Career Management Success and The Organization Success: Are they in synch? Yes? Or not? Kind of?

March 16, 2016

 

Career Management Success and The Organization Success:

Are they in synch? Yes? Or not? Kind of?

By Randy Block

 

I think everyone can agree that professional stasis is not good for you or the organization. It’s comforting to know that you have this in common. – Maybe.

 

Stasis is not good for you because you do not increase your career portfolio value. You’ve stopped learning and improving. If this lasts too long, job burnout occurs. Being passed over for promotion sometimes occurs. I am sure you have your own stories to tell.

 

The company suffers from your stasis also. The most effective way to retain talent is to develop it and grow it. Companies risk employees becoming stale and bored. Turnover also occurs, admittedly also because workers don’t like their boss. Company success is thwarted due to underdeveloped talent. Productivity and revenue suffer as a result.

 

  1. Nothing earth shattering but is there anything that you can do about it? Yes, absolutely!

 

  1. Take accountability for your own development.
  2. Create a 5 year plan that allows opportunity on your terms.
  3. Find out what is going on with the company plans as a whole, as well as within your group
  4. Compare plans: the company and your group plan (annual, quarterly) to your own career plan.

 

You can easily make most business and career decisions () based on two considerations:

  • Is this the best decision for the company?
  • How does this decision affect my career development?

You have to connect the two. Because your company won’t.

 

Making the second response publicly is optional. However, I am finding out more and more from my clients that when the two plans are compatible and acknowledged, success follows (promotion e.g.)

 

Suppose the company benefits more from a decision more than you do, related to your own development? Of course you can put up with this for a period of time but then what are your options? Make it clear to your boss that you want professional development that will also benefit the company. If the response is a deaf ear, it’s time to move on. They should not be surprised then if you leave within the next few weeks.

We have the case of “it’s all about you and the company be damned”, you can just imagine how long you might have building your empire or being employed.  Ignoring stakeholders makes them want to put a stake in you.

 

With the current performance management model, there are quarterly reviews or check -ins. These can be utilized to see if and how the two plans are in synch. Adjustments can be made on both sides can be negotiated.  You have to set this up. Your career and the success of the company do matter to you.

 

As a recruiter, I was always impressed with candidates that had a plan in mind. They not only knew what was next, but also where they wanted to go. They had a goal. And – music to my headhunter ears – and they previously tried to get the next step with their current company.  For example, the candidate wanted a promotion at their current company.  They positioned themselves but the company dragged their feet.  That’s when the candidate decided to get the promotion outside.

 

Taking a lateral move to another company can work as long as you are very clear that you are on a timetable for promotion and/or professional development.

Yes, it falls on your shoulders to be completely accountable. But, you have the satisfaction in knowing that you have covered the most important bases.

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

Boomers: Rethink Seeking Full Time Jobs Working For Gen Xers.

March 16, 2016

Boomers: Rethink Seeking Full Time Jobs Working

By Randy Block

 

In my coaching practice, I often hear complaints from job seekers who are over 50 because they are not considered for a full-time position by a Gen Xer.

“I was fully qualified and it makes no sense” is the most common complaint.  “They simply don’t know how to hire” is another one.  “They told me that I was overqualified.” Other comments cannot be repeated.

To put some perspective on this phenomenon, here are some observations I have made, both as a coach and an executive recruiter:

  1. Thirty-somethings don’t want to hire their parents. It’s uncomfortable. Boomers have hired people from their own age demographic or their juniors for years. Would you have hired your dad or mom to work directly for you?
  2. Boomers also are considered a “flight risk.” Once the economy turns around, they probably will take a better job.  They will be viewed as someone who just used the company as a “half way house”.  And guess what?  They are a flight risk.
  3. Boomers want to be “led and not managed”. Boomers will follow a leader who influences but not directs as a manager.  In my coaching practice as well as my past recruiting experience, most thirty-something managers look for someone they can “manage.” In coaching sessions with young managers, I observed that their leadership skills typically lag behind their management skills.  Therefore they are clearly not a fit.
  4. The age antidiscrimination laws in this country have backfired.  If you hire someone for full-time work over 50, they can be hard to get rid of, even in an “at will” state like California. So why hire them in the first place?

 

  1. It’s common knowledge that medical premiums rise significantly at age 60.  The potential employer considers that a liability as well. It could be true that over 50 workers may also have more health issues than younger workers.

I have found that most young managers are open to getting help with business decisions and careers.  They appreciate being mentored, coached, or advised. They recognize the need, but look at it as a temporary or project-based opportunity. Young managers have hired me, for example, for three-month engagements and I am a “sixty something” boomer.

If you are a Boomer and still want to work with these “young lions and lionesses,” what can you do?

Here are six steps that you can take:

  1. Know thyself: What do you value?  All decisions (personal and professional) are based on values.  Relationships are based on shared values.  I believe that shared values make up most of what we call chemistry.
  2. Know thyself II: You have to be an expert in something.  There is something that only you can do.  Remember, you have specialized knowledge and/or experience.
  3. Develop your own personal brand:  People associate your name with something.  Find out what it is by calling five or six of your most trusted associates and ask them, “When you hear my name, what immediate impressions come up, both personally and professionally.”  Their answers may surprise you.
  4. Target your industry and market segment: Set up your own selection criteria (location, size of company, public or private, product or service, etc.)
  5. Select the top 15 organizations that interest you the most. Companies like to be chosen. They resent being blasted with unsolicited résumés.  Remember, you have to be as excited as they are about what they do.
  6. Network your way into top management:  This can be the toughest part.  You will need to be introduced. Networking is exchanging information.  It is not looking for a job or selling.  Keep in mind that all organizations have only two basic needs:  revenue and productivity.  This is what keeps any top management up at night.  If your brand can help them, they will seek your advice and counsel.

So the Gen Xers need your help. Now what?

The tough part is over. Your working relationship will most likely be either part- time or a short-term contract.  I have found this arrangement to be more comfortable between generations because there is a beginning and an end. A younger manager would have to be very shortsighted not to explore a working relationship with someone more experienced. You have a wealth of experience, and you can make a difference in their lives and careers.

If they don’t want your expertise, then there are plenty of others who do.

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

The Seven Tips to Starting a New Job Successfully

March 16, 2016

The Seven Tips to Starting a New Job Successfully

By Randy Block

 

Congratulations! You have accepted a new position.  All of that work of looking for a job has paid off, handsomely.  Take a breather. Now, it’s time to switch gears.  Your next objective is to integrate yourself into your new organization.

 

 

1.     Day one: maintain old contacts

Be sure to say thank you to all the people who helped you get the new position. Often people don’t make this effort because they feel they’ll be in the new job for a long time. However today, when the average American changes jobs every four years, the odds say you’re going to change jobs again soon. You need to keep your network alive!

2.     Avoid “big projects” for the first three months

 

On your second day, you think: “Here comes a big project!  I’ll take this one on and really impress them!”  This is a mistake that many people make in the first three months of employment.  It’s critical that you acquire knowledge about the system, and the people you will be working with. You cannot comprehend the implications yet of certain decisions you might make. Your company isn’t going to expect you to know everything in the first couple of weeks.  Take your time to learn how things work.

 

  1. Get to know the stakeholders

 

There are those who have a huge stake in your success, and they don’t necessarily have a fancy title.  Find out who they are. Ask for their support and offer yours to them.  Start the bonding process.

 

  1. Identify priorities and challenges

 

Most of the world’s unhappiness stems from unmet expectations. Develop a plan that demonstrates how you will address your most critical challenges and your expected time frames for completion of any challenging projects. Be sure to communicate this information to your boss.

 

  1. “Things are going wonderfully”

 

Do not share any concerns or misgivings about the job early on. Even if your boss appears to be going back on a promise, be careful. When the boss (or anyone else) asks you in the first three months, “How is it going?”, the only satisfactory answer is “Things are going wonderfully”.  You are still learning, and therefore any other answer would be premature and certainly ill advised.

 

  1. You must have data and opinions

 

When asking for information, listen carefully to the input offered by your fellow employees regarding ways to add more value to your new employer.   Ask the question “How was this job done before?”  This will give you insight into how to achieve some early successes.

 

  1. Keep managing your career

 

It’s understood that no one else is going to watch out for your career but you.  Setting vision and long-term goals is critical in the career management process.  This certainly comes into play when new projects come up.  If a project fits into your long term career plans, then do it, if not, gracefully decline (you are “too busy”).  The more proactive you are in taking on assignments that help you achieve your career goals, the quicker you will attain them.

 

 

From time to time, ask yourself: “Am I enjoying myself?”  If the answer is less than 50% of the time, it’s probably time to take a hard look at where you are now and how you can change your situation for the better.

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

Career Phases: With mastery of a skill or skills, can job burnout be far behind?

March 16, 2016

Both learning and developing motivate us and keep us alive.  As learning/development goes down, our motivation and self esteem tends to hit the skids.  Companies encourage us to keep doing what we are doing successfully – and they will pay top dollars to keep you in place.

 

Which phase are you in?

Phase One:  Considered a relative newbie with a high learning curve. Self-esteem is good as well as motivation. Confidence is tested.  External credibility starts to grow.  The dollars are OK.

 

Phase Two:  Competent but still learning; motivation and drive are high. Confidence grows.  Viewed as an “up and coming player” in the skills area.  The dollars start to increase.

 

Phase Three:  Now fully competent but still learning (albeit at a slower pace).  Motivation and drive can start to waver. Viewed as pretty credible and “right up there”.  A good jump in dollars.

 

Phase Four:  Highly proficient. Attained the  Learning process has slowed to a trickle. Motivation and drive are minimal at best.  Viewed as “the go to person” and discouraged from trying anything “new”.  The dollars are really there, and buying a lot of false happiness. This phase lasts for a relatively short time

 

Phase Five:  No learning, resentful, job burnout, bored, unhappy, feeling trapped and powerless and really does not want use this skill anymore – regardless of the dollars.  There usually is a lot of fear and confusion.

 

Best time to start planning the next move? About Phase 3.

We are goal oriented.  We are motivated when we are learning and growing in the process of attaining the goal.  Career management and development are the full responsibility of the employee.

 

 

10 Sure Fire Ways To Blow An Interview

March 16, 2016

10 Sure Fire Ways To Blow An Interview

By Randy Block

Interviews: They’re all about pressing the flesh or running for office, or a first date.  You are talking to a complete stranger.  Sweat comes out of glands you didn’t know you had.

 

Relax:  It’s probably easier to just blow them off.   If you want to know how to “blow” an interview, be sure to take any or all of the following actions:

 

  • Don’t prepare. Your intention to be spontaneous is important.  Let them talk about their company and what they do to see if you are interested. And as they are talking – act bored!
  • Show up early. Coming into the lobby 30 minutes ahead of time makes you the early bird that caught the worm, right?  You draw attention to yourself and they won’t forget you when you are picked up for loitering.
  • Take control of the interview. Let them know you are a “take charge” kind of person.  Don’t surrender, take the bull by the horns!
  • Tell them everything. You want them to know everything so they can hire all of you.  Ignore what they think is important.
  • Look down and look up. The answers to their questions are on the floor where you dropped your crib sheet or perhaps written on the ceiling.
  • Trash your old boss. Everyone in your group didn’t like him so it’s public knowledge, right?  You were right, right?
  • When in doubt bluff. If you don’t know the answer, give them something for crying out loud.
  • Show desperation. You really need this job because you have been out of work.  They can see it in your eyes.
  • Take notes throughout the interview. Show them that you have retained good note taking skills that you honed in school.  Writing notes in triplicate is a nice touch, and be sure to leave them a copy.
  • Don’t ask questions. Asking too many questions is annoying and makes you look stupid.  You are too smart to ask anything, right?

 

As a recruiter, I interviewed thousands of candidates.  I wish I could claim that I made up the recommendations above.

Certainly exhibiting the opposite of each recommendation will enhance your Interviewing experience.

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

Your Top Priority in The Interview: Hint – It’s not getting the offer

March 16, 2016

Your Top Priority in the Interview:

Hint – It’s not getting the offer

By Randy Block

Success is measured by your results.  You’ve had this ingrained in you:.  It follows that if you didn’t get an offer after your interview, you failed.  Your self-esteem takes a hit and maybe even depression sets in.  “Nobody wants me.”

You make all about you.        You all have heard about how much a “bad hire” costs the company.  Well it costs you as well.  Your zeal to get the offer by overselling yourself with the “right answers” has resulted in a layoff after 6 months.  How’s that going to look on your resume?

Suppose you had a different number one priority.  If you achieved the goal of feeling good about the interview, regardless of its outcome, you had a successful interview because you maximized the process.  You are actually energized even though you didn’t get the offer.  You actually enjoyed yourself!

What should your number one objective be?  To focus on the fit between you and the organization, there are always three elements to an interview:  the candidate, the organization and the fit.  Too many interviewees make the interview all about themselves.  No wonder many job seekers become nervous or anxiety-driven before an interview. They need to learn that it’s not about them: it’s all about the fit.

Consider the following tips, focusing in on the “fit” and maximizing your interview:

  1. Interview Preparation: Besides your normal due diligence on the company, industry etc., always ask for a job description in advance.  Under Candidate Qualifications, concentrate on the “requireds.” Honestly evaluate yourself related to each point.  Come up with one or two stories that illustrate your success with each qualification. Keep you stories to less than 2 minutes please! If you are strong in over 80% of what they are looking for, this is a good start.  You can also prepare well thought out answers for the requirements where you are not as strong.
  2. During the interview: All of your answers should be relevant to their needs.  The number one mistake interviewee’s make in an interview is giving too much information.  They answer the question and keep right on talking. Keep in mind that the only wrong answer in an interview is a dishonest one. Establish an alliance with the interviewer.  You are both on the same team to examine the fit.  If the rejection letter comes, you can rebound quickly knowing that you are just fine.  The fit wasn’t there.
  3. The end of the interview: If you have kept your focus on your number one priority, you have a pretty good idea as to the “fit.”  Consider asking what concerns the hiring manager may have.  If there are too many concerns (especially about the facts of your background)), ask if they could recommend another manager where it might be a better fit.  If the answer is no, then ask if they could recommend anyone in their network outside their company.  It’s not a bad interview if you don’t get the “offer” but get three to four leads.

Organizations want to know how you can help them.  They are looking for solutions to their two main concerns: revenue and productivity.  With your confidence and a solid value proposition addressing those two needs you are now in a solid position to close the deal.

All in all, keep in mind: it’s not about you, it’s about the fit. With this idea in your head at all times, any time you interview, you will be leveling the playing field and reducing your anxiety. In the long run, you’ll find that fit more rapidly as well.

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

LinkedIn Impressionism: How Does Your Photo Compare?

March 16, 2016

LinkedIn Impressionism:

How Does Your Photo Compare?

By Randy Block

After you have connected with someone on LinkedIn, you are redirected to “People You May Know.” Intrigued? You proceed to watch the parade of photos and backgrounds.

I have viewed thousands of photos over the years. I would like to give my impressions of those that should be reviewed by their owners because they don’t give the best impression…

 

  1. The No Picture: Now, I know that online privacy is important to all of us. But come on people, many of us might know you on sight but not by name. Add your photo to your LinkedIn profile! This just in!  You don’t have a photo? This can hurt your LinkedIn search results by putting you lower in the database.
  2. The Dated Picture: Several years ago, I met a friend for lunch after not having seen his/her for quite some time. Naturally, we both had aged. Funny how the passage of time does that! Would you believe this 50 year old used his/her college graduation picture on LinkedIn? I know that age discrimination is alive and well, but use an updated photo!! We’ll all go into shock meeting someone who has aged 20 years in just 5 days from looking at his or her LinkedIn photo.
  3. The Action Photo: You are a distant dot doing something athletic or riding something. I guess this works if I want to hire a dot. We ask, “Who was that masked man?” It worked for the Lone Ranger, but use a close up head shot please!!
  4. The Trustworthy Photo: The eyes have it. Most of us like to look into someone’s eyes. Seeing the eyes gives you the impression of trustworthiness.
  5. The Dark Picture: This photo lacks the proper lighting. There is a human in there I just know it. Lighten up!
  6. The Tuxedo Photo: This photo will work if you are looking for a job as a waiter or maître d’. Otherwise, let’s face it, you are overdressed.
  7. The Half Face Photo: Shades of Phantom of the Opera. What does the other half of your face look like? Scary!!
  8. The Duo Picture: Yes, believe it or not, there are many LinkedIn photos out there with two people. Do you think that we like to play the game of “Guess which one of us matches the background?” NO! And leave your family and spouses out.
  9. The Caricature/Drawn Photo: Only your friends know for sure. But could they hire you? Are you being too clever?
  10. The Mug Shot:There is shadow behind your face. Were you finger printed at the time of the photograph?

It’s important that we all stand out from the crowd. It’s what personal branding is all about. With the exception of identical twins there is no other face that looks exactly like yours in the whole world, doppelgängers aside.

** Groucho Marx said: “Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do us live long enough.”

– See more at: http://www.timsstrategy.com/blog/linkedin-impressionism-how-does-your-photo-compare/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+timsstrategy+%28Tim%27s+Strategy%C2%AE+-+Ideas+for+Job+Search%2C+Career+and+Life%29#sthash.w9lGRcN2.dpuf

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

Job Seekers:  Help Yourself and HR in Your Job Search! Call the Hiring Manager Directly

March 16, 2016

Job Seekers:  Help Yourself and HR in Your Job Search! Call the Hiring Manager Directly

By Randy Block

 

Are you sending out resumes, and answering advertisements on company websites? Did someone tell you that you could upset and turn-off Human Resources if you bypass them? You have been “good” by following the “rules”. You say to yourself, “I’m perfect for the job.”

You wait. It’s now weeks later and you’ve received no reply: “How can they miss my great background? If I could just get to the manager…”

Here’s an important fact: most HR professionals have their hands full. The more forward-thinking HR Departments are now concerned about their own return-on-investment, as evaluated by their own top management.  You can help yourself, as well as helping HR, by contacting the hiring manager directly. However, like most things in life, there are certain conditions:

 

  • Ask yourself, “Am I authentically interested in this company and position?”
  • Is there anyone in my network who can refer me?
  • Study the target job and the qualifications. Look at the requirements – “must have,” “required,” “will have,” etc.”. Rate yourself honestly on a scale from 1 (low) to 10 (Knowledge experience and achievements) for each requirement. Too many 7’s or below will disqualify you: go on to the next position. Don’t waste your valuable time—or theirs.
  • Do send your resume into the system exactly as requested in the format that they asked for.
  • Attempt to find the hiring manager through research or your network. Failing that, write to the appropriate VP of your targeted company.
  • Write a tailored cover letter and resume that outline your relevant strengths and experience. It’s up to you to connect the dots when applying for a position.
  • Send it snail mail or overnight letter.
  • Follow up with a call or an unscheduled visit.

 

These steps will help to ensure your success at being noticed and even landing the position that’s right for you. You’ll be making everyone’s job easier, including your own. And even HR will thank you for it!

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

9 Mistakes Boomers Make In Their Job Search

March 16, 2016

 

 

 by Randy Block.

“I just want a job” is a familiar refrain I hear at my presentations; usually from someone with gray hair. My reply is: “Apply at Costco, Home Depot or Target – and get at least 30 hours for the benefits”.

You know how challenging the job market is out there. In my work with Boomers, claim expertise about the job search process.  But their execution is less than stellar – far less.

The Nine Mistakes Most Boomers Make:

  1. Relying heavily on email as your primary communication tool during your job search. People hide behind their emails. When you have the mobile number, explore texting. Another way is to send resume via snail mail. Extensive use of email will date you. Younger managers respond far quicker to texting than email.
  2. Asking for directions to navigate to the place of the interview – or anywhere. GPS is here to stay – use it, or get current maps.

 

  1. Ignoring social media. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. are here to stay. If you are not a member of LinkedIn, you don’t exist. Just posting in a resume is a turnoff. Most resumes are not written well enough.
  2. In problem solving, thinking and making a case for an answer that worked in “their day” and believing it will work now. Business conditions change too fast for previous solutions to work today.
  3. Thinking that any experience prior to 2008 is totally relevant. Be careful here. I don’t think anyone really cares what you did in 1998. It dates you.
  4. Making full time employment the sole means for paying your bills. You expect that your 6-figure job will return in the next few months. The closer you get to age 60, the tougher it gets. After 60, your best two options are to start your own company or become an advisory consultant.
  5. Looking for that last long term employment position until retirement. No organization can offer you job security. They will remain loyal to you for as long as they need you.
  6. Believing that you are “too old” to help solve problems. With a good relevant brand in hand, you need to network with decision makers. See if there is a match and then decide if the position is full time, part time or short-term contract.

 

  1. Assuming that the corner office and other “treasured perks from the past” will be prized by the younger professional.

To recap:

Relationship building is critical. WIIFM (What’s in it for me) is alive and well. If there is a match between an organization’s needs and your relevant skills, then there is a match. Then and only then you can decide if the working relationship will be full time, part time or short-term contract.

Hustle, humility and flexibility are key for a boomer looking to create revenue.

 

Being Over Age 60 and a Job Seeker: Is Securing a Full time Permanent Job Your Top Priority?

March 16, 2016

Job Seekers:  Help Yourself and HR in Your Job Search! Call the Hiring Manager Directly

By Randy Block

Are you sending out resumes, and answering advertisements on company websites? Did someone tell you that you could upset and turn-off Human Resources if you bypass them? You have been “good” by following the “rules”. You say to yourself, “I’m perfect for the job.”

You wait. It’s now weeks later and you’ve received no reply: “How can they miss my great background? If I could just get to the manager…”

Here’s an important fact: most HR professionals have their hands full. The more forward-thinking HR Departments are now concerned about their own return-on-investment, as evaluated by their own top management.  You can help yourself, as well as helping HR, by contacting the hiring manager directly. However, like most things in life, there are certain conditions:

 

  • Ask yourself, “Am I authentically interested in this company and position?”
  • Is there anyone in my network who can refer me?
  • Study the target job and the qualifications. Look at the requirements – “must have,” “required,” “will have,” etc.”. Rate yourself honestly on a scale from 1 (low) to 10 (Knowledge experience and achievements) for each requirement. Too many 7’s or below will disqualify you: go on to the next position. Don’t waste your valuable time—or theirs.
  • Do send your resume into the system exactly as requested in the format that they asked for.
  • Attempt to find the hiring manager through research or your network. Failing that, write to the appropriate VP of your targeted company.
  • Write a tailored cover letter and resume that outline your relevant strengths and experience. It’s up to you to connect the dots when applying for a position.
  • Send it snail mail or overnight letter.
  • Follow up with a call or an unscheduled visit.

 

These steps will help to ensure your success at being noticed and even landing the position that’s right for you. You’ll be making everyone’s job easier, including your own. And even HR will thank you for it!

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.