Obvious Huckster in Ohio

Thank You All For Your Support During the OHiO Situation

I would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of support during the Obvious Huckster in Ohio (OHiO) ruckus. I don’t like being put into that sort of situation, but sometimes you have to take a stand or things will just continue or get even worse. We haven’t heard a peep out of OHiO since, so it seems that the possibility of further exposure has given him some degree of restraint. Hopefully, his behavior has been permanently altered and we can all just get back to work. Thanks again for your support.

Sincerely,
Tom Keoughan

By | June 2nd, 2015|ToyJobs Blog|Comments Off on Thank You All For Your Support During the OHiO Situation

Misleading People is NOT a Sound Business Strategy

It has been brought to our attention that a recruiter whom we generally refer to as the Obvious Huckster in Ohio (OHiO) has been spewing scurrilous nonsense about us. He has done this before and we have no doubt that he will do it again.

OHiO is simply demonstrating what he has made into a career: trying to mislead people by just making stuff up. You don’t have to believe me. Those of you who are familiar with his job board know that more than half of those jobs have been up there for more than five years. I can only suppose that he’s trying to cover for the fact that he hasn’t been all that busy since then. Actually, his entire website is full of fabrications that he apparently just plucked from the sky. One wonders if he’ll respond by publishing an honest and accurate job board now?

Here at Toyjobs, we take your future seriously. We pledge to always treat you openly, honestly, and in a forthright manner (even though you may occasionally not like it). We pledge to respond to your queries in a timely fashion. We pledge to never “just make things up.” And we pledge never to waste your time or insult your intelligence by writing and stuffing your inbox with articles on the relative merits of the color Han Purple. 🙂

As for OHiO, we can only advise: Deception doesn’t win, execution does…maybe it’s finally time that you change your focus. Should OHiO decide to print defamatory statements about us again, we will begin to publish a series, for the entire toy industry to read, of his Top 10 Sleaziest Hits. We will only publish the ones that we have complete documentation on, because here at Toyjobs, we never “just make it up.” Should OHiO cease this practice, then you will know that I am speaking the truth. If he continues, you will be able to follow his slime trail for yourselves, because we will furnish names, dates, and documents. Extreme professional jealousy can grow into a pretty serious sickness. Hopefully, this will serve as OHiO’s wake up call. Who knows? Maybe he will even put his big boy pants on and issue a retraction. I’m not gonna hold my breath. Your move, OHiO.

Sincerely,
Tom Keoughan
President, Toyjobs

By | April 15th, 2015|ToyJobs Blog|Comments Off on Misleading People is NOT a Sound Business Strategy

Toy Industry Hiring Continues Robust Pace

The U.S. economy added jobs at a steady pace in July as job growth has had its strongest six-month stretch since 2006. Confusingly, the headline unemployment number (U-3) actually ticked up from 6.1 to 6.2%. This was largely because more people re-entered the workforce. Typically, a lot of people “leave the workforce” or stop looking for work during the summer months as well as during the holidays. This summer the hiring environment has been strong enough that a lot of people took themselves off the sidelines and got back into the job hunt.

A variety of talking heads have been spending a lot of time bemoaning the lack of solid wage gains. As someone who has spent three decades in the employment business, I can tell you that wage growth accelerates as the labor market tightens but there can be a considerable lag time. During the economic downturn employers held the upper hand in compensation negotiations. People were desperate to hold on to their jobs or to land a new one if they were unemployed. The perception (and fervent wishes) of employers is that this is still the case. There is a dialectic effect where perceived negotiation power swings between employers and employees and there is almost always a lag time of a year or two before the group holding that power realizes and admits that it is waning and even then they fight like hell to retain it. Today the process hasn’t even begun because while the employment picture is consistently strengthening we are nowhere near the tightened labor market.

There are two interesting asterisks of note in the U.S. employment story. The first is U-6 which includes part time workers who would prefer a full time job and workers who aren’t actually looking for work but would take a job if it was offered to them. U-6 has remained stubbornly above 12%. This reflects a lot of people engaged in consulting (there are certainly a lot of them in the toy business) as well as a lot of companies who need more pairs of hands but are not yet confident enough to commit to them as full time employees. Some of this also reflects the deleterious effect of Obamacare with businesses fighting to keep their employees under a thirty hour work week which would qualify them as “full time.”

The second asterisk is that it is widely unreported that the “white collar” population holding a college degree enjoys only a 3.1% unemployment rate while for those without a high school diploma the rate skyrockets to 9.6%.

BLS Chart

Focusing on the toy industry, hiring continues to be robust. For most of my thirty plus years, after an early summer slow down there would be an abrupt jump in search starts in late August. This coincided with goods being shipped to retailers’ warehouses. An order can change for almost any reason but once the pallet is on the retailers’ fork lift, manufacturers begin to feel like they’re on more solid ground. At the same time, senior execs returning from vacation would be jolted into the awareness that the following years sales season would begin in Dallas in about a month’s time. If they wanted to make adjustments to their sales staff they needed to begin looking at that immediately.

Last year … that didn’t happen. Retailers for the most part were a gloomy and pessimistic bunch. They were keeping inventories tight and bringing in goods as late as possible. The usual late August jump in search starts didn’t come. In fact, September was completely dead. Then, when goods finally did ship in very late September, all hell broke loose and manufacturers began hiring like crazy through the end of the year.

This year, like flipping a switch, Toyjobs phones started ringing off the hook with Sales searches during the last week of July and first week of August. Something had changed, but what? The retail environment certainly has not been all that good. Several of my clients have told me that this year retailers have planned to receive goods in a much more orderly fashion. After tracking the sales of small initial orders that arrived in June, they are bringing goods in stages rather than all at once. This allows the retailer to better control inventories and, in theory, allows the manufacturer to better control how much product they make. Of course, the lead times are still too short so that doesn’t really help manufacturers as much as advertised. In any event, this practice shortens the manufacturers sweat and fingernail biting period and they seem willing to start their sales searches soon enough to actually complete them by the Dallas Fall Toy Preview.

So, you may ask, “If there are so many sales searches why aren’t they posted on your job board?” That’s a good question and there are really two reasons. First, we like to get most of our candidate gathering work done before we post our searches. This is because part of our job is to evaluate search candidates against each other and focus our clients attention on those that we think fits their particular opportunity the best. This saves them time and effort. They like that. In order to facilitate this we like to have the bulk of our candidate selection done before everyone starts raising their hands. That way once people start contacting us about a posting we are better able to see where they fit in that searches candidate pool.

The second reason is for purely competitive purposes. There are a couple of recruiters out there who don’t have much in the way of a client base or repeat business. The reason for this is that they spend endless amounts of time and energy puffing on and on about how great they are but have a pretty poor track record when it comes to actually fulfilling searches. With a lot of time on their hands these recruiters continuously eyeball our job board and they try to worm their way into the search process. Since all of our searches are exclusive to Toyjobs, that rarely happens but it can be very disruptive to both our clients and candidates.

So there you have it. At the current time toy companies are aggressively looking for Sales Execs. Toyjobs is working on a large number of Sales searches. Look for them to pop up on our job board in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you very well might be hearing from us about a search that we haven’t posted yet.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!!
Tom Keoughan

By | August 13th, 2014|ToyJobs Blog|Comments Off on Toy Industry Hiring Continues Robust Pace

Another Black Friday Disgrace and Toy Industry Hiring Hits an Air Pocket

Things promised to get ugly as the annual orgy of spending by stampeding shoppers was set to coincide with a strike by Wal-Mart workers, but a number of factors came together to ameliorate what could have turned into a true national disgrace. Rather than concentrating all of their price cutting in one massive Black Friday push, retailers spread the bargains over a long super shopping week. Many stores even opened and started sales on Thanksgiving evening. Rather than door-busting human herds, consumers came sleepily staggering in like retail zombies when they should have been home, laying tryptophan sodden on the sofa, actively avoiding piles of dirty dishes.

Several retailers also had earlier starts to their layaway programs which surely eased Thanksgiving weekend traffic as well as locking in prices at earlier pre-sale levels. Online sales also had a broader time horizon as Cyber Monday grew into what could be called Cyber Two Weeks. Both online retailers and the web arms of bricks and mortar outfits have been racking up big gains. Online competition has been fierce as retailers use computer algorithms to adjust prices in real time.

While all this dampened the Black Friday frenzy, there were certainly enough wild melees, parking lot gun threats, “panty bar” cat fights and trigger happy pepper spray police to go around (Stampedes and Gun Threats During Black Friday).

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth – toy industry hiring, which has been quite strong since about April has suddenly slowed. My feeling is that this is temporary and that after negotiating this air pocket we will continue our long upward climb.

Toy industry hiring has always been very event driven with companies regularly putting off decision making on their staffing needs until the next: trade show, sales call, order confirmation, etc. Earlier in my career, I was always flabbergasted by this. “If you need a top Wal-Mart salesman, what does it matter what happens at the next golf outing?” Over time, I’ve learned not to judge and just accept reality for what it is.

Since we are in the midst of the all important holiday shopping season, it is only natural for toy companies to wait and see what happens. Many companies will also have new budgets beginning in January and three of the four most important industry trade shows take place in January and February which adds to the temporary standstill. These will pass like the pages of a calendar, but it is no surprise that toy industry hiring often slows at this time of year only to ratchet back up in March or April.

Much less certain is the outcome of the high speed chicken match going on in Washington, D.C. The brief spell of post election “happy talk” is now over. The two parties are as far apart as ever. In response, U.S. companies are scaling back hiring and investment plans at the fastest pace since 2009. Many companies have put together two 2013 budget plans for different outcomes to political negotiations over the impending fiscal cliff. Not only will going over the cliff probably throw the US (and global) economy into recession but it will be compounded by companies turning off the spending spigots.

Politicians of all stripes are up in their own heads trying to figger out which game theory scenario they like the best. Negotiate now or let it all slide over the fiscal cliff? Which helps me more? Which hurts him more? Who will get the blame? Never mind the economy or the public.

At the time of this writing there arn’t any substantial talks and the situation is in stalemate. Last week, Obama didn’t mention a “grand bargain” but rather “putting together a framework.” I think “framework” is code for “punt” and that things will be put off for six or twelve months. At that time we’ll be right back where we are now and things will once again devolve into gridlock and competitive finger-pointing. In the meantime, an economy that has been trying hard to recover continue sputtering along, once again left without enough fuel for takeoff.

Muddling through,
Tom Keoughan

P.S. – A recruiter, who we usually refer to as the Obvious Huckster in Ohio (OHiO) recently felt the need to publicly declare that he was indeed still in business. I guess nobody was quite sure. If you cross paths with him, I would suggest asking for references from five people that he has placed in jobs during the last six months. What you discover may surprise you…then again, it may not. 🙂

P.P.S – Lastly, I would like to share my condolences to all families and businesses adversely affected by the Superstorm Sandy. Personally, we took two feet of water into the first floor of our Hoboken home so I know what it feels like.

By | December 5th, 2012|ToyJobs Blog|Comments Off on Another Black Friday Disgrace and Toy Industry Hiring Hits an Air Pocket