Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Launching In A New Direction

Axed, booted, bounced, canned, cut, de recruited, discharged, dismissed, fired, let go, ousted, outplaced, outsourced, redundant, released, riffed, sacked, terminated, or traded for a player to be named later. Call it what you will, I have met many people who have been "promoted to a position upstairs" only to find out that they are in a one story building. Few people go through life without experiencing being fired in some form.

It happened to Annabelle Gurwitch - She had the distinction of receiving this unpleasant news from cultural icon Woody Allen.

Annabelle took this painful life experience, channeled it and decided to do something to make the most of it. Although technically she was "fired" it appears that she was actually "launched" in a new direction.

For those in career transition, I am not suggesting you make a documentary out of your experience like Annabelle did (unless you think you can gross millions at the box office). Her painful experience, combined with her attitude and creativity seemed to help her reengage and do something that no one has ever done before in the film industry.

Will your experience "launch you?"

Here is a short video clip and some interesting fired facts.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Interviewing Strategy - Knowledge Is Power

A frequently asked question during an employment interview. Savvy candidates have done their homework by sleuthing the internet for company histories and annual reports or have used search engines such as Google to find out details about organizations and organizational structures.

Having worked in the Human Resources and recruiting field for close to 25 years, I have observed significantly different levels of sophistication in the "interview process" of a number of different organizations both as a potential candidate and a recruiting professional and HR business partner. I've seen structured processes where hiring entities ask highly relevant, job related behavioral and competency based questions followed by a variety of psychometric tests. I have also encountered organizations with hiring entities that ask very broad based questions ("tell me about yourself") and had discussions that seemed very unstructured.

Consider the following:

"Because job applicants are becoming increasingly sophisticated, it is not unusual for a company to inadvertently hire an individual who makes the best impression, rather than the person who is best suited for the position."
--Users Guide, Caliper

"Most people hire people they like, rather than the most competent person. Research shows that most decision-makers make their hiring decisions in the first five minutes of an interview and spend the rest of the interview rationalizing their choice."
-- Orv Owens, psychologist, in the New York Times

As a candidate, is there anything you can do to either leverage an interviewer's cognitive bias in your favor, find a connection or position yourself to be a person that they "like?" Perhaps another important question for candidates to know the answer to is "What do you know about the person interviewing you?"

Knowledge of a hiring entity's background, interests, involvement or passions could be leveraged in an interviewing situation and could quite possibly make a difference in the outcome of an interview.

Candidates scheduled for on site interviews by a recruiter should inquire "who will I possibly be interviewing with?" Those names can be researched through internet tools such as Linkedin or Zoominfo. Most search engines fail when it comes to people search. Since most personal profiles, public records and other people-related documents are stored in databases and not on static web pages, most of the higher-quality information about people is simply "invisible" to a regular search engine. You can search what is referred to as the "deep web" with Pipl.

In any case, savvy candidates are the most prepared candidates and they know that "knowledge is power." Not only will they leverage internet tools for more information, they will use the acquired knowledge in the interview, or take it a step further and perform a reference check on the people who will be interviewing them that could potentially become their new boss.