7 things you need to consider about your attitude when looking for work

angry person3No one will argue that being unemployed isn’t a traumatic experience, especially me. I was on the receiving end approximately nine years ago and I meet jobseekers daily. Being unemployed isn’t what I’d wish on anyone.

This said, if jobseekers aren’t mindful of the attitude they project, it can hurt their chances of finding their next job. This is perhaps the most difficult thing jobseekers can accomplishment, keeping their attitude in check.

One’s negative attitude shows itself in many mannerisms. Demonstrations of your mannerisms precedes any opportunity to appear before an employer. Failing to control your mannerisms can prevent you from getting to the interview. Below are some signs of a negative attitude. These are things you should keep in mind when going out in public.

  1. Arrogance impresses no one. You may have been outstanding at what you did, and you may be outstanding in the future, but keep in mind that diplomacy is your best card at this time. You will be relying on many people to help you in your job search, and most people don’t appreciate being looked down upon.
  2. Apparel is one aspect of your attitude. During the summer it’s hot out there, but please refrain from wearing gym shorts and tee-shirts with Budweiser advertisements. At all times make sure you are well-groomed and presentable–you never know when a potential employer might be just around the corner.
  3. Your countenance is more noticeable than you think. I’ve witnessed people who walk into the career center looking as if they’d like to strike anyone in their path. Their mouth looks like it was chiseled into a constant frown. There seems to be hatred in their eyes. This can be intimidating, let alone off-putting.
  4. Be outgoing…or at least fake it. For you introverts (I can relate), try to use every opportunity to network. Your most vital job search technique must include networking. You don’t have to see networking as only going to large arranged events–maybe your thing is small get-togethers. Real networking is a daily thing and that’s why you have to be on your game every day.
  5. Mind your manners. “Thank you,” “it was great seeing you,” “hope your day is wonderful,” etc., go a long way. These are things we learned in Kindergarten, yet not all of us practice the niceties as much as we should. I am often thanked by customers after a workshop or in an e-mail. They’re the ones who do the hard work, and their hard work will result in a job.
  6. Don’t appear desperate and despondent. Most people want to help you, but if you seem like you are giving up the battle–your peers, career advisors, and people employed in your industry–will doubt your ability to succeed at your next job. “Don’t let ‘em see you sweat.”
  7. Hide your anger. My last point is one I make with my workshop attendees, who for the most part are composed. I tell them their anger comes across loud and clear and…it impresses no one. Yes, you were unfairly let go; but people are not drawn to anger. They’re pushed away.

successWhy does this matter?

Simply put, your job search is ongoing. You are being judged wherever you go. The man or woman who has the authority to hire you, may be standing behind you in the checkout line. Those who try to help you take into account the aforementioned aspects of your overall attitude. If given the choice to recommend someone for a position, anyone is likely to back the person who has their attitude in check.

As I’ve said, maintaining a pleasant demeanor and appearing positive is difficult under an extremely stressful situation like being unemployed; but I’ll guarantee you that a negative approach to conquering unemployment will not lead to quick employment. Be mindful at all times how you appear to others.

2 ways employers can do a better job of hiring employees

Not to beat a dead horse, but employee (overall) fit keeps popping up in the news and conversations. Increasingly more employers are finding that the people they hire aren’t working out because they lack the right attitude, and they are quick to release those who don’t meet their expectations. This doesn’t  bode well for employees and employers.

An article in Forbes.com states that in a study of 2,000 hires only 46% worked out in an 18 month period. This is certainly alarming given that almost 50% of hires aren’t working out. What’s particularly telling is that 89% of those who failed, failed because of their attitude.

“Lack of coachability, low levels of emotional intelligence, motivation, and temperament, accounted for 89% of those bad hires,” according to the Forbes article.

Not for nothing, but this doesn’t surprise many people except, apparently, employers who eagerly interview and hire job candidates who look great on paper—e.g., meet most if not all the technical and transferable skills—but don’t put much weight into assessing their attitude. In other words, employers are falling down on the job of hiring the right people.

One way to determine if applicants possess these skills is by asking better interview questions.

The traditional questions like, “What is your greatest weakness?” or “Why do you want to work here?” or “What is your definition of a great manager?” are losing their effectiveness. Jobseekers can rehearse and provide the answers employers want to hear. The tougher questions, namely behavioral ones, will get to the heart of the matter with job candidates.

If the employer needs to know the person has or lacks leadership skills, a series of behavioral questions will draw this out. For example, “Tell me about a time when you inspired your subordinates to perform beyond their job description.” On the flipside, “Tell me about a time when you could have handled a personnel issue better, and how did you correct the issue?”

Questions like these will reveal more than typical traditional questions or tests that judge a person’s technical abilities. Employers who are asking behavioral questions tend to land candidates that last longer—up to 5 times longer, according to some, than those who are asked traditional questions.

Another way to determine if the applicant possesses the right attitude is hiring through referrals.

But it’s not only the questions employers need to ask to ensure better hires. The article states that referrals are employers’ ultimate choice when it comes to hiring people. That’s because the people making the referrals can vouch for the candidates’ personality and ability to go the distance for the company. As well, employers trust candidates’ references; they’re known by employers as people with whom they work, have worked, or know on a professional basis.

Jobvite.com conducted a survey in which it asked employers to rate the methods of hire that yielded the best results. Out of 10 points, referrals ranked the highest at 8.6. Job boards, incidentally, rated tied for last at 6.1. This makes me wonder why employers continue to advertise on Monster.com, SimplyHired.com, CareerBuilder.com, Dice.com, and so on. I guess it’s hard to break habits, even if they’re ineffective.

So what’s the secret behind hiring people who will stick for longer than 18 months? Better interviewing methods and relying on referrals, according to Forbes.com.

What this means for jobseekers. They must be prepared to answer behavioral question, as well as connect to people who know someone at the company or know someone who knows someone at the company. For ways job candidates cans prove their worth, see Recruiters and staffing agencies say your soft skill are important too.

This post was published a year ago, but ti’s still relevant today. Bad fit is one of the biggest complaints among employers, so what are they going to do about it?

Be prepared for motivation-based interviews; they are tough and get to the core of the applicant

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Carol Quinn, the CEO of Hire Authority, and the designer of motivation-based interviews (MBI). She is passionate about teaching corporations to hire high achievers through the uses of  motivation-based interviewing–in other words, the right candidates.

Listen up jobseekers, smart interviewers aren’t strictly relying on traditional interviews like they did in the past. They’re no longer asking questions that can be answered with rehearsed responses, or that focus primarily on your occupational skills.

Be prepared for a different type of interview called the motivation-based interview (MBI), which gets at your ability to over achieve and overcome obstacles. The reason for this is that traditional-type interviews are just not working.

It’s a well known fact that the majority of interviewers have little or no experience interviewing job candidates—these are most likely front-line managers. It’s also a well known fact that a majority of hires don’t work out and cost companies tens of thousands of dollars. A 2011 survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com revealed that approximately 68% of employers fell victim to bad hires.

The reasons employers give for a poor hire include:

  • Needed to fill the job quickly – 38 percent
  • Not sure; sometimes you make a mistake – 34 percent
  • Insufficient talent intelligence – 21 percent
  • Didn’t check references – 11 percent

It appears that hiring the right candidate is like going to a toy store and having to buy items that are wrapped. No matter how you shake it, examine its shape, and feel it; you’ll never know if it is any good until the paper is off. Further, the brightest and most inviting paper often leads to the worst item (or job candidate using this analogy).

One other known fact is that interviewers are looking for three qualities in a candidate: 1) someone who has the skills, 2) is motivated, and 3) will fit the corporate work environment. The first of the qualities is easy enough to discern from the résumé received as well as through thorough questioning—usually involving traditional questions.

However the motivation and personality fit pieces are a bit dicey and difficult to determine. This, again, is due to poor interviewing. Smart interviewers, who employ MBIs, are getting to the core of a candidate’s attitude and passion for the job because they’re asking questions that can’t be fudged. So be prepared.

The MBIs’ main objective is to determine if a person is a high achiever or simply an average worker by a asking a series of questions that are designed to see how a person handles obstacles. Does the person have an “I can do this” attitude or does he have an “I can’t do this” one?

One example of a MBI question could be one of the following three:

Tell me about a specific time when you….

  1. Had to re-design a website that another person had designed.
  2. Created a website that exceeded everyone’s expectations.
  3. Designed an interactive page that was flawless the first time around.

The most effective MBI question would be the first one, as it asks about an obstacle, whereas the second and third do not. The secret to answering the first question would be to refrain from casting blame on the person who had originally designed the website. Keep in mind that employers are weary of excuses.

A candidate for a manager’s role might be asked about a time when she had to help an employee who was struggling with her performance. She must relate a specific story that demonstrates how she handled the obstacle and how she exhibited a “can do” attitude. Perhaps she succeeded or perhaps she didn’t fare too well. The point is that she tried and she learned from the experience.

The candidate must have stories to tell regarding the success, or failure, of demonstrating a desired skill. The candidate should structure his story using the Challenge, Action, Result (CAR) formula. He must also be able to recall a time when such a skill was demonstrated. No easy task, but definitely possible if he knows what skills will be in question—the secret is understanding the job requirements.

Will employers be one hundred percent successful in the future when hiring the ideal candidates? Most likely not. But as CareerBuilder.com states, interviewers must be willing to take the time to conduct a proper interview, not rely on gut feelings, and fail to do a thorough background check. Perhaps MBIs are the solution to achieving success for employers who are looking for employees who are motivated to do the work and have the capacity to learn the required skills. Only when all the pieces are in place will an abysmal 68% failure rate be reduced.

As for jobseekers, you must prepare yourself for interview questions that test your skills, attitude, and passion for the job. This stuff can’t be faked, so if you get the job, you’ve earned it.

Drop the attitude: mind your job search mannerisms

A recent article posted in Quintessential Careers from Susan Jepson, Director of National Senior Networks, makes me think of how jobseekers of any age need to display a positive attitude. Susan writes about how mature workers need to address the interview, hone their technology skills, and seek help from career professionals.

In her article, Mature Job-Seekers: Are You Practicing Reverse Age Discrimination in Your Job Hunt?, Susan’s first assertion is that mature workers must not come across as having an attitude.

“Without intending to, or without knowing it, mature workers can come across as arrogant, condescending; that behavior can invite rejection,” she writes.

Susan’s article reminds me that a negative attitude isn’t inclusive of just older jobseekers. One’s negative attitude shows itself in many of one’s mannerisms. Demonstrations of your mannerisms precedes any opportunity to appear before an employer. Failing to control your mannerisms can prevent you from getting to the interview. Below are some signs of a negative attitude. These are things you should keep in mind when going out in public.

Arrogance impresses no one. You may have been outstanding at what you did, and you may be outstanding in the future, but keep in mind that dipomacy is your best card at this time. You will be relying on many people to help you in your job search, and most people don’t appreciate being looked down upon.

Apparel is one aspect of your attitude. During the summer it’s hot out there, but please refrain from wearing gym shorts and tee-shirts with Budweiser advertisements. At all times make sure you are well-groomed and presentable–you never know when a potential employer might be just around the corner.

Your countenance is more noticeable than you think. I’ve witnessed people who walk into the career center looking as if they’d like to strike anyone in their path. Their mouth looks like it was chiseled into a constant frown. There seems to be hatred in their eyes. This can be intimidating, let alone off-putting.

Be outgoing…or at least fake it. For you introverts (I can relate), try to use every opportunity to network. Your most vital job search technique must include networking. It’s not as hard as it appears. You don’t have to see networking as only going to arranged events. It’s a daily thing and that’s why you have to be on your game every day. One jobseeker I know told me he was meeting someone for lunch, and he was dreading it. Nonetheless, he met the person for lunch. He faked it.

Mind your manners. “Thank you,” “it was great seeing you,” “hope your day is wonderful,” etc., go a long way. These are things we learned in Kindergarten, yet not all of us practice the niceties as much as we should. I am often thanked by customers after a workshop or in an e-mail. They’re the ones who do the hard work, and their hard work will result in a job.

Offer advice. I personally appreciate it when people tell me what I’ve done wrong, or what would work better…as long as it’s constructive criticism. This is another part of our persona that people notice. Good, honest advice delivered in a polite manner is priceless.

Don’t appear desperate and despondent. Most people want to help you, but if you seem like you are giving up the battle, your peers, career advisors, and people employed in your industry, will doubt your ability to succeed at your next job. “Don’t let ‘em see you sweat.”

Why does this matter?

Simply, your job search is ongoing. You are being judged, regardless of your age, wherever you go. The man or woman who has the authority to hire you, may be standing behind you in the checkout line. Those who try to help you take into account the aforementioned aspects of your overall attitude. If given the choice to recommend someone for a position, anyone is likely to back the person who has their attitude in check.

As I’ve said, maintaining a pleasant demeanor and appearing positive is difficult under an extremely stressful situation like being unemployed; but I’ll guarantee you that a negative approach to conquering unemployment will not lead to quick employment. Be mindful at all times how you appear to others.

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