Blogs

Outside-In® Chronicles: Lead from the Heart

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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

Lead with 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!

Hard to Find IT Temps and Contractors

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What IT skills are hardest to recruit?

IT-Staffing-Form-ButtonStaffing 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

– Java

– 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?

Connect with our Placers IT Staffing Team Today.

Outside-In Team Featured in Delaware Business Times

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On September 1st, members of the Outside-In® team were featured in the Delaware Business Times article, “Job Market: The need for employees with specialized skills spikes.

Our President, Chris Burkhard was quoted, discussing how “the growing employment market would finally give unemployed and underemployed workers the chance to follow their career plan.”

“We are starting to see more opportunities, not that the recession is behind us fully, but people are willing to step back away from a job and try again. I think people are starting to have enough confidence in the market to consider a move from their current jobs,” Burkhard said. “We had the awful 2008-2009 financial crisis. I think there are a lot of people who are unemployed or doing things they don’t really like. I think that’s always a mistake. We’re coming out of an era when people were just happy to have work. It seems the market is finally giving people a chance to pursue their career goals.”

Images and Infographic from Delaware Business Times [Images and Infographic from Delaware Business Times]

Along with Chris, team members Debbie Fincher, Karesa Blagrove, Heather Pelaez, Rich Kolodgie, Shante Hynson and Joshua Wiggins were photographed in our Newark, DE Office. To review the article and learn more about the top job postings in Delaware and current job market trends, click here.

Top 10 Career Transition Questions: #5 Should I discuss my career change with my family?

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Blog post by Career Transition Coach, Greg Moore

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 #5 of 10, discussing the support of your close personal relationships.

What is my plan to share my job change or transition with my personal relationships, including my family?

One of the most critical elements in creating an effective job change strategy is building a strong support network. For most people, this begins with family and close friends. With this group, one should feel comfortable sharing plans and strategies. They can then be on “alert” if they see or hear anything that could be helpful. Even more important, they can serve as a supportive “sounding board” and can help keep energy levels high – which is critical during a career transition.

We often have the occasion to coach clients around this sensitive and emotional issue. It is not unusual to hear, “I just really do not want anyone to know that I have lost my job.” The perceived fear is that one of your closest relationships might regard you as weak, or even worse incompetent. Frankly, this emotional energy is wasted by far too many professionals. Even in a great economy, millions upon millions of private sector professionals find themselves in career transition. In 2014 alone, more than 26 million professionals were looking for a new role.

Some people going through a job change don’t want to share the news with anyone. Perhaps out of embarrassment, or just a feeling of awkwardness, some prefer to play it “close to the vest”. While we understand, this approach is not recommended. Start with family and friends and go forth boldly with your job search. Develop a list of at least 10 of your top relationships and reach out right away. Your closest relationships care about you and will often go to great lengths to give you an advantage through a key introduction or even a brief note or phone call on your behalf.

Top 10 Career Transition Questions: #5 Should I discuss my career change with my family?

  by    0   0

Blog post by Career Transition Coach, Greg Moore

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 #5 of 10, discussing the support of your close personal relationships.

What is my plan to share my job change or transition with my personal relationships, including my family?

One of the most critical elements in creating an effective job change strategy is building a strong support network. For most people, this begins with family and close friends. With this group, one should feel comfortable sharing plans and strategies. They can then be on “alert” if they see or hear anything that could be helpful. Even more important, they can serve as a supportive “sounding board” and can help keep energy levels high – which is critical during a career transition.

We often have the occasion to coach clients around this sensitive and emotional issue. It is not unusual to hear, “I just really do not want anyone to know that I have lost my job.” The perceived fear is that one of your closest relationships might regard you as weak, or even worse incompetent. Frankly, this emotional energy is wasted by far too many professionals. Even in a great economy, millions upon millions of private sector professionals find themselves in career transition. In 2014 alone, more than 26 million professionals were looking for a new role.

Some people going through a job change don’t want to share the news with anyone. Perhaps out of embarrassment, or just a feeling of awkwardness, some prefer to play it “close to the vest”. While we understand, this approach is not recommended. Start with family and friends and go forth boldly with your job search. Develop a list of at least 10 of your top relationships and reach out right away. Your closest relationships care about you and will often go to great lengths to give you an advantage through a key introduction or even a brief note or phone call on your behalf.

Cracking the On-site Interview Part III: Take your Interview Skills to the Next Level

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By Outside-In® Team Member Zach Werde

This blog is Part III of a 3-part series on Cracking the On-site Interview. The first part examined “the why” behind when you feel perfectly qualified for a role and extremely confident about your interview performance, but didn’t land the role. Part II introduced the best tips for mastering the interview basics. And Part III will help you take your interview skills to the next level.

Okay, if you’ve mastered the basics from part II (or think you can handle those instructions), it’s time to discuss how to bring your interview to the next level. These are the things that will separate you from the rest: competency, conciseness, and focus. Let’s break them down below.

Competency
You’d be amazed what the power of competency (or perceived competency) can do for you. This is something surprisingly few people have mastered, and yet it is so very easy to do if you recognize the importance of it and how to do it. I can break it down to one, simple, statement. Answer the question that is being asked. This may sound absurdly elementary, but you’d be amazed how many interviewees fail to do this. I talk to $100/hr project managers all day long. When I ask them a simple question, 9 times out of 10 their answer far supersedes the question (or worse, they start to ramble and don’t even address my question). It’s astounding.

For example, I will ask a question like “tell me about your responsibilities for company X”. The answer I expect to receive is “my responsibilities for company X were A, B, and C,” followed by a pause in anticipation of the next question. Instead, candidates proceed to tell me how they got the job, who they reported to, what they liked and didn’t like about their role, and how the position ultimately terminated. It’s nice that you are ready to talk about your experience, but if you do what I just described you are really doing yourself a disservice. Answering outside the scope of the question is really frustrating for interviewers.

Aside from not providing a direct answer for a direct question, you are disrupting the flow of the interview. Let’s say your interviewer has prepared ten questions and allocated about three minutes for each question (30 minute interview). When you spend ten minutes answering the first question, your interviewer either won’t be able to ask you all the questions that they would like, or they need to inconvenience themselves by cancelling whatever is next on their calendar so that they can spend 60 minutes conducting an interview that should have lasted 30 minutes. Is this the impression you want? Do yourself a favor. Answer the question that is being asked of you and pause for the next question.

Conciseness
This is a direct follow up to competency. Most hiring managers ask direct questions and expect direct responses. My advice? Play along. By all means, if your interviewer asks you vague open ended questions to prompt you to talk (such as “tell me about yourself”), then feel free to spend a few minutes and talk about yourself. But for the direct questions (such as “why did you leave company X” or “what was your favorite part about working for company Y”) you are committing an interview sin if your answer is longer than 30 seconds.

Even for direct questions with a little more meat on the bones, such as “give me an example of a time where you encountered a problem and fixed it” – this should not be longer than a two minute response. Call it 50 seconds to a minute to introduce a problem, another 50 seconds to a minute to discuss how you fixed it, and maybe 5-20 seconds left over to discuss the results or ramifications. I’ll say it again: Answer the question that is being asked of you and pause for the next question.

Focus
Another deadly interview sin is losing focus. You must know what role you are applying for and be prepared to speak to the best qualities for that specific opportunity. If you are a developer applying for a developer role, but you also have some experience working on architecture, DO NOT spend time in your interview discussing your architecture experience. Unless the hiring manager asks you about architecture, stick to your developer experience. Talking about experience you have beyond the necessary experience can be insinuated as you suggesting that you should get the job because you are overqualified, and that is NEVER a good idea.

At the end of the day, the hiring manager is only interviewing you to see if you’re interested and qualified. Spending time talking about non-relevant experience does neither for you. Instead, the recruiter will start to question if you have the appropriate day-to-day skills, and they will certainly question whether you are genuinely interested in their role. DON’T DO THIS! Stay focused and talk about your relevant skills and experience.

I see this all the time for candidates who are qualified for multiple classes of positions. For example, when a project manager applies for a project manager role, but they also have some experience with program management, it is all too easy for the project manager to fall into the same trap and start talking about the highest level experience they have and about the strategic leadership they have offered for programs in the past. What the hiring manager really wants to know is, have you managed a project before. And did you get it done on time and in budget. What was your team size? What was the scope of the project? How were you able to utilize classic PM tools (like Visio and Project)? Those are the areas you should be dedicating your focus to in an interview. Hiring managers want to hear about all the relevant skills you possess. Anything else is extra baggage and will make them question your fit and interest.

Next Level

You’d be amazed how the three traits above can really set you apart from the rest. Getting a job is hard. There is usually fierce competition and companies and hiring managers are very selective about who they bring on, especially for higher level positions. As a recruiter, I talk to people all day long who just don’t get it. They know they are qualified and they are confident in their communication skills. So they just show up and take the interview. Then they are baffled time after time when they don’t get the result they want. They have predetermined what they want to discuss and ensure they get their full story out at all costs.

Avoid predetermined monologues – let the interviewer dictate the flow of the conversation. Eventually, a number of these folks start blaming other people, and making statements like “they must be discriminating against experienced workers” or “you have to know someone to get a job at this company”. I’m not here to tell you tell you that those things never happen, because they do. But more often than not, when you apply for positions that you are qualified for and you land interviews but not jobs, sooner or later you have to figure out why. Are you interviewing with a strategy that is maximizing your chances for success? I hope that the above concepts are helpful in turning you into a “pro” interviewer.