Tag Archives: jobs

Interview Feedback – the good, the bad and the ugly

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.

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The Reference Game

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.

Not helpful.

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?

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Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search

Cold Weather Interview Prep

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.

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Out of Office Notification

No career/job/networking blather today – I am too busy writing thank you notes.glass2

I hope you have fun and at least slightly indulgent plans for New Year’s Eve.

When you are making all those resolutions, don’t forget your career!

All the best for 2o17 – may it be one of growth and success for us all!

Laura

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My Day is Craptastic – and yours?

Things don’t go well all the time.  Even when you work really hard to do the right things the right way, shit happens. People who are angry or unhappy lash out and toss around mistruths or accusations. Sometimes the crap lands on people who have nothing to do with the problem.

When this happens, our tendency is to get bug eyed and then close the door and cry.

And that’s okay.  Crying is good.  It gets the shock and awe (how could they say that?) out of the way so you can move on to dealing with the problem.

We can’t control people who throw crap at us, but we can control how we deal with it.

Yesterday, when I asked a good friend how she was, she replied “Well, I spent yesterday crying but now I’m getting constructive.”  Brilliant.

How you react behind closed doors is one thing.  What you do in public, is quite another.

Sure, take moment to vent, cry, swear, whatever, but then sit down and make a list of damage control items.  Consult a trusted advisor.  Take a deep breath and take action.

While you may have to accept that you did not get that job or that your colleague took credit for your idea, you do not have to let it end there.  You can send a gracious note to the hiring manager letting them know that you respect their decision and that you would be open to considering other roles in the future.  You can find a way to mention your contribution to the project while your boss is listening.

But it takes clear thinking and a desire to rise above it, to let the world know that you really do care about what you do and that a little crap thrown your way is not going to change that.

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Reducing the Deflation Potential in Job Searches

Looking for a new job has a lot of ups and downs….no that’s not true.  There are mostly downs.  Nothing is more depressing than sitting down to look at postings on LinkedIn and realizing that they are the exact same ones you looked at yesterday.

It can be tough to stay motivated with that staring you in the face.  And motivation is what you need to get to a better place in the world of work.arrow

Here is a suggestion:  rather than picking through postings in a random lets-see-whats-new approach, make a plan instead.

Identify four or five different types of possible next steps for your career.  You might be interested in several different industries, corporate or consulting, stepping sideways or stretching up or maybe you are considering something completely different.

The idea is that you explore one of these tracts each day.  This allows you to really pay attention and give that direction some serious research and thought.  Maybe after two sessions, you realize that it’s not an appropriate choice.  That’s okay.  Better to know than to wonder about it later.

This also makes sure you are looking at fresh material every time you sit down.  There is a greater chance of seeing the interesting new roles and not just the same old stuff.

So consider adding a little more rigour and structure to your search.  It will be well worth the planning time.  It will reduce the deflation potential – that feeling of wanting to throw your laptop against the wall because it all looks the same as yesterday.

 

 

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Filed under career change, Job Search, Resume

What would Gaga do?

I once saw Anderson Cooper interview Lady Gaga on the venerable CBS show 60 Minutes.  She is a pretty interesting character.  Anderson was asking her about how she handles the way the press hang around waiting to catch her in an embarrassing situation.

“Well, Anderson, I am just not a barf in the bar kind of girl”.

Love it.

Love it.

Love it.

This is the kind of authenticity that everyone needs to bring to an interview.  It does not matter if it is a telephone interview with a recruiter or a face to face meeting with a hiring manager.  Confident, direct and truthful is the way to go.

This does not give you permission to be rude or disrespectful.  If you are asked how you got along with your former boss, you really shouldn’t say he was a jerk or he couldn’t read financial statements to save his life.  It is okay, however, to explain that you made decisions differently or you had different approaches to customer service.

An interview is like the nice pair of shoes in the shop window.  You go in to see if they have your size. You try them on.  You walk around for a while, thinking of outfits that will work with them.  You think about whether you can afford them.  You see if the salesperson will give you a deal and together, you decide if they are the right pair for you. 

If they don’t feel comfortable in the shop, don’t buy them, no matter how good a deal they are.  They will mock you every time you see them in your closet.

Lady Gaga wouldn’t settle for ill-fitting loafers.  Why should you?

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