Moving up the corporate ladder is often a goal for working professionals. For a majority of people to get there, it takes hard work and the ability to master specific skills for upper management roles. In addition to needing leadership qualities and management skills, upper management jobs seek professionals with interpersonal skills, informational skills, and decision-making skills.Following are the top 8 skills needed for Upper Management Jobs.
Four desired qualities of professionals in upper management include honesty, empathy, focus, and persuasiveness. Upper level managers should be able to put themselves in others’ situations, be honest, be focused on both the present and the future, and possess the ability to be persuasive in different situations.
Not only do upper management professionals need to possess excellent communication skills, they must also have great listening skills as they need to have and absorb information that is pertinent to business strategy and operations.
Baffled at an interview because it is not the typical Q & A? Read on to find out what interview format your next employer might apply on you.
Traditional interviews are not going anywhere any time soon, but they have been proven to be an ineffective way to read candidates. They can even undercut the impact of more useful information and introduce more bias.
For example, attractive and charismatic interviewees aren’t necessarily more capable, but we unconsciously assume they are. There exists a bias problem in traditional interviews as well as their limited ability to assess soft skills and weaknesses. It’s hard to evaluate grit in a candidate or spot disorganisation simply by having a chat.
To move over this old model of traditional interviews and ensure that the candidate hired is well assessed and actually a right fit for the organisation and the job role, following are five techniques to be observed among top recruiters:
Online soft skills assessments
Digital assessments measure traits like teamwork and curiosity and give a more holistic picture of candidates earlier in the process. Citi, for example, has implemented such assessments for its campus recruiting program, leading to more diverse candidates and a better understanding of their talents.
Injob auditions, companies pay candidates to do real work so that they can observe skills in action. Citadel designed day-long job auditions in which about 100 students compete for cash by solving real business problems with data.
Interviewing over a meal
Casual interviews typically take place over a meal and can offer a unique look into a candidate’s character. A famous example is the CEO of Charles Schwab who takes candidates to lunch and asks for the restaurant to mess up their orders on purpose. There are plenty of other examples of companies creatively adapting this concept.
With virtual reality (VR), companies immerse candidates in simulated 3-D environments to test their skills in a standardized way. Lloyds Banking Group has been a front-runner in this aspect and has seen great results when it comes to reducing bias and engaging candidates.
Interviews on tape can be recorded or live and help by tapping a broader talent pool in far less time. KPMG Australia is a great example of a company who has implemented them for its entry-levelhires and seen increased efficiency.
All about elevator pitch and why every job seeker needs one
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch or the elevator speech is a short summary about yourself – who you are, what you do and what do you want to do. Typically used as an answer to the unavoidable but invaluable question “Tell me about yourself”, the elevator pitch is called so because you should be able to finish your speech in the time that it takes to ride on an elevator i.e. maximum 30 seconds.
Why do you need an elevator pitch?
If you are looking for a job, one of the first tasks on your to-do list should be crafting an ideal elevator pitch. One of the reasons why it is absolutely crucial is because the elevator pitch is an important tool for creating a first impression. First impressions are lasting, almost impossible to reverse and they set the tone for any further interactions. Moreover, you do not get a second chance to create a first impression. The elevator pitch will help you to create that favourable first impression.
An elevator pitch is needed for and can be used in the following situations:
To answer the most dreaded and often confusing question “Tell me about yourself” or “Introduce yourself quickly”
As an official introduction at job fairs and career expos
Your speech should be restricted between 30 to 60 seconds – that is the maximum time you get to ride an elevator. There is absolutely no necessity to include your entire background and work experience in your pitch.
Spark the interest for further communication
The goal of the elevator pitch is not to get a job then and there but to make your listener want to talk to you more. Your pitch should have some information that is valuable to and can be used by your listener to get the conversation started.
Focus on the relevant skills
Your listener doesn’t need to know about all your skills. If you are looking for a job as a marketing executive, your employer is not bothered if you can cook excellent food. You may have a lot of skills but your pitch should include only those which are relevant to your listener.
End with a business card
If you are at a networking event or an expo and you have a business card, hand it over to your listener at the end of your pitch. The key here is to give your listener something to remember.
The whole idea of the elevator pitch is to be prepared for any situation where you might need to use it. Practice your pitch till you perfect it to the level where it does not sound robotic or scripted. Practising your elevator pitch with friends, family or even in front of the mirror will help ensure that the tone and flow of the speech comes naturally to you.
“Know yourself well, explain it even better and pitch at the drop of a hat to make the most of that elevator“
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what potential employers were going to ask you in a job interview? Well prepared and confident, you could then knock hiring managers dead, wowing them with your wit, experience, and charm.
The thing is, we already know what they’re going to ask you. Sure, every job interview has its own rhythms and quirks, its job-specific questions and themes, but there are a fairly standard set of questions that hiring managers almost always lean on (let’s face it, they’re not always the most industrious people around). By preparing yourself, you can feel more relaxed whenever these questions are fired in your direction.
Tell me about yourself?
Just about every job interview starts with an ice breaker that is meant to get you talking. It’s a chance for you to introduce yourself. The thing is, it’s not really about you. It’s about your candidacy. Yes, they want to know if your personality is a good fit for their company, but more than anything, they want to know that you can handle the job.
Your answer, therefore, should focus on your professional experience and interests, and anything that shows you are the right candidate for the role. It’s not, however, the time to recite your CV. Think of it as a quick recap of who you are in a professional sense – an elevator pitch of your career. Yeah, it might be interesting if your hobbies include leathercraft and Brazilian martial arts, but this isn’t relevant here.
Example of what you should say:
I’m a web-obsessed SEO Manager with 10 years of experience managing all aspects of digital marketing – from paid ads to microsites – for companies of all sizes.
Why are you interested in this job?
Are you passionate about working for this company or are you just desperate for a job. The answer might be the latter, but this isn’t what most employers want to hear. They want to know that you’re really interested in their industry and company. They want to see that you’ve done your research, that you know about them and the role. This not only shows that you’re interested in the role, it also speaks volumes about your professionalism and preparation.
Example of what you should say:
I’ve been interested in working for Tesla ever since the Roadster was released. I’m very passionate about technology and innovation, and this role would let me align my passions with my work experience, for a company that I really believe in.
Example of what you shouldn’t say:
Because I need the money.
What would you say are your greatest strengths?
This seems like an easy question – you know what you’re good at right? But be careful. Read the job posting carefully, and make sure whatever you say matches up with the way they’ve described the position. Are they looking for team players with leadership skills? You might want to talk about your communication skills and ease with public speaking (just make sure you tell the truth).
I’ve been told that I’m a good communicator, and in fact, at my current company, I lead a weekly meeting where I present objectives and achievements to the entire company.
Example of what you shouldn’t say:
How much time do you have? I mean really, I’m awesome at just about everything.
What do you think are your biggest weaknesses?
If you overshare here, you could potentially turn off an employer. On the other hand, if you say “I have no weaknesses, I’m perfect,” they’ll think you’re a liar or completely lacking in self-awareness. So, what do you do?
Think of an actual weakness, but go with something that isn’t an essential requirement for the job. Explain how you became aware of it and are working on improving upon it. This shows that you are reflective, willing to learn, and striving to get better. Humour, albeit appropriate humour, can go a long way here.
Example of what you should say:
I think I’m often too hard on myself. It’s something I’m working on.
Example of what you shouldn’t say:
I’m a workaholic and a perfectionist.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Job hopping is the new normal and most employers recognize that people, especially young, ambitious people, are always looking for opportunities. You don’t, therefore, have to pretend that you’ll still be there in five years’ time. Instead, tie in a dream job – ideally one at that company you can work towards – with your passions, interests, and experience. This shows employers that you’re ambitious, driven, and looking for professional growth.
Example of what you should say:
I see myself in an editor position. By that point I’ll have been working in journalism for over 15 years, and I think I’ll be ready to move into a more strategic position, where I can use my experience to lead a team.
Every interview is a bit different, but if you master these questions, you’ll be prepared to knock these cornerstone questions out of the park…and sometimes, a few great answers is all you need to convince a hiring manager you’re the one.
Despite reports of its impending demise, the experts said a resume is still very much an essential tool of the job search. But hiring managers (and the computers they use to sort through resumes) are in a rush. So you need to format your resume to be read quickly and in small bites. These days, a typical resume is scanned for just six to 10 seconds, often on a mobile device.
Eliminate filler words, use numbers to quantify your impressive results (such as “boosted sales 83 percent”) and include relevant keywords that appeared in the job posting.
Limit your contact information to just one email address (old-fashioned AOL, no; contemporary Gmail, yes), one phone number and your LinkedIn profile URL.
Want a way to distinguish yourself from the crowd of applicants? According to the Career Brainstorming Day pros, many job seekers are supplementing their resume with collateral leadership briefs, blogs that establish their robust online professional identity and, among senior-level managers, one-page executive summaries.
3. Consider hiring a coach to perfect your video interview skills
More employers are relying on Skype for long-distance and initial screening interviews. As a result, more job seekers are using coaches to help them excel in video presentations.
Over the past few years, using LinkedIn to find work has gone from a good idea to essential. Having a sharp LinkedIn profile may be even more important than having a great resume.
Nonetheless, the experts said, all too many job candidates fail to fully embrace this tool, especially older job seekers. To maximize the use of LinkedIn, engage more frequently with your LinkedIn networks. One of the best ways to do this is to actively participate in LinkedIn’s industry and interest groups.
5. Use Twitter and other forms of social media to attract the attention of employers who are hiring
According to the white paper, “employers will move from using external recruiters to an internal hiring process that will depend heavily on identifying prospective employees through their online presence and through referrals of existing employees. Personal websites, social media presence, development of subject matter expertise and a well-defined personal brand will be the requirements for gaining the attention of prospective employers.”
6. Limit the amount of time you spend on job boards
As Next Avenue has noted, job boards are one of the least effective ways to get hired. The Career Brainstorming Day experts said it’s generally only worth applying for a position through a job board if your resume matches 80 to 85 percent of what an employer asks for in a posting. Job seekers continue to be frustrated by computerized Applicant Tracking Systems that scan applicants’ resume for keywords. This finding underscores the importance of direct, targeted search with networking as its core component as the most important method for finding a job.
7. Start your search sooner rather than later
The hiring process has been growing longer, with more steps and delays between the time people apply for jobs and receive offers.
It helps to approach a search as though you are in sales: keep building your network pipeline,don’t let your momentum flag and expect to hear “no.”
All is not doom and gloom, though. The report says career professionals are finding “growing demand for workers” and that businesses are worrying about losing managers and other key talent. I hope they’re correct.
As anyone who has been in a job search for a while knows, being invited to a job interview is not something easily achieved. Becoming one of the few “job candidates” rather than being part of the usually gigantic crowd of “job applicants” is a major victory. Unfortunately, too many job candidates blow their interview opportunities, wasting all that time and effort. Don’t be one of those candidates. What you do during a job interview is viewed as a “sample” of your work. Everything you do is being judged because they don’t know you. So don’t make the following mistakes.
1. Appearing uninterested
This drives employers crazy. Most employers have more applicants than they need or want. If you aren’t demonstrably interested in them, they certainly aren’t interested in hiring you.
2. Being unprepared.
Obvious lack of preparation is an opportunity crusher. And, lack of preparation usually becomes obvious quickly.
3. Sharing TMI (too much information)
Sometimes, people have a whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth mindset in a job interview, so they “spill their guts” in answer to every question. Not smart or useful!. I’m not recommending telling any lies, but I am recommending that you avoid boring the interviewer and blowing an opportunity by sharing too much information. If they want more details, they’ll ask.
4. Negative body language
If you never smile, have a limp handshake, and don’t make eye contact with the people you meet at the employer’s location, and especially with the interviewer, you’ll come across as too shy or too strange or simply not interested.
5. Not having good questions or asking the wrong questions at the wrong time
To an employer, no questions = no interest. Number one, above, indicates how deadly that is to your success with the opportunity. As bad as having no questions is asking the wrong questions. During the first interview, asking questions only about raises, promotions, vacation, and benefits are not usually well-received. Those questions apparently indicate that you are just interested in specific personal benefits rather than the job.
6. Being angry
If you were laidoff, fired, or ended your last job unpleasantly, you may feel very angry. Whatever the reason, dump the anger before the interview, at least temporarily.
7. Not collecting contact information or asking the next-steps questions.
Many job seekers leave the interview(s) with no idea of what will happen next in this employer’s hiring process. They also often don’t know who is the best person to contact as well as when and how to contact that person.
8. Failing to follow up.
Often, job seekers leave at the end of the interview(s) with a sigh of relief that the interview is over, and they can get on with their lives. They leave, and wait to receive a job offer.
9. Forgetting the interview is a two-way street.
Don’t go to the interview thinking that you are the only one trying to “make a sale.” You need to ask questions to help you discover if the job, the people you would be working with, and the employer are what you want. You also need to decide if you would be happy working there for at least one year.
Whether you’re going to your first job interview, you’re out of practice, or you’re generally nervous about interviews, make sure your body language doesn’t give away your fear and apprehension. Stay aware of these general body language tips that can help you through your interview process.
1. Take control of your posture
As you enter the venue for your interview, make a conscious effort to have good posture. Stretch your back, talk long strides, don’t droop your shoulders, and keep your head high. When you enter with confidence, chances are you’ll deliver and exit with confidence, too.
2. Smile, and make eye contact
Hold the person’s attention and present a pleasant personality. Practice your smile beforehand. You don’t want to force a smile. Your smile and non-creepy eye-contact is what will make your audience engaged in the discussion and comfortable in the interaction.
3. Practice Power Pose
In TED talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy says, “Power posing — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.” She suggests taking this pose two minutes before the interview.
4. Be alert
Don’t slouch or tuck your limbs close to your body. Sit in an erect posture, with your spine aligned to the back of the chair. “But don’t take this to the extreme,” cautions Mark Bowden, author of Winning Body Language, over at Monster.“Elongating your legs or throwing your arm across the back of the chair can make you appear too comfortable, even arrogant.”
5. Have a grip
Have a solid grip when you are shaking hands, and don’t let the fingers slide away; at the same time it’s not an arm wrestling match — you don’t need to have a ferocious grip. Practice your shake in advance with a friend or relative to know what feels right.
6. Observe your surroundings
Don’t blindly follow the recruiter or your interviewer into the interview room. Look around. If you see people looking at you, make eye contact, nod slightly and acknowledge their presence, break into a small smile or say hello. You never know who that person is — they could be your future colleague, manager, or the next interviewer! Even while waiting at reception, you don’t want to appear too self-engrossed and disinterested in the people around you. Many managers check with the reception staff about your behavior and interaction with them.
7. Make yourself comfortable
If you need some water, get it yourself or ask the interviewer to help you. You can’t continue an interview with a parched throat or a breaking voice. If you need something in your hands to keep you focused, consider holding a pen. You could also use the pen to take notes during the discussion if required — so keep a pad handy, too. If you are too fidgety, you will distract your interviewer, taking her focus off your reply.
8. Leave your mark
Don’t be in a hurry to leave, but at the same time don’t continue to keep sitting in your chair even after the interviewer has communicated the completion of the interview. Time yourself to get up with your interviewer and gather your belongings carefully, without any rush. Even if you drop a few things, stay composed. If you’re comfortable — but only if you’re comfortable — make a joke to ease the situation. If the interviewer is holding the door for you, thank them. If you’re exiting first, hold the door open for the interviewer (if they’re leaving, too). You don’t want the door banging on their noses as you leave!
Depending on the organization or business, employers are seeking key skills and experience for each job. But even though these skills are extremely important, there are certain “soft skills” that employers also look for when hiring people for their organization. Research has shown that a person’s “soft skills” can be just as good of an indicator of a person’s job performance as the hard skills that they possess.
Here’s a list of the 12 soft skills that employers look for when hiring.
1. A Positive Attitude
A positive attitude can do wonders in turning a department or company around. Having employees who possess a positive attitude can also be contagious; and for employers, it’s important for them to seek that kind of energy since it only takes a few negative people to bring down a department or even the organization as a whole.
2. A Strong Work Ethic
Hiring people that possess a strong work ethic is key to the success of any employer. First off, a strong work ethic cannot be taught. When individuals begin working in a new organization they either have it or they don’t. There are many contributing factors that go into making a strong work ethic like how a person grows up to the value they place on doing an excellent job. These innate attributes are totally out of the control of an employer no matter what type of training they provide or the type of supervision an employee gets.
3. Excellent Communication and Interpersonal Skills
The ability to be a good communicator cannot be overrated. To succeed in the workforce, employees need to know how to communicate as well as listen in order to work effectively with supervisors, co-workers and clients.
4. Problem-Solving Skills
Since problems are inevitable, employees who are able to find solutions to daily challenges that arise are most valuable to an organization. Employees who are unable to find a solution to a specific problem but are willing to seek out the advice of others, also makes for a competent and trusted employee.
5. Time Management Skills
As a results-oriented employee, good time management skills are key to getting assignments accomplished and finishing them on time.
The way company’s do business in today’s competitive marketplace, is changing all the time. It is the ability to remain adaptable that helps an organization move forward and stay with the current times.
7. Work Well in a Team Environment
In the past employees would oftentimes seek jobs that aligned with their desire to either work independently or work in a team environment. In today’s workforce, much of the work is often done on teams; but there is also a need for employees to work independently in order to get the daily work accomplished.
8. Computer/Technological Skills
Almost all jobs today require basic computer skills and technological knowledge. Whether it be for record-keeping, spreadsheets, detailed notes, or presentations, employers will want to know a candidate’s level of computer and technological knowledge to establish if they can do the basics of any job.
9. Project Management Skills
Individuals going about the daily routine of their job will need to know how to prioritize and plan each activity to be able to get the best job done in the least amount of time.
Self-confident employees are able to detach themselves personally from any challenges that they experience on the job. Self-confidence gives employees a sense of strength as they pursue their personal goals as well as those of an organization.
11. Ability to Accept Constructive Criticism
There is always room for everyone to grow and learn and the employee that is able to take constructive criticism and use it to improve their performance will be seen as a valuable team member to any organization.
12. Strong Research Skills
With strong computer and technological skills being one of the top 12 soft skills employers seek, employees who are able to do the basic research and have the ability to gather important information for projects, and identify how and what competitors are doing to make themselves successful, is a sought-after skill that many organizations want.
Before graduation, students need to know that a college degree might get you in the door for an interview and increase your earning potential, but it’s only part of the employment equation. To land the job, employers aren’t only looking at what you know; they want to know what you can do. So the following are the top 6 tips for college students to be job ready.
1. Treat college as your job
Use class time to work on making a good impression on the professor by dressing professionally, using positive body language, and taking the time to introduce yourself to professors and classmates. Also, for a variety of reasons, make it a priority to go to class on time, turn in assignments, and get involved in class discussions.
2. Meet your professors
In the world of work, you’ll learn more from your mentors than from your managers. Overcome any fears of intimidation with higher-ups through practice building relationships with your professors. When you get to the workforce, you’ll be primed to talk to mentors in your field who can help you advance in your career.
3. Practice active listening skills during lectures
Lectures offer a perfect opportunity to hone active listening skills. Work to fully understand the material presented and to ask relevant questions. Practicing these skills will help increase job-readiness while also helping to understand the course material better.
4. Use group projects to practice leadership and teamwork skills
Group projects are an excellent opportunity to practice skills such as critical thinking, decision-making, and problem solving. Group work is a great opportunity to practice both working as a team and taking the lead.
5. Improve self-management skills
Students have a lot to balance, and college is a great opportunity to put self-management skills to use. Some people may self-manage by using tools like planners, study groups, or flashcards. Others may simply need to turn off their cell phone and computer when studying in order to focus. When it comes to finding out the best way you learn, study, and work, practice makes perfect.
6. Learn to love challenge
Employers value a person who is willing to tackle challenges head-on over the person who gets stuck in the weeds. It is far more important for students to challenge themselves than to maintain a perfect GPA. In the long run, the classes that are easy A’s simply aren’t worth it. Learning through a challenging course builds confidence you will use well into your career.
Employers are looking for new hires who possess the know-how and the soft skills to get the job done, and then some. This year, don’t just dress for the job you want, be the professional you want to be. Now is the time to start creating your professional presence. Make a bold statement with your actions and your words.
Top 5 Secrets to Achieving and Maintaining Work-Life Balance
In a world where more and more people find themselves working in roles that could be considered “always on” jobs, how do people achieve and maintain work-life balance and how do companies and leaders promote this way of life? It is a challenge to say the least.
To help entrepreneurs, managers, and employees strike the right balance, here are five ways to achieve and maintain life-work balance. There is no one size fits all approach, but hopefully, these tips will lead to productive discussions for managers and employees.
1. Be open about your needs
I believe that the first thing people need to do is identify what truly matters to them and communicate it. Don’t hide it and don’t expect others to guess what makes you feel balanced and fulfilled.
Do you need to leave work at 6 p.m. so you can have dinner with your family? Do you need to step away at 12 p.m. to attend a class? Whatever your sweet spot is you need to find it and be transparent about it. Employees need to have an open dialogue with their managers and managers need to understand what works and what is possible. Different jobs require different approaches, but everyone can benefit from having an open and honest conversation about what balance means.
2. Respect boundaries
You cannot achieve your balance if you don’t respect the boundaries you have put in place. It will be hard in the beginning but you need to stick with it so you develop a routine and drive a culture and lifestyle of predictability. You will find that there is also something else you can do. There is always another email to reply to or a problem to work, but you need to PERSONALLY respect your boundaries. If you don’t then you can’t expect others to respect them.
3. Understand what really matters
Over the years I have seen too many people spend too much time working on things that don’t really matter. Time is the most valuable commodity in life: it is the one thing you cannot buy more of. So, don’t waste time. Focus on what really matters. What really moves the needle for the business? Are you working on priorities that drive the overall goals of the business or are you just making noise? Really scrutinize your day and max it out every hour, minute and second to focus on the most important outputs. For some this may require a high degree of planning and structure.
4. Embrace the off button
Pretty much every piece of technology has an off button, so use it. It is not easy and for many people this is the hardest thing to do. To get started, do it in phases. Don’t bring your cellphone to the dinner table. When you are on vacation, be on vacation. Don’t bring your tablet to the beach. Once you have done it a few times, it is easier to push the boundaries. When you unplug and step back you will start to experience one of life’s greatest treasures — perspective. You will think about problems you are wrestling with greater clarity. You allow yourself the freedom to be more analytical and less emotional when you step away and think vs. just diving in and responding in the moment.
5. Pace yourself
To have a long, healthy, productive, and happy life and career you need to understand the value of pace. There are times when you need to throttle up and there are times when you can throttle down. Self-awareness is crucial. Doing so will help you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.