Thursday, October 31, 2013

Networking Rules for Job-seekers: the Good, the Bad and the Almost Perfect

Networking is about meeting people you know who can vouch for your past performance and connect you with people you don’t know.

After writing The Best Job-hunting Secrets of All Time, and reading the comments, I can safely conclude that 20% of job-seekers find networking necessary, appropriate, and comfortable. Another 20% find it necessary, but uncomfortable. The rest are either not doing it, or doing it wrong. (Note: I’ll be hosting a job-seeker webcast on Oct 10th discussing this and related topics.)

As many of you know I wrote a book, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, attempting to describe the hiring process from all perspectives: job-seekers (active and passive), recruiters (the good and bad), and hiring managers (the fully- and not-so-fully engaged). One theme of the book was to suggest that job-seekers need to take matters into their own hands when they find companies, recruiters or hiring managers using some flawed hiring process. The techniques in the book will not help you get a job you don’t deserve; they will only help you get one you do.

As I’ve stated loud and clear on these pages many times, applying directly to a job posting should represent no more than 20% of your total time looking for a job. Sixty percent should be on networking. The other 20% represents a bunch of clever techniques to help your resume be found and get contacted by a recruiter. This post will focus on the 60% networking piece.

For job-seekers there are some major advantages to networking over applying directly. For one, you’ll be able to bypass the gatekeepers. For another, you’ll increase your chances of being interviewed and hired by 5-10X. Even more important, candidates who are highly referred are judged more on their past performance and future potential than on their level of skills and experiences. That’s why I tell candidates not to directly apply to a job unless they’re a perfect fit on skills and experience. If not, they need to be referred by someone who can vouch for their past performance and future potential.

Networking is not about trying to meet as many people whom you don’t know. This is almost as ineffective as applying directly to a job posting. Networking is about meeting people you do know who can both vouch for your past performance and future potential, and willingly recommend you to others. Here’s how this should be done:

Meet 3-4 people who can vouch for your past performance and future potential. These should be your best first degree connections. Younger people can use their professors, advisors, or important church or social connections as their first degree connections.

During the meeting review your resume or LinkedIn profile and ask for feedback. Then ask these people if they would be comfortable recommending you to people they know who are connected to others in companies or industries of interest.

If the answer to Step 2 is no, find out why, and/or find some better connected people.

If the answer to Step 2 is yes, obtain the names of 3-4 people and their contact information. Then ask the person who is vouching for you if they would call the person on your behalf, or send an email introducing you.

Research your connection’s connections and ask about specific people. In addition to asking people you know who they know, you can turn this around and ask them about specific people they’re already connected to who you’d like to meet. This is possible using LinkedIn, since you’re able to see your first degree connections’ connections (at least if they haven’t hidden them).

Network backwards. Start with a job of interest, and using LinkedIn, find out who you’re connected to who knows someone in the company who can refer you.

Be direct and be proactive. When you meet these second degree connections be prepared to ask about specific people they know, and about specific jobs at their companies. All of this information is on LinkedIn. Asking to be referred to a specific person or a specific job will result in more connections and more interviews.

Don’t be a pest, but keep your network warm by maintaining an active PR campaign. Spend a few hours each week sending emails to those who have helped you in any way. Make them personal.

Establish some metrics to stay focused. Treat the job-hunting process as a job, not a hobby. As a minimum, you’ll need to track meetings per week and the number of recommendations per meeting. The overriding goal should by 50-60 people in your job-hunting network within 2-3 weeks.

Networking is how you turn 4-5 great contacts into 50-60 connections in 2-3 weeks. As described above, networking should represent 60% of your job-hunting efforts. It will take about 20-30 hours per week. This is roughly 10-15 new contacts per week via the phone, which should convert into 5-6 one-on-one meetings every week. The rest of the time should be on LinkedIn researching their connections and finding open jobs in their companies. Within 2-3 weeks you’ll start hearing about some real jobs of interest. The person doing the recommending will think it’s a coincidence, but you’ll know it’s a result of your hard work.

Getting referred increases your chances of being interviewed and getting a better job by 5-10X over applying directly. This is a pretty good trade-off since it only takes three times the effort. Even better, some of the connections you make along the way will surprise you, and put you on a path you never even considered.

via Networking Rules for Job-seekers: the Good, the Bad and the Almost Perfect | LinkedIn.

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Networking Rules for Job-seekers: the Good, the Bad and the Almost Perfect

How the Role of Corporate Recruiter Is Evolving

Calling yourself a recruiter doesn’t do justice to what “recruiters” have to do. Here’s a quick overview of where the role was, where it is now, and where it’s heading.

Think about the good old days, way before the Internet. The normal recruitment method was to place an ad in a national or local newspaper or perhaps a relevant magazine. Applications came in, interviews arranged, and hires were made. So far so easy. But the volume of hiring was nowhere near what it is today with job hopping every few years the exception not the norm, as it is now.

The notion of a dedicated recruiter was rare in all but the biggest companies, with the overworked HR manager left to deal with hiring. But as jobs for life became less scarce so the churn rate increased and staffing agencies gradually sprung up to take the burden off HR teams.

Then the Internet happened and life got interesting. Previously the almost set-in-stone route to candidates meant little or no thought or creativity was needed to source candidates. The role was predominantly administrative — handling applications. Now the route to candidates is so diverse that the “recruiter” must develop expertise in multiple areas. Here’s a quick checklist of what a good recruiter must know … and it’s quite lengthy:

Job boards:

  • Do you know every single one for each of the roles you typically advertise?

  • Evaluation of response rates. Not always easy unless you’ve got a very good ATS doing it for you. Are you aware of the technology you can use to post to multiple job boards and/or search their applicant databases.

  • Do you know how to keyword-optimize jobs so they appear at the top of job listings on job boards? (And no, it’s not just repeating the job title five times in the text.)

  • Are you aware of how to use job board aggregators to hire people? Which are the best classified sites to use and for which roles: Geebo, Craigslist, eBay classifieds, etc.

Social media:

  • This is recruitment marketing by any other term. As a recruiter do you know how to use social media to source candidates? Do you have a referral system in place to allow your employees to socialize the details of the job? Can you track the results?


Do you know how you can use a blog — or someone else’s — to find candidates? You sure you do? So where’s your blog detailing the great things your company is doing?

Talent pipeline building:

It’s vital for all but the smallest companies to identify and hook into candidates, even if neither party is actively looking. Do you know how to do that? Do you have a mechanism in place to track potential star candidates in the future you can talk to (no, not just an Excel spreadsheet) ?

Your careers portal:

  • Think of your vacancies in the same way your marketing team thinks about your company’s products and services: you have to sell them to people. What exactly is your careers portal doing to blow candidates away? Do you know how to make the jobs attractive? Do you really know how to write a great job description? Really? Here’s a simple test: if it’s a new role, do you state that in the job description every single time? You should. It impresses candidates to know it’s not just a boring replacement. Do you have video or written testimonials from staff introducing the role?

  • Do you know how to keyword-optimize your careers site so that Google and other search engines start picking it up for certain types of roles you constantly recruit? That’s your holy grail … all your jobs listed on Google, as that means a free pipeline of applicants every day. Do you know how to do this?

  • It goes without saying that you’ll have Google analytics installed and can track back the popularity of your careers portal and each of its subsections to see what people are looking at … right?

  • Increasingly, recruiters, to do their job effectively, must have at least a basic appreciation of what underpins a good careers portal … not just the content but the technical infrastructure behind it. Without that understanding it would be difficult to create the very best portal in terms of what it can do, how it can do it, how fast it can do it, and what information it can store and analyze. A basic understanding of graphical interfaces, databases, Flash, and HTML coding is becoming increasingly beneficial.

Gone mobile yet?

Let’s face it, more and more job traffic will come through mobiles and ‘phablets.’ Do do you understand what can and can’t be done to create a functioning, if slimmed-down careers portal which is usable via a five-inch screen? Have you even got a mobile version of your careers site yet? If not, get on it.

PPC recruitment advertising

Every tried advertising your jobs directly on Google? Not many have. It’s a process of trial and error, testing to see which roles in which locations get a number of applications. It might not work for a one-off role but if you’re regularly hiring certain types of roles (developers, accountants, graduates) then you should be devising a direct search engine advertising strategy.

Lastly, you’re an expert on all data-protection issues in every country you recruit for, right?

This list isn’t exhaustive, but gives you an idea of the hugely diverse nature of the modern recruitment ecosystem. Part lawyer, recruiter, data analyst … the role is becoming almost too large for one person, which leads me neatly to the role of the corporate recruiter in the near future. In the same way as a large marketing team is split into different areas from research, trade marketing, digital, brand/product marketing, etc., so recruitment will increasingly specialize. No longer will you just be a recruiter but a specialist with, in all probability, a very different title.

We’re already beginning to see it happening with people assigned to different areas of  specialization for major employers. Some focus on graduate hires, some on the nuances of hiring at board level. This trend will continue. “Generalist” recruiters will try their best to wear multiple hats as the dedicated recruitment manager at smaller companies, and the larger employers will split their ever growing recruitment teams into specialist roles. There will be a specialist psychometric tester, a member of marketing will be seconded to HR to focus purely on SEO for your careers site, a web developer will sit almost permanently in HR to work on a near continuous process of improvement to the corporate careers site and it’s mobile sibling, integrating the latest technologies to give them the recruiting edge.

“Sourcers” will have the sole job of evaluating, purchasing, and using job boards, the best staffing agencies, and CV databases to actually get the candidates. In turn they will hand them over to specialist assessors for evaluation via detailed psychological and psychometric testing. The days of the simple interview will be long gone.

Once hired or possibly even before offers are made, the candidates will then be handed to specialist “checkers” for validation of references and detailed background checks. Overseeing all of this will be campaign evaluators who, a bit like management consultants, will be constantly analyzing the whole department to spot bottlenecks, assess the success/failure rates, analyze the costs of hiring campaigns, as well as be responsible for continuously scanning the market for new technologies and tools to help source, evaluate, and secure the best people, faster.

So anyone fancy any of these new job titles on their business card?

Talent Evaluation Consultant

Recruitment Search Engine Optimization Manager

People Validation Executive

Careers Portal Developer

Sourcing Assistant

via How the Role of Corporate Recruiter Is Evolving –

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How the Role of Corporate Recruiter Is Evolving

What Interviewers Wish They Could Tell Every Job Candidate

In the best interviews, job candidates say a lot and interviewers very little – after all, the interview is about the candidate, not the interviewer.

But there are a few things interviewers would like to tell job candidates well before the interview starts.

1. I want you to be likeable.

Obvious? Sure, but also critical. I want to work with people I like and who in turn like me.

So: I want you to smile. I want you to make eye contact, sit forward in your chair, and be enthusiastic. The employer-employee relationship truly is a relationship — and that relationship starts with the interview (if not before.)

A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond. You may have solid qualifications, but if I don’t think I’ll enjoy working with you, I’m probably not going to hire you.

Life is too short.

2. I don’t want you to immediately say you want the job.

Oh, I do want you to want the job — but not before you really know what the job entails. I may need you to work 60-hour weeks, or travel 80% of the time, or report to someone with less experience than you… so sit tight for a bit.

No matter how much research you’ve done, you can’t know you want the job until you know everything possible about the job.

3. I want you to stand out….

A sad truth of interviewing is that later I often don’t recall, unless I refer to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates. (Unfair? Sure. Reality? Absolutely.)

The more people I interview for a job and the more spread out those interviews, the more likely I am to remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.

So when I meet with staff to discuss potential candidates I might initially refer to someone as, “the guy with the bizarre stainless steel briefcase,” or “the woman who does triathlons,” or “the gentleman who grew up in Lichtenstein.”

In short, I may remember you by “hooks” – whether flattering or unflattering – so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Better yet your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time or the huge sale you made.

Instead of letting me choose, give me one or two notable ways to remember you.

4. … but not for being negative.

There’s no way I can remember everything you say. But I will remember sound bites, especially the negative ones – like the candidates who complain, without prompting, about their current employer, their coworkers, or their customers.

So if for example you hate being micro-managed, instead say you’re eager to earn more responsibility and authority. I get there are reasons you want a new job but I want to hear why you want my job instead of why you’re desperate to escape your old job.

And keep in mind I’m well aware our interview is like a first date. I know I’m getting the best possible version of “you.” So if you whine and complain and grumble now… I know you’ll be a real treat to be around in a few months.

5. I want you to ask lots of questions about what really matters to you…

I need to know whether I should hire you, but just as importantly I need you to make sure my job is a good fit for you.

So I want you to ask lots of questions: What I expect you to accomplish early on, what attributes make our top performers outstanding, what you can do to truly drive results, how you’ll be evaluated… all the things that matter to you and to me and my business.

You know what makes work meaningful and enjoyable to you. I don’t. There’s no other way to really know whether you want the job unless you ask questions.

6. … but only if the majority of those questions relate to real work.

I know you want a positive work-life balance. Still, save all those questions about vacation sign-up policies and whether it’s okay to take an extra half hour at lunch every day if you also stay a half hour late and whether I’ve considered setting up an in-house childcare facility because that would be really awesome for you and your family.

First let’s find out if you’re the right person for the job, and whether the tasks, responsibilities, duties, etc. are right for you.

Then we can talk about the rest.

7. I love when you bring a “project.”

I expect you to do a little research about my company. That’s a given.

To really impress me, use the research you’ve done to describe how you will hit the ground running and contribute right away – the bigger the impact the better. If you bring a specific skill, show how I can leverage that skill immediately.

Remember how I see it: I have to pay your salary starting day one, so I’d love to see an immediate return on that investment starting day one.

8. At the end I want you to ask for the job… and I want to know why.

By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so and let’s figure out how to get what you need to make a decision.

If you don’t need more information, do what great salespeople do and ask for the job.

I’ll like the fact you asked. I want you to really want the job — but I also want to know why you want the job. So tell me why: You thrive in an unsupervised role, or you love working with multiple teams, or you like frequent travel.

Ask me for the job and prove to me, objectively, that it’s a great fit for you.

9. I want you to follow up… especially if it’s genuine.

Every interviewer appreciates a brief follow-up note. If nothing else, saying you enjoyed meeting me and are happy to answer any other questions is nice.

But “nice” may not separate you from the pack.

What I really like – and remember – is when you follow up based on something we discussed. Maybe we talked about data collection techniques and you send me information about a set of tools you strongly recommend. Maybe we talked about quality and you send me a process checklist you developed that I could adapt to use in my company. Or maybe we both like cycling, so you send me a photo of you on your bike in front of the sign at the top of the Col du Tourmalet (and I’m totally jealous.)

The more closely you listened during the interview, the easier it is to think of ways to follow up in a natural and unforced way.

Remember, we’re starting a relationship — and even the most professional of relationships are based on genuine interaction

via What Interviewers Wish They Could Tell Every Job Candidate | LinkedIn.

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What Interviewers Wish They Could Tell Every Job Candidate

Drucker: Treat Employees Like Volunteers

I caught an awkward glimpse of myself when I asked my wife, “Would you like me to tell you what I think you should do?”

Surprisingly, she said, “No, not really.”

In that no-moment, I felt helpless. If I don’t tell you what to do, what can I do, I thought to myself? What can I say?

I asked, “What would you like me to do when you feel stuck?”

She said, “Do what you do best. Ask questions. Help me find an answer.”


I enjoy the power of telling. Its funny how telling is easy to do, but hard to take. I don’t like being told. Do you?

If leading was telling, we’d have more leaders.

Danger of pay checks:

Lousy leaders use pay checks as permission to control. You feel like you own their time because you paid for it. Technically, you’re right. But, who enjoys being controlled?

Lousy leaders think pay checks are

permission to treat people like slaves.

Demand obedience.

Exclude from decisions.

Control rather than give control.

Tell rather than ask.

Talk rather than listen.

Disrespect because their salaries are less.

Ignore praise, thanks, honor, and recognition.

If employees were volunteers leaders would:

Focus more on people with passion and less on people with talent.

Seek agreement on expectations and deliverables.

Ask permission to hold people accountable.

Express gratitude sincerely.

Address tough conversations kindly.

Focus on aligning organizational and individual values.

Build relationships.




Bonus: Help people get where they want to go by understanding their goals and leveraging their strengths.

How would things change if you ignored the fact that employees are paid and treated them like volunteers?

via Drucker: Treat Employees Like Volunteers | Leadership Freak.

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Drucker: Treat Employees Like Volunteers

How To Get Your Resume Past Computer Screening Tactics

Today’s technologically sophisticated job applications often leave applicants wondering where their information ends up. As an unopened e-mail, buried at the bottom of a hiring manager’s overflowing inbox? As “new submission” entry #578 in an internal online database? Or perhaps as a bulletpoint on a low-level employee or intern’s to-do list: “Print and screen job applications.”

The answer to this question, it turns out, is even more disturbing, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Recruiters and hiring managers are overwhelmed by the volume of résumés pouring in, thanks to the weak job market and new tools that let applicants apply for a job with as little as one mouse click. The professional networking website LinkedIn recently introduced an “apply now” button on its job postings that sends the data in a job seeker’s profile directly to a potential employer.

While job boards and networking websites help companies broadcast openings to a wide audience, potentially increasing the chance the perfect candidate will reply, the resulting flood of applications tends to include a lot of duds. Most recruiters report that at least 50% of job hunters don’t possess the basic qualifications for the jobs they are pursuing.

To cut through the clutter, many large and midsize companies have turned to applicant-tracking systems to search résumés for the right skills and experience. The systems, which can cost from $5,000 to millions of dollars, are efficient, but not foolproof.

“I kind of wonder if some of the jobs I’m applying to even exist,” one Nevada-based software programmer said after a four-month job search. I felt the same way when I was searching for a job last year. The tracking systems may eliminate resumes based on criteria as irrelevant as the order in which you list data points, such as your former employer’s names and the dates of your employment there.

Despite their flaws, though, companies continue to be drawn to the systems because they provide a cost-efficient solution to dealing with the overwhelming volume of submissions for online job postings, which often draw hundreds or thousands of responses within just 24 hours.

Here are the WSJ’s tips for getting around the screens:

1. Forget about being creative. Instead, mimic the keywords in the job description as closely as possible. If you’re applying to be a sales manager, make sure your résumé includes the words “sales” and “manage” (assuming you’ve done both!).

2. Visit the prospective employer’s website to get a sense of the corporate culture. Do they use certain words to describe their values? If a firm has a professed interest in environmental sustainability, include relevant volunteer work or memberships on your résumé. The company may have programmed related keywords into its resume screening software.

3. Keep the formatting on your résumé simple and streamlined—you don’t want to perplex the software. With a past position, the system “sometimes gets confused about which is the company, which is the position, and which are the dates you worked there,” especially if they’re all on a single line, says Mr. Bersin. To make sure you hit all the categories, put them on separate lines. And “don’t get cute with graphics and layout,” says Mr. Rueff.

4. Some screening systems assign higher scores to elite schools. You may not have gotten your B.A. from a top-tier university, but if you attended a continuing-education class at one, include such qualifications on your résumé.

5. But don’t ever lie or exaggerate just to get through the screening process. Recruiters and ATSs are savvy about tricks jobseekers use (such as typing false qualifications in white font). “You don’t want to get through the black hole and find out it’s a worse hole you got yourself into,” Mr. Rueff says.

via How To Get Your Resume Past Computer Screening Tactics – The Wall Street Job Report | The Wall Street Job Report.

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How To Get Your Resume Past Computer Screening Tactics

"Girls? Ladies? Folks?" Here"s A Visual Guide To What You Should Call That Group Of Individuals

I belong to an excellent list serv called the “Tech Lady Mafia.” One of its members, Shawna Hein, 28, a user experience designer from Berkeley, recently expressed annoyance on the list at the widespread use of the word “girls” to describe women long past elementary school age.

“I first started thinking about it when Girl With A Dragon Tattoo came out,” says Hein by phone. “It’s a whole action series where the main character is a bad ass, and yet she’s called a girl. You never see an action hero with boy in his name.”

It’s hard to imagine Robert Downey Jr. signing up to play “Iron Boy.”

Hein, who went to Oberlin with Lena Dunham, says she was equally perplexed by her former classmate using the diminutive term Girls for her successful TV show, and troubled that a series of dinners for women in technology in the Bay area was entitled, “Girl Geek Dinners.”

“Every time I see the word ‘Girl’ used in scenarios that are supposed to empower women, it really grates on me,” she says. “When I saw the launch of ‘Girls Who Code,’ I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was actually aimed at youngsters.”

My own take on the use of “girl” and “boy”: If you’re not talking about a child or a love interest, these terms are best avoided.

Hein is far from the only person thinking about the language people should be using to describe women (and the terms women are using to self-describe). Ann Friedman had a terrific piece in the New Republic on the reclamation of the term “lady.”

But now, “lady” splits the difference between the infantilizing “girl” and the stuffy, Census-bureau cold “woman.” (Both still have their place—just not in the witty conversation that young feminists want to be having.) It’s a way to stylishly signal your gender-awareness, without the stone-faced trappings of the second-wave. It’s a casual synonym for “woman,” a female counterpart to “guy,” commonly used in winking conversation between one in-the-know woman and another. A scan of my phone reveals dozens of text messages that begin, “hey lady.” General David Petraeus’s paramour, Paula Broadwell, reportedly concluded an e-mail to a friend, “GREAT to see you, pretty lady”—a more grown-up way of signing off “xo.”

If your head hurts every time you have to think about how to generically refer to a person based on the presence or absence of the Y chromosome, you’re in luck. For those not immersed in the study of gender semantics, Hein has created a handy guide for which term to use when. Enjoy, um, folks:

via ‘Girls? Ladies? Folks?’ Here’s A Visual Guide To What You Should Call That Group Of Individuals. – Forbes.

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"Girls? Ladies? Folks?" Here"s A Visual Guide To What You Should Call That Group Of Individuals

The 10 Jobs With The Biggest Projected Salary Gains In 2014

We all know that software jobs are taking over the world. With smartphones battling for dominance through their software and interface design, cars chock full of programmable devices (I don’t own one but every time I rent I feel like I need an hour-long tutorial just to use the radio), and wearable computers that give us everything from our heart rate to the number of calories we burn, there have to be a lot of people coming up with ways to make the next gadget superior to the last.

Now a group of 2014 salary guides from Robert Half, the huge, $4 billion (sales) staffing firm based in Menlo Park, shows how much salaries are gaining for employees with skills in the realm of engineering, software development and programming. At a time when Robert Half projects that salaries will grow, on average, 3.7% in 2014, jobs like mobile applications developer and software developer will see increases of nearly 8%.

To compile its data, Robert Half polled 1,000 recruiters in 240 offices across the country for the wisdom they have gathered from the placements they have made so far in 2013 and the trends they’re seeing in their local markets. The company puts out guides that cover various fields, including accounting/finance, technology, legal, creative and administrative. Combined, the guides include data on more than 700 jobs.

As you might expect, the 10 jobs with the greatest expected salary gains are all related to software development and computer science in some way. Here is Robert Half’s table of the top salary gainers, with the percentage increase and the projected salaries. In some cases the range is quite large, more than $40,000. That’s because the company is surveying recruiters in such disparate cities as Louisville and Los Angeles.

What jobs do recruiters expect to have the lowest gains in 2014? Administrative jobs. Junior paralegals and legal assistants at mid-sized law firms of 35-75 lawyers will have a 1.1% increase, to $41,750-$54,250. Case clerks and assistants at mid-sized law firms will have a 1% hike to $32,250-$42,250. At the bottom of the list of 700 jobs: legal word processors, with just a .5% increase to $41,750-$55,000. At least no salaries fell into the negative category this year.

In broad strokes, here are the increases Robert Half projects for five different work sectors:

Technology: 5.6%

Accounting & Finance: 3.4%

Creative & Marketing: 3.3%

Administrative & Office Support: 3.3%

Legal: 2.7%

via The 10 Jobs With The Biggest Projected Salary Gains In 2014 – Forbes.

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The 10 Jobs With The Biggest Projected Salary Gains In 2014

The Bonus Employees Really Want, Even If They Don"t Know It Yet

Ask your employees this: “How would you like to be rewarded for your efforts and performance, in addition to your fixed salary?” They will likely respond by asking for a cash reward in the form of a raise or bonus, which they can then spend on themselves. They might even convince you that spending this extra cash on the newest tablet on the market, or Daft Punk’s next album, will motivate them to work “harder, better, faster, stronger.”

Take what they say with a grain of salt.

Giving your employees money, and the freedom for them to spend it on whatever reward they choose, might sound like the recipe for a happy and more productive workplace. But evidence from an array of scientific studies says otherwise. Individual rewards—ranging from pay-per-performance to bonuses—have been shown to be detrimental to employee morale and productivity.

First, monetary rewards tend to decrease the individual’s intrinsic motivation and interest for the job. Second, unless the job is extremely simple (requiring no creativity, problem-solving, or complex reasoning abilities), monetary rewards can paradoxically impair performance by leading employees to focus too much on the up-coming extra cash. Finally, when employees compare their end-of-year bonuses, we see more jealousy, anxiety, and competition, and less trust, sharing, and teamwork in the workplace. If your employees are working in groups, the effect is compounded: deterioration of these relationships damages both their individual happiness as well as how they work together as a team.

So, should you throw away the carrot once and for all? Not quite. We suggest that you try something new and potentially far more effective: prosocial bonuses.

Instead of giving your employees more money to spend on themselves, what if you provide them the same bonuses with one caveat: they must be spent on prosocial actions towards charities and co-workers? We tested this very idea, with our collaborators Lara B. Aknin, Michael I. Norton, and Elizabeth W. Dunn: in three countries, we examined the power of prosocial bonuses across different professions and cultures.

First, National Australia Bank gave some of their employees money to spend on charities. This differs from the classic corporate social responsibility model, where the company donates a lump-sum amount of money to a charity usually selected by the CEO. In this method, the company cannot measure the impact of this act of kindness on the dynamics within the firm or on public image. As an alternative to lump-sum donation, the bank gave each employee their own charity voucher and encouraged them to spend it on a cause that they cared about, whether it was to fund cancer research or save Australian ducks. After redeeming these prosocial bonuses, employees reported being more satisfied with their jobs and happier overall.

Next, we wanted to see what would happen if people were nice to others they personally know, rather than being charitable towards strangers. We also wondered whether prosocial bonuses are motivating for everyone, or just for bankers (!), who might often spend money on themselves. In our next set of examinations, we encouraged spending on co-workers and teammates. We gave cash to some members of dodgeball teams in Canada and pharmaceutical sales teams in Belgium and asked them to spend on each other. When asked to give gifts to one another, team members reported indulging in a box of chocolate or bottle of wine, and one team even reported buying a piñata, which they gladly bashed together. Prosocial bonuses appeared to change the way team members thought of their interactions with one another, resulting in gifts that increased shared experiences. Most importantly, we found that teams that received prosocial bonuses performed better after receiving the bonuses than teams that received money to spend on themselves.

Earlier, we mentioned that it is nearly impossible to measure the return on investment in corporate social responsibility. With prosocial bonuses, however, we were able to measure the dollar impact on the bottom line. On sports teams, every $10 spent prosocially led to an 11% increase in winning percentage compared to a two percent decrease in winning for teams where members spent on themselves. On sales teams, for every $10 spent prosocially, the firm gained $52.

Nowadays, people spend more and more time at work, yet less than half of working Americans report being happy with their jobs. Maybe it is time to be creative with the rewards and switch from a self-centered to an altruistic paradigm. Rather than spending a significant amount of time wondering about the big holiday bonus, what if your employees spent some time figuring out how their donations can impact the world, or what kind of gift will make their co-workers happy?

Maybe then money can be a path to spreading happiness and productivity in the workplace.

via The Bonus Employees Really Want, Even If They Don’t Know It Yet – Lalin Anik and Jordi Quoidbach – Harvard Business Review.

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The Bonus Employees Really Want, Even If They Don"t Know It Yet

Job Interview Tips: How To Impress Potential Employers And Get The Job

Here’s how to make a first impression on a job interview that leads to one final question: “So, when can you start?”

Whether You Value Your Time More Than Anyone Else’s

You think you’ll show how eager and prepared you are by arriving 15 or more minutes early, but the manager — who’s usually notified of your arrival shortly after you check in with the front desk — suddenly feels pressured to meet with you, and the receptionist has to figure out what to do with you in the meantime, explains Jenny Blake, Life After College author and former career development manager at Google. Most hiring managers are overworked, overstressed and overscheduled. By showing up five to 10 minutes before the interview, you’re demonstrating not only that you understand that, but also that you’re doing your part to be one less thing for him or her to worry about.

Whether You Know How To Pass The Test

You’ve scanned the company’s mission statement and “About” page on the website, but have you translated those vague messages about the importance of “teamwork” and “creativity” into clues that can define your interview — especially how you’ll demonstrate those values? In This Is How to Get Your Next Job, author Andrea Kay quotes VonChurch CEO Alex Churchill, who says that every interviewee is offered a glass of water as soon as he or she walks in the door: “If you don’t say thank you after being offered the water, you’ve failed the interview right there.” Politeness is among the company’s core values, and like many managers, he wants to see candidates who display those values from the start.

Whether You’ll Be The Next Office Troll

Two seemingly nonchalant questions most employers ask before the interview even starts carry a lot more weight than you’d think: “How about this weather?” and “Did you have a hard time finding us?” Although it might seem like an easy way to commiserate — and bond — with strangers, bringing up the temperature or traffic tends to backfire here, even if you’ve had to navigate an unfamiliar office complex on a massively humid day. “The interviewer knows very little about you, so she’s soaking up every little thing to assess who you are,” says Allison Green of When you gripe about the small stuff, you might as well be saying, “If you hire me, I will respond to every request with an eye-roll and a heavy sigh.”

Whether You Know How To Pack a Bag

While it’s always good to have work samples on hand to illustrate a point, “when you take out your portfolio right away, you’re hijacking the interview, and it sends a strong signal that you’re going to be a management problem down the road,” says Martin Yate, author of Knock ‘Em Dead: Secrets & Strategies for First-Time Job Seekers.Save it for later in the interview, when you’re answering a question that can be best explained using the visuals. Beyond that, copies of your resume, pens and a notepad are critical to have on hand — though they come with a caveat as well. Take notes only if there’s something you’ll need to follow up on, or if the interviewer has to answer a call mid-conversation — that way you can remind him where you left off, Yate recommends. Otherwise, keep the pen out of your hands (especially if you’re prone to absent-mindedly clicking, chewing or twirling it).

Whether You Know How To Put On The Right Shoes

One final note: You’ve heard before how important it is to dress appropriately. But in the era of business casual, trendy business casual and startup casual, every office has its own unwritten rules about how people dress at work, and no two offices are quite the same. Have lunch just outside the office a few days before the interview, and pay attention to what people are wearing as they enter and exit the building, recommends Yate. The sharpest-dressed person there is your new style icon.


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Job Interview Tips: How To Impress Potential Employers And Get The Job

4 tips for plucking top IT talent from a sea of candidates

Great IT is essential for organizations to drive innovation, make smarter decisions and increase revenue. So it should come as no surprise that the market for IT professionals is highly competitive — particularly among organizations that lead their industries.

In a recent TEKsystems Talent Management study, IT staffers reported receiving an average of 23 recruiter solicitations a week, and 91% said that they are open to the idea of moving into a new position even if they aren’t actively looking for a new job. Given this dynamic, organizations need an IT talent management strategy that includes four elements.

1. Talk total package. Although many recruiters would love to rely on a “post and coast” job board strategy to source talent, posting a job description and a compensation rate range in cyberspace won’t suffice. The focus needs to be on developing and discussing a total “employee value proposition,” which will detail not only job requirements and compensation, but also company culture, the work environment, career development options and opportunities for advancement, and other noteworthy other perks and benefits.

To communicate that proposition, it’s best to have a recruiting partner or experienced hiring manager talk with candidates about open positions. That approach allows job candidates to select positions that best align to their skills, goals, interests and values.

2. Dig in. IT leaders can’t afford to make bad hiring decisions, but there’s rampant opportunity to do so. Thirty-five percent of IT leaders say most IT resumes contain outright lies, and 77% believe most IT resumes exaggerate the job seeker’s work experience. Perhaps most troubling is that two out of five IT professionals agree that their organizations have hired vastly unqualified IT staffers because their screening process was inadequate.

To be effective, the candidate-screening process should assess a job applicant’s personality and behavioral traits in addition to his technical skills and past performance.

3. Start fast. Onboarding is crucial: The first 30 to 90 days after a new hire joins your team can determine whether the employer-employee relationship will be successful. But while 83% of IT leaders say onboarding programs are important to a new hire’s success, just 13% rate their programs as extremely effective.

Best practices include a formal plan that entails frequent and direct manager-employee interaction. They also focus on helping new hires learn the business, understand the strategic value of their roles, and build relationships with their fellow team members.

4. Keep your eye on the prize. After working so hard to get great IT professionals in the door, organizations must focus on their retention strategies. A higher retention rate translates into a workforce made up of highly productive employees with a good deal of business acumen. And, ultimately, it will yield a strong crop of IT leaders with line-level experience that enables them to identify and overcome obstacles to critical IT initiatives.

To retain employees, managers need to speak with them regularly — beyond their formal annual reviews. IT professionals welcome frequent, informal feedback; it helps them set expectations and stay focused and motivated.

Retention strategies should also take succession planning into account. To ensure that you’re prepared to replace talented employees who choose to move on, dig deep into the organization to identify people who are strong performers with exceptional skills and a good deal of experience.

While it’s exciting to think of the competitive edge that a superior IT department can give a company, it’s the individual people who make the difference and achieve results. Great talent management practices will facilitate great IT — and deliver a competitive human resources advantage that’s difficult to imitate.

via Rachel Russell: 4 tips for plucking top IT talent from a sea of candidates – Computerworld.

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4 tips for plucking top IT talent from a sea of candidates

Is Losing Talent Always Bad?

Conventional wisdom might say that the recent departure of Marc Jacobs from Louis Vuitton is terrible news for the company. But if you look a little more closely at the fashion industry you’ll find that turning over your talent isn’t always a bad thing.

Prada is a case in point. Between 2000 and 2010 Prada lost a lot of designers to competing fashion houses, yet its fashion collections were consistently rated as much more creative than the average.

How does that happen? In a recent study (co-authored with Frederic Godart and Kim Claes) I found that when a designer leaves a fashion house to work for competition, he or she tends to stay in touch with friends and former colleagues from the old job. These ties act as communication bridges through which former colleagues can learn what the departed designer is up to in the new job. And when several designers leave to work for different fashion houses, the colleagues staying behind build bridges to lots of companies. This provides them with a lot of creative input for their future collections.

The phenomenon is not confined to fashion. McKinsey consultants famously stay in touch with former colleagues, who have left to to work for other firms, most of which are potential customers. The same thing happens in Silicon Valley where people change jobs across customers and competitors. To be sure, we are not talking about industrial espionage here. The positive effects of communication bridges on creativity come from friends catching up with friends in very general terms about what is going on in their professional lives.

Fashion houses that benefit the most from talent turnover also have long serving creative directors who mentor and befriend the new hires. At Prada, this is Miuccia Prada, who has a long tenure as the company’s creative director.

Prada (the company) gets infusions of fresh ideas every time it hires a new colleague. Prada (the designer) welcomes and helps train the newcomers. When a designer eventually leaves to work elsewhere, after a fruitful stint at Prada, she remains on good terms with former colleagues, spreading the message throughout the industry that Prada is a great place to work and learn. These positive tendencies are reinforced by a culture of transparency and collaboration in the company, as described by CEO Patricio Bertelli in an HBR article.

The messages to the non-fashion world are clear. Don’t part with former employees on bad terms and don’t forget about them. Stay in touch with them as they are your communication channels and ambassadors in the industry. Replace them with talent from different companies to preserve diversity of ideas inside your firm. And make sure senior executives take time to train and socialize the new hires.

Now every time we see someone wearing Prada, let’s think not only about the fashion, but also of the management lessons that we can learn from this company.

via Is Losing Talent Always Bad? – Andrew Shipilov – Harvard Business Review.

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Is Losing Talent Always Bad?

5 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Presence

Twitter has a stronghold on the blogosphere, yet sometimes, it’s hard to be heard. If you’re struggling to grow your Twitter following, you’re not alone.

Here are my tips.

1. Leverage your other “engagement media” profiles

Do you have an existing online profile somewhere outside of Twitter (big or small)? Use it to springboard into Twitter. If it’s a blog, mention that you’re using Twitter in a post, add Twitter sharing buttons to your home page and individual posts, and link to it from your profile and contact pages.

Tweet button

My posts all display a Tweet button

If you’re on Facebook, use one of the numerous tools or apps available to republish your tweets to Facebook. If you promote your blog on Google+, share your Tweets there. Using Pinterest? Cross-pollinate between those followers and your Twitter followers to maximize the return on the time you’re investing in social media.

It goes without saying that you should add Twitter, along with your other social media account details, to your email signature, business card, and so on. The same applies with any online (or even offline) presence that you have—link to your Twitter page and link to it often.

2. Tweet often—but leave space for engagement

The more active you are on Twitter, the more likely you are to have others find and follow you. However, tweet too frequently and you run the risk of losing followers. I try to stick to one topic at a time and create pauses between them to let others interact.

Striking the right balance takes time and experimentation. Watch who retweets your updates—and which updates they’re sharing—to get a sense of your strongest advocates.

And be sure to engage with those who share your updates and those who respond to you. Thank them, answer their questions, and ask them why they likes that tweet or this post. Consider this engagement part of your ongoing market research for your blog, and your social media strategy.

3. Get talking

The secret to building your follower list is interaction. I get most new followers on those days when I interact with other Twitter users_and over time, that’s grown to a massive number of people.

We call them @ replies but you can, of course, also use the @_name functionality to engage with people you don’t know or follow—and who don’t know or follow you.

Asking questions is perhaps the best way to get conversational on Twitter. Get ten people to answer a question you’ve tweeted and if even just one person retweets one of those ten replies (or your original question), you’ll have gained exposure to whole new rafts of potential followers.

Just as important is to participate in other people’s conversations. Reply to their questions and ideas as much as possible.

The key with Twitter really is shared interests. people will share your tweets with their followers if they think you share a common interest with them, and your tweet is relevant. So, be conversational about topics that will interest others. Be conversational in a way that encourages your followers to reach out to their own networks.

Sharable tweets

Make your tweets resonate with a broad audience

Finally, you might find your first few engagements on Twitter easiest if you’re not talking about yourself—I find I do better when I’m not talking about me! No one likes to hang around with people who just talk about themselves, so get the balance right between talking about yourself and talking about others and other topics of interest.

4. Provide optimal value

Tweeting on a personal level is fun and for many that’s as far as it goes, but if you’re interested in growing your Twitter influence, you need to provide your followers, and potential followers, with value.

It’s the same principle as growing a blog—if you help enhance people’s lives in some way they are more likely to want to track with you, read more of what you have to say, and share your ideas with others.

Make your conversations matter on some level. Sure you can throw in personal tweets and have some fun, but unless you’re providing something useful to people (information, entertainment, news, education, etc.) they probably won’t follow you for long, or share your content with their own networks.

5. Tweet in peak times

Last week I tracked when I had new Twitter followers add me, and found (as I expected) that the frequency of follows where made during business hours in the USA.

Tweeting at the times when your followers are online only increases the chances of their finding and adding you to their lists, and sharing your tweets—timing certainly affects sharing on Facebook, and if you look at your retweet stats, you’ll find it does on this network, too.

My being situated in Australia can have some positives and negatives, but one of the things I don’t enjoy about it is that I miss out on a lot of interaction with my followers who are on the other side of the world. While many social media management apps will let you schedule status updates and tweets, there’s no substitute for in-person, real-time interaction on Twitter.

Bonus tip: tweet from the heart

Don’t worry too much about how you “come across” on Twitter. Just be yourself and tweet form the heart. Don’t stress too much about the numbers—instead, use the platform to connect genuinely with the Twitter followers you already have, and let the rest take care of itself!

via 5 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Presence in 2012 : @ProBlogger.

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5 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Presence

Resume Tips: How to Write a Strong Resume That Gets You Real Interviews

How your resume looks and feels paints a picture of you. An important picture. You want to write a good, strong resume that gets you noticed – and hired for the job you want.

But the special challenge your resume faces is that, in order to do that, it has to paint that picture in a way that clearly communicates within mere seconds to the person screening your resume. If the match to the job you want isn’t apparent, you don’t get a chance to make your case in person at an interview.

But the right resume can open doors. And that’s why it pays to take the time and effort to create a strong resume (and cover letter) that is almost impossible to say no to, since it looks great, is well organized, and speaks clearly to the job you’re applying for.

So what makes a resume strong?

A resume is strong if it answers the employer’s question “Why should I even consider hiring you?” Most of the time, they know nothing else about you, and have only this document (and your cover letter) in front of them to make your case. You want to make sure you create a resume that leaves no doubt that you are well worth speaking to. Here are some things that can help make sure you catch their eye and interest:

(1)   I can’t say this enough. Take the time to creatively target your resume to the job you are applying for. Each job.

(2)   Use clear powerful sentences that start with action words like “created”, “developed”, “managed”, “led”, “improved”, etc. Years ago, a former employer looked at my resume and told me to get rid of “helped” at the start of my resume phrases, even those relating to work I did for her. “Did you do it or didn’t you?” she asked.

(3)   Use key words and key phrases in your resume that make it easy to see how well you match the required job skills. Not only do these help a screener quickly see that you have what they’re looking for, but if your resume is being fed into a computer, these words will help someone find you. Searches use words similar to those in the job description.

(4)   Quantify where possible. It’s not mandatory to do this; I’ve gotten many jobs with almost none of this in my resume. But where you can show you increased productivity by xx% or saved a company $xxx,xxx or improved response time by xx% or managed a $x,xxx,xxx budget, by all means do so.

(5)   Structure the resume so that your strengths are easy to see. That includes using a skills summary / primary skills section at the top, clear headlines that speak to your strengths (especially those that match the job), and as much of your targeted skills and experiences toward the top and bottom of the first page (where studies show eyes often go when scanning quickly) to raise ample interest at a glance.

(6)   While we’re at it, your resume should look great. Margins, fonts, easy-to-read spacing, clear headings, etc. It’s making an impression for you. Maybe your only chance. Don’t let the impression be “sloppy” or unaware that an actual human is supposed to read it.

(7)   Remember to include transferable skills, meaning those skills you may have used in other types of jobs that can be translated into this job – with a little help from you and from some creative wordsmithing.

(8)   Eliminate tasks from your resume that you don’t want to do again, if at all possible. Why include skills you’d rather not use? Not only does it sharpen the focus of your resume to the job at hand, but it gets rid of things that might divert or even confuse the screener. You’ll still include the jobs on your resume and/ or application, but the resume is a statement of why you match, not why you might not match.

(9)   Make sure your dates make sense. If you have some multi-month gaps you are trying to cover, just use years. And if you have experience from many years back that you don’t include any more, that’s ok. Just make sure if someone is looking at your resume, there is a logical progression in the dates – or that any longer gaps have volunteer work or projects or anything of substance you can list to help explain what you were up to, rather than avidly watching Days of Our Lives and Judge Judy.

(10)  No unexplained gaps (covered above). And while we’re at it, no wildly divergent experiences that will only leave them confused. My business resume did not include any of my acting experiences. I filled the gaps with a “freelance consulting” section, using part-time job experiences and volunteer work that best matched what I was applying for.

(11)   Sweat the small stuff! Beware of strange email addresses, weird hobbies, and personal data beyond basic contact info. If you even have a question, better to leave it off. This isn’t a dating profile. It’s a professional document representing you to an employer who is screening for any hints of trouble. You can always share the more interesting stuff later.

(12)  Proofread CAREFULLY for typos and grammar, as well as overall look and feel. Ask other people to lend their eyes. Even if you are a great proofreader, they might catch something obvious – and potentially detrimental to your chances.

A few odds and ends

  • What about objectives? I’m not a big fan of them. If your objective isn’t to get this particular job, why even bother? You can use that resume real estate for better things, including a skills summary section that speaks to what they say they are actually looking for based on their job description.

  • Seriously … don’t use a standard one-size-fits-all resume and cover letter. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. You only come off as lazy and not very creative. Employers see the effort you put into your job search as representative of what you’d be like as an employee.

  • About those strange email addresses … if your email is personalized to be cute or funny, save that for other things. Check to make sure your email address looks professional, and if it doesn’t, go to gmail or whatever service you want (AOL is still looked down on by many, even though I admit I use it), and create an email address just for job search.

  • When you send a resume to someone’s email address, make sure the Subject line has the position title (and position # if applicable). And remember your email message represents you also.

  • If you are asked to submit an ASCII resume, just save it in Text format and send that version. And if you use .docx and aren’t sure they have that, safer to save it in an earlier version of Word.

via Resume Tips: How to Write a Strong Resume That Gets You Real Interviews | CAREER NOOK by Ronnie Ann.

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Resume Tips: How to Write a Strong Resume That Gets You Real Interviews

How to Break Through a Career Impasse

Many of the successful managers and professionals who come back to business school at mid-career are looking for more than honing their leadership skills. Many are stuck in their careers. They’re looking for direction and support for the changes they long to make in the near future. But, their networks just keep dragging them back to the past—and they don’t even realize it.

One class discussion that gets the light-bulbs flashing is a case study analysis of a brilliant functional expert, Harris (not his real name), who gets sent to an elite business school’s general management program with the promise of a promotion into a P&L role upon his return. But the move never materializes and Harris is stuck: bored out of his mind in a job he can do “in his sleep,” loyal to a company and mentor that have given him much opportunity, and unable to realize that he is simply too useful to his bosses right where he is. Increasingly frustrated, he does more of the same: putting even more time into delivering beyond expectations and lining up more advisers internally.

At first my students are tough on Harris. They see him as insecure, risk-averse and passive. He should negotiate harder or leave. There was no headhunter on the way with the perfect exit on a silver platter. He should know himself better; all his introspection was getting him nowhere.

What broke the impasse? Against his natural inclinations, the introverted Harris eventually focused his energies on building relationships “outside the house,” to gain perspective on the trends shaping his industry, to broaden his horizons on possible career options, to meet people like him who managed to make the transition out of a highly specialized domain, and, eventually, to see himself in a different capacity—and to realize that his mentors might never grow past an outdated view of what he might contribute.

Most of the “Harrises” I meet have great and large operational networks consisting of mostly internal contacts. They find these networks very useful for exchanging job-related information, getting things done within their role as historically defined, and finding good people to staff their teams. But, these kinds of operational networks also keep people stuck where they are: they stop short of preparing people for a different, future role because they do not reach outside the domain the person is trying to grow beyond.

What do you do if you find yourself, as many of my students, in this kind of situation? Work to increase your “out-sight:” your insight into the world outside the box that is constraining you. Develop relationships outside your group, sector and even industry. Seek outside expertise. Work on understanding the “office politics” of moving into the senior ranks. Find ways to get to know people at least two levels above, and often, in a different unit or area—even when it feels instrumental. Get involved in and contribute to key initiatives that provide excuses to meet them. Work on raising your profile, not just on continuing to do good work. Get visibility externally. Use what you learn outside to connect to different people within and to add value beyond operational delivery. Understand that what is important to those with control over your fate is different than what you might be delivering. Figure out your market value. Find kindred spirits.

Your network is a mirror of yourself; pay attention to what it reflects. If you want to make a change, make your network future-facing.

The bad news is that you will need to make networking a priority and we all have limited time. The good news is that once you get started, say with a couple of lunches with former colleagues or schoolmates, it’s like running. You only crave more.

via How to Break Through a Career Impasse – Herminia Ibarra – Harvard Business Review.

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How to Break Through a Career Impasse

Why Qualtrics Wants To Track How You Feel About Your Job

Does your manager inspire you? Are you proud about where you work? Such questions have become an American workplace ritual in the past 15 years. Tracking how workers feel about their jobs has become a niche industry in its own right, with more than $1.5 billion a year being spent on “employee engagement surveys.”

For Ryan Smith, the chief executive of Qualtrics Inc., this market is too juicy to resist. Smith’s Salt Lake City-based company has emerged in the past few years as a hugely disruptive presence in the opinion research realm. The company has been expanding its product line, targeting various types of users for its sophisticated, cut-price surveys that are done entirely online. Qualtrics this month announced a push into employee surveys, providing a basic survey platform that companies can customize with whatever specific questions they want.

Until 2006, Qualtrics was a small family business, helping business schools and other university researchers conduct the sorts of public-attitude surveys that could turn into publishable research papers. Demand was brisk but academic budgets were annoyingly tight. So Qualtrics began targeting more the more affluent corporate market, running market surveys for the likes of eBay and Heineken, as Forbes writer Victoria Barret chronicled in June 2012.

Why stop there? During a Silicon Valley visit this week, Smith explained Qualtrics’s latest growth push. His starting point: Qualtrics serves what he calls “insight seekers.” By building a survey platform that’s cheap and simple to use, Qualtrics is catering to a corporate world that’s “full of insight seekers,” looking for survey-based knowledge of all varieties. In some companies, as many as 1,500 people are authorized to run Qualtrics surveys themselves, Smith says.

Asking employees how they like their jobs isn’t just a way to keep the human-relations department busy. As Smith sees it, such data becomes a powerful tool for top level executives to track morale within different clusters of employees — and to figure out which front-line managers are making things hum, and which ones are barely keeping a mutiny under control. Gather those “insights,” and suddenly it’s a lot easier to promote or reassign the right people.

Early customers for the employee-engagement product, dubbed Qualtrics 360, include Philip Morris International PM -1.13% and Crate & Barrel. Qualtrics is entering a crowded field; a study last year by Bersin & Co., now part of Deloitte, found that at least 30 vendors are competing to run companies’ employee-engagement studies.

Right now, most employee-engagement specialists compete by developing unique survey questions and scoring systems. But that isn’t Qualtrics’s plan. Instead, it will provide basic survey methodology — and let corporate users plug in whatever question sets they want. For those that want a ready-built package, Qualtrics has partnered with Development Dimension International of Bridgeville, Pa., and will offer DDI’s Leadership Mirror assessment system as one option. But Smith says he expects many corporate users to build their own surveys.

“We’re a technology company, not a consulting firm,” Smith says. He’s studiously neutral about the relative merits of long surveys (45 questions or more) versus short ones (10 questions or fewer.) Qualtrics technology will enable them all, he says. He does say that Qualtrics itself is surveying its own employees twice a year, rather than the traditional annual cycle. Change happens fast, he explains. In an era where an unhappy employee can go out to lunch and come back with a new job offer, letting a whole year pass between employee surveys may be too long.

via Why Qualtrics Wants To Track How You Feel About Your Job – Forbes.

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Why Qualtrics Wants To Track How You Feel About Your Job

George Bradt: Acing the Only Three True Job Interview Questions

Acing your response to an interview question requires pivoting off your basic answer to reinforce your strengths, motivation or fit — depending upon the true underlying question. If you don’t answer the question, you get an F. If you simply answer it, you get a C or maybe a B. An A, and ultimately getting the job in most cases, requires more.

As I’ve articulated previously, there are only three true job interview questions:

Can you do the job?

Will you love the job?

Can we tolerate working with you?

(Strengths, motivation, and fit.)

But what happens when you’re responding to questions from someone who hasn’t been trained in interviewing? Take charge in a way that makes them feel good about themselves and what they uncover about you. To do this successfully, follow three simple steps: Think; Answer; Bridge:

Think before opening your mouth.

Answer the question asked.

Bridge to answer the true underlying question.


Do not launch right into an answer. If you do, you’re likely to answer only what was asked – and to do it in an unstructured way. Instead, pause for a moment and think about your answer to what was asked, your bridge, and your answer to the true underlying question.

Answer the question asked

If you don’t answer the question asked, the interviewer will write you off and won’t hear anything else you say. Not responding to the question tells the interviewer that you either weren’t listening or didn’t value what he or she said. Either leads to a failure.

But you don’t have to go into great depth in answering the question asked. Burn only as much time as necessary to satisfy the interviewer. At this point, you’re playing not to lose. You’re not playing to win – yet.

Bridge to answer the true underlying question

Bridging is an art. You must connect the dots between your response to the question asked and the answer to the underlying true question (strengths, motivation, or fit). Bridge too far and your audience can’t make the leap. Find a link — a connection — and use it to get from where you are to where you need to be.

If, for example, you’re asked about your volunteer work with underprivileged children and you want to talk about your communication strengths, you might say something like,

What I most enjoy about working with children is being able to make a contribution to people with a very different background than mine. Connecting with people with different backgrounds and communicating with them is one of my strengths. For example, in my last corporate job I once….

See the bridge? Working with children to connecting with people to communication.

My earlier article on the the three true job interview questions suggests you should know your three strengths and examples of them, then connect your BRAVE preferences (behaviors, relationships, attitude, values and environment) with the organization’s BRAVE make-up to get at fit, and finally, connect what you love to do with the activities of the job to get at motivation.

Remember always pause to think, briefly answer what was asked, and then bridge to answer the true underlying question to get straight “A”s on the interview — and the job.

This is a good example of step 1 of The New Leader’s Playbook: Yourself for Success.

There are several components of this including positioning yourself for a leadership role, selling before you buy, mapping and avoiding the most common land mines, uncovering hidden risks in the organization, role, and fit, and choosing the right approach for your transition type. (Including an interim role.)

via George Bradt: Acing the Only Three True Job Interview Questions.

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8 Indisputable Reasons Why We Don"t Need Offices

Looking back a decade or so ago it was absolutely essential to have an office, or more likely, a cubicle. That’s where we had meetings, saw our coworkers, and just got work done. But today do we really need corporate offices?  New technologies allow us to “connect to work,” meaning that all we need to get work done is an internet connection.  Employees are working from co-working spots, cafes, and home offices all over the world without ever having to step foot into a corporate office.  In fact the 2013 Regus Global Economic Indicator of 26,000 business managers across 90 countries, revealed that 48% of them are now working remotely for at least half of their work-week.

There are 8 reasons why our reliance on corporate offices is dwindling.

Collaborative technologies

New technologies are allowing employees to “connect to work,” meaning that the only thing we need to get our jobs done is an internet connection.  From there we can access all the people and information we need to do our jobs.  We can have virtual meetings, create assets (documents, presentations, or anything else), get updates from our team, and stay connected to our global workforce without daily face to face interaction.  Additionally collaborative technologies allow us to work while we are on the go from our mobile devices.

New generation of workers

Millenialls are projected to be the majority of the U.S. workforce by 2020–just a few years away.  This is a generation that is used to being connected.  Millenialls grew up with social platforms such as Facebook FB -0.78%, Twitter, and Google GOOG -0.63% and they are comfortable sharing and engaging with people and information;  it’s a part of our daily life.  This is a generation that doesn’t know what it’s like to get 200 emails a day while sitting in a cubicle. Organizations need to adapt to this employee.

A more attractive workplace

Chances are that if you were to ask someone if they would rather work from an office or from their home, they would say their home (or co-working spot).  In a recent report released by my company Chess Media Group we found that 90% of workers believe that an organization offering flexible work environments is more attractive than an organization that does not.  For organizations that want to attract and retain top talent it almost seems essential that employees not be required to work full-time from an office.

Companies save money

Companies spend a massive amount of money on real estate space to house their employees.  TELUS, a telecommunications company based in Canada has a global goal of making a majority of their workforce work remotely either full-time or part time. They want to get rid of some of their massive buildings that they are spending a large amount of money on.  Companies also have to spend money on office equipment, internet, amenities, and a host of other things.  Depending on the size of the company the potential cost savings here is in the millions per year for a single company.

Employees save time

Commuting is a big issue for many employees around the world.  According to a report from the United States Census Bureau 600,000 employees in the U.S. travel 90 minutes and 50 miles to work (each way) and 10.8 million employees travel an hour each way.  Can you imagine spending 10-15 hours in your car each week just driving?  That’s almost a part-time job in your car. You can play around with various scenarios here to figure out how much money is being wasted each year on commuting but the number can easily reach the billions especially when considering other costs such as gas.

Employees are more productive

There are numerous reports which cite the fact that employees who work from home are actually more productive then those who work from an office.  Global Workplace Analytics has perhaps the most comprehensive set of data around this with numbers ranging from 600 billion dollars which are wasted each year on workplace distractions to figures showing that national productivity would increase by $334 billion to $467 billion a year through telecommuting.

Improved quality of life for employees

A few years ago researchers at Umea University in Sweden found that “couples in which one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes are 40 percent likelier to divorce.”  Work is already one of the leading causes of stress for employees and on top of that we throw on the stress that comes from commuting.  Employees could spend that time working or being with family members or loved ones instead of sitting in a car.

New workplaces

As mentioned above, any location is now a potential workplace; this includes a home office, a coffee shop, or any other location where you can get an internet connection.  Over the past few years we have also seen the rapid emergence of co-working spaces where employees from different companies can rent desks or offices near where they live (or where it is convenient for them).  These co-working spaces are equipment with conference rooms, kitchens, and oftentimes more amenities then a traditional corporate office.  In addition, some companies are renting out their excess offices to employees of other companies.

In conclusion

We don’t need to look farther than our personal lives to see why working from an office isn’t always the best approach.  Of course many argue that offices are great for fostering communication and collaboration and some offices are gorgeous with fantastic amenities ranging from on-site laundry and massages to childcare and grocery shopping!  However, the reality is that even a small distance impacts employee communication and collaboration.  Once employees are 200 feet away (or more) from each other, the chances of them talking to one another is virtually zero; you might as well have employees be hundreds of miles away.

The point here isn’t to say that face-to-face communication is dead, because it isn’t, and we certainly don’t want to get rid of human contact (at least most of us).  Instead organizations need to implement more flexible work environments for employees to allow them to decide how they want to work. For example, some organizations are implementing “pop-up work spaces,” which means that when meetings need to happen they can be arranged at mutually convenient co-working locations where a conference room can be rented for as much time as needed.  This isn’t about removing face-to-face communication it’s about not relying on that as the only option.

I’m sure you can add to the list above as well, but the overall trend is that we no longer need to rely on corporate offices as the only place where we can get work done.

via 8 Indisputable Reasons Why We Don’t Need Offices – Forbes.

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8 Indisputable Reasons Why We Don"t Need Offices