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What Interviewers Wish They Could Tell Every Job Candidate

September 4th, 2014


Reposted with permission of Jeff Haden, Ghostwriter, Speaker, Inc. Magazine and Owner of BlackBird Media


Interview Blog Pic 082814


In the best interviews, job candidates say a lot and interviewers very little – after all, the interview is about the candidate, not the interviewer.

But there are a few things interviewers would like to tell job candidates well before the interview starts.

1. I want you to be likeable.

Obvious? Sure, but also critical. I want to work with people I like and who in turn like me.

So: I want you to smile. I want you to make eye contact, sit forward in your chair, and be enthusiastic. The employer-employee relationship truly is a relationship — and that relationship starts with the interview (if not before.)

A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond. You may have solid qualifications, but if I don’t think I’ll enjoy working with you, I’m probably not going to hire you.

Life is too short.

2. I don’t want you to immediately say you want the job.

Oh, I do want you to want the job — but not before you really know what the job entails. I may need you to work 60-hour weeks, or travel 80% of the time, or report to someone with less experience than you… so sit tight for a bit.

No matter how much research you’ve done, you can’t know you want the job until you know everything possible about the job.

3. I want you to stand out….

A sad truth of interviewing is that later I often don’t recall, unless I refer to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates. (Unfair? Sure. Reality? Absolutely.)

The more people I interview for a job and the more spread out those interviews, the more likely I am to remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.

So when I meet with staff to discuss potential candidates I might initially refer to someone as, “the guy with the bizarre stainless steel briefcase,” or “the woman who does triathlons,” or “the gentleman who grew up in Lichtenstein.”

In short, I may remember you by “hooks” – whether flattering or unflattering – so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Better yet your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time or the huge sale you made.

Instead of letting me choose, give me one or two notable ways to remember you.

4. … but not for being negative.

There’s no way I can remember everything you say. But I will remember sound bites, especially the negative ones – like the candidates who complain, without prompting, about their current employer, their coworkers, or their customers.

So if for example you hate being micro-managed, instead say you’re eager to earn more responsibility and authority. I get there are reasons you want a new job but I want to hear why you want my job instead of why you’re desperate to escape your old job.

And keep in mind I’m well aware our interview is like a first date. I know I’m getting the best possible version of “you.” So if you whine and complain and grumble now… I know you’ll be a real treat to be around in a few months.

5. I want you to ask lots of questions about what really matters to you…

I need to know whether I should hire you, but just as importantly I need you to make sure my job is a good fit for you.

So I want you to ask lots of questions: What I expect you to accomplish early on, what attributes make our top performers outstanding, what you can do to truly drive results, how you’ll be evaluated… all the things that matter to you and to me and my business.

You know what makes work meaningful and enjoyable to you. I don’t. There’s no other way to really know whether you want the job unless you ask questions.

6. … but only if the majority of those questions relate to real work.

I know you want a positive work-life balance. Still, save all those questions about vacation sign-up policies and whether it’s okay to take an extra half hour at lunch every day if you also stay a half hour late and whether I’ve considered setting up an in-house childcare facility because that would be really awesome for you and your family.

First let’s find out if you’re the right person for the job, and whether the tasks, responsibilities, duties, etc. are right for you.

Then we can talk about the rest.

7. I love when you bring a “project.”

I expect you to do a little research about my company. That’s a given.

To really impress me, use the research you’ve done to describe how you will hit the ground running and contribute right away – the bigger the impact the better. If you bring a specific skill, show how I can leverage that skill immediately.

Remember how I see it: I have to pay your salary starting day one, so I’d love to see an immediate return on that investment starting day one.

8. At the end I want you to ask for the job… and I want to know why.

By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so and let’s figure out how to get what you need to make a decision.

If you don’t need more information, do what great salespeople do and ask for the job.

I’ll like the fact you asked. I want you to really want the job — but I also want to know why you want the job. So tell me why: You thrive in an unsupervised role, or you love working with multiple teams, or you like frequent travel.

Ask me for the job and prove to me, objectively, that it’s a great fit for you.

9. I want you to follow up… especially if it’s genuine.

Every interviewer appreciates a brief follow-up note. If nothing else, saying you enjoyed meeting me and are happy to answer any other questions is nice.

But “nice” may not separate you from the pack.

What I really like – and remember – is when you follow up based on something we discussed. Maybe we talked about data collection techniques and you send me information about a set of tools you strongly recommend. Maybe we talked about quality and you send me a process checklist you developed that I could adapt to use in my company. Or maybe we both like cycling, so you send me a photo of you on your bike in front of the sign at the top of the Col du Tourmalet (and I’m totally jealous.)

The more closely you listened during the interview, the easier it is to think of ways to follow up in a natural and unforced way.

Remember, we’re starting a relationship — and even the most professional of relationships are based on genuine interactions.


Everyone at The Davidson Group would like to extend their gratitude to Jeff Haden for granting permission to share his blog. If you are ready to take the next steps in your career or if you would like us to help strengthen your organization, please contact us for executive placement services. Give us a call at 415-893-1020 or drop us a note at You can search all of our current opportunities at

Talent Showcase – August 2014

August 21st, 2014

The Davidson Group is a leading recruitment agency serving the legal, technical, and financial industries.  Each month we highlight some of our best candidates.  Our August 2014 talent showcase includes:

Candidate #MB140714 – Director of Strategic Accounts – West Coast

Director of IT Sales, Consulting, Business Development and Management

  • Seasoned sales executive designing, consulting and selling comprehensive IT Solutions to the law firm vertical for 10 plus years
  • Also experienced and responsible for Marketing, Business Development, Management and enhancement of internal operations.  Strong emphasis on integrity, follow through and accountability.

Relevant Experience:

  • Strong understanding of systems integration and applications in a law firm environment: From Network infrastructure, virtualization, cloud, legal applications (Document Management, Litigation, Macros), Unified Communications, Storage, Disaster Recovery and Managed Service
  • Unique blend of business, technical and sales expertise to help ensure the value of recommendations during the consultative process.
  • Technical expertise in legal environments to help with architectural design in order to strive for seamless integration between applications where necessary.
  • Perform analysis on service history to identify trends on IT support for Clients, both from an hours and cost perspective.
  • Develop and continually encourage best practices on networking and prospecting.
  • Track record of consistently meeting and exceeding sales goals.
  • Develop marketing strategies for targeting legal vertical.
  • Implement Marketing campaigns through various mediums: from educational seminars, web demos, social media, and newsletters.
  • Identify and develop of strategies to introduce new technologies to legal industry
  • Promote collaboration and communication between the various departments to help create efficiencies and to build teamwork atmosphere.
  • Working with partners and vendors to ensure the best use of their expertise and resources when necessary.


  • Quadrupled annual sales revenue during 10 year period.
  • Contributed in the selection and enhancement of internal CRM and ticketing systems to automate and streamline processes.
  • Developed and grew sales/marketing team five times during tenure.
  • Assisted with the selection, development and automation of proposal system to improve turnaround time and enhance professional presentation.
  • Developed and continually refined Manage Services offering around IT maintenance, monitoring and support.
  • Involved with the research, evaluation and selections of Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service providers and then bringing cloud services to market.

For more information regarding this candidate or other candidates with similar qualifications, please contact or call us at 415-893-1020.



Candidate #MJ290714 – Publisher and Head of Sales – Northeast

Multilingual business development and sales executive with more than 10 years of experience in international sales management, training and strategy.

Highly effective at converting in-person sales presentations into legitimate business opportunities, with a proven track record of negotiating sales deals with Managing and Senior Partners, C-suite executives and Marketing leads at top law firms around the world. 

Relevant Experience:  

  • Specializing in law firm sales and publishing
  • Manage and publish multiple international legal directories on topics such as Tax, Transfer Pricing, Intellectual Property, Litigation and Arbitration
  • Develop new and maintain existing relationships within an extensive network of regional and globally recognized law firms (including members of the AM Law 250 and Canadian Seven Sisters)
  • Manage a global team consisting of research, sales and editorial workstreams


  • Launched several leading B2B, law firm directories and events resulting in more than $3.8 million in annual sales
  • Introduced new Corporate Legal Services (CLS) products into specialized industry sectors (Litigation, Life Sciences) generating more than $1 million in annual revenue within five years
  • Successfully grew global customer base by leveraging current and newly developed brands in previously untapped foreign markets, including Canada, Asia and Europe

For more information regarding this candidate or other candidates with similar qualifications, please contact or call us at 415-893-1020.



Candidate #FJ200814 – Project Manager – Midwest Region

Relevant Experience and Accomplishments:

  • Over 7 years of experience implementing and training calendaring solutions for AmLaw 250 firms and Fortune 500 companies.
  • Managed multiple client projects from pre-sales through post-sales implementation including several large law firm projects with numerous databases across offices.
  • Assisted clients in mapping database fields to ensure optimal usage of the software.
  • Actively mentored, trained, supervised and supported new and existing clients to improve workflow and general professional skills.
  • Created project plans, tested and managed user adoption.
  • Repeatedly upsold additional project time and software solutions.
  • Proven leader by developing over a 220 page user manual, a basic and gold level certification program and agendas/outlines for online courses. Certified over 40 users.
  • Attained highest customer satisfaction ratings from our Enterprise clients.
  • Effective communicator between IT staff, sales, firm administrators and attorneys to maintain project status.

For more information regarding this candidate or other candidates with similar qualifications, please contact or call us at 415-893-1020.



Candidate #BTS020704  – Vice President of Business Development – West Coast

Attorney and highly accomplished business executive with success in technology sales, business development and the creation, deployment and management of high performance sales teams nationally. 


Product market analysis and strategy, litigation and legal process outsourcing, data analytics, technology marketing, sales process design and implementation, revenue forecast and pipeline management, management of C-suite and AmLaw 100 partner client relationships, personnel hiring and management, sales onboarding and training, budgeting, revenue forecasting, team mentoring and motivation, executive team collaboration and consensus building and ability to effectively work within a start up and creative rapid growth environment.


  • Increases of sales revenue from 3 million to 20 million
  • Create and deploy national sales team for Asian based global legal support and data analytics company push into US market
  • Leverage global relationship to increase revenue from 10 million to 20 million
  • Create and grow regional sales organization from start up to successful acquisition by global enterprise
  • Create training and mentoring programs for sales teams of 8 to 15 reps
  • Individual contributions ranging from 3 to 5 million while managing teams
  • Close cooperation with product management and marketing to create effective branding strategies and evolution of service and software

For more information regarding this candidate or other candidates with similar qualifications, please contact or call us at 415-893-1020.


15 Strange Interview Questions

July 31st, 2014

Ah Ha Image

Below are 15 fun, difficult, exciting and/or somewhat strange questions asked by hiring managers in a job interview. How would you answer the following questions, and what do you think the underlying reasons are for hiring managers to ask them?

1.  Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?

2.  If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?

3.  In three sentences, how would you explain to an 8 year old what a database is?

4.  Why are manhole covers round?

5.  How does the internet work?

6.  With only the hint “higher” or “lower”, what is the minimum number of guesses needed to find a number between 1 & 1000?

7.  Are you more of a hunter or gatherer?

8.  If you were a pizza delivery person, how would you benefit from having scissors?

9.  If you were on an island and could bring three things, what would you bring?

10.  Do you believe in Bigfoot?

11.  You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?

12.  How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the U.S. each year? 

13.  Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seat belt?

14.  How many snow shovels were sold in the U.S. last year?

15.  What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

Let us know of any extraordinary questions you’ve been asked in a job interview.  We’d love to hear them!

If you are ready to take the next steps in your career or if you would like us to help strengthen your organization, please contact The Davidson Group for executive placement services. Give us a call at 415-893-1020 or drop us a note at You can search all of our current opportunities at


Talent Showcase – July 2014

July 24th, 2014

The Davidson Group is a leading recruitment agency serving the legal, technical, and financial industries.  Each month we highlight some of our best candidates.  Our July 2014 talent showcase includes:

Candidate #H310311 – VP of Business Development – South Region

Dynamic, innovative, multi-dimensional Executive Leader with 22+ years in sales management, business development, marketing, channel management and strategic planning background.

Relevant Experience:

  • Specializing in legal technology solution sales and consulting services.
  • Strong history of significantly exceeding desired revenue, company and client goals.
  • Documented history of developing and implementing growth strategies tactical planning.
  • Leader who inspires teamwork and loyalty within the organization as well as with customers.


  • Proven track record managing sales and marketing teams while increasing revenue and profit margins.
  • Developed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track and evaluate pipelines as well as employee performance expectations.
  • Developed and implemented sales and marketing strategies and processes to expand existing client base across multiple organizations.
  • Played an integral role in all lead generation processes, marketing integration and product development initiatives.
  • Monitored industry trends to guide and develop organizational Go To Market Strategies.
  • Developed processes as well as tools for client engagement as new products, service offerings and workflows are offered.
  • Work successfully within budget to insure profitability of existing and ever-changing landscape of organization offerings.

For more information regarding this candidate or other candidates with similar qualifications, please contact or call us at 415-893-1020.



Candidate #V100714 – Project Manager Professional – Southwest

Relevant Experience:

  • 10 plus years of experience working for multiple eDiscovery vendors in various departments such as marketing, technical, QA and Project Management
  • Worked with and managed projects being hosted in Clearwell, Relativity, Concordance, Allegro, Eclipse
  • Managed cases from large complex litigation to quick processing jobs
  • Managed a Proof of Concept using 500+ gigabytes of client data for a Fortune 500 company
  • Able to work with clients who are new to eDiscovery and ensure they gain an understanding of all processes that go into a project from collection to production
  • Work closely with sales to devise work flow for potential new clients based on their current needs
  • Participated in sales meetings with management to land a Fortune 500 Company account
  • Developed company presentations to be used in sales presentations for multiple hosting platforms
  • Discuss with clients best practices for cost savings as to ensure the most efficient ways are taken in handling their data
  • Created company documentation of processes and procedures as well as maintained a portal of history for out of the box solutions to project specific issues
  • Handle billing to ensure that all tasks are accurately billed with detailed descriptions of all work that was completed
  • Create detailed tracking and history of all projects for quick reference


  • Designed processes for catching errors during the production process so they could be resolved before the data made it to final QA
  • Wrote the company QA process and was in charge of QA for all client deliverables and provided companywide training as I transitioned out of the position
  • iPro certified sales expert for Allegro
  • Received the Pinnacle of Excellence

For more information regarding this candidate or other candidates with similar qualifications, please contact or call us at 415-893-1020.



Candidate #E230310 – Technology Leader – Southwest Territory

Relevant Experience & Accomplishments:

My strengths are to leverage talent within an organization to inspire people to do their greatest work, while understanding the ever changing landscape of any organization and using that change to your advantage. The change can be products, workflow, business applications or just new resources.

Over that last 10 years, I’ve helped companies in the eDiscovery space grow their business by improving operations and technology through better work flow to the point they have been acquired or merged by larger eDiscovery companies.  In role of VP of Operations and Technology, I was able to lead the completely re-design of my company’s infrastructure, client support teams and project work flow.

With success I was able to support the largest single relativity project ever from my organization.  Previously, I outsourced all relativity hosted work to our client support team for a major oil and gas litigation project.

With the success of this team, my organization eventually acquired the Phoenix location from the parent organization.  At that point, it was the National Operations Center for two vendors until the Texas component no longer needed the support.  With this success, our organization continued to grow our business and technology footprint.

Because I have the unique ability to interact with clients very dynamically from a sales perspective as well as understand the operations and technology used in the eDiscovery space to leverage sales, I also play a key role in closing large deals and helping sales teams better acquire projects that are very competitive to win.  I was instrumental in helping close countless RFP’s for both Law firms and Corporate accounts. Having such a direct connection with the sales side of the organization, I helped us drive the technology needed to stay ahead of competition. One example of how product offerings and sales tie together would be our footprint of Clearwell/Symantec.  Over the last eight years, my team and I have become one of the most knowledgeable supporters of the Clearwell project.  This has happened not only because of our knowledge of the tool, but how we interact with the product developer and support teams within their company and how we approach our business solution, implementation and day to day support of that product.

For more information regarding this candidate or other candidates with similar qualifications, please contact or call us at 415-893-1020.



Candidate #F030412 – Senior Product Manager – East Coast

Relevant Experience and Accomplishments:

Seasoned document and records management professional with extensive expertise in multiple disciplines.  With over seventeen years of experience in managing the application continuum of product planning/management, sales/presales, and deployment, along with an MBA in Information Systems and a certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP), brings a unique level of experience to any organization.

Held senior roles in the Services, Presales, and Product Management organizations.  Specialties include successfully utilizing proven implementation methodologies, providing innovative and technically sound solutions for meeting and exceeding client business needs, and being able to leverage this experience, as Senior Product Manager, to drive the suite of products forward within a changing, and highly competitive, market.

Senior Product Manager

  • Gather and analyze ongoing feedback from sales, marketing, development and the market to drive near-term and long-term product direction and priorities.
  • Lead a diverse, cross-functional group as Product Owner of multiple products within the application suite using the Agile Development methodology.
  • Develop requirements documents and use cases for new product features, including desktop, web, mobility, and cloud-based solutions.
  • Present—on demand—about product strategy, roadmap, and existing features to internal and external audiences, including executive briefings, trade shows, and sales meetings.
  • Adapt the product strategy to larger company direction changes and disruptive events.
  • Monitor competitors and develop compelling differentiation within the products and services offerings.
  • Communicate proactively and effectively with key internal stakeholders managing scope and expectations throughout the product release cycle.

Senior Systems Engineer, Presales

  • Lead the technical Records Management presales team in support of not only the core Records Manager solution, but also complementary solutions such as FOIA/Privacy Act, document management, workflow, and eDiscovery technologies.
  • Manage large proof of concepts (POCs) in support of the Information Governance suite of products.
  • Manage presales efforts with Development, Sales and Subject Matter Expert (SME) teams including, but not limited to, formalizing customization requests, deploying integrations, and ensuring seamless demonstration/POC capabilities based upon the prospect’s requirements for virtually all high value opportunities.
  • Act as liaison between Development, Presales, Services, and SME teams for all high value deals.
  • Responsible for building and maintaining virtualized environment for the solution product set, including integration of all products to enable seamless demonstrations for the entire suite.
  • Escalation point for all RFx responses.

Engagement Manager

  • Responsible for all aspects of the presale and post-sale activities of the records management product, including FOIA and Privacy Act.
  • Responsible for drafting technical RFx responses.
  • Conduct product demonstrations, together with integrations to various third-party tools including document management systems, e-mail archiving tools, and portals.
  • Prepare Statements of Work (SOWs) for professional services engagements to ensure proper time, cost, and resource budgeting for each engagement.
  • Serve as Project Manager for document and records management system implementations including overall project oversight, project management, best practices consulting, and configuration of the application user interface for clients in both the public and private sectors.
  • Ensure compliance with records management best practices through configuration/ customization geared to standards such as DoD 5015.2 and Sarbanes-Oxley.

For more information regarding this candidate or other candidates with similar qualifications, please contact or call us at 415-893-1020.



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