1. Too many companies write three paragraphs about the company and only write three sentences about the job. They have it flipped flopped. Use words to sell the challenges of the opportunity, not the company. Once a candidate begins to think of themselves in the role, then it is easier to sell the company. Job first, company second. Provide a company web address and if a candidate is interested is in the job they will naturally want to know more about the company. This is a particularly effective strategy for smaller to mid-size companies without strong name recognition.
by Mitch Byers :: July 14th, 2008 :: Posted in Selection & Hiring |
Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink, was the first speaker at the May 2008 New Yorker Conference. “Stories from the near future” was the theme of the two-day conference. Albeit condensed, here are his words and my comments from his talk regarding the “challenge of hiring in the modern world.”
by Mitch Byers :: July 11th, 2008 :: Posted in Selection & Hiring |
A recent article from Dr. John Sullivan discusses up an emerging trend – speed interviewing. Speed Interviewing takes its name from the once popular, Speed Dating. Speed Interviewing severely compresses the interviewing process. Compare cooking popcorn the old fashion way – heating up oil in a deep pan and adding a shallow layer of popcorn to today’s fast and easy microwave popcorn. The popcorn today is ready in jiffy with no mess or cleanup. Speed interviewing hopes to achieve the same results: faster and easier without all the messy protocols of a traditional interview. The slimmed down version is making inroads because traditional interviews has several problems:
The article supports the point of psychologist John Gottman, whose research in the dynamics of snap decisions and first impressions is discussed in Malcom Gladwell’s best-seller Blink. Gladwell explains how “thin slicing” videotaped interactions between married couples provided Gottman the ability to predict, with 95% accuracy, the long-term outcome of the marriage.
While Gottman is able to rationalize a relationship in a matter of seconds, Dr. Sullivan’s approach is more akin to speed dating, and suggests setting a time limit between 5 and 15 minutes for the interview. This caught my interest, because when I was conducting research for InterviewRX I found a study that concluded most hiring decisions are made between 4 and 10 minutes into the interview. This coalescing research suggests speed interviewing may be valid for some companies.
Sullivan points to several advantages of speed interviewing:
While speed interviewing is not yet fully embraced in HR and recruiting circles, there are enough companies using or experimenting with the concept to rethink your interview approach. From the hiring perspective, committing to a hiring decision after a ten-minute conversation is pretty gutsy, but one most of us do internally, even if we don’t make our decision “public” that soon.
Sullivan mentions that IBM, Abbott Labs and Texas Instruments are using Speed Interviewing, though no specifics are given. My personal opinion is that companies will be reluctant to embrace a snap judgment platform, but may follow the pattern used by Tower Consultants. An employee from Tower shares the company speaks with as many as fifty prospective candidates in a day, allotting about 5 minutes with each one. The speed interviewing is the first step. A more rigorous technical and behavioral interview follows before a hiring decision is made. In my own experience, initial phone interviews have become considerably shorter over the years. Today, I allow 5 to 7 minutes to capture essential qualifying information. From there, face-to-face interviews are scheduled.
The bottom line for Tower and a growing number of companies is that the “speed interviewing works” and I believe it will be a trend more and more people in job transition will experience.
The Workplace Visions publication discusses the mismatch of business needs and lack of available skills of young people currently entering the workforce. The recent Society of Human Resource Management publication highlights and how this mismatch will impact the challenges on managing the emerging workforce. Their research indicates “a staggering 94% of human resource professionals do not feel that their workforce is adequately prepared to meet the future goals of their organization.” As an example of the lack of available skills of our emerging workforce, a comparison was drawn between U.S. and their global competitors in the area of Science Knowledge. Of the 29 industrialized countries listed, the U.S. came in last, behind the U.K., German, Japan, China, and behind the front-runner Finland. In Mathematics and Problem Solving, U.S. students also performed below average. In Reading, U.S. students scored just above the mean, but well below the top performers.
99% of participants in a 2007 study felt like the best remedy was to expose and teach students a variety of skills that would allow the U.S. to compete globally in the future. While there was a consensus of significant improvements needed in reading, science and math, employers had a bias towards applied skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, teamwork and collaborating, leadership and diversity.
Here is the Top 10 list of skills employees are expected to need over the next five years
Action Plan for Job Seekers
During the interview process, job seekers can probe to find out what the company needs. What skills is the company lacking? What is impacting their competitiveness or slowing their growth? What critical elements are needed to complete their team? Chances are good the skill needed can be found on the Top 10 list. Think about your own strengths and experiences. What are your top two or three strengths that will add value to the company? Working with your strengths, develop brief concise stories you can share that will help the hiring manager “see” you as having expertise in these areas. If there is a solid match between their needs and the values you offer, then the hiring decision has just become an easy choice.
Once hired, learn more about which skills you will need for continued success. Invest in continued education to hone your skills and erase any significant deficits that may impede your career growth. It is always better to be part of the solution rather than be perceived as part of the problem.
People in job transition often lament that looking for a job is a full-time job. Activities such as company research, network meetings, job fairs, connecting with recruiters, meeting company insiders for coffee, scrolling the job boards and preparing for the interview keeps you moving forward towards the end goal, landing a new position. During your job transition, you will have multiple conversations with dozens of people. Part of your “full-time job” should be to organize and track each of your contacts. Tracking your job transition contacts has several benefits:
1) Analysis of Your Current Job Search. Your job search can be an emotional roller coaster that can span over several months. Tracking your contacts and activities provides a realist assessment of your progress. Are you developing a large enough network to effectively penetrate the market? Your contacts and call activity will help you analyze if you are spending too much time on the job boards and not enough time connecting with people who can help you move forward in the job search.
Tracking your calls and contacts can be accomplished with a simple spreadsheet. To compliment your tracking system, you will also want to organize the business cards you will be receiving. Purchasing an organizer from the office supply store or scanning the cards and setting up electric files works well.
2) “Off the Market” Notification. At the end of your current job search, you will want to contact individuals on your list to notify them of your new position that you are “off the market.” This professional courtesy is one not often provided. However, this personal touch will help keep you in good standing for future contacts.
3) Continue to build your network in your new position. When you are ready to move towards your next career position you can revisit your previous contacts and mine the data. Reestablishing contact with your known sources can quickly expand your opportunities and reduce your time in job transition.
Expanding and tracking your network during your job transition is a good idea with plenty of tangible benefits. Your documentation will keep you grounded and moving in the right direction. Long-term, you can continue to build your database to support future career moves.
by Mitch Byers :: May 15th, 2007 :: Posted in Selection & Hiring |
by Mitch Byers :: April 23rd, 2007 :: Posted in Selection & Hiring |
On your next coffee break, take a minute to read this WSJ story by David Wessell, The article, Lack of Well-Educated Workers Has Lots of Roots, No Quick Fix, highlights the hiring challenges you continue to face, even though there are a growing number of college graduates.
A history of the U.S. workforce
Early 1900s – A majority of Americans only had an 8th grade education. Our agrarian society required more hands in the field, leaving less in the classroom.
Late 1920s – Over half of the next generation of workers were going to high school, though not all that started high school earned a diploma.
1955 – The average Americans age 30 completed 10.9 years of education.
1980 – In 25 years, the education level for the average American age 30 surged dramatically – to 13.2 years of education.
2005 – The pace slowed considerably in the succeeding 25 years. The average American in their 30s now has 13.9 years of education.
The average number of years of education continues to rise slowly in the U.S. The global view, however, puts our modest advances in perspective. Most developed nations are easily running head-to-head with the U.S. And we are lagging behind Japan, Korea, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, and Sweden in the number of 25 to 34 year olds with college degrees.
More education = More $$$
For most graduates, completing a degree is financially rewarding.
1982: College grads (undergrad) were paid 40% more than high school graduates
Today: College grads are paid 75% more than those with high school diplomas
It is clear that a better-educated and more technically-skilled labor force is required for today’s job market.
Not everyone makes the cut
Even though a college education provides a clear financial advantage, there are many young people who are not up to the challenge.
25% of 18 year-old Americans have NOT graduated from high school.
About 65% of new high school graduates attend college, but 13% drop out their first year and 43% of those between 22 and 34 never complete a degree.
By my estimation, only about 1/3 of all potential U.S. high school graduates continues to collage and obtains an undergraduate degree. The 75% additional pay can be tracked to both the higher level of education/skills and simple supply and demand factors in the economy. Of course, the millions of workers who have chosen the U.S over their native soil have softened the supply side. Still, the outlook of selecting employees from a large pool of well-educated, loyal and highly motivated candidates may well be part of our history.
If education is the problem, then a complete overhaul of our education must be the right solution. However, any changes will be hard fought and measured, at best. While Congress muddles through education fixes, business leaders must move forward and develop their own solutions.
Have you thought about a long-term workforce strategy to attract, hire and retain your employees? Do you have a training program in place to keep your employees current in technologies? Are you developing your employees to your competitive advantage?
Maybe a well-planned and executed training plan is the key. Maybe providing incentives for those who best adapt, create and inspire is the solution. Maybe an end-to-end hiring and performance review program, which rewards mentoring and developing others is the trick. Maybe the solution is developing better criteria to screen candidates against.
Lots of maybes. Please share your successes and maybe we will have a few less maybes.
by Mitch Byers :: August 3rd, 2006 :: Posted in Selection & Hiring |
by Mitch Byers :: July 30th, 2006 :: Posted in Selection & Hiring |
A new acquaintance of mine, Tony Cinello, President of Anthony Andrew, LLC. suggested the book “Topgrading” by Bradford D. Smart. Smart defines Topgrading as filling every position in the organization with an A-player, at the appropriate compensation level.
An “A Players’ is defined as one who qualifies among the top 10 percent of those available for a position. An A Player is best of class. Tony leads a retained search firm in Dallas and is definitely an A Player.
I am up to page 70, so can not yet provide a full opinion of the book. However, I was intrigued to learn that A Players make up only 25% of most company’s workforce. The balance of the workforce are divided into 3 categories:
Number 1 and number 10 are my favorite. I would add two more: Passion and Commitment. Some days you just don’t feel like picking up the phone to make another call. Passion and Commitment keeps you in the groove.
Here is Simon’s list:
I don’t know Simon, but based on his list, I’d say he is an A Player.