Wake Me Up in October

It’s beginning to feel a lot like a recovery in the job market is imminent. Yes…there are visible signs that the job market is (finally) starting to rebound (can I say wake up?). I wrote about the downturn over a year ago. It’s been a long time since we have seen visible signs that things are changing. It’s the little things that all add up and get me excited about what lies ahead. Clients are calling again with new search assignments. A good thing. Candidates are stirring around casting a wide net to see what’s out there. Many are tired of wearing multiple hats. Fear seems to be subsiding. Also (very) good.

I watch the market trends and talk to other search colleagues and they too see things finally starting to turn in their respective search firms. I watch (and smile at) the new postings on http://www.HealthcareITCentral.com as I see more and more activity lately. Gwen Darling and I chatted last week about the job market and both asked the same question: Why are many healthcare IT organizations waiting to build a strong bench for the tsunami that lies ahead? We don’t get it. With $20B + earmarked for HCIT starting to flow soon – why wait. It just seems very risky to me to wait much longer given the demands for the skills that will be required – not to mention the mad rush by many organizations at the last minute to acquire top-flight HCIT talent. Don’t wait! C’mon – let’s get going.

According to Execunet’s latest prediction on the job market, the trailing metrics all point to solid job growth beginning in September and into Q4 and beyond. That’s more good news. Let’s face it – It’s been a grueling year, but it looks like things are finally moving in the right direction. I like that. Wake me up in October because it looks like many of us will need rest to get ready for some very busy months as we finally crawl out of our recession cocoon. It’s about time.

I’m ready. Are you?

Kudos to CNN News – Did I Just Say That?

It’s rare for me to agree much with CNN as I see through their extremely liberal reporting as they communicate with the American people as if we are all a bunch a of bozos.

I digress.

Having said that… I have found an area of (let’s just call it) common ground where we may see things in the same light. CNN feels the same way I do when advising candidate’s that are looking for a job in this challenging economy. I was surprised! The article I am referring to basically states that if you are in this job market and feeling discouraged at all about the prospects of landing your New New Thing – you should turn off the news. NOW. Thank you CNN. Now we are getting somewhere…

They are spot on . OK – Here is my advice one more time. Turn it OFF Now. Do not pass go – do not try to collect your $100 – just turn it off NOW. I wrote about my own personal plans to boycott the evening news last week. So far…so good. It does not appear that I have missed much. My attitude is better, my stress level and blood pressure appear to be much lower and overall I feel a lot better about the future and the business outlook after removing bad news from my daily diet and avoiding the evening for 30 solid minutes every single night.

Yeah – I’m much better now

And…you should feel good too! This is a great time to be in healthcare IT. Period. The recently passed stimulus package has billions of dollars allocated for healthcare, including $21 billion for healthcare information systems and technology. That is really good news. God I love healthcare IT!

So that’s my update as I approach week number 2 with no news. I do not miss it at all. To me watching this junk daily is sort of like having a daily root canal. Now that would be painful!

Life goes on and the wheels on the bus go round and round. I thought I would go through “news withdrawal” with some noticeable symptoms I could point to. But I can’t. I feel great and I am doing just fine! Now back to the many books I am reading – now that I have more time on my hands….

Perfect Storm – What Storm?

I wrote about the dire predictions of the healthcare IT talent shortage just a short nine months ago. My – how things have changed. And I do mean changed! You know the story. America was about to see huge chunks of its human capital wiped out by 72M baby boomers retiring at the rate of 16K people a day for years.

Hey – that’s a lot of boomers!

I’m only guessing those metrics have changed and changed dramatically over the course of the past few months. We are hearing from candidates (like all or most of Americans) that are making drastic changes to the way they spend, save and yes – look at retirement given what has transpired in our economy, cities, neighborhoods and 401K accounts. In some cases, and depending on the age and other financial details from some candidates, retirement in the near term is completely out of the question.

However, there IS a silver lining here if you look hard enough. Let me provide some positive upside in all of this craziness:

Healthcare was one of the very few industries that added jobs in 2008 – to the tune of over 300,000 new jobs! That’s huge!
HCIT will get a big boost by the news of the economic stimulus bill that passed today!
EMR may finally get major traction across the healthcare sector as a result of the new stimulus package.
Many new jobs will be created to fill the demand in HCIT on the vendor side and in the CIO’s shop.
Like it or not – this new bill will continue to move the needle on healthcare spending as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product here in the US. Good and bad – right?
We have the potential to create newer and better EMR and other technologies as private equity and venture capital companies invest more in the healthcare IT space.
If you are reading this blog – your services will probably be in high demand for as long as you want to stay in the workforce.
I know the economy is in the tank and people across America are hurting and I do not have my head in the sand – promise. I just try hard to always look for the silver lining. I do remain bullish about healthcare IT!

Now… did someone mention a storm?

Please Don’t Wear a “Members Only” Jacket to an Interview…EVER!
Posted on: 2.15.2009 7:44:57 PM Posted by Tim Tolan

A few months ago, as I was conducting a search for a “C” level executive for a very well known healthcare organization. Let’s just say it’s a marquis name OK? The initial interviews were done by phone and then followed up with either a video interview or an in-person interview with each candidate and myself – depending on scheduling. This is done for a variety of reasons including to really give the search consultant a better feel for each candidate being considered. Clearly this was a very prestigious client I was working for. One might assume that any candidate competing for this position with this institution would naturally put his or her best foot forward. Well…maybe not:-) Are you ready for this? Here we go…

I scheduled the in-person interview over breakfast (my partner in crime Gwen Darling touched on this subject last year in her blog) to see the other side of this star candidate. Breaking bread with a candidate can tell me a lot! He was prompt and on time when he arrived. However, Mr. GQ decided to wear a Members Only jacket to the interview so he could display his knowledge of “dress for success”. What? A Members Only jacket? I wanted to say to him – “are you kidding me” What were you thinking? Or maybe, ‘How’s that working for you”?

The sad part is that he had great skills and matched most of the job specifications to a T. Here’s the problem: He made the choice to dress casually for a very important interview for a very well known healthcare organization and – a great job. His business acumen led me to believe that he did not give much thought to what he should wear. C’mon! His decision making on what to wear really came into question here. I coached him about his attire and then, like Simon on American Idol – I had to let him know that he would not be going to the next round. It was painful – but it was the right call.

I always recommend to all of my candidates to dress appropriately when going on a face-to face interview. Suit up…Period. Usually a dark or grey suit – they never go out of style. It’s always safe, it’s always smart and it just makes good business sense. Although we, as a country are still in somewhat of a “business casual dress” mode in many work environments, don’t take that chance when you are interviewing for a very high level “C-level” position – with the potential employer OR the search consultant.

Dumb move – just plain dumb! When in doubt – suit up!