Friday, September 17, 2010

Does the Millionaire Matchmaker Know Anything about Dating?

On those rare occassions that I get to watch reality TV, it seems that the Millionaire Matchmaker is often on. Patti Stanger is the Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo, helping her wealthy, single clients find the love of their life. I love matchmaking, and while I haven't had much success setting up friends, I never give up the quest for helping others find love. I think that being a recruiter is very similar to matchmaking, I am finding the right person for a given job, and the most important element in a successful placement is getting the right personality match for the client and employee.

Often I talk to people and offer them career advice. I am happy to help people maximize the marketing of their skills to land a good job. Recently I was speaking to a few people who seemed to want a job, but weren't really doing the things needed to get a job. Is this like when the Millionaire Matchmaker recommends for the dates to dress appropriately and really take an active role in the conversation of the evening?

As a matchmaker, these are some of the qualities I look for in future employees:
  1. A desire to work
  2. A track record of work
  3. A commitment to making a career change
  4. Being receptive to advice
  5. Improving things that need improvement

Let me elaborate:
  1. A desire to work. What do I mean by a desire to work? Well, that's kind of easy. I want someone who is interested in getting up every day, getting themselves ready for work, going to work--consistently, and wanting to contribute to their company. Yes, may seem simple. And it is. But when I talk to several people, they are looking for a job that will work into their schedule. The ability to work flexible hours, telecommute, or part-time schedules all are relevant requests--but they do put a monkey wrench into some placements. It can be hard for a client to allow a wine club salesperson to work from home--since the wine club members are usually signed up at the winery. If someone has other responsibilities that require only part-time employment, that significantly reduces the amount of jobs that they will be able to apply for.
  2. A track record of work. A track record is work history. While I often talk to people hoping to make a change into the wine industry, I always want to know where they worked before. If someone is hoping to make a career change, but hasn't been working for several years, I'm going to question how serious they are about taking a job. Have they had trouble holding down a job? Have they been out of work for personal or health reasons? Have they been in prison? All of these questions come up--and until I can substantiate things, I'm dubious.
  3. A commitment to making a career change. This can be either a complete change from one industry to another, or simply taking a new job. Until I feel that this person really wants to make a change, I'm not confident they are a good candidate to work with. If I find a great opportunity for them, they interview and are offered the job--will they really make the change and accept the position. Or are they window shopping--seeing what jobs are out there and finding out if they are being compensated correctly.
  4. Being receptive to advice. Oh, this is always the toughest one. Getting calls from all over the world from wine professionals who want the next big break is fun--but often I have to have "the talk" with my candidates. Yes, your resume looks great, you have great experience, but............... I always start this dialogue with trepidation. Who wants me telling them they need to stick with their current employer for another year to show some tenure, cut their hair, lose the fancy typefaces on their resume, or put up with that difficult boss until they land the next job. Where do I come off telling people these things. Well, I do have a bit of experience in this area, so I keep talking--and see how people take it. Some people say, "Yeah, I'll look at that."--and don't do anything differently. Other people say, "Thanks--I hadn't realized that, and I think you have a point."
  5. Improving things that need improvement. The next step is very telling. If they take my advice, I know they truly want to make a change. If I hear from them again in a month or so, and nothing has changed and they are still dealing with the same issue, I don't keep up a dialogue with them. I think this is a bit like the Millionaire Matchmaker who has to turn down wealthy clients because they just can't seem to make a change. I am more than happy to keep considering those candidates who put some time and thought into what we talked about, and are improving on deficiencies.
So as I sit at my coffee meetings and phone interviews dispensing advice, I sometimes feel like I'm giving dating advice. I sometimes have to make very personal comments, and the job seeker than has to take that advice and work to improve their chances in the job market. Might just have to put together a book of rules! Coming back to the Millionaire Matchmaker, I think she does know a few things about dating, and while she may have to say some very personal things to her clients, she probably is hoping to help their chances of finding their partner.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What Certifications Make Sense in the Wine Industry

Frequently I get asked about what Certifications make sense for people in the wine industry. While I see a lot of different programs out there, I recently posed the question to my Facebook Friends. Here's the feedback I got.

WSET is a good foundation for Masters of Wine, which is a good background for writers or wine shop owners. The Master Sommelier certification is best for people working in restaurants and similar settings. As my FB friend wrote, the MS Certification is good so you can dance on a dining room floor, open all sizes of wine bottles, open a wine bottle with a saber, and talk the talk of food flavors, terroir and wine flavors.

As a sales person to restaurant and hotel client, the MS is appropriate in the fine dining world. It gives you a good working knowledge of wine, regions and service needs.

It looks like the WSET is a more rounded industry curriculum, while the MS is more specific for the restaurant wine professional.

Hope this is helpful. There are many wine education programs out there--if anyone has some feedback, I'd love to hear it.