Riskon in the News

March 20, 2002, 5:30 p.m.
MONEY & MARKET (Transcript)
Susan McGinnis, Anchor

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SUSAN MCGINNIS, ANCHOR: Now back to Andersen, which is thinking about cutting thousands of jobs in the United States. Curiously enough, though Andersen is widely known to have a very loyal group of employees. So what next for those employees? Barry Honig joins us now.  He's President of Riskon, an executive recruitment firm. Welcome. Thanks for joining us.

BARRY HONIG, PRESIDENT, RISKON: Thank you for having me.

MCGINNIS:   I think it is so noteworthy that this company, which is in such dire straits right now, has thousands of employees who want to stick through this crisis. It really says something about the company culture, doesn't it?

HONIG:    It does. It definitely indicates that they have a culture that inspires loyalty. I think it also speaks to a couple of things that happen to people when they're in this situation, namely, that many times when people have a situation like this the reticence to go and look for a new job takes over. There's a certain paralysis that happens. There's a sort of denial about what's going on, notwithstanding the excellent culture that they've developed there. I think that as people are sitting there looking at the situation they need to evaluate the need to be loyal, which is an extremely valuable and admirable asset. At the same time taking a coherent view and stepping outside the situation, and looking at the situation and saying is this going to optimize my personal career?

MCGINNIS:   The fact is whether an Andersen employee wants to stay or not that job may be eliminated. What would you say to an Andersen employee who might be watching this interview right now?  What should they do to position themselves best in this tough environment?

HONIG:         I think there are several things they can do. I think first they do need to look internally and ask the question, am I associated with a client or a set of clients where I'm extremely valuable and where if that account went to another firm would I be attached with it, i.e. would I go to the other firm? If you're not particularly in that situation, and let's say work on several accounts, then one needs to take a look at how one does an appropriate search in reaching out to the outside market. The key thing that people should realize is that they should have a certain amount of optimism and realize that although there is a certain amount of taint to it, what they need to do is be very clear when they do their resumes, when they present their profile, when they're either dealing with an employer directly or with a recruiting firm. Be clear that they were not in the position. That they had nothing to do with the events surrounding the current situation. That they were doing the job that they were doing, that obviously, Andersen had a great reputation, and hiring excellent people. They should make that case very clear. They want to, on the one hand, really differentiate, but at the same time try to avoid being defensive about the issue.

MCGINNIS:  We're almost out of time, but very quickly, can this Andersen taint be undone? In other words, is it going to stick with a former employee for life?

HONIG:  No, and I would say that the answer to that is the experience we've had helping people out of Enron and working with clients that would want to hire people from Enron, the market is sophisticated enough to understand that there are quality people. You've got a few people in an organization that did something. You can't taint a whole organization. I think the news is good for people, they just to have a very clear and optimistic story, and I think they'll be fine.

MCGINNIS:  That is an encouraging bit of advice from a man who should know, Barry Honig, President of Riskon. Thank you so much for joining us.

HONIG:                     My pleasure.