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August 2006

What Is More Hot Than The Weather?

Well the Minnesota Twins of course. I normally start following baseball around the All-Star game. Around August 1st I start paying attention to the standings.

   

When I am at home in the evening and getting some work done I usually put the game on mute and turn Yahoo! Music on. That way I can get more done but look up often enough to see the game progress. I do miss a few of the big plays but the evening news takes care of that.

   

But with the move the Twins have made this month I have caught the bug a little early. And no I am not a bandwagon kind of person, although I have not seen a game on person since ’04. I am a casual fan and like to see the local team do well.

   

Particularly this team.

   

There is something refreshing to see a young team come together. To watch minor league players come up to fill in for the injured starters and do well. This feels a lot like the ’87 season when players like Puckett and Hrbek made it to the major leagues after playing together for years in the minors.

   

I will start reading Aaron Gleeman more regularly to get the inside scoop on the team. He has a lot of information today (like most days) including Matt Garza.

   

This post was written during the late innings of the game. Our local TV announcers continually pointed out how much the crowd has been in the game. 2-2 in to the 10th and Rincon gave up a run.

   

Twins lose 3-2. Too bad but they played another great game. 45,000 fans saw Francisco Liriano pitch into the 8th inning in another great performance. Tomorrow we see Brad Radke take the mound and Sunday we get Johan Santana. Maybe a trip to the Metrodome for a game is in order on this hot weekend.

   

Some quick stats:

    

The Twins started 25-33. 34-9 since then. They have won 11/13 series with 8 sweeps.


Minneapolis Recruiter Incorporates New IT Search Firm, Nerd Search LLC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

   

Minneapolis Recruiter Incorporates New IT Search Firm, Nerd Search LLC

   

Minneapolis, Minnesota (July 28, 2006) — Paul DeBettignies, who has worked in the Minneapolis and St. Paul market as an Information Technology recruiter since 1998, has incorporated his new search firm Nerd Search, LLC. DeBettignies has been writing about the process of creating the firm on his blog, MN Headhunter (www.mnheadhunter.com), for the past year.

   

“The past eight years feel like thirty. From growth of the dot-com and Y2K to the recession of 2002-2003 and now to a more stable growth period, it certainly has been an interesting ride”, said DeBettignies.

   

After working for a national search firm, on his own, and then with a loose confederation of recruiters, starting the new firm has re-energized him. DeBettignies said, “Some people would rather be part of an established company. I like the entrepreneurial route. It can be stressful but there is something to be said for being in control of your situation.”

   

In a recent blog posting DeBettignies wrote about the advances in technology in the recruiting business. “In 1998 you needed a phone, fax, copier and maybe an email address. In 2006 you may be using VoIP, applicant tracking system (ATS), web site, blog, RSS feeds and for the more advanced, podcasts. Rarely is the fax machine or copier used.”

   

Short-term plans for Nerd Search include adding an administrative assistant and college intern this fall. Long term, DeBettignies is looking to add colleagues that would like to function more like a law firm and more important, contribute resources back in to the community.

   

DeBettignies concluded, “It is very important to me that this firm as it grows is not just about billing and fees. We need to connect with the communities in which we work and live.”

   

Besides working on the new search firm and blog, DeBettignies will continue developing the technology volunteer network, Online Career Hub (www.onlinecareerhub.com), while mentoring students at the University of Minnesota on their job/internship search and improving their networking skills.

   

About Nerd Search, LLC

Started by Paul DeBettignies Nerd Search is a Minneapolis, MN based Information Technology recruiting firm. Nerd Search was incorporated in July of 2006 by Paul DeBettignies, a recruiter with more than eight years of information technology search experience. The firm does permanent and contract placement of information technology professionals. For more information on the firm, www.mnheadhunter.com/nerdsearch.

   

About MN Headhunter

MN Headhunter is a blog started by Paul DeBettignies in May of 2005 as a way to better communicate with his clients, candidates, and the business community. The site focuses on employment and business news, job search tips, and promoting volunteerism within the I.T. community.

   

CONTACT INFO:

   

Nerd Search, LLC

MN Headhunter

   

Paul DeBettignies
1313 Fifth Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone: 612-216-1421
Fax: 612-216-1443

   

paul@mnheadhunter.com
http://www.mnheadhunter.com 


MN Headhunter Gets A Facelift

So here it is, the new blog design. By now I have probably written enough about how I got to this point, maybe I should point out some of the changes.

For starters you see a combination of the MN Headhunter blog you are used to and have added the new search firm, Nerd Search, into the picture. Rather than create a separate web presence for Nerd Search, I decided that we should just combine the two. The site functions much like a corporate site would with the About, Jobs, and Contact pages.

I have been looking around and I have yet to find a site quite like this one. How many blogs do you know with six pages?

There is a new page called Recruiting Gigs. Over the past few months there has been an increase in the number of recruiters visiting the site. I have been getting inquiries from the corporate folk looking for recruiter referrals so I decided to create a page where they can post their needs. This is a free resource and space is not an issue so if you are looking to hire a recruiter send me your job description(s) and I will get it posted.

Before my blogging colleagues ask, yes I am adding the blog roll.

There will be a few minor changes to make the next couple of days but nothing of significance.

While you're here and if you have a moment, drop me a comment or email and tell me what you think. Also, check back after the weekend. By then we should be 100% completed.


Thank You Durbin Media Group

Franki and Jim Durbin of Durbin Media Group have been fantastic to work with. As a client, which is awkward for me because I consider them friends, I could not have asked anything more from them. Then again there is this one thing I am thinking about...

Seriously, this experience has been way better than I was expecting. There are the stories one hears about how a project went wrong because the client (me) kept changing their mind or how the firm (them) could not deliver. We had no such issues and I am very thankful for that.

Franki handled me very well. She asked me a lot of questions and nailed the design on the first try. Jim, I think I was starting to annoy him with my attempted humor. I tend to be more funny (at least I think I am) when I get nervous. He has been a great help with some of the mechanics of blogging that I need to work on and he generally has been a big help since I started writing this in May of '05.

If you are thinking about doing a project I highly recommend you speak with Franki and Jim.


RSS Feeds Changed

All of the RSS Feeds have changed so we need to update our links. Please note the addition of the Recruiting Gigs page. Why so many feeds? I have learned that some people want specific information like just the positions I am recruiting for, and I aim to please:

Main:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/MNHeadhunter

Recruiting Gigs:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/MNHeadhuntergigs

Volunteer Page
http://feeds.feedburner.com/MnHeadhunterVolunteerPage

Available Jobs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/MnHeadhunterJobsPage


July 2006 Federal Reserve Beige Book Released

National Report

This might be one of the most boring or uneventful reports I have seen. For me the two newsworthy items are that the national economy continued to grow but at a slower pace and

"District reports indicated that labor markets were tight in general and tightened a bit further in most areas. Increases in base wages and salaries generally remained moderate overall, with scattered indications of faster growth for some workers."

Minneapolis Report

Good news for those wondering about how gas prices have impacted the tourism industry. Summer time is a busy time around here and there has been concern. Some news reports have suggested that higher gas prices might keep people closer to home. Maybe so:

"Despite higher gas prices, overall tourism activity was on a par with a year ago. A recent survey of Minnesota hotel and resort owners showed that about 75 percent of respondents expect the summer tourism season to match or exceed last year."

More good news for the job market:

"Since the last report, labor markets showed signs of tightening. A temporary staffing agency survey of Minneapolis-St. Paul companies showed that 33 percent of respondents expect to increase staffing levels during the third quarter, while 13 percent expect declines."

And there always seems to be that one item that sticks out and makes me wonder:

"Brass prices were up significantly compared with a year ago."

Maybe that's why I am having a hard time getting to sleep. Brass (is there a plural form?) is going to cost more. Dang.


Google Page Rank, No Love

A couple of weeks ago I saw this news item from Joel Cheesman, google updating pagerank. Before the update I was a 5/10 and I was looking forward to seeing how becoming a 6/10 would impact Google search engine traffic.

It was even better, err, worse than that. I dropped to a 4/10. A 4? C'mon, where's the love? Apparently, none for me.

Interesting though that at the same time the Google traffic declined, and it is noticeable, traffic from MSN has increased significantly. I have no idea why either is the case.

All I know is that traffic continues to increase on a weekly and monthly basis. I guess the search engine thing will take care of itself.


MN Headhunter To Contribute On CollegeRecruiter.com

When I met with Steven Rothberg about a month or so ago, come to think of it was the afternoon before his Edmonton Oilers lost to the Carolina Panthers in the Stanley Cup Finals and I wonder if he has recovered yet, we shared a lot of information about the college market.

   

OK, I overstated that. Steven gave me a healthy education on the college hiring market and I shared a lot of funny, and some inappropriate, stories about my volunteering at the University of Minnesota. When you spend as much time as I do with the college crowd you hear some “interesting” things.

   

Steven invited me to be a contributor at CollegeRecruiter.com and I was happy to accept. Now that I am getting some of the projects out of the way I look forward to getting on my soap box over there.

   

Except for the first post, My First Job Out Of School, Renting Cars, all of my content will be original to his site. I will do some trackbacks from here as is appropriate.


Instant Messaging In The Work Place

Last week as a part of the Recruiting.com Blog Swap I was able to do a post on Mike Taylor’s blog Online Recruitment Marketing titled Search 1998 v Search 2006.

   

In getting Nerd Search up and running I have been flashing back to 1998 when I did this the first time and times have changed so much I am feeling a little old.

   

I listed in the post all of the tools we used in the business in 1998 and now in 2006 but I forgot one thing, largely because I do not use it as much as most do. Mostly I use it with the college kids.

   

Instant Messaging.

   

Today the St. Paul Pioneer Press has this story Businesses discover IM isn't just for kids about how IM is becoming a more widely used tool. Mostly because that’s how the younger crowd communicates:

   

For many younger people, it's about choosing the best communication tool for the situation. They might use their phones for text messaging during a work meeting that requires silence, Rainie said, or make a phone call to discuss sensitive subjects so there's no written record.

   

E-mail remains the most popular Internet activity, embraced by 90 percent of users, Pew data shows: "Even teens, many of whom disparage e-mail as something for 'old people,' and (who) tend to prefer instant messaging, have not completely abandoned it."

   

But about 65 percent of Internet-savvy Twin Cities residents now use instant messaging, according to a recent IM-trends survey sponsored by America Online, and about a third send as many or more instant messages than e-mails. Roughly a quarter of employed Twin Cities residents will IM while at work, the survey found; 14 percent put their IM screen names on their business cards.

   

My buddy Steven Rothberg, who seems to be a media darling lately, is in the article:

   

But not all IM addicts are graceful and considerate in their communications, said Steven Rothberg, founder of the Minneapolis-based CollegeRecruiter.com career Web site. He has pushed for increased IM-ing with co-workers and outside clients because he finds it fosters immediate, to-the-point exchanges that move business deals forward.

   

But he recently was forced to block one man from continually contacting him for frivolous, time-wasting reasons.

   

"He just wanted to say hi, to catch up," Rothberg recalled. "Seldom was it anything time-sensitive, almost never anything that was important. I warned him several times, then blocked him."

   

Fortunately I have used IM so I can balance the multiple conversations and when to or not to send a message to a client or friend during the work-day. But apparently “grown-ups” (and how old is that now?” are having some issues:

    

Grown-ups who are latecomers to IM often have trouble with the medium, said Danah Boyd, a doctoral candidate who studies social media at the University of California, Berkeley.

   

"Adults who learn to use IM later have major difficulty talking to more than two people at one time — whereas the teens who grew up on it have no problem talking to a bazillion people at once," Boyd said. "They understand how to negotiate the interruptions a lot better."


Emphasis On Math And Science On High School Students Needed

There have been many studies lately on the need to get young people engaged and interested in math and science.

   

The latest in Minnesota, and what has to be one of the longest press release subjects I have ever seen, EPAS DATA UNDERSCORES NEED FOR MORE MINNESOTA STUDENTS TO EXPLORE CAREERS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, show that:

   

The interest inventory portion of the EPAS released by the Department of Education showed that only 10.8 percent of eighth-graders and 20.9 percent of tenth-graders express interest in pursuing a future in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

   

“Minnesota’s future job growth will be in the scientific and technical occupations, so it’s essential that we encourage more students to consider pursuing careers in those fields,” Commissioner Seagren said. “The EPAS results underscore the need to continue our efforts to encourage and prepare more Minnesota students to participate in the STEM fields.”

   

Study results do show an increase in interest from the 8th to the 10th grades in math, science or technology fields. From 10.8% to 20.9%.

   

Although:

    

By comparison, more than 27,489 (51.2 percent), expressed interest in the social service and artistic fields.

   

And:

   

Additionally, new job growth in professional and high-tech industries will demand an extra 10,500 college graduates per year.

   

“It’s imperative for the state’s future success that we better prepare Minnesota students to compete in the global marketplace,” Governor Tim Pawlenty said. “That is why I have made it one of the top priorities of my Administration to encourage more Minnesota students to take science, technology, engineering and math classes.”

   

Besides continued mandating of math and science classes to graduate why not include a media campaign targeting you people? Talk to them they way they talk to each other. Make it cool to be techie. An example, show how the video games they are playing are made and that there is a career (and money) in math, science and technology.

   

If not, we will continue to talk about a workforce with small numbers and lower skills.


Local Political Blogger Continues With The Big Scoop

The Pioneer Press has a story Warning for Democrats: Beware of blog about the recent withdrawal of Matt Entenza, Democrat, from the attorney general race in the State of Minnesota.

   

This has been a big story around here particularly when one Democrat hires an investigator to look into the past of another Democrat. But I had not heard that the story was broken by a blogger, Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed.

   

But this post is not about politics. It is about the political blogosphere. I read with great interest how the bloggers are making news. I do not plan on getting the scoop on a layoff at a publicly traded company sending the stock price down 4%. But I am curious about how they do what they do.

   

I am also curious about the amount of time, research, phone calls, typing, etc that they put in:

   

Short for "Web log," a blog is an Internet site where writers post news and commentary about a subject, such as politics, and links to other blogs and related Web pages.

   

Brodkorb said he spends four to five hours a day — usually early mornings and late nights — researching, reporting and writing for his blog. He usually produces three or four stories daily, posting them throughout the day to provide fresh material for his readers.

   

Minnesota Democrats Exposed had been averaging about 1,000 visits a day during the past month. But since the Entenza story broke, that's nearly doubled to 1,960 hits a day, according to Truth Laid Bear, a Web site that tracks visits to various blogs.

   

Aside from working and blogging, Brodkorb doesn't have much of a life. He doesn't have any hobbies. He and his wife, Sarah, like to travel, but even then, he spends a lot of time on his laptop while his wife drives.

   

The article talks about the many scoops he has and what Democrats and Republicans think of his work.

   

There is also a short list of political blogs, some of which I do not have links to.


Nonprofit Technology Jobs And Volunteer Opportunities

The following new opportunities are posted on the MN Headhunter Volunteer Page:

   

Jobs:

   

Web Designer 

    

ESL Technology Coach

   

E-Commerce Specialist

    

Software & Database Technician

   

Associate VP, Information Resources and Technology

   

Web Content Coordinator

   

Manager, Systems and Network Security

   

Manager, Analytics

   

Programmer Analyst

   

Director of Information Technology

   

Senior Application Database Developer

   

Grant Distribution and Statistics Manager

   

Volunteer:

   

Web Designer

    

ESL Technology Coach

   

E-Commerce Specialist

   

Click weekly newsletter to receive the latest nonprofit needs, IT jobs I am recruiting for and most popular blog posts of the week or for those using RSS feeds click subscribe RSS feed.


Nerd Search, LLC Is Born

Yep, it’s official. On Monday, July 17th 2006 Nerd Search, LLC was incorporated in the State of Minnesota. Whew, finally I can quit thinking about organizational documents.

   

I am one of the least creative persons you will ever meet. The good news is that if I can see something, then I can run with it. So a couple of months ago I sent an email to my creative friends and those in the recruiting industry with a list of words and phrases.

   

Craig Sandok is a good friend of mine and while in college we spent many a night in various campus bars planning the take over of the world. How it would happen would depend on the beverage of the evening. It was interesting how beer, Captain Morgan, Sambuca or Jagermeister could make the plan different.

   

Craig is a recruiter in the legal industry and it was his idea for Nerd Search. Looks like I owe him a trip down memory lane with dinner and drinks.

   

I also want to thank George Serdar of Messerli & Kramer for helping with the organization documents.

   

Franki Durbin of the Durbin Media Group sent me the first draft of the logo and business card earlier this week and I really like it. A couple of tweaks are all that is needed. We are planning on rolling out the new blog design next week.

   

As for the name Nerd Search itself I have had three reactions split evenly between my techie and non-techie friends.

   

“That’s awesome!”

“Are you sure?”

“Does it limit your IT focus?”

   

There is a bit of a concern that the name may seem too flip. Anyone who knows me will say that I take my business, in this case my clients and candidates, very serious. But that I do not take myself seriously.

   

Nerd Search filled my criteria. Something simple, short, easy to remember that says what I do. Mission accomplished.

    

I am sure that I will lose some people because they think the name is silly. Frankly, then I did not want to work with them anyway.

    

Most of those who fell into category two had another response hours or days later. “I can’t get it out of my head”. So from a marketing standpoint, the retention is there.

    

As for limiting my focus, this is on my mind. Will Project Managers or Business Analysts as an example not respond? I don’t know but I think I have the material and certainly the track record to show why they would want to work with me.

    

So there it is: Nerd Search, LLC

   

Whew, I soon can get back to doing what I do best…


My First Job Out Of School, Renting Cars

I was reading Recruiting.com and came across this post Our people are our..... and I went down memory lane to 1995.

   

I had graduated from college and was a bartender at the Planet Hollywood in the Mall of America. I was a trainer too and had thought about moving to Atlanta in time for the opening there. The Olympics were going to be there and I thought the experience would be awesome.

   

It probably would have been but I was getting tired of the “bar life”. It helped that I had a disagreement with the general manager and I lost. As in I no longer had a job.

   

Now I was the kind of just graduated kid I try to make sure every student I meet does not become:

-I had my degree in International Relations but decided against going to work for a local politician so it was not going to be used

-I had no idea what I wanted to do.

-Had not done any networking.

-Had never done a real job search.

   

My pledge brother from the fraternity Jason, same dude I went to see the Michigan games with, was working for Enterprise Rent A Car as a branch manager and said, “hey we are hiring”.

   

I said great, sign me up.

    

I was one of the half who did not make it a year. Not because of the company or the opportunity, I think my ego got in the way.

   

I learned a lot about developing relationships and growing territory. I loved that part of the job. Working in the elements was OK too as I was usually at a dealership a few miles from the office. They let us use their bays to clean and ready cars. So I was inside more than others.

   

Saying that, the worse days were when it snowed a lot and I had to go out in the parking lots and find our cars. All cars covered in snow look the same.

   

Looking for them in a suit, tie, and dress shoes was not fun. But the job was and the co-workers and clients were too. Many of the customers were not all that happy as most of the Enterprise business, at least then, was in the vehicle replacement. As in their car had been in an accident or otherwise needed to be fixed.

   

So some were happy we there to help them out. Others, not so much and it did depend on who their insurance carrier was or what their warranty read regarding how big (or cool) a car they would get.

   

As for the compensation, in 1995 they did not pay as well as they do today. But the article is right. If you stuck out and advanced you could do very well. They promote from within and that made it easier to figure out where in the pecking order you were. It was also based on performance so there was very little politics played.

   

Would I do it again? Maybe.

   

I do know this; the people who stick it out there are good, smart motivated people. Every now and again my buddy Jason bumps into someone we used to work with. A few are still with the company. Regardless, there does seem to be a future success pattern of the people who worked there for a period of time.

   

Would I recommend working there? It’s a case by case basis but if I had had to say one-way or the other, absolutely.


Search Firm Update, Part 2

No news yet on the business documents being official with the State of Minnesota. I am starting to feel like a kid waiting to unwrap a present only I already know what’s inside.

    

I think more so it is a sense of excitement of being able to work with a new canvas in the sense of building the new business, of having the new blog debuting in the next couple of weeks, and having a lot of momentum to finish the year off with year.

    

The last couple of months I have been finishing up some volunteer projects so I can focus on the new business and getting the technology volunteer network up and running. I will still be doing my volunteer work at the U of M but on a much smaller scale, at least for the next few months.

    

So for those in the Twin Cities you will be seeing some advertising of the new company name and the blog. After all these years I have kept a very low profile and now it is time for me to “be out there” more.

   

I have had a few inquiries on how I plan functioning as a search firm of one. For starters I do plan on hiring a full time assistant this fall. Someone who can help with phone calls, setting appointments, entering resumes in the database, answering email inquiries, etc.

   

I also see the need of an intern to help some with the blog, not with writing content but in answering inquiries and referring people on to other resources when appropriate, and with the Online Career Hub web site.

   

More so than anything I need to be more efficient with my time and energy.

   

The next and last installment will have some detail on my thoughts on how this practice of one, me, will move forward.