Ten Things A Recruiter Look For In A Job Candidate

I’ve been into HR industry for more than 15 years. Since then I’ve hired thousands of people.

Here’s what I look for in a job candidate.

1.  Look for someone who is awake and aware of their surroundings. This sounds like a trivial item, but it is fundamental. Many people view a job search as a clerical task, like filing their tax return. They put no thought into it. The show up at a job interview unprepared, never having spent a minute thinking about the role or how they would approach it.

2. Look for a candidate who owns their story. Many people don’t. When they talk about their career, they say “I got hired at Company A, and that was okay for a while but then they laid me off. My sister knew about a job in Kansas so I went out there, but then that company shut down.” Their whole career history is about things that happened to them. There is no agency or ownership of any of the moves they’ve made. I want to hire someone who makes their own decisions!

3. Look for someone who has their own opinions. I hope the candidate doesn’t stare at my face as they speak, hoping that their words meet with my approval. Who cares what I think? I am just another person on the planet, one of seven billion.

4. Want to hire someone who can see the intersection between the work they’ve already done and the work I am hiring someone to do. It doesn’t have to be linear, left-brain relevance. They could have worked in a different function or industry. Those things don’t matter nearly as much as a person’s ability to put themselves in the hiring manager’s shoes and say “I hear what you are saying. It sounds like your problem is X  — here’s how I’ve solved that problem in the past.”

5. Look for someone with a sense of humor. We spend too much time at work to be serious all the time. If work is stiff and formal, it’s no fun. Time-and-motion-type “efficiency” is overrated. Real efficiency comes from tapping the human power we all bring to work — if our leaders allow us to use it!

6. Hire folks who are confident in their own abilities. I don’t want to hire someone who is afraid to speak with their own voice. How could a fearful person help me solve my biggest problems? I don’t want to hire the most docile or submissive candidate. Some managers do, of course — but how long could you stand working for someone like that?

7. Look for a candidate who values their life outside of work.

8. Want to hire someone who knows what they want from their next job and their career. I am excited when a candidate says “I want to work in the corporate world for a few years, and then start my own business.” We all need an entrepreneurial outlook and mindset these days, whether we work for ourselves or someone else. People with an entrepreneurial mindset look out at the horizon to spot problems before they can cause trouble. I don’t want to hire someone who only focuses on the work on their desk.

9. Hire people who expect more out of their work than just a paycheck. I want to work around people with ideas, sparky people who try new things just to see what will happen. I want to get their texts at six in the morning that say “I just had the craziest thought, stepping out of the shower! What if we tried…”

10. Finally, I look for a candidate who takes responsibility for their decisions. Sadly, many candidates don’t. They show up as victims, rather than the most important and powerful person in their own life.

We all run into roadblocks and hardships. It’s part of life. How we deal with them is everything. I want to hire someone who has faced adversity and who overcame it. They have muscles!

You deserve a manager who wants to hire someone as smart, capable and awesome as you are.

If you have to dumb down your resume or play a part on a job interview to get hired, you know one thing — that manager doesn’t deserve your talents!

You may have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a manager who gets you and thus deserves you.

If you aren’t willing to kiss frogs and slam doors on the wrong opportunities in order to bring the right ones in, we can all sympathize with you — but you will not grow the muscles you need until you face that challenge and surmount it.

Why Some People Get All The Good Job Offers

When working with job seekers, I often hear something like this, “I want to be more like my friend, ___. He’s always getting contacted about good job opportunities. His career has been one great position after another.” Then, they sigh and talk about how easy the person makes it look. Finally, they start to discount the person’s success with statements like, “He got a lucky break when he worked at ___.” Or, “He’s kind of intense when it comes to networking.” They say anything they can to make themselves feel better.

You can imagine their surprise when I say,

“Your friend isn’t lucky. He’s figured out the two most important activities needed to be in control of your career.”

We’ve all heard the saying, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” It’s true, but most people don’t know how to translate that to actionable advice for their career. Until now…

If American Idol host, Ryan Seacrest can do it, so can you!

A great example of someone who has figured the two steps to a killer career strategy, is Ryan Seacrest. He has six jobs right now. He’s mastered the process I’m about to share with you. It’s not rocket science or brain surgery. All it takes is this:

Step 1: Know what your workplace personas are. Companies hire people who can solve problems and alleviate pains. After all, it’s costing them an average of 130-140% of your annual salary to employ you. Your workplace personas are how you like to create value for an employer. It’s the way in which you excel at saving and/or making them money – enough money to justify the cost of employing you. There are eight key personas in the workplace. All of us dominate in 2-3 of them. When we know our workplace personas, we can choose opportunities that leverage them. This is how people build successful track records. They use the skills they most enjoy to do the job. A total win-win.

Step 2: Consistently educate people about your workplace personas. Once you know your workplace personas and start to build a successful track record with them, the next step is to learn how to share your success with others in a way that doesn’t sound like bragging. Smart professionals know this is done via strategic networking. When you have meaningful conversations with people about problems you love to solve for your employer and discuss how you do it, you’re organically marketing your skills and abilities. The more you do this (i.e. answer questions for people, offer free advice and assistance, share how your company overcame similar challenges with your help, etc.), the stronger your professional reputation becomes. At which point, when people hear about jobs that are open and problems employers need solved, their interactions with you come to mind – and the phone calls and emails start coming in with those coveted job opportunities.

Want the best jobs? Act like a business-of-one.

The most successful small businesses build their reputations and market their services. They’re known for delivering results, which leads to an increase in referrals. You’re a business-of-one, which is the smallest type of small business. That means, you have to be even more vigilant about building your reputation and marketing your services – or suffer the consequences. Gone are the days where you could just keep your head down, do a good job, and stay with a company for 30 years. Today, you need to always be growing your skills AND letting people know about your growth. Otherwise, you will find yourself at the mercy of the job market.

Stop envying your peers and start doing what it takes to be the in-demand professional you long to be known as. Especially, now that you know how to prepare so opportunity can find you!

Source: http://bit.ly/2kv1N3N

6 Questions Great Leaders Ask Their Teams

It’s humbling to ask questions. After all, the moment that you ask a question is the moment you reveal what you don’t know. To some, asking questions is a death-blow to their ego, while to others, it’s a stepping stone to clarity. In fact, during research for their book The Innovator’s DNA, the authors discovered that the strongest leaders (and the people destined for the C-suite) asked questions because they were humble enough to acknowledge they didn’t know everything and confident enough to admit it.

The fact is, the most influential leaders realize that their questions are more powerful than their answers because questions shed light on two important things:

1. What’s important to you

2. What’s on your mind

As a direct report, when you know what’s important to your manager and what he or she is thinking then you also know what youneed to do to produce the right type of work for him or her and for your team.

Here are six questions great leaders ask their teams:

1. What does success look like?

This is a simple question you can use to clarify and align efforts. Miscommunication amounts to a $62.4 million dollar loss for large companies and a $420,000 loss for smaller companies, so it pays to get on the same page right from the outset. Also, “check-in” frequently to ensure everybody’s still heading in the right direction.

2. What’s holding us back?

This is great for identifying the one obstacle standing between the team and a decision. Once you identify what’s in your way then you’ll have a better idea as to the courses of action you can take to overcome it.

3. Who has experience with this?

The only time reinventing the wheel actually makes sense is when the wheel turns out better than before, which isn’t easy to do given that a circle is a circle. Keep in mind that people speak up (or remain quiet) based on the environment you create. Not everybody will automatically chime in when they have something to say, which is why it’s up to the leader to set the right environment for those discussions (and questions) to occur.

4. What’s the climate here?

This is a great question because it opens the door for candor. I was asked last week, “What’s one thing that you see business teams doing wrong?” My answer: candor. They lack candor. Candor is a business imperative because you can’t move forward without it. In their book The Loyalist Team, the authors (a team of four) share their insights about what makes high-performing teams sustain their greatness. After working with thousands of teams across six continents, the authors concluded that “individuals on these teams are skilled, accomplished, and driven, but what sets them apart is that they trust, challenge, and push one another to exceed expectations.” And you build trust through candor.

5. What if this setback is really an opportunity in disguise?

A setback could be anything. Maybe a sales team didn’t hit their numbers for the quarter, or maybe a product launch missed its launch date (and subsequent launch party). More than anything though, a setback represents change—a difference between what you expected to happen and what actually occurred. So, instead of wallowing in it, try finding the opportunity. Search for patterns that might’ve indicated this setback would indeed happen and study them so you’re better prepared next time. This is the main purpose of conducting after action reviews—to learn as a team what works, what doesn’t and why.

6. What hasn’t been achieved yet?

The natural follow-up to this question is “How might we?” Every new innovation stems from curiosity. Take Polaroid, for instance, who created instant film after a three-year-old asked, “Why do we have to wait for the picture?” Questions help people organize their thinking around that which they don’t know yet.

Questions build leadership capacity because they help people make their own decisions, not to mention build the psychological safety needed to ask deeper questions. The bottom line: if you want a better answer, ask a better question. 

Source: http://bit.ly/2xmbRNK

Why These 3 Annoying Cover Letter Blunders Make Recruiters Cringe

With unemployment at an all-time low, many employers are complaining they’re struggling to find the talent they need. Meanwhile, millions of job seekers are frustrated by the lack of responses they’re getting from applying to jobs online. Especially when they take the extra time to write a cover letter.

Recruiters Say Most Cover Letters Stink

One of the most common things recruiters say when it comes to cover letters is, “You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” That’s because the majority of job seekers copy free templates off the internet. And sadly, these templates are pretty outdated. Given how many applicants recruiters have to go through to find candidates (the average is 100-plus applicants per position), they quickly become adept at skimming cover letters to determine if the applicant has sent them a dud. If they see one or more things that indicate the candidate’s cover letter is just like every other one, they’ll throw it in the trash. Having worked with thousands of recruiters, I can tell you, the following are the three worst things you can do in your cover letter.

1. “To whom it may concern.

Nothing screams “I’m out of touch” more than addressing the cover letter with this phrase. While you may not know the hiring manager or recruiter’s name, you can at least write “Dear hiring team” to make it a bit more personal.

2. “I’m a [insert bragging here].

If you met the recruiter face to face, you wouldn’t launch into a long monologue about how talented you are. That would be weird. And yet, people suddenly go into over-the-top self-promotion mode when they write a cover letter. The cover letter shouldn’t be about how amazing you think you are. Instead, it should focus on how you know the employer is exceptional at what it does. It’s your job to show the company you understand what it’s all about, and by default, would fit in with their corporate culture.

3. “If you look at my résumé you’ll see, blah, blah, blah.”

There is zero need to recap your resume in the cover letter. The recruiter is capable of looking over your skills and experience. Repeating yourself in the cover letter is a big waste of the recruiter’s time–something they don’t appreciate.

Want your cover letter to stand out and get recruiters to call you? Then you need to share something attention-grabbing. A strong opening line that generates curiosity, such as,

“I remember the first time I learned the importance of your product,” followed up by a powerful personal story that ties you to the employer’s mission is the best way to showcase you’re a match for their corporate culture. This is referred to as the disruptive cover letter technique, and it provides recruiters with refreshingly original content that makes them want to speak to the candidate who wrote it.

Don’t turn recruiters off with a boring, just-like-all-the-others cover letter. Instead, focus on creating something that engages the hearts and minds of recruiters–ultimately, motivating them to want to talk to the talented person who was wise enough to write something that’s both relevant and unique.

Source: http://on.inc.com/2fRwFd3

8 Reasons why Powerful Personal Brand Will Make You Successful !

If you don’t have a powerful and visible personal brand, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage in almost every aspect of your professional, business and personal life. Personal branding has become a requirement for anyone looking to grow their business, get a better job, get noticed by the press, take their career to the next level or meet new, high quality friends.

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands — the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual. Everyone has a unique personal brand, whether they know it or not. But what we should all be striving for is a powerful, attractive and visible personal brand. I define that as an online and in-person authentic display of the engaging aspects of your professional and personal activities and interests.

Here are the eight reasons why I tell people you must have a top-notch personal brand if you want to be successful today:

1. Opportunity finds you.

When your personal brand is attractive, customers, clients, vendors, press and even companies looking to hire, will find you and reach out to you. I am the CEO of a new social media platform, and I had them contact me for the job. I didn’t even know the position was available. I have gotten media appearances, writing opportunities and speaking engagements because I get noticed and folks reach out to me.

2. Online networking power.

When you have a compelling personal brand, people find you interesting and desirable, so they are willing to connect with you. I get dozens of new LinkedIn and Twitter connections every day. People look at my profiles, follow me and want to know more about me.

3. In-person networking power.

When I’m at a networking event and I engage others, I have many aspects of my brand to share. It makes me more interesting than the guy who walks up to you and says, “Hi, My name is Joe, and I sell insurance.” I have many facets to my brand, both professional and personal. That makes people want to connect with me and do business with me. I can demonstrate proficiency and have the online assets to back them up on many topics like photography, entrepreneurship, my Man-Up Project and fatherhood, blogging, speaking, social media, men’s health, non-profit work and more.

4. Build your business.

When I had to reinvent and rebuild my photography business in 2007, which was failing because of the rapid decline of film, it was my powerful personal brand that drove much of our success. Customers, clients and vendors are more likely to do businesses with a company when the leader has a killer personal brand. Good examples are Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Fred Smith, Warren Buffet and even Donald Trump — whose personal brand may be bigger than his business. Where would their companies be without their personal brands shining on their company brands?

5. Get hired.

According to SHRM, 84 percent of hiring managers use social media to hire — 96 percent use Linkedin, and 53 percent use Twitter. Many companies post jobs on Twitter before anywhere else. But the most revealing statistic is that 66 percent of hiring managers use Facebook to hire. They are doing that because they are trying to find out more about you than just what’s on your resume. They want to know you as a person and understand whether you are going to fit into their corporate culture.

It’s a logical approach for selecting the best candidates. Candidate A has an impressive resume. Candidate B has a similarly impressive resume, but their strong personal brand shows that they have a blog with articles on topics relevant to the company’s business. They tweet about news and ideas from the industry. They do yoga, run half-marathons, and they volunteer for charity. Who do you think is getting the interview and the job?

6. Make new friends.

A powerful personal brand doesn’t only benefit you professionally. When you are interesting and people can find and notice you, they will connect with you on a personal level. I have had people read an article I have written or see one of my social posts and reach out to me. I’ve become friends with many of them, and I might even admit that I have gotten a few dates from my “attractive” personal brand.

7. Serendipitous success.

When you are out there with your powerful and attractive personal brand good things happen — sometimes just by luck. There have been too-many-times-to-remember when simply being noticed for one part of my brand caused something else to happen. The person who noticed my popular Facebook account and reached out to me — she became my executive assistant. The doctor who found about my upcoming book — we ended up doing men’s health videos together and have become good friends. The senior executive and one of my company’s vendors saw my engaged social media and decided to give my company an exclusive on a new product launch.

8. Confidence.

Developing your personal brand requires you to find your authentic voice. The process of creating one develops who you are — the unique you — the Me, Inc. When you find your voice, and your audiences start to react positively, that builds self-confidence and self-esteem and allows you to find yourself in a meaningful way.

Source: http://bit.ly/2nEGAUT

Here are the list of mistake students make in their resume

Following is a list of common mistakes students make in their resumes. Have a look and see how many of these errors (if any) your current resume contains. You may correct them now or in subsequent chapters.

Tip

These mistakes have been identified and listed as per what is generally expected in a professional resume in the industry. There may be cases where you may have to follow the guidelines issued by your placement office or recruiting company which may be contradictory to what is written here. In such situations, you have no choice but to follow what is asked by them.

1. The resume file is not named properly:

Have you named your resume file as resume.doc or cv.doc or something similar? This is not only unprofessional but also makes it difficult for a recruiter to identify your resume once he downloads and saves your resume to a folder (Think what will happen if all the applicants’ resumes were named as resume.doc inside that folder).

Correct practice to name your resume is First Name Last Name – College Name.doc. For example, if you are Rahul Rana from IIT Madras, you can name your resume as Rahul Rana – IIT Madras.doc.

Also wherever possible, always send your resume in PDF format – looks very professional.

2. The resume runs into 2 pages or more :

While there is no set rule that your resume necessarily have to be within 1 page but more often than not students’ resumes run into multiple pages either because it contains too many irrelevant details or because the space has not been utilized efficiently. If your resume is more than 1.5 pages long, get your scissors ready. Remember, if Steve Jobs can mention what he did in one page, so can you!

3. Resume follows a 2 column structure :

At times, a few students make their resume in a 2 column structure. Please don’t. Stick to a one column structure as provided in sample resumes. Two column structures make the reading extremely difficult for a reader as it becomes difficult to decide which column one should focus on. Plus it is highly space in-efficient.

4. Your resume contains logo of your college :

There are a few colleges where Training & Placement cells make it compulsory that you put your college logo on top of your resume – in that case you cannot help it. But otherwise, or when applying off campus, you do not need to include the logo and make your resume unnecessarily bulky. Remember, your resume is your advertisement,not your colleges. If you have your college logo in your resume for no reason, delete it NOW.

5. Your resume contains your photograph :

Again, not required, if you have it in your current resume – please remove it. There is absolutely no need of a photo in a resume unless you are applying for a position where how you look matters such as aviation, hospitality, media,films, modeling etc. Else it is quite an outdated practice and unnecessary bulks up your resume file..

6. Your resume contains a very generic Career Objective statement :

If you have a Career Objective listed in your resume, does it read something like this?

“To experience the challenges of a working engineer in a healthy but competitive environment of industry, enabling to extract the best out of me which is conducive to learn and grow as professional, thereby directing my future endeavors as an asset to the organization”

These kind of copy pasted and generic statements serve no purpose other than making it clear to a recruiter that you have no idea of what you want from your career. You should either have a very specific objective statement outlining your interests or have none at all (yes that is OK). An example of a good Objective statement is given

below –

“4th year B.Tech Computer Science student at IIT Madras with excellent academic record and keen interest and practical exposure in the field of information security, especially web applications security.”

7. In your resume, things are not listed in reverse chronological order :

Look at your Academics, or Projects, or Internships, or Co/Extra Curricular section. Does it contain information in reverse chronological i.e. most recent first order? Yes, in each section, you should mention the most recent activity/achievement at the top and the least recent at the bottom. The reason being that employers are most interested in what you have been upto recently and you should make it easy for them to find out that information. If you have written it any other way in your resume in any section, please correct it now.

8. You have mentioned each year’s/semester’s GPA/% Marks in your Academics section :

Not required, just mentioning aggregate marks/CGPA is enough. For example, if you have completed six semesters of your B.Tech degree, you do not have to write each semester’s GPA; aggregate CGPA at the end of 6th semester is enough.

9. You have listed all the courses and labs that you have done till date :

Not required, strike that section off please. At best list 2-3 most relevant courses along with your grades in those courses (if grades were good). If an employer wants to know all the courses that you have done till date, he/she will most probably ask for an official transcript anyway.

10. You have included knowledge of Windows in your Technical Skills section :

Please don’t. It’s like saying you know English alphabets – it’s that common.

Job Hunting While You’re Employed? Don’t Make These Six Mistakes

When you’re in a stealth job search, you have to be extra careful to keep your job search under wraps.

Here are six mistakes never, ever to make as a stealth job-seeker.

Six Mistakes Stealth Job Seekers Can’t Afford To Make

1. Don’t update your LinkedIn profile all at once if your co-workers are first-degree connections of yours. Do it in several small steps so that the changes to your profile are never glaring from one day to the next. Never, ever use a LinkedIn headline that makes it clear you’re job-hunting. (Currently unemployed job-seekers can do that, but not you!) Make sure your LinkedIn settings specify that updates to your profile will not generate a message to your connections.

2. Don’t go to job fairs where your own company has a booth — or any job fair where you might be spotted by somebody who knows your boss (or your boss’s boss, etc.) Job fairs are not a great job search channel for stealth job-seekers because their success rate for any individual job-seeker is so low and the risk of broadcasting your job-hunting status is so high.

3. Don’t send out a blast email announcement to tell your friends and contacts you’re job-hunting. If you do, somebody on your distribution list is bound to forward your blast email announcement to everybody they know — and the world is small enough that you could have problems as a result. Tell your friends about your job hunt one-on-one or over the phone, and emphasize the confidential nature of your search.

4. Don’t respond to “blind” job ads that don’t specify the employer organization’s name. It could be your own company!

5. Don’t go to networking events and tell the people you meet that you’re job-hunting. Network as a consultant, instead. Tell the people you meet that you’re working full-time and available to consult part-time. Get some consulting business cards and give them out.  Morpheus Consulting part-time is a great way to get a new job because hiring managers can meet with consultants any time they want (they only need a higher-up’s approval to actually hire a consultant, and sometimes not even then) whereas most hiring managers won’t meet with a job-seeker unless they have a job opening.

6. Do not forget to tell every recruiter, interviewer and HR person you deal with during your job search that you are flying under the radar. Tell them multiple times.

Your goal is to let your boss know you’re job-hunting only at the precise moment when you give notice.

Source: http://bit.ly/2xxUwTD

Three Traits Recruiters Find Most Desirable In Face-to-Face Job Interviews

Recruiters and hiring managers have always considered conversational skills an important trait in new hires, but a new survey now places communication at the very top of the list.

The recruiting software company, Jobvite, together with Zogby Analytics, has just released its 2017 Recruiter Nation Report. The online survey of 831 recruiters in the U.S. is intended to identify the traits and qualities that recruiters evaluate to make the perfect hire—and the qualities they consider deal breakers, too.

Recruiters were asked the following question: “Which of the following positively impact your decision to hire a candidate during an initial in-person interview?” The question was a followed by a list of ‘subjective traits’ such as: appearance, punctuality, portfolio, conversation skills, industry knowledge and enthusiasm. According to recruiters, the most desirable traits are (in order):

1). Conversational skills (69% of recruiters said this is most important quality they look for in a job candidate)

2). Knowledge of industry

3). Enthusiasm

According to recruiters, a candidate’s ability to articulate their ideas effectively in conversation is a measure of their capacity to engage with others, a window into how the job candidate might interact with team members, clients and customers should they be hired.

Interestingly, the survey showed a generation gap among recruiters and the premium they place on conversational skills. For example, millennial recruiters place more of an emphasis on conversational skills than those recruiters over 50. A full 75% of millennials value communication skills as their top priority compared to 60% of those recruiters over 50, who place a greater emphasis on industry knowledge.

According to the survey, recruiters have seen it all— the good, the bad and the downright strange. For example, most recruiters say they’ve interviewed job candidates who didn’t know what company they were interviewing for. And a full 75% of recruiters say they’ve had candidates who dress “too casual,” which is a good reminder to dress a little better than you would for a normal day at the office.

Some qualities are subjective, of course, but the following actions are universal deal breakers, according to the survey. In other words, a majority of recruiters agreed that these actions would automatically disqualify a candidate:

  • Being rude to the receptionist or support staff
  • Checking phones during the interview
  • Showing up late
  • Bad hygiene

Communication skills will set you apart in a job interview. As I wrote in a previous article, many recruiters will openly admit that if they had to choose between two candidates with equal credentials, they are more likely to give the job to the person who can communicate better with colleagues and customers. Credentials and experience are no longer enough. Yes, they might get you through the door, but how you present yourself when you’re in the room still counts the most.

Source: http://bit.ly/2xoQIUD

7 Questions – How do you create clarity in your job and those of your employees?

The importance of a good employee-manager relationship:

The manager-employee relationships are vital for organisational effectiveness and efficiency.

Q1 Why is what I do important? Q2 What am I accountable for? Q3 How is my performance measured? Q4 How am I performing? Q5 What am I doing to improve my performance? Q6 What support do I need from my manager to improve my performance? Q7 What is in it for me, if I do great, good, average or below expectations?

Why is this relevant and important?

Despite it being basic I have experienced over and again that it does not take place and often it is only performed half-heartedly and this gives rise to several challenges.

Firstly, that the employee leaves the company due to a poor relationship with the immediate manager. Several studies show that the most often quoted reason for leaving a position is the relationship with the immediate manager.

Secondly, the performance or output from the employee is not optimal compared to what it should be.

Thirdly, a poor or less optimally performing employee has a less than optimal effect on the people and processes in the company.

Fourth, you can probably add to the list yourself, but the above mentioned three should be adequate cause for action.

The above outcome is bad for the company as well as the employee, hence worthwhile to ensure that employees and managers jointly have a good understanding of the job and their respective responsibilities this regard

The below outline is compiled of what I have picked up over the years from inspiring people, leaders I have come across and especially some bright HR people in Maersk Line and I have tried to apply the principles in my own work life, both for myself as well as for the people in my responsibility and I hope you find some inspiration either in your role as employee or as a leader.

Please note this is all about structure, not the interpersonal relationship on how we relate and communicate. Without respect and earned trust all structures come to naught, but this structure creates a culture of alignment and communication at the employee-manager level.

The work and job relationship description consists of seven (7) questions surrounding job purpose, responsibilities, measurements, feedback and managing expectations and outcome.

 Question 1 – Why is what I do important?

Always start with the WHY! Clarity of purpose is critical for motivation and can be used for guidance, when in doubt how to act.

The most important place to start is to ask and answer WHY is the job important to yourself as an employee. Someone may argue that the job is for the company’s sake and not for the employee’s sake, but I think the feeling of meaning, of purpose in one’s job is important for all people and most organisations desire employees with motivation. And frankly, getting up early every morning, commute to work, spend a large portion of your life working; it better be worth your while.

So, why is your job important to you? Is it just the money? Probably not, only you know. Is it a sense of belonging, an opportunity to learn new skills and develop as a person, opportunity for promotion and further development, the creation of good relations, meeting exciting people? Only you know – or do you? For many people it is necessary and a source of joy to belong to a group of people and we must not underestimate the importance of the social relationships in our teams.

Why is your job important for the company? Do you ensure the customers are more than satisfied? Or do you ensure that the people servicing the customers can do this well? You can also ask “What happens if I do a bad job?”, some people, maybe your nearest team-members, rely on you to do a good job or even a great job.

As leaders we work on ensuring the company vision, mission and strategy are clear and understood by all employees and that is very important. But, sometimes we forget to operational this at an employee level, and that may be cause for confusion, uncertainty or even discontent, especially if the employee feels there are discrepancies between the overall vision or strategy and his/her job.

This question is not the job description, but the answer could form the the introduction to the job description.

Question 2 – What am I accountable for?

 This question covers the activities that encompasses the job, the required output and the necessary output, perhaps some quality requirements and timeliness. Processes or systems, which the employee is responsible for, and also important relations inside the company or outside.

Matters that will often be described in the job description if such is available.

This is probably the first a new employee is informed about, since it covers what the employee is doing on a daily basis (or weekly, or monthly, or whatever is described), however, even if an employee has worked in the job for a longer time, it might still be worthwhile to revisit this once in a while.

 Generally a job description can include items such as:

  • Responsibilities
  • Tasks (Example: Prepare monthly reports)
  • Specific tasks (Example: Prepare monthly report for submission by 3rd working day of the month, and as a minimum include information on XXX and YYY, by using information from System ZZZ)
  • Hierarchical relationships (Example: This position reports to Director of Finance)
  • Requirements (The position requires specific knowledge about Danish Accounting standards and IFRS regulations)

It is important that the employee is fully aware of what his/her responsibilities are and at the same time it is important that the job description does not become a straitjacket, but has room for initiative and flexibility in line with changing requirements in the job and the organisation.

When an employee has served a year in a new position, the initial job description is likely no longer complete in relation to what the employee is actually doing and as time goes by the original job description becomes outdated, and as such it makes sense to revisit the job description from time to time.

Question 3 – How is my performance measured?

Or put in another way: “How do I know when I am doing a good job?”.

Do I have some measurable deliveries? For instance some KPIs? Something with timeliness or accuracy. Are there means to measure the quality of my work?

What am I measured on – Quality of my work – Efficiency – Innovation – Adherence to company values – Helpfulness/Being a team-player?

Am I responsible for some large projects to be delivered, by a certain date, within a specific budget or otherwise described.

Can my deliverables be described in relatively short sentences, which describe a future desired state?

How can I ‘objectively’ identify the level of my performance. Inside myself I know my effort level, but how do I know if the hard work results in the right performance?

Some organisations set targets for the following year, however, since the environment and the work tends to change over time, similar to the job description, as mentioned above, then sometimes the targets loose relevance or the targets are fulfilled already mid year, perhaps the projects were easier to finalize, and as such it is important that new targets are set.

Question 4 – How am I performing?

It is one thing to know the responsibilities and the required activities, as well as the expected output, the performance. It is another thing to assess how things are going. Am I performing? And how well am I performing?

The employee has an opinion, but so does the manager, and alignment facilitates a good dialogue.

Firstly, the employee must ensure to form his/her own understanding on the level of performance. Firstly by considering how the performance is measured and whether he/she meets the targets.

Secondly, it is also important to get feedback from the manager to assess the extent of alignment of the employee’s opinion and the manager’s opinion.

One thing is the personal performance, but also in the larger scheme of things, “are we delivering as per the overall purpose?“. For instance the employee delivers well on all personal targets, but overall the department is not meeting its targets, for instance within customer satisfaction, then that needs to be addressed jointly in the team and with the manager. Maybe the targets, or even the tasks, do not properly contribute towards the overall goal, and this must be addressed.

Sometimes there will be a difference in opinion. The employee thinks that he/she has made a stellar performance, whilst the manager will regard it as average. That has got to do with differing expectations or lack of clarity in either responsibilities or performance measurement or reviews. An on going dialogue is the most effective way to manage expectations and create clarity.

Do you get regular and clear feed-back from your manager? And how? Regular feedback is critically important for most employees in order to ensure to manage expectations and create alignment on targets, activities and behaviours.

Question 5 – What am I doing to improve my performance?

We can all get better at what we are doing, and we should strive to improve – for our own sake. So what am I doing to improve? In some cases it is a matter of working harder, going the extra mile so to speak. However, in most cases it is a matter of working smarter, not harder.

So, how do I reflect upon my job, my tasks and activities? Can I do it differently, more effectively? Do I need new training? Do we need to change the process, can we get the person who makes my input to make some changes and thereby make my job better? Can I do some changes in my output which is improving the work of the people who uses my work?

You can argue that any employee has two jobs – the current job plus the job of continuously improving the current job. In some organisations that is already included in the job description and measurements.

Question 6 – What support do I need from my manager to improve my performance?

One of the manager’s most important responsibilities is to ensure that the employees can perform and continuously improve their jobs. This requires that the employee has the right competencies i.e. the right skill-set and training to perform the job. But also the right environment, tools and support. Example: If there are challenges in getting the right input from another department, and the employee has tried in vain, then the manager must step in and take action and help to get this sorted.

Sometimes it is easy to help employees to improve performance, say an accounting employee spends a lot of time reconciling, then two computer screens may be a big facilitator in improving performance and perhaps job satisfaction. But it can also be more complex and requiring cross-functional process changes. For instance if an AP employee spends time on locating the purchase responsible on incoming supplier invoices, the solution may be to get the purchasing functions to inform suppliers to put purchaser’s name or department on the invoice.

Question 7 – What is in it for me, if I do great, good, average or below expectations?

The answer to this question is linked to the very first question i.e. Why is what I do important (for me)?

A pay-check is one answer and continued employment could also be one. Some jobs have bonus and incentives assigned depending on job performance, and some companies base salary increments on past performance, so money is one lever that companies use to try and secure best possible performance, although a number of studies show that there is no link between incentive and performance, but that discussion is not the purpose of the article.

Clearly, personal fulfilment from the feeling of doing a good job is important for most employees, but the positive recognition from management and peers is also a motivator for most people.

There may also be opportunities for promotion either into another position or by getting more interesting and challenging tasks and activities in the current position. Both may come with company supported education and courses, which may improve future employ ability and improved CV.

The above primarily goes for above average and great performances. If on the other hand the performance is below expectations and below average, then both management and employee need to do some soul searching.

First consider why the employee is performing poorly. Assuming all the preceding questions have been properly asked and answered i.e. purpose is clear, responsibilities are clear and performance requirements are clear and aligned, then have a conversation about why the performance is poor. Is it lack of skills, poor cooperation in the team, bad attitude on behalf of the employee or something else. On the basis of this it is the manager’s responsibility to put actions in motion to improve the situation, as also clarified in a previous question. However, sometimes it ends up with letting the employee leave the position.

Conclusion

For the employee it is important that the “Why this job is important for me?” is fulfilled. If it is not, then nobody gains and it is a lose-lose situation, because an unsatisfied employee is bad for business. So even if all 6 preceding questions have been asked and answered positively, and the manager has maintained a good feedback loop there may still be dissatisfaction and sometimes it is because the employee changes opinion in terms of what is important, but it can also be matters beyond the manager’s sphere of influence, so the above 7 questions do not solve all things, but it is a good start.

From a managerial perspective I venture that the 7 questions form a strong framework for focused employee-manager conversations, and it will work whether you have weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or annual one-to-one conversations, appraisals, performance reviews or whichever label is used in your organisation. The more frequent the conversation, the more emphasis on questions surrounding the actual performance, but do not forget to bring the other questions into play now and again. The conversations shall consider the employee’s seniority, maturity and competence into consideration, as well as attitude, as is the point of situational leadership.

Whatever you decide as manager, make sure to schedule regular meetings and stick to it, even if there is very little to review, you can always benefit from getting to know your employees a little bit better, so use the framework. You do not want to be in a situation where you only have a conversation with your employees, when there are problems.

Further Reflection – Is this all there is to good people management?

Is this all there is to it? As said above it is not. This is just one tool in establishing a structure towards an effective dialogue in the employee-manager relationship, and a model for analysis of your work-life or the work-life of your employees, which can create a foundation to build on. Other steps deal with creating strong and trusting teams and of improving one’s own leadership towards transformational leadership.

Several thinkers claim, that in order for people to be truly happy at work, three fundamentals must be achieved for the individual – Purpose, Hope and Friendships. This speaks to purpose of company and organisation and individual and the opportunity to improve on the individual’s situation and the social aspects, the sense of belonging.

As an employee what is your take on the 7 questions? Can you answer these for yourself and does it make sense for you? Is there anything you will change from now on?

As a manager what is your take on the 7 questions? Have you ensured that your employees have clarity of purpose in their roles, the employees understand how you evaluate their performance and do you perform regular feedback to the employees? Is there anything you will change as a result? Or do you subscribe to a different way of managing the important employee-manager relationship?

WHAT RECRUITERS THINK WHEN JOB SEEKERS ARE UNSUCCESSFUL?

Recruiters may seem intimidating, but they genuinely want the best for both candidates and the company. Good recruiters want you to have the best experience possible during the application and interview process–but even though they want the best for you, there are some things that they just can’t share.

Salary bands, candidate competition, internal HR tactics –let’s just call them trade secrets. They are the confidential information that, unfortunately, recruiters cannot divulge.

To get to the truth, we reached out to Omer Molad, CEO/founder of Vervoe, a recruiting company that replaces face-to-face interviews with online simulations for small- and medium-sized businesses. Molad built his business on the premise HR hiring is painful, and he has unique insight into the frustrations and insights of recruiters.

Here are a few of the secrets that Molad says recruiters won’t tell you, but really want to.

1. “We Could Have Gone Higher If You Had Negotiated”

Salary negotiations are like a game of poker–both job seekers and recruiters are trying to maintain control and win the hand. “Very few (if any) recruiters will be so bold as to say, ‘We took advantage of you and we don’t value you highly,’” says Molad. In fact, there is often a salary band or range that recruiters have for each role. Their initial salary offer is very rarely at the top of their salary band, so base pay–as well as benefits like vacation days, work hours, etc.–can usually be negotiated.

Glassdoor’s chief reputation officer, Dawn Lyon, says, “An offer is an offer, and very few employers expect you to take the first one out of the gate. So come to the table expecting to negotiate. Don’t just ask for more, but do so intelligently, with real numbers to support your argument. Use your research to put together a case for more base salary or a signing bonus, because if you don’t ask, you most definitely won’t get it.”

2. “Don’t Go Overboard With Buzzwords, We Can Tell”

It’s smart to include keywords in your resume and to come off as knowledgeable about your particular industry. However, “Don’t try to look smarter than you really are,” says Molad unabashedly. Authenticity is key. Recruiters and employers want your personality to shine–not your ability to throw out words and phrases like “synergy,” “move the needle,” “ROI,”feed the funnel,” etc.

“It’s not about specific questions or answers that stand out, but rather the candidates who display a great deal of passion about what they do that really stand above the rest,” says employer Academy Sports + Outdoors.

3. “You Never Had A Chance After That Bad First Impression”

Your mother was right: First impressions are everything. And according to Molad, few recruiters can get past a bad first impression. Unreturned phone calls, poor manners, and clumsy interviews will all hurt your chances of moving on to the next round. Hiring managers and recruiters will bite their tongues, fighting back the desire to say, “We just don’t like you,” says Molad. However, take it from us: You must really dazzle if you’d like to make up for a rocky first impression.

“Interviewers often care more about the likability of entry-level candidates than whether or not they’re actually qualified for the job,” says career coach Peter Yang. “This is because the person interviewing you will often also be your future boss and mentor, so it makes perfect sense that they would want to hire someone whom they personally like and want to work with. A strong interview performance means establishing a strong connection with your interviewer. Try to show off your personality instead of just answering questions robotically. You can even get a bit personal if you’d like to.”

4. “Your References Were Not Very Flattering”

If a recruiter or hiring manager had doubts about you, they won’t let you know if unflattering references just confirmed their doubts, Molad says. “Your references should talk about your strengths in specific situations– not just basic information,” adds HR expert Jordan Perez. “[References] should be ready to provide examples of actual projects where you exceeded expectations. Your reference should easily cite one or two situations that highlight your strengths.”

“Bad references can ruin your candidacy as much as good ones can strengthen it,” says Sam Keefe, digital marketing manager at AVID Technical Resources. Her advice to ensure that only the good shines through? “Give only references who will say positive things about you. Work hard to build good working relationships with coworkers and bosses.”

5. “I Back-Channeled You, And Found Out The Truth”

Backdoor references, or back-channeling, is one of the sneaky ways hiring managers and recruiters gather more information about you–it refers to when employers reach out to mutual connections in order to get their honest opinion of you. “This phenomenon is even more prevalent in the last five years or so because of LinkedIn’s growing popularity,” says Keefe. “Even if you choose not to give anybody there as a reference, backdoor references can reveal the skeletons in your closet. Backdoor references can be especially common when you’re looking for a job in sectors like tech.”

6. “We Already Gave The Job To an In-House Employee”

Unfortunately, it’s perfectly legal to advertise a job that is almost certain to be filled by an insider. In fact, some research has shown that internal hires generally perform better than external ones. However, “phantom jobs” can be downright annoying when you’re looking for a new position. Even though federal labor rules don’t require employers to post openings, many HR departments require roles to be listed on a job board for some period of time to ensure a fair hiring process. Therefore, Molad says, don’t expect recruiters to come right out and say, “It was a beauty parade to show management we ran a process, but it was a sham and you were never really considered.”

Source: http://bit.ly/2xDv6a2