The Conversational Job Interview

Business HandshakeJob interviews have to be the toughest way to get to know a person or a company. It’s not a whole lot different than looking for a potential mate at a bar. Everyone’s dressed up and ready to dole out clever words. What are the chances you’re going to see the true picture?

I wrote this article for people on both sides of the interview desk. It should help you have a conversation rather than a stilted, superficial Q and A session.  Continue reading

Entrepreneur, Solopreneur, Intrapreneur — Which Are You?

Entrepreneur Solopreneur Intrapreneur illustrationDriven business leaders are not created equal. Each of us possess separate and distinct superhero talents. When we develop self awareness, we realize there are certain situations in which we thrive.

Have you thought about the type of business leader you are, or might become? Let’s look at three driven types: Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, and Intrapreneurs. For each, I’ll give you a formal definition, then my definition, and finally, a blog you might enjoy reading if you fall within that personal leadership style. I hope you won’t mind that I’m going to ask you to do me a favour at the end of this article.

Entrepreneur

Formal definition: A person who sets up businesses and takes on risk in the hopes of profit.
My definition: You know you’re an entrepreneur when…

  • You see opportunity everywhere — even when your eyes are closed.
  • You see failure as a temporary setback — an investment in education.
  • Your favourite words are “What if…?”

A blog entrepreneurs might like: Both Sides Of The Table

Solopreneur

Formal definition: A solopreneur is an entrepreneur who works alone; one who runs a business single-handedly.
My definition: You know you’re a solopreneur when…

  • You tell people you’re the CEO, the Accountant, or the company’s Administrative Assistant – depending on who’s asking and what day it is.
  • You know your daily receivables balance to the penny. By heart.
  • You can reconcile banking statements, bang out a killer proposal, and reprogram your computer… in a single morning.

A blog solopreneurs might like: The Solopreneur Life

Intrapreneur

Formal definition: An intrapreneur takes responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product within the confines of an organization; one who challenges the status quo within a company to build a better future.

My definition: You know you’re an intrapreneur when…

  • You’re the first person people look at when they need to solve a complex problem or initiate change.
  • You see connections where others see none; you’re able to think 3 and 4 steps ahead before a new process is initiated.
  • You work 60-70 hours per week because you’re building the business, not because anyone might notice and think more of you.

A blog intrapreneurs might like: Savvy Intrapreneur

I’m an intrapreneur. Which one are you?

Icons by Delekat

What Do Recruiters And Air Traffic Controllers Have In Common?

Office worker leapingWhat do recruiters and air traffic controllers have in common? They both work under continuous high pressure while tracking and influencing multiple targets and are expected to know exactly what to do — calmly and precisely — should the unexpected happen.

OK, I know what you’re thinking. Air traffic controllers are keeping people alive, not finding candidates to fill open positions. I’ll give you that. But air traffic controllers get to unwind when they’re not working. They can’t track and land planes during their off hours.

Recruiters, on the other hand, are never truly off duty. They’re phoning potential candidates while dinner’s simmering. They’re doing online candidate research during CSI reruns. Or they’re checking email to see if their favourite client has sent an update.

Another key difference is the competitive environment. There are few industries more competitive than staffing. Professional recruiters are often in a race against time to find the best talent, first.

Recruiters defy the old management adage that says you can have quality, speed, or low cost, but you can’t have all three at the same time. Well, recruiters often do deliver in all three areas. Simultaneously. With a (hysterical) smile on their face.

The next time you work with a recruiter, please bear in mind the pace they keep. If you have a telephone meeting booked to share feedback, please do what you can to keep it. If you have a face-to-face meeting booked, please let your recruiter know if something may get in the way of starting on time.

Good recruiters are worth their weight in gold.


Have we connected? You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

How To Send A Powerful Thank You Letter Following A Job Interview

LetterWithPenShould I send a thank you note following a job interview? That’s a question I get asked all the time. I have only one answer: You most definitely should do so.

A thank you letter is a unique opportunity to create another positive impression. Even if you don’t think you did well and don’t have a shot at the job, sending a follow-up letter to express appreciation and deepen the new relationship is a habit that will serve you well for years. Sometimes, a well-written note can improve your chances of getting that job.

Preparing For The Thank You

Your prep starts when you receive the call offering an interview appointment. Get the name and title of the person you will meet with. Not only will that help you do research before the interview, you’re gathering the info you need for your thank you letter.

During the interview, try to notice a moment where you and the interviewer clicked. Was there something in particular you agreed on or were interested in? Is there an area of the position responsibilities where your background was shown to be particularly suited?  Pick one of those great moments for the body of your letter.

How Should You Send Your Thank you?

Email has become the defacto method of communication — except for a few who realize that sending pieces the old-fashioned way can garner extra attention. When was the last time you received a business letter by regular mail? There’s nothing wrong with email, but if it were me, I would choose a method that stands out.

Following up with a letter that recreates a positive moment from the interview will bring you back to mind during the selection process. It’s almost as good as having someone on the inside putting in a good word for you.

Have questions about your job search? Go ahead and ask. I’ll do my best to help.


How Not To Get “Facebook Fired”

FacebookFiredFacebook comments that are disrespectful to the workplace or show aggression toward supervisors are getting people fired. Here are three cases where employees lost their jobs because of what they posted on Facebook.

Kimberley Swann was fired after three weeks as an admin assistant for writing on Facebook about how bored she was with her job. Her status updates included: ‘first day at work. omg!! So dull!!’

Two employees were fired from a British Columbia car dealership as a direct result of derogatory comments they posted on Facebook. Following the BC Labour Relations Board hearing, lawyer Don Richards was quoted in the Vancouver Province:

In the past if you cussed out the bosses on the shop floor it was worse because it undermines the bosses’ authority. But in this case it was the cyberspace equivalent of cussing out the boss, not only in front of other employees, but a couple hundred members of the public as well.

A Canada Post worker with 31 years of service was fired for posting nasty status updates about her supervisor on Facebook.

How Not To Get Fired Over Facebook Status Updates

Ask yourself this question before you post your comment. Could your words cause someone to have less respect for your workplace, its clients, or anyone who works there? If the answer is yes, choose the delete key instead.

  • Don’t post derogatory comments about your employer or clients – or anyone at all, for that matter. Making fun of others or pointing out their faults solves nothing and brings others down.
  • Don’t rely on privacy settings to protect you if you’re making slanderous or damaging comments. Anyone who can see your posts can share them.
  • Be careful about thinking that what you do after hours has no effect on your job. Slander and libel aren’t limited to business hours.

What About Job Candidates?

So far, we’ve only talked about people who are currently employed. What if you’re on the job market? Do the same rules apply? They sure do. To explain what recruiters and hiring managers are looking at, I’ve linked to an infographic from Reed Global. I’ll post links to additional resources for job hunters at the bottom of this article.

Top 10 Social Media Tips

Infographic by reedglobal.com

More Resource for Job Hunters


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5 Ways To Start Managing Your Career Right Now

ManageYourCareerWhether you’re a Baby Boomer, a Generation X’er, or part of Generation Y, you need to treat your career as a business. 

The days of finding a job and staying there for your entire career ended with my father’s generation. My dad needed to manage work relationships and his own performance, but he didn’t have to manage his career.  I’m going to give you five ways to start managing your career right now.

  • Create a LinkedIn profile. At the very least, do this one thing. It will pay off for years. If you’re trying to get away from hourly positions and into salaried roles, you won’t be able to do it without a profile here. If this is brand new to you, keep it simple but proofread it many times to make sure you don’t have a single spelling or grammar error.
  • Make a list right now of other companies you’d consider working for. Keep that list in a drawer or in Google Documents or wherever you like to store things. If something happens to your job, this is your go-to source of encouragement and early action.
  • Invest in your career by taking a course or reading a business book. I can’t stress this enough. Responsibility for your professional growth and development belongs to you, not your employer. If you decide to take your career to a new place of employment, keeping your learning skills sharp will help you tremendously during the interview phase (you’ll stand out from your competitors) and you’ll be better positioned to learn a new job quickly because you’ve been stretching your mind.
  • Join at least one group or association. This can be an in-person group, or online if that’s your preference. Use LinkedIn to find groups that interest you. Become a contributor in some way so that you’re known by the others in the group. Joining a group will keep you up to date on what’s happening and where the jobs are.
  • Research your job skills in your market. It’s a good idea to know how common or rare your skills are and what the going rate is. Monster and Workopolis both have salary calculators you can use. You’ll need this information for your next negotiation whether that’s with your current employer or your next employer.

Enjoy taking control of your career.


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How To Recover From A Bad Job Interview

How would you like to show up for a job interview only to find out you were called in to become the butt of a joke? Oh, and you’ll be filmed in the process, by the way. Watch this video — it may help you reframe any bad interviews you’ve experienced in the past.

Man frustratedBad interviews can happen to anyone. You might flub a question, arrive late, get the interview location mixed up… Try not to be too hard on yourself, and don’t be quick to give up. If you’re interested in the position, it’s worth trying to salvage the situation.

Arriving late needs to be addressed as soon as you arrive. Take full responsibility, apologize, and then try to move forward with as much confidence as possible. There’s no need to grovel; just be sure to acknowledge that you take punctuality seriously.

If you regret one of your responses while you’re still in the interview, don’t be afraid to stop and rephrase it. Say something like: I didn’t express myself very well just now. Can I back up and restate that?

It’s possible that you won’t realize you made a misstep until the interview is over and you’re at home rehashing the conversation. In that case, you can use your follow up note to highlight what you wish you’d said. You actually have an advantage you can leverage at this point. Now that you’ve gone through the interview, you have enough information to state why you’re a strong candidate. Use the information you gained during the interview to point out the areas where your skills are a match and let the interviewer know that you’re still very interested. Hiring managers love to know that a candidate is highly motivated to accept the position.

Job interview mistakes can be fixed!click to tweetTweet this quote

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

~Dale Carnegie