Oh, Snap!

Finger splint

Usually in December I get my wife some shiny adornment for her hand, neck or ears. This year I was the one who added a shiny new accessory. The finger splint you see above that I started wearing after I snapped the extensor tendon in my right index finger. This isn’t something I recommend under any circumstances but especially not when the windchill is about to plummet to negative numbers and the splint, besides getting very cold, prevents one from wearing gloves.

But being an optimist, I look on the bright side. I had to slow down. I was forced to rethink how I did just about everything. I’m right-hand dominant to an extreme. The only thing my left hand is good for is to keep my watch from slipping off my wrist. So I really had to think through just about everything I do. Hold a pen, type, eat, wash, all simple stuff until you try to do these things either one-handed or with a hand that’s not used to doing them. And I really had to consider what I was doing and only do that which is really important.

I’m going to be in some kind of splint for about two months at least, and that’s assuming this heals and doesn’t require surgery. It’s sometimes frustrating to not be able to do everything I want, but it’s also freeing. I’ve been doing more reading. I’ve thought more about some things I want to write and while typing is difficult, dictating is not. Technology can be a blessing in a situation like this. There’s all kinds of workarounds in life, sometimes we just need our bodies to remind us to look for them.

Focus on what’s really important and take care of yourself in 2018. You never know when something’s about to snap.

Don’t Blame Indeed!

IndeedNow every applicant knows that when an organization posts a job online they include a title, position description, required skills and then some verbiage about being an equal opportunity employer and a few words about their compensation and benefits package.

What you don’t often see are the keywords the recruiter uses to make sure that the posting winds up in the right searches done by applicants and will be used as part of the connect the dots algorithms used by their applicant tracking system to determine which resumes actually get past the ATS and into the inbox of a real live recruiter who will then spend 20 to 30 seconds scanning each resume until people are selected to be interviewed.

Some of the people with whom I’ve worked are frustrated by the job boards because they seem so indiscriminate in which jobs wind up in the person’s search. “How on earth did this nursing supervisor job show up when I’m looking for an Asset Manager position in a bank? These job boards stink! They’ll just throw anything at you and hope you’ll apply. They’re a waste of my time!”

Job search

I understand the frustration, I really do, but it’s not always the job site’s fault. People choose the keywords that will be used to make a match between posting and applicant, and sometimes this is done in a very slipshod, scattershot manner.

Below is an example of one I just found. These are the keywords that a recruiter used to attract applicants for an entry-level position in the marketing department. As you can see the recruiter included just about everything short of “must have a pulse.” They did include “Executive Vice President” and “HS graduate.” I will grant you that most EVP’s have graduated high school, but this is the reason many of your search results are filled with inappropriate postings. It’s because some recruiters aren’t doing their jobs well enough to properly serve their organizations by developing a list of keywords truly reflective of the kind of person they seek. It’s easier to just slug in this all-inclusive “must be able to enter the building without getting trapped in revolving door” list they developed and possibly use for every job they post.

The upshot is then I hear from recruiters that they aren’t getting the right stream of candidates in their pipeline and it’s so hard to fill positions. This is probably one more reason that LinkedIn is becoming so much more popular as a source.

The final irony is that the list below came from a posting from a management consulting firm. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit back if you plan to read through the entire list. And please share your comments, frustrations or horror stories. We need to do something to halt this spreading epidemic of sloppy recruiting.
Only the best,
RonHiringhuman resources, recruiting, entry level assistant, marketing, sales, entry level marketing, marketing management, director of sales, director of sales promos, director of sales promotions, distribution sales manager, district sales manager, field rep, sales rep, marketing rep, field representative, field sales engineer, floor supervisor, independent consultant, inside sales, inside sales rep, inside sales representative, international sales account manager, internet sales manager, major, account exec, marketing and sales account executive, marketing account manager, major account rep, major, account representative, manufacturers rep, manufacturers sales representative, market research, marketing, medical sales, merchandize manager, national account manager, national sales manager, national sales rep, national sales representative, point of sale supervisor, product sales manager, quote clerk, regional sales manager, sales & marketing, sales & marketing admin, sales & marketing administrator. sales & marketing director, sales & marketing manager, sales account manager, sales administrator, sales analyst, sales and marketing, sales and marketing admin, entry level, sales, marketing, customer service, advertising, clients, sports, , sports marketing, full time, part time, internships, interns, college, sports, restaurant, hospitality, retail, cashier, server, promotional sales, public relations, client relations, clients, advertising, restaurant, mass communications, business administration, recruiter, internships, interns, college graduates, retail, sales, promotional sales, other. marketing, events, promotions, sales, customer service, public relations, retail restaurant, account executive, account exec, account representative, account rep, account manager, account management, sales rep, sales representative, sales exec, sales executive, field sales, ad sales, marketing sales, promotional sales, publishing sales, mortgage sales, loan sales, loan officer, inside sales, outside sales, direct sales, sales professional, sales associate, telemarketing, cold caller, cold calling, salesman, saleswoman, salesperson Marketing, Promotions, Sports, , Sales, Customer Service, Public Relations, Human Resources, Entry Level, Career Builder related words: Sales, Customer Service, Manager, Management, Manage, Marketing, Management, Administrative, Administrative Assistant, Human Resources, Receptionist, Entry Level, , Customer Service, Assistant, Advertising, Supervisor, Public Relations, Office, Payroll, Admin, Training, Human Resources, Operations, Office Manager, General, Executive, Vice President, Sales, Manager, All, Recruiter, Entrepreneur, PR, P.R., Advertising, C Marketing Management, Entry Level Management, Entry-Level Management, Entry Level Sales, Entry-Level Sales, Entry Level Marketing, Entry-Level Marketing, Entry Level College Grad, Entry-Level College Grad Training, General, Sales, Manager, All, Recruiter, Entrepreneur, PR, P.R., Advertising, Inventory, Internship, Entry-Level, College Graduate, College Grad, High School Graduate, High-School Graduate, High School Grad, Marketing Management, Entry Level Management, Entry-Level Management, Entry Level Sales, Entry-Level Sales, Entry Level Marketing, Entry-Level Marketing, Entry Level College Grad, Entry-Level College Graduate Sales techniques Leading, coaching & motivating Business administration Human resource management Public relations Finance Advertising Public speaking Restaurant, retail, hotel experience, retail management, hospitality degree, hospitality experience, resort, hotel, motel management, server, hostess, host, cook, front of the house, back of the house experience, waitress, waiter, serving customers, retail sales associate, retail account manager, retail manager, retail assistant manager, hotel manager, hotel assistant manager, restaurant supervisor, restaurant assistant manager, restaurant manager, food industry, wine representative, restaurant owner, part time retail, part time hotel, valet, valet supervisor, valet manager Entry level sales Entry level sales person Entry level sales rep Outside sales Entry level outside sales rep Outside sales rep Sales and marketing Team player Sales Entry level sales and mktg Sports-oriented Help wanted New grad Part-time Full-time business experience, business administration, small business administration, degree business administration, master business administration, management business administration, business administration bachelor, office business, small business, business restaurant, marketing business, international business, business sales development, management small business, global business, business sales marketing, marketing management business, marketing business opportunity, marketing business development, marketing advertising business, business in New Jersey, New Jersey businesses, business management skills, business manager, professional development, business to business management, business development manager career, business consulting manager, management, entrepreneur, entry level management, supervisor, coach, leader, consultant, consulting for businesses, management consulting, supervising businesses, business and communication management, Customer care, sales, entry level sales, customer relations, customer acquisition, customer conversion, customer response, customer renewal, customer retention, customer research, customer response, customer effectiveness, face to face service to customers, customer satisfaction, restaurant management, restaurant service, marketing and sales, services in hospitality, customer service evaluation, customer loyalty, customer service advisor, customer service analyst, customer service associate, customer service consultant, customer relationship advisor, customer relationship management, marketing research, marketing programs, promotional marketing, marketing management, businesspeople

 

Good/Bad Thing

My old car died this summer. Over ten years old with well over 100K miles. So now I don’t have a car and that’s a bad thing.

Avalon

But it died just a few miles from home about a week before I was going to drive to a wedding a couple of states away. If this had happened while I was out on a highway hundreds of miles from home it would have been terrible. I’d have missed the wedding, would’ve had to find another way home and would’ve had to deal with a dead car in another state. So what I thought was a bad thing at first was actually a good thing.

Yesterday I cracked a tooth. This is a very bad thing, and painful.

I called my wonderful dentist and asked her office manager when I could come in. “NOW!” was the answer. My dentist was leaving for vacation for two weeks starting tomorrow. For various reasons I’d been putting off this dental work that I knew was necessary and if it had disintegrated a day later I would’ve had to go to whoever was covering for my wonderful dentist (I’ll give you her name if you need someone in NYC). So my tooth breaking on the day it did was actually a good thing.

Bad things happen. We rarely see them as the proverbial blessings in disguise. I’ve been using Zipcar and driving nice new cars instead of a bucket of bolts with almost 150 thousand miles on it. I no longer worry if the vehicle I’m in will make it back to where I started. My tooth has a temporary fix that my wonderful dentist (did I tell you she’s wonderful?) expects will hold until we can do the necessary work on my schedule.

Knee-jerk reactions to situations are often, “Why did this happen to me?” We need to learn  how to step back from our first reactions. I counsel a lot of people who’ve lost their jobs and their first reaction is usually panic, anger, depression or a pinwheel of all three. Most of the time within a few weeks these same people are saying, “This was the best thing to happen to me.” Because now they’re pursuing what they really want to do, or they’ve found a better job or they’ve just come up for air. They’ve taken the time to assess their situation, where they are in their lives and careers and made a pivot.

Give yourself the time to accurately figure out what’s really happened and then decide on a course of action. This is a skill to develop, it doesn’t just happen. It’s not a personality trait that some people are born with. Patience, paired with resilience, also known as grit (see my post of May 2016), are two of the keys to getting past clouds to the silver linings you deserve.

silver-lining

The Cost of Doing Business

Bill O'ReillyLots of people are pointing at Bill O’Reilly’s firing as a triumph against sexual harassment and discrimination against women in the workplace. I’m not so sure. For years his employer, 21st Century Fox and Fox News had quietly paid over $13 million to settle harassment suits. This was considered the cost of doing business. It was part of their culture to tolerate, condone and cover up his misdeeds and those of others.

Some say it was the women who spoke out against O’Reilly who brought him down. Others attribute the decision to the wives of the CEO’s sons who insisted O’Reilly be fired. Many people who support O’Reilly will blame and demonize the women who work there for taking down their idol and chief Fox News rainmaker. They’re wrong. Fox terminated O’Reilly because over 50 advertisers deserted his show and the network. The cost of doing business with sexual harassers just went up. When the cost got too high — and clearly $13 million wasn’t too high a threshold for Fox — that’s when they took action. This was a business decision, not an organization taking a stand against workplace harassment and discrimination.

We’ll eventually learn the true impact of O’Reilly’s exit. But I’m not holding my breath. When something like harassment, for any reason, is tolerated and accepted for so long it gets ingrained in the culture. I fear that there’ll be more polarization between groups and more distrust. Sadly, sexual harassers will take this as a signal to be even more discreet in their attempts to exert their power over others. I doubt that we’ll see a turnaround in the culture at Fox. I hope I’m wrong.

Evil-doers beware!

Lately I’ve been receiving dozens of messages that people want to join my mailing list and receive my updates and blogposts. Now while I’d love to believe that suddenly scores of people had recognized my brilliance and couldn’t go another day without hearing from me, my social media antennae told me otherwise. After investigating some of the e-mail addresses, several of which looked rather suspect, I was able to determine that many of them, probably all, came from sources of spam. Seems these evil-doers want access to my site, probably for nefarious purposes.

Rest assured that I haven’t granted access to any of the requests that I’ve received in the past few days. THIS SITE IS SAFE. And so are you. I’m going to keep somewhat quiet until this storm passes over and the situation is resolved.

If you are a real person interested in hearing more from me and you sent a legit request in the past week, please send me a personalized e-mail letting me know and I’ll be happy to add you to the distribution. But I won’t be adding any that obviously came from bots.

If only they’d use their powers for good and not evil.

Dr Evil

Focus on Ability

I can’t program. I can’t code. I’m impatient with bureaucracy and hypocrisy. I get bored doing the same thing all day everyday.

If a recruiter only looked at the things I don’t do well, I’d never get hired to do anything.

Fortunately I’ve had the good fortune to meet people who looked beyond what I couldn’t do to focus on what I could do (Thank you Pat Licata) and what I do well. EY is taking an innovative approach to filling jobs that are hard to fill by accessing a frequently overlooked group who are particularly well-suited for this function. As reported in Workforce magazine they’ve piloted the EY Neurodiversity Program in their Philadelphia office, hiring individuals with high functioning autism to fill jobs that require the ability to compile and analyze data. Focusing on a specific and possibly repetitive task would drive someone like me crazy but these individuals are particularly talented at crunching the numbers, recognizing patterns and paying close attention to detail.

By looking at what this group of talented individuals do well, they’re able to fill these jobs with employees more likely to stay in them than job hop and fill a need that others might find less fulfilling. More organizations need to follow EY’s lead and tap into a vastly underemployed  population of talented people with disabilities. The way to do this is to focus on what people can do and not what they can’t.

numbers

How well do you have to do your job?

Are you willing to sign you name to your work? Would you want everyone walking by to know who was responsible for these efforts? What if the work was as simple as concrete?

sidewalk1

They say there are few things as boring as watching cement dry. Yet it seems that contractors in Toronto take a lot of pride in how their cement has dried. While walking around I saw all these imprints embedded in the sidewalks. On closer inspection I realized these were the names of different contractors who’d laid these sidewalks. I’ll bet most people don’t even notice. But it sure seems important to the people who created these walkways. Important enough for the contractors to have signed their name. It’s branding no doubt, but it’s more than that.

sidewalk2

If you know that everyone walking by is going to know who created that street, I think you’re going to do a better job. Because if the work is slipshod, everyone’s going to know that too. If the pavement cracks or chips and someone slips or trips, that unfortunate individual will have an up close view of who is to blame. At best, a soiled reputation. At worst, lawsuits.

sidewalk3

It’s been proven that even the idea that someone may be watching inspires people to do better work. Some of the imprints were over 40 years old. Most likely some of the people who laid those sidewalks are no longer around to walk on them. The evidence of their good work lives on. How good is your work? Would you sign it knowing that it would be around for decades? Someone is watching.

sidewalk4

People make a difference

airline seatMore and more it seems that the more you pay the less you get. On a recent flight, if I wanted to pick my seat before I arrived at the airport on the day of the flight, there was an additional charge. I’m not talking about getting an upgrade or extra legroom; I’m just talking about picking a seat. Really? It sure seemed like coercion. “Oh, yes, you’re paying to get on our plane but without a few more dollars we get to decide where you’re going to sit. How about row 39, middle seat?” Now it all turned out okay and it was a lovely flight but not because of the airline. It was because of the people.

flight attendantsWhen you get right down to it, whether it’s Delta, American, United or any other airline, the plane is pretty much the same. What differentiates one airline from another is the people, the service you get on board and at the gate. That’s why so many people are fans of Southwest. Some Southwest patrons actually look forward to their flights!

Sam Walton famously said, “Treat your employees the way you’d like them to treat your best customers.” Okay, that may have been a long time ago and I know that Wal-Mart has made the news lately over the way their employees are treated at some locations. But let’s look at the underlying philosophy.

Employees look to their managers and leaders as role models for how to behave. What are you showing to your employees? We’re no longer in a manufacturing or agricultural economy. Everything today is about customer service and information. Bill Gates said, “Whoever has the best information, wins.” I believe that the best service wins, assuming that everything else, like which plane you’re on, is relatively equal. Every person in your organization must be a superior customer service representative of your company. I’ve heard people in some functions say, “I’m not customer facing.” Here are two things I know. One, if your employees aren’t serving the customer, they’re serving someone who is. Two, if employees are not giving good service to their customers, internal or external, then your external customers will go elsewhere to get the service they want.

Just about everyone has heard, at one time or other, some senior leader pontificate that, “People are our most important asset.” It’s been repeated so often it’s become a bitter punch line in some organizations. But people really are the key differentiator between you and your competition. The companies that find, retain and develop the best people are the ones who reap the greatest profitability per employee. Companies need to invest in developing their people rather than spending their resources on churning through staff. When I was a recruiting manager, I never complained about filling a position. I did get annoyed at having to fill it repeatedly because the manager had driven away another good employee.

Training managers in how to treat their people is one of the best investments an organization can make. The organization will save on staffing and training because your managers won’t just be managers.  As they model the behavior they want staff to demonstrate, they’ll also be trainers developing their people. And that’s where it all begins and ends.

Independence

Fourth_of_July_HistoryNext week, in the U.S., we’ll celebrate Independence Day. Two hundred forty years ago the founding fathers, and the strong women who stood by them, made it possible for these brave people to found our nation, declaring themselves free and independent. They stepped out into the unknown “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence” and little else but their beliefs that they were doing the right thing. They believed in their goals, their actions and their abilities.
 
So my question for you is, from what are you declaring your independence? As you begin, continue or re-energize your job search, are you moving forward with confidence in your goals, actions and abilities?
 
Now is the time to declare yourself independent of fears, of doubts, of despair. These will not aid you in finding your next job. Know what you want, move confidently in the direction of your dreams and have confidence in both your abilities and your actions. Employers prefer to hire people with confidence. You may make missteps but one of the keys to success is when you get knocked down, don’t stay down. Learn from your mistakes and move forward, confident in what you’ve learned and how that will help you next time. It’s not how far you fall, what’s important is how high you bounce.
 
And remember that you are not alone. You have the support of the people around you. Cultivate your support network. Reach out to people who can help you define your goals, categorize your abilities and achieve your dreams. Declare yourself independent of whatever is holding you back, remember the fortitude of our founding fathers, and take the steps to personal independence.
 
Happy Independence Day!