“Unemployment is expected to remain above 8 percent for the next four years.” That gloomy assessment of the U.S. economy from FedEx Chief Economist Gene Huang is echoed in any number of reports and economic predictions.

“Most predictions,” says an economic analysis by the Society for Human Resource Management, “are less optimistic now than they were when 2011 began.”

What especially worries economists is whether the slow job growth is due to employer cautiousness — in which case growth will accelerate when economic confidence returns — or whether it is structural, meaning some jobs have been permanently eliminated, much the way automation obsoleted elevator operators.

“It is a fair bet that aggregate demand remains the main problem while pockets of skills mismatches persist, despite the high number of job seekers,” says the SHRM analysis.

The latest economist to weigh in is Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research for The Conference Board. Last week, he dissected recoveries of the past to examine the rate of job growth across multiple industries. What he found is that “the current employment recovery is the second slowest on record.”

His analysis led him to conclude that job growth this year is going to be a lot like last year.

Like Huang, the St. Louis Federal Reserve doesn’t see unemployment moving much below 7 percent before 2014 and even then, the Fed says it might even be up around 8 percent. That’s despite the Fed’s guess that real GDP is likely to be over 3 percent, possibly even up to around 4 percent.

Levanon’s analysis, though, offered some support for the SHRM view that it is weak demand that’s limiting job growth. One look at the chart and two things jump out. The first is how small the percentages are now compared to recoveries of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The other is how robust the growth in temporary workers is.

The latter is a good sign. It suggests, at least, that the current pace of job growth is likely to continue. While a nearly 32 percent growth in temporary staffing since June 2009 would historically signal a spurt in full-time job growth, that may not be the case in this recovery. Instead, it may evidence that some structural changes are occurring in how employers manage their workforce.

This is not the same as automation eliminating jobs, but is a response to business cycles — as when retailers add staff in the fall for the holiday season — or project-based needs, or the natural ebb and flow. In other words, more employers may be including the use of temps as a strategic part of their workforce, and not merely as a precursor to fulltime hiring.

This so-called “secular growth” theory is certainly debatable. A Morgan Stanley research paper last spring challenged the notion that temporary and contract workers are becoming a strategic part of corporate employment in the U.S. and worldwide.

However, in a provocative and data-laden analysis of the staffing industry, BMO Capital Markets says “it may be different this time.” While the firm doubted the secular growth notion, now it’s not so sure. The research report issued earlier this month says:

However, by this point in the cycle, we should have seen a significant switch from “temp” to “perm,” but we have not; temp jobs represented nearly 15% of totals jobs added in the current recovery – by far the highest of the first 21 months in the past six post-recession periods – and given the current sluggish rebound, total employment may not return to its pre-recession peak for the first time ever.

There’s evidence now, says BMO, that the proponents of secular growth may be right “and the industry is seeing some secular growth as corporations use temporary staffing more strategically as part of their overall human resource policies.”

I’ve learned that mistakes can often be as good a teacher as success.

Jack Welch said that. It’s a good reminder of that old aphorism about learning from your mistakes.

What about those times when no one believes in you? When you fail when no one expected you to succeed anyway? Ted Turner has been there: ”All my life, people have said that I wasn’t going to make it.” Today, there’s no doubt that he’s made it, and like Welch, helped transform an industry.

How many successful “failures” get hired is anyone’s guess. Recruiters look for them; try to separate a winner from the others with interview questions like that classic, if overused, “Tell me about a time when you failed and what you learned.”

Good interviewers are looking for winners who have the character strength to learn why they failed, what to do next time to succeed, and who will then get back up on the horse.

But exactly what are the specific traits that lead one person to try again when others just give up?

Industrial and organizational psychologists have spent decades researching that very thing. Today, there are any number of tests from dozens of firms, purporting to help employers solve problems (retention being a key issue) or hire people who will perform just like the company’s current top performers.

There’s no doubt that these work — at least to some degree. Try, though, to describe the specific traits of success and you quickly find how elusive and complicated an exercise it is.

Months ago, the New York Times wrote a long article about the search for measuring and teaching success and character at an exclusive private school in the Bronx. The article cites the work of Prof. Angela Duckworth:

People who accomplished great things, she noticed, often combined a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take.

That quality she called “grit.”

Duckworth developed a short, 12-point grit test that proved to be a better indicator of success at West Point’s freshman summer training than the Army’s Whole Candidate Score.

Grit eventually became one of the seven key character traits the school determined were the most important underpinnings of success, and would be the traits the school would seek to foster: zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.

“The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure,” the school’s headmaster told The Times, which closed the article with this observation: “Randolph (the headmaster) wants his students to succeed, of course — it’s just that he believes that in order to do so, they first need to learn how to fail.”

So the next time your hiring manager rejects all your candidates, and your hot prospects go to the competition, and the only seat you’re getting at the table is in the lunchroom, watch the video and think of what Oprah Winfrey once said:

Be the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment, own it.

This year’s list of the Best Companies to Work For reads a lot like last year’s. The rankings have changed a bit; SAS, for instance, got unseated for the #1 spot by Google, but otherwise the list (click here for the list of all 100) shows that a great place to work tends to stay that way.

That’s because it’s no easy feat to win a spot in the top 100, which Fortune released today. Many companies compete — 1,000 typically start the process. They’re put through the wringer by The Great Place to Work Institute, which requires each to undertake employee and management surveys, examines employee engagement, and develops a Trust Index. The Index measures what the Institute believes are the cornerstones of a great place to work: Credibility, Respect, Fairness and Pride, and Camaraderie.

While economic and financial conditions influence the rankings, the Trust Index is the cornerstone of the ranking. Building a high Trust Index takes time and commitment from every part of the company, beginning with the CEO and C-suite. The culture that creates endures.

It doesn’t hurt, though, to offer great pay and great benefits. Fortune notes Google’s “free gourmet food, on-site laundry, dry-cleaning, and alterations, an outdoor sports complex, (and) the star-studded lineup of speakers.”

But even for perk-heavy Silicon Valley, three-time first-place winner Google offers an unrivaled assortment of benefits and perks, including custom workstations. Says Fortune, “One option that became increasingly popular last year was swapping out the standard sit-down desk for a standing desk. Googlers place an order with the company’s Ergolab, choose from a number of desk models, and have their desk measured to their height.”

Google isn’t alone in providing unusual perks. GoDaddy, #93 on the list, holds off-site activities that have included “whitewater rafting, gold panning, competitive cooking courses, and trapeze classes.” Zappos gives every employee $50 to award as a bonus to a co-worker. From those getting a bonus, the company picks a winner who gets a parade, special parking, a $150 gift card, and a cape.

For the complete list of this year’s best 100 companies and their 2011 rankings, click here.

Does the name Thom Beers ring any bells? Try Ice Road Truckers or Deadliest Catch or Storage Wars. Beers is the man behind these shows, two of them Emmy winners, and a slew of others that have redefined reality TV.

His list of credits is a veritable compendium of the shows that turned the Discovery Channel from a repository of old-school science and nature documentaries and recycled European programming to the most widely distributed cable network in the U.S.

By any definition of the word, Beers is a success.

But it’s because of the time he was out of work with a family to support, yet took the risk to start his own production company, that Thom Beers’ is one of the first stories American Dream told on Armed Forces Radio Network. When the show begins its second season later this month, eQuest will be the sponsor.

eQuest? Yes, the job-posting distribution service, is sponsoring the first 26 weekly installments of the show’s new season. Part inspirational and part motivational, the show is intended to help the men and women in uniform look ahead to their own success when their service to the country is done.

If eQuest seems like an odd match, you’re right, and you have company. Founder and CEO John Malone had about the same reaction when Fascination Entertainment first proposed the partnership. The production company, though, did its homework. Having produced videos for eQuest in the past, Fascination knew that veteran outreach was a requirement for any company doing business with the government.

“They put together this show to inspire these guys,” said Malone, using the gender-neutral meaning of guys. “It’s all about showing success is obtainable and it’s going out to something like 180 countries and millions of people are listening  to the (Armed Forces Network).”

It didn’t take Malone long to sign-on as the show’s sponsor.

“I was really impressed, and we thought it would be a good way to reach military people and we said (internally) ‘Wouldn’t this also be fun to have as part of our package,’” says Malone, explaining that American Dream is “part of our OFCCP outreach.”

The Office of Contract Compliance Programs enforces federal contract requirements, specifically those parts relating to affirmative action and equal employment opportunity. On its website, the Department of Labor lists some ways federal contractors can meet the outreach requirements of the Jobs for Veterans Act. Sponsoring a program on military radio is above and beyond; obviously not something the government thought of.

“It’s kind of a different way of doing veteran outreach … not something I would have thought of,” Malone agrees. But when he met with the producers and listened to the first shows, “I walked out of there all pumped up.”

“Whether it translates into jobs or veterans getting hired, I don’t know. I hope so,” he says. “The main thing,” he adds, “is that it’s really about pumping them up; getting them excited about what they can do after the military.”

Four eQuest customers will get sponsorship mentions during the 25-minute broadcasts. The company is including their message without charge. But don’t get the idea these are commercials; they are much more like the sponsorship messages on NPR. It’s branding; not an invitation to apply, although there’s no reason a web address can’t be mentioned, as the Sutter Health message does. (The other three co-sponsors are American Airlines, American Water, and FINRA.)

Malone says since hearing about the program, other eQuest customers have said they want to participate. Interested employers can contact eQuest directly.

In the coming weeks American Dream will air interviews with John Tesh, David Oreck, and Mario Andretti among others who may not be as widely known, but whose stories are no less inspiring.

“It’s not about the money they made,” adds Malone. “It’s about following their dream. That’s the inspirational message.”

That’s precisely the message that Thom Beers delivers. “First and foremost,” he says in closing, “make sure it’s your dream … Then do everything possible to make it happen. Don’t give up… Don’t get discouraged, man. Just keep plugging away.”

A $5 million investment in a company that charges nothing for its product would seem to have the same shot as a straight bet in roulette. Yet the Mayfield Fund just gave SmartRecruiters a $5 million boost to fund new development in its SaaS-based free ATS.

It’s certainly a vote of confidence in the company and the business model launched by Jerome Ternynck. He  introduced SmartRecruiters to the SMB market in 2009 when he still owned and ran MrTed, a European ATS company that was entirely SaaS.

MrTed was an enterprise system. SmartRecruiters was intended for smaller companies, many of whom had either no ATS or rudimentary products. Promoted as “Free and Easy” — which it was and is — so resonated with recruiters and hiring managers that Ternynck quickly had hundreds of customers paying nothing.

When he sold MrTed to StepStone (now Lumesse) in August 2010, Ternynck held on to SmartRecruiters.

Today he’s approaching 11,000 customers and, despite doubters who questioned the staying power of a free — not freemium, but really, truly free — business model, SmartRecruiters is still here and growing. The company makes money by taking a cut or commission from sales of third-party recruiting services such as placements to commercial job boards, assessments, and background checks. Buying those services is entirely optional.

Ternynck likens SmartRecruiters to iTunes. “The way we play it is almost a platform play,” Ternynck told blogger and HR marketer Maren Hogan. “Some clients have called us almost an iTunes for recruiting.”

Mayfield Fund partner Rajeev Batra suggested that it was the “free and frictionless business model for hiring” that caught the fund’s attention. “When you combine a serial entrepreneur with deep industry expertise like SmartRecruiters founder/CEO Jerome Ternynck, with a disruptive model, you can transform a market and build an impactful company.”

While the investment may accelerate the build-out of features, and increase the number of marketing partners, Ternynck and SmartRecruiters haven’t been sitting still. Just a few months ago the company introduced mobile career sites for its clients, launching 10,000 of them. For free. They supplement the WWW career sites that are part of the SmartRecruiters feature set.

On the horizon, Ternynck said, are enhanced candidate features and job seekers that, Aberdeen’s Madeline Laurano says, will “provide a more engaging experience between recruiter and job seeker through a social platform.”

Mayfield’s Series A investment follows a $1 million angel investment the company got in fall 2010. Mayfield, one of the oldest Silicon Valley venture capital firms, has a wide-range of investments and over the years has invested in such startups as Gigya, Snapfish, and Affinity Labs. The company was also a heavy investor in the ill-fated Jobster.

Financially troubled Arbita has closed its job posting service and transferred its remaining clients to Broadbean, one of the leading vendors in the field.

News first broke yesterday when Arbita’s CEO Don Ramer sent emails to customers notifying them of the decision to shut down the OnePost job distribution service. Broadbean, meanwhile, issued its own announcement saying it would take over the balance of uncompleted customer contracts.

“We are excited at the opportunity to work with Arbita’s client base and will, first and foremost, provide a high-quality, stable platform that meets their global posting needs,” Broadbean’s CEO and founder Kelly Robinson said in the company’s announcement.

John Sumser, who wrote about the situation on his HRexaminer site yesterday, quoted Ramer as telling customers that Arbita has been unable to solve the many technical problems with its job posting delivery system. “Accordingly,” Ramer says, “I have decided to close the Arbita posting platform and assist clients in migration to a more robust posting platform.”

Broadbean, a UK company with an office in Newport Beach, California, isn’t acquiring Arbita or any of its assets, according to the post. Robinson says, “The responsibility we take from Arbita is the tech and time they owe to their current clients.”

“Please know that while Arbita’s business has failed and their doors have closed, with their technical operations ceasing, Broadbean is here to assist clients by offering to fulfill the service obligation owed to OnePost clients.”

A company spokesperson said Broadbean did not pay Arbita for the right to service the customers. The number of customers was not disclosed.

In November, after a contentious parting with Shally Steckerl who was Arbita’s executive vice president and leader of its sourcing group, Ramer closed the unit and laid off three employees. At the time, Ramer said Arbita has been “financially stressed and challenged since Q1 2010.”

Steckerl — and other former Arbita employees — say the company delayed paychecks or, in some cases, failed to pay employees at all. Steckerl said he’s owed thousands in company expenses that were charged to his Arbita credit card, but for which he’s personally responsible.

With the closing of its job posting service and the layoff of the two employees who remained there, it’s not clear that anything remains of Arbita. However, in an email, Ramer said, “There has been no announcement of the company closing.”

Regarding the financial issues, Ramer said, “Measures have been taken and processes are in place to assure that all of Arbita’s obligations to employees are responsibly discharged.”

Welcome all you friggatriskaidekaphobians. We feel your pain, even if we don’t share your fear of Friday the 13th.

Most of us, of course, note it just as we might Groundhog Day, except that Friday the 13th, always falling on a Friday (duh!) means the weekend is just hours away. So that makes it a good thing.

Alas, for HR professionals and supervisors with superstitious staffers, when the 13th falls on a Friday, it can mean more absenteeism and less productivity. An estimate in 2004 put the business loss at $800-$900 million. If that estimate still holds up, then the superstition will cost U.S. business almost $3 billion this year, since there are three months when the 13th falls on a Friday: today, then in April and July.

As silly as it may for some, for perhaps as many as 21 million Americans, the day holds special fears. This could mean anything from exercising more care than usual, to a compulsive, even pathological inability to function.

Many date the fear back to antiquity, never mind that the researchers who have looked into friggatriskaidekaphobia find no reference to it before the 1800s. On the other hand, triskaidekaphobia — fear of things 13 — has historical antecedents going back centuries. Today it holds sway today in such subtle ways as omitting the 13th floor of buildings and hospital and hotel rooms, and airline flight numbers.

In Thirteen: the story of the world’s most popular superstitionauthor Nathaniel Lachenmeyer cites a Texas Instruments decision to offer an early retirement plan with a Monday retirement date, rather than the more traditional Friday. Why? Because the Friday would have been the 13th explained the HR department.

There’s not much written about the HR implications of workers with superstitious beliefs about Friday the 13th specifically. An article about the issue in the United Kingdom on HR Review suggests advising fearful workers to obtain treatment. There’s also a four step self-help list in the article.

In the States, it’s a little dicier a situation.

Workers debilitated by superstitions may have a genuine disability, which might well be covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, or, potentially, Title VII, if there is some sincere religious basis to fear of the day.

For instance, an evangelical Christian was suspended and then fired by Berry Plastics Corp. stemming from his refusal to wear a sticker promoting 666 accident-free days. (If the number means nothing to you, you either aren’t a Christian or don’t watch horror films.) The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commssion issued a right-to-sue letter, and now Berry is being sued for religious discrimination.

However, when a Pentecostal Christian objected to Halloween decorations in the office as a form of discrimination, a judge tossed the case ruling: “Halloween lost its religious and superstitious overtones long ago.  It has become instead a commercial holiday enjoyed  by communities in its many forms of entertainment.”

Before penalizing an employee for a Friday the 13th action, consider whether it might be some form of religious belief. The EEOC compliance manual says that merely because a practice may “seem illogical or unreasonable to others” or even if it is unique to just that one person, it might still be a legitimate religious practice requiring accommodation.

More commonly, a severe, debilitating case of friggatriskaidekaphobia may stem from some form of mental or emotional issue. While the term doesn’t appear in the psychiatric manual of mental health diagnoses (DSM-IV), it would probably be considered an anxiety disorder, if it was sufficiently severe. As a superstition, it would probably be ignored.

That’s a determination for a psychiatrist or a psychologist. HR’s role is to determine whether the impariment rises to the level of a disability, and if it does, then what accommodation is reasonable to make for such individuals. The EEOC itself advises “Not all conditions listed in the DSM-IV, however, are disabilities, or even impairments, for purposes of the ADA.” However, if it is, then says the EEOC, “To rise to the level of a “disability,” an impairment must “substantially limit” one or more major life activities of the individual.”

That might be the case if the friggatriskaidekaphobia was part of a ritualized practice of superstitions, such as might be exhibited in obsessive-compulsive disorders, which the DSM-IV classifies under anxiety disorders.

Tony Shalhoub became an OCD poster boy for his portrayal of detective Adrian Monk. The character had a germ phobia, worries about symmetry and safety, is superstitious, and has a few other issues. Despite his symptoms, Monk managed to solve seemingly impossible cases, proving that with some accommodations (a nearly full-time assistant) people can be productive.

Here are some of the events making news during the week:

Recruitment MarComm Firm Sold

NAS Recruitment Communications has been bought from Interpublic Group by a private equity firm in partnership with senior management. The new owner, Stone-Goff Partners, called the acquisition an “excellent match” with its “strategy of investing in strong niche businesses with established track records and experienced management teams.”

Key members of the management team, including CEO James Miller, will stay with NAS. In the announcement of the deal, Miller said, “Interpublic has been a great owner and partner over the last decade; however, under this new structure, NAS will be more nimble and better able to adapt to a constantly evolving set of dynamics in our space.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Unrabble Your Candidate Search

Unrabble is the latest “no resume” candidate analysis and job posting service to hit the market. The startup from KMC Software is aimed at the SMB market. Busy hiring managers or recruiters just fill out an online job description form, edit the resulting job posting, and it gets posted to StartUpHire, Indeed, and SimplyHired. It can also be distributed to the leading social networks.

Candidates apply by filling in forms that, among other things, have them list and rank their skills. Unrabble ranks candidates based on how their skills and self-scoring stacks up against what the hiring manager specs out. The service even allows a hiring manager to research a specific company listed in a candidate’s work history. The site is heavy on visualization and graphic representation of work timelines and the like.

Coalition Says No More Addresses For .jobs Operator

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers began selling new domains this week to almost anyone who can pony up the $185,000. For that, you get the right to append a .pepsi or .toys or even a .smith to an Internet address.

While the whole idea has been mired in controversy, the coalition fighting over how the .jobs domain is being used says the one group that shouldn’t be allowed to get one of the new gTLDs is Employ Media or any of its principals. In a letter to ICANN, the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition says the organization has been lax in its oversight of how the .jobs domain was used and mismanaged the contractual dispute.

“ICANN can still re-gain a measure of regulatory authority by publicly excluding Employ Media, as well as DirectEmployers Association, its alliance partner in this egregious breach, from participating in the new gTLD program,” says the Coalition in a letter.

You can find the history of the dispute here.

HR talent software vendor iCIMS has a new business partner and $35 million to spend on expansion. The company announced this morning that private equity fund Susquehanna Growth Equity has taken a minority stake in the firm.

“The company,” says today’s announcement, “plans to significantly increase investments in marketing, product development, and additional acquisitions that will further accelerate the organization’s rapid growth and expansion plans.”

Founded in 1999 by its CEO Colin Day, iCIMS offers SaaS-based talent acquisition, onboarding, performance and talent management tools. The company has made the inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies for six consecutive years, finishing 2010 with revenue of $25.6 million (2011 rankings won’t be released until later this year).

The company has a strong presence in the SMB market, and says it added its 1,000th customer during 2011, though that’s a little fuzzy since the company has been claiming that milestone at least since 2008. Its client list includes Continental Airlines, FedEx, Liz Claiborne, Treasure Island Las Vegas, and eHarmony.

For years, even as equity funds began discovering HR tech, iCIMS eschewed outside investors. The press release announcing the Susquehanna investment makes the point that “iCIMS had been self-funded, highly profitable, and grown solely organically at 43% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) since 2003.”

The announcement doesn’t detail what led to the investment, and a company spokesperson hadn’t called back when this was posted. However, CEO Day did say in the press release, “We could have sustained our current rate of growth without an outside investment — but the timing was ideal to take iCIMS to the next level. This minority growth equity investment from SGE will help us dramatically accelerate our aggressive expansion plans. We look forward to offering deeper and broader services and support to our clients, and further penetrating the SMB marketplace with our high-value solutions and services.”

iCIMS said it expects to grow full-time staff by almost 25 percent this year. These employees will be spread throughout the United States and abroad and will be concentrated in marketing, sales, and technology.

The HR tech sector has been a hotbed of mergers and acquisition in the last few years. Taleo in particular has bought several companies in the HR sector to enhance and strengthen its product lineup. In the last few months, Taleo and Kenexa have seen their stock bid up, especially so since Oracle and SAP bought up vendors with strong SaaS products.

How do you go from zero to six senior-level e-commerce pros in six weeks?

That would be a tall order in Silicon Valley or Research Triangle. How about if you were in Hong Kong, the hiring executive is in San Francisco, the job is in China, and the req asks for Chinese-speaking, retail-savvy, online experienced, e-commerce marketers?

Simon Heaton, Walmart’s managing director in Asia, admits it isn’t easy. It was, he says, “difficult to do and difficult to repeat.” Yet, starting with a “a good clear brief as to what was needed,” Heaton and his team assembled a group of candidates, qualified them, and had everything ready when the decision-maker flew in for the interviews.

At the end of that six weeks, Walmart’s new e-commerce group for China was hired and onboarded. “It requires good alignment,” Heaton modestly explains.

Not even a year ago Heaton was working in Bentonville, Arkansas. Today, he’s building Walmart’s executive team in India, China, Japan, and wherever next in Asia the company grows.

Heaton made the move during a particularly trying time for Walmart Asia. In the spring, 24 of the company’s stores were in the area of the 9.0 earthquake to hit Japan. In the fall, the Chongqing city government shuttered 13 of the company’s stores for 15 days and fined the company in connection with food mislabeling and handling violations. Two of the company’s top executives resigned immediately after the penalties were announced.

Yet in the months since Heaton arrived he opened Walmart’s first Asia recruiting office, brought in a recruiting team, and filled several senior positions in Asia. He manages global executive recruiting and helps with best practices for the recruiting teams in each country. “We’re a bit of a center of excellence for them,” Heaton says.

Filling such senior positions — whether e-commerce, or, more commonly, VPs, SVPs, and occasionally senior or executive director — is not an easy task. The group’s focus is primarily external recruiting, and his most important tools are all social media, especially LinkedIn.

The UK native has been a headhunter as well as a corporate recruiter, and has recruited professionals from all over the world during his 20-year career. “It’s much easier to find people, people with specific talents, than it used to be,” Heaton explains.

In China and India in particular, he says, the corporate retail market is not well established. Finding executives with the background and the cultural knowledge necessary to be successful often means his team searches for expats with retail training.

“It’s much different than when all I had was a Rolodex,” says Heaton. Now, his team will typically turn to LinkedIn first to scour the planet to find the kind of professionals Walmart needs to be successful as it expands globally. Not all expats want to return to their home country; others simply aren’t interested in retail.

“I’m not going to go in with a hard sell to convince someone who doesn’t want to return,” say Heaton. Enough do, making repatriation a key source for the senior positions Heaton fills.

One of the things that surprised him about recruiting overseas is how many people are connected to each other online. At a party thrown by a Hong Kong neighbor, he discovered several people with whom he had either a first- or second-degree connection. “Here,” he says, “You can quickly find someone who knows someone … people are very willing to share their network.”

Even early in his career back in the United Kingdom, Heaton knew he wanted to work globally. “I’ve always wanted to do a global role,” he says. To prepare, he would volunteer for projects that had a global component, and take on searches for overseas candidates or jobs.

“You kind of get a reputation for doing that kind of work,” he explains. So when an opportunity comes along, experience and reputation position you for the job.

That’s the path he recommends for others interested in working globally. “Put your hand up and volunteer to do the work,” he advises.”Network with your teams and colleagues. Help them when you can.”

With Walmart expanding rapidly — some reports, Heaton notes, say the company plans to nearly double in size to 4.3 million workers — there will be a need for talented in-house recruiters in the months and years ahead. Right now, he notes, the next recruiting team is being built for Latin America. Spanish is one of the requirements.

“Globalization is going to continue,” Heaton says. And that means opportunities for recruiters who want to work abroad will expand. Start building the contacts and developing the experience and smarts now for those overseas jobs in the future.

“The first contact is not always when you have a job,” Heaton says. He’s speaking specifically of how his Walmart team works, but his comments are relevant for recruiters thinking of an overseas career. “Make those contacts and stay connected.”