Tag: interviews

GET THE FINAL ROSE

In a unique comparison, Frank McCabe is back with some recommendations for job candidates. As employers, are these the characteristics you want to see in interviewees?

Frank McCabe is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at The Beacon Group, a Massachusetts-based construction, logistics and facility services firm.

If you have never watched the ABC primetime reality dramedy, The Bachelor, (which I will fully deny seeing to the grave) then allow me to explain how it could translate into the business world.

The premise of the show is simple.  ABC selects one male (or female, depending on the season) and introduces them to twenty-five members of the opposite sex to see if one of them might be the person he/she wants to marry.  Over the course of the show, the bachelor and his suitors go an elaborate dates and adventures around the world– some of them as a group and some one-on-one dates.  These dates include everything from sky diving to skiing to Olive Oil Wrestling Matches in Turkey (nope, not kidding, that happened this week…I read).  At the end of each episode the bachelor gives out a designated number of roses.  Those who receive a rose get to stay for at least another week – those that don’t, go home.  The final show reveals the final rose…you get it.  It is all very silly and far-fetched but, nonetheless, entertaining…from what I am told.

However, I believe that certain attributes of The Bachelor can be applied to business.  Specifically, the art of getting hired for your next job.  As I have watched (I mean, been told by my wife), these men and women go to incredible lengths to make the best possible impression on this one person they just met to prove they are best suited for “the job”.

In this season of The Bachelorette, Ali has an incredibly sordid cast of characters vying for her love and affection.  Justin, an aspiring pro-wrestler, is actually leveraging the show as a publicity stunt to boost his career in the ring.  Casey, an advertising executive/blooming serial killer, got a ‘special’ tattoo on his wrist to prove his commitment and loyalty to Ali.  Depressing and insane acts?  You bet.  But, if we approach the next job opportunity for that position we want with similar (but less Charles Manson-esque) passion we may just find it successful.

  • Look your best.  The guys and girls on the show always make it a point to always be ‘camera ready’.  As they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression.  While your interview with a prospective employer is reality – not reality TV – it never hurts to have a neat and polished look about you; especially the first time you meet someone.
  • Have a game plan. Despite the perceived spontaneity of The Bachelor, no one could ever dream up some of the sappy garbage they feed one another.  My guess is these guys and gals spend many hours off camera inventing these cheesy romance novel-like lines.  You want to put the same preparation into your pre-interview process.  Research EVERYTHING about the company you want to join – its mission, corporate culture, board of directors, product lines, etc.  Anything that demonstrates your passion for this job you are seeking will only be an advantage during an interview.
  • Separate from the Pack.  Despite the pitiful and, frankly, scary tactics of Justin and Casey, they certainly proved they were different.  If it were not for their transparent and underlying craziness, they would probably still be chasing Ali around the set.  While I do not suggest a tattoo of your prospective employer nor some type of superhero outfit for the interview, I do suggest you bring something different to the table.  Think long and hard about what makes YOU different from the other candidates.  Creativity is always a plus in the eyes of an employer.  It will not be discounted when it comes down to final decision time
  • Relax! So many of the suitors on The Bachelor are trying frantically to be ‘someone else’ to impress the guy, they lose sight of their own identity and self-worth.  Don’t be that person!  It is very important to relax and be yourself during all interviews and screenings.  If you are comfortable in your abilities and talents, do not be scared to share that with the interviewer.  Confidence can be as sexy a quality to an employer as it is to the object of your affection.

Lastly, I will admit it.  I have watched the show.  OK?  Happy now?

Why the Curious Employee is Your Best Asset

In his blog post today, “Measuring Curiosity in Talent – The Holy Grail of Hiring and Performance Management…”, Kris Dunn, the HR Capitalist, wrote about a panel he chaired at the ERE’s Social Recruiting Summit at Best Buy’s HQ in Minneapolis. He asked the Best Buy panel a question about how they are hiring to ensure they have the right talent they need to execute their social media agenda. Robert Stephens, the founder of GeekSquad, recalled the thoughts of Marc Andreessen and identified Curiosity, Drive and Ethics as the key attributes they look for in a new employee. All great attributes but curiosity (Dunn calls it the Holy Grail) can be so powerful. Frighteningly, there are companies (I have seen plenty) that not only don’t embrace and foster curiosity they stifle it.

Don’t be one of these companies.

Curious employees can have an impact on your business because they are the people who…

o Question the status quo.
o Strive for constant improvement.
o Drive new products.
o Ask lots of questions. And listen.

Finally, curious employees are hungry for knowledge in their field (the trait Andreessen discusses at length). These are people who are self-starting knowledge-seekers, needing no extra motivation but the opportunity to simply learn more.

If you are not exploring a candidate’s curiosity characteristic in the interviewing process, you would do well to do so.

Thoughts on Gen Y job applicants

Over the last several weeks, I have been doing phone interviews for a couple sales and marketing positions here at HRI. Our focus has been on soon to be college graduates and, for our internship, current college students. It’s been awhile since I have interviewed college age applicants and I wanted to share some of my observations for others who may consider hiring members of Generation Y (I think I have that label right):

➢ These young people are impressive. Prepared, curious, enthusiastic, performing well in the classroom and engaged in multiple activities outside class. Many are engaged in charitable efforts.

➢ Many of the candidates have sought experiences to deepen their knowledge in their particular field of interest. Whether summer jobs or current work activities that coincide with their studies, these young people will bring relevant experiences and insights that we expect will be valuable. Additionally, many soon to be graduates are hungry for meaty opportunities that will challenge them rather than jobs for the sake of a job. Not one has uttered any concern with employment in “this economy”.

➢ While I have an overall positive impression from all the candidates, the young women I have spoken with have distinguished themselves. More confident, more insightful, more clear about their objectives and expectations.

➢ Many have studied or are studying abroad. The prevalence of this activity was surprising to me but my expectations are that such an experience would reflect an individual that is curious and willing to take some risks.

So what are my takeaways for you? There have been many stories about this generation and their attitudes about work. Many of the stories have actually been rather negative. Clearly, I won’t know how it all plays out until I have these folks engaged within the business but my recent experience working with the younger generation has been very positive. My plan is to challenge them, give them responsibility with the appropriate level of guidance and be there for support. I have very high expectations that these young people can have a positive impact on my company. Engaged appropriately, I believe they can have a positive impact on your business as well.