Hiring Line

Updates from the "Hiring Line"

A series of case studies, reports and dialogues examining what is actually going on at the “frontline,” where TBG’s clients interact with potential employers.

TBG Consultant Insights

Collective insights and perspectives gleaned over the past three decades, provided by The Barrett Group’s consultants and coaches.

Weekly Frontline Reports

A collection of weekly client activities across the career coaching landscape. Progress from the frontline of our clients’ job search campaigns.

Interview Videos & Podcasts

Listen to a variety of podcasts about hot topics in career management, accessing hiring managers, interviewing and offer negotiation.

Client Success Studies

Find out how The Barrett Group’s clients landed their next jobs – an assembly of success stories and case studies.

TBG Consultant Insights

Weekly Frontline Reports

Interview Videos & Podcasts

Why Job Search Now

Recording 1: The Unpublished Market

Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Dan Resendes (Chief Consulting Officer) (7:02):

Put Your Worries To Work

Recording 2: The Published Market

Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Julie Mathern (Executive Career Consultant and Program Manager) (8:55):

Now More Than Ever

Recording 3: The Recruiter Market

Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Waffles Natusch (VP of Client Services and Client Concierge) (8:24):

Who Is Eating Your Lunch

Recording 4: Market Update

Listen to Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Rick Gelber (Senior Career Consultant) (11:00):

Current Market Update

Recording 5: Market Update (4/1/2020)

Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Dan Resendes (Chief Consulting Officer) (2:22):

Plan Your Future Now

Recording 6: LinkedIn

Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Anne Lipsitz (Executive Career Consultant and Program Manager) (11:07):

Effective Job Search Strategy

Recording 7: The Clarity Program (First Step)

Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Scott Henderson (Clarity and Automation Manager) (7:50):

Create Your Path Forward

Recording 8: About Ageism

Listen to Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Waffles Natusch (VP of Client Services & Concierge) (9:26):

A Tailored Fit

Recording 9: Client Testimonial

Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Chris Burger (The Barrett Group Client) (5:52):

Video: A Tailored Fit


Prepare Your Next Career Step

Recording 10: Interviewing Activities

Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Lori Chevalier (Executive Career Consultant and Program Manager) (7:21):

Executive Careers

Recording 11: Unpublished Market Update

Peter Irish, CEO, in conversation with Greg Emslie (Executive Career Consultant and Program Manager) (14:08):

Plan Ahead - Get Ahead

Recording 12: Process For Client Success

Peter Irish, CEO with news from the Chairman’s Blog: Nine clients found great jobs in the last two weeks! (3:45)

Leaders are in Demand

Recording 13: Interviewing Activity

Peter Irish in conversation with Dan Resendes & Waffles Natusch (9:53):

This is a Chance - Take It

Recording 14: Hiring Activity & Processes

Peter Irish in conversation with Dan Resendes & Waffles Natusch (8:34):

Maximize Your Potential

Recording 15: 28 Happy Clients

Peter Irish, CEO with news from the Chairman’s Blog: 28 Happy Clients either landed jobs or received offers (4:18):

Be Proactive Now

Recording 16: To be posted - check back soon!

Peter Irish, CEO in conversation with TBD

Client Success Studies

An Untypical Client

The Challenge

Why are successful executives sometimes those most in need of The Barrett Group’s services? They might have a long tenure with one company, or they might, if they do switch companies, do so because they have been recruited or poached. Such was the case with Lee Price.

In some ways, Lee was an untypical client. He had had two exceptionally successful careers, and he was retired when he engaged The Barrett Group. First, a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis and the Naval War College at Newport, Lee had a distinguished career as a Navy pilot, commander, and chief of staff, overseeing pilot training at Whiting Field Naval Air Station. Next, building on his military experience, Lee had a successful second career in the private sector as a director of training for a shipbuilder in Mobile, training or testing nearly 10,000 employees.

Eventually, Lee retired. Then Lee unretired, and that’s how he came to engage The Barrett Group to help him with his third act. “Retirement didn’t turn out to be what I thought it would be. It was pretty boring. After about a month, I decided I needed a job. But the economy wasn’t great and job search had changed so much since I had last looked that I was really unsure how to do it. There were things like LinkedIn that I hadn’t considered, as us old-time Boomers had sort of got left out of that.

Engagement and Expectations

Like many clients, Lee’s engaging The Barrett Group was less an impulsive affair and more a process. He shopped around, talking to several firms, before determining The Barrett Group would be the best for him. And before making it official and engaging them, he went to a career counselor and attended a career conference. “I went to that conference and determined that they weren’t looking for guys like me, that career fairs aren’t for guys with significant experience. They were looking for much younger, cheaper, newer options. So I came back, signed with The Barrett Group, and never looked back. They did everything I expected them to do—and more.

Lee’s consultant Michael did not whisper sweet nothings to convince him to engage them. Instead, he had serious, sober, realistic conversation with Lee about expectations. “My [consultant] was the one who basically gave me the facts up front. He said, hey, it’s going to take you this long to land a job. He said it would probably take 6 to 18 months to get the type of job I wanted, at the money I wanted, and at a place I would want to be. And he said this is going to be our approach, and this is what we’re going to do. It was actually really good to talk to him about that.

Networking Outside the Box

The Barrett Group’s process of course involves all the strategies of a conventional job search, including identifying attractive openings, submitting applications, and following up on applications. But it also involves unconventional but tried and true strategies, such as doing a sort of end run around HR to get your portfolio directly into the hands of key decision makers. This appealed to Lee, as he sensed the shortcomings of pursing positions through normal channels. “The HR folks are often looking for other types of talent and not the leadership stuff. They don’t really know what to look for in terms of leadership. So I think the key is to get your portfolio into the hands of the leaders of the companies.

This strategy is executed using two of The Barrett Group’s assets—their deep experience in effectively executing such strategies and their proprietary database. “They teach you what to say and how to follow-up. And, you know, it’s just a matter of people with experience that have done this for a long time teaching you how to do it.” And it is implemented in a broad but not blind or haphazard way. “The Barrett Group has an unbelievable database of who’s who in the corporate world—and in the areas you want. It allows you to write CEOs and COOs directly, and they teach you what to say and how to follow-up.

So, in the end, was the strategy effective? Absolutely. “It was a different experience and The Barrett Group was responsible for getting my portfolio into the hands of the right people by using their database rather than going through normal channels. And their approach works. It worked very well for me. And I’ve seen it work well for a lot of other people as well.

Lee and The Barrett Group made a terrific team, and he landed interviews fast. “I don’t believe I heard a single question in an interview—and most were the HR sort of questions—that I had not heard or discussed with The Barrett Group.

Resume and LinkedIn

The early stages of The Barrett Group’s process are dedicated to laying the groundwork for success. In addition to mapping a course, they are about preparing the tools necessary for the task at hand. “After you sign, you use their system to write your letter, sharpen your resume, and hone your LinkedIn. Then, you’re ready to go, and they go in an orderly fashion. They are with you all the way, and you just do this as a process that you track. It gets results.

The Barrett’s Group’s process is not intended to be easy—it is intended to be effective. “After I signed, I had a personal consultant Paula who led me through the process. She was knowledgeable. Outstanding even. She helped me prepare what I wanted to say and in some cases recommended that I say them a little differently. And she was always right.

Focus on Happy Landing

The Barrett Group has a clear, excellent process, and one of the greatest advantages of a such a process is that it encourages focus from the beginning to the end, during both highs and lows. “I knew they were knowledgeable. With their help, I knew what I was looking for. And so, I stayed focused. They not only managed expectations at the beginning, but until the very end. They pick you up when things that happen to everybody in job search happen to you.

Despite some ups and downs, working together, Lee and The Barrett Group got spectacular results. “Within twelve weeks of when I signed the contract, I had three quality job offers to choose from. All involved the type of money I wanted to make and were the type of jobs I wanted. And, you know, it’s nice to be in a position where you can pick, after all that time.” And the positive results did not end with the end of his job search. “You know, after I accepted a position, I got several calls from HR people saying, ‘Our leadership got your resume and they asked us to give you a call to talk about where you might fit in at our company.’”

Having spent over two decades as a development and training leader, Lee has positively impacted the careers of thousands. He currently serves as the State Director for Texas, Office of Apprenticeship, US Department of Labor. And sometimes he tries to help others by passing along his perspective about job search, shaped in part by his experience with The Barrett Group.  “When I talk to people who are looking, I go back to the fact that you’re going to have to be willing to participate in your own job search. You can’t expect anyone, even an exceptional, knowledgeable company like The Barrett Group, to do everything for you.” And, just as The Barrett Group helped him navigate some rough waters, he tries to put the down times into context for others. “One of the things about job search is there are some down times. Just when you think everything is going the right way the rug gets pulled out from under you. The Barrett Group kept me up about job search. And I now tell others, ‘Hey, it’s not always as bad as it looks when you’re on the inside.’ It’s the uncertainty that kind of gets you. But things will turn out fine. And I think that they always do.

Seeking "Space To Grow"

The Challenge

What does The Barrett Group do? Some of the best answers to this question emphasize value. Some firms, like investment firms led by activist investors, work to unlock the value of underperforming stocks. Other firms, like those led by geologists and engineers, work to unlock the value of natural resources by discovering and uncovering them. And our firm, led by experienced career experts, works to unlock the value of people, by helping executives and potential executives demonstrate their value to the marketplace.

The Barrett Group is in the business of helping its clients maximize their value. In some cases, our focus is on protecting already maximized value, like when The Barrett Group helps a c-level client who has been downsized as part of a merger find a similarly lucrative and powerful role with another company. In other cases, our focus is on helping a client unlock their value, like when The Barrett Group helps a client who is a high-level manager move from a company that undervalues her to a company that recognizes her potential and true value. Laura’s is such a story, told at the client’s request with only a fictional first name to protect employer and employee alike.

Laura was a long-time employee of a financial institution in Silicon Valley. By any measure, her tenure was a success. She appreciated her company, and her company appreciated her. She received raises and promotions through the years. Beginning as a project manager, she was promoted to a full management position overseeing the project managers and then promoted again, this time to a senior manager position.

After becoming a senior manager, Laura did as she had always done—she sought out added responsibilities, something her employer no longer encouraged. And when her superior left, she asked for a promotion to his open position. She was told something vague and discouraging, like, “You’re not quite ready.” or “You’re not there quite yet.” She decided that she needed to find somewhere else to work if she was to grow, somewhere with more light and less shade. What good is the potential for growth in a place without the room or resources to grow?

Engagement and Valuation

Initially, Laura tried to find a new position entirely on her own. It didn’t work. She decided she might need some help. Like most clients of The Barrett Group, she did not simply rush to us for help. She looked around, talking to a number of firms, and she shopped around. And only then did she decide that The Barrett Group would be the best bet for helping her unlock her value.

The Barrett Group does not sell magic. It sells a process that works. That process, especially the beginning of that process, can be difficult, as The Barrett Group and clients work, as partners, to build the foundation of a successful search. In this case, the beginning of the process was helped by something worthy of relief and elation. Laura discovered that she was not alone in her valuation of herself. In finding The Barrett Group, she found not only an ally, but a team of allies, who, unlike her current employer, agreed with her valuation and were determined to get the marketplace to recognize that valuation. From day one, The Barrett Group believed in her skills and experience—and, refreshingly, they told her so.

The Process

Laura went to work to prove the truth of her valuation, and The Barrett Group to prove that their encouragement of her valuation was not bluster. Together, they revised her resume and her LinkedIn profile, The Barrett Group persuading her that her LinkedIn image shouldn’t be an online version of her resume—that the two serve different purposes. And they convinced her that she had even undervalued herself in a few specific ways. For example, when accounting for her implementation experience, she should count not only her years in charge of implementation projects, but also her years working as part of implementation teams. And so, she began making subtle improvements to the way she presented herself to the marketplace.

Perhaps most importantly, The Barrett Group convinced Laura to become a dedicated and effective networker. They explained to her that they would be willing to network on her behalf—but only as a last resort, that for her job search to be the very best job search she needed to try networking herself. And she did. Because she engaged The Barrett Group, she networked in ways she would not have networked without them and with a previously unimaginable level of dedication, in part inspired by the financial commitment she had made to her search.

In the process, Laura not only became an effective networker, but a zealous convert. When she reached out to former colleagues, with the encouragement of The Barrett Group, she was pleasantly surprised. And when she contacted a former supervisor, who she hadn’t talked to in 15 years, she was also pleasantly surprised. She discovered that people were not only willing to help her, but that they were happy to help her. She had a nice lunch with her former supervisor. And, with the help of and a little bit of pushing by The Barrett Group, she discovered that networking isn’t so bad.

The "Right" Job Offer

During Laura’s job search, her employer, perhaps sensing something, offered further evidence that it did value her, as she was offered a retention bonus. She accepted, as the bonus required her to stay with her employer until a specified date but in no way prohibited her continuing her search for a better place to grow. And she continued to search as before, with energy, intelligence, and the help of The Barrett Group.

Soon, Laura had a number of interviews and multiple offers. When a hoped-for offer didn’t materialize, The Barrett Group supported her. When a good offer materialized and she decided she should decline, The Barrett Group supported her—fully, as The Barrett Group recognizes that the goal of a job search is not job offers, but the right job for their client. Despite her present situation, working for an employer who did not recognize her true value, she remained patient.

Soft Landing

And then, something—something so fortuitous that a reasonable person would not even dare to wish for it—happened. An offer began to materialize as the date for Laura’s retention bonus approached. One day, she received her retention bonus, having fully honored its terms. The next day, she left.

In the end, Laura had not only a retention bonus, but a better salary, a better title, a better employer, and, bottom line, a better job. She became a director and then a global director. Her new employer allowed her to grow and, to this day, encourages her to grow. And so, what began as a story of one manager believing in her valuation of herself, continued as a story of her finding someone else who believed in and supported that valuation. And it ended as a story of a third party, her new employer, recognizing both her present value as an executive and her growth potential. Together, the three of them, Laura, The Barrett Group, and Laura’s new employer, succeeded in unlocking her value.

A Tailored Fit

The Challenge

A constant, paramount concern of The Barrett Group is fit. We concern ourselves with the fit between employer and employee and the fit between our clients and our services, among other things. Fit can seem like a mundane concern, until we begin suffering from a bad fit, whether in our private lives or in our careers. This is a story about how we helped a client move from a bad fit to a good fit, by using services tailored to him and his needs.

By the time he engaged The Barrett Group, Chris Burger had a long, interesting, and enjoyable career as a global director of sales and order fulfillment for a couple different companies, including a 20-year run with one company. Chris loves to travel and, as a worldwide director, he literally circled the globe as an executive, spending time in France, Italy, Egypt, India, Singapore, Japan, US, and his native Netherlands. Chris enjoyed managing people from around the world, from different cultures. “What works in the US does not necessarily work in Europe or the Pacific Rim. I had a good appreciation for working with global cultures, and that was one of the reasons I was successful working in a global environment. I’ve always tried to make sure I have a global approach in my career as an executive.

Like many executive clients of The Barrett Group, a change in leadership motivated Chris to make a move. Chris was not terminated by the new leadership or even worried about termination, but he was concerned about whether it was still a good fit. “The leadership changes that happened didn’t necessarily fit my personality or my approach to problems. I could see that the company was not necessarily going in the direction I thought it should. When the initial support I was promised for a key project I was leading did not materialize, I started to realize that it was time for me to move on. Plus, I’m not the youngest anymore, you know, so I could see that I should take control of my destiny—and that’s what I did.

One More Gig

Fortunately for Chris, and for The Barrett Group, he decided that he could use some help controlling his destiny. “I was, let’s say, at a later stage of my career. I wanted to do one more gig and then retire. So, I wanted to make sure that gig would be a good gig. And, given the fact that a lot has changed in the way that you get jobs, especially at the executive level, I thought that it would be good to work with an advisor.

After talking with The Barrett Group CEO Peter Irish, Chris decided that advisor should be The Barrett Group. “Talking to Peter, the whole methodology they use, it just resonated with me. It addressed the exact areas where I needed some help. What you don’t do often, you don’t do well. But The Barrett Group can help you with the things you don’t do well. They do this for a living, and they know all the tricks in the book.

Clarity & Expertise

Chris prides himself on the fact that, as a global executive, he has been able to customize his management style to the individuals he is managing, to their diverse cultures and their various personalities. And so, he quickly became a fan of The Barrett Group process. The Barrett Group believes in providing services customized to their individual clients and their individual needs. And they believe in measuring twice and cutting once. Their process reflects these facts. “They are experienced in helping executives find their next role. In fact, they do this for a living. They have a well-established process which has proven to be successful. Their process is very complete in the sense that they begin with an assessment. They began by understanding my skills, my personality, my communication style, and things like that. Based on that, they tailored their process to my needs.

Nearly all clients of The Barrett Groups are experts. After all, they have risen to the top, to the executive ranks. Collectively, they have expertise in fascinating range of things, like management, operations, human resources, law, technology, and so on. But hardly clients any are expert at job search. Some have simply not conducted enough job searches to become expert. “I made maybe three or four career changes in my entire life,” says Chris. Others have job search expertise that has become obsolete in the age of artificial intelligence and algorithms. And others still face new, novel circumstances, as their present circumstances differ from their past circumstance. Maybe they are searching, for the first time, at an advanced age or during a down economy.

Like their clients, The Barrett Group is valuable because they have a valuable expertise—they are expert at job search. Chris quickly came to appreciate this expertise. “They have a very good understanding of how the job market works, and how to use the different mediums. They’re expert at working with recruiters and working through LinkedIn, making sure your LinkedIn profile grabs the attention of just the right people.

The Barrett Group’s LinkedIn expertise turned out to be especially valuable to Chris. “It clearly worked, because the conversation with my current employer was not the only conversation that I had during my brief search. I had several conversations, and they all began with someone calling me and saying, hey, we saw you on LinkedIn, and we’d like to talk.

Optimally Prepared

Chris also appreciated how prepared he was throughout his search with the help of The Barrett Group. “What The Barrett Group does is they really make sure that you are prepared. If I was contacted by a company, I would call The Barrett Group and ask, what information do you have? Within a day, I would have a full report. Who was their founder? What were the key roles? What was the product? So, when I had a conversation with a recruiter, I was fully prepped.

The preparation The Barrett Group provides has depth. It goes beyond providing research. “I was also trained on certain questions recruiters ask. My consultant would ask, how do you respond to that, and they made sure I had a good answer. And through this training, you know, I was not only very well prepared for conversations, but I was also very confident during the actual conversations. And that’s an important part of career success, being confident about who you are and what you can do.

For Chris, the pre-operational part of The Barrett Group’s process got clear, immediate results. The changes were subtle but significant. “The Barrett Group ensured that I used results-oriented language. They made sure I had good examples ready when asked questions. Many recruiters, one of the first things they ask is about compensation, and The Barrett Group taught me how to most effectively respond to questions about compensation. And they made sure I not only had references ready to go but The Barrett Group checked the references to make sure it would be a good reference.

In the end, it all worked. I was optimally prepared for any opportunity that would come by.

The Final Chapter

The Barrett Group partners with their clients to ensure that they are prepared from the beginning to the very end. At the executive level, most job searches end with negotiations, and The Barrett Group helps clients capitalize on the opportunities negotiations present. “The Barrett Group prepared me for negations. They made sure that I had a good understanding of what I was looking for and helped me determine what would be acceptable to me or not. They said, you’re going to get these questions and here’s how to respond. And I was able to do that. The key thing that works well with The Barrett Group is that they prepare you well for all the different aspects of job search, including salary negotiations.

The Barrett Group and some good luck helped Chris solve the final problem of his job search. “When I got the offer from my current company, it was a little bit below what they had initially indicated it would be. I said I was pleased with the offer, but that it was lower than they had indicated. I said I would give it some thought and let them know in a day or so.

Even then, Chris valued the opinion of The Barrett Group so much that he didn’t respond until after getting his consultant’s opinion. “When I finally talked it over with my consultant, they said, yes, this is a good over. So, by basically not responding, they blinked first, and I got an offer I was glad to accept.

Chris considers this to be the final chapter of his career, and the best thing about his story might be that he is incredibly excited about this last chapter. “It’s a lot of fun to be with a company that’s young, to be working with very diverse, very intelligent young people.

Chris’ new employer, is a San Francisco startup. And his excitement can be traced back to one of his interviews. “I asked, what is the biggest challenge you have? What do you want me to start looking at first? You know, I’ve asked people that question before, and most would start whining or complaining. This is not working well or that group isn’t doing this or that. But in this company it was much more positive. the people that interviewed said, well, we have a few opportunities here, and we would like to have your help with them. We like your experience, and we want to partner with you. And that still is what is happening.

Like good tailors, good carpenters, and really all good craftsmen, The Barrett Group is focused on fit. Almost none of our clients would consider cutting their own clothes or framing their own houses, and yet all consider conducting their own executive job searches. We are here for those who consider it and decide against it, those who decide to use our expertise and benefit by it by finding a better fit.

Recommended Resources

WSJ.com: “Who’s Hiring and Who’s Firing

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WSJ.com: “Looking for a Job? Big Tech Is Still Hiring

Coronavirus has ravaged the American job market, but tech giants remain on the hunt for cybersecurity experts and engineers; Facebook filling 10,000 roles in 2020.

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