Monthly Archives: October 2011
Halloween is a holiday that has as many advocates as it has opponents. But whether this year finds you donning a costume or simply reminiscing about those October 31sts of your youth, there are key professional lessons to learn from the age old All Hallows Eve: get the rest of this great read byMeryl Weinsaft Cooper at Forbes.com here.
You’ve been so focused on finding a job and acing the interview that you may have overlooked a crucial question: Would you be happy working there? Company cultures are not created equal, and sometimes, the wrong job can be just as bad as no job, said Scott Kriscovich, president of TrueBridge Resources, an Atlanta professional staffing, direct hire placement firm.
Before you accept an offer, put on your Sherlock Holmes cap to detect the underlying culture of your prospective employer. “If you do your research, use your senses and ask the right questions, the signs are everywhere,” Kriscovichsaid.
Read what the company website has to say about its history, mission and values, and do a Google search to see what’s said about it in the media.
“If a company has a bad reputation these days, it will be on the Internet,” said Margot King, vice president of Recruiting Solutions for ZeroChaos, a global recruitment and outsourcing company. Check the chatter on http://www.glassdoor.com, http://www.vault.com or http://www.wetfeet.com, but read with an open mind. Former employees may have sour grapes.
Use your social media connections on LinkedIn and Facebook to read about companies and talk with employees. “If you know recruiters, ask them, or call the company and ask to speak to someone in sales. Salespeople like to talk. Tell him you are interested in working there and ask him to tell you about the company,” Kriscovich said.
“Pay attention to how you are treated in the interview. Is the interviewer present or distracted? Do you feel welcomed and are you kept informed throughout the process?” Kriscovich said. “Does he answer your questions and address your concerns?”
If you’re speaking to multiple people, notice if their message is consistent. “If so, that’s a sign that people are on the same page and communicating,” he said.
Ask to speak to someone who has held the job formerly or has a similar job to get a better sense of the work and what made her successful, King advised.
“If you’re turned down, that’s a red flag,” she said. “So is the hiring manager being excessively late for an interview. Companies, like people, can have good manners or bad manners.” It says a lot when a company is gracious and hospitable.
Kriscovich advocates trusting and testing your “gut” reactions. “Your ‘gut’ is merely all your life’s experiences coming out, but to question your feelings, bounce them off a colleague,” he said.
“Is the workplace alive with activity or silent and formally structured? Neither culture is wrong. The point is, would you fit well in that environment?” said Sheila Margolis, president of the Workplace Culture Institute, in Atlanta, and co-author of “There’s No Place Like Work” (Gibbs Smith, 2006).
Notice employee interactions. Are faces smiling, serious, stressed out? Are management doors open or shut? Where do workers meet? “Ask questions about the space. Our office is at maximum capacity right now and we’re crowded, but it’s a good news story. We’re growing and moving to new facilities,” Kriscovich said.
“Always ask the interviewer to discuss the company culture, values and principles,” he said. Ask why he works there, what he likes about it and doesn’t, and what he would change if he were CEO. Can he openly discuss strategies, goals and financial situations with the management, or does he just do his job? “There aren’t any right or wrong answers, but the information you gather will help you make a better decision,” Kriscovich said. “Culture always matters. It affects how you like and do your job.”
To determine if the culture is a good fit, job seekers should consider three questions, Margolis said. “What is the cause and purpose of the company and is that meaningful to me? What are the values of the company and are they a match for my own? And what is the actual work that I’d be doing and does it match my strengths and provide challenge and a sense of accomplishment?” she said.
When the culture and job fit your own values and work goals, there’s a sense of harmony and connection. “It means you can be who you are and excel at what you do,” Margolis said. Source: Laura Raines for the AJC.
Joshua Waldman had an MBA from Boston University and a good job, but in 2006 he was laid off—twice. He started using social media to network, find open jobs, and eventually to get job interviews. It worked. In fact, it worked so well that by the time Waldman was offered a job, he no longer wanted one.
He wanted to write a book about how to use social media to find a job.
“I realized that social media can be used in a smart way,” says Waldman (GSM’06) from his home in Portland, Oreg. “I wanted to help people learn some of the tools and tips.”
Waldman’s book, Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies (Wylie, 2011), stresses the importance of letting the job seeker’s personality shine through to give employers a sense of who he or she really is. He recommends that job seekers take care to market themselves online only the way they want to be seen (no errant Facebook photos or outdated résumés), and that they make web-friendly résumés using video and LinkedIn. The book is part of the popular “For Dummies” series, with its signature bullet points and helpful chapter summaries.
Now a vice president of social media at executive search firmCorporate Warriors, Waldman (right) leads training sessions for job seekers and human resource groups all over the world. He also runs the blog Career Enlightenment.
BU Today talked to Waldman about his tips for using social media to find a job.
BU Today: Has social media replaced personal contact when looking for a job?
Waldman: No. You still have to talk to people. It’s a mistake to hide behind the screen, because it’s not a replacement. When you meet someone on Twitter, ask them for a phone number or email address so you can continue the conversation offline. This is a word of caution, especially for students, who don’t have as much experience as some of their competition: don’t just post your résumé a thousand times and think you’re done; you have to kick yourself to get out there.
Then why is social media a good way to find a job?
Hiring has changed. Organizations have been able to save upwards of 40 to 60 percent in their recruiting costs because they don’t have to spend as much money when they recruit using social media. When the economy tanked, a lot of corporate recruiters and human resource officers lost their jobs. So instead, the hiring manager had to find and acquire talent. They weren’t paid to do this, so they started to gravitate towards Facebook, LinkedIn, and their own personal networks to find referrals. Hiring moved to the social media world.
Students are told they need to be careful about their privacy settings, but Facebook and Twitter can tell a hiring manager a little about their personality. What is the happy medium between privacy and pushing out to employers?
It’s a great point, because we want to enjoy our friends and social networks, but at the same time there is a risk. Social media turns us into publishers. It represents you. So while it’s great to play with your friends and post pictures and have personality, there needs to be an awareness that this might get in the wrong hands. Ask yourself, what if your mom saw it?
You’re going to get Googled; 80 percent of hiring managers admit to doing so. Companies search for you as a standard part of the background check before you even have an interview, and the U.S. government has even said it was OK. That first page of the Google search is called your “Google Resume.” You want everything on there to be good content, so you have to clean it up.
Your book says fit is a major reason companies hire a candidate and social media can show what kind of person you are. Considering your warnings, how do you make your personality come through in a fun way?
You need to be yourself and have a voice. If you know what your values are, and what your voice is, then it is OK to put your opinion or photos of your dog or vacation, because it is congruent with that image. Before you post a picture, ask yourself, is this in alignment with my image? You can have a wide range.
What about LinkedIn recommendations? How many should people have?
You want recommendations that are related to your skill set and your ability to lead and that stress what you can do. For a graduating senior, I would recommend having at least 10, and for someone in a career to have 20.
Is it really possible to find a job in 140 characters or less?
I just talked to someone who said that if it weren’t for Twitter, he wouldn’t have a job. He developed relationships with the owners of a company and when it was time to hire, the managers knew him because they had been tweeting back and forth. So Twitter is like a relationship engine.
People should use Twitter as a real-time job board. There are services out there that post jobs to Twitter days—if not weeks—before they get to the corporate website, let alone a job board. And we know that the sooner you apply to a job, the higher your chance is at getting it.
The website Twellow.com is a phenomenal source. It’s like the Yellow Pages for Twitter. Type in your city and state, and the word “jobs,” and you’ll find a list of Twitter accounts that tweet jobs in your area.
Twitter can also give you direct access to people like CEOs and hiring managers. When you’re on Twitter and engage in dialogue, you can retweet people who work at your target organizations. Eventually you can talk to those people, and take those conversations offline. Source: Amy Laskowski. BU Today.