Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Acknowledging Good Customer Service – The Ladders and Scott Barker

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was from a boss of mine, a former Army Colonel, who shared his philosophy of how to motivate people to do their best work. John O’Grady said: “Go out of your way to ‘catch’ people doing something right, and then publicly praise them for their good work.”

Following that dictum, I would like to publicly praise a new niche job board that I have recently begun to use – The Ladders (www.theladders.com) – and that I have ‘caught’ doing many things right!

You are aware that I work as an executive recruiter – specializing in placing Renaissance Men and Women in positions of leadership. Since I have been blessed with an extensive network of contacts scattered across the globe, finding suitable candidates is not usually a problem. On occasion, however, if there is a specific skill set and combination of unique experiences that a client company has asked me to find, I will employ the supplementary resources of a job board. There are many – Monster.com, Netshare.com, Execunet, Career Builders, Dice – to name just a few.

Recruiters often are inundated with offers from job boards to list our job openings on that particular job board’s Website. This recruiter routinely ignores the calls and spam e-mails that come my way every week from these sources. So, when I received a voicemail message from “Scott Barker of The Ladders,” I deleted the message and forgot all about it. I did the same thing a week later when Scott called again. His third message did the trick. There was something about his tone - his gentle persistence and gracious approach that told me he might not be the typical telemarketer, so I returned his call. I am glad that I did.

Once I learned that The Ladders specializes in connecting recruiters and employers with carefully screened candidates with an annual income in excess of $100K, I decided to give them a try. I needed help with a particularly challenging search on behalf of a client company that is rapidly expanding its staff. I decided to do a comparison test, so I posted the same job on two different sites simultaneously. Here is how I described to another recruiter the results of that test:


I just wanted to offer my view on the effectiveness of The Ladders. I tried an experiment over the course of the last month. I posted a job for a Sales Executive in the Software/Market Research space - and I did parallel postings on The Ladders and on Career Builder. The difference in response was dramatic - higher yield and more qualified candidates from The Ladders than from Career Builder.

In addition, I have had numerous conversations with Scott Barker, who is the consummate professional and representative and is a delight to work with. I will be using them much more extensively in the future.

Best wishes.


As I began to get responses to the job posting, I realized that I needed to fine-tune the wording in order to better screen the candidates. Scott Barker was very helpful and responsive in helping me to accomplish that goal, and the results were even more dramatic and positive than they had been initially.

It is such a rarity to receive exemplary customer service these days that I want to wave the flag every time it happens. I am now a loyal customer of The Ladders and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

And it does not hurt that Scott Barker is a Red Sox fan toiling away in mid-town Manhattan! Now there is someone who understands challenge and adversity!

Here is a quick update: I received a call today from TJ, my client company's newest employee. He is finishing his third week on the job, and he was checking in to thank me for placing him with this company, and for giving him such an exciting opportunity. The Ladders helped me to find TJ, and to open the door to give him and his new employer an opportunity to grow together in building their business in the Washington, D.C. area.


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