by Outside-In® Team Member Kelly Hocutt
Have you ever asked or been asked, “if you could have one superpower, what would it be?” My guess is that you have. But, have you ever applied this question to searching for a job? Perhaps — “If you could have one superpower to land your dream job, what would it be?” This has to be pretty common as well. It’s only natural to daydream about ideal job search scenarios when you’re beginning to feel desperation after weeks or months of searching for a job. So, what superpower would you wish for?
Would you want to read the interviewer’s thoughts so that you could formulate your answers or change your interview behaviors based on his or her negative thoughts about you?
Or would you wish for time travel capabilities so you could go into the future to see what the process looked like and what questions would be asked of you?
There are plenty of fun superpowers that would be pretty neat to have to help land a job. But while tackling every step of the hiring process, from getting noticed to landing the job is hard to accomplish, you don’t need any superhuman powers. Everyone has an inner superpower to help score a job. But not every job seeker whips this one out of their quiver.
A few years ago at a TED conference, Amy Cuddy clued people in on this skill in her talk, “Your body language shapes who you are.” She introduced the idea of “power posing,” and how our body language can change how we see ourselves. She shared that when people stand in a posture of confidence, even when they don’t feel confident, the posture can affect the chemicals in the brain, which then makes you feel more confident.
Amy recommends you use this to your advantage in social situations where you are being evaluated. And what could be better time than an interview or hiring process to use the power pose? (Time: 12:50) The published research recommends finding 2 minutes before your interview to stand in a power pose. The high power posers were recorded as being more confident, passionate, enthusiastic, authentic, comfortable and captivating when compared to the low power posers. These are all things that are found more appealing to hiring managers and interviewers.
Will you give a power pose a try?
We are in an era where workers are looking for reasons to why a business exists beyond making money. A time when it’s commonplace to discuss the greater purpose of a business and the values that are important to both the leaders and employees of a company. The values of a company are the personality of the place. The behaviors that the founder(s) and leaders want from all employees in their absence. These behaviors act as an ongoing compass that provides employees direction when they are on their own or faced with an opportunity or crisis in the business. When the business purpose is not clear, it is almost assumed that the purpose is to make money. But today there are so many other reasons for the business to exist; to do good for social causes, to be active in the community and to exist for greater good!
So, in the modern business world we celebrate values. Google is famous for the value or corporate motto “Don’t be evil”, which really encourages all employees to think morally about the impact of their decisions on the people who use their service. And as the legends suggest, software engineers often pound the table when a suggested change will do evil.
Despite businesses as large as Google or Zappos having values and a greater purpose than just making money, I am asked frequently about the implications of having corporate values. What happens when the company values are misinterpreted by employees, or even customers for their personal gain? “Don’t be evil” is regularly misquoted as “Don’t do evil.” Big deal? Not so sure.
One of our values that is often misquoted at Outside-In® Companies is being Front Door. Picture a house with three doors; a front door, side door and back door. Now imagine how communication flows in any good size group. Inevitably issues and opportunities arise. Conversations need to happen. Not everyone likes, knows how or knows when they need to have the hard conversations that represent being Front Door. So being direct is front door, being indirect is side door, and water cooler chatter or gossip is back door.
Now imagine that an employee misinterprets the Front Door value as their right to say anything they want directly, regardless of tone or its impact. For instance, screaming expletives and justifying the behavior by saying, “I am just being Front Door” is an abuse of the value’s intent. And undermines the goal, which is to get in front of small problems before they fester into larger ones. Front Door is not a right to be mean or to lack other professional attributes when you go about your business. When this happens, it can mean one of two things. The employee has a misunderstanding of the meaning of the value OR that employee is misusing the value with intent of personal gain, and therefore is not a culture fit.
To elevate this another level, what happens when a leader appears to behave in a way that defies the values? When leaders run a company in defiance of its values, only bad things happen and a decline is inevitable. For example, when a leader continues to promote an employee that habitually defies the company values, a ripple effect of decline is inevitable. The key word for leaders to note is “appears.” A leader may be acting within the definition of the value(s)’s intent, but the appearance of defiance can have a ripple effect as well. In this case, the onus is on the employee to be Front Door with the leader to say “you are not living X value.” This gives the leader a chance to explain the missing perspective and prevent a decline. Having company values feels good, but living values and holding teammates accountable is the mark of a true values-based organization.
I am collecting stories where values have gone bad or have been misinterpreted or misquoted for the purpose of personal gain. Please send them to me at Icanhelpyou (at) thecbigroup (dot) com or share them in a comment below.
While not all hiring managers are alike, there are some common hiring trends in 2015 that can give job seekers clues for preparing for their job search and interviews. Here are 6 things about hiring managers in 2015 that will help you get inside their head.
- They care about your relevant work experience, skills and the reputation of your previous employer more than your volunteer experience, GPA and the schools you attended, according to a Hiring Manager Survey published by Staffing Industry Analysts. Hiring managers ranked work experience and skills as the most important aspects of a resume when considering moving a candidate to the interview phase. Be sure to highlight these two sections on your resume, as hiring managers across generations find them important.
- Hiring managers may prioritize different things, depending on their generation. The same Hiring Manager Survey examined the preferences of Baby Boomer, Generation X and Millennial hiring managers, and learned that different generations have varying perspectives. Boomers weigh the interview more heavily, Millennials the candidate’s education level, schools attended and GPA, and Generation X the resume. Proven results and references were more important to Boomers (61% and 30%, respectively) than Millennials (44% and 21%, respectively). And the source of finding candidates were the most polarizing results — 2X as many millennials trust Facebook (45%) and Twitter (28%) to identify candidates versus the other generations (Gen Xers: 27% and 14%; Boomers: 15% and 9%). Pay attention to your hiring manager to understand what their preferences may be – it may give you a leg up in the interview process.
- They notice when you use a generic resume for all job postings. 90% of hiring managers admit they always or sometimes notice when a resume isn’t tailored to the role in question. We generally recommend that you customize your resume and cover letter for each job that you apply to, and especially now so after hearing this statistic.
- They are less likely to hire you if they can’t find you on line. According to the Social Media Recruitment National survey, which was conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll this year, 35% of employers are less likely to interview applicants that they can’t find online. The key here is that presence itself is important. If they can’t find you, they may not invite you in for an interview. In addition, 56% want to see that you have a professional online persona.
- More than half of hiring managers use social networking and search engine sites to research you. CareerBuilder’s survey showed that a majority of employers now use social networks to screen candidates. 52% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up significantly from 43% last year and 39% in 2013. Additionally, 51% of hiring managers use search engines to research candidates. While being found online is important (see on #4), so is having a good online reputation. But don’t be too fearful about hiring managers looking you up online. They aren’t hoping to find something negative – 6 in 10 are “looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job.” It’s valuable to search yourself online and know what hiring managers will learn about you on the Internet. Put yourself in their shoes, and if you find something online that you aren’t proud of — remove it, or begin to make changes to your online reputation.
- Hiring managers are less likely to hire you if you don’t send a thank you note. 22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate if they don’t send a thank-you note after the interview, according to the CareerBuilder Survey of Hiring Managers. Don’t let a thank you note keep you from getting the job! And while you’re at it, be sure to personalize it like you do with your resume and cover letter!
In the course of your job search process you come across different types of people along the way, and each of them are making decisions about you. Gaining an understanding about them and what makes them tick will give you a different perspective on how things work. Working these 6 generalities about hiring managers into to your career transition path, may be the difference between a hiring manager saying “yes” or “no” to moving you into the next steps of the hiring process.
Blog post by Career Transition Coach, Mary Schaefer
This blog is part of a series addressing some of the most compelling questions for those that are beginning a career search. During the last 6 years, we have been asked hundreds of questions related to career transition and best practices. Here we are distilling those queries down to the 10 most critical need to know responses. Here is #6 of 10, discussing your career accomplishments.
Do I have access to records regarding my professional history and accomplishments like performance appraisals and other reports?
I see it all the time. Far too often I am sitting with a professional when he or she discovers that they really needed to be more focused over the years in keeping track of their professional history. We are not just talking about simple career chronology here. Accomplishments are the backbone of your professional story and so many of us do not take the time to reflect on our contributions. The people we speak to in our coaching practice always share how busy they had become simply doing their respective jobs. The key is, you can make career transition much easier by having some helpful documents at your fingertips.
After I went through my first downsizing experience, I realized how hard it can be to update my resume without good records of my career accomplishments. Frankly, the experience of going back through a 16-year career to analyze my accomplishments was extremely painful. The benefit however, was great reflection time on the value that I bring to the marketplace. When I started my next role, I adopted the habit of keeping a running log of my work assignments, accomplishments and training. I found this practice highly beneficial. It helped in the preparation for my performance appraisals with my manager, made developing a LinkedIn profile a little easier, and worked wonders in keeping my resume up-to-date.
Depending on the situation you’re in, whether it is career transition or career management, be sure you acquire or copy critical documentation like your training records, project presentations, records of certifications, and any other professional history that your employer keeps on file. And be sure to keep your own running log as a backup plan. It will serve you in so many ways down the line, making difficult situations just a little bit easier.
Outside-In® Chronicles: Originally published in September 2009, this was the first blog posted on the Outside-In® Guy Blog. How did he react after revisiting his writing from six years ago? “I want people to know that I believe in this and fail at it too. But I get back to it. This is the hardest part of being a leader for me. I want to protect and shoulder the burden, but we can’t. We must share because others can help!”
Living “from the heart” is Leading from the heart
I was taught to live life from the heart. To lead from it. To sell from it. Parent from the heart. You get the point. So much about business life mimics the rest of life. Insert _____ from the heart in all aspects of your life. It requires honesty, directness in communication and perhaps most importantly, some humility. It requires you to give it away and take risks. So much about sales and leadership today is anything but “from the heart” behavior. Leaders today are operating more efficiently because they must do so to survive.
The opportunity is to include employees further in the business. They can take it. They want the truth. Anything short of the truth creates doubt and issues in clarity when it is needed most. I have made mistakes with this as a leader. Not to hide something. But because I thought they deserved a break from the pain of the recession. I let up a little. I softened the bad news. I told them it was under control — and it was not. I got real and they engaged.
Today information is not to be kept as advantage; it is best shared so the team can utilize it to better the business. Leaders need to admit mistakes, not blame others. During times of uncertainty, leaders revert to hierarchy as a means of maintaining control and making sure there is order. People have jobs to do, they can’t be worried with the strategic challenges of the business. This is a major error in judgement. Outside-In® leaders get others involved. They seek opinion. They learn that control comes from giving it away.
Leading from the heart in an Outside-In® organization requires a change in most leaders’ way of operating. Employees know the difference between the corporate line and real communication. Employees know what is plastic. Guess what? So do prospects. Sales people that try and dump their products on their prospects without involving them in the decision don’t make the sale. Those that look and sound like the stereotypical images of sales people fail. There is only one way to build business and that is by building relationships based on trust and credibility. Where real conversation solves real business problems. I find when I am myself, flawed, direct, open and imperfect in sales that people like it, and you often get real in return!
What IT skills are hardest to recruit?
Staffing Industry Analysts surveyed staffing buyers with 1,000+ employees, “What specific skills are you having the greatest challenge recruiting?” Just under half of the participants noted “Information Technology” as primary skill of their contingent workers. Starting with the skills mentioned the most, here are the most difficult to recruit IT skills:
– Data/ Data Science
– Information Security
– Project Management
– Business Intelligence
– Legacy Systems
– SAP (software)
– TIBCO (software)
According to Staffing Industry Analysts, “When asked to name the skills which are most difficult to recruit, buyers of IT staffing most often pointed to data/data scientist positions. This skill set did not appear frequently in our 2013 and 2014 survey responses, suggesting a relatively recent trend. This category includes data scientists, data specialists, data architects and big data roles.
Also among buyers of IT staffing, information security roles, including IT security specialists, were the second most frequently named difficult-to-recruit skill, a bump up from last year. Java skills and project management skills also ranked high for the third year in a row.”
Are you experiencing challenges recruiting IT contractors?