Lose the Bias – Grow the Business

It may seem trite to keep writing about finding better work with all the shit that’s going on but I am going to do it anyway.  Work is the key to economic freedom, no matter what you look like.  It also can provide social connection and, let’s face it,  a lot of satisfaction.

In a Town Hall last week, our President, Ranjt de Sousa, said that “there is a new emphasis for leaders to practice conscious empathy as opposed to awareness informed by physical proximity.”  This is a big change for many leaders and not one that was planned.  There was no time to ease into managing teams who are working from home.   No time for workshops or coaching.  It has been a trial by fire experience.

It means that leaders cannot see you in their office door frame, look you up and down, decide you are fine and launch into business.  Now, they need to ask how you are and not just wait for a response but actually listen to the words, tone and inflection.

This does not apply just to leaders.  As colleagues, we need to practice this as well.  Checking in with teammates and other people in your work Venn diagram is really important to your relationships and, ultimately, your career.

I think it has been this sudden shift that has caused organizations to put hiring on hold.  Sure, there are financial reasons and other uncertainties, but really it is that people don’t have confidence in their ability to conduct interviews without physical proximity.

This has to change.  Hiring cannot stand still with so much changing in the world.  We need to keep up with what the business is doing and that requires hiring and sometimes, firing people.  No one wants to let people go virtually, but that has happened too.

Just like an in-person interview, the right questions will bring informative responses.  You can evaluate what the candidate knows, hear about past decisions, listen for their enthusiasm for the company and entertain their questions.

A virtual interview also helps to eliminate some of our bias points.  We cannot pass judgement on their height, weight, physical mobility or shoes.  (don’t laugh….this has come up in the past)

Let’s start to let go of the past traditions and move forward in a more progressive way.  It will be better for all of us.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Career Portfolio – Interview Secret Sauce

I have a friend who is a self-employed consultant.  A few years ago, over coffee, she complained that she would not have a clue as to where to start if she wanted to get a “real job”.

I suggested that she create a portfolio.  She thought portfolios were only for artists or other creative types.  Not so.

A portfolio (fancy binder with plastic sleeves and dividers) is an excellent vehicle for organizing and presenting your experience.  It can have sections that show your work, education and other credentials, volunteer activities, hobbies, thank you notes, awards and really, anything else that is relevant to the way that you do what you do.

Just the act of gathering the information together and putting it all in one place can be a pretty powerful exercise.  It’s something that you can do over a couple of weekends and then add/change revise every year.

My friend took that suggestion to heart and created what she called a career scrapbook. She had it in her car for a while and then it took up its place on a shelf in her office.

Last week she applied for an actual job and found herself staring down the barrel of an interview.  Not just any interview but a panel interview in a formal, government type organization.  She dusted off her portfolio, added a couple of items, reviewed the rest of the material and then focused on her outfit.  She felt confident and ready.  (I should point out that she was eminently qualified for the job.)

At the end of the interview, she was asked if she had any questions.  All of hers had been covered in the discussion but she told the panel members that she had brought her portfolio and asked if there was anything they would like to see.  The senior person raised her eyebrows and came over to have a look.

She looked at the table of contents, saw the “Thank You” section and flipped right to that part.   She nodded and smiled as she read the cards, notes and emails.  It turns out that the adjudicator actually knew two of the people who had sent notes and that lead to a much less formal conversation where my friend got one more opportunity to show what she knows and why she has been so successful.

She left the interview, with her portfolio tucked under her arm, feeling very good about herself and her experience.  No offer yet……..but I’ll keep you posted.

Leave a comment

Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search, Resume

Business is Moving – Don’t Stop Hiring

This is not the time to pause hiring.  I know it’s tempting to put the brakes on bringing on new people but it’s a really short term decision with negative long term consequences.

When this thing started, we did not know what was going to happen.  This is uncharted territory.  But we have proven that we can adapt and though it is not easy, we have figured out how to carry on doing business and staying connected.

We have all the tools to recruit, interview and reference check.  Video interviews are efficient and effective.  You can even do a panel interview and have candidates do presentations using Zoom or Teams.

The interview is meant to be a simulation of how a candidate would fit into a team, a company and the culture.  Seeing as how we will be continuing to do almost all of our activities using voice and video, it seems perfectly appropriate to interview that way too.

It does not take much organization to send an orientation box to a new hire at their home.  A laptop loaded with Outlook, sign up forms, orientation materials and some company swag is all it takes.

Not to brag, but my boss Rob Hosking did a very good webinar on virtual hiring and onboarding. You can see it here.

So, we have the process and the technology.  Who needs to be hired?

Some of the roles that were open in March may not be necessary anymore but it’s likely that those roles have been replaced by others.  Let’s face it. Not all leaders have been shining stars through these last nine weeks.  Some will need to be replaced.  Also, doing business in a different way means that there is probably a need for skills that you did not need before.  Don’t ignore these needs or the decisions that need to be made.

The average recruitment process takes 6-10 weeks.  If you see a gap now, what will it look like in July?  Can you really afford to wait?  Who will be impacted? It may have gone from a gap to a really big hole.

If there are long term concerns about the need for the role, you can always look at a 12 month contract.  In these times, the candidate community would not shy away from that.

We have the technology to interview and onboard without being face to face.  Don’t let that hold you back from making the right hiring decisions for the business.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Floss More – Practical Tips for Video Calls

Our company has had 30,000 zoom meetings globally over the last eight weeks and we have learned a thing or two about how to be successful in this new virtual world.

Floss more – we are up close and personal all the time.  Where I used to advise people to check their fly before a meeting, now my advice is to check your teeth for errant kale or bagel seeds.

Pants less – we all joke about not wearing pants anymore – but a word of caution.  When you jump up to close your door, we will all know that you are not wearing pants.

Check your mug – I was talking to my straight-laced colleague, Stephen, yesterday and he kept staring at something and moving closer to the camera.  Finally, he asked me what my mug said.  I realized I was using a gift from my sister-in-law with some colourful language that seemed appropriate for women our age but not really for a Zoom call.  We both turned all kinds of red but had a good laugh about it.

Find a phone stand – do not hold your phone in your hand.  Get a phone holder or lean it against something.  A moving phone is nausea inducing for your audience.  Trust me.

Watch the angle – people don’t want to be looking up your nose or at the side of your face.  Pay attention to what your audience with see.

Check your background.  Sure, it’s fun to check out each other’s home office set up, you don’t have to share that if you don’t want to.  Here’s how you can change your Zoom background (link) and blur the background in MS Teams (link)

Video calls on one of the best tools we have to keep ourselves together and connected.  Use them well and often.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

They Yawned in my Interview

Picture this: you are on a video interview with two hiring managers.  One of them is looking at you, making notes and nodding often.   The other is looking at you and has asked a couple of questions. Then it happens.  That second person yawns.

You are a bit taken aback but you keep rolling along.  You spend a bit more time looking at the interviewer who seems more engaged.  Then it happens again.  The yawn.  By the third yawn, you are questioning why you are even there.

On the way home, you are battling in your mind.  Was it a big deal or a small deal?  Tiny red flag or monumental deal killer?

Probably the latter.

According to Carol Blades, Master Facilitator at LHH Knightsbridge, this is a form of micro-aggression and it is definitely  a sign that things will not work out.

Even if one half of the hiring team loves you, the other half is just not that into you.

You can come to the same conclusion if that person cannot seem to remember your name or turns a shoulder to you instead of facing you.

Even if all the stars align and the company makes you an offer, you will have a long and uphill battle to win that yawner over.

The bottom line is that you need to take interviewing seriously.  You need to do your research on what the company is looking for and be clear about what YOU are looking for.  Be able to articulate with confidence on both.

In your post-interview assessment, pay attention to the little red flags and the big ones.  Decide carefully on if and how you want to proceed with the process.

Don’t ignore your gut on this – it’s too important.

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s okay to be sad – it’s not all sunshine and lemon drops

Each week, we grieve a little bit for the things we are missing. It shows up as feeling sad or angry or just plain old grumpy (I’ve been told).  It takes some time and sometimes a trusted person to help sort it out.

Try looking at what you were doing last year or even last month at this time.

It might be playing tennis or golf with your friends or an annual vacation.  Maybe you were set to start on a new adventure that’s been postponed. Maybe you just miss your colleagues, even the annoying ones.

It’s okay to feel not good about this.  Take some time to be sad and to acknowledge the current state of affairs.

Then take some time to find two or three good things.  Are you still healthy?  Do you have enough to eat?  Can you look outside and see things growing and turning green?

On Monday morning, I was quite despondent.  I was not looking forward to another week of social distancing and interminable zoom calls.  I sat on kitchen floor sipping coffee thinking about it all.

Then I got up and looked out the window to discover that a robin was building her nest in the tree right outside my window. She was so industrious, going back and forth with twigs and bits of stuff to construct a little bucket on a branch for her coming family.

I decided that I could do that this week too.  I could gather bits of information and snippets of knowledge to share with hiring managers and candidates to help to bring everyone together.

It’s been a pretty good week so far -thanks to Mother Nature and my friends.

 

Leave a comment

April 30, 2020 · 9:43 am

Resume Refresh – It’s Time.

As my good friend Bob Dylan said “Times, they are a changing.”  I am not sure he imagined this, even when he was at his most high. But he was right.  We are living in constant change and we find ourselves just as busy as ever.

We don’t know what our work lives will look like in three months or six months.  There will be new patterns of work and ways of getting things done.  There will be more work from home and different ways to collaborate.  There will be changes in corporate leadership as new types of leaders step up or take over or shine differently.

So how do you prepare for this?  Two things:  pay attention and be ready to look at new opportunities.

Paying attention means listening in to the seemingly endless Town Halls and meetings. Watch who is talking, who is leading and listen for any subtle, between-the-lines type information.  Also, make sure to stay connected to people outside your work group.  Rekindle your relationships with customer service of finance.  Check in with HR or Communications.

Getting ready for new opportunities does not mean you need to look for a job.  It means being open to conversations about your future and different ways to use your skills and passions. And it means having a resume ready to follow up on those conversations.

Refreshing your resume is something you can do over the next couple of weeks.  It’s not as daunting as you think.  Break it into six steps.  If this time has taught me anything, it’s that is it actually okay to do one thing at a time.

How to update your resume in six easy steps.

  1. Find it.
  2. Read it and make a few notes.
  3. Refresh it.
  4. Edit it.
  5. Share it with two trusted advisors.
  6. Save it somewhere that’s easy to access anywhere.

 

There you have it.  Your toolkit for the future. This and $10 will get you a cup of coffee on Skip the Dishes. Keep you chin up and find humour where you can.  We will get through this together.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized