Posts tagged: job hunting

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

Shut Up and Listen. You Can’t Learn If You’re Talking.

<a href="http://voxterra.blogspot.com/">TerraVox</a><a href="http://voxterra.blogspot.com/">TerraVox</a>

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

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

Why Grit, Not IQ, Predicts Success

I wish someone had told me this when I was in middle/high school.

I am thinking of two mid-30′s business leaders.

One went to Yale and had a lot of advantages in life. He’s good looking in an Abercrombie kind of way, soccer star… you know the type. The other is also good looking (by that same standard) and athletic. He has a degree from a state school. His parents are teachers.

If IQ or ‘what college you attended’ or grade point average were the measures of success – the Yalie should win. But  something else is really at the heart of  business ‘success’ and it relates to:

– whether you see obstacles as opportunities or things that slow you down.

One way to to learn about obstacles as opportunities — is to grow up WITHOUT advantages. This builds grit and grit builds success. I wrote a post a few year back about people who failed time and again. Michael Jordan and Ulysses S. Grant. I had a college professor tell me I’d never graduate from college. Haha. I showed him.

Bottom line is — if you think that people who went to Ivy League schools are automatically successful, I ask you to think again.

As a country, we are suffering from ‘elitism fever’ (we think we’re better than others) – but deep in our hearts we know – the American spirit is grounded in pure grit. So next time you go to hire someone, why not ask… what obstacles have you overcome to be here? That might tell you everything you need to know.

Image credit: Elia Locardi

You Asked For It… (Or Not)

The number one most common mistake at a job interview is:

failing to ask for the job*

WOW! Imagine if this is true. I took a few moments to think about how many times I wanted something– and walked away wondering why I didn’t get it and guess what I realized, more often than not, it was probably my own fault.

I didn’t open my mouth and say, “I’d like.. that job, that favor, that ‘whatever’…” but my own stubbornness or low self esteem or cowardice (ok, that’s a little strong) prevented me from getting what I wanted.

If in fact I want the job, why don’t I ask for it?

And if I want to be sure to get what I want, how do I get better at asking? The answer is; I practice. I practice asking for what I want. This requires me to know what I want. With some of us that’s the first step. Some people are completely clear about what they want (and some go to a lot of trouble to make sure EVERYONE knows and delivers). If you always are very clear about what you want and don’t have a problem asking for it.. then this post isn’t for you. But feel free to leave a comment!

However, if you are someone who generally knows what you want but sometimes hesitate to ask for it; I want you to stop and think about why that is.

Because every job is temporary.. we all need to be able to look for work and understand how our skills match a potential employer — efficiently and effectively. That includes opening our mouths and asking for the job when we find it. The worst that can happen is — we are told no. It may not be fun to hear no, but it’s better to hear no than silence. You can’t get a hit if you don’t swing the bat. You can do it.

Photo credit: brokenchopstick

*resource = How Interviewers Know

5 Things to Stop Doing – Right Now!

Are you ready to get on with the challenges that you face in your life? Your mouth says yes but your attitude and body language are saying no.

Now let me give you and me credit… we are doing a lot of hard stuff, everyday. Good for us. However, we live better than 95% of the people on the planet so let’s get to the heart of the matter. We’re soft.

If we’re soft… then we’re lousy role models and unimaginative workers/parents/business people/community leaders.

So pick one… any one of these and commit to stop doing it— even just for one day… today.

1) Blaming — what difference does it make who’s fault it is? What are you going to do about it? Sticky wicket relationship? I gotta do my part. Change my attitude. I’m not right. Who cares?

2) Judging – focus on yourself. Let others do what they need to. Live and let live.

3) Tilting at Windmills – when I get all upset over something I can’t change… it slowly dawns on me that I am wasting precious energy. I could be laughing. What the heck?

4) Defending – try listening instead.

5) Being afraid. What’s the worst that can happen? I can tell you that many people have lived through MUCH worse. You can do.

Here’s a good article on 10 things to stop doing. I believe in you.

Photo credit: broken glasses 1   Photographer jfg

 

The Facebook Nightmare – Lost Job Opportunities…

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I have a very healthy skepticism of Facebook. I am not alone. We have 3 grandchildren under the age of 5; 2 are “on” Facebook, 1 is not. I support a parent’s right either way.

But I also know how much joy and connection Facebook brings to so many people and I respect and appreciate that.

When I read, Facebook’s Generation Y Nightmare,  the article put into words what I sometimes feel is the dilemma of sharing your ‘present’ on Facebook and illustrating it with photos.  The author of the article imagines a young lady, Tina, at 18 in 2012. The items she posts now will effect not only her future career opportunities but also her alternatives for health care.

Yes, it’s imagined and yes, this assumes that ‘nothing changes”, but it’s not hard to imagine judgements/decisions being made based on incomplete or ‘what’s readily available’ data.

So, I encourage you to review your Facebook ‘timeline’ – assuming that privacy settings didn’t work… (which I think is the reasonable thing to do these days)  — what would your future employer or insurer learn about you might prefer that the whole world NOT know.

I know a young man who lost his job as a student teacher because of his ‘drinking a beers with his buddies’ photos on his Facebook page. He was over 21 and the pictures were harmless and yet the school district’s policy on ‘public comportment’ took away his future career. You may think this is unfair but the truth is… this is happening. The nightmare hasn’t even begun yet.. for those who can’t tell their parents… please don’t put me on Facebook!

Thoughts?

Photo credit: Jack Skellington-O-Lantern  randysonofrobert

9 Deadly Sins of Job Hunting

Ok, these may not be deadly but they can slow down your search. Take care of these and your search will go smoothly because you’ll be building relationships and learning during your entire search.

You may not want to address these issues… but you’ll be glad you did.

I borrowed some of these from 7 Deadly Sales Sins.

1. You don’t know who you are so you can’t concisely tell others. Seems simple enough but trust me, if it’s been a while since you’ve looked for a job… you probably don’t know yourself as well as you need to. Look into those dark corners, root out your foibles and shortcomings and learn to say great things about yourself and your capabilities.

2. You don’t know what you want. If you don’t know where you’re going; any road will take you there. How can others help you if you don’t know what you need or want. I know it’s easier to define what you don’t want. Start there.

3. You don’t know how to easily help others (or worse you don’t understand why it’s important.) Being of service, listening, making referrals, introducing like-minded folks, etc. it’s not hard but you do have to stop thinking about yourself long enough to consider what to do.

4. You don’t understand what recruiters, hiring managers or human resource people need. If you put yourself in their shoes for a minute, you’ll be much more effective at getting their attention.

5. You’re afraid. We all are, you are not alone. Some of us just “fake it ’til we make it.” Take a page from that book.

6. You stay in your house and tell people you can’t network because you’re: shy, introverted, technical, a geek, blah, blah, blah. Get over it. Most of us don’t want to meet a bunch of strangers, but we do it.

7. You don’t follow up. You know, thank you notes you talk yourself out of.

8. You don’t have a process for your search. Do you have a spreadsheet of your contacts, companies and connections? Do you have a plan to meet 7-10 new people a week? Do you have a job search ‘buddy’ who can help you? Are you learning new skills?

9. You don’t ask for the job or you ask for every job. Be clear about what you want, who you are and when the time is right, be sure to be clear that you believe this is the job for you and why.

Bonus: You don’t have a complete LinkedIn profile with at least 200 contacts. sigh… what are you waiting for?

I believe in you. Go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: MelB Handovermouth

 

The “Skate to Where the Puck’s Going To Be” Career Management Philosophy

Recently I came across an article titled, “7 Jobs You Never Heard of and Why They’re Awesome,” e.g. futurist, greensman (not keeping the putting green nice..) and parabolic expert. Do you think these sounds silly? Think again.

It might seem odd to remember elevator or telephone operators, but what about travel agents, department store clerks (try to find one these days) or assembly line workers. Ten years ago a fair number of people held these jobs.

Today a lot of people have titles that didn’t exist 10 years ago, e.g. Director of Inbound Marketing, Content Marketer, Java Developer, .net Developer or Internet Security expert, etc.. If you believe what Wayne Gretsky (aka the great one… hockey player) said, “Skate to where the puck’s going to be, not to where it has been…” and apply that to your career,  it’s possible that your next job could be something you’ve never even heard of.

If you were born after 1980… it’s very likely you will have a job that hasn’t even been invented yet (not to mention being actively engaged in creating new companies.)

When I speak to educators I remind them that it is their responsibility… along with business leaders… to find out what skills will be needed and to start today to create programs to prepare our future employees. And this is not just for young people! Boomers and Gen Xer’s need to change too.

Because if we, as Americans, don’t figure this out…someone else in the world will and if we think the economy is ugly now…

This is not the ‘responsibility’ of politicians and/or ‘someone else’. Each of us must be prepared. Consider the shark or crocodile– they’ve been around a long time while many other creatures have become extinct. Adapt or die.

Image credit:  Oldster’s view

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