Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
Roberta Matuson's Blog

How to Out Shop Amazon for Tech Talent

Family members and friends call me an expert in the art of shopping. When I need something, I define exactly what I’m looking for and go after it with laser focus. I’m relentless. I don’t stop until I bring home my prey, which is why you should follow my advice on how to out shop Amazon for tech talent, or any talent for that matter.

Here are some takeaways from Amazon’s HQ2 search that can help you beat the tech titan at its own game.

Hang onto your talent. Some of you may be wondering what hanging onto your talent has to do with shopping for new talent. Think about it. If you focus on keeping the talent you have, then you won’t be thrust into this crazy hiring environment that resembles the 6:00 a.m. retail dash on Black Friday. The simplest way to do this is to ask team members three questions.

1. What were your hopes and dreams when you took this job?

2. Are your dreams coming to fruition?

3. How can I help you achieve your hopes and dreams?

Then take action.

Make recruiting personal. Somewhere along the way, we’ve allowed technology to replace the human element of hiring. Hiring systems have been automated to the point where computers now decide whether or not candidates are an ideal fit for an organization. These systems are used to send candidates automated responses, for just about everything. It’s no wonder why so many positions are going unfilled! It’s time to make recruiting personal again. Here’s how:

  • Individualize every interaction. If you see someone who might be a good fit for your organization, call them. That’s right. Pick up the phone and call. I have clients, who are CEO’s of publicly traded companies, doing this and the results are stellar. Candidates are one hundred times more likely to take a call from a CEO of a company than someone in HR. Don’t believe me? Have your CEO give it a try.
  • Be compelling. Passive candidates (especially those in tech) are receiving a dozen calls a day from recruiters and headhunters. Think carefully about what you will say, prior to picking up the phone or sending an email. Make sure your message is compelling enough for them to agree to meet with you.
  • Build relationships. Recruiting is all about relationships. A candidate may not immediately agree to your offer of an interview. However, they may change their mind after their performance review. Stay in touch and offer value. This may include sending them an article of interest on a topic that you recently chatted about or seeing if they want to grab a coffee at next month’s industry association meeting.

Look for talent where no one else is looking. I call this my amusement park approach to hiring talent. If you’ve ever been to an amusement park, you may have observed what I have seen as visitors flow through the gates. The majority of people immediately turn to their right, and follow the crowds, where they encounter long lines for rides and food.

That’s why I suggest going to the left, both when visiting amusement parks and when hunting for talent. Amazon is looking to hire 50,000 workers. Even if they split their headquarters into two locations, as rumored, there are going to be a ton of want-to-be Amazon employees flocking to their company. The chances of a small unknown company winning the war for tech talent in Amazon territory is dismal. You will be better served looking for talent in markets where others aren’t looking. Think Silicon Prairie. There is a notable amount of top talent in the Midwest. Thanks to technology, workers no longer need to be housed in your home office. They can pretty much live anywhere and commute to your headquarters when necessary.

Get help. I see the same companies posting “We’re hiring!” notices on LinkedIn on a daily basis. Let’s be honest here. If this approach was working, they wouldn’t be advertising to fill the same jobs day in and day out. I get that companies are desperate. However, desperation will not fill your pipeline. If you found yourself in a sales slump, you’d get outside help, right? You’d bring in people to help you pinpoint exactly what’s needed to get your sales back on track. It’s time to do the same with your quest for talent.

The time to do this is now. Here’s why. There’s a gold rush for certain kinds of tech talent. You could get lucky and stumble across a few nuggets of talent. But in all likelihood, you’ll be panning for candidates and coming up empty. It’s projected that the need for tech talent will outstrip supply. According to research firm International Data Corp, an estimated 30% of global IT jobs will be left open by 2022. The year 2022 isn’t as far away as it sounds. There’s no overnight solution here. Creating a talent pipeline takes time and focus.

Get started today, to ensure your shopping cart is full when your organization is hungering for talent.

©Matuson Consulting, 2018.

Special Opportunity:

Ready to take action? I’m offering the first five executives who ask, a complimentary 45-minute executive session (virtually or in person) on How to Create a Solar System of Talent (a $2,500 value). We’ll discuss specifically what your organization can do to pull in talent. Email me at and we’ll get a date on the calendar. No strings attached here. Consider this my holiday gift!

Posted in Current Affairs, Hiring and Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and Retention
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The Best Gifts Don’t Come in Boxes

It’s starting already. The holiday catalogs are filling my mailbox. I’m not biting. Here’s why.

I’ve got enough stuff. What I don’t have are enough experiences. I bet many of your relatives (especially those of you with adult children who are underemployed) would rather receive a check to help them return to school or use that money to hire a career coach.

Think about this before buying into the notion that a gift has to be wrapped in a nice fancy box for it to make an impact.

I’ve got a few spots in my job search mentoring program, which aren’t going to be available much longer. Reach out to me to learn more about my offering. And if you ask nicely, I’ll send you a gift certificate for my services, that you can gift wrap.

#coaching, #mentoring, #careersuccess

Posted in Career, Careers, Coaching, Job Searching, Mentoring

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Why You Shouldn’t Hang Onto All of Your Talent

Employee Retention-Not all it’s Cracked Up to be. Photo Courtesy of Ernest Billo-Unsplash

We’ve become so obsessed with hanging onto talent at all cost that we forget that there is a price to pay when no one leaves. If no one ever departs, then you are breathing your own exhaust. Attrition can be healthy for an organization. When you bring new people into the organization, you allow fresh air in. Fresh ideas begin to percolate, and workers are re-energized.

Think about this the next time you are tempted to convince an employee that leaving is not in their best interest—especially when you know deep down inside that you are telling them this because their departure is not in your best interest. Then do the right thing. Encourage them to consider all their options.

Posted in Employee Turnover, Hiring and Recruitment, Leadership, Management, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
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Should Exit Interviews be Shown the Door?

Exit Interviews-Too Little, Too Late?

A business owner recently asked me if I thought he should have an exit interview with an employee who just gave notice. Here’s my response: Are you REALLY open to making changes so that others don’t leave for the same reason. If you can’t answer yes, then don’t waste the employee’s time.

Here’s what I recommend doing instead. You should regularly be conducting “stay interviews.” This way you can work on making meaningful changes BEFORE employees decide to pursue other opportunities.

Here’s how this works. Meet individually with employees on a regular basis and ask these three questions:

1. What were your hopes and dreams when you took this job?

2. Are you achieving these hopes and dreams?

3. If not, what can we do better to ensure you do?

What’s your experience with exit interviews? Do you think they are a good idea? Tell us why it’s a good idea or not in the comments section.

Posted in Employee Engagement, Employee Turnover, Leadership, Retention
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Deciding Who to Promote

Deciding who to promote isn’t as simple as it may seem.

One of my advisory clients recently asked for my advice on who to promote into a newly vacated position. You might be surprised by my answer.

I told him not to look at past performance. Instead, look at the skills needed to do this new job. Here’s why.

Let’s take the all-too-common situation of promoting your best sales person into a sales leadership role. What typically happens is that you lose three (or more) great people by doing this. First, you lose a great sales person, which means there is a good chance you’ll see a decline in your revenues. Next you lose the person or people who are now reporting to this person, who in most cases doesn’t have what it takes to be a great leader. And then, you lose the person who really should have gotten the job, but didn’t, as they’ll quit when they learn the position didn’t go to them.

List the skills needed to be successful in this job. If no one inside the firm has those skills, then look to the outside. The last thing you want to do is set someone up for failure, which is exactly what you’ll do if you insist on promoting people purely based on their past performance.


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Talent: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Talent Poaching

I was visiting a Fortune 500 company that was struggling to fill jobs and retain talent—A challenge many of you have. They have a record number of job openings, and employee turnover is on the rise. Growth plans have been put on hold, as they don’t have the workforce to extend their reach. Their executive team was tired of working day and night, with no end in sight, to resolve this situation.

During a session I was facilitating, an executive shared a story about the loss of a top executive on his team, who had just been poached. He said he never saw this coming. Others sat by as if this situation couldn’t possibly happen to them. That was until I pointed out how they could be next.

In their effort to help investors and customers learn more about their management team, someone in the company decided to include a link to each executive’s LinkedIn profile. On paper, that might have sounded like a great idea. In reality, that decision cost the company dearly.

A headhunter discovered a candidate she was interested in pursuing, clicked the link, and began a conversation with the executive, which eventually resulted in a job offer. Several weeks later, that executive was gone.

I don’t want something similar to happen to you.

That’s why I’m offering you a free copy of my new e-book, The Executive’s Guide to Creating a Solar System of Talent (a 15-minute read), which is jam-packed with approaches, untapped resources and useful guidelines on how to successfully assemble and create a team of superstars. I also delve into what you can do to create a force field around your company, which will prevent others from plucking out your talent.

Drop me a note at and put “E-book” in the subject line and I’ll be sure to send you a copy.

Posted in Hiring and Recruitment, Leadership, Management, Retention, Talent Acquisition and Retention, Talent Maximization
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Why Relying on Job Postings to Fill Jobs May Not be Such a Good Thing

Are you wasting tens of thousands of dollars every year posting positions to job boards? Recent research shows a mere 3% of new hires actually come in through job board sites. Why continue posting positions to job boards if you’re not getting any traction?

I tell you what you should be doing instead, in my new e-book, The Executive’s Guide to Creating a Solar System of Talent. For a limited time only, the book is free. Or if you prefer, you can send me the $395 you’re currently spending for each job posting. Email me at for a copy.

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Why Few People Are Responding to Your Job Postings

Are your job posts putting applicants to sleep?

I tell clients all the time to be concise and interesting when creating job postings. A recent LinkedIn article shows why this is the way to go.

“Less is more. Shorter job posts (1-300 words) had significantly higher-than-average apply rates per view (the number of applications the job post got divided by the number of views).

Keeping things concise helps candidates immediately get the info they need to apply—and since more than 50% of job views on LinkedIn are on mobile devices, shorter descriptions are literally a better fit for modern candidates.

These short posts got candidates to apply 8.4% more than average, while medium job posts (301-600 words) performed 3.4% below average and long job posts (601+ words) did only 1% better than average.”

Your assignment: Look at one of your more recent job postings. Is it compelling? Concise? Are you getting the results you are seeking?

Here’s a link to the full article.

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How to Create a Solar System of Talent

How Executives Can Hire Top Talent

I used to be like many of you. I’d constantly complain about something, yet I was unwilling to do things differently to get the results I had hoped for. Then one day, it hit me. All the complaining in the world wasn’t going to change a darn thing. If I really wanted to achieve different results, I’d have to change what I was doing.

I hear executives complain all the time about their inability to find talent. Yet, they keep doing what they’ve always been doing and guess what? They’re getting the same results. I’m running out of sympathy. Here’s why.

You have to change your approach to achieve different results. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight (and who hasn’t) then you know you have to change your lifestyle in order to get results. Yep. No shortcuts there! Same thing goes for hiring. If your hiring strategy (assuming you have one) isn’t yielding results, then you need to make some dramatic changes.

Start by holding hiring managers responsible for hiring. I know that sounds radical. But hey, they’re called hiring managers for a reason. When you do this, I guarantee that filling positions will go from, “I’ll get to it when I can,” to “Hey, can you take a few minutes to interview this candidate I’ve just found.”

Recruit like your sales depend on it. Companies don’t think twice about investing in anything sales related. Yet when asked to invest an additional dime into recruiting efforts, most don’t. Here’s the thing. Your revenues do depend on your ability to sell and service new products and services. You can’t do this without good people.

My clients, who view employees as assets, don’t think twice about investing to hire stellar talent. If your companies views employees as an expense, then save yourself some bucks. Don’t change a thing in regards to your approach.

Speed rules. You may choose to do nothing after reading this post, but my hope is you’ll do something. If you only do one thing, speed up your hiring process. The quickest way to do this is to involve only those responsible for the performance of a new hire in the hiring process. For most of you, this will slash your hiring time in half.

© Matuson Consulting, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Ready to make some changes? Grab a free copy of my new e-book, The Executive’s Guide to Creating a Solar System of Talent.

I’m also offering the first five executives who ask, a complimentary executive session (in person or teleconference) on how to create a solar system of talent, to help you achieve results right away.

Interested? Email me at

Check out my monthly newsletter, The Talent Maximizer®.

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Why Your Efforts To Move Forward May Be Holding You Back

Invasion of the Leaf Blowers

It’s Monday morning here, which means my street closely resembles the set of a Star Wars movie. Hosts of landscaping crews have invaded the neighborhood with leaf blowers on their backs. They’re on a mission to rid the sidewalks of grass cuttings and leaves.

I watch in amazement, as crew members blow the debris from one sidewalk to another. I’m left thinking, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to blow everything into one pile, pick it up, and dispose of it?“

This invasion takes place weekly, rain or shine. It’s my guess the same stuff is blown around week after week, as it’s spring here in New England, and there is little in the way of falling leaves.

I see something similar happening in businesses quite frequently. Leaders are moving poor performing employees from one part of the organization to another. They keep doing so, until someone has the sense to say, “It’s time to stop this madness and deal with the problem at hand.” Is your organization guilty of doing the same?

Here’s a recent example of how this plays out in companies. A client calls me and says, “Roberta, I need your help in letting an employee go.” We discuss the matter at hand and then I ask him, “When did you decide this person needed to go?” He tells me he knew twenty years ago!

Here’s some advice that will help to ensure that you won’t be reaching out to me, 20 years from today, with a similar plea for help.
  1. If you think someone is a problem, then they are a problem. Take immediate steps to help them improve their skills or move them out of the organization.
  2. If you make a hiring mistake, own it and move on. It happens to the best of us. We make a hiring mistake. No point in continuing to pour good money after bad. Say your good-byes early and learn from your mistakes, so you don’t hire a replica of the person you just released.
  3. You can’t want more for someone than they want for themselves. You may want a non-performing employee to succeed, but if they don’t want it as much as you do, your efforts will fail. Invest your time and energy in those who genuinely want to grow.
  4. Know what you’re looking for before you go out to hire. Lots of people start the hiring process without truly knowing what they are seeking. Don’t be one of those people. Get real clear on your ideal candidate before you go out to the market to fill any position.
  5. You have to manage people. I once had a manager say to me, “You’re not meeting my expectations, although I’m not sure I ever told you what they were.” Seriously. You cannot make stories like this up. No matter how skilled someone may be, they still need direction and feedback.

Next Steps: Think about your team and ask yourself the following question.

If I had to do it over again, would I hire this person?

If you even hesitate for a moment, then you’ve got your answer.

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