Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

5 Steps To Establish Credibility While Networking

March 16, 2016

By Randy Block

 

Credibility starts with how you set up for success…

You are at this luncheon, which features a speaker. There is a round table with seven other people. Typically there is a floral arrangement directly in front of you so there is no chance that you can easily talk to anyone directly. That leaves the person to your right and the person to your left.

Do you turn to the total stranger to you left and perhaps say in a faltering voice:   “Hello. What do you do?”; do you have to be a phony and pretend to be interested; smile and say nothing; excuse yourself and go to the restroom until the speaker is introduced?

So here is what to do. There is no selling or persuasion. This is what really matters to you and what matters to that person sitting to your left:

 

  1. The first “bridge” is determining just exactly what you have in common? And this is actually pretty easy. It can be ANYTHING: an interest or opinion. In the example above, YOU picked the luncheon because YOU wanted to hear the speaker talk about something that YOU were interested in. Of course you researched not only the topic but the speaker as well. You can simply turn to the person on your left and ask: “What have you heard about the speaker?” Or “What impresses me most about the topic is _______. How about you?”; you can even talk about the food or baseball. ANYTHING to break the ice.
  2. Now, turn your antennae way up. Be fully present. Do not allow any distractions when listening. When a person knows that they have been listened to, the establishment of your credibility is nearly there. When a person, could even be a stranger, knows that they have been listened to and understood, they realize they are in the presence of a special person – you.
  3. Show intelligent and sincere curiosity about what they are talking about. Ask good questions. Get clarification. But, be sure not to interview or grill them.
  4. Here’s the good part. A good conversationalist will then deftly turn the spotlight on you to listen to your thoughts. They also value dialogue.
  5. As the “relationship grows,” the dialogue can easily transition to a different subject (e.g., business, health etc.). If it’s business, the topics might include the two sources of pain that all hiring managers are always thinking about: revenue and productivity.

The engine that keeps all of this on track is your relevance to what they are talking about. Authenticity and transparency means that you are willing to find common ground and shared interests.

 

Of course this can go the other way. The two of you can have different styles in substance or belief. But that’s OK. You did nothing wrong here. You were OK. The person you were conversing with is OK too. The “chemistry” just wasn’t there.

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

Coming Into Your Home A New Look for the Telephone Screen: It’s You in HD

March 16, 2016

Coming Into Your Home

A New Look for the Telephone Screen:

It’s You in HD

By Randy Block

By now most of us know the hiring process starts off with the telephone screen.  This filter is designed to assure the hiring company that you have all of the “hard skills” needed for the position – and that you are a fit salary wise.  If you do well you will go onto the face-to-face interview. On the horizon, there is a new dimension to this technique: video, which is up close and personal. With advent of Skype and other technologies, it will be more commonplace to have the screening phone interview live on camera.

With the ever-changing technology, you can share documents, photos and other things that can show off your skills. .

Having the capability to accommodate a request by a company for a telephone screen can give you an edge over others who do not have this option.

So what to do? Here are 10 steps to get you in the game:

 

  1. Join a VOIP provider. Besides Skype, there are other competitors worth looking at as well. http://tinyurl.com/7kyzh94.  Be it Skype, Google Hangout, iChat, just to name a few. Make sure this program works for you on your computer, and add your new address to your resume, business card.
  2. Most new computers have an internal camera. However, I recommend that you purchase a good external HD webcam that offers great video quality.  Keep in mind that the companies calling you will have HD. CNET offers a very good comparison of webcams at various prices: http://www.cnet.com/topic-reviews/camera/skype.html
  3. Become familiar with your equipment and service. This is an obvious, but you can’t say during an interview “I am just getting used to this, please bear with me.”
  4. Look at the camera, not your monitor. As in a face-to-face interview, this is making good “eye to eye” contact.
  5. Lighting is important, natural light being the best. If you use artificial light, make sure that it will work effectively.
  6. Be sure your background is not “busy” or cluttered. The interviewer can see everything behind you.
  7. Control your environment. Make sure that you are not distracted.  In a Skype coaching session, my cat Duke walked across my keyboard and disconnected my call.
  8. Attire: Yes! Dress up completely as if you were going to an interview. There is a story going around about a candidate looked well from the waist up.  When he stood up, he wasn’t wearing any pants. Surprise!!   Don’t wear white or anything that is “busy” like plaids or checks.
  9. Rehearse via video with a friend beforehand. This is not so much for content but to see how you look.  “How” you come across is just as important as the answer.  This would also be a great time to adjust the lighting.

 

Prepare for the call.  Take exactly the same steps you would normally to prepare for a face-to-face interview.   This includes:  obtaining a copy of the job description in advance: researching the company, checking out the interviewer on LinkedIn, evaluating “the fit” — where you are strong and where you are weak, preparing answers to potential interviewing questions (feel free to download my list of 35 most difficult interview questions and how to frame your answers http://www.randyblock.com/interviewCoaching.html.  Be sure that all of your answers are relevant to the job. Above all, relax.  If you follow the suggestions above, you will be just fine with the call.

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

What Your Network Needs From You

March 16, 2016

What Your Network Needs From You

By Randy Block

How often do I hear: “I am networked out!”  Or “I hate networking!”

 

By now, most of you know that the following actions have provided limited if any results:

  1. Sending résumé to a friend asking them to “keep their eyes open.
  2. Asking your contacts if they know of any jobs for you.
  3. Attending networking meetings attended by mostly unemployed people.

 

Briefly, networking is defined as an exchange of information.  It has nothing to do with selling or job search.  It is about building relationships based on common interests and values.

 

People in your network who share your common interests and values want to know exactly how they can help you. Keep in mind that an adult knows an average of 200 people.  Quite frankly, you just don’t know who is in their network, how many there are or how valuable those contacts may be.  Even if you knew only 10 people, that’s 2500 people to whom you have access.

 

Help your network help you by implementing the following steps before you contact them:

 

  1. Have a clear and unique personal brand. Much is being written today about personal branding.  Every organization, whether it is a profit or a non-profit, has just 2 basic pain points that keep their leaders up at night.  They are:  (1) Are we as productive as we can be? And (2) How can we increase our revenue?   In today’s economy, your brand and/or your solution must be relevant to at least one of these two points. I recommend Karen Kang’s Book “Branding Pays” http://amzn.to/1OuzjOv
  2. Target an industry and/or market segment within that industry. Use whatever criteria works for you.  Criteria suggestions are:  Emerging markets such as green (solar and wind power, biodiesel etc.), established growing markets such as health care, “hot” segments such as mobile applications and social media.  Much of this is based on the principle of “follow the money.”  The best free source of information is your local public library. Organizations like to be chosen, not résumé blasted.
  3. Make a target list of companies which interest you greatly. Criteria can include, but not be limited to: location, size, proffer or non-profit, public or private sectors.

 

You are now ready to talk to your contacts.  Share your brand and your targets. You are asking them:  “Whom do you know in these 10 companies?”  It doesn’t matter if there is an opening or not.  It doesn’t matter if the referral is the hiring manager or is in a different department.   Keep in mind that like people have a tendency to refer like people.  When given a referral, be sure you learn the nature of their relationship.  Your close friend’s referral to another close friend always results in a meeting inside your target company.

 

The goal here is that 80% of your time (like Monday through Thursday) spent on search should be having meetings such as those described above. On Fridays you can sit behind the computer all day and play the “Black Hole Cyberspace Game.”

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

 

When Your Resume Is Useless And When It Is Useful

March 16, 2016

 

WhenYour Resume is Useful and When It isn’t

By Randy Block

 

After a speech, I often encounter someone from the audience who approaches me and asks: “What do you think of my resume?” I smile and ask: “What job are you applying for?” More often than not, they respond with: “Nothing in particular. I just want to know what you think of it?”

I give it a cursory look for achievement metrics and style points and usually say, “It’s fine as is; but I could give you a better critique if you were applying for a specific position”.

During my 30+ years as an executive search recruiter and going on 15 years as a full time career coach, I have seen and reviewed literally thousands of resumes –the good, the bad and the ugly.

The resumes that caught my attention were those that helped me evaluate them targeted for a specific need.

Any financial adviser will tell you that your personal assets such as a home, car, jewelry, boats, artwork etc., only have realized value on the day of sale. That is, there is a buyer for that asset and the market sets the price. There is usually one consideration in that transaction – usually money, but up until that point of sale, in reality it is not worth anything, appraisals and your emotional attachment notwithstanding.

Your background of experience and achievements clearly are considered assets (certainly you perceive them as important). However, assets, as described in the previous paragraph, those strengths and accomplishments really aren’t worth anything until they are put to use. They will be worth something when there is a buyer. In terms of job search, that buyer is an organization with a specific need, or needs, and you have the relevant qualifications to fill that need. The transaction usually takes the form of an offer of full time or part time employment. And yes, this applies to contracting as well.

What works today? It is entirely up to the job seeker to bring out in the resume their relevant qualifications that uniquely meet the buyer’s needs. In the hiring process, nothing else in your background matters. The resume must be as pertinent to the position as possible. Therefore, every resume sent out by you will be different, tailored to the specific parameters of the position for which you are applying.

QUICK TIP: never send a resume to a friend. In their desire to help you, they will subsequently send it directly in response to an ad they see. They will call you afterwards telling you about the position and that they sent your resume “un-tailored. “Sigh – the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

Since we now live in a very tactical world, most organizations are interested in how you can help them in the next 6 months by increasing their revenue or making them more productive. And many of these companies are primarily interested in your job-relevant achievements since 2008. NOTE to senior execs: go back just 15 years on your resume.

In our legal system, you are innocent until proven guilty.  Therefore, hire a good lawyer. During your   job search process, you are assumed to be unqualified until proven qualified.  It is a good investment to hire a resume writer who can articulate your achievements with the appropriate keywords.

– See more at: http://www.timsstrategy.com/blog/when-your-resume-is-useless-and-when-it-is-useful/#sthash.HuOi9Xjj.dpuf

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.