May 2012 Archives

Wednesday May 30, 2012

Advice For An Ambitious, Young Grad

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Dear Joan:

I am a 21 year-old senior at Penn State, looking to make a dent in the world through entrepreneurship, inspiration, and the dissemination of knowledge and wisdom. I'm actively seeking to learn from the experts about how to be successful in my future endeavors (i.e. consulting, entrepreneurship, public speaking, writing, etc.) and stumbled upon your website in the process. You clearly have a wealth of knowledge and experiences and I would greatly appreciate anything you would be willing to share with me.

grad.jpg Specifically, what is your greatest piece of wisdom or advice (career or personal) for an ambitious, young professional approaching graduation?


What an exciting-and challenging-question!

The first piece of advice you are already demonstrating:

Seek advice from those you respect and can learn from.

This curiosity will cause people to open up to you and shorten your learning curve about the companies, the people and the politics of work. Unfortunately, many young grads charge into the work world thinking they already know it all-after all, they have those shining new diplomas! What the smart ones soon learn is that the real education starts after they leave school.

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Tuesday May 22, 2012

Losing the Job Before Your Interview Begins

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Dana's job search week started at 8:00 a.m. on Monday just like it had during the previous 12 weeks. Alone and fearful of the future, she questioned when the next interview would come. She'd invested weeks refining her résumé, spent 20 hours per week networking, and consistently spent another 10 hours a week searching job postings. She had no idea that she'd have a phone interview in 20 minutes.

Telephone.jpgAt 8:20 a.m. her phone rang. It was Cheryl, a hiring manager from SCM Partners, the company Dana has been trying to get into for months. Cheryl was impressed with Dana's résumé and wanted to do a phone interview immediately. "Hi, Dana. My name is Cheryl Jones-Smith from SCM Partners. I'd like to spea k with you about the XYZ position that reports to me. I hope I called you at a good time," stated Cheryl as she began the phone interview.

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Wednesday May 16, 2012

You've Got Nine Seconds

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If you're talking in more than nine second soundbites, you're wasting your words, losing the attention of buyers, and positioning yourself as just another long-winded person trying to make your case. From soundbites on broadcast news to politicians delivering provocative statements to posts on clock.gifTwitter, we've become a society that consumes information in smaller and smaller chunks. According to research at the University of California, the incredible shrinking soundbite has gone from 43 seconds in 1968 to a mere nine seconds today. As a result, when you communicate, especially when selling, you need to choose your words carefully while delivering them with impact, passion, and enthusiasm. Not an easy thing to do, especially when you're an outgoing person whose default factory programming as a human being is to share your gift for gab.

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Tuesday May 8, 2012

So, You Want to Be a Recruiter? Lessons Learned From Top Recruiters

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Maybe you've thought about getting into recruiting, and now would be a good time considering the demand for recruiters is at its highest levels in four years, according to an April 2012 report by Wanted Analytics. While the U.S. unemployment rate is hovering around 8%, hiring managers are struggling to find the right people and are turning to recruiters to find the most qualified candidates.

But the role is full of misconceptions. To give new recruiters a leg up, I spoke to some experienced recruiters to learn about the mistakes they made and what insights they'd share with new recruiters in the field.

  1. Recruiting Doesn't Only Happen Behind a Computer While recruiters can use the Internet as their primary tool for finding candidates, using it exclusively could limit their access to a more diverse pool of candidates.

    Jonathan Weems, a technical recruiter who's been in the field for five years, says his biggest mistake as a new recruiter was assuming he could always find the best candidates online. He stresses that new recruiters need to network offline just as much.

    "Also talk to employees within your own company, find out where they came from, and start building relationships internally," says Weems.

  2. Use Multiple Tools to Find Candidates New recruiters sometimes fall into the trap of relying entirely on one or two tools--and using them in the same way--simply because they're familiar with them or have seen some good results.

    If recruiters are consistently achieving great results with a particular tool, like Monster or LinkedIn Recruiter, by all means they should continue using them. But failing to leverage other tools, could cause recruiters to miss out on a larger pool of candidates.

  3. Don't Just Watch the Internet, Use It According to a survey by Jobvite, 89% of companies said they would recruit in social networks in 2011, and 55% would spend more on social recruiting. While companies are beefing up their social recruiting efforts, some could argue that recruiting has always been very social.

    "The best people who are [recruiting] online were probably pretty good at it when social recruiting wasn't really an issue," says Lance Haun, editor of SourceCon and community director for "They're naturally social and they're trying to have conversations with people. It's just an extension of what they're doing in real life."

    Even though recruiting apps can automate daunting tasks like posting jobs to multiple social networks, recruiters who don't actively engage with job seekers are failing to take full advantage of those platforms.

    "Successful recruiters don't watch the Internet and social networks--they use them as tools to do more of what they do best: talking to people," says Miles Jennings, CEO of

  • Understand the Position You're Recruiting For Experienced recruiters say that finding candidates with the right credentials and experience isn't always the hardest part about recruiting--it's understanding the job that needs to be filled and the business requirements for that position.

    For example, without any experience as an engineer or insurance claims processor, it can be tricky to know what to seek out in candidates for those positions. Beyond identifying relevant keywords to hunt for in candidate resumes, recruiters need to understand the business and what the hiring manager is really seeking in a candidate.

    Recruiters can start by engaging with professionals in the field they're hiring for to learn as much as they can about the profession. The things you learn will give you a better understanding of the kind of candidate you should look for.

    What other tips, challenges, or misconceptions should they know about?

    Jennifer King is an HR Analyst for Software Advice, a company that reviews and compares HR and recruiting software. She writes about technology, trends, and best practices in human resources. Read the full article on her HR Blog:


  • Thursday May 3, 2012

    How to Link Pay and Job Performance

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    Part 1 - THE PROBLEM:

    Employees want to feel that their good work is appreciated and appropriately compensated. However, 7 out of 10 do not believe that there is a clear relationship between their pay and their job performance. Let's investigate this further.

    1. Although technically impossible, most employees believe that their performance is above average. Each, therefore, believes that he or she should be paid above average. But this, of course, is impossible.

    2. Most employees feel that they are not adequately paid compared to those performing similar work in other organizations. They, therefore, also believe that their pay is below the level of their job performance.

    3. Employees often perceive that there are poor performers in their organization who are earning as much if not more than they earn. They thus conclude, "If that lazy so-and-so is still here, they must be under-paying me for my good work."

    4. Supervisors don't have the know-how or guts to differentiate between poor, average, and above average performers. They take the simple way out and give everyone the same pay increases each year.

    5. Our employee surveys consistently show that employees say that tying pay to performance is very important to them. We have found this to be particularly true in unionized organizations where the union has negotiated contracts that require their employer to tie pay increases to years of service rather than performance.

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