NISHIL BALI IS THE NEW ROHNERT PARK FINANCE DIRECTOR

July brings a new fiscal year for most public agencies, and for the City of Rohnert Park (Calif), July 6 also brought the new Finance Director.

Nishil Bali was most recently the fiscal services manager for the City of Berkeley’s Planning & Development department, managing the $27 million budget and payroll, along with many other fiscal operations.

“Over the years, I have gained a well-rounded experience that allows me to provide financial stewardship across key municipal financial functions and lead interdisciplinary financial, budgetary and operational challenges faced by cities. My expertise lies in being a hands-on manager who can work directly with financial details and adapt to fill gaps in skill levels for my team, as well as guide long-range planning and decision making,” Bali said.

Prior to his time at Berkeley, Bali spent six years in financial positions at the City and County of San Francisco, serving the SFPUC and Office of Contracts, and the San Francisco Airport.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Gujarat University in India, as well as master’s degrees in Engineering & Project Management from UC-Berkeley and in Finance from IE Business School in Madrid.

Congratulations to both the City of Rohnert Park and Nishil Bali! It is a pleasure to manage a recruitment that works out so well for all involved!

QUARANTINE TIME MAXIMIZED: SHOW YOUR RESUME SOME LOVE

If you’re in California, you likely have a few more weeks of Safer at Home living. Regardless of how much quarantine time you have left, we want our tribe to also be Sane at Home, so that you can emerge from phase 1 of this pandemic with confidence and optimism.

We get it. The current situation has left us all a little Corona cranky and frazzled at times.  Until we can roam free, we’ll be offering up suggestions for using a fraction of your valuable quarantine time to your best advantage. A little bit of investment here can go a long way in decreasing your stress level and increasing your feeling of being in control.

First up … your resume.

Whether you plan on pursuing another professional opportunity or not, having a current and powerful resume is always smart.  So often, resumes “sit” like that easily neglected, dry, withering houseplant in the corner that doesn’t get much attention until it’s almost dead. And then, when someone realizes it’s starving, just a little bit of water and TLC miraculously brings it back to life. Same with resumes. They just need a little feeding now and then to stay alive.

Has it been a while since you “fed” the document that is most critical to your professional life? No problem. Whether it just needs a simple watering or a complete replanting, now is a perfect time to reflect on all your amazing accomplishments and get them integrated into your resume.

Why don’t most of us invest in maintaining this precious asset? “Because it takes so much time!” and “It’s so hard” are two common responses. But much like being ordered to stay home … it’s really not that difficult and doesn’t demand much time in the grand scheme of things. Plus, the return on investment is incredible! And, if you haven’t updated in a while, you’ll be amazed at just how much you have accomplished.

In a nutshell, don’t social distance yourself from your resume. Instead of six feet, make it a practice to revisit it every six months. Investing a just few minutes twice a year will ensure that it is fresh, vibrant and alive any time you need it.

Need some guidance? Based on our experience reviewing thousands of resumes, here is some insight into what makes for a powerful resume as you rise into the senior and executive ranks of local government.

FAQs

 How far back should I go?

  • While some resume experts advise to only include the last 10 years of employment, we believe resumes tell a story and our clients are interested in your entire Take up more real estate with your more recent and meatier jobs and less with older or less relevant positions.

We’re guessing you’ve had a pretty interesting life and we’re interested in learning about your story when it comes to being considered for high-level positions.

How long should it be?

  • Generally speaking, allowing a page per decade of experience is a good guideline.
  • Got gaps in your history? Be truthful and include any work you did (interim, freelance, temp, volunteer) during that time.

What information about my work history should I include?

  • For each position, list job title, name of the organization or company, and dates you held that position.
  • Under each position, describe your scope of authority/responsibility including # of staff and budget info. Equally as important, bullet your major accomplishments and contributions for your most recent jobs.
  • Include association memberships and leadership positions, and other professional and personal passions if they are professionally relevant.
  • The URL to your LinkedIn profile is helpful because the hiring entity will look. Always. So, make sure your profile is current and matches your resume.

What about tone and customization?

  • When tidying up your resume for a specific position, take a few minutes to align the language with the job you are applying for. You may even have more than one resume, depending on the target position or profession and the skills you want to highlight.
  • Use an active voice and active verbs (managed, built, created, developed, introduced, launched, etc.). Stumped for an appropriate verb? Google “active resume verbs” for hundreds of ideas.
  • Use objective adjectives and use them sparingly. For example, it could be your opinion that your program was “extremely successful,” but it is objective to say that your program was the “first of its kind at XYZ Agency.”
  • Identify the key job qualifications and skills and be certain to use those same terms. If you use “oversaw” and the targeted position uses “managed,” the initial screening may not identify you as a match.

What is the best presentation?

  • Simple, clear, crisp and error free.
  • Always proofread. Ask at least two other people to proofread, as well. Never rely on spell check, auto correct or your recruiter to catch typos.
  • Use headings, bullets and indentations for readability.
  • Recommended fonts: A Sans serif type, such as Arial or Helvetica, and 11 or 12 point type for body copy. For headings, go one size larger and use bold.
  • Use boxes or lines to call attention to your special skills and experience. Don’t use color to highlight, in case your resume is copied in black and white.
  • Submit your resume as a .pdf file, so it is appropriate for both electronic submission and hard copy.

As a professional in your industry your network might run deep and wide. However, an effective resume is still critical to your success.

Ace That Video Interview!

By Senior Recruiter Tina White

As organizations adjust their norms for the health and safety of their employees and communities in light of coronavirus, they are revisiting how they conduct candidate interviews. In some cases, they will conduct virtual (online) interviews, using services such as Zoom or Skype.  We don’t know if this will result in permanent change, but we want to make sure that you are prepared for the shift (even if it’s temporary) to phone and/or video interviews

Rest assured, we want to keep hiring world-class talent and we understand that adaptation is key.

TBC encourages you to prepare for a “virtual” interview in much the same way you would prepare for an in-person interview, with a few extra steps.

Set up and test your technology.

Whether your interview will be conducted using Skype, Zoom or some other video conferencing service, it is important to test your technology to ensure that you’re set up for success.

First, be certain to use the correct technology.

A desktop computer with a camera built into the monitor is best. A laptop with a camera is second best. Please do not try to use your cell phone to interview for a career-changing position.

Be sure to check your internet connectivity and confirm that your camera and microphone are working.  Make sure your signal strength is strong.  If it is not strong enough to be reliable, you may want to consider moving to another part of your house for a stronger signal. If you have the option to be connected via a wired ethernet connection (versus Wi-Fi), that would be preferable.

If you haven’t used videoconferencing tools before, don’t worry. They are very reliable. Before your interview, ask a friend to participate in a test run with you from their home computer. Even if you’ve done a video interview or webinar at work, remember that it’s going to be different at home. Make sure you can be heard clearly over your microphone. Familiarize yourself with the service, including how to mute/unmute the microphone and how to change the screen settings so that you are able to see the entire panel of interviewers in a line or grid of squares. It pays to take the time to be comfortable with the technology. You will be better prepared to respond to the interviewers, and the panel will see a candidate who is nimble and flexible.

Set up your space and minimize distractions.

Where should you be for the interview?

The space should be clean, quiet and well-lit. Ideally, find a room with great lighting, perhaps near a window. Having a blank or quiet wall as your backdrop can guarantee that you are the focal point of the conversation. When you do your test run, be sure to look at the background behind you. Is there a pile of laundry in the corner? A messy stack of papers or books that is visible? A very busy wallpaper or painting? Be certain your space is clear of such things.

Prior to the interview time, turn off the TV. Silence your cell phone. Close windows (and doors if you can). Keep pets in another room. If you frequently have packages delivered, you might consider leaving a note on your front door asking people not to ring the doorbell. Some pups really like barking when the doorbell goes off!

Some of this may be harder to orchestrate when your spouse or partner is working from home and school has been canceled for your children. Properly preparing them may be as important as preparing yourself.

Dress for the part.

Dress just as you would for an in-person interview and bring your A-game. Your appearance matters! You will feel more confident and perform better during the interview if you are dressed professionally.

What you wear may show up differently on video, so you might want to avoid patterns, bright colors or big jewelry. If you wear a solid color blazer that creates contrast with your background, it can help the interviewer’s eyes gravitate to you and stay focused on you during the interview.  Also, be sure that your bottom half matches your upper half, in case you must get up during the interview. In other words, yes, please do wear bottoms – but not pajama bottoms!

Have your reference materials ready.

Print out a copy of your resume. Have it in front of you, along with any notes that you’ve prepared. You don’t want to read your answers, so bullet point prompts or talking points are best.

Create connection.

Practice and watch your body language. You can’t shake your interviewer’s hand, but you can sit up straight, smile and keep the camera at eye level.  Be certain to greet everyone in the room that you can see.

If you keep your focus on the *camera* when you are talking (not on the image of the person interviewing you), then you will be making eye contact and this will help create connection.

At the conclusion of the interview, behave just as you would if you were in the room.

Again, thank and acknowledge everyone. Do not be the first to hang up unless you are instructed to do so (just as you wouldn’t be the first to stand if you were all in the room together).

Follow up.

Follow up on a virtual interview the same way you would an in-person interview. A handwritten and mailed thank you note to each panelist is always a welcome gesture. An email is also acceptable.

Now, wait for the phone call from TBC or your target agency, letting you know that you’re a finalist for that coveted position! As always, the team at TBC will continue to provide stellar support throughout the recruitment process by keeping you informed.  You got this!

PLACEMENT NEWS: Matthew E. Hawkesworth to serve as Pasadena’s new Finance Director

After a nationwide search we are happy to announce the City of Pasadena’s appointment of Matthew E. Hawkesworth as their new Finance Director. He will begin his new role on October 5, 2015.

With over 20 years in local government service, 14 of those years fulfilling roles in the city manager’s office. Matt currently serves as the Assistant City Manager in the City of Rosemead, California. In his own words, he described his commitment to public service, “Throughout my career in local government, it has been my goal to serve the citizens of each community with a high level of service. This has been accomplished by not only offering excellent customer service, but through building a financially stable community.”

Indeed, Matt’s accomplishments are significant. He was instrumental in reducing Rosemead’s unfunded OPEB liabilities by approximately $3.5 million, developing the city’s first strategic plan and incorporating new financial and human resource systems that maximized efficiency and use of city resources.

Mr. Hawkesworth brings strong managerial and financial experiences to help restore public confidence in our financial operations,” City Manager Beck said. “His experience overseeing departments and personnel at various levels will add to our existing Executive Leadership Team.”

The recruitment was led by Teri Black who added, “Given the complexity of challenges associated with this job, Matt brings just the right leadership style, attitude, fiscal acumen and uncompromising integrity needed to be successful. It’s a rare situation that required a unique set of skills and Matt is just the right person. Plus, the fact that he loves Pasadena as much as we do brings added value because it really is a special community!”

Pasadena’s new Finance Director earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of La Verne. In addition, Matt has completed numerous advanced courses in finance and accounting through the Government Finance Officers Association and is a graduate of the Claremont McKenna College Kravis Leadership Institute’s Leadership Academy.

Why be Redwood City’s Next City Manager? Top 10 Reasons

City of Redwood City, California

Right now we have the privilege of representing the City of Redwood City in the search for its next City Manager. The current Manager, Bob Bell, has been generous enough to share his thoughts about his tenure and what a profound affect this special community has had on him both professionally as well as personally. You can find his Reflections here: http://bit.ly/1JSoG5T

Obviously, we are totally biased, but we think it’s important for you to know the Top 10 Reasons we think you should want to be the next CM in Redwood City:

  1. RWC maintains rare community connections that are meaningful & make a difference.
  2. A great local culture with incomparable energy and buzz.
  3. A constant celebration of the City’s incredible diversity.
  4. A vibrant downtown area with world-class entertainment and dining.
  5. Thriving local art community, including regular art exhibits at City Hall.
  6. An increasingly popular location for high tech, plus Stanford is expanding here!
  7. An outgoing City Manager who really loves his job!  Really.
  8. A competitive compensation package.
  9. A City Council and community that value the importance of the City Manager role.
  10. Last but not least, one of the best executive teams in the business. Seriously.

There are many more reasons to want to serve in this dynamic and diverse city. Consider these Top 10 as an easy place to start. 424.296.3111 for more info.