Category Archives: employers

…inattentional blindness and your job search

Daniel J. Simons is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois. He studies human’s attention, perception and memory. In most every study he has ever conducted, he has discovered that most all of our skills regarding attention, perception and memory are nowhere as good as we think. His most famous study was conducted in 1999. He asked subjects to view a video of six people passing two baskeballs back and fourth. The subjects were asked to count how many times three players wearing white shirts passed the basketball while ignoring the players wearing black who passed their own ball.After a few passes a person wearing a gorilla suit expectantly walks through the scene. 50% of subjects failed to notice the person in the gorilla suit. ( You can find this video on YouTube.)

Simons’ proves the theory  that there is a big mismatch between what we see and what we think we see. This condition is called “inattentional blindness.” He has even tested the effects of this in real world conditions. Subjects were asked to follow an experimenter on the backof a truck while they were jogging. While jogging, they were to monitoring how many times the experimenter touched his hat. As they were jogging along a predefined route, they ran past a simulated flight scene in which two other experimenters were “beating” a victim. They found that even in broad daylight, only 56% of the subjects noticed the fight.

So, the lesson is that people see about what they want to see and forget to look at the rest. This applies to the interviewing and hiring process more than most people will ever admit. Employers especially will get hung up on one or two issues in a candidate’s background… sometimes for better or for worse… and disregard or don’t pay attention to other aspects of it. One prime example of this is the candidate who is had three jobs in the last two years. The vast majority of employers are going to get hung up on that fact and hardly go beyond it to delve into a candidate’s experience or performance. They simply stop and move on to another candidate. Candidates often do the same thing when they consider looking at a company and get hung up on what other people might say about the company, its size, the kind of business they are in and literally hundreds of other things that distract them from really investigating the company.

What this simply means is that, if you’re a candidate, you need to be aware of the things in your background or experience that may distract a potential employer from interviewing you or realizing all of your abilities and potential once they do interview you. There may even be some positive issues that will distract a potential employer from your negative ones.

Just be aware that inattentional blindness is a reality and it has a phenomenal impact on your job search.

 

 

…more misguided (… Stupid) advice

So this week some job search guru goes on LinkedIn and writes an article about how interviewing and hiring authorities have an obligation to give you feedback about your interview with them… The guy goes on and on about how hiring authorities should and ought to give you feedback on the interview you had with them and how if you keep calling them, the good ones realize their obligation and will give you feedback…

Hokum… Garbage… BS… Laughable… Like what planet are you living on?… It’s obviously clear that this guy has never spent much time finding people jobs… It’s totally misleading to tell people that they’re going to get feedback from an interviewing or hiring authority more than, maybe once out of 15 times…

This guy goes on and on about how good managers, interviewers and hiring authorities should and will give you honest feedback  about your interview…DON’T BUY ONE WORD OF IT… I don’t know what this guy is smoking or where he dreamed this idea up… But the truth is 99.99% of all of the people you will interview with, unless they are really interested in hiring you and are incredibly nice,  are NOT going to give you any feedback about you or your interviewing…

Should they be willing to give you feedback? … Yes!… Will they tell you that they will?… Yes! Do they know it’s courteous to do that?… Yes!… Will they do it?… NO!!! is it rude?… Yes!…  Is it discourteous?! …Yes!… But, are they going to do it?…NO!

It’s not a matter that they are intentionally mean, or insincere, or rude… They are simply unintentionally mean, insincere, and rude… So you ask “how can people be that way?”… Really easy… They just are! You notice me writing about ‘spiritual beings acting human?’… Well, this is a manifestation of spiritual beings acting human…

So, you may ask for feedback from folks you’ve interviewed… Just plain don’t expect it… If you get it, you are blessed… but just don’t expect it. Don’t waste your time wondering why, hoping, wishing, begging, wondering, speculating… Just accept the fact that you’re not going to get it, quit cursing the darkness and move on to the next opportunity…

Having done this for more than 40 years the only reason I can imagine that people will be, at best, inconsiderate is because they are so busy and so wrapped up in their own lives that giving you feedback on your performance in an interview is just  not a high priority to them… Ironically,  when they become a candidate and go to look for a job they can’t believe that interviewing and hiring authorities are so rude…

So, quit losing any emotion over this and move on…

…seven years later

might have metioned it before, but i presented a candidate to an employer…they really liked each other…the deal didn’t work out at the time…

the candidate was smart and kept in the touch with the employer…the employer liked the guy…they did have a more than normal appreciation for each other, but nothing spectacular…

every once in a while, the candidate would call the employer…they would go to lunch..

the employer eventually hired the candidate…seven years after they first met…the employer had changed companies twice and the candidate three times..

lesson: never burn a bridge…be nice to everyone..what goes around comes around

…lessons from dr.phil

went to appear on the dr. phil show…it will air april 29  …spent two days taping in LA…

i don’t know much about television, but i have been watching businesses grow siince 1973…i have never seen such a well run business as the dr.phil show… this guy runs one of the smoothest, most precision operation i have seen

there are 300 people that work for the dr.phil show…there are 10 producers, each with 10 or 11 folks working for them …the rest are technical people…each producer manages one show at a time..

they tape three shows a day, four days a week…and, i mean the “trains run on time”…everything runs on time…the preperation for each show is amazing…everyone knows exactly what they are suppose to do…and they had better do it right..

phil mcgraw is one of the nicest guys i have met…he has tremendous compassion for people and everyone that works there admires him and the organization…some of those folks have been there 13 years…since it started…some have left and come back…

those coming back will tell you that they go to other hollywood shows and they aren’t run near as well as mcgraw’s…they really appreciate working there..

i have really only spent two or so hours with dr.phil himself…but the organization reflects him and his values..it is a tremendous group of people…and, as with most firms, the get their character from the top guy

it was a real pleasure to experience this guy’s business…

even the guy who drove me from the airport was saying how much trouble most of hollywood was having…and that one of the bright spots was the success of the dr.phil show..

i can see why…

..working for friends

..heard from a candidate of mine over the weekend…”well, you told me so..” he began

frankly, i had forgtotten what i did tell him…it was six months ago and i have slept since then…he remnded me that, when he told me he as going to go to work for a good friend of his, in that friend’s small company, i shared with him that it rarely works out…that you loose a friend and usually the job in a relatively short period of time…

and that is exactly what happened..it was even more difficult because my candidate thought that his friend was sidestepping the law on certain issues…i.e. payroll taxes…

apparently it got ugly and my candidate is looking for a job again and did loose, what he thought, was a good friend….

i guess anything is possible, but really think twice about going to work for friends..even “distant” ones…if you have to feed your family and that is the only job you can find, you may not have much choice…but ask yourself before you do, “how easy will it be to quit?”.. “what happens if they fire me?” …”am i willing to loose ‘friendship’ over this?”

…till your butt’s in the chair

two weeks ago, one of our candidates got a verbal job offer…$150,000 plus commissions, etc…start date, end of november..maybe december…maybe the first of the year (..almost 3 months away)

i said, “that’s really strange….doesn’t make sense…” …i told him not to trust it…he should keep looking and not stop..he marginally agreed…but he was convinced he had found a job

friday, they call him and tell him the position has been put on hold..we feel so badly for him but there is nothing anyone can do.

lesson: don’t count on anything in this job market…until your butt’s in the chair (…and even then) …don’t stop looking for a good opportunity… keep interviewing…even if you get a written offer…once you start a job…and have been there a while, then shut the process down..

…snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

candidate is in the finals..down to him and one other.. he is going to interview with the CEO and the president…it is a small, $100 million firm..

so, thinking he can wow them, he comes up with an elaborate “future” plan about how he has contacts to help them expand and double their size by adding lines of products he can bring them…instead of interviewing, he comes across as though he wants to create partnerships for them….bad move..

they agree to pass on him…they were simply looking for a sales person, not a new business….he oversold and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory..

lesson: sell yourself to get the job you are interviewing for..don’t try to make it more complicated than it is

…so, life and interviewing are unfair

..interviewing and hiring are staged, contrived events…they aren’t reality…but, like churchill said about democracy, it’s the worst form of government after all the others have been tried..

candidates complain that hiring authorities ask very unfair questions, that have nothing to do with the job (i.e. “why are manholes round?”…”what is one thing about you, you don’t want me to know?”) …and employers get hung up on one or two answers that aren’t the way they would answer the question..(i.e. define “consultative selling”)…

we have seen candidates and hiring authorities get hung up on the smallest, most silly things that really have nothing to do with a candidates ability to do the job or the quality of a job opportunity…

no sense in getting mad or disappointed about things like this…when they happen, the situations are unfair…not right…just unfair

but, so is life…get over it and move on…you’ll hardly ever rectify or change the situation…accept what you may not understand …move on..

..politics

we know that sara palin kicked butt…but don’t you dare discuss it in an interview…

if there is even an hint of being drawn into a political conversation…don’t do it…YOU need a job…not get elected..

simply nod your head and say, “It’s all very interesting.” then s-h-u-t u-p!…bring the conversation back to the interview…what you can do for the company

follow up…no matter how long and how many times it might take

my candidate kept following up with the hiring manger, even though they hired someone else…

the hiring authority and my candidate really hit it off, but my candidate just didn’t have anywhere near the experience they needed…but boy they hit it off..

my candidate asked the hiring authority if he could call him back from time to time…of course, the hiring authority agreed…

so at least once a month the candidate called the guy…heck, my candidate was still looking for a job and he figured until he got one he ought to call everyone that might eventually hire him…

seven months later, he got hired by the company..they liked him so well they “created” an opportunity for him

never quit following up…no matter how many times it might take