Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Being the Ideal Candidate, part 2

Seven good tips about successful job seeker and worker behaviors.
  1. Focus on accomplishment. Be known as the person who gets things done. Solve problems, don't dwell on them. Help other job seekers. Provide Answers on LinkedIn to be recognized as an expert.
  2. Develop a reputation to be proud of. Keep an eye on your image. Be someone YOU would admire.
  3. Be trustworthy. Be the person who can keep a secret, isn't a gossip, and can be counted on in all situations. Pay attention when you listen and behave like you are paying attention. Empathize with others and show your empathy.
  4. When you give your word, keep it. Underpromise and overdeliver.
  5. Be on time. Be where you are supposed to be when you are expected to be there. Respect the schedules of others. Let them know you know how busy they are and how precious is their time.
  6. Don't complain. No one cares, and they have problems of their own. Solve problems, don't dwell on them. Share good news with everyone and be selective with whom you burden with the bad news.
  7. Don't brag. It's obnoxious and it alienates others. Arrogance is the number one reason why people get fired or don't get hired. Trying to manipulate or influence others without considering them is the first step to failure.

Adapted from "Larry's Employee Handbook" as written in It's Called Work for a Reason.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Are You the Ideal Candidate?

"Who you ARE speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you are saying." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are your actions as a job seeker telling employers what they want to hear?
Do you complain about no one returning your phone calls or emails? Or are you patient, but persistent?

How are you looking for a job?
Are you waiting around for something to happen? Or are you following up and finding ways to make and keep in contact with companies?

What actions are you taking to find employment?
Do you rely on others to do things for you? Or are you taking the initiative and doing as much as you can for yourself?

How are you behaving when and after you apply to a job opening?
When you get discouraged and frustrated, do you gripe or take it out on others? Or are you the kind of employee who handles pressure well?

Ask yourself if you are you doing the things that the perfect, the best, employee would do.
If you want the job, while you are looking, you must behave every day in every way possible like an employee they would want.

Do you know, do you understand, how the ideal candidate should behave?

Having all the required and preferred knowledge and experience to do a job means nothing if you don't act the part. If you don't behave like the right kind of person for the job, then you won't get the offer. Employers hire the right person, not necessarily the most qualified.

Learn about the job. Ask for a job description. Research the company. Talk to people who work for the company or people who have a similar job in another company.

Then make a behavioral profile of the ideal candidate. How would the best employee take on a project? What are the top personality characteristics of the successful worker in that position? How would the desired candidate handle problems like difficult customers?

Then make a list of at least five of those characteristics that you would want to demonstrate. And create opportunities in your job search process to show them who you are.

For example, if you have identified that politeness is a top quality for success in that job, then behave in a considerate and courteous way. Acknowledge busy schedules and heavy work loads. Ask when would they have a moment or two to spare. Make your schedule convenient for them. Speak precisely and slowly, and repeat your name and phone number so your voice mail messages can be understood clearly.

Bottom line:
Would you hire you?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Red Button

Help Wanted.
Red Button Pusher.
Must be ready, willing and able to push a red button.
Red button pushing experience preferred, but not required.

Hello, I am Bill. I am here to interview for the Red Button Pusher job.

Hello, Bill. I am Mary. Nice to meet you. Have you any experience pushing a red button? Red button experience is not required, but we would prefer if you had some experience with pushing a red button.

Well, Mary, I have a PhD in button design and technology. I have five years experience in the design, implementation, operation, maintenance, and quality evaluation of buttons. I have published several studies on the ergonomic application of buttons in a wide variety of industrial, military and medical applications. I have increased the effectiveness of button pushing for seven different businesses resulting in production improvements of an average of 47%. And after an analysis of your button pushing operation, I have determined that you will increase your profits by 17% if you change the color of the button from red to green.

That is very impressive, Bill. But you are way overqualified for the job. You probably want to be paid much more than we can afford and you would be bored very quickly with the red button pushing job. So thank you, Bill, but no thank you. Have a nice day.

But, Mary, wait, I really need this job! I am more than ready, willing and able to push the red button and I will work for nothing just to show you how hard working I am. Please! I just want a chance to get my foot in the door.

Sorry, Bill. Good luck.

So…was Bill being “honest” or maybe a little arrogant? If you tell them all about yourself without considering what they want or what is most important to them, then is it not all about you and not about them?

You be the judge.

No, wait, they already passed a verdict. You lost.

First and foremost, give them what THEY want…nothing more, nothing less.
You can always do more once you have landed the job.