In This Issue

Marilyn Kanas, co-Founder & Managing Partner of STRe Solutions, is a former Vice President of Marketing. Marilyn talks to Silicon Valley VCs and CEOs to gauge the current economic landscape looking for signs of economic improvement.   full article
This quarter we discuss phone interviews. How do candidates ace the phone interview and garner an in-person interview. How do managers effectively phone screen potential candidates to pin point the best talent.
Candidate Tip #107  Hiring Manager Tip #107  full article
Former Corporate CFO David Mighdoll joins STRe as Vice President.  read more

STReBlog launches on June 23.  read more

Summer is almost upon us...   have fun


Signs of Spring in the Economy
by: Marilyn Kanas, former Vice President of Marketing
      Co-founder & Managing Partner, STRe Solutions

At long last we are seeing signs of improvement in the economy. On April 30th Business Week reported that "green shoots" appear to be poking their way through the parched fields of the economy. Two weeks later, on May 14th, the Wall Street Journal surveyed 52 economists and declared that they see an end to the recession by autumn, but a long way to recovery. And the Dow Jones Index has been steadily growing since early March.

At STRe we are also seeing a few signs of spring: Our Research Manager tracks job postings in the bay area and we have definitely observed an increase since the beginning of the year. And, a week ago I saw a $3B+ technology company post a job for an HR Coordinator for 6 months. That tells me they must be planning some hiring. Hopefully this is just the beginning of more signs to come.

The Green Revolution is one area that is driving the economy
Venture capital investment in green technologies totaled $836.1 million in 59 deals in the first quarter of 2009. Software giant SAP announced the acquisition of Clear Standards, an early stage company, founded two years ago, that saw the need for sustainability tracking at the enterprise level.

One segment of the green sector that is definitely advancing is automotive battery manufacturing. A123, a private US battery manufacturer is building a plant in Detroit. Toyota and Panasonic have teamed up to construct plants in Japan. Ford and GM have announced plans to build batteries in the US. And, DaimlerAG, has acquired a 10% stake in Tesla Motors, a clear sign that energy efficiency is coming to the automotive industry.

Conversations with VCs and CEOs
Looking for further signs of spring, I polled several Silicon Valley venture capitals and C-level executives for this article. My first conversation was with David Blumberg, founder of Blumberg Capital, who recently closed a new fund. David has a very positive approach to the economic crisis. He said, "Entrepreneurship is continuing to accelerate. Costs are now lower -- rent, storage, higher bandwidths and higher computing power available. Money goes further. People who went through the crash of 2000 (Internet bubble burst) are now experienced, have some seasoning." He went on to say that "tough times force more effectiveness, efficiency."

My next conversation was with Michael Pliner, VC and Interim CEO. I knew the market was improving when Mike first told me he had so many VC meetings that we would need to talk over the weekend. He sees the market as status quo for the remainder of 2009, and expects to see improvement in 2010. Knowing I was interested in how all this affected recruiting he said, "A+ people are in demand, and always will be."

The IPO market is showing signs of spring with the recent IPOs of Solar Winds (SWI) and OpenTable (OPEN), both closing higher on their first day of trading. And, a recent comment from Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel is yet another sign of economic improvement on the horizon. In an interview with the Mercury News on May 12th, Otellini said that "the chip business has improved since April, when he declared that the personal-computer sales slump had 'bottomed out.'"

One more positive data point on the economy comes from Greg Ravenscroft, Industry Analyst and former President at LitePoint. Greg commented, "I saw that bookings of wireless chips were up in the past 4 weeks." It is especially interesting to see that the semiconductor industry is beginning to pick up. The chip sector is a major driver in the Silicon Valley economy and a sign of the future.

All in all there are signs of spring in the economy, and the companies who will survive are making changes, embracing new efficiencies and thinking differently. ARE YOU READY?

Candidates and Hiring Managers: Maximize Your Experience with Recruiters
Our highest priority at STRe Solutions is building long-term relationships with both jobseekers and hiring managers. The Recruiter Relations section of our newsletter offers ongoing tips to help you maximize your experience with a recruiter, regardless of whether you're seeking top talent to seamlessly join your team or searching for the ideal position.

This quarter's focus is on the use of the phone interview. With everyone pressed for time, companies are increasingly doing a phone interview or phone screen as a first step in the interview process.

Candidate Tip #107
Acing the Phone Interview. A phone interview is much harder to do from the candidate perspective. You have to listen carefully and have no clue what the interviewer is thinking (since you can't see their body language). Understand that the hiring company's objective is to rule you out, not in. With so many resumes to review and with limited resources the hiring company is trying to identify just a few candidates to pursue. Those lucky ones will be invited in for an in-person interview.

Boy Scout motto: Be prepared! Your objective is to get an in-person interview. Treat a phone interview as seriously as you would an in-person interview. Be sharp and answer the questions crisply. Find a quiet place and avoid any interruptions. If possible, use a land line to ensure good quality reception. Speak clearly and distinctly, and standing up during the call will make your voice project better.

Have your resume available and the company job description. Highlight your experience relative to the job requirements so that you can give the interviewer a good sense that you have what they are looking for. The hiring company will be looking to make sure you 'check all the boxes.'

Hiring Manager Tip #107
Effectively Using a Phone Screen. With so many candidates looking for jobs, the phone screen is being used more frequently to narrow down the candidate pool. In-house recruiters, external recruiters and hiring managers are conducting phone interviews. The objective is to save time by eliminating unqualified candidates. It is a rare candidate who can charm you over the phone without having the prerequisite job requirements.

Be sure to schedule the interview as if it was in-person and keep the schedule. It is all too easy to ignore the time of a phone interview because no one is physically waiting outside your office. Have a list of questions or talking points that you want to cover and take notes. It's wise to focus on qualifying questions as it's difficult to assess cultural fit over the phone.

Remember that some candidates will be nervous, or if English is their second language, you may have to listen more closely.

At the end of the interview ask the candidate if they have any questions, and let them know what the next steps will be. Even if this candidate is not a good fit, you want them to leave with a good impression of your company. And... don't over promise, set expectations realistically.

STRe News

Former Corporate CFO David Mighdoll Joins STRe Solutions

STRe Solutions welcomes David Mighdoll as a Vice President. Before joining STRe, David was a top producing Account Executive at a leading international search firm where he successfully placed senior level finance, accounting and systems professionals.

Previously, David was Chief Financial Officer & Corporate Secretary at Markovits & Fox, a worldwide industrial manufacturer and real estate development company for over 14 years. He began his career at Procter and Gamble where he advanced to Controller of their West Coast manufacturing and distribution facility. He is a graduate of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics.

David is a Board member of the Saratoga High School Sports Boosters and is involved with other philanthropic organizations in the area.

STReBlog Launches on June 23rd

Sue Salvesen, former CFO and founder of STRe Solutions will be blogging on Tuesday and Thursdays. Be sure to check our home page for news and advice on hiring for client companies and career advice for candidates.

STRe Fun -- Places to explore in San Francisco
Summer is almost upon us, kids will be out of school, family and friends will be visiting, and so we know that many of you are looking for some local site-seeing. It is amazing how many native Bay Area residents have not been to Coit Tower. Have you? So here's a list of touristy things you can do to explore San Francisco and not travel too far.