Take it easy on job seekers

Changing jobs is a highly stressful experience for us humans. Even positive changes can bring about uncertainty, but yet too many people on the hiring side of the desk treat this like a chance to tell people they aren’t good enough or don’t follow directions. I personally think we need to offer a lot more grace in this process and take a few minutes to listen to a candidate. Learn about their skills and why they are interested in joining your company.

Here’s the reality, job seekers get bad job advice from all kinds of people. Employed people think the fact that they have a job makes them qualified to give job seekers advice and that’s not necessarily a fact. People find jobs a variety of ways, and decision makers have a variety of preferences. What works for one job seeker, may not work for another, but job seekers don’t know the difference until it’s too late. They do the best they can with the information they have, yet here we are, complaining about them like they should be experts at landing their next position-especially one with the company we work for!

waiting

In 2019 I want you all to stop disqualifying candidates for things that are not skills related. If the job you are recruiting for doesn’t require uber attention to detail, then stop disqualifying applicants for misspelled words and grammar mistakes. Don’t assume that someone who left their last three jobs before they were there for a year can’t do your job. Make sure you know why a bachelors is “required” so you know what you’re really looking for.

Talk to people.

Look, in all my years of recruiting I’ve learned that your next best hire might make their way to you in one of the most unconventional ways so dial it down a notch. Get off your high horse before karma knocks you off it. When it does knock you off of it, I hope you know everything you need to know to be the perfect job seeker.

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My way

Be your most productive self by learning that there is more than one way to do things.

I order what I know I like from restaurants, I usually take the same route to places I frequent, I have specific routines, and I don’t want you kids on my lawn. I like things done a certain way, mostly my way.

thank you but i prefer it my way

Sometimes my way holds the team back though. My way isn’t the only way. My way works for me, but may not work for everyone else.

To keep from letting my way get in THE way, I focus on the outcome. The end goal can get me to overlook someone else’s way that maybe isn’t as fast as my way would be, or as efficient, or as thorough…

You’ll be a better team player and co-worker if you let yourself learn more than one way to do things.

 

Linda…

Career lesson 18 is about to be the hardest for some of y’all.

Listen.

linda listen

I understand why you may think you know it all, you just graduated with your degree. You passed all your classes and got A’s on all your projects. You studied all the HR legal cases and you memorized the “steps to recruiting” and maybe even competed in a SHRM Case Study competition.

You probably don’t know everything about where you just started working though. You may know case-law and how to plot compensation, but you don’t know why the organization does things the way they do.

You don’t know what it’s like yet to be the benefits manager and sit with employees going through medical trauma who need your help understanding the benefits plan.

You don’t know what hiring managers needs are yet because you don’t know what they do yet.

You don’t know how to run an HR department yet, because you haven’t learned the business yet.

So for today, listen. Take notes. Ask questions.

Are you a consumer?

Raise your hand if you’ve been to a presentation about how innovative Air bnb is to lodging, or amazon is to retail, or uber is to transportation services. All these companies took things we already used and made them exceptionally easy to use. They are “innovative.”

Ahhh, I see that’s most of the room.

The weird thing is, all I can think about is you don’t have to be that innovative to recognize these ideas, you really just had to be a consumer. I know it’s more complicated than just being a consumer to put together and roll out a successful business plan. My point is, thought leaders call these companies groundbreaking in their space, but is it really groundbreaking to think like a consumer? That should be how we naturally operate.

Not just in “how can we market this to consumers” but “as consumers, what are our needs?”

As an employee, what are your needs? HR can really be that simple.

Do you need a safe space to work in? The other employees do too.

Do you need answers to your questions? The other employees do too.

Do you need a team you can trust? The other employees do too.

Do you need good benefits? The other employees do too.

Do you need your paycheck accurate and on time? The other employees do too.

Do you need to be able to use your PTO? Take bereavement? Sick days? The other employees do too.

Do you need a safe space to work in?

DO YOU NEED A SAFE SPACE TO WORK IN?

I know you need a safe space to work in, so stop letting things like this happen: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/16/us/gm-toledo-racism-lawsuit/index.html

It’s not groundbreaking to give the people who use your services (consumers) what they need and nothing less. Its expected.

Get it together in 2019.

Do you like your coworkers?

When I ran a staffing office the hardest job to fill was one for my team in the office. There was extra stress for me to make the right decision because we spent so much time together. Our environment was high stress and if I brought the wrong person into the mix it was going to make it that much harder.

coworkers

I know that we all at some point or another work with someone we don’t like. I learned very early in my career to find a way to work with people I didn’t like, but when it’s a high stress environment and I can avoid bringing someone in that’s going to rub the rest of the team the wrong way I’m going to do my best to avoid it.

It’s much easier to avoid people you don’t necessarily enjoy working with when its a larger organization, but when its a small team you inevitably have to interact.

I recommend offices with a small team find little ways to have fun together during the work week. It’s also important to be as transparent as possible because trust is a huge element to the success of a small team. The funny thing is, the more you bond the more you learn to trust each other.

A few minor ways I would tackle this in our 6 person office:

  • I would often order lunch in for my team and we would lock the doors and ignore the phones for an hour. It wasn’t the corporate offices favorite idea, but I needed to be able to protect a lunch break for my team and the best way to do that was to close the office for the hour and all of us take a lunch break at once. We found that sometimes in staggered lunch schedules it could get tense when someone was waiting on someone else before they could leave.
  • Sometimes we would take a break to play horse in the office with a small back of the door basketball hoop. No pressure, just to walk away from a project for a few minutes and reset.
  • I would turn training into small 15 minute training games that were interactive. For example, to train the team to think faster on their feet we would tell stories where someone would start and then hand off to the next person. I would put a bunch of items in a bag and the team would each get to pull one out and take 3 minutes to sell it to the rest of the group. They were cheesy, but they also served a purpose and allowed us all time to laugh together and share suggestions for improvement.

If you can’t find SOME WAY for your small team to have a little bit of fun together at work, your small team is in trouble. Take 15 minutes this week to put your team in one room and have a laugh. Then do it again next week.

You might be surprised

At a previous job, a high school internship program was something no one wanted to oversee. One of the issues we had with it was that it came from the top down and we were like “um, we have enough stuff to do, but thanks anyway.”

Another reason we were not interested is because we didn’t have time to waste with high school students when we needed to spend time targeting college students.

The ridiculous part there is, we were being stubborn and failing to consider how engaging with interested high school students might later make engaging with college students easier, but I’ll come back to that.

I remember when the initiative hit my desk and I was like NO WAY! My boss pulled rank though and said his NO WAY over ruled my NO WAY so I was stuck with it.

i-was-voluntold-as-tribute

That meant I had to dig around for any and all documentation we may require for employing high school students; labor laws that mandated what they could and could not do and when they could and could not work; and how to navigate events with minors. Specifically, our annual lake house event. Do the kids get to sign the waiver? Do their parents have to sign it? Does it matter? Etc. All tasks I was not excited about even though I knew that it would be easy enough to find the answers.

Thankfully the first group of high school interns for the program was a small group. The technical mentor was a very knowledgeable employee who really took the time to invest in their learning that summer so that helped a lot too.

My biggest hurdles including incorporating them appropriately into an already established college intern program while making sure they were welcomed, learned valuable things, and had a good experience.

By the end of the summer the high school interns became my favorite interns. They were more dependable, inquisitive, invested, and polite than some of the college interns. (Sorry to my former college interns that are reading this, don’t worry though yall will always be my sweet baby interns LOL #IheartMATLAB…). Anyway, all the interns were great, but the high school interns really showed out.

After that first summer I couldn’t wait for the next round of high school interns. It was also cool that other companies started calling us and asking us how we did it. Since my boss adamantly refused to run the program, I was the go-to for these kinds of questions and I have to admit-that was fun!

Now I get the opportunity to go sit with other companies and help them develop an effective high school internship program. I also help local schools when I can on getting their messaging out to other companies who could benefit from a defined strategic high school internship program. (side note, I do that as much as possible because I remember how much I didn’t want to implement the program so I know I can’t be the only one having that reaction, so I want to help people see the possible end result when I can).

Something I thought would be glorified babysitting turned out to be one of my favorite things to participate in. I also very much enjoy running into former high school interns who can articulate how that experience from our program has helped them on their career path. Once those former high school interns got to college, they willingly became a resource to help with on site recruiting efforts. They basically became built-in brand ambassadors. To be fair, our college interns did too, but there was something to be said about having a brand ambassador on board from the first time they stepped foot on campus.

Moral of the story? Step out of your comfort zone at some point in 2019 and volunteer for something you wouldn’t normally do. If you hate it you never have to do it again, but you might be surprised.

Flipping off customers

I got behind the wheel with road rage from day 1. Like an embarrassing amount of road rage.

From the time I was 16 until I was in my 20s I did not dial it down one single bit. No matter how much my parents or any other responsible adult in my life told me my road rage was out of control. (I know, I was just soooo coool).

Two things finally made me lay off the horn and stop screaming at people. 1) That crazy “Normal” episode of Criminal Minds. 2) Pulling into a potential customer site behind someone I had just yelled at for cutting me off.

The first reason is reason enough, if you haven’t seen the episode no need to go and watch it. If you know, you know.

The second reason was an eye opener because I could quickly quantify what that road rage just cost me if that was the person I was in a rush to meet with.

get off the road

Seriously, what if that person who cut me off was the decision maker for the meeting I was headed into. I wouldn’t have known the difference.

That experience made me realize that once you’re in certain roles, you are always wearing that hat any time you’re out in the community. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself. It probably just means that you should be respectful from the jump and make sure you don’t misrepresent yourself to a stranger… that could become a customer.

Or an employee.

Or a boss.

Or a co-worker.

Road rage isn’t healthy anyway so it was a good habit to break.