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.
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.
I’m a capitalist and an entrepreneur and respect people who start businesses.
What I don’t like are businesses that take advantage of customers. In the world of Free (think Facebook (FB), Google, Twitter, etc.) are services really free?
I have been teaching social media for about 3 years and have heard 100′s of FB stories. Some heart warming (“I keep in touch with my grandchildren”), others disturbing: lost job opportunities, stalking, loss of privacy and being fired. If only people had thought a little about what they were sharing, many of these terrible circumstances could have been prevented.
In reading the post, “The Facebook Hiatus”, the author deactivated his account because he spent more time reading “status updates than books.” Beyond the issue of time, are you aware of how, how often and with whom FB shares your data?
“Unlike other big corporations, (FB) doesn’t have an inventory of gadgets or cars; its product is personal data — yours and mine, ” says Lori Andrews in, Facebook is Using You.
As FB goes public, we’ll see even more exploitation due to sagging ad revenue. Ads will now be inserted into your news feed and on log out pages.
I know you love FB. All your friends are there. I don’t really expect you to stop using Facebook, I just want you to think before you post.
About 15 years into my career I figured out that WHO I worked for was as important as what I was doing for work. So when it came to looking for a new job, my search became about looking for a great person to work for.
This may sound crazy; particularly in this tight job market. It takes a lot of confidence (and some money in the bank) to alter our perception of how to find a new job by figuring out who we want to learn from.
My approach was pretty simple. I looked for great places to work; places that were growing and had a focus on customers and building trust. During the interview process, I would pay close attention to the person I would work for. I asked a lot of questions and thought about:
- Would I learn from this person? Do they have skills I want?
- Are they happy and growing in their work?
In an interesting blog post called, “Get Hired, No Resume, No Interview, No Joke,” the author suggests that you “go to good managers you’d like to work for.” Talk to them, understand their issues and see how you might fit into their organization. I’m not suggesting that you abandon networking or applying for work. But author Corcodilos’ suggestion that we pick “three companies or managers you really, really want to work for because they are shining lights in their industry.”
Like any good sales effort, you may pick 3 and find out that 2 won’t work. So pick two more. If you are not sure how to identify these excellent managers? Ask other people! They will tell you. But you won’t find out unless you ask.
It always worked out for me. I learned a great deal and respected the people I worked for. It may not be easy but I can assure you it is very worthwhile. Happy shopping!
No one likes a tattletale. Well, unless the information is valuable. So when you are looking for a new job (exciting and terrifying), information about a prospective employer can be priceless.
The way it used to be -Do you remember the old boys network’? I do. Because I’m a girl (and an old one at that) – the boys network wasn’t really open to me. Yes, I had excellent experience and yes, I had a Master’s Degree but… I was still a girl.
But I never let anything stop me. I just kept trying, learning, sharing, being myself. And I’m happy to report that due to circumstances beyond their control, the network (while still alive and well) isn’t what it used to be.
I also had a little help from my friends, kind and generous mentors and the great equalizer, the internet and it’s child – social media came along.
The way it is now – When you want information about a company, you can turn to sites like Glassdoor.com. This site allows real people to give information about their employer. The good news is that it’s anonymous. That’s also the bad news. The site has input by company, job type, salary and even interview questions.
Like any other ‘crowd-sourced’ site, you need to be careful. One disgruntled person can make the numbers look bad so it’s important thing is to read all the comments. Check out all the data. Particularly around salary. (there are so many helpful sites!) I know it’s an ‘employer’s’ market right now, but that won’t last and this probably isn’t the last job you’ll negotiate a salary for. (booyah!)
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.
CEO’s aren’t always the smartest people in the room but they have earned the right to be heard. I recently read an interview with Barry Salzberg, the CEO of Deloitte and liked his comments about hiring. People who are looking for work or want to successfully interview for their next position may benefit from his advice.
Mr. Salzberg asks potential employees:
- What values that are most important to you?
- How have you demonstrated your commitment to those values in the last 2 years?
- Tell me about something recently that didn’t go well and what did you do about it.
1) “Pay it forward and take care of people.” When was the last time you mentored someone? If the CEO asks you that question, would you have a great answer? One that would make him/her proud to know you?
2) ” Brand yourself.” Do you know what your digital footprint looks like? What does it say about you? Do you actively manage it or do you passively hope that your digital information is ‘good enough’?
3) “Get out of your comfort zone.” I consider this the most important. We get so busy with our daily lives that we forget to take calculated risks or all the risk-taking behavior has been “corporatized” out of us. “It’ s ok to be uncomfortable. Don’t resist change …or a different way of looking at things.”
I would go one step further. Look for opportunities to change and then go for it. Early in my career I heard, “the best way to cope with change is to create it.” I have worked hard to figure out how to keep reinventing myself. It’s not easy but I am happy that I kept at it. Not sure how or what to change? Ask someone you respect and then listen with an open mind. You’ll be glad you did.
In 25 Oddball Interview Questions, the author lists interesting interview questions from companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, AT&T, Facebook and Amazon. These interviewers learned a lot from the responses to these off the wall queries.
You might think, no one is ever going to ask me, “How many traffic lights are in Manhattan?”, but if you get asked an oddball question; will you be prepared with a creative answer? More than ever, organizations need people who can be flexible and think differently about problems.
If you’re hiring manager and had, say, 3 candidates all of whom were equally qualified – how would you figure out which one to hire? You might try asking one of these questions to see how creative and spontaneous the interviewee can be.
So, how would you answer: “How many basketballs can you fit in this room?” Here are a few answers:
Probably the same number of soccer balls
One. You didn’t ask what is the maximum number of basketballs you can fit in the room
Measure the room in basketballs. The room is 16 basketballs (length) by 12 basketballs (width) by 9 basketballs (height). Then it’s just a simple volume multiplication.
My answer would have been, “Why do we want to bring basketballs into this room? Hmmm, what does that tell you about me?
Recently I was helping someone prepare for an important interview by asking her all kinds of questions. One that caught her flatfooted was, “Tell me about one of your weaknesses.” Arghhh. Who’s prepared to answer that stupid question? You could try:
– “I’m a know-it-all perfectionist and I need to be in charge.”
– “People drive me crazy and I’m not a team player.”
– So why not say… “I don’ t have any weaknesses.”
Hmmm, that just screams — I have NO self awareness. Not a good answer. Are you a grown up who understands his/her shortcomings and what to do about them? Or are you a shallow so and so who will just make everyone nuts?
We all have strengths (by the way, can you answer that important question?) and we all have little places that could use improving. The goal is to reply with something that you are really working on but not admit that you are a loser.
For example, I like to say something like…”I’m always working on my listening skills. I try to make sure that I am hearing the other person well enough to repeat back what they just said to me.” I say this because I really believe that listening is one of the most important skills in any person’s toolkit.
I also like the, “I’m very dedicated to the job and am working on seeking balance….” Yeah, don’t hire me because I work too hard.
You’ve got the interview. Great. Your suit is pressed and you’ve done your research. You’ve practiced answering tough questions like:
What is your greatest weakness?
Explain how you handled a difficult person at work
Discuss a failure you had and how you managed to turn it around
Phew. Ok, you’re ready. Here’s one more idea. When the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, try this:
“What are you looking for in a candidate?”
Wow, powerful question. Think about it. This gets the interviewer talking specifically about the criteria (hopefully beyond the job description) they are using to judge candidates. I suggest you take notes while they are talking. This will help you talk point by point about how you fit their criteria.
Ask questions for clarification but do not interrupt. Let the person talk as long as they want. This is the specific information that you need to sell them on your credentials. I repeat, let them finish and be sure you understand (using active listening) what s/he is saying.
Once you understand, you can start telling the interviewer about how your skills and experience match what they are looking for. While they are talking you can be jotting down ideas or stories that will convince them you’re the one. This is your chance to be self-confident and helps you to focus on the skills that are most important to this hiring manager.