Friday, October 31, 2014

Top 5 Most Commonly Misunderstood Interview Tips

If not unusual if you find yourself scouring the web for advice the day before a key job interview, even if you’ve successfully interviewed previously at other jobs. We consult advice blogs and ask ridiculous questions on Google as if we’ve never before had the experience of speaking to another human being about ourselves.

There’s something about the entire interviewing process that sends the majority of employees into an anxious frenzy. In an actual interview, interviewees can become paralyzed by the ominous feeling that they’ll do something stupid and ruin a potential job prospect. In these moments of panic, interviewees might run through tried and true interviewing tips so as to seem as hirable as possible to potential employees. The problem arises when interviewees amplify the behavior suggested by these tips to drastic proportions and end up embarrassing themselves anyway. Below are three tips notorious for inadvertently steering interviewees in the wrong direction.

1. “Ask plenty of questions in the interview to show your interest in the job.”

Without a doubt, you’re at a job interview because you’re interested in the position. That much should be clear to you, because it’s certainly clear to your interviewer; that’s why they’re taking the time to interview you. So while you should ask questions of your interviewer when you genuinely have them, resist the temptation to pose them simply to project a sense of interest.

Asking a series of erroneous questions will only communicate one of two things to your interviewer: either that you’re particularly nervous about the interview (which they could already guess) or that you’re trying to kill time with filler questions. Bottom line: ask well thought out questions or don’t ask anything at all.

2. “Make sure to appear highly informed about the nature of the company’s business.”

People go wrong with this advice much in the same way as with the first tip. Most people read up on a business prior to an interview so they will seem knowledgeable about their services, but there’s a fine line between appearing informed and coming off as a know-it-all to the interviewer. In an ideal scenario, you’d know enough about the company to be able to answer the common question, “How would your skills enhance the overall quality of the company?”

The best way to answer these questions is to briefly explain your professional strengths and how they would benefit your potential employer. Things go wrong when an interviewer begins to explain the nature of the business and you interject with information about the company in an attempt to communicate your familiarity with their services. Instead of seeming informed, interviewers will likely regard you as overzealous in your attempt to show interest in the job and rude for interrupting their explanation. No matter how much research you do prior to the interview, the interviewee will definitely have more to say about the company than you do. So sit back and listen to your interviewer; they’ll appreciate the chance to do their job.

3. “Bring some humor into the interview to lighten the mood.”

You can usually determine the atmosphere of an interview within the first few moments. Within this small timeframe—if you’re sensitive to social cues—you’ll know whether or not a small joke will go over well with your interviewer. If the person is all smiles and small talk when you first walk in, it’s probably ok to punctuate your dialog with a few quips and witticisms. But if your interviewer welcomes you with a curt and overtly formal tone, play it safe and go through your interview by the book.

While there may be the off chance that some minor observational humor could break the ice during an interview, the consequences could be dire if it backfires on you. Some people say it’s good to inject a little humor in the interview to test the waters, because who wants to work for a humorless company? Fair enough, but if you’re in desperate need of a job, a humorless job is much better than no job at all.

4. “Don’t badmouth your previous employer.”

Now I’m not about to advocate for trashing your old job, but there’s a reason why you’re interviewing for a new one, and it’s not because you loved your previous employer. Most companies won’t ask you directly about why you left your previous job mostly to avoid putting you in a position to say something that you’ll regret later on.

But if you have a constructive criticism for your previous employer, especially something that makes a stronger case for your qualifications as a potential employee, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t share it during your interview. For instance, you might be able to explain how the poor communication skills of your previous manager made you more attuned to the importance of an open dialogue between employees. Or you may say that a previous position made you realize that you wanted a different career path, which brought you to the current interview. As long your criticism of your previous employer is constructive and free of personal attacks, you should be fine.

5. “Don’t ask about your potential salary and benefits.”

Like with previously mentioned tips, this one is all about timing and context. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that you’re working primarily to make money. You need to work in order to pay the bills and do all those things you like to do in your free time, right? It’s only natural that you’d want to know your compensation with a potential employer say you can evaluate if it’s commensurate with your experience and skill set. But you definitely can’t go into an interview and blurt out something along the lines of “So, how much are we talking about?” just because you’re afraid it won’t be discussed.

Don’t worry, compensation will definitely be discussed before you sing or agree to anything. This tip can be disregarded in some interviews, as some interviewers are more upfront with the pay and benefits of their position. In that case you can feel free to discuss the terms of your pay quite openly. But some interviewers might not even know what you’d be making if you were hired to the position, so you should wait for them to mention it before addressing the subject. If they don’t bring up pay and you like the job, it’s likely that you’ll discuss those details with the HR department in subsequent interviews.

via Top 5 Most Commonly Misunderstood Interview Tips.

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Top 5 Most Commonly Misunderstood Interview Tips

How Your Boss"s Work-Life Balance Affects Yours

If you’re pulling long hours and lament your lack of a life outside work, it’s very likely that you’re modeling the behavior of your boss.

If you’re feeling overworked, your boss could be to blame, but not for giving you extra work or telling you to stay late. Results from an online survey of 19,000 employees around the world confirm that an employee’s ability to balance work and personal life is affected heavily by her boss’s bad habits.

In other words: Monkey see, monkey do.

The study and findings were created and collected by Christine Porath, associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project.

They first identified four metrics that make up an employee’s “core needs”:

  1. physical renewal

  2. emotional value

  3. focus

  4. purpose

When even one of these four needs is met, workplace satisfaction and performance improve.

If your workplace feels more like a corporate jungle than part of civilized society, remember the baboons, Schwartz and Porath say: They look to an alpha primate for guidance and reassurance once every 20 or 30 seconds. Humans aren’t so different.

From their findings, most bosses are setting a bad example:

Unfortunately, only 25% of our survey respondents told us that their leaders model sustainable work practices. Those leaders’ employees are 55% more engaged, 72% higher in health well being, 77% more satisfied at work, and 1.15 times more likely to stay at the company. They also reported more than twice the level of trust in their leaders.

If your boss works long hours, there is likely little you can do to change their behavior. Hopefully this awareness of their unconscious decisions might help you assert your right to leave at a more reasonable hour. It’s also so a good idea to talk to your boss about the expectations for your job, chances are they might not realize the stress they are causing.

On the other hand, if you’re the boss and this sounds familiar, you can improve your employees’ work-life balance by making yours better, too:

Be mindful of email after-hours

Sending emails late at night or on the weekends sets the bar high. You might feel more productive from home at 11 p.m., but that doesn’t mean your employees appreciate their inbox buzzing all night long.

Leaders told Schwartz and Porath that they don’t necessarily expect action on these after-hours emails, but it’s “a near guarantee that their direct reports will feel compelled to read and respond to them.”

Let them focus during the day

Only 21% of respondents said they were able to focus on one thing at a time during the day. Again, even if you don’t expect immediate action on requests or memos, employees feel obligated to act immediately–breaking their workflow concentration.

Be clear about what you need, when you need it, and how it fits into the big picture. Having leaders who communicate a clear, inspiring vision for others to follow resulted in an impressive 82% higher job satisfaction and had employees that were more likely to stick around. But only 22% of respondents reported having that kind of leadership.

Show your appreciation

Don’t be stingy with praise or constructive feedback; feeling valued by their bosses meant more productivity and loyalty. “Only 36% of our respondents said they felt a high level of meaning and significance at work,” the researchers reported. “Those who did were more than three times as likely to stay at their companies–the highest single correlation in our study.”

via How Your Boss’s Work-Life Balance Affects Yours | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

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How Your Boss"s Work-Life Balance Affects Yours

Thursday, October 30, 2014

10 Interview Questions to Reveal the Company Behind the Mask (Part  2)

In the first part of this article, we highlighted studies which show that new hires usually fail because of a cultural mismatch between employee and employer, and we outlined five great interview questions to reveal the corporate culture behind the mask, so employees could really get a feel for a company’s culture before joining.

In this the second part of this article, we’ll discuss five more interview questions to help you reveal the company culture behind the mask. As I said in the last article, you don’t need to ask each and every one of these questions, and you can feel free to alter the format of these questions to suit the situation. You may want to focus on questions pertaining to areas you are concerned about or areas that are especially important to you. I acknowledge that some of these questions are challenging, but that is necessary to get behind the brochure and reveal the company culture behind the mask.

1. How Do You Deal with an Employee Who Makes a Mistake?

With this question you are trying to understand whether the company is supportive or quick to blame employees. The most innovative and supportive cultures will tolerate certain types of mistakes and will have philosophies or approaches for handling them, e.g. “We are comfortable with people making mistakes as long as they learn from them,” or “Employees who push themselves out of their comfort zones may make mistakes, and that’s OK. We don’t tolerate carelessness or neglect.”

2. Would You Prefer Your Employees Play It Safe or Take a Risk?

This is a good way to assess the company’s appetite for taking risks, innovating, and moving beyond comfort zones. If you are conservative and want to work in a risk-averse culture, you’ll clearly favor employers who like it when employees operate within set parameters. If you like to innovate and try new things, you might want to choose a company that’s more comfortable with challenging the status quo.

3. Can You Describe Your Company Culture in Five Words?

With this question, you are trying to get a snapshot of the most essential and defining elements of the company culture. Ask this question of as many company representatives as possible, and see if you can spot any telling trends. The more often you hear the same concepts from different people, the more indicative and defining these concepts are likely to be.

4. What Is Your Favorite Part of the Company Culture?

Once again, you’ll want to ask this question of as many company representatives as possible and look for telling trends in their answers. If two or three people say the same thing, you can be more sure that you are really getting down to the true defining essence of the company culture. If employees struggle to answer this question, then you’d have to be very concerned about whether or not the company culture were toxic.

5. What Is the Most Challenging Aspect of the Company Culture?

This is a tough question, but remember that you are trying to get behind the mask here. As always, look out for trends, as these will point more reliable toward a true picture of the company culture.

Don’t forget: one man’s meat is another man’s poison. You may actually relish some of the cultural challenges that some of the existing employees find difficult. It’s about finding the culture that suits you.

If you do sense the interviewers are struggling with any of these questions, just reassure them that company culture is important to you and you want to join a company culture where you can perform to your optimum.

via 10 Interview Questions to Reveal the Company Behind the Mask (Part  2).

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10 Interview Questions to Reveal the Company Behind the Mask (Part  2)

10 Interview Questions to Reveal the Company Behind the Mask (Part  1)

Did you know that the main reason that employees fail at a business is not a lack of technical skills, but an inability to adapt to or operate within the prevailing company culture. A survey from Leadership IQ, which I reported on last year, found that just 11 percent of new hires failed due to incompetence; the other 89 percent failed due to a lack of appropriate temperament, motivation, emotional intelligence, and/or coachability. Taken as a whole, this suggests that the candidates mainly fail when they do not fit in with a company’s culture.

As you are all probably aware, a premature exit or mediocre performance can limit your career in a number of ways, so it pays for you to consider positions where you have both the necessary skills and a cultural fit. Still, many candidates don’t spend enough time considering their likely corporate fit when deciding if they want to join a company.

To help you achieve this, I have prepared 10 simple questions that can help you reveal the company behind the mask. Now, I admit that some of these questions are very challenging, but remember they are meant to get behind the glossy brochure and reveal the company culture behind the mask. You might want to prime your interviewers by explaining that you are assessing culture and your likely fit, as working in a company where you fit the culture will mean you can reach peak performance. It’s win-win.

You also don’t need to ask all the questions – you may just want to focus on questions that deal with areas where you have some cause for concern and/or areas that are especially important to you.

1. Why did the last three people leave your team and where are they now?

You may want to make it clear that you are not looking for identities or to encroach on anyone’s privacy. This question helps to give you an idea of the culture around managing underperformance, engagement, and careers.

For example, if all three of the team members left to take up promotions in the business, there is a pretty good chance this place nurtures careers. If they all left to take up positions externally, you might wonder about the career development culture. If there were a lot of dismissals, it could be a sign of a blaming, rather than supportive, culture. If the interviewer is sketchy or defensive about this question, then you may be concerned with company transparency.

2. How do you recognize exceptional performance? Who was the last person to receive recognition on your team, and what was it for?

Now, we know that some of the best and most engaging corporate cultures are great at recognizing outstanding staff performances. Companies with such cultures have open and accessible systems of recognition, and they use them regularly.

If a company is great at recognizing staff, an interviewer should be able to talk in some detail about this. If they can’t answer this question convincingly, and you crave recognition for good work, you may need to wonder about how well you’ll thrive in this culture.

3. Overall, what sort of pay raise did employees receive last year and/or how was last year’s company-wide pay raise determined?

There are lots of ways an interviewer can answer this, and their answers can give you insight into how transparent a company is about its reward processes and pay-raise philosophy, in regard to keeping up with cost of living, performance-related pay, etc. Is the money shared out, or is it mainly given to higher performers or more senior staff? Do the company’s raise practices appear justified? There is no right or wrong answer here, it just depends on what kind of compensation culture you desire, e.g., more egalitarian or more performance based.

4. Can you describe the busiest stages of the month/year?

You want to understand how the business handles pressure and high demand. A business that is well prepared for high demand will know its high and low demand periods and will have some support systems available, e.g., they have a good arrangement with an agency to bring in temps, or staff members work more hours but are allowed to work fewer hours the following month, etc.

Once again, there is no right or wrong answer. You’re just looking for insight into how the organization operates under pressure.

5. How often do you meet with your staff?

With this question, you are trying to understand how hands-on or hands-off the management is and how meeting-intensive or meeting-shy the organization is. You can then favor cultures that match your own personal preferences.

If you found these first five questions useful, stay tuned for part 2 of this article, which contains the next five culture-probing questions.

via 10 Interview Questions to Reveal the Company Behind the Mask (Part  1).

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10 Interview Questions to Reveal the Company Behind the Mask (Part  1)

How CIOs Will Spend Their Time and Money in 2015

Results from CEB’s IT Budget Benchmark make happy reading for CIOs and their IT teams. The pot of gold they are expecting in their 2015 budgets represents the highest rate of growth for five years.

An anticipated median growth of 3.3% in total IT spending for 2015 builds on a strong base from 2014 when both total IT spending and IT staff levels outpaced expectations.

The IT budget data, collected from nearly 200 organizations globally and representing $75 billion in IT spending, show that CIOs plan to invest their funds in improving the experience of their internal customers, building new collaboration capabilities, and improving their organization’s data analysis capabilities. This shows a shift toward wanting to build new capabilities and away from just wanting to the keep the lights on.

Seven IT Trends for 2015

CEB’s IT budget benchmark survey shows seven important trends for IT spending and staffing next year.

  1. IT will spend even more on improving the end-customer experience: The big advances in consumer technology has caused IT’s internal customers to apply ever rising pressure on IT teams to provide better performing and more user friendly corporate hardware and software.

    In response, CIOs have allocated more budget and staff to this area in 2014 than in years past. In fact, 17% of the IT project budget has been dedicated to customer interface investments (up from 15% last year) and the role of user-experience designer will become mainstream by the end of 2015.

  2. A growing shift toward innovation and business opportunity: While nearly all IT organizations intend to spend more on building new capabilities for their firms, they traditionally find it awkward to spend less on maintenance and mandatory investments.

    CIOs were more successful at shifting the IT budget to “innovation and business opportunities” in 2014 than in recent years and have slowly reduced the share of spending allocated to maintenance from 63% of the IT budget in 2011 to 57% this year. Expect this trend to increase next year.

  3. Cloud investment nearly universal: 91% of IT organizations allocate at least some portion of their budget to the cloud as they continue to focus on service responsiveness and cost flexibility.

    Depth of deployment has also increased, with more than 33% of companies allocating at least 6% of spending to cloud solutions (up from just 23% last year). Again, expect this trend to only strengthen next year.

  4. The CIO role will continue to extend beyond IT: The changing IT landscape has blurred functional boundaries, with CIOs taking on more non-IT responsibilities (e.g., procurement).

    Nearly 60% of CIOs now own at least one non-IT functional area, with the share of CIOs owning business analytics doubling from 15% to 30% in just one year.

  5. Flat projections for IT staff growth likely too conservative: While internal FTE staff growth is projected to be near flat for 2015, CIOs forecasted similar numbers last year and actually saw 4.3% median growth.

    This suggests that additional staff growth may occur as the 2015 project queue is finalized and staff needs are clearer.

  6. Broad deployment among end-to-end IT service adopters: While only 36% of organizations have deployed end-to-end IT services (see second half of this page) to date, half of these adopters report that end-to-end IT services account for at least 60% of their operating budgets. The trend for more end-to-end IT will grow in 2015.

  7. IT spending outside of corporate IT will continue: Consistent with last year, Finance, HR, Marketing, and Operations are the functions that allocate the largest percentage of their budget to technology, as estimated by CIOs, as business leaders increasingly experiment and own technology projects to meet their objectives.

via How CIOs Will Spend Their Time and Money in 2015 | CEB Blogs.

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How CIOs Will Spend Their Time and Money in 2015

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Google"s 11-Step Guide to Interviewing

Have you read How Google Works yet?

Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Google adviser Jonathan Rosenberg published How Google Works a few weeks ago. It’s full of insights, including a chapter on finding talent and a subsection on interviewing, which they call “the most important skill any business person can develop.” Listed below are 11 tips gleaned from the section on interviewing. Some are Google-specific, but most should be helpful for anyone in any industry. If you haven’t already, check out How Google Works.

1) Do Your Homework:

The main goal of researching a candidate isn’t to search for his “drunken Carnival photo” but to find out why he is interesting. Use the knowledge you’ve acquired to ask specific questions about his previous projects.

“You want to learn if the candidate was the hammer or the egg, someone who caused a change or went along with it.”

2) Find the Limits of the Candidate’s Capabilities:

Schmidt and Rosenberg write that although the interview should not be an “overly stressful” experience, you should ask intellectually challenging questions–questions that are intentionally “large and complex.” Get the candidate to reveal his thought process.

“It’s a good idea to reuse questions across candidates, so you can calibrate responses.”

3) Get the Candidate to Talk About What He Learned

You want to ask questions about the candidate’s background. But avoid asking questions that a candidate could answer by merely regurgitating his experiences. Everyone has a feel-good story to share. Again, the goal should be to get the candidate to reveal his thought process.

“Get her to show off her thinking, not just her resume.”

4) Use Scenario Questions

Scenario questions are questions about crisis management or big decisions. This tip is especially true for senior people because it reveals “how a person will use or trust their own staff.” The idea is to figure out if the candidate collaborates during difficult moments well or not. Is he someone you want to work with during crunch time?

“If the answers you get are cut and pasted from marketing claims, or are simply the reflection of commonly held wisdom, then you have a generic candidate, one who will not be adept at thinking deeply about things.”

5) Ask (some) Brainteasers

Schmidt and Rosenberg admit that Google has phased out brainteasers. Since many of them are posted online, it’s difficult to know if a candidate’s answers emerged in the moment or from memory. However, brain teasers can nonetheless reveal sharp minds from average ones.

“The brainteasers also became a lightning rod for criticism as an elitist tool. To those critics, let us say once and for all: You are right. We want to hire the best minds available.”

6) Develop a Trusted-Interview Program

Interviewers at Google are members of an “elite team of people” who do the bulk of the interviewing. If you want to interview at Google, you must first receive training. Be prepared to get scored on a variety of metrics.

“With this program, interviewing became a privilege, not a chore, and quality increased across the board.”

7) Schedule Interviews for 30 Minutes

This strategy will prevent interviews with candidates who are clearly not a good fit from dragging on. It also reduces small talk and fruitless questions.

“Oftentimes, you walk into an interview and know within minutes that a person is wrong for the company and the job. Who says you have to spend the rest of the hour making useless conversation.

8) Don’t Interview the Same Candidate More Than 5 Times

Too many interviewers and you run into the problem of diminish returns. Google conducted research and found that after the fourth interview, each additional interview only increased the “decision accuracy” by a mere 1 percent.

“In other words, after four interviews the incremental cost of conducting additional interviews outweighs the value the additional feedback contributes to the ultimate hiring decision.”

9) Measure a Candidate On These Four Categories


We’ll want to know how someone has flexed different muscles in various situations in order to mobilize a team. This can include asserting a leadership role at work or with an organization, or even helping a team succeed when they weren’t officially appointed as the leader.

Role-Related Knowledge:

We… want to make sure that candidates have the experience and the background that will set them up for success in the role. For engineer candidates in particular, we check out coding skills and technical areas of expertise.

General cognitive ability:

We’re less concerned about grades and transcripts and more interested in how a candidate thinks.


We… want to make sure this is a place they’ll thrive, so we look for signs around their comfort with ambiguity, bias to action, and collaborative nature.


10) Hire by Committee; Use a Hiring Packet

If you have a hiring manager, don’t give him the find call. You want to have the people who will work with the candidate and collaborate on the decision. The hiring packet gathers all known information about the candidate. It should provide data and be standardized. That way, you measure the candidate relative to previous ones.

“Stipulate that all packets include statistics on each interviewer’s past scores–including number of interviews, range of scores, and mean–so committee members can factor into their decision-making which interviewers grade higher and which clump their scores in the middle of the bell curve.

11) Quality Must Be Primary

The golden rule of hiring, according to Schmidt and Rosenberg: “The urgency of the role isn’t sufficiently important to compromise quality in hiring. In the inevitable showdown between speed and quality, quality must prevail.


via Google’s 11-Step Guide to Interviewing |

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Google"s 11-Step Guide to Interviewing

What is the Logic Behind the Most Popular Interview Questions? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Ever been to an interview and wondered why interviewers ask specific questions?

This infographic by answers just that.


  • Why are manhole covers round? – asked to see whether you have deductive reasoning.

  • Why should I hire you? – asked to see how confident you are.

  • Tell me about yourself – asked to see how well you can present yourself.


via What is the Logic Behind the Most Popular Interview Questions? [INFOGRAPHIC].

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What is the Logic Behind the Most Popular Interview Questions? [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Employers Use Social Media To Screen Applicants [INFOGRAPHIC]

We all know recruiters use social media to screen candidates on a daily basis. But how are they doing this?

The good folks down at Reppler recently conducted a survey of 300 professionals who are involved in the hiring process at their company to understand the use of social networks for screening job applicants. The results of this survey are shown in this infographic below.


  • Whether you like it or not, hirers are using social networks to screen job applicants. This means it is important to carefully manage your image on these types of sites.

  • Facebook and Twitter are being used a lot to screen job applicants. On Facebook and Twitter, we believe hirers are trying to get a more personal view of a candidate, rather than the resume-like view they will see on LinkedIn.

  • Hirers are looking at the social networking profiles of candidates very early in the process. This means that job seekers need to have their online act in order before they begin looking for a job.

The bottom line is that it is important for users, whether they are looking for a job or building up their professional reputation, to manage their online image across the different social networks they use.


via How Employers Use Social Media To Screen Applicants [INFOGRAPHIC].

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How Employers Use Social Media To Screen Applicants [INFOGRAPHIC]

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why CEOs and Other Top Execs Need CIOs, and the IT Team

As a customer-focused business leader, you may not like IT. You may even think everyone in the IT department is socially awkward because they spend more time interacting with computers than people.

But whether you like it or not, if you want to close sales you’re going to have to invite IT to your business meetings.

Perish the thought that anyone from IT will sit in on a sales call. However, it’s important to sit down with your IT team and listen to what each person has to say about the state of your technology. Otherwise, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t have to worry about sales calls.

There won’t be too many of them.

Embrace IT

Maybe your company has already bridged the divide between IT and the business units. After all, the most successful businesses are those where both the businesses and IT work toward the same goals.

However, anecdotal evidence suggests there is still a long way to go in most companies. The business units and IT invite each other to strategic planning meetings, even when technology is an integral part of pending purchasing decisions.

A recent report from Gartner looks at this issue in detail. It found that while IT is more and more a key component of all business initiatives, CIOs must work with business executives and the CFO to ensure the critical contribution of IT is incorporated early in planning and budget processes.

Traditionally, this has not been the case, according to the report, How CIOs Influence Decisions When Every Budget Is an IT Budget. Cassio Dreyfuss, research vice president at Gartner and co-author of the report, explained:

In the past, the use of IT to support the business came almost as an afterthought, long after the business strategy and strategic initiatives for the coming period had been designed and sanctioned by top management. Over time, IT has graduated from being a support tool to being a business enabling and a business creation tool. Under that much broader and inclusive perspective, it makes more sense to talk about IT-related expenditures in each and every business initiative and respective budget. In this way, the CIO is challenged to adopt a higher profile and actively engage in opportunities to influence IT decisions in business budgets.”

IT Budget Decisions

Each company has its own process for IT budget decisions. These generally depend on external variables (the business environment) and internal variables (the company culture and style).

The CIO has unique contributions to IT budget decisions in all organizations. However, CIOs must understand the business challenges and work styles of the organization to make their points successfully. “The road toward a digital future requires transformational action from IT through disruptive innovation while continuing to run business as usual at the expected level of excellence. IT must therefore operate at high-performance levels in two modes,” Dreyfuss said.

Those two modes include:

  • Enterprise-strength IT: An IT department that is responsible for delivering efficient IT services across the enterprise

  • Opportunistic IT: This is an IT department that is ready and capable of reacting to new business models and opportunities immediately

Either way, IT should have five principal inputs into IT spending, as follows:

1. Solution Brokers

CIO’s should be playing the role of solution brokers in each business area that relies on technology. That means they should bring IT solutions form one area of the business to another, as appropriate, and also be developing specific solutions for specific business objectives or problems.

Because IT managers have — or should have — a view of all the IT solutions available across the enterprise, they can also help integrate, coordinate and align IT with business objectives. The enterprise that leaves IT out of this process risks misaligning technology and business.

2. Supporting Corporate Strategy

IT departments should also be in position to support the wider corporate strategy as defined by the enterprise leaders. This means that IT development will correspond with corporate guidelines and strategies and follow a coordinated and integrated IT development process that ends up as part off the corporate strategic planning.

During the development of this IT strategy, business units, top management and IT should agree on IT funding priorities. The ideal situation is for these decisions to be made by a committee consisting of business and IT leaders. Gartner’s strategic planning approach also places “support the business” IT budget to fund its operations plan.

3. Dynamic Collaboration

Many business initiatives take place in very challenging environments that require immediate responses to a particular set of problems. To manage these problems and to ensure successful outcomes, resources across the enterprise need to be mobilized to achieve these outcomes.

CIOs and IT leaders have a special and dual role here. They will shape each initiative according to the IT resources available and decide how each initiative should connect with core enterprise applications.

4. Opportunistic actions

The CIOs role here is to focus on each specific initiative depending on the situation and the response required by a given business or business area. They have key roles here in ensuring that targets and objectives are met on time and as rapidly as possible. CIOs must also be involved in making core applications available according to how initiatives develop.

5. Unique IT Roles

There are a number of things IT brings to the corporate table that no one else can bring. They include:

  • Information architecture: They know what data is available in the organization and where it is located

  • Business process networks: Deep knowledge of business process across the entire enterprise and how they meet enterprise goals

  • Operations infrastructure: Mastery of all the processes that deliver necessary information to those that need it

  • Technology scenario: Comprehensive perspective on the technology scenario and possibilities to achieve business goals

CIOs Future Role

IT plays an important role in any organization. In fact, it could be argued that the role of the CIO has never been more important. But it seems many CIOs are aware of this: 75 percent of respondents to a recent Gartner survey on the future of the CIO stated that they need to adapt their leadership style in the next three years to changing enterprise realities.

The survey entitled Flipping to Digital Leadership: The 2015 CIO Agenda (not yet available to public), included responses from 2,810 CIOs, representing more than $397 billion in CIO IT budgets in 84 countries.

It also shows that most enterprises are aware that digitalization is no longer a sideshow — it has moved to center stage and is changing the whole game. However, this is an opportunity for CIOs to seize or lose the advantage to other departments.

via Why CEOs and Other Top Execs Need CIOs – and the IT Team.

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Why CEOs and Other Top Execs Need CIOs, and the IT Team

The Most Popular Skills to Show Off on LinkedIn

With 313 million users worldwide and counting, you’d be a fool not to be on LinkedIn. But according to an infographic from LinkedIn, you might be overlooking one of the networking site’s key features. Having a profile on LinkedIn is all about telling the world what you’re good at. So why aren’t more people using the Skills feature? Perhaps because they’re not sure what to add. The people who are using that feature, however, offer an interesting look at how job seekers are presenting themselves. Here are a few of the unusual findings from LinkedIn’s analysis:

Health Care Skills Remain Popular…

But food preparation and knowing your way around a cash register are also popular skills to show off. In fact, cash register operation is the second most popular skill across LinkedIn’s network.

Non-IT Skills Matter

American LinkedIn users are all about downstream oil, forklift operation, and medical-surgical skills, according to the infographic. But if you head south to Mexico, you’ll find adult education is big (in addition to architecture, which is also popular in Turkey, Italy, and Argentina). The fastest-growing non-IT skills include CPR instruction, Zumba instruction, and being a barista. Who knew?

Gadgets Gain Traction

Why list your professional skills when you can flaunt your mastery of Xbox One? According to the infographic, some users have taken to adding the gadgets they use to their professional skillset, including Google Glass, Rasberri Pi, and GoPro. If you have a gadget obsession, why not flaunt it?

Bosses, do you like to see these kinds of extra-curricular skills on applicants’ resumes?

via The Most Popular Skills to Show Off on LinkedIn |

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The Most Popular Skills to Show Off on LinkedIn

Why Superstars Struggle to Bond with Their Teams

From the moment you start each workday, you’re subject to two basic human impulses: to excel and to conform.

If people in your immediate environment are amazing performers, you might be able to do both at once: By excelling, you fit the norm of your spectacular coworkers. But that’s rare. I’m pretty sure that in most work environments, as soon as you excel, you stop conforming. If you choose a high-performance path, you separate yourself from your coworkers. You’re not quite one of the bunch anymore. No matter how proud you are of your achievements, tell me it doesn’t hurt when you see your old group of friends coming back from a lunch that you somehow hadn’t known about.

I was thinking about this while reading research on the psychological and social effects not of being a high performer but of experiencing an extraordinary event, because the two situations share a few things in common. When something exciting and unusual happens to us, even if it’s random, we’ve excelled, in a way. We’re special. We no longer conform.

The research, by Gus Cooney and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard and Timothy D. Wilson of the University of Virginia, shows that after we go through an extraordinary experience, we assume that we’ll really enjoy telling the tale. But when we try, we often don’t feel so good about it. We feel separate. We sense that the group resents our excellent adventure. The study focused on experiences that are really only slightly extraordinary, such as watching an interesting video, but the results are pretty clear: A special experience distances us from other people, and the responses we see in our peers makes us feel excluded.

Jaclyn M. Jensen, an assistant professor in the Richard H. Driehaus College of Business at DePaul University, has put a different lens on what divides us from our coworkers and why. Along with Pankaj C. Patel of Ball State University and Jana L. Raver of Queen’s University in Canada, Jensen studied a large Midwestern field office of a U.S. financial services firm, using surveys to find out what was going on among coworkers — in the workrooms, during team meetings, in the lunchroom, and on email.

The researchers found that even in a collegial, well-behaved workplace, not only are you perceived as different if you’re a high performer; you’re also sometimes victimized. High-performing employees in this environment scored 3.37 on a 1-to-5 scale of victimization frequency, with 1 representing “never” and 5 representing “once a week or more.” They scored significantly higher on this measure of being victimized than average and poorly performing workers.

Mostly, the victimization was subtle, which is understandable, given the risks of being called out as a bully. So instead of being overtly nasty, people avoid you or withhold resources. Or they schedule important meetings when you happen to be out of town.

It probably goes without saying that there’s no rational logic to the victimization of high performers. After all, if you’re a high performer, by definition you have an outsized impact on the organization, and you help make the workgroup shine. Your victimizers’ incentive pay is probably even based (at least in part) on your achievements.

Still, what’s rational about human behavior? As Jensen pointed out to me, human beings have a pronounced tendency to punish those who violate unspoken norms. Average performers worry that you’re making them look bad. If they can bring you down a notch, they can alleviate (or at least they think they can alleviate) their negative feelings by reminding you what an “acceptable” level of performance looks like.

But one of the more interesting aspects of Jensen’s research is that the covert victimization is spotty — it doesn’t apply to all high performers. Certain achievers are spared the worst of the victimization. These are what Jensen and her colleagues call “benevolent” high performers.


Benevolent high performers are sensitive to what’s fair for other people; they put others’ needs ahead of their own. They’re cooperative, even altruistic at times.

OK, no great news there. But the reality is that high performers too often slip into what Jensen would call “non-benevolence” without even realizing it. They start to feel entitled to their hard-won authority. Sometimes they step on or manipulate others, telling themselves that all’s fair in pursuit of the greater good. Pretty soon they’re consistently putting their own needs first. To measure this, the researchers used the surveys to place employees along a continuum of behavior, with “entitled” at one end and “benevolent” at the other. Here “entitled” means having “low equity sensitivity” — a poor sense of what’s fair to others. (As you can see from the chart, low achievers are victimized too, but the researchers found that there’s a different rationale: Weak performers are punished for jeopardizing their coworkers’ success. Benevolence doesn’t help them much.)

So if you’re a high performer who’s being excluded or cold-shouldered, maybe it’s not so much your excellence that your coworkers are reacting to but your creeping non-benevolence. If they’re not looping you into lunch invites, maybe it’s because they’re starting to sense that you’re putting your own needs ahead of theirs.

If that’s the case, you know what to do. Jensen’s research shows that practicing thoughtfulness and cooperativeness really does work to defuse your colleagues’ impulse to take you down.

Cooney et al frame the issue as black and white. They write that there’s a basic conflict between our desires to “do what other people have not yet done and to be just like everyone else,” so that if we satisfy our impulse to stand out, we can’t conform any longer, and failure to conform leads to feelings of exclusion.

Jensen’s view suggests a different way of looking at it: Even if your high performance puts you on another plane, separating you from your old bunch, that nonconformity doesn’t have to come with the punishments of rejection or sniping. If you make an effort to be altruistic, the group will reward you. If not with lunch invitations, then at least with acceptance —  a kind of benevolence of its own.

via Why Superstars Struggle to Bond with Their Teams – Andrew O’Connell – Harvard Business Review.

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Why Superstars Struggle to Bond with Their Teams

Friday, October 24, 2014

Here"s Why You Probably Won"t Get Hired At Google

Google is notorious for being one of the most selective companies out there.

Of the 3 million applications it receives each year, Google only hires 7,000, or about 0.2%, the company’s HR boss Laszlo Bock said at LinkedIn’s recent Talent Conference, according to Quartz.

Although many have heard about Google’s unbelievably difficult brain-teasers, the company actually has a bunch of practices that make its hiring process so selective.

Google keeps its hiring protocol consistent and streamlined so each Googler knows exactly what to look for in candidates, Quartz reports. In order of priority, those include general cognitive ability, leadership, “Googleyness,” and knowledge of the role.

But Google also takes measures to ensure it eliminates bias at all costs. Bock says he reminds his team that most people are terrible interviewers. Many people make lasting impressions based on these encounters that may not accurately represent a candidate’s capabilities.

Google also combats bias by putting a committee in charge of making hiring choices — not hiring managers. Google chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt also discusses this in a recent book he wrote with Google’s SVP of product Jonathan Rosenberg called “How Google Works.”

google employee office

Schmidt likens this to the way a university decides which faculty members should get hired or promoted. Essentially, hiring should be peer-based, not hierarchical like the traditional hiring method, he says.

So, those brain-teasers, consistent protocol, and special hiring committee combined make Google nearly impenetrable when it comes to getting hired. In fact, Google’s hiring rate is said to be lower than the acceptance rate at prestigious universities such as Harvard and Yale. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

via Google’s Hiring Process – Business Insider.

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Here"s Why You Probably Won"t Get Hired At Google

8 Culture-Building Secrets from Two Exceptional Places to Work

Unlimited vacation and volunteering time. Jobs built around strengths. Eager mentors. Policies that focus on treating people like humans. You would think I was describing Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or some other working utopia. Actually, it’s a perfect description of two real-life company cultures that would knock your socks off.

Talent Plus and Next Jump are two midsize companies determined to be great places to work, by creating a version of a work-life that most people would think is fantasy. Talent Plus is the Leading Talent Assessment Partner in the talent industry and Next Jump powers other corporation’s rewards, loyalty platforms and engagement solutions.

I am constantly on the hunt for companies with this “employee focused” commitment, because I know that being happy at work is a powerful tool for not only individual performance but also company performance. I first came across these two companies, because of the many awards they have won, and I was curious to see if they really walk the talk. Based on my one-on-one interactions with them, I can say they do, by creating rewarding environments that help with recruiting and retention, which helps the companies thrive as a whole.

But we’re still living in a business world where this is far from the norm, and building a “great culture” is easier said than done, especially for busy entrepreneurs. With that in mind, I recently sat down with the leaders at Talent Plus and Next Jump, to identify some of their culture-building secrets.

1. Share everything. At Next Jump, there are no secrets. Business results and strategies are discussed in an open forum and transparency is practiced regularly. From the get-go, the primary goal was to build a company that would make your mother and father proud.

2. Engage in “daily formation.” Every morning the entire team at Talent Plus gathers in a circle in their large dining room. They vocalize one of the 35 core values and then people volunteer to share examples of those values in action. They then have a “Play of the Day,” in which associates are able to recognize anyone that has gone above and beyond in their contribution or performance. They then take a moment and celebrate any birthdays or life-stage events.

3. Give credit where credit is due. Next Jump has set up an environment that is meant to help people reach their full potential. Their motto? “Consistency Over Intensity.” The company has frequent recognition programs–weekly, monthly, annually–to recognize people regularly.

4. Consider the “One Coffee Pot Rule.” Talent Plus has more than 200 associates, but the company has just one coffee pot in the kitchen area. Seems simple, but this facilitates organic interaction and forces everyone to have a central location for spontaneous interactions.

5. Provide mentoring. Mentorship is a cornerstone of Next Jump’s culture. Each member of the team has a “talking partner,” and they consistently meet every day for breakfast and hold each other accountable for greatness. The goal is to understand each other’s world and then provide the support needed to succeed. For example the CEO and the Chief of Staff are “talking partners” who run the company together.

6. “Focus on You.” This is an activity at Talent Plus that is used as a tool to build strong relationships and to strengthen its culture. The company uses it when someone first starts, lands a new internal job, or when strengthens relationships with valued clients. Members of the team are even encouraged to take it home and use it with their families or other organizations they’re a part of. The Focus on You exercise is a series of questions that you answer about yourself and share with others, including: What is the name you liked to be called? What do I get paid to do? What are your hot buttons, the things that you really care about in life? What are your successes, one professional and one personal? What do you do best? What are your goals professionally and personally? These questions break barriers and open the door to understanding what makes each other click.

7. Declare and document. Next Jumpers are encouraged to declare their intentions and then document them. It has been a tipping point in the culture because it has allowed members of the team to get behind that culture. Previously, the company defined the culture with core values and it was hard to remember them in action and amid stress. Once they began declaring what they wanted to do and documenting it, they began to see culture-specific actions happen more organically.

8. Perks! Talent Plus allows its employees to manage their own time–unlimited vacation and otherwise–and goes as far as offering up the company’s beautiful space to use as needed, including baby showers, birthday celebrations and lots of family-focused celebrations.

via 8 Culture-Building Secrets from Two Exceptional Places to Work |

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8 Culture-Building Secrets from Two Exceptional Places to Work

6 Mistakes You May Be Making on LinkedIn

It’s a valuable networking tool, helping professionals connect for jobs and advice. But many LinkedIn members aren’t taking full advantage of the networking features of the site. When used to its fullest, LinkedIn can be an even more powerful social media tool than Facebook and Twitter.

Setting up your LinkedIn profile is only the beginning. Here are a few mistakes you may be making on LinkedIn that could cost you important business connections. By knowing about these mistakes, you can make your profile more powerful and reach more of your industry peers on the site.

Not Completing Your Profile

When LinkedIn members look at your profile, what do they see? Is your entire career outlined in your profile or just your current position? Do you have a current photo that would help your peers locate you at a networking event or conference? Your LinkedIn profile should give a full overview of your experience, including as much background as possible. A position you held early in your career could connect you with a colleague from those days who could benefit your business now.

Failing to Join Groups

LinkedIn offers Groups as a way for members to find other people within their industries or areas of interests. These groups are a great way to share ideas and troubleshoot issues, but at their core, they offer a way to network with other business owners. LinkedIn occasionally suggests groups you may like, but you can also browse the directory or search for a group using the search box at the top of each page.

Not Endorsing Others

Endorsements are an easy way to let your colleagues know you support them. You simply endorse other professionals for specific skills you know they have under the Skills & Endorsements section of each person’s profile. Not only will that person be notified of your endorsement, your picture and name will appear next to that skill under the person’s profile as having endorsed him. You can also write recommendations for colleagues who have worked with you in the past.

Failure to Connect

You can create a LinkedIn profile, but without connections you’re missing out on the “networking” part of the site. Start by connecting with people who are in your professional circles and expand from there, adding past colleagues, others within your industry, and people you meet while networking in groups on the site. You’ll see your connections’ updates on your newsfeed and be alerted when they change jobs or celebrate a work anniversary. Be sure to congratulate them when you see these items to keep your name fresh on their minds.

All Take, No Give

As with other social media sites, one of the top mistakes professionals make is in only posting when they need something. If you’re inactive most of the time, only using the site to ask a colleague for a favor or to market something, you’ll likely be disappointed by the results. Make an effort to interact by posting links to useful articles and commenting on other people’s posts on your newsfeed. Then when you do post about your exciting new product or upcoming event, you’ll find that others are more willing to support you.


While it may be a social networking site, it’s important to remember at all times that LinkedIn is a professional social networking site. Your profile picture should capture your spirit while still being professional, whether it’s a shot of you at your favorite coffee shop or a standard business headshot. Every word on your profile should be grammatically correct and typo-free, even if it means asking a friend or colleague to proofread it. Most importantly, when you post status updates or comment in groups, every post should represent your brand in the best light possible. Resist the urge to engage in arguments with those who are inciting drama by always keeping in mind that others could be judging you by your comments.

LinkedIn is an important networking tool for every professional. The site has many tools designed to help you connect with those you’ve worked with in the past and suggesting those you can work with in the future. When used correctly, it can help you bring in new business and get the support you need as you grow your company.

via 6 Mistakes You May Be Making on LinkedIn |

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6 Mistakes You May Be Making on LinkedIn

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why do HR professionals deliberately sabotage the potential of analytics?

“Some HR people are deliberately undermining analytics initiatives, politically. Not in a passive, but in an active way, they setting themselves up to fail.”  Nick Holley

Strong words from Nick Holley, co-director of Henley Centre for HR Excellence, but HR analytics and big data are provoking strong reactions among HR professionals. The quick march towards analytics and big data has left some HR professionals worried that they lack the skills and experience to hack it in this new-look HR department. As Holley explains:

Too many HR people have based their careers on having gut instinct, experience and relationships and they are worried that this will disintermediate them and the profession will be based on things they are not good at.

Their fears are “total rubbish” maintains Holley. Rather than robbing them of using their chance to use their instincts, he believes it will actually make their intuition more important. Keen instincts are needed to ask the right questions of the data and to interpret it correctly. Far from being a threat, Holley points out that:

Analysis is the greatest opportunity HR has ever had to be relevant. It’s game changing with enormous potential.

It’s game changing because it offers up HR the opportunity to become a strategic player in the boardroom, to contribute commercially and ultimately to drive profits.

Don’t do HR

Holley is quite clear that the role of HR is not to do HR, but to help their organization reach its strategic objectives. Talking to CEO’s about what they would like from HR, Holley has found:

What they want HR to do is be a corporate director and someone who is contributing not just from HR but the broader perspective. Exploiting technology seems a really easy way to do that, but they are a bit intimidated by technology.

Alongside a general fear of technology in some HR quarters, there are other barriers to the uptake of analytics by HR professionals, in particular, that HR can be too inward-facing, focusing on gaining insights into data with little relevance to those beyond HR’s walls. Holley elaborates:

The problem is that all the data is internal to HR. What business wants to hear about are things that will improve productivity and performance.

All too often, HR people will produce dashboards of information for the board, but not necessarily the kind of insights that chief executives can directly apply to improving business profits or present to shareholders. Holley illustrates this idea with the story of a guy found scrabbling under a street light at night, looking for his car keys. Asked if this was where he dropped his car keys, the guy says no, they are over in the dark, but this is where the light is, so I’ll look here.

HR people will shine the light on areas such as absence or diversity levels, simply because that data is easy to come by. Research from Bersin by Deloitte finds that only 4% of large organizations can predict or model their workforce, yet more than 90% can model and predict their budgets or financial results. Too often, HR analysis is historically based rather than helping the business look forward. The result, says Holley, is that:

People end up looking in the data they have for insights that simply aren’t there or people don’t care about.

Crossing the continuum

Holley sees analytics in a continuum. On one side is data; on far side is the business problem. Information, analysis, insight and action link the two extremes.

The organizations that do well are those that begin with the business problem and then search for the data they need to solve that problem. All too often, HR starts at other end of the continuum. And as Holley points out:

If you start with the data you lose connection with the business.

Exploiting analytics and big data doesn’t mean HR need to become technologists or statisticians, they just need a broad understanding of what they can do. Like many HR professionals, analytics experts may not be commercially minded, so it’s up to HR people to ask the right questions and have the confidence to challenge assumptions. Holley suggests that HR’s role is to act as a “broker” and make the commercial connection between the analytics experts and what the business needs.

Even those convinced of the power of analytics may be daunted by the size of the task. Holley advises against falling down the big data hole and spending millions on data cleansing. Boiling the ocean will just get you the sack. Instead, he charges:

Start small. Don’t even think about the concept of big data. Think about small data. Come up with a hypothesis, engage analytics people – often found in finance and marketing. Generate some insight. Present it the company in the manner: here’s the issue and here’s the solution. Don’t present the issue without a solution.

My take

Analytics presents HR with its best opportunity to impact the business and break free from its silo mentality. But, ironically, for a self-professed people business, it’s the people aspect that could potentially derail early analytics efforts. But the bottom line is that HR people need to wake up and smell the coffee if they want to survive.

via Why do HR professionals deliberately sabotage the potential of analytics?.

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Why do HR professionals deliberately sabotage the potential of analytics?

The Intriguing Truth About Your Dream Job

Did you know that working for Zappos, a company on the GameChangers 500 list of the world’s top purpose-driven companies, is so desirable that it’s actually harder to get a job there than it is to be admitted to Harvard?

It’s true. In 2013, 25,000 people applied for jobs with Zappos, and they only hired 250.

That means that 99% of people who applied didn’t get the job.

So, what makes these types of companies so darn desirable? (Because there are thousands more out there.)

And how do you get the attention of a company like this and get the job?

Here’s The Scoop

One reason why people love these types of organizations is that they take empowering their employees and creating a phenomenal workplace to the NEXT LEVEL.


Employees at Zappos enjoying “Customer Service Week” with a Slime Fight!

Another reason is that we’re bored out of our minds – and want to do something that excites us.

In other words, we’ll watch Office Space, get fired up about finding a job we love, and research some companies we find on or Craigslist…

And then make one small change to our resume or cover letter and fire it off to as many companies as we can find.

Here’s the problem with that approach. You saw the stats – Zappos only hired 1% of applicants, and you can bet other Game Changing organizations like them have similar numbers.

Many people continue to suffer in their miserable jobs while getting more and more frustrated about being the 99% who don’t get the results they desire.

How To Get Your Dream Job

The good news? I’m not going to let that happen to you. If you’re reading this article, it means you CAN do it – and believe me, it is possible to get your dream job.

1. STOP Scanning Job Boards

A friend of mine calls this the ‘Monster Effect.’ It’s when you scan huge job boards hoping to find something that jumps out at you…

And then submit your resume to any position that looks moderately interesting. Guess what?

1 moderately interesting position + 1 moderately interesting company = 1 BORING JOB.

Here’s what you do instead. Flip your job seeking process around by using the 2nd tip…

2. Have FUN Discovering Your Dream Job

The root problem most people experience in their careers is that they aren’t inspired by their work. They aren’t fulfilled.

And the best way to solve that problem is by focusing on enjoying the process of finding your dream job.

Think about the best things that have happened in your life.

Maybe sparking that flame with your spouse…

Or achieving some milestone growing up.

Were you ever in a place of desperation and unhappiness when those things happened? Probably not. You were likely in a positive state… maybe even feeling invincible.

The intriguing truth of it all is that the best things happen when you’re already in a good place.

So, one of these evenings… turn on some music, crack open a bottle of wine, and have some fun reflecting on and researching your ultimate dream job.

Then jump into tip #3

3. Use Modern Job Seeking Strategies

It’s simple. If you want the kind of job we’re talking about here – with insanely desirable companies like Zappos…

Where you wake up excited to go to work – not knowing if there’s going to be a slime fight or a laser tag party that day…

It’s likely not going to be at the kind of place that will hire you with a traditional resume alone. Zappos sure won’t.

You need to make a real impression on them by doing something creative and unique that showcases what you bring to the table.

You need to really love their organization, mission, and culture – otherwise you just won’t make the cut.

YouTube videos, websites, and mailing physical packages with a unique presentation are some great ways to stand out.

Every company will be unique, so there’s no “1 size fits all” approach here. Remember, be creative, authentic, and unique – and show them how you can add value to their organization.

That’s how you’ll get your dream job.

via The Intriguing Truth About Your Dream Job | CAREEREALISM.

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The Intriguing Truth About Your Dream Job

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Dress for Your Job Interview [Top 12 Guidelines]

Knowing what to wear on a job interview is half the battle of the interview itself. The old adage could never be so true, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

When you’re going on a job interview, your appearance is extremely important. Whether or not you look professional or sloppy could play a huge role on if you get hired.

Check out the company culture:

When first deciding what to wear on a job interview, you should first take into consideration the culture of the company you are interviewing with, and dress accordingly. Are you interviewing with a company where the employees wear suits everyday or do they wear t-shirts and jeans?

Nothing too fancy, nothing to casual:

how-to-dress-interviewA suit is not always the best choice for what to wear on a job interview. If you show up wearing a suit and tie and all the employees are wearing shorts and flip-flops, you will look out of place, feel uncomfortable and give off the wrong energy. The same is true of the opposite. If you show up wearing shorts and flip-flops to a company that wears professional attire, you will be just confirming that you don’t fit into the company.

Match the interviewer:

If you want to get the job, your choice of what to wear on a job interview should match or be slightly dressier than the normal work attire of the company. For example, if the normal work attire of the company is business casual, it’s ok to wear a suit to impress. If the normal work attire is casual, it’s ok to wear a business casual outfit to impress as well. Appropriateness is the most important factor on what to wear on a job interview.

After you decide whether a professional, business casual, or casual outfit the most appropriate for your interview, here are some guidelines you will want to stay with in when deciding what to wear on a job interview. The key is to wear clothing that you feel comfortable and look great in, while at the same time matching the corresponding dress code of the company. That way you’ll give off great energy and your true personality shine through.

Here are the guidelines:

  1. Make sure your clothes that are neatly ironed and press. Nothing gives away the lack of attention to detail than wrinkled clothing.

  2. Make sure your clothing fits properly. If your pants or sleeves are too long or something is too loose or too tight you’ll look and probably feel awkward.

  3. Don’t wear flashy jewelry. You’ll want the interviewer to pay attention to you, not your bling.

  4. Dress according to the season. Don’t wear a stuffy turtleneck sweater in the middle of the summer.

  5. Don’t wear perfume or aftershave. You never know if your interviewer is allergic and this isn’t a good way to find out.

  6. Make sure you have a nice, clean haircut that makes you look well groomed.

  7. For men, make sure you shave and keep facial hair to a minimum.

  8. For women, don’t wear anything that is too revealing. It’s best to keep your body parts inside your clothing and not be too exposed.

  9. Avoid articles of clothing with loud, busy prints. It’s best to wear solid colors that flatter your skin tone.

  10. For women, make sure you wear appropriate lingerie and/or pantyhose underneath your clothing. This will give you smooth lines and assure you don’t have visible panty lines on your backside.

  11. For women, don’t overdo your makeup. Wear natural colors and avoid heavy eyeshadow, eyeliner and bright colored lipstick.

  12. For pants outfits, make sure you wear a belt that matches the color of your shoes.

Bottom line:

So, congratulations on getting the interview! Now you know exactly what to wear to the interview interview so you can get the job.

via How to Dress for Your Job Interview [Top 12 Guidelines].

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How to Dress for Your Job Interview [Top 12 Guidelines]

Let"s Fix It: Blame Unemployment on the Color Blue

I know myself, and employers know what they want to hire, but how do we explain that to each other efficiently and accurately? The marketplace for people and jobs is broken, especially for the small businesses that create the bulk of jobs in the United States. And it’s part of why so many people are out of work while simultaneously so many jobs are unfilled. Unemployment is an information asymmetry problem.

And it’s the one thing I’d fix if I could.

Information asymmetry is when one party has better information than another party. Let’s say I’m selling my car and I know the passenger door rattles when I drive over 65 mph. You are buying my car, and have no idea. That’s information asymmetry.

Job-matching efforts also suffer from information asymmetry, or what I call the Color Blue Problem. How do I know that when I see the color blue, it’s the same as when you see it? How do I know that when I describe myself to an employer, they know what I mean? And that when a hiring manager describes what she wants in a job posting, how do I know what she means?

In practice, it looks* like this:

Resumes stink. They’re a simply awful way of marketing yourself for a job. Some of that is our fault as job-seekers and can be fixed, as I wrote here and here. But an employer has no way of knowing if most companies on a resume are good or bad (is working at “LaszloCo” a good sign?), if a title means anything (VP is a senior title in tech, but not in banking, and even in tech some companies have one VP for every 20 people and some have one per 300), or even what my words mean (is a “superb programmer” the co-inventor of Google or just really, really good at Logo?). And employers are completely blind to the indefinable things that make you “you,” such as generosity, curiosity, or playfulness.

It’s just as bad on the job-posting side. Job descriptions are often written from generic templates, don’t give you a sense of what the job truly requires or what would make you successful in it, and are just plain boring. Here’s an insider’s view of what the process feels like from the other side:

Resume screeners and interviewers deliver the coup de grace: We all think we are great at assessing candidates. We’re not. We are biased, ask bad interview questions, rarely go back and check if our predictions were correct, and so on. We only hire the best, right? Then how did all those slackers in Sam’s department get hired? More to come on this in a future post, but the point is that the job-matching process is fragile and error-prone.

The root cause is that we can’t convey perfect information about our own skills, nor can employers convey perfect information about what they need. We both say the job is a “Color Blue” job, but we have no way of knowing for sure if we both mean the same thing when we say “Color Blue.” Information asymmetry.

The enormous opportunity to solve unemployment

But what if you could perfectly convey the real you? Not just your training and feats, but in what kind of workplace you would thrive. Whether you like to work alone or in groups. Whether you are a specialist or a utility player. Exactly how good you are at your disciplines. And what if sending this message was believable? If a prospective employer could know with certainty that they can see the real you.

Now, what if you had the same insight into jobs? Is my prospective manager a control freak or checked out? Is this job a stretch, just right, or completely out of reach? Do I have the general attributes that will set me up for rapid promotion, or will I be stuck in the same job for a decade? Do givers or takers thrive in this company?

In the short-term, much unemployment could be eliminated by doing a better job of matching people and jobs. By solving the Color Blue Problem.

There has been a visible revolution in the ability to analyze lots of data. Less noticed are advances in organizational science and behavioral economics, ranging from Amy Wrzesniewski’s pioneering jobcrafting work, to Evolv’s work on matching people to jobs, to Googler Brian Welle’s work on unconscious bias. (Disclosure: I was until recently a board member of Evolv and of course work at Google.)

Mapping the reality of what you have to offer against the reality of what organizations need — and who will thrive in that specific context – is a hard problem. But it is solvable. It becomes possible to move beyond “four years of public accounting experience” to “ability to learn quantitative methods combined with a zeal for catching and correcting the smallest of errors, persuade with data, and thrive in social settings” as job criteria, and to then identify people based on who they really are. For individuals, it becomes possible to find roles where they will excel regardless of where they went to college, or even if they went to college.

Now, imagine this works. If you’re a welder in Detroit, you can find out what skills are increasingly or decreasingly in demand. Then you can make some informed choices: Should I move to Atlanta where there will be more welding jobs, or stay put and go to nursing school since I know there will be demand for those jobs at home? If I go back to school, which schools’ graduates are most likely to end up in the jobs that I want?

Slowly we’d become able to not just match people today, but also to tell people where to invest to be ready for tomorrow’s jobs.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year on recruiting, so there’s a lot of incentive to figure this out. The trick is you can’t do this by conducting exhaustive (and exhausting surveys) coupled with anthropological dissections of every group inside every organization. Not practical.

The most efficient way is by looking at large sets of data and inferring relationships, similarities, and predictors of success and failure. And the only way to do that is with permission, appropriate privacy safeguards, and enough value delivered to the individuals and organizations to make them want to take part.

From a business perspective, the promise of solving unemployment is enormous. From a social perspective, it’s exhilarating. And from a computer and organizational science perspective, it’s coming into reach.

*Original fresco entitled “Ecce Homo” by Elias Garcia Martinez, as reported by Heraldo on August 21, 2012.

via Let’s Fix It: Blame Unemployment on the Color Blue | LinkedIn.

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Let"s Fix It: Blame Unemployment on the Color Blue

Monday, October 20, 2014

Interviews: How to Create a First Impression That Lasts [Top Tips]

When interviewing for a job, it’s certainly not hard to find plenty of advice online about how to prepare for the interview. Your resume looks flawless. You’ve studied the company’s website. You’ve prepared a number of questions to ask the interviewer. You’ve carefully chosen your wardrobe to make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Unless you’re a recent college graduate, chances are this isn’t your first interview, and you know the drill.

But when thinking about an upcoming interview, don’t overlook the small details of your first encounter with a potential employer. While they may not require practice or preparation, being cognizant of them can prove to be the difference in returning from the interview employed or unemployed. Here’s how to master your first impression.

The Handshake

Possibly the simplest, yet most easily overlooked part of the interview. It always amazes me how much you can tell about a person from his or her handshake, and how many people form opinions based on this and are never willing to change them. Want to show a potential employer that you’re shy, lazy or just can’t be bothered with the task of meeting new people? There’s no better way than to give them a “dead fish” handshake. Many people find the unwillingness to give a firm handshake as the sign of a lack of commitment or determination – both qualities an interviewer wants to see in an eager new employee.

Want to show them that you’re impatient, brash and hard to manage? An overly firm handshake will do just that. No one likes a handshake that leaves their hand hurting afterward. Some see this as a sign of an overly aggressive personality – one that can certainly be unpleasant to deal with in the workplace.

Finally, nothing says “I couldn’t care less about meeting you” more than not bothering to look at the person with whom you’re shaking hands. A personal pet peeve of mine, if someone can’t be bothered with making eye contact when shaking hands, I know for sure this is not the person I want working for me. I can even recall one or two instances when the person with whom I was shaking hands started a conversation with someone else in the room while shaking my hand. If this ever happened to me with a potential job candidate, it would be the shortest interview I ever conducted.

The Greeting

This should be common knowledge, but then so should many other things that are often overlooked. When meeting a potential employer for the first time, keep your greeting cordial and formal. “Pleasure to meet you” will make a good first impression – simple and polite. Remember that you’re not hanging out with your friends at the local pub. If you’re lucky, you may eventually achieve that level of friendship with the person with whom you’re interviewing. But until then, “Sup?” is not a proper greeting.

Remember: You’re Being Watched

From the moment you step foot on company property until the moment you leave, keep in mind that your actions may be reported to your potential employer. If you’re the type of person who is only polite to those who outrank you and can further your career, expect your self-serving nature to eventually come back to haunt you. Nearly every veteran recruiter has a story of a candidate who disrespected a receptionist or maintenance worker in a potential employer’s office en route to the interview, only to lose the job because of it. The same goes for littering in the parking lot, eating in the reception area before the interview, or any other action that may signal the employer that you are not the ideal personality type that they want working for them.

Any new hire can attest to the amount of work that goes into getting a new job. From the long-term preparation (education, work experience and training) to the short-term preparation (studying the potential employer’s company, products and culture), always keep in mind subtleties such as body language and manners. While they alone may not be enough to get you hired, they can certainly be the reason you are not chosen. And what sadder way for a perfectly qualified candidate to lose a job opportunity?

via Interviews: How to Create a First Impression That Lasts [Top Tips].

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Interviews: How to Create a First Impression That Lasts [Top Tips]