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Career Strategies: The 5 Deadly Phrases To Avoid In The Job Interview Process

When it comes to the job interview process, whoever tells the best story wins. But certain phrases and ideas can short-circuit your career plans. Are you really able to have the kind of leadership conversation your job search deserves? When it comes to creating the career conversation that leads to consideration, avoid these five show-stoppers in the interview.

If you argue for your limitations, they are yours.

Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
  1. When Is Honesty NOT the Best Policy? – do you ever find yourself saying a version of this phrase: “If I’m being honest…”? TBH, that phrase is honestly hurting your chances in the interview process. Here’s why: if I need to call out the fact that I’m being honest right now, doesn’t it make you wonder if I’ve been honest with you up until this point? Why did I wait until now to get real and spill the T? Actually, in the interview, honesty is the only policy that works. Highlighting the fact that you are getting to the truth, but only just right now, can arouse suspicion and make people wonder why you aren’t full-on honest all the time. If you are a person of integrity, honesty is your default setting. Don’t create unnecessary suspicion. “To be honest…” is a filler phrase – like “umm” “Uh…” and “like”. None of those fillers are very satisfying in the job interview. So be really honest with yourself, and leave out the words that don’t serve you.
  2. The Fault Line – don’t cross it. “It was her fault” is the kind of blamestorming that can take you out of the running. Why? Because companies hire people who can overcome limiting circumstances. People are imperfect, nobody has a team of 100% superstars and circumstances often create difficulties in the office (that’s why it’s called work). How did you get past the obstacles and limitations – even if one of those obstacles was Jessica in Accounting? Phrases that blame people and situations point out your own limitations – what you couldn’t tolerate, tackle or transform. Focus on the story of how you overcame challenges, how you helped others to be better, or how you picked up the ball when somebody else dropped it. Remember, other people don’t need to be bad in order for you to be good. Concentrate on how you solve real problems – including personnel problems – by taking responsibility instead of laying blame.
  3. What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You – do you know how to answer an interview question where the answer is, “I don’t know” or “No, I don’t have that skill”? The fact is, no one can know everything. And not everything can be googled. Saying “I don’t know” isn’t a phrase that can NEVER hurt you – because it’s an honest and real response! The phrase that’s really dangerous? Trying to fake it until you make it! Don’t create a fiction around your skill set, ever. Any phrase that feels like fiction is one you’ve got to avoid.
  4. Disconnection is Deadly – Considering questions about skills or experiences you don’t have: are you able to connect your interviewer to a relatable topic – something that you do know, that might be supportive or helpful? For example, if the CIO says, “Do you have Salesforce Administrator Certification?” and you don’t, what do you do? Do you just say, “Nope!” blink twice and wait for your next mistake? Find a phrase that pays by connecting to what you do have: skills, talents and desire for the role! Point out the other experience or to action you can take to get what’s needed. “I don’t have the Admin certification but I went to Dreamforce [the company’s major annual conference] the last two years in a row. I’m very familiar with the software – let me share with you the experience I have and my training so far. If that certification is important, I can put together a plan to gain that credential in short order. Do you think that plan would be a requirement if I were to get this role?” Always connect your answers back to your interviewer, the company’s goals and your ability to work hard in the job – those things are always part of your story.
  5. Ultimatums – an ultimatum is a statement of what you won’t tolerate, usually phrased as a demand. Ultimatums reflect terms that you will or won’t accept, period. By definition, ultimatums point to your lack of flexibility and adaptability (two characteristics that might be useful for a new hire, wouldn’t you agree? Why would you demonstrate that you lack these two key qualities?) Now some ultimatums are important: “I won’t tolerate racism on my team”, for example, points to your beliefs and values. But “I won’t work on weekends” or “I need every Thursday afternoon off, or I can’t work here” is really pointing out your limitations. Look for phrases like “I can’t accept _______”, “I won’t allow that” or “That just won’t work for me.” Because if it won’t work for you, maybe you won’t work for this company. Every job interview is a negotiation. Once you get to “yes” you can decide if you want to take the job or not. You’re in the interview to explore your options – why start cutting yourself off from possibilities? Does it help your career to present demands and requirements, or are there other ways of looking at the situation? Is your ultimatum a personal preference that you’re clinging to, like a security blanket, or a statement of your integrity, values and work ethic? It’s better to keep your options open if you really want the job. Know the difference between uncompromising values and limiting statements that knock you out of the running. Keep your options open. Find out what’s really on offer and make a business decision to see if it fits for you. Ultimately, what you will and won’t accept is your decision, but arriving at that place without ultimatums is a smart way to frame the conversation.

The best interview is the most authentic, where you speak from your heart about the solution you can provide. By creating a dialogue with your interviewer, you build the conversation that matters most in your career. Don’t short-circuit your skills with ultimatums, filler phrases or fear of the unknown. The interview process is a journey of discovery. Your story – and the way you tell it – will guide you towards your next destination.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I write about the changing nature of the leadership conversation, and how communication creates the connections that matter. Recognized as the U.S. National Elevator Pit…

Source: Career Strategies: The 5 Deadly Phrases To Avoid In The Job Interview Process

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“Tell me about a difficult situation or challenge you faced in a workplace” By asking this question, employers are trying to see how you (A) take charge in handling a challenging situation, or (B) collaborate with your coworkers as a team to solve a conflict. They want to know if you have critical thinking and problem solving skill, how you approach the problem and the level of responsibility you take in challenging situations. It is very important to make sure that you use an example that demonstrates your ability to handle difficult situation. So do not mention about when you elevated the responsibility. Rather, talk about times when you stepped up and took a leadership position by collaborating with your coworkers. In order to construct effective story, use PAR model and follow the 3 steps. 1 Problem: Identify the problem. What was the issue? 2 Action: How did you and your coworkers analyzed the problem and took actions to solve the issue? 3 Result: What was the positive outcome in result of the action? By following PAR model, you can frame your story well. Watch the video to see example answer and start constructing your answer. Jobspeaker is a FREE service to help job seekers find better jobs. Login today!

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The Real Reasons Why Job Seekers Are Not Given Feedback

A common complaint and cause of frustration and irritation for interviewees is the absence of feedback after their interviews. It wasn’t always like this. In the past, it was standard protocol to provide feedback and constructive criticism to candidates. The hiring manager or human resources professional would diplomatically let the applicants know what they did well and the areas in which they need to improve upon.

The feedback was freely given with the best of intentions. The advice would consist of some positive aspects and, when justified, helpful critiques of the candidate—with respect to their skills, relevancy of their background and performance within the interview sessions. This would prove extremely helpful and productive if the person was invited back to partake in additional interviews. Even if the job seeker was turned down, they’d be provided with guidance so that they could perform better when they interview again somewhere else. The candidates could advantageously implement this vital information and constructive criticism.

This information relayed to candidates is important for them to conduct a self-assessment to ensure that they are presenting themselves in the best possible light. It’s similar to a batting coach in baseball who helps you improve upon your swing. His advice may not always be positive, but the goal is to make you a better baseball player.

Unfortunately, time’s have changed and this no longer applies to the present. In the current job market, feedback is offered sparingly—if at all. There is little-to-no feedback or constructive criticism offered. If you’re not accepted to proceed in the interview process, it’s rare to get a rejection letter or receive any input and advice from the company as to why you were unceremoniously passed over.

All the niceties and politeness are gone. You will now only hear from human resources if they want to move forward with you; otherwise, you get the silent treatment.

Here is why this happens.

Too Much Data

There has been a rapid proliferation of job boards, job aggregation sites (like Indeed and Glassdoor), Google for Jobs and corporate career pages. In addition to the ubiquity of jobs posted everywhere, everyone has a smartphone with them at all times. This combination makes it easy to search for jobs and easily apply. Many job seekers take the not-recommended approach of submitting their résumés for dozens of jobs—a large portion of which they’re not suited for, but want to give it a shot nonetheless.

Corporate talent acquisition and human resources professionals are deluged with résumés. Even with the applicant tracking systems that corporations have, it’s too much to handle. It becomes virtually impossible for the company to get back to everyone who submits their résumé. You may get a canned email response to your résumé or applications, but that’s about it. Don’t expect any meaningful color on whether or not you’re deemed a good fit for the job or company.

Fear Of Lawsuits

In today’s litigious society, companies are concerned about saying anything at all to candidates that could possibly be misconstrued. They are especially scared to give negative feedback to candidates out of fear that it might be misinterpreted as discrimination.

Something relatively innocuous said by an interviewer could be interpreted as sexist, ageist, racist or any other form of prejudice. Corporate executives are deathly afraid of costly, time-consuming lawsuits ensuing.

There is also the concern over a social media backlash because of something an employee said to a candidate. All you need is one disgruntled, denied job seeker to post his or her outrage on Twitter and it could go viral—irreparably damaging the company’s reputation. Not offering any feedback is a safer legal and public relations strategy for the company.

Stalling For Time

There is a belief by corporate executives that there is an abundance of qualified candidates. They erroneously believe that if the HR department waits longer, they will eventually find the perfect person suited for the role for a cheaper price.

They’ll keep you hanging on in suspense. The company doesn’t furnish you with an answer about your candidacy or offer a critique because you’re technically still in the running while they’re secretly holding out for a better candidate. They don’t want to say anything to make you bail out of the running—since they want to string you along and may ultimately want you if nobody better comes along. This is also a big reason why some interview processes tend to take so long.

Downsized HR Departments

The financial crisis wreaked havoc on all corporate departments, especially non-revenue-producing ones like human resources. Senior-level—higher salaried—HR people were downsized and replaced by more junior personnel.

Technology has also displaced many HR professionals. So, now there are fewer HR employees dealing with considerably more work. They simply don’t have enough time to respond to you and provide an evaluation and assessment of your talents.

New Expectations

The current generation of HR people only know the new, no-feedback milieu and perpetuates the status quo. This is a generalization, but many younger professionals are not comfortable picking up the phone and holding conversations with candidates, especially if it is not good news. They are equally uncomfortable holding a one-on-one conversation with a job seeker telling them that they’re not getting the job.

Third-Party Outsourcing

It has become a trend for companies to outsource their recruiting functions to third-party vendors. In this HR model, recruiters employed by another organization—who are kind of like mercenaries—are placed on the premises of many different clients. These are usually short-term stints. These types of recruiters, as you can imagine, have no vested interested in providing feedback to candidates, since they’ll be somewhere else in a couple of months.

Rudeness

You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but we are living in a time period in which people are not that nice to one another. It’s become the norm to be rude and ghost candidates.

We’re in a tight job market and companies complain that they can’t find people to fill their job openings. Their laments are ironic and tone-deaf as their very own actions of denying feedback alienates, discourages and blows off potentially perfect candidates.

Follow me on LinkedIn.

I am a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms in my area of expertise, and have personally placed thousands of professionals with top-tier companies over the last 20-plus years. I am passionate about advocating for job seekers. In doing so, I have founded a start-up company, WeCruitr, where our mission is to make the job search more humane and enjoyable. As a proponent of career growth, I am excited to share my insider interviewing tips and career advancement secrets with you in an honest, straightforward, no-nonsense and entertaining manner. My career advice will cover everything you need to know, including helping you decide if you really should seek out a new opportunity, whether you are leaving for the wrong reasons, proven successful interviewing techniques, negotiating a salary and accepting an offer and a real-world understanding of how the hiring process actually works. My articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.

Source: The Real Reasons Why Job Seekers Are Not Given Feedback

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Job Search Strategies and Techniques – How To MASTER Your Job Search • FREE Sample Resume Template – The 6 Second Resume: https://heatheraustin.online/free-res… Ready to take it to the next level? Get the Career Advancement Toolkit TODAY: http://careertoolkit.win/ Have you submitted your resume and cover letter countless times and you still don’t have the job offer you’ve been waiting for? Are you looking for strategies that will accelerate your job search and help you land your dream job. If so, tune in, because in this video, you’ll learn 5 job search strategies that will help you tap into your professional network and fast track your job search. Watch this video to learn how to master your job search. The 5 job search strategies you’ll learn include: 1 – Use LinkedIn to network with others in your industry. 2 – Get your career documents ready. 3 – Develop your 30-second elevator pitch. 4 – Conduct Informational interviews. 5 – Follow-up. Videos I promised to share: LinkedIn Job Search Tutorial 2018 – How To Use LinkedIn To Find A Job https://youtu.be/Ox_ohqsIMAM Elevator Pitch Example – How To Create A Personal Elevator Pitch https://youtu.be/wVYyCUwDFhE SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE VIDEOS LIKE THIS: https://goo.gl/WB86Ta Share this video with a friend: https://youtu.be/h_04pmxmHQc Join other professionals just like you striving to land higher-quality career opportunities: #TheCareerClub on Facebook – a private community: http://bit.ly/TheCareerClub CONNECT WITH ME: • https://www.professoraustin.com/https://www.instagram.com/professor_a…https://www.facebook.com/ProfessorAus…https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-a… For more videos on how to improve your #jobsearch: Job Hunting Tips – Fastest Way To Get A Job | Job Hunting Secrets | https://youtu.be/UD1ps4HU9Do Executive Job Search – 7 Steps to Land a Senior Management Job | Linda Raynier | https://youtu.be/EkP8Oc0Fl38

Want More Productive Employees? Research Reveals that Managers Matter Most

Gallup has released compelling evidence that the most important factor for employee engagement and productivity can be summed up in one simple word: managers.

In fact, writes Sam Walker in The Wall Street Journal, after a decade of data from nearly 2 million employees, Gallup has proven that managers don’t just have a small influence on productivity; “they explained a full 70% of the variance. In other words, if it’s a superior team you’re after, hiring the right manager is nearly three-fourths of the battle.”

Good news, maybe, unless your organization has spent the last decade or so making it more difficult for managers to succeed–eliminating managers’ positions, making managers responsible for producing more work (instead of just leading people), cutting back on learning and/or promoting based on people’s expertise instead of their ability to lead team members.

There is so much you can do to address these issues; for example, read Justin Bariso’s piece on how Google identified core people-leading behaviors and then trained managers on how to develop those behaviors.

But I suggest you start by helping managers develop one core competency: the ability to communicate effectively with team members. In fact, out of the 10 attributes Google targets, seven are based on communication skills: is a good coach, empowers people, creates an inclusive team environment, listens and shares information, supports career development by discussing performance, has a clear/vision strategy for the team and collaborates across the company.

Despite the importance of communication, managers are often poorly prepared for their role as key communicator. They may not have the skills, the knowledge or the confidence to communicate effectively. And many managers think of communication as “something else I have to do” rather than an integral part of their job.

What should companies do to set managers up for success? Take these 5 steps:

1. Make sure you clearly articulate communication roles. Be specific about what and how leaders communicate–and what you expect managers to share. Ask your HR manager to include communication into managers’ job descriptions so the expectation is baked into their role.

Of all the skills managers need, effective communication is perhaps the hardest to improve. This is because communication isn’t a single skill. It’s actually a complex set of skills that build upon one another. Through my firm’s work with managers, we’ve identified these skills–25 in total–and organized them into a hierarchy of skill groups, starting with foundational skills and building to more advanced skills.

2. Hold managers accountable for engaging their team members by providing reinforcement in performance management and pay.  You know the problem: Unless communication is part of the formula to give managers raises or bonuses, it won’t be a priority. So make communicating essential to managers’ success.

3. Invest time in making sure managers understand content. Especially if the topic is complex, a 20-minute presentation is not enough to make managers comfortable. To design sessions that give managers the confidence they need to present, try the following:

  • When planning to brief managers, allocate at least 90 minutes for the meeting.
  • If possible, get everyone together face to face. If your office is too distracting, consider taking managers off site.
  • Of course you’ll present content, but presentations should be the shortest part of the meeting. Allow at least 50 percent of the time for questions and dialogue.

4. Create tools to help managers share information. You might consider:

  • A very short PowerPoint presentation. Managers won’t give a detailed presentation, but they will use a short (5-8 slides) PPT to share highlights at staff meetings and during one-on-one discussions.
  • A one-page guide that makes it easy for managers to have everything they need. This guide that contains all essential information: what is changing, when, why and how.
  • FAQs. Compile Frequently Asked Questions in a document that provides the questions employees are likely to ask, along with the answers managers need. The key is to include the toughest questions so managers are ready any time team members approach them with a question.

5. Develop a microsite or a social network group
It’s the perfect place to house resources and build skills. Make it social by including discussion threads, so colleagues can share challenges and solutions. Provide access to on-demand learning that can be accessed quickly when faced with a challenge.

Once you start providing managers with support, ask for feedback to determine which methods have the greatest impact.

By: Alison Davis

Source: Want More Productive Employees? Research Reveals that Managers Matter Most

These 9 Creative Interview Questions Evoke Crucial Insights About Any Job Applicant. (Ask Them Before You Make an Offer You’ll Regret)

Recently, I wrote about some of the best interview questions that Inc.com has featured over the years. And, I asked readers who had other suggestions to let me know about them.

Wow, did you ever deliver. Today, we’ll begin sharing some of the replies, starting with nine of the more unusual interview questions — creative ideas that elicit insights, while being offbeat enough that applicants probably won’t show up for job interviews with stock answers.

Feel free to use these questions as they are. But, perhaps even better, use them as jumping off point to come up with your own creative questions.

1.    “If you could kick one state out of the United States, which one would you pick and why?”

For pure curiosity’s sake, you might be interested to know if an applicant really thinks we’d be better off without North Dakota or Alabama. But the point of course is to how the applicant thinks, and sometimes even what he or she believes.

“I’ve heard applicants respond with fiscal perspectives, instinctual perspectives, experiential perspectives, and sometimes even downright nasty perspectives,” said Taylor Kerby, founder of Something Great Marketing, who suggested this question. “In the end it can let you know if the candidate would be a good fit for the role, and sometimes more importantly, a good fit for your company’s culture.”

2.    “A screwdriver and a screw together cost $2.20. The screwdriver costs $2 more than the screw. How much does the screw cost?”

Oddball question, sure. It seems like it should be easy. But most people will come to a quick and incorrect answer: 20 cents.

The correct answer is actually 10 cents, and Mark Anderson, CEO of Complete Express Foods, LLC said he’ll explain the math behind it. (If you’re having trouble with that math, here’s an explanation.)

“This question has … everything to do with listening, reading, and whether the new hire will challenge basic facts and directions,” Anderson explained. “Those that still argue [after it’s been explained], you immediately end the interview and wish them success at another company.”

3.    “What do you do if the Internet goes out at the office?”

I’m betting the preferred answer here is not something like, “Just call it quits for the day.”

Of course, you’re trying to figure out if the applicant can solve problems, go past a job description, and even bring lessons learned elsewhere to the office.

And, says Corri Smith, owner of a consulting and events firm in Charlotte, N.C. called Black Wednesday, the question “has truly tripped people up. One time a girl sat for a whole minute and then said, ‘I don’t know. I just don’t know. I don’t have an answer.’ It really shows the capacity to … create a solution and can also demonstrate how interested they are in getting their work done.”

4.    “If you were a box of cereal, what cereal would you be and why?” (Alternative: “What’s your favorite board game?”)

These are two bizarre questions, and you’re probably not all that interested in the ultimate answers. What you care about instead is the thought process and attitude.

“While this is an extremely weird question to ask, it’s a great way to get a more personal view of the potential candidate,” said Lewis Thomas, owner of Host Sorter, who suggested the cereal box question. “It also doubles as an icebreaker.”

“It’s a rather whimsical and unexpected question, and shows me how quickly they can think on their feet,” said Michael Pearce, a recruiter at Addison Group, who suggested the board game idea.

5.    “Do you like to win or hate to lose?”

Okay, I guess I’m about to ruin this question, at least if you’re interviewing at HR tech company Paycor, because Todd Rimer, senior manager in talent acquisition there, tells me there actually is a right answer in his mind.

“Those that like to win, you can’t fault them. Who doesn’t like to win? When you win, you are on top,” Rimer suggested. “But, when you hate to lose, you are more inclined to learn from mistakes, learn from past experiences and use these experiences in the future, whether it’s your next project or your next sale.”

6.    “What do you suck at?”

This question isn’t all that different from the time-worn, “What’s your greatest weakness?” However, I think it’s more direct — and less expected.

“It allows me to understand where they see their shortcomings, but also gives me insights into where they want to avoid [spending] their time,” said Peter Sullivan, founder and CEO of Jackpocket. “If that’s in conflict with where we need attention, I learn a lot.”

7.     “What was the best day at work you’ve had in the past three months?”

I think this is the opposite of the question above: It’s a way to get an unguarded insight into a classic question.

“Instead of hitting your candidates with the same old, ‘What are your strengths?’ question,” says Darren Bounds, CEO of Breezy HR, “this is a more organic way to uncover their strengths.”

8.    “Tell me about a a project you worked on that failed? What did you learn?”

Failure is probably the last thing that most job applicants want to dwell on seriously, and with good reason.

But pushing in this direction, with a broad, open-ended question like this, tells you a lot more than the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses, says Matt Erickson, managing director at National Positions.

You’re trying to find out things like, “Is this candidate driven? How do they communicate with teams?” Erickson explained. “Do they take responsibility? Can they learn and adapt, etc.?”

9.    Tell us about a time when you’ve had to deal with rejection.

I’m including this question here because it’s similar, but not quite the same, as the question about failure. It’s especially interesting when you’re interviewing people for a sales related role.

“Recruitment is a predominantly sales-based environment,” said Ian Clark, head of Americas at recruiting firm Mason Frank International, “so being able to handle rejection is essential to a candidate’s success in the role. … What I’m looking for is a candidate to demonstrate their resilience in this situation, and provide evidence of their drive and tenacity to bounce back.”

By: Bill Murphy Jr.

 

Source: These 9 Creative Interview Questions Evoke Crucial Insights About Any Job Applicant. (Ask Them Before You Make an Offer You’ll Regret)

 

What Not To Do After A Job Interview

The waiting period after a job interview can be one of the most stressful times. You’ve done everything in your power, now it’s out of your control. All you can do is wait, try to be patient, and do things to keep yourself on track for success. Just like preparing for and going on a job interview, there are things you should and shouldn’t do. Here are five of those things you shouldn’t do after an interview.

Don’t replay the interview over and over.

It’s easy to focus on what you didn’t do well in an interview and rehash those scenarios over and over in your head. This is actually a terrible thing to do. Not only does it put you in a negative frame of mind, it’s also a completely inaccurate view of how the interview went. Your interview could have gone spectacularly overall, but focusing on one or two things you could have done better will cause you to feel like the whole thing was a failure.

Analyze the interview once or twice, highlighting both the good points and the negatives. Make notes of what you’d do again in a future interview and give yourself a couple of pointers on what you’d change. After you’ve done those two things, leave it at that. Going over it more will only cause additional and unnecessary stress.

Don’t harass the hiring manager.

Send your thank you message within 24-48 hours of the interview, then don’t reach out again until the date the hiring manager told you they’d be in touch. Unless you have a very urgent question or something major comes up, there’s no reason for you to contact the hiring manager.

Emailing or calling them and asking for a status update or to let them know you’re still very interested will only harm your chances of getting the job. Hiring managers are inundated with messages already, and they told you when you’d be hearing from them, so respect them by honoring that date. Once it’s a few days past that date you can reach out again.

Don’t stop your job search process or quit your job.

Until you have a signed contract, nothing is official. While you may have given the best interview of your life and the hiring manager was gushing over you, there’s still no guarantee the job is yours. You don’t know if another candidate could come in and be an even better fit for the role, the job could go to someone internally, or a whole myriad of factors could be at play. Until you have that contract in your hands, keep working at your current job and continue your job search efforts.

Don’t post anything about the interview on social media.

It can be tempting to brag about a great interview or to post about how you’re excited for the opportunity and then tag the company or the hiring manager. You don’t know what the company’s social media policy is, so by posting you might actually be violating their standards unknowingly. Play it safe and keep your thoughts private, and brag to your friends and family offline.

Don’t ghost the hiring manager.

If you’ve decided to accept another job offer or if you’ve decided you don’t actually want this job for any reason, send an email to the hiring manager to let them know. Thank them for their time and the opportunity then explain that you’ve chosen to pursue another opportunity. They will be incredibly appreciative of this and they’ll certainly remember your actions. The business world is smaller than you think, so it’s very possible that you’ll cross paths again at some point, so don’t risk burning bridges.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Ashira is a Millennial and Gen Z Engagement expert helping organizations manage, engage, attract, and retain the next generation of talent and bridge the gap between generations. Learn more at http://www.ashiraprossack.com

Source: What Not To Do After A Job Interview

5 Things You Need to Know Before Hiring Remote Employees – Jessica Thiefels

remote

Remote employees are no longer an anomaly. In a recent survey by Gallup, 43 percent of surveyed Americans said that they spent some time working remotely, a 4 percent increase from 2012. What’s more, the benefits of hiring remote workers are difficult to ignore, including decreased overhead costs and increased productivity.

Benefits aside, remote workers need to have a different set of skills than office employees, where there’s regular interaction with managers and leadership can see more clearly what everyone is doing.

If you’re ready to dip your toes into the remote workforce waters, keep these tips in mind to make sure you hire the best people for the job.

  1. They must be self-starters

Remote employees need to take initiative and keep themselves motivated without the chance for a manager to “pop by” to keep them working throughout the day. Monica Zent, founder and CEO of Foxwordy, suggests:

“You’re looking for a self-starter because people who are looking to be told what to do won’t do well in a work-from-home situation. Given the many temptations of a home office, a high level of motivation is imperative. This is where figuring out how the person thinks is important. I prefer to get at what makes a person tick, and have had great success with good hires the more I do this.”

How do you find out if your potential employee is a self-starter?Mark Murphy, Forbes contributor, suggests asking questions like:

  • Tell me about a time when work didn’t interest you very much, and how did you get past it?
  • What kind of management style do you prefer?

This should provide insight into what what your remote workers need to stay motivated, which is key.

  1. Asking candidates to complete a task is important

Asking interviewees to complete a task during the interview, which is presumably remote, gives you great insight into their skillset, as well as how they work. Sara Sutton Fell, Fast Company contributor, said:

“When people work remotely, the managerial focus shifts from how much time they spend in the office to what they’re getting done every day. During the hiring process, it’s smart to focus on skills and the candidate’s approach to the job by having candidates do small a test or a trial project, to see how well—or not—they follow instructions, ask questions and generally perform in a remote environment.”

Try to mimic their work environment as much as possible with this task. This may mean that you’re only available for questions via a messenger system or that they need to access resources via Google Docs that have previously been shared.

  1. The interview should be a little different

There’s a big difference between being down the hall from someone and being across the country (and for many, the world). A highly qualified candidate may work efficiently if they’re in the office with a team to keep them on track, but not well by themselves.

Thankfully, you can get ahead of this by asking the right questions in the interview. Focus your questions on organizational skills, career motivation and self-direction.

Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire, recommends that managers, “ask for candidates to explain scenarios in which they worked independently and managed their own time. Look for more than canned answers, and seek out specific examples of organizational skills and internal motivation. Don’t focus wholly on productivity to the exclusion of everything else, though; it’s also important to make sure your top-notch candidates can work as a valuable member of your team.”  

  1. The right candidate values results

Micromanaging isn’t effective in any work environment. Not to mention, in a remote work environment, it’s next to impossible. When hiring, look for someone who values results.

“You as a manager have to be comfortable setting goals and then holding people accountable for those goals. They could be putting in long nights or they could be doing their laundry all day—but if you are managing correctly and getting the people who understand that results come first, you should be happy either way,” John Rood, author and Forbes contributor, said.

  1. Get crafty to retain and reward top talent 

Once you’ve hired your remote workforce, it’s time to focus on how you can keep them engaged and excited. Sarah Aboulhosn, marketing specialist and Pagely contributor, explains how to get creative in this regard:

“(Little benefits) can solidify an employer’s relationship with their staff and make the team feel appreciated, no matter where they are. If you’re working with a partially distributed team, take a look at what in-office perks your employees receive and figure out a few ways to provide them to your remote workers, ensuring that everyone has equal access to company perks.”

Make the right hire

Hiring the right remote staff is critical to ensuring work is getting done. Use these ideas to find the best people for your out-of-office staff and then keep them on board once they’re doing a great job.

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