfortable sending everyone his way.

If you want to know how to get the attention of and one-day hire the best of today’s college students go see the 14 post series How to Create a Successful College Recruiting Program written by Steve Rothberg at Right now. You can stop reading this post. In fact, I am going to stop writing this entry. In the coming weeks I may have some ideas to add in some entries of my own but Steve has all the information you need.

Pretty Women Effect Men

This comes from the UK and yeah I know this does not directly relate to being a recruiter although in some twisted way it certainly may impact the hiring process.

I have been looking for some information on interview styles, who does them better men or women, does age of the interviewer matter, and came across this story from the BBC, Sex cues ruin men's decisiveness. Oh, and I am doing this as a favor for a client who is curious to see if it matters.

Here is the opening to the story:

Catching sight of a pretty woman really is enough to throw a man's decision-making skills into disarray, a study suggests.

No kidding. Look, it should not be this way but I believe most men, I of course am not one of them, are just a step above “cave man” status. Men, myself included, are fairly simple creatures so this study should not shock us. Although, it is nice to be able to note a study even if the measurement of testosterone is suspect.

Here are a few more quotes:

The suggestion is that the sexual cues distract the men's thoughts, preventing them from focusing on their task - particularly among those with high natural testosterone levels.


The men's performance in the tests showed those who had been exposed to the "sexual cues" were more likely to accept an unfair offer than those who were not.


The men's testosterone levels were also tested - by comparing the length of the men's index finger compared to their ring finger.

If the ring finger is longest, it indicates a high testosterone level.

I can just imagine all of the guys looking at their hand right now…

Finally, once again women are proven to be more evolved than us guys:

The researchers are conducting similar tests with women. But so far, they have failed to find a visual stimulus which will affect their behaviour.

Cyberstates 2006 Released, High Tech Employment And Exports See Increases

Today the AeA released its 9th annual report Cyberstates 2006: A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry. If you are a member the survey costs $95. If not, $195.

Some of the Minnesota highlights:

-Technology products exported 2004, $5.1 billion.

-Technology products exported 2005, $6.1 billion.

-#1 in the Midwest.

-#7 in the U.S.

-2004 high tech jobs, 125,400. An increase of 400.

-Average annual wage, $67,300.

Some of the national highlights:

-U.S. high-tech employment totaled 5.6 million in 2005, up by 61,100, or by one percent.

-California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Virginia led the nation in high tech employment in 2004.

-U.S. high-tech exports totaled $199 billion in 2005, up by four percent.

Good news for the national employment numbers as 2002 – 2004 saw declines.