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No. Just no.

“I realized…that I had to start saying a very, very difficult word to people, which was ‘no’.

The odd lesson for that is I figured out that’s how you end up making the favorable work you do…Saying yes, then you just work. But saying no means you made the choice of the type of story you wanted to tell and the type of character you want to play.”

‘Every time you say yes to something you don’t really want, you’re actually saying no to the things you do.’

No, these are not my words today, but certainly worth sharing for the benefit of most of us in whatever we do.

Read the entire interview/article from Inc. with Actor Tom Hanks.

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What would Amazon do?

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Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer, selling everything from books to shampoo, and lots of people want to work there. At the world’s largest online retailer, it’ll take more than just cookie-cutter answers to stand out. 

The full article and list of 29 questions is from Inc.com and linked here for your review.

Of Amazon’s 29 questions – I would like to point out a few of those that I believe would apply to any organization and most positions.

How would you answer the questions below? What do you think the employer is trying to gauge with this line of questioning?

  1. What is the worst mistake you ever made?
  2. If your direct manager was instructing you to do something you disagreed with, how would you handle it?
  3.  Describe what Human Resources means to you.
  4.  Do you know our CEO? How do you pronounce his/her name?
  5.  Are you willing to work on your feet for 10 hours, 4 days a week?
  6.  Do you think you’ll reach a point where you storm out of work and never return? Or have you?
  7.  Would you tell on a employee for stealing?
  8. Tell the story of the last time you had to apologize to someone.
  9. What would you do if you saw someone being unsafe at work
  10.  What is the most difficult situation you have ever faced in your life? How did you handle it?
  11. Give me an example of a time when you were 75% of the way through a project, and you had to pivot strategy–how were you able to make that into a success story?
  12.  What would you do if you found out that your closest friend at work was stealing?
What the employer is trying to gauge is the character of a candidate with many of these questions. As well, what research has been done to learn about the company prior to the interview. And, about one’s work ethic, determination and accountability. And your integrity.
The reason I am sharing these questions is that they are not uncommon. Be prepared to have to respond to some of these in your job search endeavors. Be prepared to think on your feet, be honest, and consider how to concisely respond to questions that may elicit a long answer. Too long of an answer could find one’s foot in mouth, so to speak.
Practice responses out loud – to yourself or rehearsing with a friend. Maybe a buddy system of mock-interviewing, so that you can be best prepared.


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Jobstacles

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In one of our job club meetings of the same name more than a year ago, we tackled the concept of Jobstacles – getting in your own way of getting an interview or getting the offer. In my world of recruiting, it’s often like hearing excuses. Many claim they can’t get a job because they’re overqualified, or too old, or too expensive. Certainly, that could be the case.

Yet people still apply to job ads without doing some research on the organization, the culture, or even meeting others who have worked there – to get some inside perspective.

  • Overqualified can translate having had a career history where taking a couple of steps down or back doesn’t seem realistic. Companies fear, and with good reason and experience that hiring someone with too many qualifications/credentials are going to bore someone sooner than later. They’ll be right back to recruiting for that same role in due time.
  • Too old – can translate to ‘not having enough energy for the job or being out of touch with technology. Some people try to hide their ‘age’ in a resume by not providing experience more than 10 years old. My feeling on that – then what else might you be willing to hide, to cover something up — when you’re on the job?
  • Too expensive – also fits in the overqualified category of excuses. One might take a job just to get their foot in the door, but the company presumes that once a better offer is made, financially, they’ll have to try and fill that position all over again. So many hiring managers, prefer to just wait it out.

So the moral of the story is, be conscientious when applying for any job. Is it a realistic opportunity? Do you know enough about the role, the company and the culture – to truly feel you can be a fit? No hiring authority wants to hear the “I can do anything” attitude. It’s more like being willing to do anything. If you’re unemployed – then taking a position for less pay than what — is reasonable? Less than unemployment benefits? If you are truly willing to work in your field, or something new, for less than you were accustomed to – state your case right away. Changes in your life/circumstances/expenses — whatever, has allowed you to consider roles that aren’t of the same pay scale you were once at.

If you can guess that the job typically hires a ‘younger’ or more energetic person that you might portray yourself to be, then apply for it but be prepared to shine regardless of age. Present yourself as a well-groomed, ageless, and experienced person who thrives on challenging work, collaborating with others and being able to contribute towards a common goal.


 


Interviews & A Portfolio

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I have often wondered why people bring their briefcases to a job interview. More men than woman as I recall. One might presume that a portfolio is a given for the candidates of the creative professions, to show their designs, photography samples, even home staging experts have the before & after shots. There is something truly visual about what they do or what they produce.

Do you need to carry around all that bulk of a major briefcase? Us ladies are accustomed to toting around baggage of all sorts and sizes – and yet most women I’ve encountered are comfortable enough having a some portfolio/pad-folio along during an interview. Seems portable, comfortable and still professional.

When you’re not part of the creative candidate pool – what might you be carrying along with you for an interview? Here are a few things to always have on hand for those ever-important first impression meetings:

  1. Printed copies of your current resume on really nice paper along for the ride. If you’ve gone through a recruiting agency, chances are the resume you provided them has been altered to be more applicable to the specific needs of the company they’ve scheduled you with. And, when things go well in that first interview — you just might have the opportunity to meet some other hiring authorities to share your resume with.
  2. Carry along copies of any certifications you might have earned in your professional experience; from PMP to PHR, from Culinary to Microsoft certificates – these are certainly reasonable to have on hand.
  3. Maybe you’ve had an opportunity to be part of a marketing development project in your past jobs, even though you weren’t part of marketing. Consider bringing along whatever piece of media or project you worked on to show not just a creative side, but obviously that have worked on a team towards a mutual goal/project.
  4. In the front of your pad/portfolio – make sure you have handy the exact ad copy you responded to regarding this job opportunity. As well, be sure to keep any/all phone numbers, directions and other contacts that you may need while in transit. One never knows what may occur while on your way to an interview. Better than just arriving late – call to explain your delay to see if you should be rescheduled, or is it still advisable to come as planned.
  5. And here were are at point #5, seems to be the last on my recent lists. Here’s a personal point. Have on hand clear nail polish for stocking runs, shoe polish for scuffs, breath freshener, pocket stain removers, a hand mirror to do a last minute check, and whatever can assure you looking your best for this first impression meeting. (08 Jul)


On Staffing – when 365 days a year is required. 

Having some recent conversations about appropriate staffing – particularly when it comes to holiday, it made me think. So, the 4th of July was upon us. An area service/food type company that only employs one person per store per shift, finds itself each and every holiday and the weekend days surrounding – scrambling to keep its doors open. Now keep in mind, this is not a public service such as police/fire, or a 24/7 national grocery or pharmaceutical company that by nature is open to meet the demands of the community that could occur at any time of the day or night. This particular organization is not providing emergency or required services.

Yet, while they promise to be open to its regular customers – they’re not able to assure enough competent or readied staff to meet their operational needs. They’re not working their talent pool often enough to assure there are no struggles on the days before the holiday or on that holiday itself. Here’s a few ideas smaller organizations can do to keep up with their own pace.

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  1. Assure that through your recruiting practices you’ve painted a picture of not just a typical day on the job, but what a day can look like when someone is a no-show or calls off of work. Look for reactions in the interview process.
  2. Hire people who affirm and have provided example through interviews that they are indeed flexible: ready and available to work holidays or weekends, either regularly or on-call.
  3. When preparing schedules for regular workers, ask them to provide additional days in advance – that they can be on call to fill in when necessary. Not all who call off are doing so for the fun of it. Emergencies happen – we all know it, and we’ve all been there.
  4. Those that offer in advance to be on an on-call list should be called first, because they are likely hoping for extra hours. Employees who sign-up should be rewarded. Salary adjustments aren’t realistic, but bonuses are. Even a point system can be established for each hour a person works beyond their regular schedule. While that employee is still getting compensated for the time work, and potential overtime – a point system could be set up for cash bonuses monthly or quarterly, or even a late start or early off on occasion. In the airline industry – we would call this ‘Z’ time. It was a win-win all around!
  5. Last but not least, those who continually disrespect their employers by calling off on assigned schedules and other not-great-behaviors, should be disciplined. They should not be rewarded by ignoring their lack of work ethic through continued employment. Too often this happens and dead-beat workers maintain their jobs with a care-less attitude that only gets more carefree because they know they won’t get firedsimply because the company hasn’t recruited  and trained enough people to be more appropriately staffed for their type of industry. (06 Jul)

LinkedBook or FaceIn? Been wondering why there seems to be a more frequent crossover.

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Due to extraordinary personal reasons in recent months, I’ve not paid the attention due to this great resource of LinkedIn. Shame on me. When did it become an extension of Facebook? When did my feed become so over saturated with motivational quotes and imagery? As an early advocate and somewhat of a super-user of this platform, and occasional trainer of — I’m concerned about the lean towards personal agendas, irrelevant messages and outright sales. Does one really need to post their profile photo with the catch of their day or seemingly shirtless? Let’s get SMART about our use of this INTELLIGENT network.

Always a bit cautious about accepting invites – I consider this network to be about the quality, not the quantity of connections. Consider this – if you were to choose a random selection of say 10% of your current connections and placed a phone call – would you need to explain who you are, or would those connections already know?

I wonder why some profile photos here are obviously outdated or just simply inappropriate; why those who have changed jobs do not update their profiles to reflect their professional growth or transition; and to where this all started – that this is a ‘professional’ network not being respected as such. I am beginning to understand why some people have been hesitant to get involved at all, and while others I know are seriously thinking about removing themselves. Just because it’s generally a free resource, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking it more seriously.

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