Hiring Older or Younger Workers

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by
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There has always been a debate about whether to hire older or younger workers. I can definitely say with conviction: It depends. Some of the factors to be considered are:
The level: Is the function a training position or at an executive level?
The situation: Does it need an experienced hand or not?
The time: Is the timeline for results short or long, or is time of no importance?
The criticalness: Is the job critical to the success of the organization or not?
The directness: Does it directly affect results or is the function in a support role?
The backup: Is this function a stand-alone or is there backup staff if needed?
There are more factors, but the organization needs to define the parameters beforehand.

Usually are short-timers as they are anxious to move up their careers more quickly
They want to please the boss, which could be a positive or negative
Are typically less sure of themselves which could lead to procrastination, or quick actions
They can be too sure of themselves without the research or due diligence necessary
Are more moldable to fit the style or culture of the organization
Ambition may affect performance of the team or work group
Will need more training, direction, performance reviews and coaching
Less expensive in pay than more experienced employees
Hard skills are advanced but soft skills are undeveloped
May drive co-workers crazy with questions or the need for more of their hands-on time

Usually are lower maintenance: Set objectives, strategy, periodic reviews, then results
Tend to have more patience and can train or mentor others… or not
Tend to be more loyal and longer-term as they have families and house payments
Handle stress more easily as they have “been there, done that”
Understand the implications of actions, so they tend to plan better with alternatives
Hard skills may need sharpening but soft skills are more advanced
Contacts, networks and support systems may already be in place
Have a performance track record and reputation that can predict future performance
Tend not to get discouraged at the first roadblock, and will work through it
Have an experience base from which to draw solutions: Not their first rodeo.

Age and experience brings with it a level of confidence to the job. Youth bring with it enthusiasm, newer skills and a sense that anything is possible. The hiring organization needs to understand what it needs and what kind of employee fits the criterion.

From the applicant’s perspective, the position description and certain word-clues will identify what kind of candidate has the best chance to succeed. Sometimes the industry, company or function will give you a clue. Moral of the story: Focus on your strengths. Whatever the outcome of a single application, keep looking for your ideal position. It’s out there somewhere.

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How Long Before an Offer?

Posted on: July 14th, 2015 by
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You’ve seen an interesting ad, sent your resume, had a telephone interview, and then had three face-to-face interviews. So how long does it take until you’re given an offer?

There was a terrific article published on June 22, 2015 by Quentin Fottrell, a reporter for Personal Finance. The research should provide a guide for expectations as to how long your search process should take. Here are some of the salient points:
On average (taking all the highs and lows), the job interview process took 22.9 days. That doesn’t sound like a lot of time, except…
5 years ago the average was 12.6
The longest wait was for police officers (127.6 days), patent examiners (87.6 days), assistant professors (58.7 days), senior vice-presidents (55.5 days), program analysts (51.8 days), managing directors (51.1 days) and information technology specialists (48.1 days).
The shortest wait was: Entry-level marketing jobs (3.9 days), entry-level sales positions (5.4 days), servers and bartenders (5.7 days), entry-level account managers (5.9 days) and dishwashers (6.9 days).
As far as testing goes: There are more background checks (42% from 25%), skills tests (23% from 16%), drug tests (23% from 13%), and personality tests (18% from 12%)

Here are some additional findings:
Companies have a lot more job openings now than they did in 2010
Few companies did a good job of manpower planning over the past 5 years
Loyalty, talent and character traits are becoming more important than before
Fitting into the company’s culture is looked at with more importance

Now let’s talk about what this all means to you.
The higher the position, the longer it takes. The greater the responsibility the more time
Expect more people involved in the hiring process: HR, the boss, the bosses boss, co-workers, internal clients and maybe the work team: Everybody gets a say.
Respond to their questions based on their function and level. HR will be different from the boss or co-worker’s questions. See if you can discern what they really want to know.
Loyalty is becoming more important than it was before, so make sure you talk about your interest in staying with the company and contributing through more responsibility
“Good character” is becoming a factor in selection. Good character means different things, but bad character is more easily identifiable.
Background checks are more frequent, so references are important. Create an advantage.
Make sure your Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media accounts are not cluttered with inside jokes from your “friends” that can be misinterpreted by hiring organizations. Up to 50% of hiring agencies are screening what’s on your social media, with a 30% knock-out.

You can’t undo something you did when you were younger or less experienced. Have a rational explanation ready. Most employers will make some allowances. Your reputation, character and history are critical to your future success. Make it count!

Want a free assessment of your resume? Send it to: wkaufmann1@cox.net
Ready to test the market? Email: Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net

Pick Your Boss Carefully

Posted on: July 7th, 2015 by
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Other than your spouse, one of the most important choices you have in life is to choose your bosses wisely. Picking great mentors, who are supportive, participant and flexible from which to learn and grow is the pathway to a fulfilling and rewarding career. Why? Because you will have a rare resource that everyone else wishes they had for his or her own. Having a string of these types of mentors is rare. But if you can find a few, you will accelerate your career past your contemporaries.

So, what do you look for in a boss? One of the dimensions to look for is Management Style.
Which style of boss is best for you? Here are some examples:

Tell – (Highly directive) This is what I want you to do, how to do it, when, and where
Sell – (Selling my idea) This is what I want you to do. This is why you need to do it this way.
Question – (Open to ideas) This is the solution to the problem. What questions do you have?
Consult – (Engage and share) This is the issue. Let’s figure out alternative best solutions
Join – (Ownership) What are the issues, alternatives, and strategies for the best solution?

My experience with bosses and clients over the past 40 years shows me that the best bosses are those who can effectively utilize all management styles, but demonstrates the one that is most effective with a particular issue, situation or person. When there is a crisis, you want a boss who can tell you what to do immediately to solve the crisis. On the other hand, when there is time to solve an issue, you want a boss to involve you in a team problem-solving process.

The boss who has only one style of management for all situations is doomed to be ineffective. Over time, this boss may attract people who only know how to respond to a TELL approach and will not know how to make decisions or look for better alternatives. Over time, creative and engaging employees will leave that kind of boss and look for a more participant environment. Those who want to grow their experiences are looking for bosses they can learn from and grow. Bosses who only TELL or SELL as a management style can only tolerate certain kinds of employees: Those who don’t challenge ideas or present better alternatives.

A boss who has a management style of QUESTION, CONSULT or JOIN, has a much better chance of developing stronger and more responsive employees who can then expand their knowledge, skills and ability which in turn increases their performance over time.

The best boss of all is one who has a multitude of management styles, uses the appropriate one for each different situation, and can teach their employees how to contribute to results effectively. If you can find bosses like that, treasure them.

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No Interviews? Redo Your Approach!

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by
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Why would a company want to interview you if your resume isn’t compelling? Assuming there are 100 applicants, only the top 10 will get a screening interview by phone and 2 to 3 face-to-face interviews. Here’s how to diagnose and fix your resume to at least get a telephone screen.

When you don’t hear back from a company it means your not meeting the minimal requirements of the job. You may be shooting too high and falling short. Reexamine your target, industry, level or compensation. Something is off. If you send out resumes and get a 2% response rate, that’s the same as junk mail. A 10% response rate means you’re minimally penetrating the market. At 50% you’re “hot”. The different between 2% and 50% is the ability to target your experiences to the open position.

Make sure that your network is large enough and active. If your contacts aren’t productive, expand the network and follow-up to find out why. It’s always helpful to meet with contacts and ask them what’s going on in their industry, where’s the growth, who is hiring and who is shrinking their workforce. Explain to your contacts, “I’m testing the marketplace”.

You may be getting a screening call (that’s good) but no face-to-face interviews (that’s bad). When you get a telephone screening interview, be sure to do four things:
Ask “Out of curiosity, what was it about my resume that was of special interest to you?” The answer will tell you what they are looking for, why, and give you invaluable information
Make sure you emphasize the top 5 items described on the position description
Respond to the questions in a short but direct way. Don’t ramble about subjects not asked.
You should focus on three responses to each question: The issue you were to solve, the actions you took, and the measureable results you achieved, all in about 30 seconds
Listen to follow-up questions. Any time an interviewer asks you a follow-up question for more detail, it gives you valuable insight into the issues where they need help.

Here are some reasons why you’re not getting more action and what to do about it :
Your resume isn’t results-oriented. You may have listed responsibilities, activities or skills, but not outcomes. Match your results to the key items on the position description.
Use an Executive Summary at the top of your resume: Focus on your career achievements. When hiring managers scan resumes, you only have about 15 seconds to make your case
Don’t use a narrative form to give your life’s story. The reader will never wade through it all.
Ask yourself how you can differentiate yourself from all others. Show your unique experiences that parallel the job to be done, both for today and tomorrow.
Put the most important things first. Use power words, not passive words. Use metrics.
Figure out what they want, not what you want. Get rid of peripheral non-essentials.

If you can’t put together a compelling resume, you’ll not get an interview. It’s that simple.

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Stalling Your Career?

Posted on: June 23rd, 2015 by
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Do people intentionally stall their careers? I don’t think so. But I have met many who don’t pay attention or lack information about their careers. Here may be some answers:

1. First and most importantly, find support. The best step is to have a mentor: Someone who takes an interest in your work and career and gives you guidance. Help can also be in the form of a co-worker, manager or an experienced career coach.

2. Take advantage of opportunities to expand your skills and experiences. Push out your normal comfort zone with new exposures to projects. Volunteer for teams looking for cost reductions, new product, new markets or better performance. Get noticed.

3. Build bridges to establish new skills, people and opportunities. Network with new groups, especially those outside your core experiences. Join trade or professional organizations: That’s where hiring organizations go to size up the available talent.

4. Look at the long term through progressive short-term steps. Since the ultimate career goal may be 10, 20 or more years out, you can achieve that goal only through a series of smaller steps. Understand what those steps are, then plan for each one.

5. While you shouldn’t jump from job to job, neither should you spend too much time in only one job. A rule of thumb is to take the time to thoroughly master the job you have, establish a highly credible, measurable track record and then start testing the market.

6. Keep relevant and contemporary in your knowledge of what’s going on in your field, while keeping your skill set in technology at the highest. If you fall behind the technology you’ll be out of the running. Why should anyone train you for skills that other candidates have?

7. Use both your analytical mind and your intuitive gut when thinking about your career. Using only one or the other may end with an error of judgment. Changing industries may be your best answer, but overthinking or jumping at an offer is not good decision.

8. Focus on the important elements to your success and career. You only have a certain number of hours to devote to your work, so work hard but smart. Identify the elements of your job that will get the greatest reward when successful. That’s a career spark.

9. Reinforce your winning strategies. They are the confidence builders you’ll need over time. Everything is based on the results you achieve along the way to your ultimate career. If you don’t get results, the next step will be elusive.

10. Never, ever give up. Much of life’s success for most people is just showing up and doing a satisfactory job. Those that move ahead do more than what’s necessary. And people who become leaders in their field have a plan, exceed their goals and get great results.

Your career isn’t anyone’s responsibility except your own. So manage it!

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