Posts tagged: interviewing

The Irreverent Resume

http://www.itcertificationmaster.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Everything-Else-in-Your-Resume.jpg

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…

Key Hiring Question: When & Why Will You Leave?

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

Job Interview Question: Why Are Tennis Balls Fuzzy?

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

How Fair is Your Pay? 5 Steps to Getting Your Share

This pretty picture has nothing to do with fair pay… but it is an inspiring, life affirming photo. I want to inspire you to make sure you get what you want from your life. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. Today. It is, after all, all we have.

When I read this article about Whole Foods compensation structure — I was amazed and wondered why more companies don’t follow suit. Here’s the bottom line:

“Execs can’t earn more than 19 times the company average, the co-founder gets $1 a year, and non-execs get 93% of company stock options. The result is 7% turnover — among the lowest in the industry. Says co-CEO Walter Robb: ‘[We] really make love to the company values.'” I would say they put their money where their mouth is. Most companies SAY that employees are their most valuable asset but how do they demonstrate it?

Not all of us can work for Whole Foods so what can we do?

1) Mean what we say and say what we mean. Be a person of integrity. You will never regret it.

2) Keep your skills current. When you do that, you give yourself the opportunity to change… jobs, organizations, fields, etc.

3) Pay it forward. The more aware you are of helping others achieve their goals, the better.

4) Be nice. Organizations look to hire people who can get along. Being nice never hurt anyone’s career. Don’t be a doormat but the most successful people I know are generally described by others as ‘one of the nicest people I have ever met.”

5) Work for yourself. You don’t always make the most money this way… but you’ll make sure you get your fair share!

Checkout these online salary resources:

My favorite is Glassdoor.com where employees post the real skinny on salary, work and culture. Also try salaryexpert.com, jobstar.org (links to over 300 professional salary surveys) and salary.com.  It’s not all about money… but getting comparative data can give you strength in negotiating. By the way, if you don’t ask for the money you deserve… you’ll probably never get it.

Photo credit: mmtzjr69out  Double Bubble Rainbow

Is Job Hunting Really Just Sales?

If you are successful in sales, you’ve either had training or you’ve learned what works through trial and error . For the rest of us (90%!), we don’t really have any idea how to sell. Sure,we may have personal communication strengths that make us more or less persuasive, but without training, we’re flying blind.

As job hunters, we can learn a lot of from the steps to effective selling; especially if we think of finding the job we want as a similar process: prospecting, qualifying, negotiating and maintaining the relationship and we think of closing a prospect at each step along the way.

When sales people are required to make ‘cold calls’ — that is, talk with someone without an introduction… they use a process that can be helpful to job seekers. Check out …Cold Calling: How to Ask for an Interview.

Excellent sales people learn:

— not everyone is a fit for what they are selling

— not to take disinterest or rejection personally

— to focus on value and building relationships for the long haul

— to stick to the process and follow through

What separates a good sales person from a great one is how they:

— understand their target (research and listening)

— focus on the value of their offering to that particular customer

— are politely persistent in their follow through

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter where you are in your job search process… I guarantee you will learn something valuable by learning more about sales. Take a great sales person to coffee or lunch and pick their brain about staying even, goal setting, follow through, etc. It’ll be money well spent.

Photo credit 1: borissey  working women3

Image credit sales process graph: Peaksalesconsulting

Feedback: Electric, Real-Time, Nasty or True

I work with companies on multi-generational workplace issues  because I heard so many complaints about the “younger generation’s” poor “communication” skills. Gen Y employees may be different in many ways other from other generations; but that doesn’t mean they’re bad or wrong — they’re just different.

One common complaint I hear is that younger employees want to give and get “constant feedback.” Most of us oldsters are uncomfortable with this. Being stoics, we think everyone ought to just ‘get on with it.’

When Jimi Hendrix (my favorite musician of all time) burst onto the rock scene and created new sounds with his guitar…including standing in front of a wall of amplifiers.. many people thought it was awful… the rest of us… thought it was awesome. A new kind of musical sound was born… music to some… noise to others.

So it is with workplace feedback. Let me introduce you to Cleargears.com, take a quick video tour here. Conceptually, these tools allow your workforce to provide you (bossman or bosslady) with regular feedback and in turn, allows you to understand whether your feedback is being accepted and implemented. Wow – what a concept. Real time feedback. Making you uncomfortable? Get ready – this is the world is headed.

Take a look at Rypple.com; they call it social performance management–  “a web-based social performance management platform that replaces the traditional performance review with an easy and collaborative approach. People always know where they stand and are accountable for achieving their goals.” By the way… so are you.

Whatever the tool and no matter how you feel about providing feedback to your team, I suggest you figure out how to listen better. The future of your organization depends upon it. Remember the shark… survival goes to those who adapt.

Photo credit: Milt. Retirement and Financial Freedom

 

Guerrilla Hiring (Not Hiring Guerillas)

I often talk with job hunters, HR folks and recruiters about how hiring continues to evolve; think mobile/social recruiting.

When I read this post about a woman who recently applied to,  interviewed for and landed a job in less than a week; I was amazed (job on east coast and she lived on the west coast!)

Here’s her story…

“So, on a fluke, I emailed them my resume. By the next afternoon, I had already done a Skype™ interview with HR and they assigned me a project so they could see my work. I emailed my project, they loved it and offered me a job. I was on an airplane that Sunday and started work on Monday!” What’s on Karen’s Plate

Let’s examine this. She…

1) Wasn’t even looking for a job., she ‘stumbled’ across this posting and decided it was her dream job

2) Sent a resume and someone actually looked at it (wow)

3) Interviewed via Skype™  (candidate and hiring manager actually saw each other, felt the mutual energy, etc.)

4) Completed an assignment (wow again). (So this means that the company actually knew enough about the job to have an assignment that an interviewee could complete and then they made it easy for her to submit it.)

5) Evaluated the organization – I wonder what they did to help her understand their culture? (Made interviewing completely painless!)

Of course all interviews can’t happen like this but imagine streamlining the process to even vaguely resemble something like this. What if you Skype interviewed several candidates? If they don’t know how to use Skype — do you want to hire them? and… can you use Skype?

As a hiring manager, do you have an ‘assignment’ for your short list of candidates?

As someone how waited months for a job to — ‘get approved’, ‘open up’, have a new ‘description/classification written’, etc., this whole thing blows me away. In a good way!

Image credit: Philhill.net

 

How to Ruin that Face to Face Meeting You Worked So Hard to Get!

This week I had a couple of meetings like I do almost every week. (Do you meet between 2-5 new people a week?)

First — the good meeting!

One was with a guy I met who has been unemployed for about a year for the first time in his career. I met him briefly after a talk I had given. He confirmed our meeting the day before. Yeah for him. Then he offered to buy me a coffee, I always appreciate the offer. Another yeah for him. (cost him $1.72) He told a story about delivering meals to shut ins as one of the ways he spent his time while unemployed. Triple wow. He even asked how he could help me. Unbelievable.

And now the not so good meeting:

Meeting with someone I had met before and had helped him with something. By 5pm the day before, he had not confirmed our meeting so I did. Ick, not happy. I usually send my cell phone number so in case something comes up last minute.. the person doesn’t leave me sitting there. Hmm, maybe you could send me yours so in case something comes up for me? Nope. Didn’t improve.

In the article, “5 ways to lose your dream job during the interview process” — the same simple etiquette applies. Confirm your meeting, be polite, don’t talk too much, think of ways you can help the other person, don’t be cocky, send a thank you note, etc.

Seems pretty simple to me. But if it’s so simple, why don’t most people do it? I have no idea. Sigh…

Oh, and did you send a Linked In invitation after your meeting?

Photo credit: photo bucket

6 seconds = How Long Your Resume Gets Looked At…

Have you ever been on the hiring side of a resume? It’s not fun.

You often feel like this guy. Overwhelmed by ‘paper’ and buzzwords that don’t tell you anything.

Before you spend more time and get more opinions about your resume, check out this article, “How Recruiters See Your Resume…” Take a look at the heat map associated with this article.

It tells us that the more structured your resume, the easier it is for those 6 seconds to be productive and get you into the consideration pile vs. the no way pile.

The goal of the resume is to… wait for it… get you an interview! Be sure to think of it that way. It’s not to document your entire work history.

By the way, how’s your Linked In profile? Do you have 300 connections? Do you belong to several groups? Have you uploaded your PowerPoint presentations? Do you answer questions? Make sure you include a live link to your Linked In profile from your resume.

Now go forth and streamline that resume!

Image credit: Career Insider

No Thanks, I Don’t Want to Work For You…

A 30-something is in the middle of a job interview. The hiring manager is excited about the young man sitting in front of him.

From the hiring manager’s point of view, the interview is going very well. He has laid out the requirements, is satisfied that the candidate has good qualifications and equally as important, he seems to be a good fit for the group

The young man pauses and stops to think and then says,

“Thank you very much for your time today. I am very grateful but from my perspective this interview is over.”

The hiring manager is completely taken aback. “What do you mean?

The candidate continues, “I like your company, but you just finished telling me how many long hours you work. I have no objection to long hours when they are needed to complete a project. You also just finished telling me about how you miss spending enough time with your family.  I am looking for a company whose leadership is committed to work/family balance. So while I appreciate your time, I think we are not a good fit.”

Dumbfounded, the hiring manager said goodbye. Initially, he was furious. How dare that kid tell me anything about running a business. After discussing the event with a few others, he started to think seriously about the candidate’s point of view.

There are a lot of reasons why the best and brightest may not want to work for you. Check out this article by (one of my favorites) David Meerman Scott called, “How to Build a Crappy Workforce.”  Perhaps you’re not scrambling for talent yet but you will be and if you think changing your culture now is difficult — imagine what it will be like when the economy is back full steam.

 

 

 

 

Image credit: Fast Company