Song Woo, President and CEO of Lighthouse Management Group is an award winning staffing & recruiting industry executive and employment expert. Featured in both print and electronic media for expertise in employment trends and career management. Recently honored in the San Jose Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list of 40 high performing executives under the age of 40 to watch and tabbed as a "Rising Star". In addition, Lighthouse Management Group has also been honored as the #1 Fastest Growing Private Company in Silicon Valley.
Latest by Song Woo
By Song Woo | Career Corner | March 19, 2015
When taking over a new leadership post, there’s nothing more important than to create an environment with the proper attitude. The great thing about being a leader is that you are empowered to set
the attitude of your office, to create a certain culture if you will. Sure, every company has a certain philosophy and mission that drives the objectives of each business. However, from company to company you can see distinct subcultures that drive each business; this is the culture that I’m referring to.
Like a thumbprint, every business is different in this manner. Nonetheless, the one common theme you’ll see in high performing companies is a winning culture. It is crucial to develop a winning culture right from …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | February 12, 2015
I’ve learned over the years that to grow within a company it helps to have someone in your corner. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked for some great bosses who became my mentors and in turn my biggest advocates. Just because you report to someone doesn’t necessarily mean that they will automatically mentor you or be your strongest supporter. Your boss is a human being too, not a robot. You have to earn all of that. Sometimes it surprises me why some employees constantly resist what their manager wants them to do or even worse, do the opposite of what the boss wants. Unless you’re at the pinnacle of your profession or company, odds are, you have to report …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | January 11, 2015
Your work experience and technical skills are only a part of the equation in terms of the hiring process. That is what we like to call “hard” skills. However, when the final hiring decision is made, it usually comes down to the “soft” skills that determine equally qualified candidates. But that is the dilemma. Soft skills are very subjective from employer to employer. Some companies may value certain traits more than others. It can even change from position to position even within the same company. Traits that are valued in a sales role may not be as valued in the accounting department. So you first have to figure out what traits are valued with respect to the job you are …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | November 5, 2014
I’m an avid car enthusiast and driving is one of the simple pleasures I truly enjoy. Driving out in the open road relaxes me and gives me a chance to unwind. It’s my form of meditation. Ironically, I was so relaxed the other night while driving that I almost got into an accident. One of the hazards of driving is that sometimes you don’t see everything on the road, especially when it’s in your blind spot.
Similar to driving, many of us cruise through our careers thinking everything is okay with no hazards in front of us. We unknowingly glide through each day as if we were on cruise control. Unfortunately, what can derail your career the most isn’t something …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | July 31, 2014
Early on in my career I was in a management trainee program for a sales organization I worked for at the time and one of the managers truly took an interest in helping me develop. He was the first real mentor I had. I learned a lot about leadership and management from him. He used a lot of quotes to hammer in his points to me and one of the quotes I’ll never forget is something renowned film producer Samuel Goldwyn once said, “I’ll take fifty percent efficiency to get one hundred percent loyalty.”
My mentor always stressed that loyalty is a lost trait and that if I demonstrate loyalty to whoever I report to or work for; I’ll always …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | April 12, 2014
The irony of running a professional staffing firm is that it is more challenging for me to find talent for our firm than it is to find talent for our clients. When a client calls us to fill an urgent need, we can usually turn around and find someone for them within 48 hours. So the natural assumption is that I should be able to do that for myself, but that’s not the case.
Fortunately for me, I have never had to hire someone within a narrow time frame. I’ve have the luxury of taking as long as I want to find the right fit. Admittedly, I can’t say that all of my hires have worked out perfectly. If I …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | April 4, 2014
The irony of running a professional staffing firm is that it is more challenging for me to find talent for our firm than it is to find talent for our clients; and it’s not even close. When a client calls us to fill an urgent need, we can usually turn around and find someone for them within 48 hours. So the natural assumption is that I should be able to do that for myself, but that’s not the case. Fortunately for me, I have never had to hire someone within a narrow time frame. I’ve had the luxury of taking as long as I wanted to or needed to find the right fit. Admittedly, I can’t say that all of …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | February 28, 2014
Bill Parcells, the legendary football coach, once said, “If I’m going to be asked to cook the meal, I’d like to be able to pick the groceries.” Those were his words as he resigned from the New England Patriots. I always remember that quote because that was the driving force behind why I left my post with one of the largest companies in the world to start my own firm. I wanted to be able to build a team that fit within my vision and philosophy. I couldn’t do that there. I was a bit handcuffed by my boss at the time as to who I could hire and fire. The irony is my boss was fired not too long …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | November 7, 2013
For the better part of my career, my role has revolved around sales and professional services. During this time, I have always had an issue with looking too young. This felt like a constant uphill battle in the business world. In my late twenties, most of the decision makers I dealt with out in the field trying to sell the firm’s services were in their forties and fifties. A common response from these individuals after we greeted one another would be, “You’re a lot younger than I expected.” The problem wasn’t that I looked my age. The problem was that at 27 years old, I looked like I was 17. I had a baby face; some might say that I …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | September 18, 2013
The hiring process can be somewhat nebulous at times. Sometimes it amazes me how certain people get the roles they are in. It just goes to show that the hiring process will always have very subjective influences. This should not be so surprising since we are talking about the human element. There is no one surefire template that everyone follows when making hiring decisions. However, there are certain things you can do to give yourself an edge.
One commonly overlooked area in particular can certainly enhance your chances of getting your foot in the door. That area happens to be the cover letter. Nowadays, most people email their resumes rather than snail mail so quite often a cover letter is …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | August 1, 2013
As a recruiter, I’ve spoken to thousands of people throughout my career and as you might expect, I hear a lot of the same things with regards to their career. One of the things that I hear the most when candidates describe their next opportunity is that they want to be challenged. I often wonder if they really mean that or if it’s something that is subconsciously ingrained in their brain to say because it sounds good. From my own experience working in the corporate world for the past two decades, it seems as though being challenged isn’t what most people truly want. I’ve gotten ahead because of this.
A lot of people tend to shy away from challenges and …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | June 12, 2013
I love to hire confident people and surround myself with driven individuals. Having a competitive environment helps everyone push one another to maximize their potential. Competition, pride, ego, etc., all of that is great in my opinion in a performance driven environment. It also means there’s never a dull moment. Leading these types of talented individuals also has its challenges. From a management perspective, pushing people to their limits is tough as it is, but it magnifies tenfold when you account for all the egos in play. One of the more challenging things I have to do as a manager is give people constructive criticism. What I have discovered even more challenging than giving that type of feedback is receiving …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | May 3, 2013
Over the past month, our firm has hired a number of new people due to growth. I am always excited to see new faces walking around the office, and I can’t help but reminisce about my time as a new employee, when I first began my career. It’s always a bit awkward being the new guy in the office. Maybe you’re a bit unsure of how to act around others, and watch people closely to get a feel for what’s appropriate and what’s not. You never want to be that person that everyone sees as the office “jerk.”
Maybe the word “jerk” is a bit harsh, but it seems as though every big office has someone who fits that description. …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | April 4, 2013
The stock market has been surging, and with signs of growth in the job market it looks like more and more people may be eagerly looking for their next opportunity. Employers are loosening their straps and are beginning to hire more aggressively. If you’re one of those individuals who have endured in a job that you’re unhappy with, and have been dreaming about greener pastures, the timing might be right for you to start looking.
First things first, though. Just because you see that more companies are hiring, don’t just immediately quit your job. From a psychological standpoint, many employers do not like to hire unemployed people right off the street. Their assumption is that the best employees are already …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | April 4, 2013
The stock market has been surging and with signs of growth in the job market it looks like more and more people maybe eagerly looking at their next opportunity. Employers are loosening their straps and are beginning to hire more aggressively. If you’re one of those individuals who have endured in a job that you’re unhappy in and have been dreaming about greener pastures, the timing might be right for you to start looking now.
First things first though, just because you see that more companies are hiring, don’t just immediately quit your job. Believe it or not, from a psychological standpoint, many employers do not like to hire unemployed people right off the street. Their assumption is that the …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | February 8, 2013
During my high school days I wanted to be a sports agent, long before “Jerry MaGuire” ever glamorized the profession. I had already come to the realization that I probably didn’t have the size or skills necessary to become a professional athlete, but because of my love of sports, I wanted to be involved in a profession with ties to sports. As I researched the profession of sports management, I realized that virtually every professional athlete has an agent.
As we fast-forward to the present, for various reasons my career took a detour from sports management to business management. Instead of representing professional athletes, I represent business professionals. Being a recruiter is not much different than being a sports agent. …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | January 11, 2013
“My, how time flies when you’re having fun!” That is one cliché that rings true every time. 2012 has come and gone in a flash. Aren’t we all glad that the Mayan prediction for the end of the world on December 20th didn’t come true? Now that we’re safely passed that hurdle we can optimistically look forward into 2013.
After the holiday season ends a new season begins, something I like to jokingly call the “resolution season”. I think most of us fall into it. It’s hard to avoid. Almost everyone I bump into will talk about changes they are going to make for the better in the coming year as well as asking me about what my resolutions are. …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | December 10, 2012
As the year winds down, it’s always a good idea to reflect on how you’re career has progressed over the past year. Its human nature to have a tendency to look forward to what lies ahead, but I’ve learned over the years that if you want to move in the right direction you have to review the past.
As a big football fan and a fan of sports in general, I like to tie what I see in sports into the business world. One of the nuances that I love about football is that coaches and players do a lot of strategic planning. They watch a lot of film from past games looking for ways to improve themselves and to …
By Song Woo | Career Corner | November 11, 2012
It’s universally clear that most people’s anxiety levels dramatically increase when they go on a job interview. If you want a job, you have to go on an interview. It’s part of the game. It’s unavoidable. Some people are more comfortable with it than others. Nevertheless, every hire is made based on some sort of interview process. As a recruiter, I speak with candidates throughout the entire process. The interesting phenomenon is the response I get from almost every candidate as I debrief with them about how they felt the interview went. Believe it or not, I really can’t remember the last time someone told me that they bombed in the interview. The unanimous response I hear is, “the interview …