Posted on: October 10th, 2017 by
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Let’s assume that you match the education, key experiences and requirements of a position description for a job for which you are interested. What other factors will elevate you as a top candidate and best selection?


Hiring managers want to know: What have you achieved? How did you do it? What were the results? Use this checklist to your advantage.


  • Can you contribute in the short & long term? Are you focused on doing a good job? All hiring managers have short-term problems they want solved. Look at the top five items on the position description to figure out what they are. But they also are looking at the longer-term: Will the candidate be able to grow to a higher level?
  • Do you have the energy and passion to drive performance to results? Hiring managers are looking for that little bit of extra that demonstrates your willingness to make the extra effort or stay the extra hour to find solutions. Energy and passion are hard to fake, but when the hiring manager sees it, it’s infectious.
  • What about your Interpersonal relations and communication skills? Hiring managers are looking to see if you can relate easily to other people and communicate effectively. You can be the greatest expert in your field, but if you can’t relate or communicate, it’s worthless. You are also joining a team that’s already in place. The hiring manager doesn’t want that team disrupted.
  • What about extra credentials, professional associations or leadership positions? When it gets down to the final 2 or 3 candidates, the person who has gotten that extra credential or industry recognition will have an advantage. Membership in a professional association shows that you’re interested in keeping up to date in your field. Show that you’re out in front.
  • Do you have knowledge of the business, industry or competition? Hiring managers will be very impressed if you have insights into the business and where the competition is weaker. Every industry and most companies have a language all their own. Research it.


  • Are you flexible, can change with the times, and are you dependable? Hiring managers don’t want rigid employees who can’t adapt or pitch in when extra hands are needed. The world is in constant motion and organizations need individuals who can be successful in different situations.
  • Will your references be positive to the question, “Would you hire them again?” The hiring manager is really asking the question, “Is this person honest and trustworthy for me to take a risk on them?” Hiring managers can’t afford to make a bad decision. You and your references have to convince the hiring manager that you are that right person.


You can’t read the minds of a hiring manager, but you can make an educated deduction of what they want in a candidate. Why? Because, if you were in their shoes, you would make a similar checklist.


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Posted on: October 3rd, 2017 by
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Hiring managers hire candidates that:

  • Have a proven track record in a specific area that is most needed
  • Can demonstrate they are capable to achieve results in the short and long term
  • Can comfortably fit into the organization without being a disruptive force


So, what are the things that throw you off track for being one of the top candidates?


UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Hiring managers want to hear what you can do for them, not what you expect from them. Applicants that design an all-encompassing generic resume usually don’t become a candidate. Focus on the expectations of the hiring manager. If it’s not clearly stated on the position description, ask the hiring manager. Demonstrate your level of interest and then focus on the hiring manager’s needs. Internal candidates fill many openings. However, it’s your measurable results that will raise you above the rest.


THE KITCHEN SINK: Writing a four page resume with everything you’ve ever done will become boring to the hiring manager. He’ll have great difficulty sorting out the things for which he is looking. Target his key definitions of responsibilities in the position description and emphasize those skills and results on your resume and during an interview.   When you go off message with those things that are not of interest to the hiring manager, your not only wasting time but also diminishing his interest in you.


RESEARCH IS TOO HARD: Lacking information about the company means a lack of interest. You want to know as much about the organization, the job and the hiring manager as they know about you. If you don’t know about the company, their history, needs and expectations, you shouldn’t get the job. Preparation means knowledge. A hiring manager will be very impressed if you can articulate the weak areas of the competition in the function for which your interviewing.


NETWORKING IS TOO HARD: If you’re counting on newspaper ads or websites to get a new job, forget it. Most jobs are found through networking. People who know you or know about your work are more likely to put your name forward rather than a stranger. Meet with as many people as you can to learn of what’s going on in their industry, who is looking and for what. Over half of jobs are filled through networking. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.


FORGOTTEN RESOURCES: Networking also includes additional resources: Alumni Associations (contact those that have graduated 10 years before you as they are the hiring managers), Professional Associations/Societies (job boards), Recruiters (they know where the jobs are), Consultants (as a potential staff member, project member or for a client opening),



  • Most people find higher level jobs through their network
  • Few jobs are filled by sending generic resumes electronically
  • Internal candidates fill many jobs, BUT they usually do an external comparative search. They are looking for more qualified candidates who can achieve greater results


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Posted on: September 26th, 2017 by
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Every hiring manager wants something. Why else would they be interviewing?   Sometimes the hiring manager knows exactly what is needed and other times not. View the hiring manager as a customer needing help to achieve goals. Your objective is to find out what the hiring manager is looking for, why, and in what priority.


How do you do that? Here are some ways to find out not only the needs of the hiring manager, but to position you as one of the top candidates.


First, scrutinize the position description. Whenever a hiring manager is writing a position description, the most important items are always put at the top of the list of responsibilities. They form the primary elements that the hiring manager must have if the goals of the job are to be met. The successful candidate, therefore, has to have these elements covered. Having successful experiences in these top 5 items will almost guarantee a telephone interview screen. As the position description continues down the list, the responsibilities diminish in priority, so you need some of those experiences requested, but not all. Few, if any candidates meet all requirements.


Second, the position description will list some of the basic requirements for candidacy. Sometimes you can substitute experience for educational requirements. If they ask for a major in finance, but your major was business with 2 years experience in the accounting department, you can usually step over the requirement. If they’re looking for 10 years experience in a function but you only have 8, if the experiences are exactly what they are looking for you’ll usually make the cut. It boils down to the degree of your experiences and their degree of their flexibility.


Third, other factors on your resume may mean the difference between getting an interview or not. Having additional headings on your resume will sometimes make the difference, like: Technical Expertise (with a listing of apps, systems, tools etc.), Awards, Certifications, Leadership positions, Community Leadership, and so on. Most hiring managers want to see technology applications that they use or want to use. Make sure you list those.


Success comes from converting these key points to your resume. As an example, convert the top 5 items on the position description in a Summary of Results on top of your resume, including measurable outcomes that the interviewer will ask about. Take the requirements and other defining statements and make sure they are clearly shown in one or more of your headings: Technical Expertise, Education, Advanced Certifications, Language, Awards, etc. Parallel those additional items with the content on the position description. Most jobs will highlight added features that will position you at a higher level if you state them.


When you tailor-design your experiences on your resume to the key items on the position description for the job you really want, getting an interview is a lot easier than sending a generic resume that tries to cover everything.


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Posted on: September 19th, 2017 by
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Hating your job can be self-destructive or a signal to make a change. There are three different kinds of change: Those you can make on our own, those you can only influence and those that you just have to live with. Let’s look at a few of the factors over which you have little or no control. These factors will negatively affect your performance, career and in most cases, your pay:


  • Goals are absent with unclear responsibilities and objectives – This puts you in the unenviable position of not knowing what you need to accomplish, not understanding expectations and being unable to fulfill the job responsibilities that are undefined.
  • Organizational constraints prevent you from performing at your highest level – When you’re denied the resources or information you require, your performance is limited. Your manager could also be an impediment to performance by micromanaging your efforts.
  • Little training or support is provided with no supervision – If you can’t learn new skills and expand your abilities, you’re doing the same things in the same way. Stunting your growth will inhibit your opportunities.
  • You’re not treated with respect nor do you have confidence in management – This factor will usually minimize your ability to try new approaches as your not sure you’ll have the support of management. You’ll take the easy way rather than take a risk.
  • Politics prevent optimal performance and favoritism prevails over competence – When you work harder and better than others yet your performance is not recognized, or worse, when the credit of your work is given to someone else, it’s time for a change.


I’m sure you can sight many more factors that you can’t control. These are items that your bosses should be focused on, not you. However, you can assess where you are in your career and when to consider looking for a greener future.


So, how do you determine when its time to take action and find something better? Look at three different yet interrelated elements that need to be in balance:


  • Personal & professional growth – Are you growing in knowledge, skills and abilities? Rate yourself from 0 to 100. 50 means you’re standing still. Anything below 50 is a negative.
  • Pay for performance – Are you keeping up with your peers in the same function and level? If not, you’re falling behind. Rate yourself from 0 to 100. Below 50 is a problem.
  • Opportunity for advancement – Are you being developed for a higher level? Is there a chance for you to advance? Rate yourself 0 to 100. Again, below 50 means your treading water.


If you’re below 50 in only one element, you should monitor your progress more closely. If you are below 50 in two out of the three elements, start checking out the marketplace. If you’re below 50 in all three elements, your growing stale and may soon be irrelevant.


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Posted on: September 12th, 2017 by
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I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of diverse opinions, differences, disagreements, arguments, confrontations and sometimes non-repairable conflicts. There’s always a point-of-no-return in any disagreement. Shattering a relationship with an acquaintance is one thing. Destroying the relationship with your boss is quite another.


There are no “rules” when you have a disagreement with your boss. There are, however, some insights you might want to consider. Take each one and gauge your willingness to take on a subject, the degree of risk your willing to take, for what level of result? Sometimes the risk is not worth the result.


  1. TRUST – How much trust is there between you and your boss? If one doesn’t trust the other, your ability to disagree is severely limited. Many employees don’t trust their boss. On the other hand, if your position will work to the advantage of the boss, it might be worthwhile to “fight” for an outcome that will be to his advantage. As a result, you could increase his trust in you.


  1. NEVER LOSE YOUR COOL – This is true for any discussion or disagreement. You lose before you even begin. Anger has a way of diminishing your position and weakening your credibility. On the other hand, if your boss loses his cool, you heighten his vulnerability and makes you the “cause” of his unbecoming behavior. You lose either way.


  1. UNDERSTAND THEIR ISSUES – Once you understand someone’s objectives and information you can then understand their assumptions leading to their decisions. It may not make sense to you until you comprehend the thinking behind their suppositions. This is a great chance to reach a consensus. Once you understand your boss’s thinking, integrate it with your thinking for a compromise solution.


  1. PRIVACY – It’s very hard to back down from a potential argument if you’re in front of others. You both have a need to be right when you have an audience. The issues tend to get lost when co-workers are listening in. Someone is going to lose credibility.


  1. TRY SUGAR NOT LEMONS – Many times the “What would happen if…..?” question is better than a definitive statement, like “We should do it this way!”. Taking the bosses idea and wrapping it around an expanded idea of yours, softens the position and is more acceptable.


  1. RESULTS – When the results are far greater than the risk, it’s worth it to make a stand. However, you need documented proof that your way is superior. Demonstrate that it’s in the best interest of the boss or the company to move in a different direction.


  1. RETREAT – Once your boss digs in his heels, it’s best to back off. Retreating is not a negative. Hopefully you’ll not get the backsplash from a boss’s bad decision.


CONCLUSION: Pick your battles carefully, prepare your position with substance and be ready to back off if necessary.


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