August 3, 2017 · 9:45 am
Getting feedback from a client after an interview is essential. It’s pretty great when a hiring manager calls to say the interviews went well and they want to move the candidates forward in the process.
Sounds positive right?
But it’s not enough information. It’s tempting to let them off the hook and just move forward. That kind of thinking with come back to bit you later.
You need to know why they like the candidates. “He’s really nice” is not a valid reason to hire someone.
I am not saying you should hire people you can’t stand but you do need to identify what it is about their experience, style and education that makes them seem likely to fill the gap in an organization.
This is equally true when the hiring manager declares that a candidate is not a fit. What is is about them that makes them not a fit? It it something that will develop over time or a characteristic that is not likely to change?
Not knowing a company’s acronyms or specific processes can be overcome. You can even ask questions during the interview about how the candidate has gotten up to speed in the past for some reassurance.
If the candidate shows up late, chews gum and takes a call during the interview, those might be characteristics that make that person a complete non-starter.
But be clear about what specifically is good and what is missing or misaligned. That’s the only way to increase your chances of making a successful hire.
July 27, 2017 · 9:45 am
References have been one of the final steps of the hiring process for years. Managers wanted 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 like inadvertently giving confidential information about the candidate or the business.
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 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, there was a workaround. Candidates would provide the contact info for a former manager who was no longer at the company and not bound by reference policies.
Smart, career minded people stay in touch with corporate friends and allies for this reason.
You can be sure that the material from this “cultivated” group is going to be positive through and though.
Employers started to question the validity of these references. This saw the evolution of the “back door” reference. This is when you know someone who knows the candidate and you reach out to see what they are really like.
Although I see where this is seen as helpful, it puts us back to the bad old days of off-the-cuff references that are based on a general feeling as opposed to bona fide skills and experience.
I talked to one person who got her last job without providing references. The company no longer believed in them. They re- structured the interview process and started to use assessment tools. They felt that the information was much more useful and they felt just as good about their hires.
What’s your point of view on references? Pile of praise or pile of baloney?
January 12, 2017 · 9:43 am
It’s winter here in Canada and if you are doing the interview circuit, you need to be prepared.
There is nothing worse than sniffling during a conversation. You try to be subtle by wiggling your nose or casually wiping your sleeve near your nose but face it: there is no substitute for a tissue. So start each day by putting one in your pocket, sleeve or bra strap.
If you have a bit of a cough or a tickle (and who doesn’t these days?), then put some lozenges or tic tacs in your pocket, purse or briefcase. You can pop one while you are waiting for your meeting to start. It will give you something to do with your hands.
Make sure you give yourself extra time before the interview but don’t hang around the reception area – that’s not cool. Plan to take a few minutes in the lobby for your body temperature to sort itself out. Your face and hands will be cold but your armpits will be working overtime so rather than greet the person you are meeting with cold hands and the tell-tale half moons of nervousness, spend a few minutes in the lobby. Take off your coat, blow your nose and wait until everything comes to room temperature. Then head upstairs to announce your presence.
Finally, no matter how much of a Tim Horton’s or Starbucks fan you are, don’t take your coffee into the meeting unless you are prepared to offer some to the other person.
So to sum up: arrive early, finish your latte in the lobby, pop a tic tac and set yourself up for a great conversation.
October 30, 2014 · 9:43 am
I polled a couple of colleagues today and was surprised at the rapid pile of responses I got to “biggest interview mistakes”.
These are real life examples. I am not making them up. Promise.
- leaving your phone on during an interview
- taking a call on that phone while you are in an interview
- forgetting to do up your middle button
- having lettuce in your teeth
- arriving late
- not knowing who you are meeting
- wearing clothes that don’t fit
- being drunk
- interrupting the interviewer
- sweaty palms
- speaking too quickly
- rambling – if you can’t remember the question, you have talked too long
- offensive jokes
- asking about other possible roles in the company
- using LinkedIn to connect with the hiring manager or president before the interview
All of these can be avoided with two simple steps. Prepare the day before and do a 360 review with a mirror before you get to the interview location.
In fact, these steps are pretty sensible for any meeting Go ahead and practice. You will be happy you did.
December 13, 2012 · 9:43 am
How was your year? Seriously. How was it? What did you do? What did you learn?
When asked this question at a cocktail party or an interview, many people go blank and it is a big missed opportunity.
Don’t even think about saying “same old, same old”. Not only is it probably not true, it just shows that you are too lazy to think of something interesting.
If you did something big like change jobs, then it’s easy. You can ride the “new job” train for about nine months and then it’s not new anymore. For everyone else, you need to actually spend some time looking at your calendar from February and April and those other months you can’t remember.
All the memories will come flooding back: that awful conference, that great presentation, the month your boss was away and you got to take over. Those are the things you need to be able to talk about.
You might even want to work them into your resume. At the very least, practice telling the story about the things that you did. I am not suggesting that you bore your cousins to death by telling them the minute details of how you implemented a new quality assurance standard. Just distill it into a couple of sound bites. Those typically go well with eggnog and cookies.
So flip through Outlook and make a list. You might be surprised. Maybe it was a pretty good year after all.
October 18, 2012 · 9:43 am
I was talking about LinkedIn with a group of people on Monday evening. One of the big questions seemed to be about invitations. When someone invites you to connect, should you accept?
Some people only accept invites from people they know. Others, like people in my profession, accept all invitations.
The answer lies in why you got on LinkedIn in the first place. Is it a place to hang out with former colleagues? A place to develop your consulting reputation? Maybe you want to grow your community of influence, so that when you throw a highly pithy comment out there – you get lots of feedback.
Most of us keep our profiles current and polished so we can get noticed. We want prospective employers or clients to find us and look us over. The way we get “found” is by broadening our networks either by accepting invitations or joining groups.
Here’s a possible strategy:
- Take a look at your invites once every week or so. You don’t have to do it right away. They will not evaporate.
- If you don’t know the person, click on their name. Maybe that will jog your memory or you will realize that they know a lot of the same people you do.
- Decide if you want to accept, ignore or procrastinate a little longer.
So, when you are deciding whether your network is going small and exclusive or open and diverse, think about how you want to be treated. When you reach out to someone, you want to be acknowledged, right?
Filed under Job Search, Networking, social media
Tagged as career, connect, humour, interview, job search, linkedin, networking, recruiter, resume, social media