Re-embracing one I love

I read my first issue of the Fordyce Letter about 20 years ago. I was a junior recruiter working my butt off to bill enough to become a senior consultant in a large clerical placement operation in downtown Chicago. The owner of my company put a Post-it Note on a copy of the most recent issue of Paul’s newsletter, the Fordyce Letter, and sent it around the office with a place for each of us to mark off that we had looked at it.

LOOKED at it? We should have been required to READ it. But if that had been the case, I may never have seen an issue of the Fordyce Letter as I was at the bottom of the food chain to get the copy, being the junior recruiter I was. I didn’t look at it, I read it. Every word. And really, that was one of the key moments in my career where I knew that this might be more than just a job. My daily grind of bringing secretaries into and sending them out of our office to see who might last long enough to collect a fee, was just the tip of the placement/recruiter iceberg, or so it was implied by those sage writers at the Fordyce Letter.

I grew to love the monthly issues of the Fordyce Letter. I subscribed as soon as I thought I could afford it.

Jeffrey Allen’s writing was something I shared with a (clueless) attorney representing me on a case for a placement we were litigating (we won, in no small part because of the advice in his column). Terry Petra’s writing gave me the confidence to upgrade how I did my clerical recruiting, and move it away from merely a transactional approach of how I was taught to do the business, to a process oriented way of growing and managing my desk that eventually was noticed by the executive recruiters at Heidrick & Struggles. They became one of my main accounts (despite the ponytail I was growing) where I eventually placed the Executive Assistant(s) for each and every one of their Chicago executive recruiters. What a great learning experience that was, both good and bad.

In time I found myself doing writing for Paul and the Fordyce Letter, and I grew to think of it in some small way as “mine.” It was my newsletter, my profession’s voice, the place where “real” search, placement and recruiting professionals came together to exchange thoughts on how to succeed. I came to tell everyone I trained that they “HAD” to be subscribers to the Fordyce Letter. I always renewed my subscription in three year increments; Paul wouldn’t let me pay for any more years than that. I would have though, had he let me. The Fordyce Letter was the monthly training manual for anyone who was a serious third party search, placement or recruiting professional.

Then suddenly, out of the blue, (like I shouldn’t have seen this coming…did I expect Paul would run the Fordyce Letter forever?) Paul sold his fantastic Fordyce Letter enterprise to ERE Media.

He sold it to THE ENEMY?

How could Paul sell out his fantastic enterprise, the Fordyce Letter to the enemy? I mean wasn’t ERE Media the same group that once said it was going to bring together ALL recruiters in their electronic forum so we could all learn and grow and prosper together? It only took, what, a few months before the corporate recruiting membership and one of their primary writers, John Sullivan, made it very clear that third party recruiters were not particularly welcome on ERE?

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So naturally I didn’t think it could be good for the Fordyce Letter that I had grown to know and love these last 20 years, to now be owned by what I perceived as the editorial voice of the enemy. I held my breath as Paul reassured me he would still be in charge of the content and the writers. I watched and read, and waited to see what I would see.

My waiting is over, and I have now met everyone from the ERE Media team, and I am here to tell you what you should already know if you have continued reading the Fordyce Letter these last two years: the Fordyce Letter remains the premier newsletter for the third party search, placement and recruiting profession, and the new owners at ERE Media are more committed than ever in making sure that the newsletter I had come to think of as “mine” remains the “most widely read and often quoted” voice of the profession I have come to love.

Sure, they may bring Paul kicking and screaming into the 21st Century with exclusive online content (such as this blog, and Dave Staat’s excellent blog); and yes, they have now put the last three years of the Fordyce Letter online for you to search and read; and yes, they have added a fantastic annual conference to the mix with their new Fordyce Forum which will take place this June in Las Vegas. But the content IS still driven by Paul’s keen editorial eye and many years of invaluable experience; most of the writers are the same that you have been reading over the years along with a few great new additions that Paul is always seeking; and in my final analysis, ERE’s involvement with the Fordyce Letter may be the very best thing that has happened to “my” little newsletter in years.

It is fun to fall in love with something all over again. That is exactly what has happened to me as I have now had a chance to meet, work with, and understand the sincere conviction the ERE team has to keep all that has been great about the Fordyce Letter franchise they now own, while bringing its readers even more content in more ways, as they adapt Fordyce to the publishing landscape of the modern search, placement and recruiting professionals who make up their loyal reads now, and will become their readers in the future. Join them for what is sure to be a great ride as our profession continues to grow and change, yet continue as the backbone of North American business & entrepreneurial success.


Jeff Skrentny, CERS, had an inauspicious start in the search/recruiting profession as his first placement quit after 93 days. Then he was sued by his client. Despite that start, Jeff has been a thriving executive search entrepreneur for the last 23 years; and has also been a trainer, author and motivator for his profession for the last 15 years, as well as a business consultant and advisor for its producers, managers & owners for the last 10 years; all while still running his search business, Jefferson Group Search, in Chicago. You can read his blog for search entrepreneurs & professionals at


1 Comment on “Re-embracing one I love

  1. DITTO!!! I was introduced to TFL 20 years ago and still get excited about it. I LOVE it and my Recruiters do too. It’s the BEST publication for Search and Placement Recruiters and an absolute must read for anyone committed to their profession. Funny you mentioned a monthly dose of training…it’s what I tell my team. We must come from the same school of hard knocks. 🙂

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