I’ve met candidates who were good networkers and amazing students, with outstanding resumes, but I didn’t hire them. I’ve met student leaders and all-American athletes who didn’t stand a chance. I’ve even interviewed people who gave all the right answers but still didn’t get an offer. They were missing what every recruiter is looking for: the It Factor. The X Factor. That certain je ne sais quoi. Continue reading
I’ve seen it a hundred times–at happy hours, weekend parties, and family gatherings. The conversation goes something like this:
|“So, what do you do?”
||“I work for 3M.”
|“What do you do for them?”
||“I work in Finance.”
|“Do you enjoy it?”
||“Yeah, it’s a good job.”
This morning I was asked about the difference between successful junior employees and everyone else. (“Everyone else” being non-successful junior employees, not seasoned professionals.) Admittedly, I stumbled through the answer, spouting off enough platitudes to choke a horse. But I gave the question more attention throughout the day, and I think I’ve come across a good answer. Continue reading
Every year I get a new phone, though the last 3 have been BlackBerries. Yesterday, I picked up a new HTC EVO–my first Android phone. Yes, I stayed up until 2AM playing with it. And I’ll probably do the same tonight. In fact, I had to tear myself away from the phone to tend to the blog. (Imagine!)
Anyway, what struck me is that in no more than 3 dedicated hours, I learned a brand new operating system and interface. I’ve never used Android before. Not even close. Yet user experience design is such an important part of application development these days that any new technology can be picked up faster than a sack of burgers from White Castle. (I already regret writing that–sorry.) Continue reading
Whenever I ask a candidate if they can come in to the office the next day, they usually pause for a while as they work through their calendar and try to get past the shock and concern over not being ready. Interviews are stressful, and most people prefer to have a few days to mentally prepare. So if you’re not planning on an interview that suddenly presents itself, what should you do? Continue reading
I took a 5 minute survey this morning about new grads and their skills. The first question was, “What skill gaps do you find in new grads?” Here’s my response:
It’s hard to say if these are “gaps,” per se, because they aren’t necessarily taught in college. But skills that would help new hires achieve results faster include:
1) Professional communication. This includes getting to the point, cutting out filler words, inductive communication, and a component of internal marketing.
2) Ability to put things in perspective. New hires can suffer from myopia on the job. While it’s our job to give them the broader view, it’s also their job to ask for it and actively work to fill in any blanks.
Sometimes I walk into a coffee shop and can tell that, out of the 15 people in the room, one or two of them are on interviews. It’s not just the way they’re dressed, but the way they hold themselves. The same is true when I’m at a restaurant on the weekends. It seems easy to pick out couples who only recently met. Everyone’s on their best behavior for dates one through five, right? And they may not be as comfortable or relaxed.
What do first interviews and first dates have in common? (Lots, now that I think of it. Maybe I’ll wax on that another time.) Most people get nervous. It’s hard to relax. Everyone says “just be yourself” but it’s so hard to follow that advice. You can see who’s on an interview or a date because they sit up straight, they make constant eye contact, they’re dressed well, they don’t interrupt, and the conversation is more like taking turns than a shared dialogue. I don’t think these traits aren’t necessarily negative, although they’re common for people who are nervous about the outcome of the meeting. When we’re nervous, we pay strict attention to our mannerisms and often force behavior that wouldn’t come when we’re in our natural element. That is, we’re not acting like ourselves.