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October 10, 2012


3rd Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2012

September 14, 2012

The results are in. The effects of the economic slowdown we see in Europe and Asia seem to be putting people on edge. Pessimism is again increasing.

The majority of respondents showed a profitable quarter, but a drop in sales over the last two weeks. We may be able to attribute the drop to the normal summer dip in sales rather than a macro level slowdown. However, all indicators suggest many firms are going into freeze mode.

The remainder of this quarter will be telling. Respondents aren’t expecting the sales boost we usually see in the third quarter. We hope the profits reported in the second quarter are indicative of a turnaround and the lag in sales the last two weeks is not prescient of a double dip recession (Or, as many say, continued downturn)

We appreciate your support over the last years for survey and hope it is a help.

Lets get right to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper

1st Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2012

March 19, 2012

CEO’s Area

1st Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2012

The results are here! It’s been a rocky road to recovery, but the upcoming election and uptick in fourth quarter profits seem to have brought some optimism to the marketplace. We could definitely use a big uplift year!

Respondents appear more likely to hire and had more optimism about continued growth than they have since last summer. Concerns over the general economic climate remain, but they are not as intense as in previous quarters.

The next few months will be telling, we are beginning to see some life from the west coast with a significant increase in activity. It has been awhile since all areas of the country have been firing on all cylinders but the general sentiment indicates this will be the year for it.

Lets get right to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

7 steps to a better job ad response

March 22, 2011
A lot of resumes and applications come across our desks at Semper.
I don’t know if it’s the economy or a general lack of concern, but we’ve been finding a large number of applicants who seem to quit before they try. I understand the job market is iffy right now and many many people have applied for job after job. Don’t take your frustrations out on the recruiter you are asking to hire you.
Take this response for example:
From: “eBay Classifieds Reply (from” <>
Date: February 19, 2011 6:00:28 PM EST
Subject: A reply to your “JOB” Ad on eBay Classifieds

<resume (2011s ONLINE).doc>

As a recruiter, why would I take the time to open this resume? The subject line is generic. There is no information in the body of the email to entice a recruiter to look at the attachment. Regardless of the position you are applying for, an application is a sales letter. When you are looking for  a job, especially when there is a lot of competition, you need to make yourself stand out.
This ad response has 41 additional characters but no more information.

Subject: Controller

Date: April 18, 2010 3:14:17 PM EDT


Please find enclosed resume.  Thank you.

<ResLetter-Name Acounting Mgr 125[9].doc>

Your emailed resume is the first impression you give to a potential employer. Make it a good one. Give the recruiter or hiring manger a reason to take the extra step to open your resume.
Start with a personalized greeting. Dear Ms. Jackson makes a better impression that Dear Hiring Manager.
Give information about yourself in the email. Your email should include the highlights of your resume. What attracted you to the post? What you think you can do for the company? Give some indication that you have at least visited the company’s website. Its frustrating to call a candidate and find out they have no idea what they applied for.  Thoughtful targeted responses to job ads will go farther than mass applications.
Build rapport. Use similar language to what is in the job posting. People like people who are like them. It creates a subconscious connection with the reader when you repeat wording from the ad in your application.
Don’t focus entirely on yourself. “You” should appear more frequently then “I” in your initial email.
Make it easy to get in touch with you. Include email and phone numbers. Let the recruiter decide how he would like to contact you. Remember, if you choose to include your social media information make sure it is relevant to the position and not detrimental to your professional image. In 2009, 45% of employers were screening social media sites for information on potential hires. If Gilbert Godfey can get fired over his use of social media so can you.
Be truthful. I recently saw the resume of a dancer from a cruise ship who thought bookkeeping was the perfect next career move.  I also got a resume for a community manager who had 46 Twitter followers. Your background should support the position you are applying for. Prove your claims with specific facts, numbers and dollars. You should have the majority of the experience the ad requires.
Be clear, not clever. Yes, you might get some attention by wearing a sandwich board and hanging around the lobby where you are applying, but it is likely to be negative attention. Jazzy subject lines could get your email opened, but be sure the company culture supports that. Also make sure the content makes the email worth opening. You will get farther by clearly stating your skills and the value you provide than with clever gimmicks and tricks. For a laugh, see this list of gimmicks job seekers have used.
Other reminders:
Discrimination is illegal, unethical and plain wrong. Unfortunately it happens. Limit ways in which you can be discriminated against. Don’t include religious affiliations or ethnic group activities on your resume. Don’t add more than 10- 15  years of experience on your resume. This is especially important if you are over 50.
Follow these guidelines to increase your chance of making a positive impression on a recruiter. Your job search is in your hands. Positive outcomes are possible when you make the effort. If you aren’t going to make an effort, you might a well not try. Begin to build a relationship with the recruiter in your first email and watch your results improve.

What does the average person post on social media vs broadcast media?

March 17, 2011

We are curious … Has there been a study on what people post on Social Media vs what regular media delivers to us? In essence, do us normal people sharing things with our friends and family in general posts and links about happy, cool or funny things more often than media? Or do we also post alarming and things meant for shock value as much as the media?

1st Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2011

February 16, 2011

Looks like the last quarter of 2010 ended great but there was a slight slow down in the last month. The soft spot anomaly is continuing- pockets of business surrounded by definite slow spots.

This current survey is the first in many years showing significant changes in hiring and a marked increase of hiring via staffing companies. (Staffing is a traditional indicator that the labor market is turning positive.)

The special question this survey regarding costs centers will be used to help us modify future surveys. We thank you for your help.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

Employee Orientation: DAY TWO!

November 26, 2010

Earlier this year we talked about the first day for a new employee. Today we are looking at the second day: Employee orientation.

Good communication should start with the employee orientation. Communication issues are cited as the number one issue employees have with their jobs.

  • Orientation is best used as part of the goal-setting and performance management system.
  • Learning how to do the job should be an ongoing process. Ideally, its not just a one or two-day task to get out of the way and be done with.

When you design a training program, present training materials in a variety of ways:

  • Written/handouts
  • Verbal
  • Hands-on
  • Video/webinar
People learn in different ways. Using different methods to present info will help your new hires retain what they need to be effective in their new jobs. Important information should be delivered in multiple ways. A national hot beverage chain taught new employees how to make its signature beverages first by demonstrating, then showing a video, then doing hands on training, finally passing out illustrated ingredient lists.
Videos and webinars can be used to engage employees. Many companies are using youtube, podcasts  and other sources for training videos. A caveat on videos: It is important to find or create high quality training videos. I ran the summer temp training program for a large retailer. We found the training videos were a source of derision. They caused laughter rather than actual learning experiences. Although the company spent a lot of money having the videos made, the presenter made distracting, flailing arm motions. Everyone remembered the flailing arms, no one remembered the definition of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Other things to keep in mind:
Training should be non-threatening. Don’t schedule truing during your peak production times. Whenever possible, use slower times to teach.
You train attitude as much as content. If you present a task and dull and tiresome your trainees will absorb that attitude and also find the task dull. Present all job duties in an upbeat way. Let your new people decide for themselves.
If your company doesn’t have a formal mentorship program, assign your new person a buddy. Ask the buddy eat lunch with your new hire. Encourage others in the department to eat with the new person as well. You want them to not only be ale to perform the functions of the job, but learn the company culture as well.
Careful design of orientation programs as well as a good training will help your employees learn the skills they need to know to succeed in your company for the long-term. Orientation and training are not just on days 1 and 2. They are ongoing and go a long way toward employee retention.