….hey…you all that are hiring…lisssen up!

Three times this week, I had three hiring managers literally yell at me because they were pissed. The candidate they thought they were going to hire from us took other jobs. And I’m just one guy of 20 recruiters. Five of my other associates claimed the same thing. The hiring authorities were actually mad at us because the candidates decided to take other positions.

One of these outfits literally interviews the candidate over a four-week period of time putting her through a “gauntlet” of all kinds of hoops like having her make a presentation to a group of people in their company (in spite of the fact that she had literally a 20 year track record of outstanding experience with all kinds of awards and promotions. And they want to see how she presents? ErrrVey!). “Well, we have to do that with all of our candidates!”, the VP told me. While they were evaluating her presentation skills, one of our other clients interviewed her three times and hired her in a matter of two days. The first client was mad as hell.

We got another one of our candidates’ three offers and he took the one he thought was best for him. One of the clients we presented him to was furious when the candidate took one of the other offers. He literally told us that he thought we should have presented the candidate to him and waited until he made a decision about the candidate before we presented the candidate to anyone else. He was serious.

I understand back during the recession when folks weren’t hiring very many people and hiring organizations really had nothing else to do but to come up with some kinds of cockamamie processes and procedures to make sure that they “don’t make a mistake” in hiring. The blunt truth is that all of those procedures really don’t keep a company from making a mistake in hiring. I’ve seen just as many hiring “mistakes” made with very short one or two interview processes as I have with ones that carry-on for three or four weeks and involve a whole bunch of people. The number of people involved in the interviewing process does not protect anyone from making a mistake in hiring.

The market is hot! We’re having a harder time finding good quality candidates and we have to assume that every time we get a candidate an offer here she is going to get two or three others. I know our clients think that when we tell them they need to move the hiring process along as fast as they can, that what we say is just “recruiter pressure” and “recruiter speak” just so we can get them to decide on hiring our candidate. It wouldn’t surprise me if all of those clients that my associates and I had been upset with thought the same thing… “pushy recruiters. All they want to do is get someone hired. Well, they won’t push me around. We will hire on our own sweet time, because we have a p-r-o-c-e-s-e-s-s…And our process is very important.”

For your own good, if you are looking for quality candidates, everyone else is also. Please, do yourself a favor and make your hiring process short, efficient, and mindful. Please don’t yell at us when the candidate you want to hire takes another job. We’re trying to w

…i didn’t cause it, I can’t change it and I can’t cure it

this is one of the many mantras of Alcoholics Anonymous and it applies to many of the aspects of, especially, a job seekers emotional reaction to much of the rejection and refusal they receive in their quest. It’s so important to remember this mantra, because it reminds the job seeker what they can and can’t control.

Here are some of the things they don’t cause, they can’t change and they can’t cure:

  • Knowing that they are very qualified to perform on a job… If they can get the interview.
  • Not being able to get their resume read by people who would really understand.
  • Not being able to get an interview, even though they tried everything they can.
  • Not hearing anything From a prospective employer after applying.
  • Being told they would get in an interview and then never hearing from the company
  • being told they are a “great” candidate and then never hearing from the company
  • being told that they are “in strong consideration,” and never hearing anymore
  • being told they would be brought back as a “finalist” and then hearing nothing
  • being told they would receive an offer and then never hearing anything from the firm

Remember, as a job seeker you can only control your actions and your emotions. If you do your best to get lots of interviews and try to get into as many interviewing cycles as you possibly can, you won’t have to worry about what you can’t control or influence. Focus on the things that you can cause that you can change And that you can cure.

 

….”but you called me”

My candidate is a guy that I’ve known for almost 20 years. He’s been both a client of mine as well as a candidate. He has a decent opportunity where he is. But the first line management job he’s got Isn’t really ever going to go anywhere and the company he’s with doesn’t wish to grow.

When opportunities come along that are better than what he’s got, he and I discuss them. An opportunity came along for him to be able to do what he’s doing now but expand his span of control to two other offices. So, he decides it would be a good idea to interview with the client.

I reminded him that it is a management job and that I don’t see many of them during the year and he should do his best. He has a low keyed style to begin with, but he is really good at what he does. I warned him that there are two other candidates like him interviewing and that he needs to sell himself harder than he thinks (…he knows he is good).

He does a good enough job to make it through the first interview and the VP who interviewed him decides that he should take the candidate to the next interview. The guy’s track record is stellar, but he’s interviewing style is relatively placid. I can’t seem to get him to understand that getting a job and doing a job are two different things. He might be the most qualified of the three (and he is) but he still has to sell himself and let the employer know what he can do for them that the other candidates can’t.

In spite of all of my coaching, teaching and cajoling he goes into the second interview and even says to the hiring authority, “what you see is what you get. My track record speaks for itself.” And that’s the extent that he sold himself.

What’s amazing about this whole thing is that his track record is absolutely excellent and it’s better than any of the other candidates. But just because he tells the hiring authority that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t prove it with numbers and examples. He doesn’t. He gets around to explaining how successful he has been, but he doesn’t do it with a lot of enthusiasm, fervor or passion. He tells the hiring authority, literally, “what you see is what you get.”

The hiring authority understood exactly what our candidate was saying. But the reason the hiring authority was looking to hire someone is that he just fired the last branch manager because he wasn’t very passionate or enthusiastic. The previous manager did an okay job but never really felt passionate or communicated enthusiasm to those he managed.

Our client passed on our candidate. When I explained to our candidate that he just didn’t really sell himself very hard even though he was the most qualified. Frankly, it was rather painful to tell him, because the job was really a good one and even though they would probably hire one of our other candidates, we really wanted to see the guy get the opportunity, because he was good and deserved a great opportunity.

In his frustration of listening to what I was saying and that he wasn’t going to get a chance to move further, he said, “Tony, remember, you called me!” I reminded him that when he was hiring candidates, he looked for candidates who would actually sell themselves and do it enthusiastically. He kept saying that it was different with him, because “he wasn’t looking for a job. I called him!”

Obviously, the lesson here is that if you’re going to interview, it doesn’t matter whether I or any other recruiter “calls you.” The person that’s doing the hiring is comparing you with any other candidate and how or why you got there, doesn’t matter. If you don’t sell yourself because you think it makes a difference who called you you’re grossly mistaken. You have to sell yourself as though you were actively looking for a job

 

…the ‘other side of the crazy coin’

Last week I wrote about some of the crazy instances of what people do from both the candidate as well as the hiring authority situations. There are lots of folks that also do it right:

  • The candidate who presented a 30 – 60 – 90 day plan of what he would do in the first three months of the job if he got it.
  • The candidate that had called the competitors, dealers and customers of the company he was interviewing with. He also called previous employees as well as some present employees.  He had taken excellent notes and offered a “report” to the hiring authority. (The hiring authority said it was so well done that he sent it two levels up in his company.)
  • The candidate who sold his features, advantages and benefits so clearly that the hiring authority said it was the best presentation that he had ever seen.
  • The candidate who ended the interview by asking the employer, “Have I made it clear about my experience and abilities… Do you have any questions that I might need to clarify? How do I stack up with the other candidates you’ve interviewed?…and ..What do I need to do to get the job?” (he got hired!)
  • The candidate who was persistent enough with the hiring authority that, even though he was told that he came in third in the initial interviewing process, kept calling the hiring authority, sending him emails as to why he was the best candidate they could hire. The hiring authority got tired of the first two candidates putting him off and not being enthusiastic about the job, picked up the phone and simply hired the candidate who wanted it most.

And a few hiring authorities who also do it right:

  • The hiring authority who interviewed for candidates on Monday, had two candidates back on Wednesday to go through a number of interviews in the company and hired one on Friday.
  • The hiring company whose managers who did the interviewing (all four of them) asked the same questions of all of the candidates (all four of them) making it very easy for all of them to compare the quality of the candidates and have a clear system of hiring and everyone knew.
  • The vice president who called every candidate back, exactly as she said she would. She gave them excellent feedback on how they interviewed and, for the ones she was not going to pursue, let them down gracefully. She kept the door open for two of the candidates on down the line.
  • The hiring authority who admitted that he wasn’t exactly sure what he was looking for and admitted it. He simply asked us to send him the five best candidates we had and he will interview them, relying on our judgment, since we see so many candidates and have a better comparison than most any hiring authority.

People might be crazy, but sometimes they overcome their own craziness and manage their business competently.

…”God is great…beer is good…and people are crazy!” …Billy Currinngton

I love this song and I find myself humming it or singing it quite often. It expresses to a T the kind of things that we see on a weekly basis in our company. Candidates want to know why they don’t get hired… Just this week we had in our organization:

  • a female candidate use the F bomb in an interview
  • the candidate showed up 20 minutes late for an interview, and never apologized or even acknowledged it
  • a candidate who overwhelmed the client we sent him to with his cologne
  • a candidate immediately sat down at the interview with a notebook, and before the employer could say anything started asking a series of questions like: “How much does this job pay… What are the hours… Can you describe the benefits…and can I work from home?” And when we asked him after the interview where he came up with these questions, he said that he read it in an interviewing book.
  • a candidate who, after seven minutes of waiting, announced to the admin that she was tired of waiting and left the interview
  • a candidate who stood up in the middle of an interview with the hiring authority and stated that he was “overqualified” for the job and walked out
  • the candidate who claims that he just didn’t have time to look on the internet to look up the company and he really knew nothing about them

Now, please remember that not all of our candidates are really this challenged. Our company gets close to 100 people a week an interview. So, when you consider the low ratio of stupid things that people do, these things may not have that much of an impact. But it’s just that these kinds of ridiculous things happen daily and it keeps candidates from getting hired.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions that it’s always the candidate who screws up the interview, let me share with you some of the things that employers did this week in interviewing some of our candidates:

  • One of our illustrious clients asked the candidate, “Just exactly what are you interviewing for?”
  • Another one spent 10 minutes telling the candidate why you would want to work at the company
  • Another hiring authority told one of our candidates that he was the 15th candidate that he and interviewed and that his company really didn’t know what they were looking for
  • One hiring authority asked the candidate how old she was
  • Another hiring authority told the candidate he was just too old to be working in a place like that…that he wouldn’t fit in culturally.
  • Another hiring authority was 45 minutes late for the interview and told the candidate that he (the employer) had “a hard stop in 10 minutes.”

People are crazy!

 

 

….the “team interview”…(for the employer)…”if you were an animal, what would you be

“Well, Tony, we’d like to have your candidate in for the ‘team interview.’ We always have the ‘team’ interview the candidate we think we’d like to hire to make sure that everybody will get along.”… kumbaya!

Unequivocally and indubitably, this is the biggest crock of crap that I hear as a recruiter. What this really says is, “I really don’t have the guts or the courage to make a decision on my own, by myself, as an intelligent, wise businessperson or leader. I need to rely on the opinions of other people to help make a decision that I ought to be making by myself.”

Now the truth is, I really never hear this above statement. What I hear is, “Well, we like the group to help out here, because, you know, they all have to get along, you know, they all have to be together, you know, so, we think it’s a good idea that the ‘team’ get a chance to decide whether or not they like them and whether or not they can live with them.” It’s the most exorbitant form of passing the buck that there is in business. It provides a hiring authority the chance to spread the decision around the company so that if the decision to hire someone doesn’t work out, the hiring authority can always claim that the ‘team’ helped make the decision and they were just as poor at the decision as I was.”

Now, don’t let me be taken totally out of context. It is not a bad idea to have one or more people in the company interview a candidate. I’ve always recommended, however, that it should never be more than three people (including the hiring authority) and those people should only be folks whose livelihood depends on the performance of the person being hired. But I do not recommend a group.

The major problem with the group interview setting is that all of the people in the group are just as concerned about being “impressive” with the peers in the group as they are in trying to qualify the candidate. The interview becomes political. People are more concerned about how they appear to each other than they are about the qualifications of the candidate. This puts a candidate in even more of an awkward position. There are two levels of conversations going on.

The group interview becomes a “popularity” contest rather than its purpose of qualifying a candidate’s ability to do a job. If you’d like to find out what all of the people or any of the people in your organization might think of the candidate (which is again, kind of silly unless their livelihood depends on this person) set up one-on-one meetings with the candidate and all of the individuals you wish them to speak with. It’s really simple.

Twice last week our organization referred two excellent candidates to two clients with very hard-to-fill opportunities. One of these organizations has been trying to find the right person for almost four months. The hiring manager in the “four months old” situation was absolutely thrilled with the candidate. He told us that his search was over and he was absolutely thrilled with the candidate we had referred to him. But, he explained that he had to follow company protocol and have the candidate interview with “the team.” The team couldn’t convene for a one-week period of time. When “the team” finally got together to meet the candidate, one of the members’ cell phones went off three times during the interview and one of the team members had to leave the meeting with the candidate early. The feedback to the hiring authority was that “the team” just wasn’t quite sure of the candidate. As of Friday, the hiring authority was so frustrated he couldn’t see straight.

The second situation involved a candidate who is a 20 year veteran of her profession. Again, the hiring manager was absolutely thrilled with her, but “the team” had to meet with her. “The team” consisted of two relatively senior people and one millennial. According to the candidate, the interview went reasonably well until the millennial, addressing a 20 year veteran, asked her, “If you were an animal, what would you be?” The candidate was so surprised, she started to laugh and said she just didn’t know what to say. After a long pause, she said she just couldn’t think of anything. Needless to say, our candidate didn’t pass the test with “the team.” The hiring manager just didn’t know what to do, so he did nothing at all.

These thoughts probably won’t make any difference with organizations that think “the team” interview is really important. I’ve been doing this since 1973 and I’m absolutely certain that the relegation of a hiring decision to “a team” does not make a better hire.

…..more on body language

Last time, we discussed candidate body language and why it is important in the interviewing process. We discussed posture, focus and the hand shake. Today we will finish our discussion of this important subject.

Demonstrate confidence, openness and enthusiasm with correct hand gestures and arm positioning. The way your arms are positioned says a lot about your state of mind and attitude. The right hand gestures convey much of what you are trying to convey to the interviewer. Let your hands help you express feelings, needs and convictions, without going over-the-top.

There are three categories of hand gestures. “Emblematic” gestures are a signal of unspoken, mutually understood meaning, such as raising the fingers to the lips to imply “quiet”. “Pacifier” gestures, such as burying the head in the hands, are used to relieve stress.

The gestures you want to use in an interview are the “Illustrative” gestures. These gestures develop simultaneous speech and help the speaker find the right words to make the messages and thoughts more emphatic and precise.

There are several types of hand and arm gestures that often say more than words ever can. Supine palms, facing up, imply a lack of something that the speaker needs or is requesting. Supine at a 45° tilt imply candor and openness. Prone palms, facing down, signal power and certainty. The Steeple, fingers intertwined with the index fingers outstretched and touching, express confidence and expertise. The “fig leaf”, with hands grasped together in front of the groin, communicates a state of being closed-off and distrusting.

Rigid hands can emphasize certain, important words. Hiding the hands can come across as you being untrustworthy. Hands touching the face, head, or hair impart nervousness, vulnerability or tentativeness.

Arm gestures above your shoulders broadcast a person being erratic and overly emotional. Arms held at waist height, however, express centeredness and composure. Keep your arms open as a sign of inclusion. Arms crossed over your chest say you’re closed-off, unapproachable and defensive.

Place your hands on the table, if you are sitting at one, or on your lap in front of you. Don’t keep your hands in your lap or sitting on the table through the entire interview. You will come across unenthusiastic. Use your Illustrative hand gestures.

Keep your hands at chest-level or below and use moderate arm movements to help you express yourself.
If you flail your arms about while speaking, you will look uncontrollable, unbelievable and powerless. Rubbing head or neck will make you look disinterested and rubbing or touching your nose displays dishonesty.

Convey a solid self-confidence with the way you position your legs and feet. Your stance and positioning of your feet say a lot about your self-confidence. Sit with legs at a right angle and feet firmly planted on the floor. Stand with legs slightly parted and knees relaxed. That says “I’m solid and sure of myself.”

Crossing the legs during the interview has you appear too relaxed. Locking your ankles tightly together or around the legs of the chair demonstrates non-communication and disengagement. So does pointing your feet toward the door. Shuffling the feet indicates nervousness and discomfort. Bouncing the heels up and down is a sign of nervousness or over-excitement. Standing with your feet too close together says you are hesitant and insecure.

Men and women differ in their body language, speech and perception.

Women are more comfortable with being approached from the front and will stand in a more squared position. They nod when they agree, are listening, empathizing with the speaker or encouraging them to continue. Women recognize good listening skills as using a lot of eye contact and reacting visually. They also maintain a closer physical distance to everyone, including someone they just met, and use touch to signal agreement, sympathy, compassion, connection and celebration. Women often condense their physical space by keeping their elbows by their sides and sometimes stand with their legs close together as they cross one knee over the other. More emotional than men, women raise their voices when under stress and use five different vocal tones when speaking. Because they tend to be more expressive, women use more facial expressions and translate the lack of facial expressions in others as negative feedback, which promotes anxiety. Women tend to smile more than men and are judged as pretty, feminine, shallow and unintelligent when they have breathy, tense voices.

Men, on the other hand, prefer approaches from the side. Two men speaking will angle their bodies slightly. Men typically nod only when they are in agreement and recognize good listening skills as minimal eye contact and almost no nonverbal feedback. They tend to keep a great distance between those they don’t know and see touching as being motivated by power. Men expand in their own physical space by sprawling, sitting with their legs spread wide open, or widely crossed, and stretching their arms on the back of a chair next to them. They also expand their work space by spreading their materials around their office or all over a conference table. Men’s voices have deeper vocal ranges and they use only three vocal tones when speaking. They minimize facial expressions, which often causes uneasiness in others and they also express their anger nonverbally. They tend to quickly expel anger with physical bursts of energy, such as hitting a table. Men often keep their legs apart at 10° to 15° angles, in a more open and relaxed stance and emphasize stature, composure and confidence with body language. They are also judged as mature, masculine and intelligent if they have throaty, tense voices.

The thing men and women have in common is they smile when they are genuinely happy, amused, or when it is socially acceptable to do so.

The important points are to make and keep eye contact, smile, hone a great handshake, show confidence, and express and sell yourself.

More importantly, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. And when you’re done with that, PRACTICE some more.

Over the years, the biggest difference between candidates who did well in the interviewing process and those that didn’t came down to practicing.

At least once a week, I have candidates tell me things like, “I know how to interview… it’s no big deal… I’m really good at it, etc.” and then they get into the interview and they blow it.

To be successful interviewing, you’ve got to practice!

Good luck to you!

….candidate body language

Ok, so you think you got this down. YOU DON”T…Most candidates never deal with this thought and they should. So, pay attention!

Candidate Body Language in the interview is extremely important. People form an opinion of you in the first seven seconds of the meeting and your body language says a lot. One study from McGill University in the 1960s found that people decide to hire you, or not, in the first FOUR minutes of an interview. There is little evidence to challenge that study even today.

According to Careerbuilder.com, some hiring Managers claim they can spot a possible candidate for a job in 30 seconds or less. Your body language sets the stage.

Why is it important? Looking for a job is emotionally stressful. Most people are very nervous when it comes to interviewing and when people are nervous their body language usually reflects their nervousness. Lack of eye contact, not smiling, a weak handshake and poor posture, along with other issues we will address here, can kill an interview. It will eliminate you as a candidate no matter how good your talent, experience or professional abilities might be.

Here is a perfect example. We recently had an excellent candidate who had 20 years of business project consulting experience, both selling and leading the consulting projects after they were sold. One of the country’s most elite business consulting organizations was interested in hiring him. They were anxious to hire, but they were very, very picky. They already interviewed and eliminated 28 candidates. Their procedure was to have a candidate do telephone interviews with five or six of the partners from around the country before traveling to their corporate office for face-to-face and final interviews.

All of the 28 other candidates were eliminated after two or three of the telephone interviews. Our candidate was not only successful in passing the five very difficult phone interviews with the partners, but one of the VPs told us that he was the best candidate they had spoken to in a year and he couldn’t wait to get the guy to corporate to “get him hired”. The candidate was likewise thrilled and talking about all of the success that he would have with the firm.

He flew to the corporate office late one afternoon and prepared for his first meeting with the CEO early the next morning. The meeting with the CEO lasted a whole 15 minutes. The CEO told the candidate after about 12 minutes into the interview that he was not what the company was looking for. The CEO thanked him for his time and the candidate then flew back to Dallas. The candidate was devastated. He was perfect for the job and every one of the partners as well as the VP with whom he had spoken over the phone thought so too.

Here is what happened. The candidate arrived at the CEOs office 15 minutes early, just as he should. He didn’t smile and was not warm to the CEOs administrator… he didn’t even say anything much beyond, “I’m here to see the CEO.” He was not dressed appropriately. Although he did wear a suit, his striped shirt and polka dot tie were totally mismatched (… according to the CEO). When he walked into the CEOs office, he walked slowly with no authority or energy. He did not initiate a handshake and when the CEO did, he gave the CEO a limp handshake… and his sweaty palms didn’t help. Again, he didn’t smile and he did not look the CEO in the eye. According to the CEO, he slumped down in his chair, crossed his legs and gazing down, almost looking at his own shoes, asked the CEO, “What would you like to know?”

The conversation, according to the CEO, was stilted and lethargic. The candidate continued to slump in his chair, with his eyes darting around the office. His speech came across very slow and tentative. There were long, pensive pauses before he answered the CEOs questions and no animation or enthusiasm in his gestures or his speech. The decisive CEO decided they were not going to hire our candidate and saw no reason to prolong the “pain.” What should have been a day of interviewing resulting in a formal offer of $180,000, which had already been discussed, ended with the candidate leaving empty-handed.

The candidate admitted that he had not interviewed in a very long time. He hadn’t practiced interviewing and, in spite of the fact he had 20 solid years of experience, he really wasn’t prepared for the interview. He said that the CEO’s office and CEO were rather intimidating and, that early in the morning, he wasn’t prepared. He had lots of excuses…he hadn’t gone to the cleaners and gotten the appropriate shirts…his plane arrived at 1 am in the morning because of weather delays and he was tired…and he just didn’t think it was fair to start out speaking with the CEO that early in the morning. His body language cost him the job. The CEO said that he couldn’t imagine the candidate making a good impression with the CEOs, CIOs and COOs of the Fortune 500 firms they sell to.

So here is a primer on candidate body language:

Prepare yourself before you walk in the door for an interview. Stand up straight, with your shoulders back, head held high, with a smile on your face. Blow your nose, adjust your apparel, touch up your makeup or hair, silence your cell phone and put it away. Raise your eyebrows to widen your eyes, make you look more awake and give you a friendlier expression. This expression and body-posture tells your audience you are confident and comfortable with what you’re selling – YOU.

Look people in the eye and smile with your eyes. This means from the Receptionist or Assistant who greets you, to the hiring authority and anyone else you may be introduced to. A helpful way to make eye contact is to take note of the other person’s eye color. It will help you stay focused and engaged.

Keep your eyes focused on theirs in a friendly manner, “smiling” with your eyes. Staring at them blankly will make you appear “distant” and not present in the moment. If you look down you’ll seem submissive or dishonest. Looking around the room or away from them will make you come across as nervous and uninterested.

You must initiate a great handshake. The handshake is the most familiar and traditional of business gestures and makes a lasting impression. You develop an immediate and positive connection with someone from touching their hands.

Step forward slightly and reach out YOUR hand to the other person, with your palm facing sideways. Make sure you make full contact with the web of your hand to the other person’s hand. Press firmly in the handshake to “affirm” the gesture as being genuine. Shake with your right hand and, if your left hand is empty, touch the other’s right arm with it to re-affirm the sincerity of the gesture. Keep that smile on your face while maintaining the eye and hand contact. Introduce yourself by name if this is your first meeting. Follow that by saying, “It’s great to meet you” or “I’m so glad to be here, thanks so much for seeing me.” It’s not recommended you hug them, no matter how well you know them.

Hold the other person’s hand a second longer than you normally would. This conveys additional sincerity and quite literally “hones” the other person’s attention when you exchange greetings. Honor their personal space by keeping a distance of a minimum of 20” between the two of you.
Don’t lose hand contact during the introduction. If your palms are sweaty, wipe them off right before you meet the other person. If you shake with a “limp grip” you’ll be perceived as indecisiveness or weak. Shake with firmness and confidence.

Briefly mirror the other person’s body postures, gestures and expressions. Mirroring builds the ability to influence other people to think like you. It also leads them to experience the same emotions you are experiencing or expressing. Mirroring the interviewer’s posture, just briefly, will have them connect with you and follow your posture. You only want to mirror someone long enough to get them to begin to mirror you.

Mirror the other person for about one or two minutes before gradually changing your body’s language to proper interviewing posture. Do this in a subtle manner so you don’t look like you’re mocking or mimicking the other person. The idea is to mirror them so they will then follow you and mirror you. As you move into your own, professional posture, start being more animated, energetic, passionate and enthusiastic – this will lead the other person into energy and enthusiasm.

Don’t mirror the other person beyond a minute or two or go overboard when you move into your own posture and become more animated and enthusiastic. Maintain decorum and control. Don’t worry if they don’t adopt your amount of enthusiasm and mirror you completely – they will still see it in you, and identify with you.

Proper upper body posture is essential to making a good impression. Position your shoulders and torso toward the interviewer. Good posture has you appear interested, engaged, and ready to interact and will most likely compel the interviewer to mirror you.

Orienting your body away from someone conveys detachment or disengagement, regardless of the words spoken. Facing your body towards the door assumes you can’t wait to get out of there.

Sit up straight, with shoulders back, and torso squarely faced toward the other person. Lean slightly forward in the chair to show eagerness and attention.

Don’t slouch down as it will have you appear disinterested or unprepared. If you recline with your shoulders back against the chair and your legs outstretched or crossed in front of you, you’ll appear too relaxed and lazy. Whatever you do, don’t lean back with your hands behind your head. It’s a sign of arrogance.

More next time!

…Dallas, the biggest small town you’ll ever live in

This is a quote from a very good friend of mine and business partner, Rich Lubinski. Rich’s been around almost as long as I have and experienced just about as many things when it comes to people, jobs, and their career. This idea is something that everyone ought to keep on their minds regarding just about every personal and business activity they are involved in.

The reason this phrase came to mind was that one of my candidates was eliminated from getting a job offer…. because of something he did almost 3 years ago. He got fired from the company he was working for back then because at one of the company’s social event he had too much to drink and said some things… lots of things… he wished he hadn’t. The story is that he even made a racial slur. In spite of the fact that none of the people that were supposedly at the event can remember exactly what went on, the story of this fellow’s indiscretion has traveled throughout the profession he is in, and obviously still being told today

The guy is a tremendous performer and everyone that knows him or of him knows that he is. But our client was so afraid of making a mistake in hiring him, when they heard of this three-year-old indiscretion, decided not to hire him. Our client was close to offering him a job and heard about the incident through a backdoor reference. They didn’t even bother to go to any lengths to confirm the incident. They just plain decided not to hire him because they “couldn’t afford to run the risk.”

According to the candidate, this situation had never come up before in his career. Even though he was stunned, he never denied that the incident had happened. He was simply furious that the “grapevine” was still talking about it. There is no doubt that it cost him the job.

It is really unfortunate that this happened. I’m convinced that this incident has absolutely nothing to do with the candidate’s ability to perform. His track record is awesome. But the truth is, like Rich Lubinski says, “Dallas is the biggest small-town You will ever live in.” You can do all of the good in the world but the one or two times that you make a simple human mistake, you’d best be prepared that people are going to remember it, talk about it and don’t be surprised if it could cost you a job.

This kind of thing is even more pronounced with the advent of social media. I’m an ex-rugby player and played for more than 20 years. I have to admit that some of the things I did when I was a kid could have been tweeted and youtubed causing tremendous embarrassment and maybe even some business opportunities. Like my candidate, I’m really embarrassed. But fortunately there are no records that I know of… Thank God.

Here’s the point. Just about any indiscreet activity you participate in is going to be remembered or documented by somebody. And you never know when it’s going to come up or be “remembered.” It could cost you a lot of things, including a job.

People remember and pass on the negative stuff way beyond what they do with the positive stuff. It has always been that way and it always will. Watch what you do. Watch what you say. No matter where you live… it could be the biggest small-town you’ve ever been in.

… First and second line managers… the toughest job in show business

I happen to recruit and place people primarily in sales and more specifically, in technology sales. But having been in this business since 1973 I’ve recruited and placed just about everything you can imagine in just about every discipline (well, maybe not oceanographers). What I’m going to write about applies to just about every business discipline I know, but especially regarding sales.

At least twice a week one of my sales candidates informs me that he or she really wants to get into sales management and “move up the ranks” in an organization. When I asked them why, there’s a blank stare and a pregnant pause and they mumble something like, “well isn’t that something I’m supposed to aspire to. You know, move up in an organization and continuously get promoted? Now the larger the firm the more they had seen this kind of thing done. But when I asked them to reflect on how often they really see it happen and have it not really work out for the individual they are thinking of, they then say something along the line of, “well it’s different with me, I’m a much better performer.”

After World War II and on into the early 70’s it wasn’t uncommon for people to go to work for one company and stay with that company for their career. Many of these people moved up into management positions and, presumably bettered themselves along the way. But things are a lot different today than they used to be. When I got into this profession in 1973, the average age of a company in the United States, including big ones and little ones, was 59 years old. The average age of an S&P 500 firm was 50 years old at that time too. In 2014 the average age of a company in the United States was only 12 years old. Even the companies on the S&P 500 didn’t live much longer. They were only 15 years old.

Companies expand and contract in the United States more than they ever have. A Forbes article in February 2018 claimed that employee turnover is the greatest that it’s been in 10 years. Not only are companies coming and going faster than they ever have, but so are the people.

First and second line managers bear the brunt of most of this turnover. They are the ones that have to bring most of the first line people into the company. These managers have a tremendous amount of responsibility but nowhere near as much authority as they once had. There is so much more turnover in the front line these people are held accountable for it and yet their leeway in being able to help retain good first line employees is limited.

In fact, when times get really tough in an organization, it is more likely a first line or even second line manager will be let go before a first line employee would be dismissed. The first line employee is carrying the biggest part of the load for a company’s progress. Upper management figures that they could “limp” along without a first line or even second line manager when times get tough before they had to cut back on first line employees.

So, and this is important, these laid-off managers need to find a job. Their company has been telling themHow wonderful they were and, gosh, even promoted them a time or two so they must be a really good leader! They go out to the marketplace reading their own press clippings, knowing that some company out there is just going to simply beg to get them. What they don’t come to the realization of, until they looked for a job for a while, is that the companies they think they would be perfect for did exactly the same thing with their first and or second line managers and decided to limp along until they needed to replace them.

Here is the reality: 60% of first and second line managers are promoted from within. Much the same way most of the laid-off first and second line managers got their job. Very few managers are hired “off the street.” 35% or 40% of the time that a company runs an advertisement for a first or second line manager, they already know who they’re going to hire. They are running the ads simply because they want to be able to tell everybody that they, “looked around” and couldn’t find anybody that was better than the person they already had in mind. How do I know this? Clients use us all the time to compare the talent for management they already have within their company or someone they know, by asking us to send them candidates. Of course, we always try to find out if the company has been interviewing for the position already or if they have a candidate in mind and simply want to get a comparison. This may not come as a shock, but people don’t always tell us the truth! Surprise!

The bottom line is that a career, even if it’s a stepping stone, of a first or second line manager is very treacherous and likely short-lived. Being a top performer makes all the difference in the world, so does being really lucky.

So, before you jump up and say you want to get into management, think about it. In some disciplines, especially in sales, it’s a real great way to make less money, have more responsibility, have less authority and have a greater risk of being let go when business becomes tough. It’s the toughest job in show business.