Tag Archives: motivation

4 qualifications job candidates must demonstrate during the interview

It’s no secret that job seekers must satisfy three requirements to land a job:

  1. They can do the job.
  2. They will do the job.
  3. They will fit in.

motivated-girl

These three requirements are the foundation of a complete candidate.

There’s also a fourth piece to the puzzle. It is often overlooked, but some companies place more importance on it than any of the other requirements. This fourth requirement is the cause of much consternation for many a job seeker. Can you guess what it is?

Let’s take a look at these three requirements every candidate must satisfy – and the mysterious fourth one as well:

1. Can You Do the Job?

Of course interviewers won’t ask the question so directly. Rather, they’ll pose more indirect questions, like:

“What skills and experience do you see being necessary to do the job?”

“Tell me about a time when you handled problem X.”

“What kind of experience do you have in the area of Y?”

And you should always be prepared to answer the “Tell me about yourself” question.

For many employers, this is the most important requirement for any potential employee to meet – but the following three cannot be overlooked.

2. Will You Do the job?

Employers want to know how motivated you are. They’ll want to know if you’ll enjoy the responsibilities and support the mission of the organization. Will you work until the job is finished?

You may have to field a question like, “Why do you want to work for this company?” Think about it: Would you, as an employer, want to hire someone who isn’t totally into working for your company? Probably not.

Or, “Tell us which responsibilities of the job you will enjoy taking on. And why?”

“Tell us about a time when you took on a challenge you thought was insurmountable.”

How can you prove your desire to take on the responsibilities of the position or work for the company? Stories using the situation-task-action-result (STAR) formula are a great way to demonstrate your motivation and passion for the job.

3. Will You Fit?

Showing that you’ll be a good fit is tough to do, but it’s a concern many employers have. It’s all about your personality. They don’t want to hire someone who won’t get along with coworkers.

In this area, you’re likely to face behavioral questions, such as, “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irate colleague.”

Or, “What’s your definition of a team, and how have you been a team player in the past?”

To some employers, your cultural fit will be even more important than your technical skills. Technical skills can be learned, but it can be difficult – if not impossible – to learn new personality traits.

Can you train someone to become more sensitive? What about teaching a talkative person to become a listener? Can you improve the attitude of someone who has difficulty interacting with other departments? The answer to all these questions is probably “no.”

4. The Final Requirement: Are You Affordable?

dollar-signAs stated above, some employers stress this requirement even more than the others – especially when landing a candidate who costs less is a priority. Sure, a candidate who meets the other three requirements would be ideal, but not always necessary.

During an interview, the first question out of the recruiter’s mouth might be related to salary: “What do you expect for salary?” or “What did you make at your last company?” These salary questions could come during the phone or in-person interview, so make sure you’re prepared to answer in a way that doesn’t cause you to lose out on the salary you deserve.

Don’t be surprised if you’re out of this employer’s price range – it can happen.

Salary negotiation makes some people’s skin crawl because they see it as a confrontation. In fact, it’s a straightforward affair. Companies don’t want to pay you too little because it can lead to resentment. However, this is business, so employers aren’t going to give away the farm, either.


Being able to address the three most obvious concerns employers have is what gets you to the fourth concern – can they afford you? If you do a great job meeting the first three requirements, the last one should go smoothly – as long as you’re reasonable.

This article appeared in Recruiter.com.

 

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Employers, 5 ways to retain your older workers

I’ve marveled at the number of posts that have been written about how employers need to retain Millennials. How important it is to provide an environment that promotes learning, advancement, technology, etc. Yet, ne’er a word has been written about retaining older workers. Why is that?

older workers

For employers who value the job experience, maturity, and dependability that older workers offer; consider the values they seek in a work environment. Consider how providing the values will cement their loyalty. Oh yes, older workers are, by and large, more loyal than younger workers.

Read this article on how millennials should stay at jobs longer.

So what are the values older workers desire? Here are 6 important ones:

1. Professional, results-driven environment. I remember the days when I was in marketing. I had reached the ripe ole age of 40. And I sat adjacent to the Sales department, most of whom were in their late 20’s. It was a common practice in their department to let off steam by playing Nerf football. It was also common for the football to whiz by my ears.

The environment I just described does not represent a professional, results-driven environment. The Sales department got their work done, albeit it took them longer to accomplish it. (Not a great example of time management.)

Older workers prefer a team-oriented environment where everyone is focused on the work at hand. They want to dig in, work hard, and not waste time. I consider this an important goal of any company, even ones that employ younger workers.

2. An environment that provides proper motivation. In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink asserts there are three factors that motivate workers. They are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Older workers aren’t motivated by the carrot and stick method, despite what managers think.

Although all three factors are important, autonomy is the one employers can control the most. Older workers will develop mastery through repeatedly performing their tasks. If there is no purpose in what they do, they should find another job.

When I ask older job seekers which type of management style they appreciate most, the majority of them say a hands-off approach. This, I believe, is because they want to be treated like adults, rather than having someone constantly looking over their shoulders.

3. An environment that’s youthful. Recall the description of the sales department playing Nerf football in the office? That isn’t what I’m talking about; although, I did find it humerus and even participated every once in awhile.

I, for one, am not all about a stodgy, “professional” environment where it’s all about work. I enjoy letting off steam and having fun, perhaps playing some practical jokes and engaging in fun banter. To me, it’s about having fun doing what you’re doing.

I’ve worked for organizations where many of the employees were older than 50…and they showed it. I think their attitude had more to do with the management style that would have required the same behavior from 20 somethings. In other words, older workers can behave young, while still maintaining professionalism.

4. Work they look forward to when Monday roles around. Do any of you feel this way. I’m talking with a client who told me that he wants a change. He’s more than 50-years-old and wants out of what he is doing.

“Bob, I want to be excited about going to work,” he said to me. So when Friday roles around he won’t have one foot out the door, looking forward to the weekend like he has been. And when Monday arrives, he’ll not dread going to work.

In other words, he’ll have purpose. When Pink talks about purpose, he means the type of work you do. Do you feel it’s valuable to humanity? And if you don’t have purpose in your work, you’re saying to yourself, “Why am I doing this?” This can be a sad feeling.

5. Disperse the work appropriately. This is where I say that, true, older workers can’t lift 100 pounds as many times as they used to. It’s a given that older workers lose some of their physical abilities. They, as well as companies, have to realize this.

Companies need to groom workers to become supervisors or train them on automated tasks and other technologies. Older workers don’t lose their capacity to think and reason. If given the opportunity, they will take on roles that require more advanced knowledge.

Read this post on 5 strengths of older workers.

Older workers also make great mentors to younger, less-focused workers. One of my customers was hired by a larger corporation to mentor their technical writers. What a great job, I thought to myself. Older workers have possibly lived through harder times and have learned from those experiences. This makes them great problem solvers.


Employers, retaining your older workers makes plenty of sense. Most likely they’ve been loyal employees who have been with you many years. You’ve invested in training them and they’ve learned your system. Keep in mind that training new, younger workers will be expensive. Also keep in mind that today’s younger workers probably won’t stick around very long.

3 factors that motivate you in your job search

 

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For some of you reading this, the bad news is that you’re unemployed; but the good news is that you are in complete control of finding your next job.

In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Daniel Pink writes about how science and the business operation paradigm are out of sync. Job seekers can learn how to better conduct their job search by embracing Pink’s theories.

Watch Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us on TED.

Pink asserts that most people are motivated by intrinsic values, which he calls Motivation 3.0. More specifically, we’re driven by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Smart companies recognize this as the way to motivate their employees.

How motivation plays a role in our job search.

Motivation to get back to work must come from within. Certainly earning a paycheck is an extrinsic motivator, we need money to pay our bills, but what really motivates us is regaining our sense of identity and the daily routine we’ve grown accustomed to.

Given that we are ultimately internally motivated, we need to take action and conduct a proper job search. Here are the steps you need to take:

Autonomythe urge to direct our own lives. Pink gives Google as an example of autonomy as a motivator, where employees are given 20% of their time to work on whatever they want. This, as a result, promotes creativity; and creativity often leads to better ideas and better products.

The Job Search: I ask my job seekers who is rewarding or reprimanding them for working hard and smart in their job search. Similarly, who is standing over them to make sure they network, engage on LinkedIn, and write compelling résumés and cover letters? The answer is no one.

They have complete autonomy in their job search—they’re in complete control of their actions. Further, job seekers can conduct their job search however they see fit. There are “rules,” but breaking some rules can lead to success, not reprisal or being fired.

For example, you’ve decided that you’ll dedicate 30 hours a week to your search, but one week you decide some downtime is more important, so you only search 20 hours that week. It’s all good…as long as you get back on track.

Masterythe desire to get better and better at something that matters. The idea is to challenge yourself to be better and willing to accept failure. Some believe they never learn without failing and given the chance to correct their mistake/s. Smart companies allow the opportunity to fail.

The Job Search: Job seekers must master the job search in order to be successful. Some haven’t written a résumé or been on an interview in 10, 20, even 30 years. There will be a lot of attempts and failures along the way.

Many résumés will be rejected because they’re poorly written and don’t talk to the needs of each employer; many interviews won’t go well. But job seekers must not lose their resolve—when they master the process, results will start pouring in.

As well, many job seekers will make attempts at networking and fail miserably the first few times, by asking people if they know of any jobs. Then they’ll master networking by first listening to others, offering help, and receiving help.

PurposeThe yearning to do what we do at the service of something that is better than ourselves. What is your purpose in life? Is it to do what is simply required and receive an adequate performance review, or is your purpose to accomplish goals that grow you as an individual and, as a result, make the company better?

The job search: Without purpose, the other two elements of Motivation 3.0 are a moot point. When I ask job seekers what their purpose is, some will say getting a job; but this is not enough.

Their purpose should be getting a job they find rewarding; a job that meets their values; a job that offers them autonomy, mastery, and…purpose. Purpose closes the loop.

To those who simply say they’ll do anything, I tell them to think harder about what they really want to do. Have purpose, I’m telling them. Purpose is what truly makes us happy.


Not all job seekers will employ motivation 3.0. Instead they will go through their job search blindly and take whatever comes their way. Ultimately they will be unhappy and, thus, unproductive.

The obvious way to look for work is to take ownership of the job search and embrace the three factors of motivation. Operate your job search like smart companies that successfully motivate their employees.

7 reasons to say no to a job offer

NOI don’t recommend that my customers say no to a job offer unless there’s a good reason. That’s why when one of my most promising customers told me she was reluctant to accept a job offer at a leading hotel corporation, I advised her to consider the circumstances.

First of all, she would be assuming a great deal of responsibilities. And second she’d be making 70% of what she previously made. Both of these factoids seemed the equivalent of doing hard labor in a rock quarry and being paid minimum wage.

I only needed to point out the disparity of salaries for her to decline the offer, even though she had negotiated a $4,000 increase. (Actually she’s smart enough to realize this.) You must be practical when considering the salary for the position. Can you pay essential bills with the salary? Will you have to cut back too much on “wants?”

There are times when you should decline an offer. My customer’s story is just one of them. A ridiculous salary offer isn’t the only reason for declining an offer. There are six others.

You’re not excited. When pundits say you’re not the only person being interviewed, they’re correct. The responsibilities of said position have to motivate you to be your best. They have to excite you.

So it figures that not only should the employer be concerned about your motivation; you should want to be motivated as well. Will the position challenge you to do your best and offer variety, or will it be a dead-end street?

Bad work environment. Another reason for not accepting an offer is sensing a volatile work environment. A former colleague of mine would often confide in me that where she was working was a toxic work environment. Management was distrustful of its employees and would often be abusive.

During an interview you should ask questions that would uncover the company’s environment. A simple one is, “Why did the former marketing specialist leave?” Or, “What makes your employees happy working here?” What about, “How do you reward your employees for creativity and innovation?”

Sincere answers to these questions will assure you that you are entering an environment with your eyes wide open, good or bad. Vague responses should raise a red flag. The best way to determine what kind of environment you may inherit is to network with people who work at a potential organization.

It goes against your morals and values. Salary.com gives this reason. “The nature of your temporary work shouldn’t make you feel like you’re compromising who you are or your beliefs. Obviously you should avoid anything illegal, but beyond that black and white is a lot of grey.”

Some of my customers have learned this lesson too late. They took a job they were not sure of and had to resign because of lack of integrity. “I should have known the company was wrong when they put off my questions about integrity,” one of them said to me.

Security. A fifth reason for not accepting an offer is the financial status of the company. If you discover through discussions that the company is at risk of closing its doors soon, it’s not wise to accept the offer, even if you “just want a job.”

This also goes for grant-funded positions. A position that will end in less than a year should make you consider if you want to join the organization only to be let go before you even get your feet wet.

You lack goals. Some of my customers have told me that they’ve been taking temp-to-perm positions that have spanned over many years; and that they’re tired of the short-term stints. Additionally, their résumé resembles one that shouts, “Job hopper.”

Your current unemployment can be a time to strategize about where you want your career to go, a time to experience clarity, not throwing darts at a wall of short-term jobs. Or if you’re unemployed, take time to think about what you really want in your next career. The offer you’ve just received should match your goals and career direction.

It’s not a cliche when I tell my customers that things happen for a reason. After I was laid off from marketing, I had a chance to reflect on what I really wanted to do. I had clear goals. So here I am.

Because you can. I say this knocking on wood. The labor market hasn’t been this healthy in years. With the “official” unemployment rate hovering around 5.0%, this is a great sign.

This also means your chances of getting a job are very good, so you can be selective…to a point. I’m not encouraging you to wait until your 25th week of UI to pull the trigger. You don’t want to cause undue stress by waiting too long to begin an earnest job search.

This may be a great time for you to get trained in skills you lack. In the state of Massachusetts, you can train (often free of charge) 20 hours a week, while still receiving your UI benefits. Are you a project manager but don’t have a Project Management Professional (PMP) cerfification? Now would be a good time to pass up a job you’re not so sure about.


While I wanted my customer to land a job in a short period of job seeking, I would have kicked myself for telling her that a bird in hand is better than nothing. I have tremendous faith in her abilities and tenacity and don’t want her to take a job that won’t make her happy. She will be land soon. That I’m sure of.

Photo: Flickr, Nathan Gibbs

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.