Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Timing is Everything

Let’s talk about timing. Timing has so much to do with many things in our everyday lives. For example, we knew that we wanted to trade in our vehicle due to ongoing problems. We met with the dealer on Thursday last week. Identified another vehicle they had in stock. Talked numbers, trade etc. I had been hoping for less of a difference so told the dealer sales rep I would sleep on it. The next morning the “check engine” light came on. Took it in to get checked. Found out that, in simple terms, the transmission went bad. Conservative estimate was $3,500 to repair. Talk about timing. If I had traded the day before I would not have been in that situation. To make matters worse, the warranty had literally just expired. Again, talk about timing.

So timing does indeed play a significant part of our daily lives. This holds oh so true in the job search as well. And that is why I like to discuss timing when I speaking with professionals seeking new opportunities. So much is about timing. When we speak with a professional we may not be aware of anything that particular day. That can change the next day or the day after. Or it may be weeks or months. Now more than ever timing plays a critical factor in the job search. Identifying opportunities is to a great extent all about timing. No doubt this needs to be kept in mind. However being certain you are positioning yourself is an important element to your search. Here is a helpful article from CBSNEWS.com.

LinkedIn: 5 Changes to Make to Your Profile Today (click on link to view full article)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's a Small World?

I was speaking with a candidate today and we were sharing stories. I had been working until 10:00pm the night before and up at 3:30am the next morning. I told him that I just can’t go to bed until my In-Box is empty. Which lead us to sharing more stories about remote access while on vacation...we are always truly connected! While we both admitted that was not anything we were personally concerned with, we are certain it drives our wives and kids nuts at times. This conversation was quite timely for a couple reasons. First because I’m getting ready to head off on our annual Disney Cruise for spring break. Staying connected at sea is about as challenging as it comes. Not only is the connection painfully slow, but expensive. I always get a bit anxious this time of year with the anticipation of that connection battle. As I am thinking about Disney I come across an interesting article in Rough Notes that not only talks about our technology-driven environment, but in the first paragraph even refers to the classic Disney song, “It’s a Small World”. Wow, that’s a little scary! But, the article is interesting and brings up some very good points:

"Skype, social networking, and instant messaging have made the world much smaller—but in this super-charged, technology-driven environment, what has happened to customer service? Are insurance professionals doomed to dwindling importance and eventual removal from the sales and service process?"

Check out the article. It's a good read.
High Tech, Low Touch: What's Happening to Customer Service in the Digital Age? by Jaye Casper

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nonverbal Cues - Fingernails and Relaxers??

Oh the stories. Finger nails and pre-interview relaxers...

This week’s Quick Tip reminds me of a couple more stories. These are not typical, but as I said last week...definitely a testament that I’ve seen it all throughout the years! Things not to do in and before a personal interview are illustrated by these two real life examples.

So I get a call from an industry professional. They are traveling through my state and said they’d like to stop in and see me. So we set up a time. The individual arrives right on time, we enter our conference room, sit down across the table from each other and began to talk. Immediately I noticed that the person would not make eye contact with me. Okay, something they definitely needed to work on, but not too alarming. I was thinking to myself this is coachable behavior. Then, not too far into the conversation that individual began to pick at their finger nails. By the time we wrapped up, they literally had a pile of torn nails on the table in front of them...

Next up, the pre-interview lunch including a drink to relax the nerves?? So the candidate is set-up for a face to face interview. Everything is confirmed and ready to go. After the interview the client contacted me and told me that the candidate smelled of alcohol. Not a good first impression of course. I spoke to the candidate and they told me that they had stopped for lunch on the way to the interview. They told me that they had one drink to calm their nerves. Whether it was one drink to calm the nerves or something else, it was not a wise decision to go in smelling of alcohol.

While these are extreme examples, they are real life stories that illustrate very important points. Here is part 2 of my Quick Tip on face to face interviews. For additional ideas and suggestions for preparing for an interview please visit our website at www.csgrecruiting.com.

View Quick Tip: Part II of Face-To-Face Interviews
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Improving Your Executive Presence

I recently read an article on The Wall Street Journal online titled “How to Look and Act Like a Leader". It was written towards individuals already employed and how to change their leadership image within their organization. However, much was applicable to conducting yourself in an interview. The concepts and principles are the same. For example specific listed tips included:

Perfect Presence

To Improve Your Executive Presence:
• Sit on one hand if you gesture excessively
• Avoid interruptions by counting to four before you reply
• Stand or sit large to demonstrate you take up space
• Use few qualifiers as they imply lack of confidence
• Don't clasp your hands behind your back because you'll look deceptive
• Practice a firm handshake

Well, I can’t suggest sitting on your hands during an interview, but being conscious of excessive gesturing is certainly a good interview tip. This all reminds me of feedback I received from an executive who interviewed a candidate I referred to him years ago. After the interview this executive called me and said, “Scot, such & such is no doubt highly qualified for the position. I have to tell you, however, they sure were relaxed during the interview. In fact they leaned back in their chair and propped their feet on my desk.”

Through the years I’ve heard just about every story you can imagine. I’ll share one more... A hiring manager calls me after a candidate completes an interview. Once again the hiring manager explained that the candidate certainly appeared to be qualified, but went on to say, “Scot, I just can’t get past the scratches all up and down such & such’s arms. They should have at least worn a long sleeve shirt. It was very distracting.”

Preparing for a face to face interview is a very important part of the process. Careful attention must be given to every detail. This week’s Quick Tip is Part 1 of Face to Face Interviews.

View Quick Tip: Part 1 of Face to Face Interviews
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Will Phone Conversations Become a Lost Art Some Day?

I heard a statistic this morning - During the Super Bowl game this Sunday people will text 5 times more than they did last year. We’ve all been out and about at the mall or movie theater only to see a group of teenagers or middle schoolers texting each other while they are standing or sitting beside each other. Then there is texting while driving. Texting, texting, texting. There is an entire language for texting. My son asked me the other day as he heard his mom on the phone, “How does mom talk on the phone for so long?”... I think to myself - now there’s someone going old school.

Will being able to conduct a phone conversation become a lost art some day? Time will tell. But for now, it is still a vital part of the job selection process. The phone interview is often the first step in the process. However, the candidate does not always come prepared as they would if it were face to face. Some people are simply just not comfortable talking on the phone. Other people see it is simply a first step, not thinking through that it is also a screening tool. Never look past the phone interview. If you don’t properly prepare and properly conduct yourself with your “A” game there may not be the next step. Here are a few tips for preparing for a phone interview in my next “Quick Tip”.

View Quick Tip: Preparing for a Phone Interview (Follow link below, or you may have to copy and paste into your browser)