I don’t know about you but the next two weeks on my calendar are sprinkled with pot lucks, lunches and cocktails. This is generally the time of year where I roll my eyes and find other things to do.
But this year is going to be different. I am looking at each get together as an opportunity to learn new things.
I am going to try not to gossip about people in other departments or complain about the weather. Instead, I am going to share positive and interesting stuff about my work.
For example, when someone asks me how things are going, my response is not going to be “so busy”. Of course I am busy. Everyone is busy. We would not have jobs if we were not busy.
Instead I am going to talk about one of the search projects I am working on. This opens the door for much more interesting conversation than “I am so busy”.
I am also going to avoid asking about people’s plans for the holidays. There are lots of people who are not going skiing in the Swiss Alps or dining with celebrities. While it can be fun to hear about those adventures, it can be depressing too.
I am going to ask about Netflix instead. I plan on some heavy binge watching over the holidays and I need some recommendations.
If I can stick to this plan, I should be able to come away from this holiday season with lots of new ideas and information which will be an excellent foundation for my big plans in the next decade.
Let me just put this out there: there is no such thing as a forever job. Too many people, candidates and hiring managers alike keep talking about this idea.
Candidates tell me that they are looking for their last job until they retire. They want to settle in and have stability.
Hiring managers are rejecting candidates because they might not stay in a role for five or more years.
Get your head out of the sand, people.
The world is changing and so is work. The Canadian work landscape changed dramatically just last week and there is more change ahead. Can we predict it? Not really.
In realistic terms, we should not be looking for a job or an employee for life. We are looking for a role where we can learn, grow, develop and contribute while we earn a living. That’s about what it boils down to.
When you are examining your job prospects, these are the factors to consider:
- Is there room for you to expand your skills?
- Are there opportunities to move into other roles?
- Will your contribution add value to the company?
- Will that value be a point of pride for you?
Hiring a managers need to consider the same factors.
- Can this person grow beyond the role they are hired for?
- Will they add value on day one, day thirty and day ninety?
- Will you be proud to take the credit for hiring them?
We need to stop looking at five to ten year employment windows. Think about what you were doing ten years ago. Could you have predicted that people would be earning tons of money developing ipad apps in their basements? Or blogging about their dogs?
Keep your eyes on the horizon and your resume ready because you never know what’s around the corner.
I just read a really fantastic interview with Sallie Krawcheck the founder of Ellevest. She has been recognized as an icon but I think there are some really good lessons for regular people in regular jobs too.
Prior to creating Ellevest, a company that encourages women to get educated and participate in the investment market, she was fired TWICE and each time, it was splashed all over the Wall Street News.
She left her small town to go to New York City to start her career in finance but for the first eight years, she felt like she was floundering. She said it took quite a while for her find her way to doing analysis and research where she found her niche. When asked why she stuck with it, she said that she was never going to go back home and tell everyone that it just did not “work out”.
When she found herself between jobs, she said her energy was fueled by anger and determination. She told herself to move on. She said that there are a thousand opportunities for success every week, every day, every month. That’s a lot of drive.
You can read the full article here – it’s got a lot of good juicy bits – including how spending time with her kids actually added value to her role as opposed to being a distraction. You can find more about Sallie on Twitter and LinkedIn.
I don’t want to belabor the strength and tenacity that Bianca Andreescu displayed last weekend at the US Open but there are some serious things about her victory that we can all use.
It is okay to be frustrated about your job or your job search. It is okay to complain to your partner, colleague or great aunt. It is not okay to just complain. You need to take action.
Of course you are busy. Sure, you might be the underdog. That’s not an excuse.
Make a plan. Take action. Do something.
If you could design your dream job, what would it be? Make a list of the responsibility you want to have and the knowledge and skills that you want to use. How and what do you want to influence? What do you want to solve?
Once you have that list, get on LinkedIn and find people who are doing those things. Take a look at the Job section. See anything that looks right? Go for it. Hit apply.
Then go back to the people who are doing your next job and send them a note. Ask them to connect because you really admire what they have been able to do in their career. Invite them to reach out to you for a conversation.
Spend some time looking in your own organization. Does the role exist in another office or on another floor? Know anyone there who could introduce you around? (If you work in a really big organization, LinkedIn can be a handy place to look for this intel).
Stay disciplined and focused. Block on your calendar to follow up and do more. Work to not let your busy-ness get in the way of your progress.
Because when you think you have come to the end of your rope, if you look inside, you will always find just a little more.
Wolverine is a comic book hero-mutant who has, among his superhero attributes, a special healing factor that causes him to recover from anything that hurts him. This is really handy when he is fighting bad guys with the X-men or the Avengers.
We would do well to remember that we are not superheroes. Transitions, whether of our own choice or chosen by someone or something else, always take longer than we think they should.
It takes time to recover from the sadness of being dumped in a corporate layoff.
It takes time to feel good after finding out that you did not get the job that was a perfect fit.
It takes time to regain momentum on a job search when you are really busy satisfying a boss you can’t stand.
Can you spare 15 minutes today? Try. It will be worth it.
- Sit down with a beverage, a pen and a piece of paper.
- Write down three things you are proud to tell people about from your career.
- Next add three things that you have achieved in your non-work life.
- Finally, if I asked three of your friends or colleagues about your best attributes, what would they say? Add those words to your list.
Sit back and take a look. Good, eh? You have a lot going for you. Take a deep breath and enjoy it for a moment.
Now, get back out there and slay those career villains!
Setting up an interview can be tricky. No matter how excited you are about the opportunity, it is another thing to squeeze into your already busy life.
When you are offered a time slot, make sure you can build in enough time to travel to the location and a good buffer on the other end as well.
Strategically, early and late in the day are probably best. Those times are usually easier to work into a schedule. Coming in a bit late and leaving a bit early are generally accepted for doctor’s appointments which is good because it won’t draw a ton of attention.
Things get awkward when either party is late for an interview. If you find yourself running late, call or send a short email with an apology and an estimated time of arrival. Try not to panic. You will get there when you get there and swearing at other drivers won’t make a bit of difference.
Hopefully, you took the time to prepare the night before and you know the directions and the suite number. Trying to read your phone and navigate when you are late is really hard to do.
What if you are on time, but the interviewer is late? What you do in this case is really up to you. I usually give 15 minutes grace period. That’s what I would want if I was the one who was late.
You might want to send a note to the person who set up the meeting after you have been waiting for 10 minutes. Maybe they can track the person down and find out what’s going on.
If enough time has elapsed that you are feeling a little irritated, then go. You don’t want to go into a conversation about a job in a pissed-off frame of mind. And honestly, if they don’t make time to meet you, do you really want them?
It does not matter what side of the table you sit on for your next interview, there are certain things you need to bring to look credible and interesting.
Hiring teams and candidates alike need to be prepared and ready to have a great conversation. We know that candidates put a lot of energy into doing their research and preparing their stories. It is important for hiring managers to do some pre-work as well.
Bring the job description and the candidate’s resume. You may not need to refer to either during the conversation but you will have them handy. Also, it means that you can give both at least a passing glance on your way to the interview room.
Bring your coffee cup or water bottle only if you are prepared to offer the same to the candidate. It will be awkward for your candidate to watch you chug away on your hazelnut flavoured latte with extra whip when they have nothing.
Bring some tissues in your pocket. Nothing is worse than sniffing through an interview. Also, if you have a tissue to hand to the other person, you look like a hero.
Bring a pen and something to write on. Even if you don’t end up writing down, it is a sign of respect that you are prepared to jot down notes or questions.
Bring your phone to the meeting but only if it is on silent. No fooling around on this one. Having your phone chirp away during a conversation is distracting even if you manage to avoid looking at it (and that’s pretty hard to avoid).
One last thing: leave your gum in your office. Gum has a way of moving around while you are talking and frankly, it’s gross.
These things may seem small, but they go a long way to setting the stage for a great conversation and that’s the goal right?
just finished interviewing a candidate and it went really well. The
conversation flowed naturally, the answers were crisp and to the point and the
motivation was clear and rational.
What do you
do? Usually, you jump in and start
making arrangements for the next step in the process. You let the candidate know that the
experience was positive and you are looking forward to next steps.
What if the
conversation was not so good? Do you
quickly let them know? Probably not.
you want to get a second opinion. You
think maybe there is some common ground but you are not sure about the delivery
and communication style.
don’t give feedback on the less-than-positive candidates because we don’t want
to give bad news. And it’s true. Telling someone they are not getting the job
But it doesn’t
always find something positive to say about a conversation. Start with that. Then
describe what’s missing from the candidate’s experience that you feel will pose
a risk to their success in your organization.
Make it clear that you liked what they had to offer but it just was not
right for what you need right now.
candidates will appreciate knowing what was missing (although once in a while
you will get a “crier” but that will just further solidify your decision).
candidates will appreciate that you took the time to call. It is shocking to hear how many candidates,
having invested time to prepare for, get to and participate in an interview,
never hear back at all. Nothing. Nada. Niet.
only leaves a bad taste in their mouth but it can provide the impetus to get on
glassdoor or monster or twitter to let the world know what happened.
takes a few minutes to reach out. Take the time to do it right.
References have been one of the final steps of the hiring process for years. Managers are looking for verification that the person they want to hire is as good as they think they are.
And who better to hear from than other managers?
Problems started to arise when managers were a bit loose with the material they shared such as inadvertently giving confidential information about the business or inappropriate details about the candidate.
Also, if a candidate did not get a role because of a bad reference, disputes arose and lawyers got involved. It was ugly.
At that point, HR departments in many companies created policies that prevented managers from providing references. Only HR could. And because HR did not always know the person, they would only verify title and employment dates.
As always, a workaround developed. Candidates would provide the contact info for a former manager who was no longer at the company and therefore, not bound by reference policies.
Smart, career minded people stay in touch with corporate friends and allies for this reason.
Be nice to people when they leave the organization, regardless of the reason for their departure. Set up at least one coffee date per month with a former manager or colleague. You never know when you are going to need someone who can authentically vouch for your performance at work and verify the stuff that’s on your resume.
There can be an unexpected bonus in all this networking: coffee dates often lead to opportunities in the form of introductions and job leads.
Smile and bring on the double double!
Most hiring decisions take more than one interview. In fact, it’s not uncommon for there to be three or four interviews. Then there are the references, background checks and the offer discussions. All in all, a process that takes weeks and sometimes, months.
It’s a pretty stressful time. You lie in bed at night wondering what’s happening. When you have a bad day at work, you toy with the idea of quitting because you feel like that new job is just around the corner. Or you worry about taking on a new project because you might not be there to see it through.
Ignore all of these temptations. You don’t have the job until you sign an offer and until then, it should be business as usual. Keep doing your thing and making people happy.
Interviewing is stressful and can be distracting but it is important to stay focused on your day job. When you leave, you want it to be on your terms. You don’t want to have problems putting together references because you suddenly became a “performance problem”.
The other thing is to be careful about who you tell. Most of us have one or two friendlies at work. It can be okay to confide in them but only if you can really trust that they won’t share it with anyone else. And if you choose to share what’s happening with them, don’t do it in the office. Go out for coffee, meet after work or go for a walk. It’s too awkward to have that kind of discussion in and amongst your boss and team. People make assumptions and then gossip about those assumptions. Imagine if you hear from someone in another work group that you were not considered for the new project because they heard you were leaving.
Your partner and your outside-work friends are the best people to share your progress and help you decide what to wear. Your mentors are excellent for this too. They can give you more context, help you lay out the strategy for the next steps or just help you de-stress.
Be patient and try having some warm milk before bed.