When you are interviewing for a job… probably one of the last things on your mind… is why and when you might leave. You’re thinking… I don’t even have the job… why would I think about when I might leave?
Great companies make this complex question part of the interview process.
In an insightful article by someone I admire, Charlene Li of Altimeter Group, How I Hire: Figuring Out Fit — And The Exit Strategy… she outlines the criteria and process for assessing candidates based on culture, skills and my favorite and what I consider relatively unique… sense of purpose.
“As part of the hiring process, I also talk with people about how they will leave Altimeter one day. The idea of lifetime employment is dead, so why not face up to the reality that this person we’re hiring will one day leave? It’s a core part of us living the value of Integrity — that openness and transparency develops trust.” Charlene Li
The last regular, ‘show up in the office’ job I had, I actually negotiated my departure date as part of my hiring package. When they offered me the job, I told them I would stay one year. It allowed me to focus on getting the job done without worrying about how I’d leave. It was very empowering.
I am not suggesting that every time you take a job, you should negotiate your exit. What I am suggesting is that you think about what you want to get from the assignment… even it it’s just to earn some money or stay for 6 months. Be conscious of what it will look like when you have reached that goal.
By the way, this takes courage and it puts the responsibility for finding your next ‘step’ right where it belongs; with you.
Image credit: Diane Arbus Moving On
Have you ever tried listening to someone who is annoying you? Have you ever tried going a whole day without giving your opinion, not even once? If you’re an introvert, this may be easier for you. But for outgoing people, this is a big problem.
And, by the way, it can be a problem for all of us. Most of us love to hear ourselves talk. We love to tell our side of the argument, our thoughts on other people’s lives etc. That’s why people love stories. It satisfies the need we humans have to know about others and compare ourselves to the them.
But the truth is WE CAN’T LEARN IF WE ARE TALKING.
Put a sock in it. The more important the relationship, the more we need to work on listening. Try it and let me know how the experiment works for you. I’ll let you know how I’m doing.
(By the way, if you have a job interview and the question comes about areas of self- improvement; a statement about the sincere desire to improve one’s listening skills for both personal and professional reasons can work. Just be prepared to talk about what you are doing to improve and make sure you are really practicing!)
Photo credit: Shhh Vox Efx
I recently gave a talk in front of a group of senior executives (older folk) who are ‘in the hallway’ (looking for work). I was talking about the collaborative economy and I made a reference to Porter’s 5 forces model. Now, you may never have heard of this, no big deal. But for a group of people over 50 who made over $100,000 in their last corporate job; it surprised the heck out me that only one them had heard of it but couldn’t accurately describe it.
Let’s be clear, on any given day… there are 1,000′s of things I don’t know and this has nothing to do with Porter’s paradigm specifically. My comment to them was, “good thing this isn’t a job interview.”
I work as a consultant so I go on a ‘job interview’ several times a month. As I’m networking, I never know who is going to be a connection to a gig.
Fuzzy Tennis Balls? This article, “13 Weirdest Interview Questions – 2014” offers us some of the oddest questions people were asked (submitted via Glassdoor). If you got this question in an interview, how would you answer? Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, thank goodness I’m not looking for a job or I’m going to pray that I don’t get a question like that. That’s one approach.
How about this? What if you use these odd questions as a chance to stretch your mind? Just for exercise. Talk to someone about it over lunch. Ask your kids what they think. Have fun for crying out loud.
For those of you who are looking for work, old or young, remember the goal of these questions is for the interviewer to see how you think, how quick you are on your feet, what happens to you when faced with a (small) challenge. Do you stumble and stutter or do you let your creative juices flow? Creativity requires practice so I suggest you play games, answer silly questions, get out those crayons; maybe you’ll get that job after all.
Photo credit: Tennis Kevinzim
“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful – be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.”
Who wrote this? Take a guess. (play Jeopardy theme song here).
If you guessed someone famous.. you were right, almost. Patti Smith is a musician, poet, visual artist. She co-wrote “Because the Night” with Bruce Springsteen. (You’ve probably heard of him… do you think the boss subscribes to Patti’s philosophy? – I do.)
So what is Patti encouraging us to do?
- Build and protect your brand (name). Think of this in Patti’s context.. a woman in rock in 1975. Imagine how immensely talented and strong she is and what decisions both personal and artistic she needed to make to stand by this.
- Do good work. Yeah, that means working hard, taking risks, being bold when you may not want to.
- Protect your work. For the non-artist, I take this to mean be conscious of your work product and own it with pride.
- Make the right choices. “Right” choices tend to be harder and require thought and effort. That’s why so many of us make ‘wrong’ ones.
- Your name will be its own currency. In the new world of social… you can control/influence the value of your name tremendously. But you need to pay attention. It does not happen by accident.
For all of you saying, my name will never be ‘currency’ – I feel sorry for you. The ship has sailed and you missed it.
By the way, if you judge this book by it’s cover… you’re missing something great.
LinkedIn (LI) is my favorite social site. Why? Because they built a ‘professional’ social site that truly adds value.
Initially, LI gave users something valuable.. an electronic Rolodex. The site helped us understand to increase the value of our already valuable connections (and gave us tools to use them more effectively). In my recent post, ‘Because Every Job is Temporary…” I discussed the fact that we all need to be looking for work — all the time. Therefore, building a network, helping others and keeping our skills up to date are critical.
Then they made it problematic for people to ‘spam’– if you said you didn’t know someone… they got bounced from LinkedIn temporarily. When they said they valued our privacy, they meant it (unlike some others…)
Once they gave us this tool (for free), they then helped us to build connections across industries, interests, commonality — with groups etc.
So, what’s this page I’ve never seen? It’s called Talent Solutions and it is part of the LinkedIn Recruiter offering which is only visible to companies that pay to use the sourcing and hiring tools. Recruiters can see all your information, but you can’t see them. Think no one is watching you? Think again. If you are actively adding to your skills, building your connections, interacting with people and posting your blog/slideshare/other content regularly, then you are the kind of candidate many recruiters are looking for. The real reason you should care about LinkedIn… explains more.
Like the Panda in the picture… you have to work for your food, even if the tree is right in front of you.
Photo Credit: Tai Shan, National Zoo Panda dbking
Confidence is defined as “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.” Where does your confidence come from?
If it’s from your work and you’ve been forced to make job changes then your confidence might be rocky. But if your confidence comes from self-awareness and continuously updated skills… then you might be feeling ok.. no matter what your employment circumstances are.
An author I admire, Darmesh Shah, wrote an excellent article titled, “Nine Qualities of Truly Confident People.” He describes confidence as, “quiet: a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard.” Note that the article doesn’t describe confidence as bravado or swagger; but the ability to listen, to be wrong in front of others, to freely ask for help and shine the spotlight on others.
I would add two things to his list: knowledge and discipline. People who are confident usually are disciplined. They get more done than other people because they understand what’s important. In addition, they keep their skills updated. They don’t make excuses for why they don’t know things… they work hard.
If you are looking for a new resource to help you in your journey to career confidence.. check out CareerRealism - their tag line.. “because every job is temporary” … speaks to the modern condition. Most of us don’t like change, but there is one way to be sure that you can cope and that is to create it.
Be confident. Be happy and go with the flow. Change is good, timing is everything, patience is the key.
Photo credit: 3 WCAP boxers medal photographer