Your Career Management Resource Centre

Tag: career transition

Video Interview

Is your video recruitment merely a cattle call?

Approximately 4 years ago I worked at a large talent resourcing firm. The standard practice was to require candidates to video record answers to questions as a means of excluding them from the hiring process.  Here’s what I mean:

  • 5 -8 questions are emailed to candidates.
  • The candidates answer the questions via their webcam.
  • The video responses are submitted to the hiring company.
  • The decision to engage or eliminate is based solely on the video content.

One stated goal of this approach was as a time saver for the employer, allowing them to review applicants on their mobile devices anytime and anyplace.  I distinctly remember the sales scenario in which busy hiring managers could become more efficient by reviewing applicants while at the grocery checkout.  Another time saving facet to the pitch was based on the popular myth that a hiring manager knows within 5 to 10 minutes whether a candidate is a good fit.  Why waste a full 1 hour interviewing when all it really takes is a few minutes?  The system also made it easy to quickly issue a rejection email on the spot.  Sadly this approach is now expanding from junior office administration roles into management roles, and outside of the employment industry.

Corporate Canada claims that employee engagement is a high priority, and that employee productivity is waning.  If your company is unwilling to initiate a professional relationship in a meaningful way, then why would you expect engagement, effort and loyalty from employees?

While using technology is laudable, it has to be used appropriately.  Yes, millennials like tech, but they like human response and feedback more – the key component missing from this approach.  If you’re not going to be present during hiring, the first stage of employee engagement, then don’t expect your employees to be present either.   You can also expect the saving you’ve experienced by using this process to evaporate when you need to rehire.  Think about it, what a great little way for video recruitment to become a permanent hiring expense for your firm.
Here are some better options for your consideration:

  1. If you must use technology to interview, use a program like Skype that will allow you to interact with candidates in real time.
  2. As part of 1st round interviews to determine eligibility, consider foregoing the cover letter.  Instead ask behavioural questions which are key to the candidate’s aptitude for the role.
  3. Group interviews for certain roles can be efficient for your hiring practice.  While less formal, all hiring managers get a good comparative experience of candidates.
  4. Let the candidate opt out.  In rare yet innovative practices candidates have the option to try-before-they-buy into a role. Companies allow candidates to shadow a peer in their role for a few hours.  Candidates learn first-hand what is expected, learn up-front if they can do the job, and if they’ve determined the role is right for them, provide a better interview experience for everyone.

Organizations are run by people.  By nature, people are social creatures who share their experiences broadly.  The experience you provide translates into how your brand is perceived.  You can’t buy good will but can foster and cultivate it though your people practices.  Is your organization considering video interviewing?  What’s the state goal for this approach?  Are you pursuing alternatives to typical first round/eligibility interview process that you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear from you.

Different Business Thinking

The Banality of Management Advice

On April 1 Harvard Business Review (HBR) published a post entitled How to Work for a Narcissistic Boss.  Given both the date and the title I was prepared for a prank.  Like the HBR cartoons I hoped for a little erudite satire on the self-perpetuating vanity of corporate culture.  Nope.  It’s a post offering advice on how to subordinate yourself to someone with a mental illness.  An illness described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5.

Does the post suggest you might want to “Get out!”? Yes it does, but I think most people can reach this conclusion on their own. There are also pros and cons to weigh, principles to remember and two case studies.  The first is about managing your stress so you can take another person’s abuse. The second is about catering to a narcissist’s needs, until you can’t take it anymore.  Again, you’ll need to get out.  Why do you need to get out? Simply stated, “Research shows there are a large number of narcissists who become leaders.”  You are not a leader, you are a subordinate. It’s not your place to rock the boat.  After all, status quo is very important to people with status.  For companies that find their status reflected in the magic mirror of P&L statements, spreadsheets and pie charts, well let’s just say these entities aren’t eager to hear you express concerns over a golden goose, especially a ‘high performer’. 

What’s truly disappointing is that at no point in this post do we learn how to approach Human Resources with concerns that an employee is suffering from a mental disorder.  Yes, a narcissist suffers, along with everyone under their control, bearing the brunt of the consequences.  Many would find the thought that HR can facilitate a helpful and healthful outcome to this situation sadly humorous.

Subordinates, by definition, occupy a lower class, rank or position; submissive to or controlled by authority.   Bullies need power and so do leaders.

Is HBR so enamoured of its leadership focus that it cannot distinguish between the two?  No wonder there is a pervasive employee engagement problem.

Career vs job sphere in cubes to illustrate a great work opportu

Career Management + Career Accountability =Life Time Employment

Some of us are told education is the key for success; others are told to work for a large company, the government or a bank, and the expected result is a job for life. The truth is that in a very volatile marketplace in the 21st century, there is no one ingredient for success. You need to apply a number of strategies and approaches to ensure your marketability. You are the only person that can secure life-time employment.

People today need to deal with greater uncertainty in the marketplace and a good way to do this is to take ownership of your career. It is clear that individuals who consciously invest in their careers stand out from other employees.

Group of young business people sitting around table on office te

To take your career in your own hands, start with implementing these simple strategies:

1. Assessment & Mindset: Through self-assessments and self awareness, know your strengths and areas that need improvement, and determine if those are what are in demand in the marketplace. Make sure your skill-set is up to date. Know what you need for today, and for tomorrow.  Understand the challenges and influences within and around you.

2. Reputation Awareness: Everyone has a reputation, and it is important to manage yours effectively. Understand your own credibility and track record, and how you are perceived by others. Speak to a manager, colleagues and even friends for feedback on their experiences with   you. Do some self-reflection through someone else’s eyes and then determine what qualities and characteristics to keep working on and what should remain the same.

3. Network: Cross network and really get to know the people on your team, within your company and in the marketplace. Taking the time to network is a crucial investment in your career. “Coffee” and “lunch” are important skills to learn and have. Networking while you are in a position is equally as important as when you’re looking for a job.

4. Sharing Goals: Managers can’t read minds, so give them a sense of who you are, what you want and your expectations. Seek out your manager, don’t just wait for your quarterly or annual review. Have ongoing career conversations in formal and informal settings.

5. Understand your Why:  Why do you do what you do?  We know the difference between a person that is truly passionate and aligned with what they are doing and the person that just shows up to work.  If you can, always articulate “why” your value to the organization will be clear.

 

New Mindset New Results

Transition – No Laughing Matter?

Remember the executive ‘tribe’ I wrote about in my last blog? I’ve been thinking more about what makes that concept work and what moves it from the equivalent of a support group for a bad break-up, to something special, unique and highly effective. One of the things that I keep coming back to is the importance of humour and having fun.

I know, I know, getting the heave-ho out of an organization that you’ve been with for some time, maybe even a long time, and where you’ve been a person of some significance and stature, is hardly amusing. Similarly, being unemployed and having to look for a job rarely makes anyone’s top five ‘fun things to do’ list, but bear with me a minute.

I’m talking about positive attitude and ‘growth’ mindset and all of those other good things, but I’m also talking about the liberating power of actually laughing. Laughing with other people, laughing at ourselves, laughing at the foibles of human nature and the ridiculous situations we can find ourselves in through a career transition.

Job search is serious business.  Truly it is and no one knows that better than I do.  But the ability to find the humour in a situation that is inherently not funny does a great deal of good!

People Laughing During Business Appointment

So often I have seen executives relax, listen better and really start to learn the key lessons of conducting an outstanding job search. I’ve seen them learn to laugh at themselves and share embarrassing moments – and help others learn, grow and keep it all in perspective by doing that.

Coming back to the ‘tribe’ concept, it is much easier to take suggestions, advice and counsel around the serious business of finding another job, from people that you’ve shared a laugh with. More often than you’d believe, I’ve heard executives say, “the best part of this awful experience was knowing that it would make a great story to bring back and share with all of you”.

I firmly believe that we learn better, more quickly and in a more sustainable way, when we’re enjoying ourselves – even a little. I also firmly believe that we do a better job of connecting, networking, interviewing and ultimately finding that next job when we’re able to keep it in perspective and continue to find the humour in the world around us.

Much bigger brains than mine confirm this. Carlos Davidovich, our exceptional neuro-management expert, says that “Positivism” allows us to take greater advantage of our intelligence, creativity and energy. Not only that, but it releases into our brain the powerful neurotransmitter dopamine, that has been proven to turn on the learning centres in our brain, allowing us to work harder, be faster and work more intelligently.

Now I ask you, who wouldn’t benefit from that during a period of transition and job search?

And the best part? This works even if we’re just ‘pretending’, taking the phrase ‘fake it ’til you make it’ to a whole new level in my opinion!

So let’s keep laughing – especially at ourselves!

Working Together.

Where did my ‘Tribe’ Go?

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” ― Seth Godin.

Group of happy business people walking together on street

You’ve just been told that you’re no longer employed by your company and in most cases must immediately separate from your current tribe. What’s next?

‘Career transition’.  Two words that many people are not familiar with – until they run straight into them.  It is a concept that is often very misunderstood (write me a resume, find me a job); and comes with some pretty scary implications (I’m alone, I’m adrift and I haven’t the first clue where to start to look for a job). On top of that, most senior executives have not had to look for a job for many years, and even then, the job often came looking for them. So you can see what I mean; this is a pretty unnerving set of circumstances.

When John Donne wrote “No man is an island entire of itself” he certainly didn’t have career transition in mind, but it’s highly relevant to this conversation. One of the most significant things you can do to turn the adversity of job loss into a powerful opportunity for challenge, learning and growth, is to surround yourself with a group of like-minded executives.

For those willing to fully engage in the transition process and commit to being an active member of an executive networking group, the benefits far outweigh the initial discomfort:

  • Confidence: gained in seeing other senior, smart, capable and successful professionals going through transition
  • Camaraderie: a sense of belonging and a place to share your experience, learn how to ask peers for help and an opportunity to offer advice and support to others
  • Straight talk: an environment of open dialogue and honest feedback
  • Feet to the fire: a sense of ‘accountability’ within the group and by the group and the forward momentum this creates
  • Intellectual stimulation: a forum for discussion, advice, ideas; adjusting your mindset from fixed to growth; exploring other markets, approaches, ‘work’ concepts

But knowing executives as I do, you’ll not just take my word for it!

I mentioned to some of my past executive clients that I was going to write a blog about the concept of ‘tribe’ as it pertains to transition.  After they stopped laughing at the thought of ‘Margaret’ and ‘blog’ showing up in the same sentence, I asked them for their comments.  With typical eloquence, candour and generosity they said:

“A tribe can help create a sense of normalcy in a rather uncomfortable situation. It helps to remind you that you are not alone and there are so many others going through a transition who have done amazing things and who will go on to do more amazing things.” – Executive Client

“I see the world through a more compassionate and humbling lens. My own transition has made me a person who is so willing to help others, even before they ask! I totally owe this new purpose in life to the whole transition process and the tribe that carried me through.”  – Executive Client

“Having a tribe or network of like-minded individuals there to support you through the process is priceless” – Executive Client

Speaking personally, I have been privileged to experience the magic of this powerful ‘tribe’ connection time and time again – there’s nothing like it and the value is huge.

So get yourself a tribe!!

Linkedin logo sign printed on paper

Simple Steps That Will Help Build your Connections on LinkedIn

For the past eight years, I’ve been helping people that are going through career transition with their LinkedIn strategy, and I always assign the same homework after their Profile has been updated: start connecting with people!  Your network is your key to everything in businessincluding finding your new role.

Linking entities. Network, networking, social media, internet co

What clients taught me early on was to assign this homework in the form of a dare. To many, connecting with others on social media seems like a daunting assignment. So daring, or even double-dog daring people to engage in this business handshake provides the motivation they need. However, even if the motivation is enough to get you started, what do you do next?  Who are you going to connect with, especially when you’re feeling a little tentative about the ‘whole social media thing’?  Which people do you want to reach out to, especially if you’re still feeling raw from exiting your last job? 

Here is what I would like to suggest to those of you who no longer have access to your workplace Outlook contacts. I’m going to dare you to data mine your existing contacts on LinkedIn. There’s no need to try recalling names from memory and this is a great way to ease into networking meetings with people you know and like. Keep in mind, this advice is based on the latest LinkedIn interface.  Don’t blink or it might change again!

  • From the LinkedIn navigation bar, pick My Network – Connections.
  • Click on the name of a person you worked with (this doesn’t have to be recent). After their Profile pops up, look for their number of connections.  This is a link. Go ahead and click on the number. Now you should see some people with label next to their name that reads ‘2nd’. These are your 2nd level connections.  In a nutshell, this means that you are not connected to them directly but instead, through another connection you currently have. Now is the time to connect – that social media business handshake that I mentioned earlier. You will likely recognize some of these people labeled 2nd.  People you’ve worked with, done business with, etc.
  • Click on their Connect link and you’ll see a template: Invite “name goes here” to connect on LinkedIn.
  • Complete the entry for how you know each other. This can be as simple as “Hi Fran:  I was taking a few minutes to update my LinkedIn contacts and spotted your name.  Would you like to connect?” Naturally, if you know this person well, you’ll craft a suitably personal note.

Oh, I forgot to mention the best part. You’ll do this daily for a week while treating yourself to your favourite cuppa tea, café corretto, glass of wine or beer – time of day permitting! 

Give this a try.  How many connections did you start with?  How many connections do you have after a week – or whatever term of time you picked?

I dare you…no, I double-dog dare you to share your results!