I recently had an opportunity to do help graduate students work through mock job interviews. I had 4 international students, all with impeccable credentials. The first young man was charming and humble. A musician by avocation, he’s looking to help the world be a better place. He was a sharp contrast to one of my other interviewees.
When I asked this next young man what he wanted to accomplish from his ‘mock’ interview, he said that he needed direct feedback about how he could improve. I started by asking him about his strengths. He mentioned that he felt that working with people and getting things done were his strengths.
When he described how he led teams, he mentioned that when an employee did something wrong, he would tell them, “You made a mistake,” and then he would tell them how to fix it.
While I didn’t like how he described his supervisory style, I couldn’t argue with directness in employee coaching.
In giving him feedback, I pointed out that the way he spoke about subordinates was different than the way I would do it. That didn’t make it wrong but I wondered if he was being too direct, and perhaps it was cultural.
When I read this post, “The 2 Most Important Words in a Job Interview,” I realized that perhaps what I sensed was too much “I” in the discussion of his success and not enough “we.”
The entire experience was, for me, uplifting, as is all my work with young people. I get the feeling that the world is going to be in good hands.
I find it surprising and disturbing that recruiters are still holding two things against job seekers in their social media posts:
Swearing and spelling.
In the infographic, “Watch What You Post on Social Media,” when recruiters were asked, “what are the biggest red flags in job applicants’ social profiles?, the answer is, well, old fashioned … and perhaps not helpful to the potential employer.
In this survey, swearing and spelling have nearly the same negative impact as illegal drugs and sexual posts.
Look, I completely understand that we need standards and differentiators. But eliminating a candidate because they use an ‘F’ bomb vs. using drugs? This makes no sense. I am 100% for everyone paying attention to what they post. I am a well-known ‘hater’ of Face Book for many reasons (mainly they have continually shown open contempt for privacy), but I understand that it is an important part of many people’s daily lives. So just eliminating a candidate for a spelling error doesn’t make sense. In a tight job market, I can see why recruiters use any tool to distinguish between applicants. But spelling errors? We teach the whole language approach to reading and writing in school (vs. phonetics). When you look at the picture… at this kid’s notebook… you see “samwichis” and “lemminad” are early attempts to wrangle language. When you realize kids today probably are not even learning cursive… perhaps it’s time to think of the ‘context.’
I realize hiring is complex and keeping up with trends in social media is difficult. But especially in the coming, ‘war for talent’ – it will be helpful to think broadly about the changing mores in social media and expression.
Photo Credit: Extra Credit Woodleywonderworks
What’s blocking your vision?
I have a vision of my self as a creative person. I’d like to consider myself an artist. I’m not concerned whether other people think I’m an artist, I want to think of myself that way.
I’m not sure what is blocking me. Is my hair in my face? Do I lack motivation? Do I need a teacher? Do I think I’m too old?
I’m committed to reaching this goal because it’s the only goal I’ve ever had in my entire life that is just for me. I’ll keep you updated on my journey.
Photo credit: Blonde girl splitshire
Yes to irreverent, NO to idiotic.
When I saw this article, “Resume Blasphemy” I thought, how great! I love this idea.
Instead of listing… where you went to school and worked… the author suggests you write how you would do the job including:
- “A clear picture of the business of the employer you want to work for.
- Proof of your understanding of the problems and challenges the employer faces.
- A plan describing how you would do the work the employer needs done.
- An estimate of what/how much you think you could add to the bottom line.”
Imagine you are the hiring manager and instead of skimming boring resumes, you get to read through descriptions of various approaches to the advertised job. This is at the heart of behavioral interviews but it goes farther because it requires the applicant to do all the work.
My suggestion… whether you send the irreverent resume or not… write it! Imagine how prepared you will be for that interview.
Photo Credit: How to…
The Buddhist point of view is that work has 3 purposes, to:
- give a man a chance to utilize and develop his faculties
- enable him to overcome his ego-centeredness by joining with other people in a common task
- bring forth needed goods and services
To simplify, we work to:
- Develop our unique skills (Do you know what these are? Do you work to develop them?)
- Think about other people (get over ourselves) (Many people say they do but… WOW it’s still all about them.)
- Make/provide stuff of value to others (This one is the easiest)
- There is an obvious #4. The reason most of us would say we work… to make money to live.
Just for today, When you are working, how about thinking about 1-2 instead of 3-4? In the photo, the woman probably had never used a drill before the war. Then suddenly, she had to become proficient for a greater good. What ways does your work help you develop your unique gifts and help others instead of yourself?
Photo credit: Operating a Hand Drill Library of Congress
People at all stages of their careers look for work that ‘fits’. But most of us don’t know how to find it. This is as good an assessment tool as I have seen. The intersection of these 4 things is probably where you’ll be productive and happy.
1. What you’re good at (Ability)
2. What makes money (Financial security)
3. What helps others/society (Altruism)
4. What you enjoy
This is why when you go to a career counselor, they give you some tests and talk to you about your goals, what you like to do in general, etc. They don’t start with… what do you want to do for a living?
For many of us, we’re pretty good at #4. We’re sketchy on #1 and pretty clueless where the intersection of #1 and #4 meet #2.
This is why we need to try new things. But most of us get hung up at a very young age on #2 and then end up miserable. Sometimes this is our own fault. We don’t live within our means so we get used to spending and having ‘stuff’. If you want to make money — great. But finding the intersection of all of these is not easy for most of us.
Also, we are very quick to judge others (and ourselves) when it comes to careers (and lots of other stuff). Just for today, try to look at a career path in new way. Which of these 4 are you working on?
Reminder of my 3 criteria for how I spend my time: 1) am I having fun? 2) am I learning? 3) am I appreciated?
The basis of this post came from: Yermie Cohen’s dad (med student, engineer, start up founder) Quora.com
Photo Credit: 42 to Know about 42
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
I have two children; they are wonderful people. There are times when I wonder what I gave them. Oh, I think I was a good mother. I’m not questioning whether I gave them a good education or a nice home, but I wonder – what did I pass on to them that they only could have received from me?
I love this quote from Thomas Edison. Whether you call it passion or enthusiasm – it is the “estate of incalculable value.” How does a parent pass this along?
There is really only one way. That is by example. What you do. Your behavior. How you spend your time. How you treat people. How you learn new things. How you accept the good and bad. Your precious time – how do you spend it? How do you act when you think no one is looking.
Are you excited to be alive? Are you grateful? Do you complain everyday about the weather, your boss, why you don’t have this and that?
Or do you focus on the beauty? the joy? the positive? the kind? Do you greet each day with an energy that says, “life is an adventure.”
Bring passion and energy to your children today and everyday. They might just thank you.
Image credit: Thomas Edison and GE That’s Genius Pinterest Board
I just learned about this… Got Your Six.
In the military when someone tells you that they’ve “Got Your 6,” it means they’re watching your back.
This post is about 2 things:
1) Who’s back do you have and who’s got your back?
2) What are you doing to help our Veterans who are returning from service?
Regarding #1 – I think it’s my job to care for every person I meet. By ‘care for’ I mean see them. Look in their eyes, smile and listen. As for who has my back… there are so many people who have watched over me; I am blessed. I am sending out a loving thank you to each of you today.
Regarding #2 – Our Veterans are coming back from service– they need our support. The “all-volunteer” group of servicemen and women face significant issues resulting from multiple tours of duty and injury — to the body and to the spirit. We can all do something. We just need to find it. They need support in– jobs, education, health, housing, family and leadership.
We need to take the skill and experience of those who have served and let them show us the way — while we stand by them and stand up for them. It is our duty and privilege.
“The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them – especially not from yourself. Instead of turning away in denial, … you should become a connoisseur of your own mistakes, turning them over in your mind as if they were works of art, which, in a way they are.” Daniel Dennet
Many of us want to shrink when we make a mistake. We deny that we’ve made one or we hesitate to own our part. While it may seem easier to avoid ‘consequences’ – the truth is we (almost) always feel the consequences one way or the other. For instance, if we avoid taking risks for fear of looking foolish – we deprive ourselves of opportunities to grow and learn. Not good.
If we take a big risk… e.g. wholeheartedly sponsor a big project at work… and it goes well; we might get that promotion. If it fails, we will suffer from the ‘slings and arrows’ of people’s looks and possible gossip. But who learned? You did. While they were sitting back and judging you, you were out there talking, promoting, learning, growing and gaining visibility. Instead of hiding from your mistakes; what if you embraced them? what if you just say, “Wow, I made a mistake. I learned a lot and I won’t make that mistake again.” Imagine how confident you would seem and feel.
Billy Joel has a great line in his song… You’re Only Human:
“You’re not the only one who’s made mistakes
But they’re the only thing that you can truly call your own”
If mistakes are the only thing I can truly call my own, then I should make MORE not less. We encourage our small children to make mistakes and assure them that it’s ok when they do. Then they get to be teens; we start to bear down on them — don’t make mistakes!. As adults, we are mortified when it happens to us. Why? Because we are afraid to look anything less than perfect. We set a better example when we own our risks/mistakes. We then have the satisfaction of knowing that we created something – all my own. Smile, it’s just a mistake.
Photo credit: Hand over mouth Mel B.