Sunday, November 22, 2015

Entitlement Infection

When I work on behalf of any client company seeking to hire and, similarly, whenever companies look to hire new employees it’s never only about matching qualifications. I contend an individual’s accomplishments are equal and often carry more weight. However, there is an additional and no less important component that can make up for minor shortcomings in a person’s suitability - that being a candidate’s own attitude.
You can look great on paper, have exemplary qualifications, good accomplishments and even stellar references, but a person’s attitude can render all of it meaningless. To be clear, bitter, angry and whiny people wearing their grievances on their sleeves do not get job offers and are their own biggest obstacle as they tend to self-destruct before your very eyes. Likewise, these same people also refuse to consider their own failings, instead engaging in blame–throwing to explain why they are so “unfairly” discriminated against. Rhetorically speaking, what manager would willingly subject their employees to this kind of toxicity?
So, imagine a group of people with a sense of entitlement who feel owed a livelihood and show disdain for merit-based advancement; of having to demonstrably earn their professional and monetary advancement through merit. These are people who use phrases like, “I want…”, “I expect…”, “I deserve…”, and they always proclaim, “…you don’t understand…” I’m quite unimpressed with these types; most of them have never faced real adversity in their lives. Perhaps years earlier, they were the students who got 7 out of 10 wrong answers on a quiz but were praised for trying and given a B grade. Or they were over indulged, never grounded or punished by parents who wanted to be their pal; or parents who were  AWOL leaving them to learn their values from the TV or video-games that served as an aux pair. Sure I am generalizing in describing what is a growing demographic of the un-deserved who shout the loudest yet have invested the least in real terms; of course they’ll rant about why they feel  most entitled.   
I have learned to quickly identify and reflexively distance myself from their ilk. I am confident most readers recognize them also, the kind of people who attend an interview and display an attitude, which in essence, communicates to a hiring manager, “So, how much will you pay me to consider this job?” But let me just come to the point of this blog entry, I can assure you that there is another descriptive term that goes hand-in-hand with those infected with a strong sense of self-entitlement; that word is un-employable.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Third Party Assistance

As a Direct Search Recruiter or a Headhunter, the latter being the title I prefer, you might assume I would automatically promote and encourage people to utilize those in my market sector, but that is not necessarily so. My aim with most every article and blog entry I make is intended to empower the individual and, in so doing, cut out the middle-man or woman as a time and effort saver – to enable people to more adequately go directly to the source, as it were.
Sometimes a recruiter or a recruiting agency of one type or another is an option for some people, but not for everyone. However, before that, it should be understood there are many different kinds of recruiting services and many of them have nothing to do with recruiting people and professionals. Instead, most people who today call themselves recruiters are merely casting a fish net; posting a job description, then collecting, collating and filing respondents’ resumes into a database for use now or in the future. So they are more appropriately online resourcing and not actually recruiting. Rather, many should literally call themselves placement agencies, as they sometimes place those they’ve resourced. If you think about it, it would actually be a good way to market their services and not look and sound like everyone else - but I digress. 
If or whenever you may choose to utilize third party help, it does not mean you can or should forego your own efforts. If you are working with a real recruiter, who is proactive on your behalf, coordinate your efforts with them. But if it is an agency that predominantly boasts a database, which is where your resume will end up, you’d better not stop your own separate efforts. Sometimes I think a recruiter can be helpful but, regardless, my blog entries and articles are meant to teach you to help yourself and not have to rely on others. After all, that is the whole point of empowering oneself, is it not, for self-sufficiency. From experience, I can tell you that anyone who seeks the help of others and then sits back and does nothing, expecting someone else to do everything for you, is either lazy or naïve. 
Seeking and getting help is fine and can add a dimension to your efforts; thinking someone else will do it for you is a losing strategy.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Need to Know

When I began my recruiting career in 1992, I had the benefit of learning from the best trainers and mentors in the industry, even by today’s standards. Being new and enthusiastic, I was ready to leap in and begin recruiting candidates as soon as I received information about the job, which usually consisted of little more than a basic job description much like the job posts you find on company websites or job portals today. 
My own manager, too, was among those to whom I am most grateful; I learned from the best. Back then, much to my frustration, I wasn’t permitted to begin working on any project without more complete information - not yet. Retrospectively, I was correctly being admonished because those job postings were not nearly enough information with which to properly work, until I invested the time to gain a thorough knowledge about not only additional job specs and responsibility details, but I also needed a proper understanding of what kind of person the hiring manager wanted to attract and hire who would match and fit their company’s culture. Of course this makes sense, but my first inclination was to leap ahead impulsively. However, I quickly learned this was wise counsel and, to this day, I won’t lift a finger and will do nothing, until I gain all of the necessary details so that I can, in turn, knowledgably inform and recruit the right kind of candidates. Anything less could result in a waste of time for everyone involved. 
Anytime you will find yourself considering and interviewing for a job you should endeavor to learn more, get beyond the barely basic title/duties/money aspect or you could make a bad decision with too little information. By the time you, the interviewee and candidate, reach the offer stage you should have gained a full understanding of the potential job and all of your remaining questions answered sufficiently; this is information you need to know in order to make a fully informed decision. Failing to do so could result in having to start all over again, looking for another job sooner than you’d intended.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Resume Photo?

I am often asked whether it’s necessary or advisable to have your photo on your resume. Generally speaking my short answer is no, it is not necessary and in my opinion neither is it advisable. I just don’t see it as an impactful addition and more often than not, having a photo included on your resume can be detrimental and actually negatively affect your best efforts, depending upon the judgment of the person reviewing and evaluating your document. 
If you put forth the effort to assemble a good resume or CV and you choose to include a photo, then ensure it’s worthy of the document, which is a professional representation of yourself.  Make the effort and minor investment by getting a good quality portrait-style photo. Smile or don’t smile, no matter, but it needs to be a professional photo in proper attire. Poor quality photos, cropped images from some social or company event you attended, or a vacation photo is not professional. Glamorous photos such as the type you give to those with whom you are romantically involved, look cheap on your resume and as a result, cheapen you. As for selfies - don’t get me started on selfies; selfies on a resume are ridiculous, immature and unprofessional as well as emblematic of a half-assed effort. There is no such thing as a good selfie worthy of being on your resume - unless you are still under the age of 16.
However, often times when you respond to a job post online, you may be required to send a photo with your application, so it’s likely you are going to require a professional photo at some point in time, regardless. For more about what kind of photo I am describing opinions vary, ask yourself, what kind of photo you would want to appropriately represent you on a company website as a guideline.
In my experienced opinion, a photo can be a distraction from your qualifications. If you are to be invited for the interview it should result from the content of your resume, period. Your personal appearance, besides the basic ability to dress and present oneself appropriately, is irrelevant as an initial consideration for your qualifications.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Maybe, You Don’t Know…

In addition to my recruiting and headhunting activities, I am a lecturer and a consultant. Often my biggest obstacle is getting people to recognize they don’t know as much as they think they do. 
I am speaking about the task of looking for, but also and more important, effectively interviewing for the jobs they want and to do it such that they outshine everyone else seeking the same. It’s always the same: I get a strange look and a dose of condescension when they wince and say, “Thanks, but I know what to do.” However, in reality, they don’t. 
The reason is simple; all of us have been lulled into complacency during these last couple of decades because everything is internet and digitally focused. Our soft-skill abilities have degraded – a lot! And especially true among young people, most of whom I am sad to say are completely clueless. Although it is not limited to them, I know middle and senior-level professionals who are just as uncomfortable in a face-to-face interview. This is why people rely so much upon their resume to speak for them, because they have to. 
Initially when I propose to someone the kind of training I offer and deliver, I encounter a majority of individuals who are overly impressed with themselves and what they perceive to be their own abilities. Then, later, after they fail to get any real results from their search and interview efforts they sheepishly call me, expressing their frustration and suggesting the system is unfair, there are no good jobs, or any number of other excuses – but it is never them. 
Invariably, I have to hit them between the eyes and say, “No, it’s quite possibly you and your denial in recognizing that maybe, just maybe, you don’t know what you don’t know. Maybe it’s time you learn, or re-learn, what will help you to help yourself”. 
I just conducted another seminar, to students attending a university with a highly-rated MBA program. It’s always the same at the beginning -- they arrive relatively confident in their own abilities. However, by the time I’ve finished, they are always appreciative and tell me how much more and better prepared they feel, eager to get out there and implement what they’ve learned.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Don’t Do It

Last week I met with a young man, who after 8 years with the same company, determined he’s not progressing any further and shared with me that he’s going to begin looking for a new job. 
We discussed what he might like to do in his next role; he was realistic and approaching the subject sensibly until he told me he planned to tell his boss about his plans. It was at that point I told him in no uncertain terms, that it is almost never a good idea regardless of how good a working relationship he thinks he has. 
At face value this sounds okay and if you’re not happy with some aspect of you job, such that you might leave as a result, it is always wise to approach the issue with your manager in an attempt to resolve whatever might concern you. But once you’ve made the determination to find a new job, it is not a good idea to tell your manager of your intentions – nuh uh, no. It is naïve at best or just plain dumb and a potentially self-destructive gesture.
Until you have a signed job offer letter and or a signed contract with a start date, maintain your poker face and hold your cards close to the vest. In the case of the young man with whom I was meeting, his assumption is that he will find a job quickly, but what if it doesn’t happen so fast, or it doesn’t happen at all? The potential consequences are too great, so don’t do it.
I know another person who did the very same thing recently and almost overnight the working relationship with her boss quickly soured because he took it personally. Now she feels pressured and recognizes she’ll have to leave sooner than she thought because her good intentions backfired.
Here’s the problem: once you’ve made clear your plans, real or contemplated, a bond of sorts has been broken; suddenly you find yourself outside the circle of trust, looking in. You might even be shown the door sooner and before you even have another job and, for what, because you wanted to be nice?
Your best option is to go along as though nothing is wrong and all is well, and at such time as you secure a new opportunity, it is then and only then you should inform your employer of your plans – period.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mealtime Interview

Many people will at one time or another, when interviewing for a job, be invited to a mealtime interview. Perhaps it will be a combination lunch and interview or any meeting which combines food, drink and being evaluated for a job. Most often it is a time-saving plan, arranged by a busy hiring manager. I know -- it is meant to be a more relaxed and casual meeting. But in my long experience, my advice to any interviewee is that I suggest you avoid it if you have any choice in the matter. Under the circumstances, there is nothing relaxed or casual about it.
First of all, neither side is focused on the purpose of the meeting, which is your potential suitability for a job. I find the whole concept of an interview over lunch or a dinner to be a waste of valuable time – I always recommend against it for both client companies and job seekers. Imagine there is the din and noise of the environment, countless distractions such as wait staff, passers-by, juggling a meaningful conversation while simultaneously avoiding food, drink, crumbs, sauces and dressings on your chin, tie, jacket or blouse. Not to mention the fact that a public venue always poses a risk of being seen by a friend, co-worker or possibly even a supervisor; this potential by itself can be a distraction. 
To applicants and candidates: If you must attend an interview under such circumstances, remember why you are there. You are not there to eat but rather to interview and demonstrate why they should hire you. Order light and order whatever has the least potential for making a mess. An accidental spill can turn the event into a complete waste of time. 
To managers: I suggest that if you are taking the interview and selection of potential employees seriously, then make the time to meet them in an environment in which both sides can focus on the purpose of the meeting. A mealtime interview may save you time, but you are cheating the other person out of a real opportunity to focus on the task at hand; neither of you are focused.