…rituals and routines

The importance of rituals and routines in your job search cannot be overemphasized. Whether you’re looking for a job full-time or looking for a job while you have one (which is like having two jobs) it’s very important to develop specific patterns of  living (rituals and routines) that allow you to focus your mental and emotional efforts on doing everything you can to find a job.Good routines are designed to prepare a job seeker for their best performance, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Routines and rituals mean that you set a schedule that you follow every single day of your job search. If you’re looking for a job full-time, it’s writing out a specific schedule that you don’t deviate from so that you don’t have to “think” and spend mental energy on inconsequential decisions. Inconsequential decisions like, “What time should I get up tomorrow?”… “Which shirt should I wear today?”… “What suit should I wear?”… “What should I have for breakfast?”… “What time should I eat lunch?”… “Who should I call about an interview?”… “What plan should I have for today?”    “Should I simply blow today off and go play golf?”… added together take a tremendous amount of mental and emotional energy.

The result of too many of these inconsequential decisions is called decision fatigue. There have been a tremendous number of psychological studies showing that even after making a number of inconsequential decisions that are just that, inconsequential, people get emotionally and psychologically tired and they don’t do as well on cognitive tests.

Decision fatigue is further exacerbated when someone is looking for a job because of the emotional strain of looking for a job and, if it’s the case, trying to keep a job they don’t like which they are leaving as well as trying to find a new one. Decision fatigue can happen really quickly and put the individual in a debilitating mood. I’ve often wondered how much this factor plays in those 94.7 million people who are out of work with 50% of them reporting that they just plain quit looking.

Routines and rituals help minimize decision fatigue. Minimal decision fatigue frees an individual’s mental and emotional efforts to focus on the process of looking for a job, i.e. getting interviews, performing those interviews, etc. It’s hard enough to function well in the job search process without decision fatigue. Bluntly, there’s always going to be some of it, but the idea is to minimize it as much as possible.

Are your rituals and routines helping you?

…for mom’s with a career

One of my candidates was speaking to me this week about her disappointment in not being further in her “career.” She was lamenting the fact that her career had seemed to stall when she had made the decision to take a few years off to stay at home with her children. She was fortunate enough, economically to be able to do that. She is now in her mid-40s and, although in a good job, she would like to move faster. She expressed the idea that maybe if she hadn’t taken the 3 1/2 years off to stay home with the kids she might have been able to go further.

Now my expertise is helping companies find really good talent and helping great candidates find new jobs. I’m not a psychologist and the philosopher in me (as well as the “psychologist” in me) is simply  a result of the experience I’ve had in helping people since 1973 and paying attention to what I’ve seen and experienced.

As I’ve mentioned before,raising kids is the hardest job in the whole world. From a father’s (male) perspective being a mom is the most difficult challenge a woman could probably have. I expressed to this lady my sincere belief that raising kids is a whole lot more important than any career. At the end of our lives and especially in the twilight of our lives the way our children have turned out will far surpass our position on the corporate ladder. Her career will be, at best, a footnote to the impact she had on the world by raising children. A successful career is third or fourth place compared to being a successful parent. One of the reasons our society is so messed up is that we have put a career on some pedestal confusing it with “success.”

Some women absolutely have to work to make economic ends meet in the family. I understand. And my heart goes out to them. Nobody said that life was easy…for any of us. We all have our burdens and our challenges. But it is how we meet those burdens and challenges that make the difference.

I advised my candidate that when she looks back on her career, it won’t be anywhere near as important as the raising of her children. We only get ONE shot at raising children. Careers, jobs etc. can come and go and, at least in America, we can start all over as many times as we wish. We can’t “start over” at raising our children.

I suggested to my candidate that the “career” aspect of things and how far along she might get or have gotten is maybe the wrong focus. Maybe the focus should be the quality of her work And how well she accomplished what she was doing. Did she do her work the very best she could? Was it just a j-o-b, or did she throw herself into her work and do the very best she could? Did she personally grow in the process of doing what she did? Was she, in the metaphor of Martin Luther King, the best street sweeper she could be? Did she do everything she could to perfect the gifts that God has given her?

Our perspective is usually defined by our own experience. The personal growth that I’ve experienced in my career would not have been possible had it not been for a wonderful spouse, Chris, who was a “career mom” doing the yeoman’s work of raising five wonderful children. And now she is having the joy of being a wonderful grandmother. We were blessed and I, particularly fortunate, to be so lucky.

But even the business that I nurtured, pales in comparison to the impact that raising children has. Again, for those women that have to do both our prayers are with you. However, our society’s emphasis on our being a “business career success” at the expense of being a fine parent, especially a mother, has our laddr on the wrong wall.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be concerned about their career… both men and women. I am saying  that we need to stop and think about how what we do, professionally, meshes with our being a parent. I repeat, you only get a shot at that ONE time.

At the end of your life, it won’t be your customers, your CEO, your business associates who will be easing your death.

‘Cultural Fit’

I hear it once a day…a euphemism for age, gender, race, faith, ethnicity…anything you can think of. Few folks will be absolutely open about it. They kind of mumble the words in an uncomfortable, low toned, embarrassing manner, with their revealing guilt. Sometimes, rarely, a good business reason underlies the discrimination. Thirty or so years ago, I remember the owner of a trucking company telling me he wanted to hire an overweight, older lady to do the front office scheduling and bookkeeping. He insisted that he didn’t want the drivers hanging around the front office ogling and flirting with the woman he hired. It wasn’t illegal to discriminate this way back then. Although it still might have been wrong, I totally understand his point.

I really understand the rationale behind this issue, though I disagree. A tribal mentality will always exist. Let’s face it, an employee with growing children probably wants to be home for dinner with the family in the evening rather than endless happy hours with younger peers and ‘clients’ with nothing better to do. And if that is a part of their business, it just may not fit some folks. It often, though, may never cross the mind of managers that happy hours may not be the only way of being effective.

Young, inexperienced managers often shy away from hiring  very experienced, older employees for fear of being treated like a ‘kid’ instead of a boss. Older managers claim they don’t want to mess with ‘raising’ kids by putting up with the strains and distractions of youth…romances, social life, that is more important than work, etc. They say, “I’ve already raised my own children, don’t want to raise any again.” Both ends of the spectrum aren’t universal.

This ‘cultural fit’ issue is just one variable some employers refuse to deal with. I get it. Business is rough enough without having to worry about an issue that might become a problem. And if companies only hire the ‘same’ kind of folks, they’ll never know what else might work.

As a job seeker, it is useless to rail against this bias. It may not be right, but it ain’t gonna change. Quit expending energy on it. There are lots of wrong things in the world. As the need for good employees increases, these biases will decrease because of demand.

I’ve experienced European firms as well as East Indian firms who hire Americans simply because they need them in order to do business in America but I can tell in speaking with them that they have a disdain as well as a condescending attitude towards Americans and American businesses. They often look down their noses at us, implying that we really don’t know what we’re doing. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism. I don’t know.

And then there are some cultures like my heritage, Middle Eastern, where it is simply accepted and assumed that everybody lies. Well, a milder way to put it is that they don’t always tell the truth or all the truth. That doesn’t mean that all Middle Eastern folks lie. Most of us don’t. It just means that bending the truth is a lot more accepted in the Middle East than in America. I know one president of a company who is East Indian who won’t do business with most East Indian companies because he says the way they are taught to do business in India isn’t the way he chooses to operate. Bending the truth, he says, or telling people that they will do something they don’t really intend to do is accepted in that culture.

The truth is that lots of people at any age act crazy. Lots of folks of different races, genders and ethnic backgrounds see the world differently than you. Some outright lie and some outright don’t like the rest of us.

Some of these issues are perceptions and some are total misperceptions. I placed a 64-year-old sales guy with a woman-owned sales organization where the 14 women who comprise the organization averaged 32 years old. He’s doing great and they all laugh about the perspective that he brings. (I doubt, though, it would be easy to get used to “cultural” lying.)

We’d all probably be a little better off if we’d simply forget employees fitting into the “culture” of our company. Just be aware, though, that as a job candidate you may very well run into cultural bias. Complaining about it probably won’t do you one bit of good. You are still not likely to be hired. Be aware, however, that you probably have some of those cultural biases yourself.




….a PRAYER list

One of the things that seems to help people going through an emotionally charged experience like a job search is to start a prayer list. It’s so simple it’s almost stupid, but we have found over the years that people who do this seem to have an easier emotional and psychological experience in difficult and tough situations.

My sense is that, even aside from being a “believer,” offering up spiritual thoughts and prayers for other people, one of the most important things this practice does is to help all of us focus on people who are less fortunate than we are. There is such a tendency toward self-pity the longer a job search goes on and the more difficult it becomes. No matter what anyone says, the experience is lonely and often loaded with fear.

Most of us will have a tendency to wallow in our own misery…until we encounter someone or hear about someone who is much worse off than we are. How often have all of us rocking along in our lives with ordinary challenges and difficulties and then all of a sudden find out that either a close friend or an acquaintance has been diagnosed with cancer or experienced  deaths in their family, of their spouse, child or parent or more profoundly, dies. Just last month one of our candidates who had also been a client of ours for a number of years had a heart attack and died at 53 years old. This kind of thing sobers us up really quickly and all of a sudden we put all kinds of things in perspective. We realize that all this craziness of life with its normal ups and downs aren’t anywhere near as difficult as we think.

So, one of the ways of being more proactive with humility in our own struggles is to start a prayer list. Every time you hear about someone who has had a challenge in their life, be it small or large, write their name down on a list. You don’t even have to tell him that you’ve done this. And every day or two look at the list and offer up the words or thoughts of, “God bless them.”

Having practiced prayer all my life, I’m very aware that it is still a “p-r-a-c-t-i-c-e.” I will never perfect it. And probably wouldn’t even know the perfection of it if I did. I will admit that it is still a mystery to me and, truthfully, sometimes admit to myself a little bit of doubt in its efficacy. But, I and others keep praying because we do believe that it helps others.

If you’re not a believer, that’s all right too, you can adopt Pascal’s theory, that even if you aren’t sure, if there’s a chance that belief in prayer works, it’s certainly worth doing. It costs you absolutely nothing and, if nothing else, helps you focus on other people. You may not have to be a believer in goodwill to offer others goodwill.

Lest we get too philosophical here, start a prayer list. Offer up some positive spiritual thoughts for other people. You’ll be amazed at how much of that kind of gift will come back to you.

…but they lied to me… I just can’t believe it… They lied to me

Here’s the problem: hiring authorities, no matter what they say, are afraid of hiring. They are afraid of making a mistake in hiring. For this reason, they are going to tell you as a candidate all kinds of cockamamie stuff. It’s not that these people really want to intentionally lie to you. They don’t. But they’re not sure of just exactly what they’re going to do in the hiring situation. I had an employer a number of years ago that told nine people in a row that he was going to hire them during their interview. Go figure.

For most employers, hiring is a very confusing, difficult thing. No matter how often they do it, they still have a problem with it. Think about it! If you are an accountant and you make a mistake you can go back to your computer and fix it or, at least, your pencil has an eraser on it. If you’re an engineer and somebody discovers that your design isn’t very good, you can go back and fix it. But when a poor candidate is hired, it doesn’t show up for five or six months, sometimes even a year. And what’s even worse, everybody in the company can see that a doofus has been hired. So, how does this make a boss look? You don’t need much of an imagination to figure this one out.

This whole conundrum is embodied in the phrase “we don’t want to make a mistake!” So all kinds of things are used, not so much to hire the best candidate but, more importantly, not to make a mistake. And, when people “play” out of fear of loss rather than vision of gain, the pressure is increased.

On top of all kinds of relatively unnatural acts, like hiring consultants, psychologists, psychiatrists, administering psychological and aptitude testing, etc. most companies increase the layers of people to do the interviewing. 50% of the time the people that are doing the interviewing have absolutely nothing to do with the job itself. But, the attitude is, the more people we have involved in the process of interviewing, the less likely we are to make a mistake. (totally erroneous!). More than one or two people are involved in the interviewing process and, at least 20% of the time, they are not reading from the same page. Often times, people involved in the interviewing process have’t even spoken with each other very much about candidates and qualifications, etc.

just last month I was involved in in three situations where the people who were interviewing didn’t know all of what was going on or wanted people to perceive that they were hiring, but they wern’t. In one of these instances, the hiring authority who had been interviewing for four weeks got fired on the fifth week. His boss told me that the guy had been on a performance plan all along and knew that he was probably on his way out. The second situation involve a hiring authority who would drag to the process of hiring on for more than four weeks and then abruptly left the company. She knew all along she was going to be leaving the company but didn’t want to “raise any red flags” by not continuing to interview as though she was staying.

The third situation involved a hiring authority who was so confused about who to hire, he involved six different people in the interviewing process. Three of these people had absolutely nothing to do with the job itself but offered their opinions about candidates as though they did. We’ve been interviewing now for six weeks and we’ve been through close to 15 candidates. We explained to the hiring authority that we couldn’t keep doing this. He explained that the last two people that they hired were mistakes and that since he was afraid of making a mistake he wanted everyone’s “buy-in.”

These are extreme cases, but not far off from the ordinary hiring process…if there is such a thing as “ordinary.” You can just imagine with lots of people involved in the hiring process and with the fact that not all of these people are reading from the same page they are telling you as a candidate all kinds of different things. Just this last week, we had the hiring manager of one of our clients tell all of the candidates that he hoped to make a decision by last Friday. By the time our Candidates met with his boss, his boss told him that it was going to take at least  another month to make a decision. Someone has their story really messed up.

Some people involved in the interviewing process don’t even know why they are involved. They are often very uncomfortable with the whole thing and will often say things to a candidate that they really don’t know just to keep their conversation from being too awkward. The candidate doesn’t know that some of these people don’t know what they’re talking about, so he or she takes the information to be the truth. When it doesn’t happen, the candidate wonders why folks lied to him.

Well, they really didn’t lie. They just told them what they thought was true in the moment.

So, when you are “lied to” as a candidate you know why and how it happens.

….Occam’s razor, your job search…and your hiring process


Occam’s razor is a problem-solving principle attributed to William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and theologian. His principle states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. More and more people need to apply this principle to their job search.

The reason this metaphor applies so well is that on both sides of the desk, both candidates and hiring authorities make an inordinate amount of fallacious assumptions and then act on those assumptions in almost uncountable, unnatural ways. If people applied the principle of Occam’s razor their interviewing and hiring process would not only be easier but ten times as effective.

A number of examples are in order. Candidates will write lengthy tomes and dissertations about themselves (a resume) with three fallacious assumptions. First, that they will get read and, secondly that the people reading it know what they’re looking for and, third, that people will understand the “resume speak” stuff they put in their resume. The ONE assumption that a resume writer needs to operate with is to make the simple assumption that their resume needs to communicate the simplistic idea of, “I am a good employee. I will make a good employee for you, because this is what I have done for other people.” If a resume writer keeps this one simple assumption in mind, their resume would be clearer and it would probably get them more interviews.

Another application of Occam’s principal would be for candidates to remember that in the interviewing process, their job is to “sell themselves” to the hiring authority. The simple assumption is “Here is what I’ve done for others and here is what I can do for you.” If a candidate gives the hiring authority good enough reasons of why they ought to be hired they will receive good enough reasons as to why they are to go to work at the company. It’s that simple. Most candidates operate on the convoluted assumption that interviewing is a “two-way street.” This leads to the assumption that, “I have to interview them as well as they have to interview me.” This assumption spawns all kinds of other assumptions that complicate the interviewing process. The simplest assumption is that, “If I give them good enough reasons of why they are to hire me, they’ll give me plenty of good reasons of why I ought to go to work there.”

On the employer side of the desk, Occam’s principle would make their process of hiring, and therefore their life, a lot easier. There are four simple assumptions that a hiring organization needs to answer: can the candidate to the job…do I like him or her…what are the candidate’s risks…can we work the money out. It is that simple! I’m not saying that this is easy, but it is simple. Most interviewing authorities have so many assumptions that they make about what they have to find in a candidate that when the assumptions and realities meet doubt, uncertainty and fear take over the process. It becomes a mess. The process that should have taken two weeks, takes six months. Fear leads to indecisiveness which leads to no decision at all.

If Occum’s razor was applied to the interview process itself, better decisions would be made in a shorter period of time and management would look decisive as well. There are two assumptions when it comes to the interview process that hiring organizations should make. The first one is, only have the people whose livelihood is affected by the position being filled involved in the hiring process and, two, ask every candidate exactly the same questions, document those answers, i.e. write them down, and then compare the answers and feelings about each candidate in a very timely manner. Really simple! Again, not necessarily easy, but simple.

Most organizations involve way too many people in the interviewing process making the assumption that the more people involved in the process. the best candidate will be hired. They often involve people who could really care less about who gets hired and who are not personally affected by the hire. The assumption that, “We don’t want to make a mistake” leads to the fallacy that the more people involved in the interviewing process, the less of a mistake we might make. An errant assumption, at best.

A second errant assumption begins with any interviewing authority starting the interviewing process with the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Every interviewing authority involved in the process should ask every candidate exactly the same questions that are structured before the interview. The idea that an interviewing authority can get a good “feel” about a candidate by simply asking random, seat-of-the-pants questions and then produce an opinion about the candidate’s potential is a terrible assumption.

As with many things in business and life, people make things more complicated than they need to be. Friar Occum is a great teacher.

… women work harder than men


… And I think they always have. Doing this for almost 45 years, I’ve come to lots of conclusions and this one is a certain one. There are a few reasons that women have to work harder than most men… Notice I said ‘most men’, not all.

First of all, women have to overcome the fact that they are, well, women. For a reason I’ll never figure out, women are not normally expected to be as good at business as men are. I’m sure there are hundreds of psychological reasons for this, but the reasons don’t matter, I still believe it to be true. Because women are taken for granted and still imagined as the “weaker sex,” they have to just plain old outwork most men to be successful in the eyes of the business world. And, when they do, their performance goes well beyond what most men do.

One of the reasons that women even have an advantage in the work world is that they don’t have the “male ego” to get in their way. The automatic competitiveness that men have with each other doesn’t seem to exist in the makeup of women. Businessmen, upon meeting, have a tendency to size each other up from an inherent “my dad’s bigger than your dad,” or “my button is bigger than your button” or anything else along that line. Women don’t need to prove they are bigger, faster, stronger, meaner, etc. Even when they are competitive, it doesn’t come across as threatening to most men. So that ego “stacking up” isn’t even there and doesn’t dissipate energy.

The biggest challenge that women have is well, again, being women. The prospect of being a business person along with being a wife and a mother takes three times the effort and don’t let anybody kid you. The hardest job in the whole world is being a mother. There is nothing in business that is as difficult, challenging, treacherous, or consequential as being a mother. Nothing! If a woman is all three of these things, they have to be better than men.

One of the reasons that some women stand out in the business forum is that there are so few of them. The ones that survive and blossom just have to be better than men in order to do it.

Arguing that all of this isn’t fair, isn’t right or should in some artificial way be equalized is a waste of time and effort. Life isn’t fair and trying to make it so is stupid. In some industries women make less than men probably because of the few years of the “mommy track.” If a guy took two or three years off from his profession to raise kids, his salary wouldn’t advance either. He’d probably have to start from behind where he even was when he had to take the paternal break. For the most part, any professional loses their edge when they are out of the workforce for 18 months to two years. Arguing the unfairness of this isn’t going to change the facts.

For the most part, women have to work harder and run circles around men in the same position. Sometimes they are paid less because of the mommy track time they had to be out of the business workforce. I suggest that if a woman…or anyone…feels or knows that they are being paid differently than their counterparts for exactly the same work, find another job. Whining about this kind of inequality is a waste of energy. It hasn’t changed in 1000 years and it probably never will. Argue about it if you wish, just please don’t do it with me.


…”so, what’s the market like, Tony?”

Which is usually followed by, “with the unemployment is low as it’s been, it’s got a be easier for me.!” Well, let me explain a little bit about what the market is and what it isn’t.

Just because you read in the paper that unemployment is the lowest it’s been in a number of years doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be easier for you to find a job. There is still boatloads of people looking for new opportunities and your competition is really keen. It still takes an employer an average of 10 candidate interviews to fill one of their jobs. And, on average it takes them almost 60 days from the time they actually need to hire someone to get someone to start the job. These are much different statistics than the last two years. So, don’t call me up asking me, “where is my job?” There are lots of reasons why this market is still very challenging.

First of all, there is still hordes of companies that try to hire through their human resources/recruiting department. They are advertising the job all over the place, telling candidates to send their resumes to their offices. Most candidates are plain old stuck with having to send their resume to an applicant tracking system. They don’t ever expect, nor should they, to get an interview. They know that they are absolutely “perfect” for the job that can’t get anyone to pay attention to them . After a while they simply quit sending their resumes . On top of that, 60% of the people that are reading your resume don’t know what they’re looking for. They are viewing, on average, 180 resumes for each posting and the probability of “discovering” your talent compared to the others is not very great.

The paradox to all of this is quite interesting. Four times in the last three weeks, our organization has filled positions that were called into us by direct managers, because in two cases their corporate recruiting department had only found them three or four candidates in a 90 day period of time. We came up with 10 in one day and it took the hiring authority a whole two days to hire somebody. One of these clients had said that his internal recruiting department had gotten him one candidate in one month. He came to our office and interviewed six people in one day and hired one the next day. In the last instance, our client had interviewed four candidates, produced by his internal recruiting staff, none of whom, according to him, were qualified. It took us one day to come up with six candidates with four being qualified as “finalists” according to the manager.

For the most part, hiring managers are just as frustrated with the internal HR/recruiting team as you are. This is an extreme but one of my long term hiring managers is now working for a company where he is looking for a sales person. His firm will not let him pay a fee. He has been interviewing candidates, found by his own HR department, for six months. Just think of what kind of revenue it has cost him and his company by not having someone in the position for a whole six months. His HR department has only found him 10 candidates in the whole six months and just this week he said that he might have found one person you might be able to hire. I have worked with this guy for years and he’s a reasonable person… although picky. I’m absolutely sure that I have a number of excellent candidates he could have interviewed six months ago. His company “saved” of $20,000 fee. But look what it costs them.

The next greatest frustration that jobseekers are running into is the interview itself. 50% of the time, the initial interview isn’t even done by someone who the job reports to. Sometimes these people are in HR, sometimes they are people in another department who are “given” the responsibility to do initial interviews. (Remember, the average company in the United States only has 16 people in it… most do not have HR departments. They have people that assume that responsibility.)

couple this with the fact that the vast majority of job candidates really don’t know how to sell themselves very well at all. They approach an interview with the idea of “what’s in it for me.” They have a crazy idea that interviewing is a “two-way street.” In the first few interviews of any company’s search there are multiple candidates. Most jobseekers know they have a lot of competition but totally forget that it is their job to perform so well and shine the competition, then worry about what the company can do for them if they get hired.

Is the job market better? Maybe a little. Is it easier? No!


…starting a new job

Most people think that once they’ve started a new job, their job searches over. I’m continually amazed at the strange things that can take place even after a person is starting a new job.

The first bit of advice is for you expected to job is going to be quite a bit different from what you thought it was going to be when you are going through the interviewing process. Things are going to never be the way they appear on the outside looking in.

The second suggestion is to spend the first few weeks or even months simply observing what goes on in the company. The higher the position you may have, the more you want to quietly observe how the company is run. You really want to get a good idea of what’s going on in the company before you start actively showing people what you can do for them.

The best way to find out what really goes on in an organization is to talk to the most senior-level administrative personnel (we used to call them secretaries). These people know more about what’s going on in the inner workings of the organization than anybody else. Now, these people may not be the decision-makers in the organization, but they still know more of what’s going on in a company that all the managers combined.

Get to know your supervisor’s personality and style. Do this with all the people with whom you might interface. Remember, you are the new kid on the block and that you don’t know the character or personalities of the people or the part of the organization you’re going to be working with.

Don’t hesitate to ask lots and lots of questions regarding procedures and protocols. Nobody expects you to be intuitive about anything. It may not hurt to take notes about what you learn, especially regarding the unofficial procedures. A friend of mine who has been a “work” psychologist for 40 years, Frank Lawless, tells the story that the best advice he got about starting a new job was to “be quiet and walk around for about six months before you start trying to sound off.” Whatever you do don’t offer your opinion about issues or topics outside of business, like politics or religion.

This is old school advice but, arrive early and stay late. Especially arrive earlier than your immediate supervisor as well as stayinng later.

Take lots of notes when you go into meetings and try to write down who said what. Once you get to know these people and know who stands where on what things, it’s good to take notes about who they are. Also it helps to write their names down a number of times see you could remember them.

Recognize and avoid the negative people who exist within every organization. They can range from the people who always see the glass as half empty to the people who are downright negative, gossipy, and in some cases, slanderous. Avoid them like the plague. Associate with the positive people in your organization.

Identify, quickly the best performers at your level and notice what made them successful. Don’t hesitate to make friends with them and ask them about the company, their job and what you might learn to be successful early. If you can find potential “mentors” early on in your job, your career can get off to a great start.

Demonstrate the cooperative working relationship with his many people as you can. Go the extra mile whenever you can. Volunteer for a committee that no one seems to want to belong to. Don’t do it for the show, really get involved. You might even make the attitude towards the committee better.

Join national, regional or local professional groups in your field and make sure you attend the meetings regularly. Bringing back some idea from one of those meetings to your present company, even one time will certainly be noticed. Making friends with people in other companies in your same field of endeavor will also help your career in the long run. You’ll be surprised at the number of people that you meet early in your career that you continue to keep in touch with over the lifespan of your professional life. As you make friends with people like this throughout your career they cannot only open doors for you and help you with job changes and career advice.

Don’t gripe about anything…ever! even after you’ve been with the company for a while, it’s never good to complain or gripe. There might be many things you may not like about your organization, your job, etc. but no one should know it. But others complain but refrain from it.

Get to know the preferences and expectations of your immediate supervisors. As you get to know them, don’t guess at what they might like or want. If you’re not clear about what they’re looking for or what they want or expect, ask! Ask for input and assistance whenever you are stumped but avoid being too needy. Try to solve problems on your own.

Feedback on your progress isn’t offered as part of a company policy, solicit feedback from your immediate supervisors on a regular basis. “Feedback is the breakfast of champions,” and you want to know how you’re doing. By asking it shows that you are interested in self-improvement.

It’s ridiculous that I even need to mention this, but be absolutely sure that the impression that your social media makes about you is a positive one. It goes without saying that your LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date and professional but other more “social” media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. should always always always be professional. Anything questionable or off colored in your social media world will want you…sometimes, forever.

Always be courteous and recognize that you are being judged. Be thankful to others that help you and express your gratitude with warm sincerity.

The most important thing you can do as a professional when beginning a new job is to be quiet and try not to draw attention to yourself until you really learn about the company and the personalities of the people from the inside. Too often, newly hired professionals try to make an immediate impact to show how good they are by drawing attention to themselves in a number of ways before they really know the so-called “lay of the land.”

No matter how good you might be, no matter how smart you are, no matter how much you might be able to contribute to the organization, you will have much more impact and be received with much more respect if you learn as much as you can about the organization and its personalities before you start having significant input. There is going to be plenty of time to prove yourself.

Oh, less I forget, be sure, after you have been there a while, be sure you find soemeone to mentor! …teacher always learns mor than  the student.

…hiring and the holidays


The holidays are coming up. Don’t be fooled. Lots of hiring goes on then.

Candidates often tell us that there is little hiring done around the holidays…simply not true. December is traditionally one of our best months for placements. Companies are getting ready for a new year and have a need to hire.

If you really need to find job…I mean, r-e-a-l-l-y need to go to work, don’t go out of town for any of the holidays. The quickest way to turn off an employer or a recruiter is to get someone an interview the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas and to hear the candidate say, “Well, I’m going out of town for the holidays and can’t interview!”

We think, “Well, this candidates isn’t that motivated…not that serious about finding a job”. We have to work with candidates that are motivated…so tell your family that you will come visit after you find a job.

We have even experienced candidates getting higher starting salaries because the employers are in better “Christmas” moods during the holidays.

I had a candidate meet an employer at the airport one Christmas Eve to interview him while the employer was stopped over at the airport on his way home to another city. He got the job.