Archive For The “BE SMART” Category
You can use the professional social network to get a job at the company itself.
Since 2003, jobseekers have been using LinkedIn to boost their professional cache, network with colleagues, reconnect with classmates and old bosses, and market themselves for new jobs. Today, the social network has more than 400 million users around the globe.
Tey Scott, LinkedIn's global talent acquisitions leader, says she is always looking for new candidates. Here's how to prepare for an interview with the world's biggest career matchmaker — and boost your own personal profile, no matter what job you're looking for.
We also try to help people get to know the new area they're moving to. For recent graduates and students, we'll put them in a LinkedIn group and start conversations with them so they can figure out what neighborhoods they want to live in, and even help them find roommates.
How often do you hire new people?
We are hiring across the board at all times, from sales to engineering at all levels.
What areas of the company are growing fastest right now?
The hotbed of hiring in Silicon Valley is engineering and technical talent. In all of our offices, we're also looking for strong sales and operations talent.
What do you expect candidates to know about LinkedIn before an interview?
The general information on our mission, vision, strategy, culture, and values. You can do a great search on LinkedIn to find out a lot of details about the company before you see us. Clearly, we'd want someone to be actively aware of recent LinkedIn news and updates, [and] if someone could cite the changes in the industry that relate to the position they were interviewing for. You don't have to be an expert in LinkedIn to interview with us, but it would be great if people have a good sense of how to leverage their personal LinkedIn network and understand the basics of a professional network.
What qualities do you look for in every candidate?
No matter the job, we want people who are passionate, have deep integrity, love to collaborate, and have a sense of humor and are driven to deliver results.
How many employees do you have?
We have 9,200 full-time employees. Our headquarters are in Mountainview, California, and we have offices in 26 countries.
Do you tend to hire candidates locally for each office?
We hire from around the world, and we have an amazing relocation assistance program that supports all levels of hires. We offer temporary housing, and help employees find daycare, schools, or other things that suit their needs — whether it's a student relocating from [the East Coast] to Silicon Valley, or someone who has to relocate an entire family and sell a house.
How do you recruit new candidates?
A lot of our recruiting process is happening on LinkedIn and by leveraging our talent solutions products. Applying online yields direct applicants to us as well. One of our biggest sources is referrals from our current employees and our internship program.
Tell me about the internship program.
It has turned into the biggest source of new, college-graduate hires. The goal is to convert as many people who come through it into full-time employees. We have interns in all of our locations globally, and we even host interns from other Bay Area tech companies for an annual intern hack day at our headquarters. Undergraduate and MBA interns must be enrolled full-time in a program and return to the program following the internship.
Do you regularly attend college career fairs and networking conferences where new candidates can interact with you?
We regularly attend events on college campuses. We host career weeks, which focus on career development, and participate in informational career fairs. The student careers page on LinkedIn will tell students where we will be visiting. We also attend the annual Grace Hopper conference for women in computing, Out for Undergrad, and Code2040 [which supports African American and Latino engineering talent]. We also host our own events to connect technical, marketing, sales, and talent recruitment professionals.
How can candidates interact with you on social media to stand out? And is LinkedIn the only channel they should use?
You can follow us on all social media platforms and interact with us. You always have to think about your personal brand. First and foremost, always personalize your outreach. Don't send blanket emails. Be really specific and really thoughtful. And don't spam people. You don't want to be that pesky person.
What questions should candidates ask you in an interview?
I think it really makes a difference if they have done their research, and it shows in the questions they ask. That can point to their own personal passion around the company. We'd like them to ask us intelligent questions around what they are looking for in their career, how they can contribute to this position in our company, and be as open and transparent as possible.
Is it OK to bring up salary in an interview?
It's not off-limits. It just depends on where you are at in the process. It doesn't have to be initiated by us. Where I think people get tied up is if that's the only criteria they're interested in.
What mistakes do people make in an interview and don't know it?
One of the biggest ones is they really didn't do their research on the company, the products, and the people. LinkedIn makes it so easy to do this. It always gives me a little excitement when I just meet a candidate and they say, "I saw on your profile you used to work at Nike early in your career. I know someone at Nike." Making those connections is important. When people don't appear to be engaged — for whatever reason — and there is no real passion or interest displayed during the interview, that is really hard to get over.
What is the interview dress code?
I would encourage everyone to leverage their network to ask that question going in. It can really contribute to your comfort level. At LinkedIn, it is business casual.
Do thank-you cards matter to you?
The traditional thank-you card is nice, but even a digital thank-you is also perfectly appropriate. I have had people after an interview follow up with me personally and I wouldn't have known that they had my company email address, which means they asked somebody for it. And following up through LinkedIn is perfectly appropriate as well. People can sniff out when you're truly invested in personalized communication, or you're just sending a template response.
A job interview can be a stressful event. You're trying to remember what to talk about, and how to make sure the interviewer knows you're perfect for the job. What should you remember to mention? Here are some tips.
Re-read your resume so all skills are fresh in your mind. Put an emphasis on the skill requirements of the interviewer and make sure they know you are capable of doing what is required. Some employers won't read the specifics of a resume, or will have missed or forgotten about it. Stressing your skills will help them remember why you should be hired.
If you're flexible, let them know. If you can work late, can do overtime, or can work weekends or travel if you need to, tell them. Don't appear too eager because they may not have any need for you to work extra hours. But by letting them know of your availability, you present yourself as an attractive candidate.
Projecting a positive and professional attitude will leave a happy memory in the minds of your interviewers. A can-do approach to work is always welcomed by employers. Give yourself a pep-talk before you go in and tell them that you're a hard worker, you're cheery, and you'd enjoy working for them.
Your Willingness to Learn:
Since most jobs evolve over time, you want to showcase your willingness to learn new skills. Make sure you tell them about programs or tools you've learned and retained in your past jobs. They'll likely be impressed by your willingness to adapt and to learn new things. It shows a strong work ethic and talent.
Your Interviewer's Needs:
If you've got the skills they're looking for, tell them. If you fulfil the requirements of the job ad, make sure you stress how you fulfil them. Make sure your interviewer's needs and requirements are met. They want to know that the person they hire will be a perfect fit and will have everything it takes to do the job. By stress your skills and how you fulfil their particular needs, you're telling them to hire you.
It's important to bring forth some of your best qualities at a job interview. Your skills, your flexibility, and your ability and willingness to learn new things are usually key requirements in an interviewer's list of needs. By fulfilling these needs and telling them how you can do the job, you are projecting your capacity to do the job.
Here are the 8 questions every business needs to answer in order to succeed:
Question 1: What is the ambition of the company?
It is critical that the vision of where the company is heading and what it is trying to achieve over the medium to long-term is understood and shared by everyone. If people don’t know where they journey is going, they won’t know how they can help row into the right direction. What companies need is a clear guiding star that everyone can follow and aim for. For some more specific advice on company mission and vision check out this post of mine.
Question 2: Which customers are we targeting and why should they buy from us?
In answering this question, companies have to agree on their target market as well as the customer value proposition. For the former, companies have to figure out the customers they want to sell to and how (e.g. the markets segment, what region, what channel). For the latter, companies need to decide what makes customers buy their products or services. It could mean focusing on quality, relationships, brand, low price, convenience, etc. A common mistake here is trying to do too much and focusing on too many different customer promises.
Question 3: What are our financial goals?
It always amazes me how unclear the financial goals are in many companies. For some businesses, the focus might be on growing sales (especially those that are trying t grow) while others might be concentrating on growing profit margins and bottom line performance. Whatever a company decides here it has to be supported by the answers about customers and market. If the focus is on growing profits, then the customer priorities might be about identifying and developing close relationships with the most profitable customers. If instead, the focus is on driving growth, the customer objectives might be to enter new markets or diversity. Follow this link to find out about some of the most important finance indicators and always remember that the main reason why companies go bust is not a lack of sales or profit but a lack of available money in the bank. I therefore advise every company to add cash flow objectives to their financial goals.
Question 4: What do we have to excel at internally?
Here, companies need to figure out what internal processes they have to excel at and what internal core competencies they need to focus on in order to deliver to their customers and shareholders. Again, it is about making choices and defining the key things they have to improve and grow internally. A company that wants to improve profits by targeting their most profitable customers might want to concentrate internally on putting in place customer relationship management processes.
Question 5: What are your biggest competition factors and business risks?
Instead of just focusing on the internal improvements, companies also need to look across their own horizon and watch the market and competition. Every company should be aware of the key risks to their business and monitor the competitive forces in the market.
Question 6: Who are the key partnerships we have to build and maintain?
No business can operate in isolation. Businesses have suppliers, channel partners, distributors, networks and communities that are vitally important to their future business success. Here, companies need to identify who those key partners are and which relationships they need to focus on over the coming months.
Question 7: What systems and infrastructure do we require to succeed?
To answer this question companies need to pinpoint what IT systems and data requirements they have as well as any requirements for physical infrastructure such as buildings, machinery or land. These systems and infrastructure priorities need to be in support of the objectives identified around internal processes and customers.
Question 8: What are our employee and people priorities?
Businesses wouldn’t exist without the people in them. It is critical that companies identify the talent they require, the development and recruitment priorities as well as any priorities around organisational culture and leadership.
These are the 8 critical questions every company needs to answer in order to succeed. What are your thoughts on these? Are there any others you would add?
We all know already that teamwork is the key to success in most realms of life and business. Only through teamwork can we combine different, complementary points of view to identify and seize hidden synergy opportunities, overcome difficult obstacles and achieve challenging objectives.
However, teamwork is a challenge in and of itself. It requires that people manage their egos, develop humility, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts and, above all, commit to one another and to a common goal. Anyone who has worked on a team knows that the only way to do so successfully is by assessing oneself honestly and becoming the best person one can be. In this regard, not only does teamwork increase performance, it also promotes the development of better citizens and societies.
In order for a group of people to become a high-performing team, its members must undergo five transformational stages, which were masterfully described by Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith in what they called “The Team Performance Curve,” presented in their book The Wisdom of Teams. The five stages are:
1. Working Group
A working group is nothing more than a collection of individuals who make independent contributions to a common objective, thus requiring low levels of integration and alignment. Working groups function well in certain contexts where complexity is low and the objectives are straightforward. However, they become less and less effective as the environment becomes more complex and the objectives become more challenging. More specifically, when identifying and seizing synergies become a prerequisite for survival and long-term sustainability, working groups must evolve into teams or else they will drift away into oblivion.
When the members of a working group first decide to become a real team, their collective performance will tend to decrease as a result. This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Working groups do not require that their members be fully integrated and aligned strategically and operationally. They operate under the premise that its members work individually and, later, someone else, a coordinator, will be responsible for integrating the results of their work.
Therefore, when members of a working group first attempt to work as a real team, they have to face inevitable misunderstandings and frictions resulting from the natural differences among their personalities, work styles and personal goals. As a result, climate and performance deteriorate. Despite this difficulty, every team member, especially the leader, must be determined and patient, and allow this stage to occur in its entirety while not letting it define the team’s future. This is where effective leadership starts to play a crucial role.
3. Potential Team
Once a certain level of familiarity and camaraderie develops among the team members, they start to agree on preliminary objectives, work methods, communication protocols, etc. Also, as they start to reach agreements, they also start to develop a culture of their own. This allows them to feel comfortable with one another, anticipate each other’s moves and have a glimpse at what they could achieve together. This gives them strengths of untold potential: trust and hope. The nascent integration among them and their willingness to learn from one another will allow them to reach performance levels that were literally impossible when they were just a working group.
4. Real Team
After establishing common objectives, work methods and communication protocols, newly formed teams develop a culture of their own and start to function like a unit. They visualize a shared future, motivate each other, learn from each other, resolve disputes and perform their jobs in ways that strengthen the overall system. In this way, they finally start to identify and seize synergy opportunities that were previously invisible. This is the mark of a real team.
5. Extraordinary Team
When a team develops a culture based on humility, hard work, excellence and learning, its members become able to translate both their victories and their failures into inputs for continuous improvement. Additionally, each member starts to develop unique, specialized skills that increase the team’s inventory of competitive advantages. Furthermore, they periodically reinvent themselves and the way they work, thus quickly adapting to, and sometimes generating, industry trends. All this allows them to achieve extraordinary results with increased frequency, thus becoming an extraordinary team.
The evolution from stage 1 to stage 5 is an arduous one that only a few get to complete successfully. In a way, these five stages also describe the development of human consciousness, sustainable economies and democratic societies. Teamwork is one of those topics where organizational theory, business management, political theory and human psychology meet to reveal a great deal of knowledge and wisdom that applies to every realm of life.
Ever so often I hear the claim "people resist change". It is a rooted belief, and is being used to explain both the difficulties of executing a change process as well as the failure of a change process to achieve the desired results.
How do we know that people resist change - it is quite simple, we propose a change and they do not accept it. Another symptom that drives the belief is that while implementing the change, even when it was initially accepted, people do not do what is expected of them for implementing the change and raise their observations out loud, or in their actions. For a second here, should we not consider the possibility that the change we propose is not good enough? Maybe even wrong? Or at least, wrongly presented? That the implementation process has faults in it? But this is not the subject of this post. This post is about the way we accept and participate in big, meaningful changes.
My personal take on people, is that most of us are driven by the desire to grow. Some want to grow their wealth, others their knowledge, others their influence and so on. Growth, as we all understand, cannot be achieved and sustained by continuing to do the same things we have been doing, it mandates change. Thus, the claim "people resist change" seems to me to be equivalent to claiming "people resist living". Saying that people resist change is like saying "people are dumb", of course not us (the change initiators).
Around the belief that people resist change, along the years, many have developed processes for overcoming the resistance. These processes have a few common underlying assumptions. One of the key assumptions is that people resist changes that were formulated, chosen and planned by others. Therefore, many of the the above mentioned processes use techniques for getting people involved. Getting them to be part of the change, and thus assume ownership. As much as there is evidence that we are owning changes we invented, I seriously doubt this is the most effective way to successfully lead change. Especially when considering a substantial one.
How do we make meaningful decisions? Meaningful choices? When we decide to get married, do we go through a process of defining what are the characteristics of the ideal spouse? Short list candidates? Evaluate against the criteria? Clearly getting married is a huge change in our lives, clearly it has huge uncertainty. And clearly, even though we believe we made the choice here, we (mostly) did not.
When looking at the big changes in our lives, it is more common than not, that the change decision was made by others and we had no say in it, the change process was designed by others and we had no contribution to it, and it carries enormous uncertainty for us. All the ingredients that indicate we should have resisted the proposed change, but nevertheless not only we did not, we actually looked forward to this change and embraced it with enthusiasm.
Think about going to elementary school, high school, getting married, having kids, taking a mortgage, going to the army (in Israel compulsory at the age of 18), being promoted at work, etc. - all meaningful decisions, all meaningful changes in our lives. What typifies these changes is that the decision to change, the change itself and its process were primarily made by others, nevertheless the night before we enter high school we can't sleep, we look forward to the new life that will start tomorrow. So much of it is unknown, nevertheless we are thrilled about this new beginning. Why?
I believe it closes the loop with the statement at the beginning of this post - people want to grow. But for growth to be considered growth two conditions must be met - the first, I - the person undergoing the change must acknowledge that the specific change is leading growth and equally important is that those that their opinion matters to me, also acknowledge that the specific change is growth.
When we enter elementary school, everyone knows and acknowledges - it is a symbol of growth. Similar all the meaningful changes in life mentioned above are clearly socially accepted as growth. Even marriage, having kids or buying a house, which may seem as a choice we made ourselves, is mostly a result of a social acceptance. We may have chosen the time and the spouse, but not the change itself. It is yet another socially accepted acknowledgement of growth.
When dealing with "big" changes, meaningful ones, leading the change successfully does not necessitates necessarily involvement, it does necessitate clear social acceptance of the change, as growth. This will create commitment, motivation and enthusiasm, while the rest of the processes will, at best, lead to participation.
As a leader, the most important part of your job isn't your results. Your job is to inspire your employees’ results. Here's how.
If you think your most important job as a leader is to write mission statements, set goals, or even increase revenue, you’re focusing on the wrong metrics. Your most significant role doesn’t involve your results; your job is to inspire your employees’ results, says Richard S. Wellins, co-author of Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best In Others.
"As a leader your focus changes; your number one priority is to bring out the best in others," says Wellins, who is senior vice president at management consulting firm DDI.
A study done by DDI and Harris Interactive found that 98% of employees who have good leaders are motivated to do their best, while only 11% of employees with ineffective managers felt motivated to give their best.
Being able to bring out the best in others is a skill that involves just 10% natural inclination; the other 90% has to be deliberate, says Wellins: "It can’t be learned by listening to a lecture or reading examples," he says. "It needs to be practiced, reinforced, and used day to day."
Here are six of their daily habits:
- They Focus On The Person’s Strengths
Good leaders identify the strengths of individual team members and give employees opportunities to use them, says Wellins. "They cultivate and optimize others’ talents and capabilities," he says.
While some strengths will be obvious, good leaders schedule one-on-one meetings and ask questions such as, "What do you enjoy doing most as part of your work?" and "What do you miss most about the jobs you’ve had in the past and why?"
- They Empathize
Leaders who bring out the best in others listen to what team members are saying and put themselves in their shoes, says Wellins. When dealing with an emotional situation, listening and responding with empathy can immediately reduce tension, and until things calm down, nothing productive can occur.
"Empathy will drive better performance; this is a huge motivator," says Wellins.
- They Give Recognition
People who bring out the best in others also reward and recognize good work. Leaders often worry that praise will seem unprofessional or that employees will become complacent or overconfident.
"It isn’t and they won’t," says Wellins. "It’s about making a person feel good about themselves even when they feel challenged or are in tough times.."
This is also important when things are going well, adds Wellins. "It’s so simple, but our research shows that one- to two-thirds of leaders are not good at acknowledging good work," he says.
- They Connect The Right People
Liz Wiseman, author of Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work, calls leaders who bring out the best in others "multipliers." She says multipliers look for talent everywhere and focus on finding people, at whatever level, who know the things they don’t.
"Multipliers take the time to understand the capabilities of each individual so that they can connect employees with the right people and the right opportunities—thereby building a virtuous cycle of attraction, growth, and opportunity," she writes in an article for Harvard Business Review.
- They Don’t Micromanage
Bringing out the best in others means delegating. "Good managers are careful to not micromanage," says Wellins. "Their job is to assign or direct general goals in work that needs to be done but they should never do it for the person."
Stretch goals that push people can have a big impact on how people feel about themselves, their work, and what they can accomplish, says Wellins. "Appeal to their strengths and give them responsibility and they will achieve their goals," he says.
As team members earn small wins, their confidence grows and seemingly insurmountable problems appear less daunting, adds Wiseman; roadblocks become interesting puzzles for the team to solve.
"Multipliers see themselves as coaches and teachers," writes Wiseman. "These leaders put a high premium on self-sufficiency: Once they delegate a task or decision, they don’t try to take it back."
- They Create Safe Environments
People who bring out the best in others give people permission to think, speak, and act with reason, says Wiseman.
"They generate an intensity that demands high-level work from the team, but they also have a high tolerance for mistakes and understand the importance of learning along the way," she writes. "So they create mental spaces in which people can flourish."
Implementing a new HR system can be anything but easy. Here's our tips for getting it right
The latest HR systems promise to make your department’s life much simpler, yet often the implementation of something new is anything but easy. But getting it right can be critical to the success of the project. In the words of HCM software provider Workday’s senior vice president, product Leighanne Levensaler: “Think about the experience because you don’t get many second chances.”
At Workday’s annual Workday Rising customer conference in Dublin, HR magazine asked two HR leaders to share their advice on making implementation as pain-free as possible. Here are their top three tips.
1. Be aware this is change management not just technology
“Technology is not the challenge; the challenge is the change management and how you drive that,” says engineering firm Ramboll’s senior HR manager Anna Schow. “Don’t ever underestimate change management as there will always be issues.”
The biggest lesson for Ramboll was making the false assumption that because its managers were engineers they would “just get it”, and understand both the system and the value of self-service without any training. “That was a big mistake,” admits Schow.
The lessons of this misstep led to the business taking a more centralised approach with later implementations, rather than allowing local HR managers to drive things. “Taking control of the message centrally was more effective,” says Schow. “It’s about having strong governance and policies around it from the beginning. You need to define your roles and responsibilities upfront.”
Raymond L’Homme, global HR business application manager at medical company Elekta, agrees that “the biggest challenge is the change management”. “You need to get through that and make sure people buy into it,” he says. “At first they think ‘there’s nothing in it for me’, because managers have to do more and can see it as an additional burden. HR needs to stimulate a more positive vibe.”
2. Communication is everything
Given the scale of the change management required in a big implementation it’s no surprise L’Homme feels “communication is the most important thing”. “You need to inform managers and employees why you are doing this,” he says. “Send out newsletters, putting the importance on why you are doing this and what the benefits are.”
And while you might think you can do everything using technology, L’Homme advocates face-to-face communication. “We made a big point of being there on site showing people that [the implementation] was important,” he says. “Even if they were doing training in Chinese, having a global HR person there shows it is important.”
3. Rethink the HR skillset
Embracing technology means HR professionals need to improve their analytical capabilities, which may require a rethink of the skills an HRD has available in their department.
“We have a lot of good business partners, but they weren’t hired because they are good at analytics,” says Schow. “The BPs should be driving this into the business, so we are developing them to be able to communicate insights and data. We need to train them in how to talk with data and how to use the data when they are facing a challenge.”
L’Homme believes understanding analytics “should be compulsory” in all HR qualifications, as should training in HR systems. “Systems should be incorporated into HR qualifications,” he says. “It’s only going to become a bigger part of your day job.”