Think like employers: 5 ways they fill positions

And what to do about it.

When I talk to my clients about the hiring process, I’m greeted with mixed reactions. Some of my clients know the drill; perhaps they’ve been through the process, even from the hiring end. Others listen wide-eyed; they’re not happy knowing their way of looking for work is the least effective.

CEO

Consider this scenario

On Friday the position of Sr. Software Engineer is announced internally. All employees who want to apply need to submit a résumé detailing their qualifications by close of business (COB) on Monday.

Three people feel they are qualified and hurry to update their résumé over the weekend. One of the candidates doesn’t have a résumé, has never written one. He’ll have to learn how to write one quickly.

On COB of Monday, when résumés are due, the VP of Engineering résumés from the internal candidates on her desk. She has a pretty good idea of who she will name Sr. Software Engineer. But there’s another résumé from someone who was referred by an employee for the position.

HR needs to announce the opening on Indeed, accept résumés, and interview external candidates. Then employees from various departments will interview the new candidates, internal included. The process could take up to a month.

This scenario is not uncommon. Is it fair? this depends on who you ask. Generally speaking, there are five ways employers prefer to fill a position.

1. Fill positions from within

The scenario above depicts the most preferred way employers fill a position; from within the company. Ideally they have someone who can fill it quickly and with little fuss. Is it fair to the unemployed candidates? Again, it depends on who you ask.

Unfair to the unemployed, but companies have one thing in mind, filling the position with a safe bet; and who’s safer than someone they know? This makes good business sense.

The hiring manager is familiar with the abilities, and inabilities, of the company’s employees. As well, promoting from within builds good will in the company. An employer that promotes from within is a good employer. So this is a win-win situation.

2. Referrals from employees

The second way employers prefer to fill a position is by taking referrals from their own employees. In some cases the employer will reward the employees with a monetary bonus for referring a person who sticks for, say, three months.

When I was in marketing, I referred my cousin to an IT position in a company for which I worked. I recalled years before how he spread the word of his unemployment at a family gathering, so I brought this up to the powers that be. The CIO read my cousin’s résumé, invited him in for an interview the next day, and offered him a job that day.

I was rewarded one thousand dollars, minus four hundred for taxes. I’ve heard of people who received as much as ten thousand dollars for making a referral. Of course the level of the position to be filled matters.

I never would have referred my cousin unless I was confident of his abilities, which is the case with most employees making a referral. People like me don’t want egg on their face if the person doesn’t work out, even if said person is family. By the way, my cousin worked out extremely well.

3. Referrals from trusted people outside the company

At this point the employer has tried their best to find an internal candidate or someone recommended by their employees. Nothing has worked out and the position has to be filled yesterday.

Their next move is reaching out to people they trusts outside the company. The employer may reach out to former colleagues, partners, vendors, even people who’ve left the company for greener pastures.

The employer trusts these people because they know what the employer’s looking for in job-related and soft skills. They’re the best bet at this point. Besides, the referrers don’t want to steer their buddies wrong.

In an Undercover Recruiter article, it states, “Employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate – only 7% apply but this accounts for 40% of all hires.”

Further, it claims, “Applicants hired from a referral begin their position quicker than applicants found via job boards and career sites (after 29 days compared with 39 days via job boards and 55 via career sites).”

4. Hire recruiters

When requesting referrals doesn’t work, the employer’s next step is hiring a recruiter. This is less desirable than seeking referrals because recruiters are expensive but palatable because recruiters are more knowledgeable of the industry.

There are two types of recruiters, retained and contingency. While retained recruiters work strictly for the employer and are more knowledgeable of the industry, the contingency recruiters only get paid when they find the best candidates.

The employer’s cost for hiring a recruiter can range from 15-30% of the applicant’s first year salary. A hefty chunk of change.

Either way, the employer is paying for a few candidates to be delivered to the table. It’s still a risky proposition. Referrals are still the desired source of candidates for the reasons stated above.

5. Advertise positions

Now it’s desperation time, because this is when employers advertise their positions. There are two major problems with advertising a position, cost and uncertainty of hiring the right candidate.

You may think that it’s the cost of advertising online is the major concern, but it isn’t; the cost employers feel the most is the time spent reading résumés and interviewing unknown people. When I ask hiring managers (HM) if they like reading those résumé, approximately 98% of them say they don’t.

With applicant tracking systems in place, you’d think the process would be more manageable and pleasant, but this isn’t the case. For some, reading 25 résumés is reading 25 resumes too many.

Even with the advancement of the ATS, poor candidates get past it and make it to the interview. What many recruiters and HMs are experiencing are candidates who are not qualified and, in many cases, have embellished their accomplishments.

What do you do as a job seeker?

The obvious answer is to become a referral by reaching out to those you know in desired companies. This sounds easier said than done, but the steps you take begin first with determining which companies you’d like to work for. Create a list of at least 15 target companies.

Reach out to your former supervisors and colleagues. If they’ve moved on to another company, they might know of possible openings there or at other companies. The problem with relying solely on former colleagues, is that well will run dry; they will run out of time and ideas.

Attend industry groups where people who are currently employed are networking for business. You are there to offer your expertise either on a paid basis or as a volunteer. You are prepared with personal business cards and your personal commercial. It’s my opinion is that the best people to be with are those who are employed.

One of the best places to network is in your community. You never know when you could run into someone who knows someone who works at one of your target companies. Most important is that people know about your situation and that you’ve clearly explained what you’re looking for.

LinkedIn is ideal for identifying people in companies, as most hiring authorities are on LinkedIn. Make use of your online time by using the Companies feature and do advance searches. Work your way up by connecting to people on your level. Also, connect with people who used to work at the company; they can give you some insight.

The bottom line is that you cannot rely on applying online and waiting to be brought in for an interview. You must become a referral.

Photo: Flickr, Roger Braunstein

The LinkedIn quiz: 50 questions

In a recent post, I asked my LinkedIn community to take a quiz consisting of 15 questions. Those who took it were honest about their LinkedIn prowess, or lack thereof. I promised in this post that I would reveal the entire quiz I give my clients.

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The quiz I give my clients consist of 50 questions. If you decide to take it and don’t score 100%, don’t worry. There is always room for improvement. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have a perfect score.

Some of my failures have to do with my inability to perform the “tasks,” some of them are due to caring not to perform the tasks.

We’ll start with the LinkedIn profile. I tell my clients that while it’s important to have a value-based, optimized profile, this is only one-third of the equation. Here we go.

Your Profile

Determined how you want to brand yourself, or deliver your message. Express this on your profile through the following. Answer “yes” or “no” to the following:

  1. My profile is optimized with keywords. ___
  2. I have a background image that is relevant or reflects my personality. ___
  3. My photo is professionally done, or a buddy with a good camera shot it. (No selfies) ___
  4. I have a headline that brands me with keywords or a tagline or both. ___
  5. When you look at my Articles & Activity section, you’ll see I engage on LinkedIn. ___
  6. My Summary, now called About, tells a compelling story that shows value. ___
  7. My Experience section consists of accomplishments, not simply duties. ___
  8. I utilize my Education section to the fullest. For example, I tell readers some of my accomplishments at University. ___
  9. I show my Volunteer experience because employers like people who contribute to the community. ___
  10. I list at least 30 Skills which are endorsed. (Job seekers, you’re given a break on the number of endorsements, but the employed should have at least 50 endorsements per skill.) ___
  11. In my Recommendations section, I have at least 1 recommendation from a supervisor/manager for each position. ___
  12. I’ve written recommendations for my employees, colleagues, vendors, etc. ___
  13. My Accomplishments section has at least one of these: project, publication, patent, language, grades, courses. ___
  14. I have at least media, e.g., audio, video, documents, Slideshare, in either About, Experience, or Education. ___
  15. I post videos on a consistent basis. ___

Total number of yeses ___


Another important part of your LinkedIn campaign is developing your network, which should be large, yet focused. The more homogeneous your network, the more value you’ll add to your connections.

Your network

  1. My goal is to build relationships to land a job or increase sales. ___
  2. I believe that building relationships is about giving. ___
  3. I have 500+ connections. ___
  4. At least 80% of my connections are in my industry. ___
  5. I use All Filters to search for potential connections. ___
  6. I search and connect with people using the Companies feature. ___
  7. I search for people using See Alumni. ___
  8. I know how to use Boolean Search to narrow my search. ___
  9. Before connecting with potential connections, I read their profile in full. Well, mostly. ___
  10. I send cold invites and include a personalized message. ___
  11. I send invites with a personalized message using references. ___
  12. I ask for an introduction from someone in my network to someone with whom I’d like to connect. ___
  13. I thank people for joining my network. ___
  14. I follow up with a message to new connections. ___
  15. I make an effort to call or Zoom/Skype with my new connections. ___

Total number of yeses ___

Your engagement

Here’s where the rubber meets the road; thus, more questions. You’ve created a stellar profile, connected with people in your industry and some verticals; now it’s time to engage with your network and stay top of mind.

  1. I spend at least 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week on LinkedIn. ___
  2. I message my connections on a regular basis. ___
  3. I occasionally use group messaging. ___
  4. My comments are respectful, or I don’t comment at all. ___
  5. I react (Like, Celebrate, Love, Insightful, Curious) to other’s posts. ___
  6. I react (Like, Celebrate, Love, Insightful, Curious)  to other’s posts and write a comment for each one. ___
  7. I write my own long posts. ___
  8. I react and/or share articles written by my connnections’ or online publications, for example, The Muse. ___
  9. I react and/or share and comment on articles written by my connnections’ or online publications. ___
  10. I react to people’s videos. ___
  11. I react and comment on other’s videos. ___
  12. I produce my own videos. ___
  13. I use LinkedIn’s Publisher to write articles. ___
  14. When I share someone’s communications, I @ tag them. ___
  15. I use the appropriate number of  # hashtags. ___
  16. I endorse my connections. ___
  17. I ask for and write recommendations for my connections. ___
  18. I share my connections’ profiles with other LinkedIn members. ___
  19. I give Kudos to my connections. ___
  20. I use the LinkedIn mobile app. ___

OVERALL number of yeses ___


Legend

  • 45 out of 50 correct: Grand Master
  • 40 out of 50 correct: Very Good
  • 35 out of 50 correct: Good
  • 30 out of 50 correct: Fair
  • 25 out of 50 correct: Needs work

 


Thank you for taking this quiz. If you are new to LinkedIn, don’t worry about your score; it will increase the more you use LinkedIn. If you are a veteran of LinkedIn, your score should be high. Maybe not perfect, but high.

As always, I’m interested in hearing about other questions I should add to this quiz. I’d like to increase the overall number of questions to at least 60.

 

 

4 important principles of your job-search stories

In a recent networking event, I started facilitating it by having the members introduce themselves with their elevator pitch. When it was my time to deliver my pitch, instead I began by saying, “When I was a child….” This immediately grabbed their attention.

father lessson

I proceeded to tell the networkers a two-minute story about a hard lesson I learned from my dad.

Then I broke them up into groups of four and had them each tell two stories. (Because it was an odd number, I participated…again.) They could select from telling a story about a:

  1. tough life lesson they learned;
  2. rewarding life experience;
  3. failure experienced in work; and
  4. success they achieved in work.

After each networker told their group two stories, I asked for volunteers to tell the whole group their favorite story. As it turned out, the members had told their individual group a story that addressed each topic. I must say all the stories were extremely good.

Finally I asked the members if their stories were related to networking. Yes. I followed by explaining how stories, no matter what the topic, have to be relevant to their audience. They must include the following principles:

Meaning

What meaning does your story have? The exercise I had my networkers perform required them to address the aforementioned topics. I gave them specific instructions, which they adhered to.

The purpose of the exercise was not only to teach them the importance of storytelling; it was also to illustrate that networking is more than delivering your elevator pitch. For example, you might have the opportunity at a networking event to tell a brief story about your vacation in northern Italy.

The same principle applies to interviews. When an interviewer asks you to tell them about a specific time when you demonstrated excellent conflict resolution skill, they don’t want theoretical answers.

Don’t start with, “Conflict resolution requires a level head….” No, begin with, “There was a situation where I last worked….” Interviewers want to hear stories that have meaning to them. You also have to use proper form.

Form

A story you tell to answer a behavioral-based question will be less open-ended than a story you tell in a social gathering or for an activity I gave my networkers. It has to have form, should not exceed two minutes, and be specific to a situation or problem.

Remember what I mentioned above; don’t start with a theoretical answer to describe a specific time when you dealt with a conflict, or any other specific situation.

In workshop I lead called Mastering the Interview, I have my participants construct a story using the following form: Problem or Situation, approximately 20% of the story; the Actions taken to meet the situation, 60% of the story; and the Result of the action taken, the remaining 20%.

Some of my workshop attendees have difficulty keeping the situation brief. They feel the need to provide background information, which distracts the listener from what’s most important—the actions taken to meet the situation. The result is also important, whether it’s a positive or negative resolution.

Create a connection

When the candidate creates a connection in an interview, a couple of things can happen. First, the interviewer may smile and indicate approval by saying, “Thank you. That was a great answer.” This likely means that your story addressed the the question and adhered to proper form.

Or the employer may come back with follow-up questions, such as, “How do you know you saved the company money by volunteering to take over the webmaster responsibilities?” Bingo. You’ve gained the interest of the employer. You’ve created a connection.

My networkers achieved success by eliciting some emotional response from the group. One story a man delivered was about how he was tasked with telling his aunt that her father had passed away. No one in the family could bring themselves to do it. So, he did the tough act. His was an emotional story.

Preparation is paramount to success

There is really only one way to prepare for telling your stories. You have to completely understand what’s required of the position. Know what competencies the employer is looking for, e.g. time management, leadership, problem solving, problem assessment, and customer service skills.

Based on this knowledge, you will construct five stories in anticipation of directives like, “Tell me about a time when you felt your leadership skills had a positive impact on your team…and a time when it had a negative impact.”


My networkers didn’t have time to prepare for this exercise; they had to think on their feet. But all of them did extremely well. The stories they told might not have been geared toward the job search, but it showed them the importance of making a connection through storytelling.

10 reasons why you should use LinkedIn after you’ve landed a job

I’ve come across thousands of job seekers who believe in the power LinkedIn provides to help them land a job. I haven’t, however, come across as many people who believe in using LinkedIn after they’ve landed. They feel that once LinkedIn has done its job, it’s time to part ways.

LinkedIn for Business

Why is that? Do people not see the value of LinkedIn in their work?

In a LinkedIn post* I wrote on the fifth of September, I asked the question, “I have a job. Do I still need to use LinkedIn?” Following are 10 versions of the reasons I provided for continuing to use LinkedIn after being hired. Some folks from career development and sales have weighed in with great answers.

1. Continue to build your network as insurance, if you need/want to move on

Unless you were born yesterday, you don’t believe that any job is secure, except for Supreme Court Justices. What if you want to move on to another position? Whether you have to move on or want to move on, having an established network of trustworthy people, will be extremely beneficial.

Susan Joyce writes, “So sad when people stop using LinkedIn after landing a new job. Unfortunately, NOT unusual. What will happen the next time they need a job—start over with LinkedIn? That means a much longer job search. Instead, stay active, support the new employer, and remain professionally visible. Much smarter!”

2. Continue to build your brand

Make sure you update your profile with your latest accomplishments. Only connect with the people who provide value, as well as those to whom you can provide value. And, yes, share posts that are relevant to your network. This is all part of branding. Read The ultimate LinkedIn Guide series to learn more.

Perhaps you’re interest is gaining more visibility in your new role. Wendy Schoen suggests, “If you are engaging on LinkedIn, it is much easier for others in your field to reach out to you with speaking engagements or panel appearances. These are the ways in which you establish your ‘chops’ in your field!”

3. Be found by recruiters who are cruising for passive candidates

You might have landed your dream job and think you’ll retire from the organization, or you might have landed at an organization that didn’t turn out to be what you thought it would. In either case, there are always recruiters who are looking for good talent. You want to be found.

Cynthia Wright is a recruiter. She uses LinkedIn Recruiter and warns that passive job seekers never know when they’ll be approached: “It’s a great tool, and as a recruiter, 60% of my hires are made from LinkedIn Recruiter. Most are passive candidates (those who aren’t necessarily looking for a job). As a job seeker, you just never know.”

4. Give back: let people know of openings in your organization

The best of the best networkers will continue their efforts of helping others after they’ve landed. Some of my former clients have shared openings at their company, almost the minute they’ve started their job. They were paying it forward, which is the true definition of netowrking.

Employers are hiring. The questions is who are they looking to hire. The answer is clear; they’re filling positions with people who’ve been referred by those they trust and know. Be that person they trust and know; mention people with whom you’ve networked. Bonus: you might receive a finders fee.

5. Use LinkedIn for professional development

Let’s say you’ve landed at a company where there’s no money in the budget for professional development. You can reach out to other employees in your industry, or you can use information you gather on LinkedIn. One great source for professional development is LinkedIn’s Learning (Lynda.com).

Brian Ahearn, has produced four courses for LinkedIn. He speaks about persuasion in sales, personal relationships, and coaching. I have learned a great deal about the art of persuasion from him. Check out his courses: Persuasive Selling; Advanced Selling: DEALing with Different Personality Styles; Persuasive Coaching; and Building a Culture of Coaching Though Timely Feedback.

6. Research companies and people before meetings for business transactions

Let’s say you applied for a marketing director’s position. You were smart and researched the positions to which you applied and companies who were going to interview you. Did you also research the people who would be interviewing you? You were smart if you did. Now it’s time to research people in your industry or the company for which you work.

Sarah Johnston writes: “LinkedIn can be a great place to learn about your new colleagues. Individual profiles often reveal their, past jobs and non-profit involvement. This information can be helpful during water cooler conversation. One of my favorite things to do to look at the written recommendations that they’ve given to other people. This can provide you with insight into their work relationships and qualities that they value in others.”

7. Share posts and articles of your own, as well as those of others

If you didn’t share articles or comment on other’s posts while job searching, now is the time to do it. Share and comment on articles, write posts expressing your thoughts, attach a whitepaper in Rich Media sections. You want to stay on the radar of your network (related to reason number one).

Hannah Morgan writes, “Your goal in regularly sharing articles on LinkedIn is to stay top of mind among your network. Don’t just re-share the articles, though. Explain why you are sharing them and tag several people, including the author, to make sure they see it. Commenting on posts related to your field—either from people in your network, or those you do not know yet—is a way to expand your network and solidify your relationships with existing connections.”

8. Increase business and/or visibility of your organization

If you’re a salesperson or business developer in a B2B role, using LinkedIn is a no brainer. Even if you’re not directly involved in selling products or services, LinkedIn is instrumental in building relationships. Any employee in a company can be the face of the organization.

In support of this reason, Bruce Bixler makes an excellent point: “ONLY 20% of LinkedIn is used for job search the OTHER 80% is for business enterprise, sales, networking, lead generation, entrepreneurs, business development, and even small business.” By the way, he might not be far off with this figure.

9. Use LinkedIn to find talent

You’re on the other side of the table now as a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR: you are now searching for candidates. The company for which you work doesn’t have the budget for a Recruiter account or even Recruiter Lite. Your only tool for finding talent is using LinkedIn’s Search.

No problem; you used Search to find people who were hiring. You became proficient at LinkedIn’s All Filters, which allowed you to search for people by title; current and previous company; industry, location; school; and language, if you’re looking for someone who’s bilingual.

10. LinkedIn is fun to use and teach

This is my personal reason for using LinkedIn. I enjoy the platform, more so than Facebook or Twitter. Some of my colleagues tease me for my devotion to LinkedIn (one said I need an intervention), but I shuck it off. I enjoy it for disseminating information and gathering information. This isn’t to say it frustrates me at times.

I also teach job seekers to use it in their job search; having led thousands of workshops on LinkedIn strategy and building your profile. As well, I also help clients one-on-one. Using LinkedIn is my most enjoyable part of the job search to teach. Where some might not see its value, I do.


In my LinkedIn workshops I encourage my attendees to continue to use LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job. Many nod their head in agreement, but I’ve yet to see most of them to do it. Hopefully if they read this article, they’ll see the value of using LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job.

Here’s to hoping.

*Here is the post I reference in this article.

24 interview articles to help you land a job

The interview is the most important component of the job search; it’s the End Game. For the job candidate, there’s no room for error. For the interviewers, they can’t make the costly mistake of hiring the wrong candidate. Is the process perfect? No, it’s far from perfect, but it’s what employers have.

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Some job candidates find being interviewed exciting, others get anxious being in the “hot seat,” and a few are utterly terrified of interviews. Whichever you are, these articles can help you in the interview process, or at the very least make it easier. Read some of them, or read all. They are still relevant.

7 tools employers are using to hire candidates

Even if it’s been five years since you’ve had to look for work, you might not be aware of all the tools employers are using to find the best candidates. Employers are being more creative with their hiring efforts, while making it more difficult for job seekers to land a job. Let’s begin with the first and most well-known tool.

4 qualifications job candidates must demonstrate during the interview

There are three obvious qualifications job candidates must demonstrate in the interview—read this article to learn about them. But there’s one qualification you might not have considered. It is revealed in this article.

4 important principles of your job-search stories

Although this article is not specifically about interviewing, knowing your job-search stories is important. They’re important to networking, your LinkedIn profile summary, and interviewing.

4 experts weigh in on the daunting, “What is your greatest weakness question?”

The first article in this compilation begins with what interviewers are looking for in a candidate’s answer; showing self-awareness and demonstrating how candidates are correcting their weakness. Jamie Fischer, CPRW, Brett Lampe, Sarah Johnston: (BriefCaseCoach.com), and Ashley Watkins: (WriteStepResumes.com) are the experts.

How to answer, “Tell us about a time when you were successful at work”

“Tell us about a time when you were successful at work” is a behavioral-based question you might face in an interview. This is a common question which can be challenging if you’re not prepared for it.

Don’t take the telephone interview lightly; be prepared for 4 or more potential problem areas.

If you think a telephone interview isn’t a real interview, you’re sadly mistaken. Telephone interviews are generally thought of as a screening device, but they carry a lot of weight and, in some cases, they’re full-fledged interviews. Often times job seekers don’t take the telephone interview seriously, and this is a huge mistake.

How to answer, “Tell me about a time when you had to motivate someone at work”

You might have had to motivate someone to do their work, whether it was a coworker or subordinate. They might have been the bottleneck that was holding up a major project. This is frustrating, especially if you like to finish projects before the deadline, nonetheless on time.

One very important component of your behavioral-based interview answer

Interviewers want proof of what you’ve accomplished or failed to accomplishment. You can achieve can prove your assertions by delivering a well crafted stories. You’ve probably heard of the STAR formula. You’ll use this formula to guide yourself through telling your story.

How to answer, “Tell me about a time when you persuaded your boss”

Let’s look at a behavioral-based question whose purpose it is to determine a candidate’s ability persuade her boss: “Tell us about a time when you convinced your boss to adopt an idea that he disagreed with.”

Keep 8 rules in mind when answering why you were fired

Interviews are not something most people relish, especially if they have to address the fact that they were fired. (I prefer the term, let go.) The fact is that people are let go, good people. So the revelation will come when an interviewer asks, “Why did you leave your last job?”

3 major Skype major interview tips job seekers must heed

One of my clients was supposed to have a face-to-face interview, but it was scheduled for a day of a Nor Easter. With the interview an impossibility, what would be a plausible alternative? The answer is simple: the company could conduct a Skype interview. And that is what happened.

The future of job interviewing may include increasingly more Skype interviews. If you’re a job seeker and haven’t had a Skype interview yet, chances are you’ll have one soon.

Be ready to prove that you can do what you’ve written on your résumé

In my interview workshop one attendee asked if having to perform a skill for an interview is normal. I told her that it might not be commonplace, but it’s a great way to find the right candidate, along with asking behavioral-based questions and tough technical questions.

5 steps to answer, “Tell us about a time when you had to deal with pressure”

You’re in a group interview and it’s been going smoothly. You’ve answered the questions you prepared for. To your credit, you read the job description and identified the most important requirements for the job, Marketing Manager.

Beyond the “Nerves” in an Interview: 4 ways to deal with it

Most people get nervous when they’re being interviewed for a job. They are peppered with questions that are meant to get to the core of their technical abilities, motivation, and fit. It’s a stressful situation. This is called “getting the nerves,” and it’s natural. Most likely you feel the same way about interviews.

5 pre-interview tools employers use to screen candidates

You’re probably aware of the order in which employers attempt to fill a position. First, they consider their own employees; second, ask for referrals from their employees; third, seek referrals from trusted people outside the company; fourth, hire recruiters; and lastly, advertising the position. Or they use a combination of all of these.

3 ways to show employers what you CAN do in the future

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Employers don’t care about what you’ve done; they care about what you will do.” If you haven’t heard this, rest assured it’s the truth. By conducting multiple interviews, employers are trying to determine how you can save them money, improve quality, increase revenue, improve productivity, and help the company in other ways.

Nailing the interview process, Part 1: Be Mentally prepared

Succeeding at the interview begins before you sit in the hot seat. The first step is being mentally prepared. This means overcoming the negative feelings that came with losing your previous job. To lose a job for any reason can be a blow to your self-esteem.

Nailing the Interview Process, Know Thyself: Part 2

Interviewing for a job is tough, whether you’re actively or passively seeking. If it were so easy, people like me wouldn’t have to provide advice on how to interview. One of the challenges of the interview process is knowing yourself, really knowing yourself.

Nailing the interview process, part 3: research, research, research

You’ve heard it over and over again: you need to do your research before an interview. Why? Because:

  • When you do your research, you’re more prepared.
  • When you’re more prepared, you’ll be more confident.
  • When you’re more confident, you’ll do better.

The last thing you want to do is wing it in an interview. You’ll fail, especially if the interviewer is good at their job.

Nailing the interview process, part 4: practice, practice, practice

To be an excellent baseball player or pianist, you need to practice, practice, and practice. You wouldn’t expect to hit home runs effortlessly or play at Carnegie Hall with no practice. The same principle applies to interview success.

Nailing the interview process; part 5. First impressions matter

Guess what; all of the lessons you were taught as a child apply today. Now that you’re an adult, you still need to maintain consistent eye contact, deliver a great handshake, smile, and more. And if you’re interviewing, your first impressions count more than ever.

Nailing the interview process, part 6: answering tough interview questions

You’ve been invited in for a face-to-face interview. You feel this job is great for you. You like the variety of responsibilities and have heard great things about the company. You’ve done everything right so far – and now it’s time to answer some tough interview questions.

Nailing the interview process, part 7: following up

Some job seekers believe the interview is over once they’ve shaken the interviewer’s hand and left the room. “That went well,” they think. Perhaps it did go well, but perhaps one or two other candidates also had stellar interviews. Perhaps those other candidates followed up on their interviews with thoughtful thank-you notes.

So when is the interview really over? Not until you’ve sent a follow-up note.

6 reasons why older job candidates shouldn’t discriminate against younger interviewers

As a career strategist, I often come to the defense of older workers who experience ageism, but I don’t talk enough about reverse ageism. In other words, how older job seekers treat younger interviewers during the process.


Photo: Flickr, Patricia Adam

 

 

Why extraverts struggle with networking

After leading a webinar on Introverts’ successes and struggles in the job search, I received an email from one of the attendees. He is a self-professed Extravert, which made his message more interesting.

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One of the topics I address in the webinar is networking, which Introverts find challenging; maybe more challenging then Extraverts. This gentleman stated that he finds networking challenging, but for a different reason. His email follows.


“Thanks Bob, but I am an Extrovert. Why are there no webinars for Extroverts? Are we by nature considered better, complete networkers, or are Introverts so needy that they are the only ones who need help?

Frankly, networking is difficult for everyone and even Extroverts (Extraverts) could use advice regarding restraint, listening and coming across as more gentle and not overwhelming people. I have had to learn that, but a webinar on it would be cool and different. Just an idea as there are lots of classes for introverts.”


To help my attendee answer his question, I elicited the advice from my colleague, Edythe Richards who is an MBTI Master Practitioner.

Your client is partially right. “Networking [may be] difficult for everyone.” There is an assumption that because a person prefers Extraversion, they are outgoing, love talking to new people, and love interacting in the world.

There is also an assumption that Introverted types are shy or socially awkward and therefore don’t want to network. Either, or both of these may or may not be true for reasons that have nothing to do with what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator measures.

Let’s be clear about what Extraversion and Introversion really mean. Extraversion means being energized by the external world, receiving energy from interacting with people and taking action, speaking freely and vocally, and getting restless without involvement with people or activities.

Introversion means being energized inwardly, participating in selected activities, enjoying private spaces, proceeding cautiously, and getting agitated without enough time alone or undisturbed.

All of us use both in our daily lives. And there’s one that comes much more easily and readily to us than the other.

There are many cases where people use their non-preferences effectively, and I venture to say networking and communicating with agility is a skill everyone must develop in order to be professionally successful.

Some networking areas where Extraverted types can benefit from Introverted types:

Active listening. Extraverted types may favor a “speak-think-speak” approach, whereas Introverted types may favor a “think-speak-think” approach. As a result, Extraverts (Es) may unknowingly end up talking over the Introverts (Is).

Es need to tune in to what the other person is saying, and resist the urge to relate the Is experience to their own. Practice being with them in the moment.

Deep connections. Es may favor quantity over quality. Is are selective about the people they allow into their circle of trust. At networking events, one quality connection often ends up being more beneficial than 20 superficial ones. Is who practice quality over quantity report increased trust and loyalty in relationships.

Gauge the pulse of the room. Because Is are often reflective and contained, they may be able to pick up on nonverbal cues Es miss. While the Es are chatting, Is are thinking or planning the things they’ll say at just the right time. Es who are able to slow down and analyze the situation before acting, won’t say something they’ll later regret, and the Is they’re talking with will feel respected.

A couple reminders for Extraverts about Introverts:

  • Just because Is aren’t talking doesn’t mean they aren’t having fun. Is preference is to think before speaking. When they want to speak, they will.
  • Is need their alone time, and this has nothing to do with Es. As much as Is may like going out (in small doses), they need quiet time to recharge in order to feel like themselves.
  • Be patient. There’s no need to pressure an I to speak. Take a few pauses, dial back the enthusiasm factor, and they will naturally open up and feel good about doing so.

I hope this helps!

-Edythe


It is self-evident that Extraverts can find networking challenging. It’s also true that Extraverts and Introverts have their own style of networking.

My webinar attendee makes a great point, however; why aren’t there more webinars–and for that matter, books, articles, workshops, etc.–addressing the struggles Extraverts have with networking?

Shaming on LinkedIn is NOT cool: 5 possible solutions

One common complaint voiced by LinkedIn members is receiving unsolicited sales pitches. Most offensive to them is receiving a pitch from a salesperson right after agreeing to connect with them. Some LinkedIn members feel it’s intrusive and violates the true nature of networking.

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To sales people on LinkedIn, the complainers might be seen as lightweights. After all, LinkedIn was initially developed to create networking opportunities for businesses who were trying to…well, sell their products. They really don’t see a sales pitch as intrusive, and they don’t expect to be shamed for doing what they think is good business.

A salesperson shamed on LinkedIn

On a recent quiet Sunday, I came across an example of what I would call one of worst cases of shaming I’ve seen in years, if not ever. Without using names and being as neutral as possible, I’m going to use third-person point of view to briefly tell you the story.

A LinkedIn member received a sales pitch in a message right after accepting a salesperson’s invite. The recipient of the message took it upon themselves to announce to the world through a post, which described their abhorrence at receiving the sales pitch, provided the salesperson’s LinkedIn URL, as well as a screen shot of the interaction.

Seeing this post prompted me to write a post of my own (link at the end of this article) describing my reaction to this shaming and providing some solutions to deal with it. A large majority of the people who read the post responded with a similar reaction.

How can shaming be avoided?

The first step to avoid shaming on LinkedIn begins with the offender; salespeople need to understand their connections and only approach those who would appreciated a sales pitch. There are many LinkedIn members who engage in the sales arena and welcome unsolicited pitches.

For instance, one of my close LinkedIn connections, Kevin Willett, said he welcomes people reaching out to him to offer their services. Kevin is the founder of Friends of Kevin, which is a networking group for businesses. He believes LinkedIn is a vehicle to generate business.

On the other hand, someone like me doesn’t appreciate being approached by a salesperson trying to peddle their services or products, especially in an initial invite or the second correspondence we have. I don’t stand alone on this, as you will see from reading the reactions from people who responded to my post.

What should you do if you don’t appreciate being approached?

This gets to the heart of this article. So you’ve been approached by a salesperson and you’re angry. Is shaming that person the answer? There were many suggestions from the people who read and responded to my post. Here are some of them:

Educate the offender on LinkedIn etiquette

See the sales pitch as innocent

Thank you for posting this Bob. While receiving these unsolicited sales pitches certainly seems to annoy a number folks, I think it’s important for all of us to remember that most sales pitches (at least the ones I have received on LI) come with good intentions from people just trying to earn a living.

Of course if the pitch contains hateful language or other truly offensive content, then public shaming would not be out of line. But aside from that, I see no reason to get angry or upset over a well-meaning sales pitch. Let’s be kind to one another and remember, we’re all on this journey together!

Ignore the offender

I recently had a similar situation arise where someone lashed out and I had one of two options: publicly shame or play nice. To be honest I’m still contemplating how to handle it. For now it can be seen as the nice route since I’ve chosen to ignore it and not give it power.

If I address it then I’m putting negative energy out there that could potentially portray me in a negative light as well. End result: it’s not worth the energy. If there’s another situation such as this I might be inclined to respond and try to educate but it would all be situational.

Disconnect or block the offender

I simply disconnect from the person. The online equivalent of a “cold call” seems to be garnering favor among more sales reps. Not a good trend because there is no online equivalent of the “do not call” list (unfortunately).

Resort to shaming

I’m happy to say that, at this point, no one has suggested outright shaming the offender. This is the worst possible way to deal with an unwanted sales pitch. I wonder if the offender has received any backlash. Has this person’s reputation been tarnished? Will this effect their brand?

I hope that those who’ve read this article will not resort to shaming anyone on LinkedIn, because, as some respondents wrote, it could affect your own brand. It could make other LinkedIn users be reluctant to connect or follow you.

What would I do? In the past I’ve used the ignore-and-hope-the-person-goes-away approach. If that didn’t work, I simply wrote back, “No thanks.” That’s worked 100% of the time.


See my post, which prompted me to write this article: https://tinyurl.com/y656zdz3

Photo: Flickr, ParraLobato