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Corporate Researchers Conference October 16-18, 2013 / Please join me at CRC in Dallas this week (Oct 16-18) where I am a speaker at our conference session "Attracting & Maintaining Top Talent”.

The 2013 Corporate Researchers Conference (CRC) was designed by corporate researchers to help move you from relevant to indispensable by keeping you and your organization ahead of change.

As trusted research providers can be instrumental in solving your research challenges, CRC partners with 45 top-notch suppliers who are required to staff their exhibits with “educators," allowing you to actually learn from exhibitors.

CRC is a special event, with a genuinely collaborative and welcoming environment you’ll find nowhere else. Join us October 16-18 in Dallas for a remarkable conference designed to provide you with practical, applicable solutions to your most pressing challenges. [Visit CRC:]

Women in Research - Summer Webinair August 7, 2013 / Get Paid What You're Worth - End your fears of salary negotiation.

If you have a hard time asking for a raise or negotiating a competitive salary for a new position, you’re not alone! Many women feel uncomfortable talking money. In this session, we will offer advice and a roadmap to overcoming your fears and getting paid at fair market value.

Panelists: Kristin Luck (moderator) Karen Morgan- President, Morgan Search International, Lorraine Keeling- Group VP, HR Business Partner at Millward Brown.

*Please Note you will need to download and install the Cisco WebEx Plugin to enable playback. [Visit Cisco WebEx:]

Research Business Daily Report July 29, 2013 / Concise perspectives, insights and analysis about under-reported events impacting the market research world, from RFL Communications Editor & Publisher Bob Lederer in association with Quirk's Marketing Research Media. Discusses a study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows marketers can empower consumers in new product development, but those consumers will resist influencing them via social media. Morgan Search President Karen Morgan comments about the Marketing Crossing study that claims a massive upswing took place in open marketing positions and significant jumps in the size of job offers. [Watch this Video]

Jo Bowman Interviews Karen Morgan for ESOMAR's GMR

ESOMAR facilitates an on-going dialogue with its 4,900 members, in over 130 countries, through the promotion of a comprehensive programme of industry specific and thematic conferences, publications and best practice guidelines. ESOMAR also provides ethical guidance and actively promotes self-regulation in partnership with a number of associations across the globe.

Jo Bowman: Hi I'm Jo Bowman from ESOMAR and I'm talking today to Karen Morgan. Karen's Head of Recruitment at the company Morgan Search International and she's been placing market research professionals for more than a decade. She's worked in Europe and the Middle East, Asia, and she's now based in the U.S., from where she joins us now. Hi Karen!

Karen Morgan: Hi Jo! Nice speaking with you.

Jo: I wanted to talk to you because I guess in times of economic hardship, employers can be really choosy about what kind of people they want to hire, presumably because there's a rich pool of talent out there looking for a small number of jobs. So, is it really an employer's market at the moment?

Karen: It's really interesting. I would say yes and no. So one would think that the talent pool would be larger than ever but as you said, companies are choosier than ever. So the kinds of profiles they're looking for are harder than ever to find. Departments are smaller than ever so you're looking for a broader range of skills in individuals than ever before. So what we're hearing from a lot of clients is that they are actually having a really hard time finding people, finding the right talent. But they're also willing to wait for that so-called perfect candidate. So it's interesting. It's a little bit counter-intuitive actually.

Jo: So where is the demand coming from? What kind of companies are doing the hiring at the moment?

Karen: I would say there's a lot more hiring going on on the agency side. By agency, I mean creative research companies and strategy firms, the growth on the strategy side has been pretty significant in the last few years. In fact, we saw that trend coming a few years ago a lot of these strategy firms have taken over from some of the hiring that used to happen at the ad agency side. There's not a ton of client-side hiring going on, and the levels we're seeing are mid-level. There's not really a lot happening, certainly with our clients, at this junior-level or senior-level.

Jo: What can you tell us about the kind of people that are in the jobs market at the moment? Where are they coming from? What's their background?

Karen: We're definitely seeing a real trend, particularly recently, I'd say in the last few months, of people who have been out there freelancing for a long time on their own, and they're having a harder time finding those freelance projects. And so they're thinking about going in-house again. I've also seen quite a number of people who've actually had successful businesses of their own, research firms, even for a decade or so, and now, they're just finding it harder to carry on alone. So they're also looking to go in-house. And then certainly we're seeing people who are now….there's less nervousness in terms of people making moves. So we are seeing some people that are looking for their second career move, starting to look. But people are, they need to be lured away now. There need to be incentives for them to make that move and people are quite cautious, if they're employed, and quite happy where they are.

Jo: OK, so it looks like security is one of the main priorities for people who are looking for work. Does that mean that people who perhaps have a job that they like but they don't love, but they like, are hanging on to their job for a bit longer than they would have done in the past?

Karen: Definitely, I would say. And that's where it's interesting because companies still feel like they're very much in the driver's seat. But actually they're really not because some of the really good talent is staying put. And if those companies want to lure them away, they've really got to make it worth their while.

Jo: So what does that mean for employers and what they offer to their new recruits and their current employees in terms of money, but also other forms of reward? And the training and development that they offer?

Karen: Yah, well, (laughs) therein lies the problem! I mean, I think there's a huge disconnect there and I predict there's going to be a massive shift once the economy really picks up. We've seen the economy has improved in the US, but its not booming by any means. Many companies are still taking advantage of that. There are certainly companies that are doing a really good job of on-campus recruiting and I certainly think a lot of Silicon Valley companies that have more money at their disposal are doing a great job in terms of training and attracting people and are very competitive in terms of compensation. But a lot of the more traditional firms, it's the opposite, they've cut back on bonuses, they're not offering competitive salaries, so that's a problem. I foresee a mass exodus from businesses that are not really thinking ahead and trying to hold on to their best talent.

Jo: You said that employers looking for new talent are often hanging on for the perfect employee. What do you see in job descriptions now, or what combinations of abilities, do you see that you haven't seen before?

Karen: Well, as one person said to me recently, (laughs) they're looking for a unicorn. They're looking for everything, essentially. So they want people who have the hands-on research skills and usually that means they want them to have both qual and quant, and a good combination of that, and they want them to be hands-on, sort of "in the weeds," but also very strategic, and also what comes up a lot is they want creative thinkers. They're looking at business from a bigger-picture perspective.

Jo: Right. So do they actually want a different kind of person from the kind of candidate who might've taken these jobs a few years ago?

Karen: Absolutely. Completely dif…Just the range of skills they're looking for now is broader than ever, just essentially what they're looking for is , because departments are so much smaller, they're looking for two people in one.

Jo: Right.

Karen: So what used to be two jobs (laughs) you know they're looking for that person to do both!

Jo: That's why they're having to wait awhile.

Karen: Yes.

Jo: OK. And how much traffic are you seeing going between agency-side and the client-side?

Karen: That's a really interesting question because I think what we're hearing from a lot of candidates is that they want to go client side. One main reason, and this has been an ongoing trend, is that they feel that they can be more strategic, and they're overseeing the whole process. But also, I think its because a lot of people feel that there's a lot of instability on the other side of the table because you know, you lose one big client, it can mean layoffs. There is still the perception that perhaps working on the client side offers more stability. I'm not sure that that perception is correct. We're definitely seeing people that haven't ever worked on the client side or did a long time ago trying to get back to it. But its not easy to do because there just aren't that many client-side jobs right now.

Jo: How do you think the US job market for research compares with other parts of the world, given that other parts of the world are doing better economically than the US?

Karen: I mean, its been really tough. Its certainly improved. I would say last year is better than the previous year. Its still a little bit of a roller coaster. The market started off strong at the beginning of this year and then it sort of tapered off again. We're hearing from a lot of clients that they're seeing that, waiting longer to get sign-offs on projects, etc. So I would say certainly compared to Europe or continental Europe, we're doing better. We're so globally integrated now that we feel the ripples of that. I definitely feel the last few weeks, we've been feeling the impact of what's going on in Europe.

Jo: Do you find you get many people looking to leave the US and go to these faster-growing markets? The Brit markets? Do they think there's a better opportunity for them there?

Karen: We do, but its interesting that we continue to see people that actually …We've seen a lot of people who were in Asia who are looking to come to the US or get back to the US, which is interesting. And obviously there have been reports about how Asia or China's economy slowing down. We do some work there; You may have another thinker on the pulse than I. We're certainly still seeing a lot of people who are looking to come here for whatever work. Which is surprising to me! (laughs)

Jo: (laughs) They think things are worse elsewhere than here.

Karen: Right. Yes.

Jo: The grass is always greener.

Karen: Yes.

Jo: How well do you think the research industry positioned to snap up the bright young people who are joining the job market, perhaps the recent graduates? Because, I know over the years, its struggled a bit with it's image. It seems a bit of a frumpy cousin to the sexy world of advertising. Are there any signs of that impression changing?

Karen: I think there is a bit of a shift. I think the research industry could do a lot more. Actually they're in an advantageous position because the ad agency world is so unstable these days. A lot of people are looking to get out so I actually think there's a great case to be made for, you can become a researcher and its not this sort of, frumpy…its so different. We're talking about just a minute ago, the kinds of people that they're looking for and the kinds of environments that exist now between working at a really exciting technology company or some of these exciting research firms that are really sort of more strategy firms than anything else now.

Jo: OK. Karen Morgan, thanks very much, that's been really informative. Thank you very much for your time.

Karen: Thank you Jo, really nice speaking with you.

Jo: And you.

[Watch this Video]
[Visit Esomar:]

Research Business Daily Report April 19, 2012 / Concise perspectives, insights and analysis about under-reported events impacting the market research world, from RFL Communications Editor & Publisher Bob Lederer in association with Quirk's Marketing Research Media. in conversation with Karen Morgan. [Watch this Video]

It's harder and harder these days to stand out. Resumes seem out of step with technology and the way we assess skills. A candidate I've known for some years now sent something really unique today. He called it his Quick Facts Calling Card. Firstly, the idea of a Quick Facts Calling Card is a good one. Everyone is looking to quickly assess a candidate's core skills. This short summary works better than a resume because it provides a quick overview as well as a little flavor for his or her personality. Beyond the content, the candidate, who is in food marketing, organized the information to look like a food label. It really stood out and gave us a feel for his approach & creative thinking.

Another approach that's becoming more common is the infographic resume. What better way to show that you are capable of summing up information in charts than to graphically display your own job history? We've seen all sorts of new approaches to the traditional resume. Some candidates have their own personal websites and others show their social media savvy. Claudio Nader turned his Facebook profile into a Facebook CV which lead to a social media assistantship and Royer Arnaud created a knock-off of a Twitter profile for his resume. See both resumes here: [Resumes]

If you are thinking about trying a creative approach to your resume, make sure that you stay focused. For example, if you are applying for a quantitative market research position, creating a resume with a social-media-inspired theme may not help your efforts. Although it is fine to be playful & creative, make sure you are professional in your approach. And make sure there are no typos! You will immediately lose all credibility. And don't forget your contact information! Impressing a prospective employer does nothing for you if they do not know where to contact you. Not all creative approaches to resumes work the way they were intended. Aleksey Vayner applied to a financial institution and as a result, his video resume went viral on the internet but he did not get hired. We have to admire his boldness, although his approach might have been misplaced considering the type of company he was applying to. Researching your future employer and understanding their background is important when considering if they would appreciate a more creative approach to the traditional resume.
Here are 25 more examples of different resume approaches for your consideration: [25 more examples]

Companies continue to say they cannot find "the right" or "qualified" talent yet in many cases they should be looking at HOW they're approaching their hiring. Often there's no strategy involved.

Sometimes the skills companies are looking for are so specific that they miss out on good talent. Oftentimes, they are looking to bring someone on board that already knows how to do the job and tasks they are hiring for. Companies want someone who is has a technical skill set, yet is also creative and personable. Essentially, they need to be left-brain dominant and right-brain dominant! Candidates that have obtained a degree relevant to the job description is oftentimes imperative when using screening software. A candidate that applies for a job in a field other than their experience and education is at a far disadvantage in this time of widespread unemployment. It is a buyer's market for the employer, who has a widespread pool of applicants and little time to sift through them for the experience they are seeking. In addition, technological proficiency is just as important as education and work experience for the modern jobseeker.

According to David Wessel, in his article entitled, "Software Raises the Bar for Hiring," the ability to just do a job with an incredibly specific skill set is no longer the only requirement to get hired in today's market. Screening has become so software-driven that you must also find a creative way to mimic the wording listed in the job description on your resume. Even human resources experts that have experimented applying anonymously for jobs in their own company didn't make the cut!

Companies that employ an almost entirely software-driven screening strategy is an obstacle to me. The job placement process has become de-personalized to the point that there is virtually no person to person interaction involved. I understand we all need efficient tools to save time but the human touch is imperative in placing high-quality talent. This has been lost in many hiring approaches. At Morgan Search International, we take the time to get to know both our clients and our candidates to ensure that not only is there a match in the skill set, but the cultural fit must also match! Our strategy also ensures that the person who is placed in a position will stay much longer than a person matched by a computer methodology alone, thereby reducing company turnover. The holistic approach that our recruitment firm provides is a service that no software screening can readily provide. See the article that this blog is written in response to here:
[Original Article]

Ok, so if your company still won't invest in training or there really isn't the budget right now– get creative!

Initiate a mentoring program at your company – pair more experienced professionals with junior staff. Ask around – there may even be an existing program that you're not aware of – "Most employees are surprised to discover that their companies have mentoring programs that they didn't even know about"- in fact, about 70% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs. Start small – so it's manageable. Arrange a meeting an hour a week/month or agree to meet one evening a week, month, quarter….whatever works. Make it work- create exercises/activities that help both the mentor and mentee. Younger professionals can help older professionals stay up to date on social media and marketing trends, likewise, older professionals can offer wisdom and advice on career direction for younger professionals – how to communicate better with senior management, how to steer the political waters etc. Have clear goals – go into the relationship with a good understanding of what you're trying to achieve. Seek out mentors whose skills and experiences you would like to acquire – make sure you understand their style and what resonates with them so that the mentoring relationship is enjoyable and beneficial for both parties. Offer to help (and add value) to a project they are working on – perhaps you have a skill to contribute that will really enrich the final outcome.

"Remember, mentoring is a two-way street — even more so during a recession. You're much more likely to work well with someone if you're seen as someone who understands the pressures a manager is experiencing" says Thomas J. Delong, an organizational behavior professor at Harvard Business School.

The benefits are innumerable. Companies who have developed programs like this have higher retention rates. Not to mention, the gap between generations starts to feel smaller, creating a more unified, yet diverse company culture.

Communication on all levels is key in our current economic climate, especially right now when there are so many added pressures and no one feels secure. These kinds of initiatives can create a sense of community as well as learning. For more reading, see this article we really enjoyed: [More Reading]

Karen will be attending the Market Research Technology Event in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 30th to May 3rd, 2012. If you would like to set up an appointment with her during the event, please email her at Karen@morgansearch.com! We found this great discount code: MRTECH12BLOG to give you 15% off the event when you register! We encourage you to tweet us about your experience there [ Morgan Search @ Twitter ]

We've also found a few links for you to read up on "what's new" in technology today:

[ iirusa.com ]
[ Kinesis Survey ]
[ The Market Research Event - Blog ]
[ Morgan Search Blog ]

Being only examples of the reasons we need recruiters, these cited explanations are, nonetheless, at least sufficient to answer the second question, "Do we need recruiters?" In terms of the framework outlined here, we can say that the need for recruiters is "over-determined": There is, in our modern world, more than one reason why recruiters are necessary.

Still, the temptation to ask for the reason stubbornly tugs on the mind. Habits die hard and slowly; such an intellectual instinct as this one dies even harder and more slowly. So, as a concession to this reductionist urge to know the reason, the single most important reason we (still) need recruiters, and on deep reflection, I will try to offer one.

We all need to eat.[ Visit Recruiter.com ]
The market is shifting and there's a real disconnect between compensation and the level of skills & attributes companies are looking for in new hires. The market has improved substantially and candidates are feeling more confident – to the point where they're willing to turn an offer down they don't feel is competitive. This is an important discussion to have. Compensation levels haven't moved much in years, even before the recession. As businesses ask their employees to do more, people are feeling overworked and undervalued. Companies that are taking a serious look at compensation levels and looking at fair compensation as an investment will be ahead of the curve. Those who don't are in danger of a mass exodus in talent! [ Read more on the Morgan Search Blog ]
We have a front seat view of what is happening in many research departments across the country. People are feeling undervalued, underpaid and overworked. Some companies genuinely cannot afford to hire due to budgetary constraints. 
However, others are certainly taking advantage of the current economic climate and are running departments with fewer people when they could in fact afford to hire additional talent. So how are some companies managing to maintain morale, in spite of the cutbacks? Clear and open communication – creating a genuine feeling that "we're all in this together" is critical. People need to understand what is happening with the business – the challenges, the goals and the vision for the business moving forward. And there needs to be light at the end of the tunnel – it can't be all doom & gloom. You need to inspire people & show them there is opportunity in spite of the challenges. People need to see senior executives are also making sacrifices for the business along with everyone else. This means they're also working harder than ever, not receiving bonuses when employees aren't, disappearing on expensive vacations etc. Get creative – people feel valued primarily if their efforts are recognized and appreciated. So if this cannot be demonstrated in a pay increases or bonuses right now, offer some alternative benefits. Flexibility – give people the option to telecommute 1 or 2 days a week, let them work flex hours, give them some extra time off if you see they've been working late on a project, make sure you're communicating that you appreciate their efforts and that there are rewards & opportunities as the business climate improves.

Businesses that have the attitude, "you're lucky to have a job" are in danger of losing their best talent and will be left scrambling to hire once things improve. This is a small community and people talk. Do you want to be known as a great company to work for or a sweatshop? Hiring is challenging, expensive and time consuming. The companies who are focusing now on how to maintain their top talent are way ahead of the game.
[ Read more on the Morgan Search Blog ]
No one teaches us to manage our careers. Some people are fortunate and seem to just "fall into" opportunities, however, for most of us it's vital to have at least an idea of where we want to go. This doesn't mean you have to map out the next 10 years, simply that you have an idea of the following:
• What are your interests?
• What are your strengths?
• How can these play into your current role?
• Are you in the right role?
• What skills do you need to develop in order to take the next step in your career?
• What kind of environment do you excel in? Organized/process driven or less structured & entrepreneurial etc.?
Gone are the days of operating within a silo. Researchers need to be right & left brained in today's business environment. They need to see themselves not as researchers but as problem solvers and solutions providers. This holds true at all levels and whether you're on the client side or research agency side.

Today's environment is so competitive that you always need to be thinking ahead and be aware of the business as a whole rather than focused on what you are doing or even on your department. How are you making yourself valuable beyond the research? Are there initiatives that you could be taking to increase your visibility and contribution? And as importantly, what steps can you be taking to remain engaged, stretched & challenged? We live in a world where training is minimal and managers have less time to guide & mentor, so more than ever, you will need to seek out your mentors. This may mean finding someone outside your immediate work environment. As for training, this may be something you will need to do on your own time. You may be able to convince your company to help pay for it, especially if you can demonstrate how these new skills will contribute to the business.
[ Read more on the Morgan Search Blog ]
Be genuine

Your qualifications for the position are important but most people get hired because they make a personal connection with the manager & the team. It's important that the people you're meeting get a feel for who you really are. You will be working with them closely for a while, so there's no point in pretending to be something you're not. It will only lead to a mismatch on both parts. If you don't know the answer to a question, don't try to stumble through, be honest and let them know this is an area you aren't familiar with. This doesn't automatically mean you'll be disqualified. Don't interview for a company or a position you're not genuinely interested in. It's a waste of time for everyone involved. Don't try to fake it.

Be passionate

Prospective employers are looking for candidates who are curious, engaged and interested. It's not unheard of for a manager to select a less qualified candidate because they liked the person's energy or felt they had "fire in the belly". In today's environment, you usually need both the skills and the passion. Skills alone, however, are not enough.

Always ask questions

No, not about vacation, benefits or whether you can bring your dog to work. Ask thoughtful & insightful questions about the business. Here are a few examples: "what is your vision for the business?"
"Thinking back to people you've hired, what differentiates the ones who were good from those who were really great?"
"How would you describe your culture?"
"How would you describe the team dynamic?"
"Is there anything I haven't shared with you in our discussion that is important for you to know about me for this role?"

Read between the lines

An interview goes both ways. Yes, you are interviewing for a position but you are also interviewing the company. It's important for you to do your homework too. It's an opportunity for you to gain insight into the company culture, stability, tenure & happiness of the employees. It's fair and appropriate to ask why the position is open – is it a replacement or a new role.
[ Read more on the Morgan Search Blog ]
1.Take a close look at the talent you already have Do they have skills which aren't being fully utilized? Is there a high performer looking for a new challenge? Can you promote someone into this role?
2. Don't focus on just filling a job Think longer-term – what are you trying to achieve? Think about the skills you need to move your business forward
3. Cultural fit is as important as skill set
4. What skills and attributes are essential & where can you be more flexible? – no one candidate will have everything
5. Be realistic about your budget

Be clear from the outset what you can afford & the level of experience this can realistically attract

[ Read more on the Morgan Search Blog ]
Yes, these are challenging economic times but many firms are taking a dangerous pennywise, pound foolish approach to investing in their employees. This begs the question – are companies investing in our next generation's future?

For years now, we've been hearing a strong desire from employees for additional training and learning. Companies have cut back in this area over the past decade, even when the economy was booming. What are the long-term implications of this?

True, training isn't cheap. That's the major reason nearly half (48%) of companies don't currently provide ongoing education or skills training for their people. And, understandably, companies are hesitant to invest a lot in some employees just to see them leave 1-2 years later.

I strongly believe that this presents an opportunity now for businesses to hold onto their best talent long term. With pay cuts and forced furloughs, employees are hungering for something that demonstrates the company's commitment to them for the sacrifices they are making. They want to see there is a future. If they don't, as soon as the economy turns around, they will be out the door. Most people don't want to change companies frequently – they often feel forced to because of lack of clear career progression, feeling undervalued, bad internal communication.

Companies who take action now and put initiatives in place that will encourage their best talent to stay, will have a huge advantage coming out of this recession. Hiring costs time and money. Make it a company mantra for all managers to take a look at their teams now and identify who they want to hold onto.
[ Read more on the Morgan Search Blog ]