Why we Rehire “Boomerangers.”

They're back!  (Not sons and daughters of baby boomers living with their parents).  At MATRIX we have witnessed a different trend, of former employees returning to the fold. Is this a good thing for us, and for them? Conventional wisdom holds that hiring former employees is a bad idea. Some firms even have a hard and fast rule to never hire former employees. They perceive troublesome questions being asked. ‘Why did he leave in the first place? Won't he leave again? And what message are we sending to the rest of the organization if we hire him back?’

According to Job Mob “Most companies understand that once an employee leaves, they have left. In effect, they have said that something at the work environment is so bad or so limiting (insert your own reason here), that they need to move on to another job.”

boomerangers are people who return to orginal place of hire

These are all valid points. Nevertheless, at MATRIX we have a different experience with more than a few of our employees who have left voluntarily. When they leave, we wish them luck, and offer to stay in touch, because well you never know... And when they are ready to return… so are we. We have made perhaps a dozen or so rehires (primarily with sales and recruiters but also with our operations folks.) And we have derived tremendous value from these rehires.

Is this an industry trend here or is this just something unique about MATRIX. I interviewed a dozen or so of our rehires, and the findings are interesting.

Why did they leave? A variety of perfectly understandable reasons were revealed: more money, desire to start their own companies, relocation or other family issues, career role dissatisfaction, feeling stale.

Why did they return? Mostly because they found out the grass was not greener on the other side of the fence; that you can’t always predict what it is like at someplace until you actually work there.

And they missed the culture we have at MATRIX. “Culture trumps process,” said one, who had previously thought the collaborative way we did things was cumbersome, but now realized, that team support was very valuable. “Integrity” was a word that came up often to describe our foundational value of always doing the right thing, even if it means sacrificing profit. “Seems like home and I missed my family,” said another. I know it sounds trite, but I don’t know how else to put it.

Another smart thing they all did was not burn  bridges when they left. They stayed friends and remained in contact with their former colleagues, including management, realizing it  is a lot easier to reach out for help when you have been talking to someone regularly.

And why did MATRIX welcome back these former employees? Mainly because they had proven themselves previously as excellent performers. We decided to not take their leaving personally, and understand people have different needs at different times.

According to Careerbuilder there are plenty of other reasons to rehire former employees, it boosts employee morale, simplifies training, and allows fresh perspectives gained from the outside to be introduced into the company.

And it is very expensive to recruit, vet, hire and train new employees from scratch. Our HR director estimates that hiring and ramp up can take six months and an investment cost of thousands of dollars for each new employee. By contrast, Boomerangers hit the ground running because they already know the culture, the job and most of the processes. They can be productive much more quickly.

Obviously not everyone is a great fit for this kind of career move. Potential emotional and organizational pitfalls do exist. Like anyone else, a rehired employee will succeed or fail depending on whether he or she's right for a particular role. If their skills properly match the challenges, and if they are comfortable fittting back into the culture,  we have found it's worth giving them a chance.

About the Author: 

Rick Sanders is Digital Content Strategist/Writer. He has broad experience in technology-related marketing, and writing for the tech-savvy crowd. Rick sees the explosion of social media as a great reason for revisiting the basics of effective communication.  He can be reached at rsand@bellsouth.net or on Linked In at www.linkedin.com/in/ricksand


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Hiring Manager

Five Ways to Change Careers

The problem with trying to change occupations or industries, is that most people don’t have the skill set to support a broad leap in jobs. So they end up willing to do practically anything other than what they are currently doing, and subsequently flounder in their job search.

After 15 years in recruiting, helping companies to find and hire teams of highly specialized consultants and executives, my job is now to teach employers and recruiters how to find and attract talent better. But one of my primary passions remains helping job seekers along in the career process. I donate time speaking to career groups, and regularly do calls with job seekers in distress.

One of the main subjects discussed, especially this deep into what’s turning out to be a fairly long recession, is transitioning industries or occupations. Many people just aren’t having enough success in their current vocation. Or it has been a struggle in their industry for so long that they are burned out.

Grass is always greenerWhat many of us struggle with in changing occupations is lack of focus, and poor understanding of our own market. We think the grass looks greener over there. But over there is across a big pond. The odds of jumping across it are low. So, instead, we should think of side stepping around to get across.

Moving to adjacent or complimentary industries is a straightforward option that most of us don’t think to consider.

If you want to change careers, look at the companies that align with or serve your current industry. They may not be what you think. Look at every vendor to your current firm and your competitors’ firms. Chances are those vendors hire people like you in some capacity. Then you can start side stepping around the pond to the place you want to be on the other side.

Here are 5 ideas to help job seekers who wish to change careers

1. Look at adjacent/complimentary industries or companies, and vendors to your current firm or competitors firms. Ask who supplies your company with various items or services, who does your web site, PR, marketing, CRM software, office supplies, food service, etc. Chances are there is a company that services your current employer, or one like yours, who would be interested in hiring good people from inside the operation. Think about how you can apply your existing skills in other areas vs. completely changing skill sets.

2. List other things you do as ‘jobs’. If you are on a board, volunteer, help a friend, whatever, there is a story there and you use certain skills to do it. Probably those skills are something you are passionate about. List those things on your Linkedin profile or resume under “additional engagements” just as you would a job. It is experience… use it.

3. Start a project online to study the industry or skills with which you want to work. Get a friend or colleague to help. Create something that a company you are targeting might find valuable. Document the process. List it on your resume as a real job (you’re not fabricating anything if this actually becomes part of your experience).

4. Start an industry blog about your target industry or occupation. Post articles, both re-blogged from others, and original material that you research and write yourself, that people in your target market can use in their work, retweet, reblog, etc. You might even document your job search process. Highlight the knowledge you are gaining as you strive to master expertise as you go along. You will start to pop up on the radar of employers and recruiters in the industry you target.

5. Focus, focus, focus. Make some lists: What you get paid to do, What you like to do, What companies will pay you to do that you like. In that final list is your focus. Check out my post on How to Create Focus Lists to Narrow Your Job Search:

When you decide who your targets are, and who the players are within those companies, network with them, be supportive, retweet, like, and share their posts. Cozy up and get friendly…and listen…before you ask for anything. Post useful information, tips, and articles in groups and places you know they participate.

Then, when you have become a valuable resource, let them know that you think they are great, and that you are very interested in their organization. Invite them to a phone call or a cup of coffee. Be honest and tell them you want to change careers and you think their company is a good prospect for you and you for them. Ask about the best way to get referred in. Chances are, if you have proven yourself knowledgeable and valuable, you will get an intro to the firm.

About the Author: 

Craig Fisher is a recruitment consultant, social media strategist and trainer, and serial entrepreneur. He consults with some of the world’s top companies on using social media for sales, marketing, recruiting, employer branding, and talent attraction. He is a featured author and speaker in industry publications and at conference events internationally. Craig created and hosts the original social recruiting forum on Twitter, TalentNet Live (#talentnet), and the TalentNet Live Social Recruiting/HR conferences. Follow Craig on Twitter @fishdogs and @TalentNet.

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Job Seeker

Leadership Lessons from The Lorax

By now, if you read my blog posts, you may have noticed a recurring theme – my wife and I run a very child-centric family. The two of us feel strongly that it is our duty to show our children all the parts of ‘the World’, good, bad and indifferent. The one caveat is that the activities must be ‘age appropriate’ for our kids. As long as that one constraint is met, we basically take them everywhere we go.

This weekend was no exception. On Friday night, we attended a Bingo fundraiser at our daughter’s grade school. Then, on Saturday we took them, along with two other families, to a wonderful play being put on by our local community theater group (The Foreigner). Finally, on Sunday, we got around to seeing ‘The Lorax’, which is the latest Dr. Seuss book that Hollywood is trying to wring money out of.

The LoraxNow, in general, I find Dr. Seuss’ books to be charming, whimsical things, even at my jaded, curmudgeonly age. They teach important lessons that we, as adults, have a tendency to forget. Particularly, they remind me of the innocence of young children, something nearly all of us have lost along the way. Between the dueling forces of Responsibility, Career Path, Consumerism, and Business Reality, the child’s perspective we all shared at one point is systematically leeched from us. I think that’s why so many people flock to see films like ‘The Lorax’ (it did a whopping $70 mil this weekend).

Dr. Seuss books don’t exactly have a wonderful reputation for their adaptability to the Silver Screen. It is a difficult prospect to turn a kids 20 page picture book into an hour and a half of engaging film entertainment. Some of the funniest men in Western culture (Jim Carrey, Mike Myers) have failed miserably at it. Another (Steve Carrell) managed to pull off a near miracle by making a fairly good film in ‘Horton Hears A Hoo’. Unfortunately, ‘The Lorax’ doesn’t really help this trend, for a lot of reasons…

Really, for me, the most important moment in the movie comes at the very end, right before the credits roll. The producers decided that they should sum up the film with a wonderful quote from the author himself: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.“

The truth of this simple quote is universal. It’s apolitical, valid to a point of extreme, and unfortunately, it’s a forgotten lesson in our 21st Century world of ‘me first’. And this isn’t exactly a new thought. This message has popped up repeatedly throughout human existence. Religious leaders have espoused this thought for millennia.

Gandhi placed his own spin on it, when he said: “Be the change you want to see in the World.”

Even Michael Jackson tapped into the idea of changing the world one person at a time. Just listen to ‘Man In the Mirror’. You can’t miss the message. Empower yourself. Transform yourself to become who you want to be.

But here’s the key point I want to push out to you, the blog reader. People often take these messages and apply them to their personal lives. They vow to lose weight, be healthier, give to charity, or stop texting while they are driving. However, there is a huge untapped possibility that many people don’t ever consider. Bring the same perspective to the workplace.

That’s right, everyone. Raise your game at your job. Take on a leadership role. Select a protégé and mentor them. Try using a new technology that will improve your group’s productivity. Look at existing business processes that are cumbersome and work to streamline them. Redefine your relationship with your supervisor. Bring fresh ideas to the table. Sure, some people will look at you disapprovingly, like you’re making waves or trying to get ahead – that part doesn’t matter. Let’s try to fix the World, one situation at a time.

“If you want to make the World a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change.” I know the Lorax would approve.

About the Author: 

Willard Woodrow, Senior Project Manager and BI Champion at Genuine Parts, has 15+ years of information technology experience in the utilities, retail, recruiting, telecom, and insurance verticals. His professional expertise includes business consulting, system implementation, project management, application operations, and client relationship management. Follow Willard on Twittter @willardwoodrow.

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Building Your " Social Playlists" ( Part 1)

I recently gave a presentation at the National Sales and Recruiting meeting at MATRIX. For years I’ve worked with this group on how to find potential clients on social media. Not just how to find them, but how to effectively engage with them. It’s not rocket science, but I would say it’s an “art form.” Strategically, yet relationally, building a trusted partnership with prospects using social media.

This year, my presentation centered around the theme of “getting organized.”

Let me tease out an analogy for you.

Most everyone reading this post has an iTunes (or some sort of MP3) library. We spend numerous hours and countless dollars downloading our favorite songs. Studies show that the average iTunes library is roughly 7,000 songs.

We don’t listen to each of those songs every day, rather we have specific times of the day where only a certain type of song will do. So, we build playlists.

We have our “gym mix,” our “driving with the windows down mix,” even our “My day deserves a glass of wine mix.”

We organize them so we can quickly find the type of song we’re looking for, the moment we need it.

Whether you’re in sales, leading a marketing department, or are a job seeker, you can apply these same principles to your social connections that you would to your iTunes library. Organizing them around your specific “target markets” so you can quickly find those connections when you need them.

Building Your Social Playlists.
Social playlistHow big is your social library? If you’re an avid social media participator, I’d bet between LinkedIn and Twitter your connections are well into the thousands.

How do you know if you’re connecting with the right audience, or if you’re just building a network full of (cough) “internet marketers”? You might have an impressive list of social connections but if they’re not in your target market, then you are simply wasting your time.

But Adam, how do I know if the connections I’m building are poised for not just good relationships, but are on their way to qualified leads for my business?

Ah, good question, and I’m going to pull a Ryan Seacrest, and say, “we’ll find out, after the break.”

In my next post, I’m going to show you, step-by-step, how you can organize your LinkedIn and Twitter connections. Putting them into “social playlists” that will enable you to, not only quickly find them, but also give you an indication if your connections truly will help bring in a ROI for your business. Or if you just have a large network full of “noise makers.”

“Don’t touch that dial.”

About the Author: 

Adam Waid is the Director of Marketing at Mediacurrrent, an industry-leader in helping organizations architect custom Drupal websites. Adam is also a MATRIX Alumnus, where he worked closely with the Sales and Recruiting organizations to develop differentiation strategies, create content, and drive CRM and social media initiatives with a single goal in mind - build stronger, more meaningful relationships with our clients. Leveraging new technology, the latest social media trends, and a good mix of traditional marketing, Adam grows online communities.  

Follow Adam on Twitter and Read his Social Media Blog.

Posted in: 
Job Seeker

SQL 101 - Summarizing Data (Part 2)

Consider the following table, orders.

buyer             productName     purchaseDate   qtyPurchased     pricePaid

------------- --------------- --------------- ----------- ---------

Shannon Lowder pencil 1/1/2000 1 .25

Shannon Lowder paper 1/1/2000 2 1.00

Shannon Lowder Mountain Dew 1/1/2000 1 1.25

Shannon Lowder pencil 1/5/2000 1 .25

Shannon Lowder pencil 1/7/2000 1 .25

Shannon Lowder Mountain Dew 1/10/2000 1 1.25

Shannon Lowder Mountain Dew 1/11/2000 1 1.25

Shannon Lowder Mountain Dew 1/12/2000 1 1.25

Shannon Lowder Mountain Dew 1/13/2000 1 1.25

Shannon Lowder Mountain Dew 1/14/2000 1 1.25

How would we find out the total number of pencils I purchased? You could do that with a WHERE clause. What if I wanted to see a quantity of each product I ordered? Now that's different. If you need to use an aggregate function and break down that aggregate by categories (or groups), then you're going to need to learn the GROUP BY clause. This clause will help you summarize data by these groups. So basically I'm going to teach you an add-on to the aggregate functions lesson. Let's dive right in.

Problem 1: Show me the total quantities purchased, broken down by product.



, SUM(qty) as [total quantity]

FROM orders



productName total quantity

------------ --------------

pencil 3

paper 2

Mountain Dew 6

Pretty easy, right? You can group by any one column or multiple columns. Grouping by multiple columns is a fundamental for most reports you'll be asked to write. You will eventually be asked a question like:

Problem 2: Show me a Report of Which Products Were Sold, by Month?

At first this seems more difficult, but really, all you'll have to do is add an additional column to your SELECT and GROUP BY list. I would like to take an aside here, and point out, sometimes business requirements aren't entirely clear. This example is a great case to consider ambiguity in a request. Is product name the "main" or first group, or is the month, the first group? In this case, we're going to use productName as the first group.



, MONTH(purchaseDate) as [Month]

, SUM(qty) as [total quantity]

FROM orders



, MONTH(purchaseDate)

productName Month total quantity

------------ ----- --------------

pencil 1 3

paper 1 2

Mountain Dew 1 6

Since all the data in my example happened in January 2000, all the counts from before appear as they did before. This time we just have the extra column in the output. This is also the time where I will point out you can use functions in your GROUP BY clause, and as long as it's not an aggregate function (like SUM, MAX, MIN, etc) you can use it!


The GROUP BY clause is a fundamental part of reporting. Experiment with it, and become comfortable with it. If you have any questions, send them in! I'm here to help you learn all about SQL.

About the Author: 

Look no further for expertise in: Business Analysis to gather the business requirements for the database; Database Architecting to design the logical design of the database; Database Development to actually build the objects needed by the business logic; finally, Database Administration to keep the database running in top form, and making sure there is a disaster recovery plan. Connect with Shannon Lowder.

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