Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interviewing Pet Peeves: A Job Seeker's Perspective

According to HR Executive Online, in a recent study conducted by DDI and Monster Worldwide, two of every three job seekers surveyed reported that their impressions of the people they interviewed with strongly influenced their decision to accept or reject a position. Here are some of the job search candidate's pet peeves:

  • an interviewer who acts like he has no time to talk to the candidate
  • a hiring authority who withholds information about the position
  • an interview conversation that is more like an interrogation
  • an interviewer that shows up late for the meeting
Interviewers and hiring authorities are the face of the company to job seekers. Companies that strive to teach hiring managers to engage the job seeker and act as the ombudsman for the firm will win the war for talent. Interviewers need to be authentic and respectful of candidates and they can successfully build rapport with prospects by sticking to performance based and relevant questions and offering feedback to candidates in a timely manner.

As a job seeker, you are interviewing a company as much as they are interviewing you. Pay close attention to the subtle cues of the interviewer. While the actions of one or two people may not represent the company as a whole, they could be indicative of the corporate or department culture and are worth noting.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Build Your Job Skills With Reverse Mentoring

Most people think of mentors as people who have more work and life experience than they do and can show them the ropes of a profession or company and introduce them to the right people as they develop their careers. But over on the Past 5 blog, there's an interesting post about the importance of reverse mentoring and how post 40 baby boomers can improve their technology skills and marketability by learning from the 20 something millenials.

It's never too late to learn a new skill or technology that will help benefit you and your career and you might just realize that there's not such a big difference between you and your younger colleagues.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Take Charge of Your Annual Performance Review

According to a recent survey by Mercer HR Consulting, mentioned on the Compensation Force blog, salary increases in 2007/2008 will average 3.5% and be approximately 5.7% for top performers. One of the best ways to ensure that your performance is rated on the high end of the scale is to take ownership of the performance appraisal process. By documenting your achievements each time you complete a significant project, milestone, or job task, you maximize the chances of your accomplishments being recognized at review time. Make sure to quantify your achievements by showing how the projects you managed helped make money, save money, save time, maintain the business, or grow the business and use numbers, dollars, and percentages whenever possible to validate your accomplishments.

Ideally, you are receiving feedback on how you are doing against your job goals throughout the year, but in reality, this doesn't always occur as frequently as most employees would like. By consistently recording your successes throughout the year, you can improve your chances of garnering a more lucrative increase at review time

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Have you Googled Yourself Today?

I just finished reading Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixon. The authors stress the importance of proactively and continuously building professional credibility, visibility, personality, and professional style to build and nurture your personal brand. This strategy is one of the most important components of an effective career management strategy. Arruda and Dixon speculate that in the future, employers will be actively looking for candidates with greater frequency than candidates will be looking for employers. Therefore a strong on-line presence will be key to a candidate's future job search success.

One of the best ways to assess the strength of your current brand is to monitor your on-line identity via a regular Google search. Arruda and Dixon recommend Googling yourself every Monday morning to stay on top of your identity metrics. Keep track of the number of times your full name (enclosed in quotes) is listed and the relevancy of each listing. If you have no Google presence or if you share your name with others, don't despair. It's never too late to start building your own unique on-line brand. Check out tools such as Zoom Info, Ziggs, and Naymz to get started. Everyone will need at least "15 minutes of fame" (or at least three relevant pages on Google) to compete for jobs successfully in the 21st century.

Posted by Barbara Safani


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Over on the Human Resources Executive Search blog, there is a great post about how to assimilate successfully into a new company and job. When you join a new organization, it's important to observe before you act, immerse yourself in the company's culture, and cultivate relationships with people who can serve as mentors. It's generally recommended that you avoid making significant changes when you first arrive or saying things like "When I was at company XYZ, we did it this way"

The first 90 days in a new job provides an opportunity for you to solidify the relationship that you created during the interview process, build credibility and trust, and prove that you fit into the company and culture.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Negotiation and the Gender Divide

The Washington Post reported that according to a recent study, men and women get very different responses when they initiate negotiations and women's reluctance to negotiate was based on how they believed they would be treated if they did negotiate. The study indicates that both men and women were more likely to subtly penalize women who asked for more.

Does this mean that women can't negotiate for what they want? No. But both men and women should think carefully about their negotiation strategy. Negotiations are most successful when there is a strong relationship between the two parties involved. The interview process allows the job seeker and hiring manager to build this relationship. Repeated exposure through multiple interviews deepens the relationship and solidifies the trust.

Once an offer is made, job seekers can leverage this relationship to negotiate for what they want and need. They should never demand something or give ultimatums to attain their goals. Instead they should ask for things by demonstrating why they are fair and reasonable. Hiring managers have invested equally in this new relationship and they don't want to damage it after they have put so much time and energy into the process.

Negotiating your employment package is a collaborative process where both parties involved want the same outcome. By nurturing the relationship built during the interview process, you are more likely to overcome potential gender bias and achieve your negotiation goals.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Comment on Blogs to Raise Your Visibility During a Job Search

Last week I wrote about setting up a blog to create visibility and interest in your candidacy when you are in a job search. If you are not ready to start your own blog, another strategy for getting involved in the blogosphere is to comment on other blogs that are relevant to your industry or profession. For example, a finance professional might comment on a post from the Jobs in the Money Career Wires Blog and an HR professional might write something on the Your HR Guy Blog. Writing blog posts is an easy way to create an on-line identity and improve your Google ranking, which is important to do if hiring managers or recruiters are checking you out before calling you in for an interview.

If you choose to blog, keep your blogging identity consistent and even consider adding some sort of tag line to your name to distinguish yourself and perhaps even build a following. Over on the Blogging for Business Blog there is a great post about this concept.

Whether you are interested in setting up your own blog or just commenting on others, find a way to be found on-line and become a part of the on-line conversations in your field. You will be amazed at how quickly your reputation and your networking leads will grow.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Is it Acceptable to Send Thank You Letters Via Email?

Frequently job seekers ask me if it is appropriate to email a thank you letter after an interview or if snail mail is the preferred method. It is perfectly acceptable to email a thank you letter and sending the letter electronically carries many benefits including:
  • Immediacy. I recommend sending a thank you letter within 24 hours of a job interview. Email allows you to reconnect with the hiring manager quickly following the interview. Doing so helps you remain top of mind with the hiring manager.
  • Reciprocation. There is a greater likelihood that a hiring manager will respond to an email than snail mail. By keeping the dialogue open with the hiring manager, you strengthen the relationship and improve your chances of being called in for the next round of interviews.
  • Efficiency. When you email your thank you letter, the hiring manager can follow your response electronically and easily share it with other members of the team. There is less chance of the document getting lost or misplaced as well.