Monday, February 24, 2014

Why not me?

Why weren’t you selected for the Job you interviewed for?  As a Recruiter you start to hear some common threads across different candidates and employers.  Here is a list of the most common reasons we hear for candidates not advancing in the interview process and the behaviors or situations that caused those perceptions.  I hope sharing the knowledge of these common threads will help you prepare for your interviews and come out the top candidate for the role.

1)      Was not perceived as a strong enough leader. 

Associated behaviors described:  Soft spoken, no point of view, soft handshake, awkward pauses, visible nervousness, giggling, no specific examples of leadership, not a confident professional presence.

2)      Not qualified.

Associated behaviors:  Unable to convince interviewers that your abilities and experience meet the requirements and expectations of the current opening.

3)      Not a culture fit.

Associated behaviors/situation:  This varies based on the employer and ranges from the way the candidate dresses, the brands they find aspirational, and their communication/leadership style not being a fit.

4)      Not prepared.

Associated behaviors:  Arriving late, not understanding some basics about the brand and the business of the potential employer, not having thoughtful questions prepared, the inability to answer the majority of the interview questions with confidence, short on resumes, an incomplete portfolio.

5)      Negativity.

Associated behaviors:  Speaking negatively about current/former employers, bosses or colleagues.

6)      Too much job movement.

Associated behaviors:  If there are more than a few short term job changes that are not explained during the interview with confidence employers tend to hesitate on the hire.

7)      Didn’t see growth potential for future leadership roles.

Associated behaviors:  Not able to convince the interviewers of your ability/desire to progress in responsibility level in your career.  Most employers are thinking of a candidate’s potential beyond the initial role they are interviewing for.

8)      A poor network reference.

Associated behaviors:  Someone you have worked with in the past gives less than positive feedback to a decision maker at the potential employer.

9)      Tough competition.

Associated situation:  There are candidates in the process that are more qualified for the role than you are.

Have you ever interviewed and been passed over without explanation?  Do you think it could have been due to any of the common reasons we hear above.   How can you avoid the above perceptions of you as a candidate in your next interview? 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Evolution versus Revolution

Frequently, when a company has a management change, the expectations on employees change… often overnight. I've experienced this several times in my career and it’s never pleasant. One minute you are at the top of your game, contributing, being productive, solving problems, answering questions and the next minute you feel like a failure. You have no idea what’s going on. What happened?

Not only does it take time to adjust to the new sheriff, but new expectations need to be outlined and made clear. Whether you are the new manager or the employee with a new manager, communication is the key. As a manager, what are the things that are important to you? Once you identify, how can you be open and share with the team? When you have a conversation or interaction that is or is not meeting your expectations, how can you use that example to guide your new team?

As an employee with a new manager, how have you identified what is important to the new manager? What does s/he value? How can you adjust your standards to meet the expectations of your new leader?

The transition period is never easy, but communication can help make the change an evolution versus a revolution. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Are you a driver or a passenger?

Many people are passive about how their career progresses.  Like Kate wrote in her post last week.  They wait to be “tapped on the shoulder” about opportunities.  First quarter is typically performance review season.  It is a great time of year to evaluate where you would like to see your career short term and long term.

If you love your role and are not looking for a new title or promotion in the next year, it is still important to set goals to keep you motivated and growing within your position.  Meeting the expectations of your responsibilities and finding some extra ways to contribute/lead will help you earn an increase in responsibility when you want to go after it.  

If you are looking for a new title or promotion within your company what are you doing to get there?  You can visit with people who have been promoted into those roles to learn how they achieved the role.  Prior to your performance review go through the past year and be ready to highlight your successes during your review and communicate what position you want to earn as your next career step.

If you are thinking about leaving your company for a new role then start networking with colleagues and recruiters affiliated with the brands and type of work you do.  Explore what opportunities might be a fit for you.

Whatever is next, wouldn’t you rather be a part of driving the strategy vs. waiting for something to happen?  Lay out your next year to be an amazing one by setting goals that you are excited about.  Write them down and track your progress.  We all have full plates so this can be as simple as a bullet list.  Some ideas:

·         Help someone you mentor earn a promotion.

·         Head up a project with a cross functional group outside of the scope of your day to day responsibilities.

·         Pick one or two of your company financial goals that are often set for you and decide you are going to focus on exceeding those.

·         Take some training/classes to enhance your skill set.

·         Read a book that you can apply to your work.

Do you know what you would like to do next?  When is the last time you set your own goals at work that you were excited about?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tapped on the shoulder

A common complaint I hear from clients is they feel overlooked when a new position opens within their company. The question is always “why wouldn’t they consider me for that role?” My question back is usually “when did you express your interest in the role?” It is very rare that the client has stepped up to apply. When we start talking through it, the client realizes s/he does not need to wait to be tapped on the shoulder for an opportunity. Your boss or the person posting the open job, may not have realized you are qualified or even interested. The company and hiring manager would most likely be excited to fill the role with an internal candidate. If there is a position open that is right for you, what is the harm in speaking with your boss?

How do you know when it’s the right time to talk to your boss about moving up in your career? How many times have you waited for someone to come and tap you on the shoulder for that position?

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