Erik Kalacis – Director, Sales & Marketing for SilverStar Mountain Resort

PFM Executive Search is pleased to have facilitated the appointment of Erik Kalacis as Director, Sales & Marketing for SilverStar Mountain Resort.  From humble beginnings as a local ski hill back in the 1960’s, SilverStar Mountain Resort has evolved into a world-class winter holiday destination, with over 3282 acres of skiable terrain and 131 runs spread over 3 mountain faces.

Erik is a versatile, creative and entrepreneurial business professional with over 10 years’ experience as a leader in the hospitality, tourism and ski resort sector.  Erik’s strength and passion is rooted in consumer/B2B sales and marketing strategy, sports and experiential marketing, brand management and operations.

Leading a team of dedicated employees, Erik will be heading up all resort sales and marketing initiatives at SilverStar Mountain Resort, together with identifying opportunities to build winter and summer visitation, directing SilverStar’s reservations call centre and providing art direction and content creation to drive the brand forward.

PFM Executive Search wishes Erik every success in his new role.

Our search firm, based in Vancouver, along with our Panorama Global Search Partners, provides outstanding facilitation of large and diverse Search & Selection Committees in our work with private, public and not-for-profit organizations.  The hallmark of success for PFM Executive Search over the last 23-years has been our ability to develop a strong working relationship with Boards and Selection Committees in creating a seamless process that nets proven results for our clients.

How to Ace that Skype Interview

As with any interview, the key to a successful Skype interview is planning. The main difference with Skype interviews is that not only are you planning for what you are going to say and how you will respond to key questions, you are also having to consider camera angles, lighting and trying to keep the dog quiet for 90 minutes.

With the rise in videoconferencing globally, being prepared for a Skype or video interview is a must.  As a Project Coordinator with PFM, I schedule and arrange Skype interviews and test Skype calls daily, and understand how unpredictable technology can be.  Being prepared for such an interview will put your mind at rest and allow you to bring nothing but your “A” game to the meeting.  With the help of my colleagues at PFM, I have assembled a compilation of DOs and DON’Ts to help you ace that all important Skype interview!


Look the part

Be as professional as you would if you were going into an office interview.

Dress professionally from top to bottom. You may be tempted to wear your favourite sweatpants, which is fine until you accidentally stand up! You might need to adjust your webcam, or turn off the phone that you forgot to switch to silent. Shedding the loungewear will also help switch your mind to professional mode too.

Check your settings

Have the camera at the right angle so it is level with your face and avoid the camera pointing up at you. Have the camera a distance back so you are framed from the shoulders up, and ensure you are centred.

Make sure the microphone is on and check that the audio works properly, as nothing is worse for a selection committee than listening to a person who sounds like they are talking in a barrel.

Do a screen preview of yourself first before making the Skype call so you can see how you will appear on the screen to the other caller.

Prepare your surroundings

Make sure nothing distracting is happening in your background. Consider conducting your interview in a quiet room with a blank wall behind you to ensure the focus is on you and not your background.  If you don’t have sufficient privacy at your office, do it from home. A public place can be noisy and unreliable in terms of the internet connection.

If at home, close the door and try to keep pets and children at bay. Also try to turn off the ringer on the home phone line or remove the phone from the room altogether.

Request a test

If you’re unfamiliar with Skype, play around with a few test calls to ensure you know how to place a call, receive a call, turn on your video, etc. Conduct a practise interview with a friend, or request a skype call with the company, and consider recording it so you’ll have an accurate idea of how you come across on video. You want to feel comfortable with the technology so that you can focus on putting your best foot forward – most companies will respect this and offer to assist.

Have a Plan B

While there’s no worry you’ll be held up by traffic, or get lost finding the right building, there is always the potential for technical issues. Sign in early and make sure you know who is calling you.

Honesty is the best policy if you experience technical problems. If you can’t sort it out, suggest rearranging the call, or using a phone for the audio, and skype for the video.


Assume anything

Don’t assume that you won’t come across as natural or you won’t be able to put your best foot forward because the technology might get in the way. PFM Executive Search has interviewed thousands of people in person, through skype/videoconferences and on the phone. The person who is best for the job will shine through regardless of the medium.

Snack (yes this happens)

Don’t eat or drink anything other than water during your interview, and don’t try to hide it away from the camera because you may accidentally forget and reach for that glass of, yes you’ve guessed it, wine!

Forget about eye contact

Don’t look at yourself on the screen. Look straight ahead, and ensure that you are making eye contact with the interviewer.

I hope that these tips will help you with whatever online meeting you find yourself in. Feel free to contact us if you too have come across some useful ideas, as we would be pleased to pass them along!

PFM Executive Search

The Future of Recruiting – A Special Webinar Event

PFM’s very own Partner, Shaun Carpenter, together with Rocky Ozaki of RISE, Barb Agostini of Recruiting Social, and Peter Reek of Smart, Savvy & Associates, will be delivering a special recruiting webinar on Monday, March 7th at 1:00PM Pacific Time.

Are you looking to source top talent, smoke out the pretenders and improve your employer brand?  Perhaps you are tired of talking about the talent war?  If this sounds like you, then this webinar is for you!  Join Shaun Carpenter, Rocky Ozaki, Barb Agostini and Peter Reek to find out the revolution in recruiting.

This webinar event is being hosted by RISE (formely PaySavvy), who’s mission is to create client-focused payroll solutions that offer intuitive software and unparalleled client support.

To register for this FREE webinar, please click here.

Forty minutes to revamp your recruiting practises?  It’s worth the time!

Randy Helmer – Director Infrastructure Engineering for the Coast Mountain Bus Company

After an extensive national search, PFM Executive Search congratulates Randy Helmer on his appointment to Coast Mountain Bus Company as Director, Infrastructure Engineering. Randy will lead a diversified team, responsible for the maintenance and asset management of all equipment and infrastructure related to CMBC’s bus network, across Greater Vancouver.

An Ontario native, Randy recently relocated to Vancouver with his family after a five year tenure with the Town of Prescott as Chief Administrative Officer. Prior to this, Randy held positions as Director of Infrastructure with the Municipality of West Nipissing, and Director of Engineering Services at Cornwall Community Hospital.

Randy is a registered member of the Municipal Engineers Association and the Professional Engineers Association of Ontario (PEO).

PFM wishes Randy every success in his role with Coast Mountain Bus Company, and his new life on the West Coast.

Our search firm, based in Vancouver, along with our Panorama Global Search Partners, provides outstanding facilitation of large and diverse Search & Selection Committees in our work with private, public and not-for-profit organizations.  The hallmark of success for PFM Executive Search over the last 23-years has been our ability to develop a strong working relationship with Boards and Selection Committees in creating a seamless process that nets proven results for our clients.


In Defense of Pen & Paper

While similar in age to our new prime minister, I’m old enough to remember and have used things like carbon paper, typewriters and personalized stationery (the perfumed kind!). I remember the day when we got a personal computer at our house. It was a big deal. There was something similar at my school, and it lived on a dolly and got wheeled from classroom to classroom so we all got a chance to learn how to use it. For what I’m not sure, as all through public school and university I took notes with pen and paper, and submitted hand-written reports and essays. The fingers of my writing hand are permanently deformed from hours spent writing notes.

Today, in order to do my job efficiently, I have a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a tablet and a “phone” that really should be called a mobile email device because I rarely use it to talk to people. I have a big pile of pens on my desk, and I know there’s lined paper around here somewhere, but I’m not totally sure where.

When I meet clients, I bring my tablet and efficiently type my notes about the candidate profile. When I interview candidates, I transcribe my notes on my laptop. While certainly we’re trying to save paper, we’ve mainly moved to doing everything electronically because of bad handwriting; I can’t read my co-workers’ handwriting, and if I need to interpret his interview or client notes, I can’t do my job. That, and most of us type faster than we write so we can take more accurate notes with our computers.

Of course, we aren’t the only ones who have whole-heartedly embraced the efficiency technology affords us. Nowhere is this more evident than in university lecture halls. If I were in university today, my fingers would all be straight. Laptops are no longer a luxury, but rather the standard equipment for note-taking students. Laptops are also being introduced in K-12 schools, particularly for students who struggle with reading and writing. We’re all being more efficient and effective thanks to technology.

Or are we?

A recent study by Pam A. Mueller at Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer at UCLA suggests the method by which we record notes may affect the way we absorb the information we’re hearing. While the study’s authors didn’t have an answer as to the cognitive reasons why, it was clear that those who used pen and paper more effectively processed the information they heard more than those who typed.

My first thought when I heard about this was that all those other things on our laptops and tablets are distracting us from the task at hand, and in fact that has been borne out in other studies. What makes this study so interesting is that they controlled for these distractions and the pen and paper users still performed better answering conceptual questions after the note-taking exercise.

While they call me “Rainbow” at the office because of my commitment to being green, I didn’t switch from pen and paper to technology to save paper. In fact, I worry our technology waste is a far larger problem. I simply thought I was being more efficient and making life easier for my colleagues. However, my clients pay me to listen, to think, and to form opinions and judgments based on what I’ve heard. If I’m too busy transcribing information as opposed to really hearing what’s being said, I’m not being as effective as I’d like. So I’m going to take a little tech break and track down that lined paper. I promise I won’t be submitting my candidate reports or job profiles to you in longhand on scented personalized paper. But try not to be too distracted by my deformed fingers.