Several years ago, I wrote a blog about weird things to say in an interview. Recently I have been helping out by interviewing some candidates for a position at Walker. Several of them have been pretty good but several were not. I recognize I just wrote a blog that the job market for skilled individuals is in great shape, but candidates should still be polished and prepared in an interview.
As I interviewed these people, I discovered I have several pet peeves when I interview candidates:
1. Don't try to dodge questions, given an open and honest answer and nothing else, most of the time we can see through the dance.
2. Anyone here knows it really bugs me when a candidate does not have any questions for us. We are a consulting company and what I believe we are hired to do is to be inquisitive, ask questions and seek out answers. Not having any questions in an interview makes me question one's ability to be insightful with our clients. It also makes me question the preparedness of the interviewer.
3. When asked what you know about Walker, DO NOT say, "Nothing really". At least take 30 seconds and go online and come up with something.
4. Don't write a novel as a resume, keep it to key facts and key accomplishments, a resume is not to share everything you have ever done since high school.
I saw this article recently and thought it might be time for anyone reading this blog to brush up their interviewing skills if they are one of those almost 25% that plan to look for a job in the next six months.
What pet peeves do you have? What have you seen work well?
So with that, good luck and happy job hunting.
I have spoken to many HR professionals who talk about the difficulty of finding talent, even with high unemployment. Well buckle up because it is just going to get worse, which is bad for HR but if you are a highly skilled employee, is good for you. Mike Hicks, Director for the Center for Business and Economic Research, recently spoke at Walker and then was interviewed on Inside Indiana Business. He has been studying job markets during the past several recessions and has concluded we are at an unprecedented time where the jobs of low skilled employees are not coming back, leaving these employees in a difficult position. What it also does is place a premium on employees with key skills as the Indiana economy shifts from a manufacturing economy to a more service based economy. Employees who are educated will be in demand as organizations will not be able to find the critical positions due to lack of employees with necessary talent.
This will also place a premium on employee loyalty and keeping top talent as it is going to be increasingly difficult to replace the loss of top talent. Therefore, companies must get rid of the traditional ways of doing work and come up with new and creative ways to work. I predict a fundamental shift in how work is done in the future, by that I mean no longer the traditional 8-5 in the office Monday-Friday, and I also don't mean the traditional come in, do your work and get your paycheck. Work is going to becoming increasingly flexible and more give and take will happen in the workplace. The reason is, if you aren't progressive in work and the workplace, employees will find a company that is, it will become a recruiting tool and a way to improve employee engagement and loyalty.
I wrote a blog containing a pictograph of employee loyalty, I think it might be time for many HR and business leaders to becoming familiar with this, because this is the challenge they will be wrestling with more and more.
I recently conducted a radio interview on the 5 R's of employee loyalty and retention with MyLocalJobNetwork.com, this was the second interview with them. The first interview can be heard here. This interview were based on the HBR article I blogged about previously and we discussed the 5 R's of employee loyalty along with some employee loyalty trends in the national workforce right now. To listen, click here.
I saw this article this week on how much time is wasted at work. According to this article, almost 50% of employees waste between one and five hours a day on non-work websites and 64% visit non-work websites every day. I have seen articles like this before, especially when college basketball tourney is going on and how much time is wasted, blah, blah, blah. The article states, "Yet time is precious, and every hour spent on non-work related activities impacts the bottom line." Really, is it really impacting the bottom line? How do you know, are they not getting their job done, THAT is the question that needs to be asked.
My question to all of this is, "Who cares?" If organizations are giving their employees specific objectives to accomplish, and then ensuring those tasks are accomplished and if not, working to determine what changes need to happen to ensure the tasks get done, who cares how much time is spent on non-work related websites. This is the entire problem I have written about before on caring too much about the hours worked and caring too little about what actually gets accomplished. I have a buddy of mine who was just told to really stay at the organization, he needed to work 60 hours a week. What about telling him the specific things they needed him to accomplish in the next 90 days and then let him figure out how long that will take. Yeah, he left and found a better job.
However, I do like the last page of the article where it mentions the problem being employees aren't challenged enough. That I would agree with. And I really like this "[t]here are those who are fully engaged in their work, who are given incentives to do better, who are satisfied with their career, are not bored — these are all reasons why people work hard, and the converse is true. If they’re bored or unsatisfied or feel like they’re working too many hours or are not motivated enough, that’s management’s role to try to fix that." Although the employee has a role in this too, they can't just sit back and expect their boss to notice they are bored. They need to be proactive and determine their career path and then take steps to move along that path.
Last month I blogged about how the Business Confidence Index is at its lowest. I have seen the results for the latest survey and it does not look like things are improving, nor do I think they will until the election is over (at the earliest). During these times, it is common for someone to feel Trapped in their job. To learn a little more about Trapped employees, you can go to a previous blog. Trapped employees are difficult in the workplace because often times they are fulfilling a job, they may not be a star, but they are probably getting the job done. However, it is the attitude and other behaviors that go along with these Trapped employees that is the problem. I was sent this article which delves into some of the psychological aspects of a Trapped employee.
I really like the idea that when things are great, we assume we did it. When things are bad, we assume it is an external factor. I think often one of the external factors that gets blamed is the company. There is no doubt companies are at fault and can help the situation, but the employees have some responsibility in this equation to check their attitude at the door and be appreciate of the opportunities they do have. Here is a blog I wrote a while ago that I think gets at the Trapped employee, only from the prospective of a sea lion, yeah, you read that right.
In these times, I think it is imperative to take time to measure employee loyalty. You can easily identify the percentage of Trapped employees and get specific recommendations to make these employees more loyal to the company. The question I get asked all the time is, "Will the employee really be honest?" The answer is, "Absolutely." You would be shocked at the honesty I have seen on employee surveys. You always have your cynics and your people who treat it as a joke, but I really believe the vast majority of employees do take these surveys to heart and provide open and honest feedback. They want to be excited about the work and the potential they have at the company. Companies just need to take the time and money to talk to the employees.
I have been blogging for some time that eventually the dam will burst and employees will start moving around. I think the dam is starting to leak. We recently conducted a survey of Indiana business leaders and asked if they were going to increase hiring in the next year. The percent of those indicating they were going to increase hiring went up 7 percentage points compared to 2011 (to read more about this study go to www.indianabusinesscouncil.com) . I recently saw a study by Young Presidents Organization (YPO). This is organization of, as you can guess, presidents of organizations that are below a certain age. This study asked these presidents about various aspects of their business; sales, fixed investments, and employee count. In this study, more than 30% said they planned to increase hiring by at least 10% over the next year, with more than 10% saying they will increase hiring by 20% or more. So who do you think they are going to hire? Sure some of the unemployed will get snatched up but the majority of these hires will be companies pilfering the top talent from other companies, your top talent.
As business leaders you have a couple of choices here. You can turn away and ignore the dam and explain it away. You can try to put your finger in a few of the holes in hopes that it will get you by. Or you can put up some bricks and mortar to reinforce the dam, the bricks and mortar is called employee loyalty. By measuring what employees are looking for in their job and from their company, you can take the appropriate action that will have an impact on employee loyalty and the organization as a whole. We know for a fact that loyal employees are less likely to leave an organization and more likely to resist offers. We also know these employees are more likely to speak highly of the company, help out co-workers with heavy workloads, support the strategy of the organization, and go above and beyond in their job. The graph below is from a national employee loyalty study from several years ago but it clearly illustrates that loyal employees are more likely to exhibit positive behaviors.