The Ultimate Job Search Guide: Literally Everything You Need to Know to Land a Job You’ll Love

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Kicking off a job hunt or trying to reenergize an existing search can feel a bit daunting. But, having a comprehensive job-search checklist handy can make this whole process a lot easier. So, let’s take an in-depth look at everything you’ll need to nail this from start to finish.

Oh, and because it’s from start to finish, feel free to jump around between the sections:

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Define Your Goals

Before you update your resume and start applying to open opportunities, you’ll need to understand what you’re looking for first. Are you hoping for more responsibility or a shorter commute? Are you dying to work for a company that allows dogs in the office? Taking time to identify your goals (big and small) will help you to home in on the types of jobs you should be targeting.

Feeling stuck? Try ranking these five key factors in order of importance:

  • Company Culture
  • Opportunity for Growth
  • Pay and Benefits
  • Stability
  • Level of Responsibility

If you value stability over all else, a burgeoning startup may not be the best fit for you. Conversely, if company culture and opportunity for growth are at the top of your list, a well-established corporation probably isn’t a perfect match.

Understanding the specific day-to-day responsibilities you’d like to have will also be essential as you begin to update your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. Try asking yourself what you’ve enjoyed doing most throughout your career and what you’d prefer never to do again. This exercise should help you to picture your ideal role more clearly.

Lastly, try browsing job postings for the different types of roles you’re considering. Do you find the responsibilities described to be interesting and exciting or dull and boring? Make note of the duties that appeal most to you and keep them in mind as you begin searching.

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Update Your Resume

When a prospective employer looks at your resume, he should should instantly understand what type of position you’re looking for and how your experience lines up with his needs. He should also be able to easily pick out your greatest accomplishments.

It’s important that you don’t simply list your past responsibilities; you want your resume to tell a compelling story of what you’ve accomplished and how your experience would translate into a new role. For example, if you’re planning to apply for executive assistant opportunities that require extensive calendaring, be sure to highlight your experience managing robust schedules for three C-level executives.

Although you’ll need to update your resume for each and every role you apply to in order to ensure that you’re featuring your most relevant experience, having a solid draft ready to go will make your life much easier when you’re in the throes of the search.

Once you’ve finished updating it, run through the checklist below to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases.

My resume:

  • Is tailored to the types of roles I’m targeting
  • Has up-to-date contact information (including my customized LinkedIn URL)
  • Does not include my full address (all you need is the city and state)
  • Features a professional email address
  • Highlights my career achievements and accomplishments
  • Is easy to read and follow
  • Has about four to eight bullet points (or less) for each of my jobs
  • Is keyword optimized, meaning it includes words and phrases that are common to the industry and position I’m targeting
  • Uses engaging action words (e.g., manage, develop, cultivate, drive, establish, implement)
  • Is one page long (or two if applying for an executive position)
  • Is free of spelling and grammatical errors
  • Has been proofread by a trusted friend, colleague, or professional
  • Is completely accurate
  • Features my most applicable and transferrable experience in the top third of the first page

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Write a Dazzling Cover Letter

There is some debate around whether or not cover letters are still necessary, but as long as certain prospective employers still require them, you won’t want to skip this step. A stellar one can be the difference between landing an interview or landing in the “thanks, but no thanks” pile, so let’s make sure you’re turning in your A-game.

While you’re also going to need to tailor this for every role you apply to, having an initial template or outline prepared will save you time. Here’s a list of everything your cover letter should include to get you started.

My cover letter:

  • Is customized for each and every role that I apply to
  • Is addressed to the hiring manager, recruiter, or human resources representative at the company
  • Includes my up-to-date contact information
  • Is less than a page long
  • Is broken up into three or four brief paragraphs, or two paragraphs with a bullet-pointed section in the middle
  • Clearly states which position I’m applying for in my opening paragraph
  • Shows that I’ve done research on the company (one way to demonstrate this is by including a mention of a recent company accomplishment or news story: “I saw that you were recently named one of the best companies to work for…”)
  • Highlights a brief selection of my applicable career achievements
  • Is free of spelling or grammatical errors
  • Has been proofread by a trusted friend, colleague, or professional career coach
  • Is completely accurate

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Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

For a lot of recruiters these days, if you aren’t on LinkedIn you don’t exist. Developing a stellar profile and a strong presence will build your professional credibility and help you to get noticed. Once you get your LinkedIn page up-to-date and packed with relevant keywords, you’ll likely be surprised at how much more attention your profile will get.

Let’s take a look at the elements of a standout profile. Keep in mind that this should be an extension of your resume and cover letter—not a carbon copy.

My LinkedIn profile:

  • Features a professional profile photo (preferably a headshot with a simple background)
  • Has an engaging headline (not just your current job title, for example, “Enterprise Sales Account Executive Specializing in Marketing Automation”)
  • Has a customized URL (i.e., http://www.linkedin.com/in/namehere)
  • Features an engaging summary
  • Is up-to-date (includes my most recent work history)
  • Highlights my career achievements and accomplishments
  • Is keyword optimized
  • Includes my education and professional certifications
  • Includes my volunteer experience (if applicable)
  • Has a comprehensive list of my skills
  • Features recommendations from current and former colleagues and supervisors
  • Is free of spelling or grammatical errors
  • Has been proofread by a trusted friend, colleague, or professional
  • Is completely accurate

Don’t forget to maintain your presence so you appear active—you can do it in 15 minutes a week.

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Prep Your References

You don’t need to include a list of references on your resume or cover letter, but you should have a list of strong, professional options ready to go. Keep in mind that most companies have fairly strict policies around references and will typically only confirm your job title, dates of employment, and salary information to a prospective employer, so you’ll want to secure others who would be comfortable speaking from personal experience and not on behalf of the company.

Start by identifying three to five people. These can be past or present colleagues, professors, or supervisors. Then, ask each person in advance if he or she would be willing to serve as a reference for you. If they say yes, confirm the preferred method of contact, and be sure to stay in touch. If it looks like a prospective employer is getting ready to check your references, give everyone on your list a heads up.

It’s possible that you may come across someone who is unwilling or unable to serve as a reference for you, and that’s OK! You only want to include people who are excited to talk about how great you are. Furthermore, if you suspect that one of your references isn’t giving you the glowing recommendation you’d hoped for, take her off your list. You should feel totally confident in each and every name you provide.

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Screen Your Social Media

By now, we all know that hiring managers are probably Googling you. So, you should be able to answer “yes” to at least one of the following questions:

  1. Is your blog, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and any other platform set to private?
  2. If not, are these accounts scrubbed clean of controversial or inappropriate content?

If you answered no to both of these questions, you might want to make some changes to your account settings. If a drunken photo or a rant about your current boss are the first things that pop up when a potential employer Googles you, you probably won’t be hearing from that company.

Social media can also have a positive impact on your job search. If you are hoping to manage online communities, work in public relations or marketing, or be a writer, regularly posting compelling, professional, industry-related content is a great way to get noticed and show off your skills.

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Know Your Resources

Identifying your job-search resources is a crucial step in this process. There are tons of ways to find new opportunities, but the most common ones are job boards, company career pages, recruiting agencies, and networking. Let’s take a closer look at each:

1. Job Boards

These are websites or apps that feature a variety of current job postings. Obviously, I recommend starting with The Muse.

2. Company Career Pages

Making a list of companies you’d like to work for and going directly to their websites is another great way to find new opportunities.

3. Recruiting Agencies

These are independent firms that match people with openings at their client companies. They may not be for everyone, but they usually have the inside scoop on what the job market looks like and can provide helpful tips on your resume and interview skills.

4. Networking

Your network is probably the most valuable resource that you’ll have at your disposal. This includes your friends, family, former colleagues, and professional connections.

Once you’ve identified all of your resources, you’ll want to spend some time evaluating which will be most useful. Diversifying them will be crucial to your success—don’t rely on just one! Pay attention to how often you hear back about jobs you’ve applied for (even if it’s a “thanks but no thanks” email) and take note of which resource you used to find each role. For example, if you apply to a bunch of jobs through an industry-specific job board and never hear anything back, but get a handful of responses whenever you apply through LinkedIn, you’ll want to focus more of your attention there.

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Work Your Network

It’s much more likely that you will land your next job through someone in your network than just through an online listing, so it’s essential to leverage this invaluable resource. To start, let’s run through a quick networking checklist.

The people in my network:

  • Know that I am looking for a new job
  • Know specifically what type of job I am looking for
  • Know the specific industry I’m targeting
  • Have a list of sample companies I’d like to work for
  • Understand how they can help me (I’ve asked them to introduce me to connections at a target company or refer me to a job with their employer)
  • Have a copy of my resume
  • Are connected with me on LinkedIn

Don’t be shy about reaching out to your network when you are beginning a new search. You never know who has an in with your dream company or knows of a recruiter looking for someone just like you. Just make sure that your message isn’t too vague or general (“I’m looking for a new job. Let me know if you hear of anything!” won’t cut it). Instead, try something like:

“I am in the market for a new role in the software or tech space. Currently, I’m a Business Development Representative for a small SaaS company in San Francisco and am hoping to move into an Account Executive role at a larger company. Ideally, I’d love to work for ABC Sales, SaaS Sales, or iSales.

If you happen to hear of any Account Executive opportunities in the area or know anyone at ABC, SaaS, or iSales, I would greatly appreciate a referral or an introduction. It may also help to mention that I’ve achieved at least 150% of my quota for the past four consecutive quarters and had a 75% lead to opportunity conversion rate. I’ve attached my resume to this e-ail for your reference.”

Obviously, you’ll want to infuse your personality into a message like this, but you get the idea: Be specific and ask for the referral or introduction.

Lastly, be smart about who you reach out to. You may not want to let your current colleagues know that you’re looking, so being selective will be important.

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Outsmart the Applicant Tracking System

Applicant Tracking Systems are the bane of many job seekers’ existences. If your resume doesn’t have the right formatting or keywords, you may be screened out before an actual person even lays eyes on your application. Thankfully, job seekers now have a lot of ATS screening resources at their disposal. Sites like JobScan allow you to compare your resume to a specific job posting to see how well your content matches up, while ResumeterProscans your resume for compatibility with most major ATS’.

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Make a Schedule

Looking for a job can be time consuming, so the more organized you are, the easier this process will be. Try setting up alerts on your favorite job boards and scheduling time to browse postings or reach out to prospective employers throughout the week.

Applying can be a bit of a numbers game—the more often you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to get an interview. Creating a regular application schedule for yourself will help you stay consistent.

Timing’s everything, and the best day of the week to apply for a new job is supposedley Monday (finally, Mondays are good for something), while the worst day of the week to apply is Friday. (Why? Most recruiters are wrapping up their week and planning for the weekend, so they might not look at new applications until Monday. By then, your appication will be buried under the most recent submissions.) The takeaway? When you find an opportunity you’re excited about, apply right away—unless you come across the posting on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. In that case, just sit tight until Monday.

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Flex Your Follow-up

Recruiters receive tons (we’re talking hundreds) of applications every single day, so having the right skill set for a particular job may not be enough to get you noticed. Getting on their radar will greatly increase your chances of scoring an interview. Finding a great opportunity, customizing your resume and cover letter, and submitting your application are obviously essential pieces of the process. But don’t stop there.

Your next step is to hop on LinkedIn and search for any connections who work for the company you’d like to apply to, the recruiter or hiring manager, or someone who works in the department you’re targeting. Once you’ve identified who you’re going to follow up with, it’s time to craft your message. This will, of course, vary depending on your audience. Here are a few sample templates to get you started:

For someone you know:

Hi [name],

I’m planning to apply for a [job title] opportunity with [company name] and wanted to ask if you’d be open to passing my resume on to the recruiter or hiring manager there.

Or…

I’m planning to apply for a [job title] opportunity with [company name] and I noticed that you’re connected with [name]. Would you be open to introducing me to him/her via LinkedIn?

For someone who works in the department:

Hi [name],

I recently applied to a [job title] role at [cmpany name]. It sounds like an exciting opportunity! I wanted to reach out to you directly to ask if you would be open to sharing any insights about the company or your role there. Any information or advice that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your time!

Best,
[Your name]

For the hiring manager, recruiter, or HR rep:

Hi [name],

I recently applied for the [job title] role at [company name] and wanted to follow up with you directly to ask if there is any additional information you may need from me in order to move forward with my application.

This role is particularly interesting to me because your job posting mentions a need for someone with [requirement] and [requirement] experience. I have an extensive background in [requirement] and am currently working on an [requirement] project now. I would love to learn more about how my expertise could be a match for your organization’s goals.

If you aren’t the most appropriate person to ask, would you mind pointing me in the right direction? Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Best,
[Your name]

Don’t forget to make these messages stand out by infusing your personality and customizing them to demonstrate your genuine interest in the company and how you can help to solve their most pressing pain points.

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Manage Your Communication Strategy

Assuming your resume, cover letter, and stellar networking skills will catch the eye of some awesome prospective employers, you’ll want to brush up on your email and phone etiquette. An unprofessional outgoing voice mail or tacky email could torpedo your chances of advancing to the next round. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward by following the below guidelines.

Phone etiquette:

  • Ditch the ring back tone (if you don’t know what this is, you’re good!)
  • Record a clear and professional, outgoing voicemail
  • Make sure your voicemail box is not full
  • Return all calls within 24 hours

Email etiquette:

  • Use a professional personal email address
  • Create a professional email signature
  • Proofread and spell check each and every message before hitting send
  • Respond to people within 24 hours

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Perfect Your Interview Skills

Feeling well-prepared and confident about your interview skills will have a tremendous impact on your success. Enlisting a friend or trusted colleague to help you practice answering some of the more commonly asked interview questions is a great start, but you’ll want to be sure you check each of the following items off your list before every interview:

  • Thoroughly review the job description
  • Develop a solid understanding of what the company does
  • Research relevant industry and company news
  • Practice explaining your experience in a nutshell
  • Practice explaining how your experience will compliment this role
  • Pick relevant, engaging questions to ask
  • Research your interviewers: Check out their company bios or LinkedIn profiles
  • Research the organization’s dress code and select an outfit that’ll reflect the company culture (don’t wear a full business suit to a startup or jeans to a law firm!)
  • For phone interviews, secure a quiet place to talk (with great reception or—even better—a landline!)
  • For video interviews, stage the background of the room you’ll be in
  • For in-person interviews, take steps to ensure that you’ll arrive early (five to 10 minutes is good), but not too early
  • Be ready to answer questions about your availability to start a new job

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Write an Awesome Thank You Note

A great thank you note can seal the deal, so be sure to ask every person you meet with for their contact information and send him or her a follow-up message as soon as possible. Same-day notes tend to have the biggest impact, but sending the next day works, too!

Here’s a simple template to get you started. Again, don’t forget to include personal, specific details from your conversation to show that you were engaged and paying attention.

Hi Name,

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I enjoyed learning more about your team, and the [job title] role. I’m very excited about the opportunity to join [company name] and help to [responsibilities you’d be handling].

I look forward to hearing from you about next steps soon. Please feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions in the meantime.

Have a great day!

Best regards,
[Your name]

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Nail Your Negotiation

Going into negotiate an offer armed with an understanding of what is most important to you and what is reasonable to expect will make the process easier and more comfortable for everyone involved. To start, let’s take a look at the key components of a job offer:

Salary

Knowing what your skills, expertise, and experience are worth will boost your confidence during a negotiation. Researching comparable salaries for similar roles in your industry on sites like Salary.com or Glassdoor should give you a solid idea of the industry standard. Identify the minimum amount that would make you happy, but don’t be afraid to ask for more.

Paid Time Off

Does the company roll sick and vacation time together into PTO or are they separate? Two to three weeks of time off is pretty standard, but try researching the company’s competitors’ offerings to get a feel for the industry standard.

Benefits

Typically, company benefits offering aren’t very negotiable, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared with a list of expectations. Ask about medical, dental, and vision, 401K, profit sharing, and wellness benefits so that you’ll have a full picture of what you’ll be getting.

Start Date

Can you start within two weeks of receiving an offer or do you need a little more time? Whether you’d like to wrap up a project before leaving your current job or just want to build in a week of time off in between jobs, it’s totally acceptable to ask for a delayed start date—within reason. Asking for up to three or four weeks should be fine.

Pre-Planned Vacation

Do you already have a future trip planned? Be sure to have a list of dates you’ll need off prepared in advance.

Deciding to ask for a higher salary, more time off, or a delayed start date is perfectly reasonable. This is the time when you should be advocating for yourself. Just make sure that you are appreciative, gracious, and realistic throughout the process. The key is to know what will work for you—and what won’t. Try making a list like the one below and keeping it handy for your next negotiation:

  • My ideal salary is:
  • My minimum salary is:
  • The standard salary range for this type of role is:
  • Ideally, I would like at least X weeks of PTO
  • The standard amount of PTO for this industry is:
  • I’m going to need to take the following dates off for pre-planned vacations or commitments:
  • At minimum, I’ll need the following benefits:
  • Additional “nice to have benefits” would be:
  • My preferred start date is:
  • The earliest day I can start is:

Keep in mind that you don’t need to accept an offer or present a counter on the spot. It’s perfectly fine to say, “Thank you for this opportunity. I’m really excited about this offer, but would like to take a couple of days to look everything over in more detail. Would it be possible for me to get back to you on [date]?”

Looking for a new job can be exhilarating and exhausting. Some searches go quickly while others may take a few months (or longer!). Being prepared for each and every step of this process will not only save you time and headaches, but it will also make you a smarter, savvier, and more hire-able candidate!

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10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You

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Have you ever noticed leaders spend a lot of time talking about talent, only to make the same mistakes over and over again? Few things in business are as costly and disruptive as unexpected talent departures. With all the emphasis on leadership development, I always find it interesting so many companies seem to struggle with being able to retain their top talent. In today’s column, I’ll share some research, observations, and insights on how to stop the talent door from revolving.

Ask any CEO if they have a process for retaining and developing talent and they’ll quickly answer in the affirmative. They immediately launch into a series of soundbites about the quality of their talent initiatives, the number of high-potentials in the nine box, blah, blah, blah. As with most things in the corporate world, there is too much process built upon theory and not nearly enough practice built on experience.

When examining the talent at any organization look at the culture, not the rhetoric – look at the results, not the commentary about potential. Despite some of the delusional perspective in the corner office, when we interview their employees, here’s what they tell us:

  • More than 30% believe they’ll be working someplace else inside of 12 months.
  • More than 40% don’t respect the person they report to.
  • More than 50% say they have different values than their employer.
  • More than 60% don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them.
  • More than 70% don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer.

So, for all those employers who have everything under control, you better start re-evaluating. There is an old saying that goes; “Employees don’t quit working for companies, they quit working for their bosses.” Regardless of tenure, position, title, etc., employees who voluntarily leave, generally do so out of some type of perceived disconnect with leadership.

Bottom line, if leaders spent less time trying to retain people, and more time trying to understand them, care for them, invest in them, and lead them well, the retention thing would take care of itself.

Here’s the thing – employees who are challenged, engaged, valued, and rewarded (emotionally, intellectually & financially) rarely leave, and more importantly, they perform at very high levels. However if you miss any of these critical areas, it’s only a matter of time until they head for the elevator. Following are 10 reasons your talent will leave you – smart leaders don’t make these mistakes:

1. You Failed To Unleash Their Passions: Smart companies align employee passions with corporate pursuits. Human nature makes it very difficult to walk away from areas of passion. Fail to understand this and you’ll unknowingly be encouraging employees to seek their passions elsewhere.

2. You Failed To Challenge Their Intellect: Smart people don’t like to live in a dimly lit world of boredom. If you don’t challenge people’s minds, they’ll leave you for someone/someplace that will.

3. You Failed To Engage Their Creativity: Great talent is wired to improve, enhance, and add value. They are built to change and innovate. They NEED to contribute by putting their fingerprints on design. Smart leaders don’t place people in boxes – they free them from boxes. What’s the use in having a racehorse if you don’t let them run?

4. You Failed To Develop Their Skills: Leadership isn’t a destination – it’s a continuum. No matter how smart or talented a person is, there’s always room for growth, development, and continued maturation. If you place restrictions on a person’s ability to grow, they’ll leave you for someone who won’t.

5. You Failed To Give Them A Voice: Talented people have good thoughts, ideas, insights, and observations. If you don’t listen to them, I can guarantee you someone else will.

6. You Failed To Care: Sure, people come to work for a paycheck, but that’s not the only reason. In fact, many studies show it’s not even the most important reason. If you fail to care about people at a human level, at an emotional level, they’ll eventually leave you regardless of how much you pay them.

7. You Failed to Lead: Businesses don’t fail, products don’t fail, projects don’t fail, and teams don’t fail – leaders fail. The best testament to the value of leadership is what happens in its absence – very little. If you fail to lead, your talent will seek leadership elsewhere.

8. You Failed To Recognize Their Contributions: The best leaders don’t take credit – they give it. Failing to recognize the contributions of others is not only arrogant and disingenuous, but it’s as also just as good as asking them to leave.

9. You Failed To Increase Their Responsibility: You cannot confine talent – try to do so and you’ll either devolve into mediocrity, or force your talent seek more fertile ground. People will gladly accept a huge workload as long as an increase in responsibility comes along with the performance and execution of said workload.

10. You Failed To Keep Your Commitments: Promises made are worthless, but promises kept are invaluable. If you break trust with those you lead you will pay a very steep price. Leaders not accountable to their people, will eventually be held accountable by their people.

Bottom line, if leaders spent less time trying to retain people, and more time trying to understand them, care for them, invest in them, and lead them well, the retention thing would take care of itself.

 

How to Tell if a Candidate’s Lying Straight to Your Face During an Interview

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Research shows that our ability to detect when someone is lying is just as good as an estimate or a guess. Perhaps, this is why lies get past us so often because our guess is that the person is not lying.

For most people, the act of lying elicits several reactions because it takes the brain some time to pause and not tell the truth.

Some of these reactions include an increased stress response (think Brian Williams), a stance of defiance and dominance (think Lance Armstrong), and a covering of true emotions, otherwise known as the truth (think Anthony Weiner).

Wouldn’t it be great to know when you are being lied to? Or better yet, that you could get a heads-up before someone starts lying to you?

Lying is no more evident in public life as it is in everyday job interviews. While we may not be able to immediately detect if someone is lying, there are signs we can look for.

The key is to put our eyes and our ears into play to differentiate fiction from reality.

Baseline

When detectives are interrogating a suspect, they start with a set of non-threatening questions and observe the suspect’s baseline behavior when answering. Then, they move to a difficult set of questions and observe changes in behavior that are indicative of deception.

For those in human resources management, this could look something like this:

  • Where did you grow up?
  • What are your favorite hobbies?
  • What are your strengths?

Simple enough. No reason to lie.

Next, the manager could ask questions like:

  • What would your last employer say about you?
  • What is the reason you didn’t finish college?
  • What are your weaknesses?

A little bit more difficult and a little bit more of a reason to lie especially if the resume doesn’t match up.

In the first set of questions, the potential employee will more than likely tell the truth. Then comes the hard part.

Does he pause, avoid eye contact, blink too much, move his feet, touch his face, or act like he’s thinking with the latter set of questions?

Breaking Eye Contact

Most people know that lying is wrong. When a liar is lying, he or she will break eye contact to reduce the guilt.

Holding eye contact can be overwhelming for a liar. Lying takes more energy than telling the truth because our brain has to pause and think about a lie to tell.

Conflicting Gestures

Let’s say Jack is interviewing for the chief financial officer position of your company. You ask him if he has ever gone bankrupt. He gives you an affirmative “no” while at the same time shaking his head “yes.”

Words may be lies, but the internal reactions within the body and brain force our gestures to be more truthful.

Duping Delight

Dr. Paul Eckman coined the phrase “duping delight” to refer to the glee that some people get when they feel they are being successful in manipulating someone else. Lying is a form of manipulation.

With a lie, you may see a micro-expression called duping delight which is a smile that comes across one’s face when they feel they are getting away with something (think O.J. Simpson). When you feel someone is lying, look for a slightly suppressed smile.

Overcompensating Language

If you ask a question and the interviewee replies with a short story, then you are in for a few lies. Using too many words can be a sign that the person is hiding something.

Liars are good at trying to come across as truthful. It is their attempt that gives them away.

Turn Away, Turn Back

Following an answer or response that is less than truthful, liars will look away from you or pretend to be looking for something in a stack of papers or on their phones before returning the glance.

This is a tactic to see if you believe the lie and will move on to the next topic, or if you doubt the lie and will rephrase the question.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-tell-if-a-candidates-lying-straight-to-your-face-during-an-interview

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

New Company or New Career? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself if You Can’t Decide

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Your job is making you absolutely miserable. But, wait just one minute. Is it actually your job—or is it your employer?

There’s no doubt about it—the two can be easily confused. However, before you become convinced that you’re in need of a total career 180, you’ll want to press the pause button and take some time to evaluate. Is it what you’re doing that you dislike so strongly, or is it who you’re doing it for?

Believe me, I know that figuring that out isn’t always easy. So, ask yourself these four questions and you’re sure to gain some clarity and determine your best course of action.

1. What’s My Favorite Part of My Current Job? What’s My Absolute Least Favorite Part?

First, let’s take a magnifying glass to your existing gig. This is crucial for determining what’s working for you, as well as what isn’t.

Sit down, think through your day-to-day, and zone on the thing you love the absolute most about what you’re doing right now. Perhaps it’s a key responsibility you have or a big project you’ve been working on. Whatever it is, find that one thing that you adore the most about your current job.

On the flipside, you’ll also want to take some time to identify the thing you undeniably loathe. What part of your position makes you groan uncontrollably and heave endless exasperated sighs? Thinking that through definitely isn’t as much fun, but it’s still important.

So, where exactly is this question getting you? Let’s break it down. If you have no trouble thinking of an aspect of your position that really makes you feel fulfilled, that’s probably a good indicator that you’re on the right path in your career. And, on the other side of that coin? If you’re really racking your brain only to eventually land on your decent dental plan as the very best part of your job? It might be time to make some changes.

The question about your least favorite aspect works the same way. Are those dreadful parts of your job more employer-based—such as too few vacation days or gossipy, rude co-workers? Or, is it something specifically tied to your position? That too can shine some light on what you need to do next.

2. What Three Words Would I Use to Describe My Boss? What About My Co-workers?

I know what it’s like to have your brain feel so clouded that you have no idea which way is up. And, needless to say, that confused state of mind can only make your situation that much tougher.

So, now, instead of focusing solely on what you’re doing, it’s time to turn the spotlight on who you’re doing it with. Grab a notepad and jot down the first three words that spring to mind when you think of your supervisor, and then do the exact same thing for your colleagues.

Take a look at what you wrote down. Do you see mostly positive words, like “supportive” or “motivating?” Or, did you mainly list things like “overbearing” or “untrustworthy?”

The environment you work in can have a huge impact on how you feel about your career overall. So, taking the time to evaluate what you truly think about the people you work with will help you to focus in on what’s actually bothering you about your current position.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/new-company-or-new-career-4-questions-to-ask-yourself-if-you-cant-decide

 

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

7 Career Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid By Just Reading This

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1. I Never Officially Asked Someone to Be My Mentor

I’ve worked with a lot of incredible writers and editors in my career who know I look up to them and who I’ve gone to for advice numerous times over the years. But I never sat down any of them and said, “I really admire the career path you’re on, and it’s very similar to the plan I envision for myself—will you take me under your wing?” You know that old adage, “Ask and you shall receive?” There really is a switch that flips when you tell someone what you want from them and explain how they can help you.

Case in point, when I was a young entertainment editor at CosmoGIRL!, I was all set to interview John Mayer for a feature. At the time, he was my favorite singer and I felt like the lyrics from his first album were ripped out of my own diary. But a high school student who had asked our editor-in-chief to be her mentor was a fan, too—and wanted to develop her interview skills—so, my John Mayer interview was given to her.

Now, this is an extreme case, and not every mentee is going to get such a major opportunity handed to them from a mentor. But there is a huge lesson to be learned here: If you don’t ask someone to be your mentor, you’ll never know what doors it could have opened for you.

2. I Didn’t Keep in Touch With My Interns

It never ceases to amaze me how many of my former interns have gone on to basically rule the world. Often on their last day, I’d simply thank them for all of their hard work and send them out into the world, only to maybe hear from them for a job reference when they graduated.

Now that I’m a freelance writer who pitches a wide variety of publications and editors, I very often end up pitching former interns. It makes my heart happy to see them succeeding, but it would have been even better if I’d made an effort to keep in touch with them. It would make those “Hi, please assign me a story” conversations a lot less awkward.

And on that note—be nice to your interns. I always did try to treat mine with respect, but things get busy and it can be easy to take out your stress on them. Don’t do that—because if they’re going to be in a position of power one day and you were mean to them, they might just take pleasure in rejecting you.

3. I Spoke Back to My Superiors Sometimes

As a junior editor, there was one senior editor who edited a majority of the features I wrote. Our interaction went something like this:

Senior editor: “Do you think our readers care, like really care, about Britney Spears anymore? Should we change that reference?

Me: [Eye roll]

Senior editor: “So—what do you think?”

Me: [Long, drawn out sigh] “You really don’t know anything about entertainment or what I do as an entertainment editor if you’re asking me a question like that. Everyone loves Britney Spears.”

Senior editor: [Draws in breath and throws copy back to me, effectively ending conversation]

So here’s what happens when you’re blatantly disrespectful—you’re essentially hanging a sign around your neck that screams “Difficult.” The person you disrespected will always remember that when asked by another colleague about you or—and this is a biggie—when your professional paths cross again. And trust me, they always do. It’s very tough to redeem yourself (even if your excuse really was being an insolent 20-something who didn’t know better).

4. I Didn’t Negotiate

I was at my first job for five years before I finally decided it was time to move on. I was apprehensive about breaking out of my comfort zone and going somewhere new, but I was recruited for a job that seemed like the perfect next step in my career. The executive editor who interviewed me was very persuasive. That was great—but the job paid less money than I wanted, came with a title that was technically a step down, required that I sit in a cubicle instead of an office (I was coming from an oversized private space) and didn’t include any of the new responsibilities I wanted, such as managing a team or top-editing junior writers.

It had been so long since I’d interviewed for a job—and gotten an offer—that I was afraid to accept anything other than what was offered to me. So I got the offer and took it, no questions asked. I didn’t even try to get more money or find out if an office would be possible down the line. I left everything on the table and showed up for my first day of work with a massive pit in my stomach. I only stayed at that job for nine months, and every single day I wondered what would have been if I even tried to negotiate a little bit.
Here’s the thing—the very worst that can happen during negotiations is you’re told “No.” And if you’re told “No” to the things that you consider deal breakers, then you have the power to decline and wait for a better opportunity to present itself.

5. I Should Have Asked for Feedback Before My Reviews

After a few years at my first job, some changes took place and I had a brand-new boss. I thought I was doing great before she came on board and that I was on track for a promotion. And then, it was time for our annual reviews, and she told me how very presumptuous I was for thinking I was ready for more responsibility—that I had very specific things to work on before she would even consider it. Yes, my boss should have sat down with me before the review if she was that concerned about my performance—but I should have been checking in with her, too.

Let me empower you: It’s OK to check in with your boss every six weeks or so. It doesn’t even have to be a formal meeting. Just find a free minute to ask if you can review your latest projects or get feedback on how you’ve interacted with recent clients. Find out what your boss was impressed by and where you need to improve. Be bold enough to ask where she sees you in the next year and how she suggests you get there.

6. I Was Terrible About Managing My Contacts

Get in the habit of creating a Google spreadsheet with the contact info of everyone you meet. Update it with every business card you receive or contact information in the signature of every email. Store it in your Google drive, email it to yourself as a backup, and be diligent about updating it when someone’s information changes.

Please just trust me on this one—there’s nothing worse than having to dig for the contact information of someone you met five years ago. It may take five years until you need to reach out to people on that list again. That’s OK—it will save you a lot of time and energy if you can quickly pull it up on your computer rather than racking your brain trying to remember where you met that contact or how you think their last name might be spelled as you desperately search your email.

7. I Didn’t Always Speak Up After I Made a Mistake

Many times in the early part of my career, I made mistakes and I did not speak up. Luckily, I was never fired and none of my mistakes were so detrimental that they couldn’t be fixed. But there were a lot of close calls that created more work and unnecessary late nights for my colleagues and myself.

We are human. We all make mistakes. And if you have a boss who makes you feel like mistakes aren’t tolerated, then perhaps you need to find someone else to work for. However, what is unacceptable is not taking responsibility for your mistakes. Hiding from mistakes, lying about mistakes or throwing others under the bus because of your mistakes will catch up with you—and it won’t be pretty. Admitting something went wrong as soon as it goes wrong will suck, but the mess will be a lot easier to clean up and your reputation should come out unscathed.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-career-mistakes-you-can-easily-avoid-by-just-reading-this

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

4 Avoidable Traps Career Changers Fall Into When They’re Job Hunting

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If you’re thinking about making a big career change, you’re not alone. More and more people are making at least one big shift during their professional life, and they’re doing it successfully. Chances are, you already know that you need to tailor your resume, learn how to tell your career story, and explain your transition in a compelling way. So you’re good to go, right?

Not necessarily. Although there are plenty of resources out there to help you make the shift, there are still some not-so-obvious, yet common mistakes that can trap you if you aren’t aware of them. Beyond the challenge of telling your story, individuals making this move often fumble in unexpected ways that can stall progress and leave them feeling like the whole transition was a terrible idea.

Here’s what not to do.

1. Going it Alone

It’s scary to change careers, partly because fear of failure is real. This fear can make it nerve-wracking to tell your friends, family, and network about your plans. You figure you’ll announce it when you succeed. Part of this instinct is a result of how social media shapes our perceptions. Seeing the best of everyone’s lives online can make it hard to admit when something in your own life isn’t going how you anticipated. It’s easier to tell a story of success rather than ask for help in the process.

But if you want to break into a new industry, the people you already know are where you need to start. They’re very often your best possible assets. Evidence suggests that even those long-lost Facebook acquaintances that you aren’t close with might just be your ticket to a new path. Social media is not just for vacation selfies and political rants; it’s a powerful tool that you can use to get a head start on your search. Tell your friends—IRL and digital—about the change you want to make, and you may be surprised with a connection you never thought about. If you have connections from college, mentors from a past job, a distant cousin, reach out. Don’t wait until you get frustrated by the process—connect early to avoid feeling helpless or lost.

2. Avoiding Big Questions

Major life decisions deserve introspection, but if you can believe it, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about this seemingly straightforward exercise. I’ve seen too many career changers think about what they want to leave behind, rather than what they want to move toward—and why. If you’re in a job that you hate, and you want to get out as fast as possible, you might not be asking yourself the necessary questions about your career move. Are you trying to use a different skill set? Make a bigger impact in your community? Feel more challenged?

Think hard about why you want to shift from marketing to finance, or from sales to product management. Understand why you want to get your MBA. If you want to be successful in a new career, you need to know why you want to be there. It’s OK if you can’t think 10 years into the future, but try to think about the next three to five. How will this career transition help you grow, better your life, or set you up for your future goals? Until you can answer these kinds of questions, any satisfaction you get from escaping your current job will likely be temporary.

3. Getting Impatient

The job search takes time, and if you’ve done your introspective work and finally made the decision to switch careers, you may begin to feel frustrated by all that you still have to do. You want that new track ASAP, but the reality of a career change is that it’s rarely a speedy process. Unlike moving to a new role in the industry you have experience in, the transitional move is often complicated. In fact, you may have to consider a side gig to get your foot in the door. An internship is another possibility. If you’re not ready and aware of the commitment involved, you may feel like giving up before you even really get started.

One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to start with a realistic step-by-step plan for your career change. Working with a friend, on your own, or with career coach, give yourself a minimum of six months (be prepared for it to take twice as long though) to research, polish, and tweak your documents and narrative, network, get industry practice, and apply to jobs. If you find something sooner, great! But do yourself a favor and take the pressure off of making the transition with speed.

4. Applying to the Wrong Jobs

So you’ve informed your network (and continually worked to build and strengthen it), sought and gained introspection, and planned out the next several months. There’s still one more common yet not quite obvious mistake I’ve seen time and time again: choosing the wrong roles. Either you become so narrowly focused on the one title/job/role you want and only apply to the (very few) jobs that fit your preconceived notion without exploring new opportunities, or you start applying for everything in the new field with little attention paid to whether or not it’s even a right fit for you. Both usually result in a lot of anxiety.

As with most things, striking a balance is key here. No job is a perfect reflection of its description, and you may pass up a really interesting opportunity if you’re only focusing on a few keywords. Career changing is a journey, and you should be ready to take on some unexpected challenges in whatever new role you find. Don’t automatically pass up that marketing role at the boutique firm just because it also involves some customer service or budget management.

You may find that you have a knack for wearing multiple hats and like the variety. But if you find a marketing role at a sporting goods company when you’re an indoorsy bookworm, you might want to think twice before just hitting send on the application. So before you hit “pass” or “apply” on any job, take the time to really read the description, learn about the company, and see if you can picture yourself there. Then you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

Whether you’re changing your track after only a few years, or after 25, keep in mind that you have the skills and the savvy to be successful in your new field. Avoiding career-changing mistakes will save you from burnout and help you get to where you want to be.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-avoidable-traps-career-changers-fall-into-when-theyre-job-hunting

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

The 2 Traits All Hiring Managers Look for During Interviews (Without Even Realizing It)

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How cool would it be to have an X-ray into the head of the person who controls your career fate? To understand exactly what a hiring manager at your dream company is thinking when she’s picking which lucky candidate she’ll bring on full-time?

Well, until CAT scans start to pick up hiring decisions, that day may still be far away. But in the meantime, let me at least give you a glimpse into the typical interviewing process so you can get a sense of the main criteria hiring managers use to make those decisions.

How Humans Evaluate Each Other

Even though your potential boss has the fancy title of “Hiring Manager,” at the end of the day, she’s just a human being. Which means that contrary to all that time you’ve spent obsessing about brainteasers, she doesn’t actually care how many tennis balls could fit in a 747.

Instead, she’s going to size you up the same way that all humans size each other up: By getting to know you for a few minutes and then making a snap judgment. It’s really not that different from meeting someone at a party, making some chit-chat, and then getting a gut feeling that either says: “Mm…I like talking to you. Tell me more!” or “Umm…I think I need to go to the bathroom. Will you excuse me for a second (a.k.a., the rest of your life)?”

But where does that gut feeling come from?

One Psychology theory suggests that these flash judgments are really based on two data points:

  1. Warmth: Do I like you?
  2. Competence: Are you good at what you do?

In other words, we ultimately reduce everyone we meet into four buckets:

  1. Warm + Competent
  2. Warm + Incompetent
  3. Cold + Competent
  4. Cold + Incompetent

Any guesses which of these buckets your hiring manager is more likely to pick?

Let’s look at her inner monologue for each:

How to Get Picked

So clearly, your goal is to get into that top-left quadrant: warm and competent. But how do you do that?

The trick is to not only focus on coming up with specific answers to questions that may be asked. But to also focus hard on how you answer those questions. Because, as you’ll see, warmth and competence judgments aren’t definitive evaluations but mere perceptions. And while you can’t change who you are, you absolutely can change people’s perceptions of you.

As an example, let’s take that old interview chestnut: “Tell me about a time you influenced a team.”

A standard answer might go like this:

“OK, so there was this time that I had to work with a bunch of people on a project. Some of them weren’t that easy to work with, so I really had to influence them to do a better job. Which was super tough because they weren’t that motivated. But after I talked with them, they started doing way better. So that’s how I influenced my team.”

The person listening would most likely think the following: This person is both cold (it feels like she’s throwing her teammates under the bus) and incompetent (wait a second, what did she actually do here—does she even know how to work with other people?).

While there’s a lot more to this person’s story, this snap judgment from a hiring managers
makes it clear just how quickly interviewers can rush to evaluate a candidate.

But it also illuminates the importance of how we tell our stories. Because now consider this same story told a second way:

“OK, so there was this time that I got to work with a bunch of people on a big project—the launch of a new website. I was nervous about it because we all came from different departments—sales, marketing, and engineering. So the first thing I did is I got to know my engineering colleagues better by setting up coffees with each person and learning about their backgrounds and goals. And then, when we ran into a situation where the engineers weren’t making as much progress as we had planned, I was able to reframe the new website around their own goals. Seeing the connection between their personal ambitions and our team mission really seemed to light a fire under them. And the result was that we not only hit our deadline, but we actually launched two weeks early.”

Again, same exact high-level story. But notice how the telling of it changes the candidate from cold to warm (“Nice—I’d want to grab coffee with her too!”) and incompetent to competent (“Wow—she knew exactly what to do and got the results to prove it”). All through subtle techniques like:

  • Using specifics: Instead of focusing on the boring abstract, the candidate brings her story to life through details: a new website, falling behind, coffee chats, a clear result
  • Being self-aware: Instead of needing to stroke her own ego, the candidate shows she’s human and likable by admitting to her nerves
  • Going step-by-step: Instead of glossing over the meat of the story, the candidate draws a clear connection from the challenge to her response to a specific outcome

 

https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-2-traits-all-hiring-managers-look-for-during-interviews-without-even-realizing-it

 

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit

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It’s pretty incredible how often you hear managers complaining about their best employees leaving, and they really do have something to complain about—few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door.

Managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun, while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.

The sad thing is that this can easily be avoided. All that’s required is a new perspective and some extra effort on the manager’s part.

First, we need to understand the nine worst things that managers do that send good people packing.

1. They Overwork People

Nothing burns good employees out quite like overworking them. It’s so tempting to work your best people hard that managers frequently fall into this trap. Overworking good employees is perplexing; it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for great performance. Overworking employees is also counterproductive. New research from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that you don’t get anything out of working more.

If you must increase how much work your talented employees are doing, you’d better increase their status as well. Talented employees will take on a bigger workload, but they won’t stay if their job suffocates them in the process. Raises, promotions, and title-changes are all acceptable ways to increase workload. If you simply increase workload because people are talented, without changing a thing, they will seek another job that gives them what they deserve.

2. They Don’t Recognize Contributions and Reward Good Work

It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all. Managers need to communicate with their people to find out what makes them feel good (for some, it’s a raise; for others, it’s public recognition) and then to reward them for a job well done. With top performers, this will happen often if you’re doing it right.

3. They Don’t Care about Their Employees

More than half of people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Smart companies make certain their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. These are the bosses who celebrate an employee’s success, empathize with those going through hard times, and challenge people, even when it hurts. Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates. It’s impossible to work for someone eight-plus hours a day when they aren’t personally involved and don’t care about anything other than your production yield.

4. They Don’t Honor Their Commitments

Making promises to people places you on the fine line that lies between making them very happy and watching them walk out the door. When you uphold a commitment, you grow in the eyes of your employees because you prove yourself to be trustworthy and honorable (two very important qualities in a boss). But when you disregard your commitment, you come across as slimy, uncaring, and disrespectful. After all, if the boss doesn’t honor his or her commitments, why should everyone else?

5. They Hire and Promote the Wrong People

Good, hard-working employees want to work with like-minded professionals. When managers don’t do the hard work of hiring good people, it’s a major demotivator for those stuck working alongside them. Promoting the wrong people is even worse. When you work your tail off only to get passed over for a promotion that’s given to someone who glad-handed their way to the top­­­­­­­, it’s a massive insult. No wonder it makes good people leave.

6. They Don’t Let People Pursue Their Passions

Talented employees are passionate. Providing opportunities for them to pursue their passions improves their productivity and job satisfaction. But many managers want people to work within a little box. These managers fear that productivity will decline if they let people expand their focus and pursue their passions. This fear is unfounded. Studies show that people who are able to pursue their passions at work experience flow, a euphoric state of mind that is five times more productive than the norm.

7. They Fail to Develop People’s Skills

When managers are asked about their inattention to employees, they try to excuse themselves, using words such as “trust,” “autonomy,” and “empowerment.” This is complete nonsense. Good managers manage, no matter how talented the employee. They pay attention and are constantly listening and giving feedback.

Management may have a beginning, but it certainly has no end. When you have a talented employee, it’s up to you to keep finding areas in which they can improve to expand their skill set. The most talented employees want feedback—more so than the less talented ones—and it’s your job to keep it coming. If you don’t, your best people will grow bored and complacent.

8. They Fail to Engage Their Creativity

The most talented employees seek to improve everything they touch. If you take away their ability to change and improve things because you’re only comfortable with the status quo, this makes them hate their jobs. Caging up this innate desire to create not only limits them, it limits you.

9. They Fail to Challenge People Intellectually

Great bosses challenge their employees to accomplish things that seem inconceivable at first. Instead of setting mundane, incremental goals, they set lofty goals that push people out of their comfort zones. Then, good managers do everything in their power to help them succeed. When talented and intelligent people find themselves doing things that are too easy or boring, they seek other jobs that will challenge their intellects.

Bringing It All Together

If you want your best people to stay, you need to think carefully about how you treat them. While good employees are as tough as nails, their talent gives them an abundance of options. You need to make them want to work for you.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-travis-bradberry/9-things-that-make-good-e_b_8870074.html

 

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

New Company or New Career? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself if You Can’t Decide

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Your job is making you absolutely miserable. But, wait just one minute. Is it actually your job—or is it your employer?

There’s no doubt about it—the two can be easily confused. However, before you become convinced that you’re in need of a total career 180, you’ll want to press the pause button and take some time to evaluate. Is it what you’re doing that you dislike so strongly, or is it who you’re doing it for?

Believe me, I know that figuring that out isn’t always easy. So, ask yourself these four questions and you’re sure to gain some clarity and determine your best course of action.

1. What’s My Favorite Part of My Current Job? What’s My Absolute Least Favorite Part?

First, let’s take a magnifying glass to your existing gig. This is crucial for determining what’s working for you, as well as what isn’t.

Sit down, think through your day-to-day, and zone on the thing you love the absolute most about what you’re doing right now. Perhaps it’s a key responsibility you have or a big project you’ve been working on. Whatever it is, find that one thing that you adore the most about your current job.

On the flipside, you’ll also want to take some time to identify the thing you undeniably loathe. What part of your position makes you groan uncontrollably and heave endless exasperated sighs? Thinking that through definitely isn’t as much fun, but it’s still important.

So, where exactly is this question getting you? Let’s break it down. If you have no trouble thinking of an aspect of your position that really makes you feel fulfilled, that’s probably a good indicator that you’re on the right path in your career. And, on the other side of that coin? If you’re really racking your brain only to eventually land on your decent dental plan as the very best part of your job? It might be time to make some changes.

The question about your least favorite aspect works the same way. Are those dreadful parts of your job more employer-based—such as too few vacation days or gossipy, rude co-workers? Or, is it something specifically tied to your position? That too can shine some light on what you need to do next.

2. What Three Words Would I Use to Describe My Boss? What About My Co-workers?

I know what it’s like to have your brain feel so clouded that you have no idea which way is up. And, needless to say, that confused state of mind can only make your situation that much tougher.

So, now, instead of focusing solely on what you’re doing, it’s time to turn the spotlight on who you’re doing it with. Grab a notepad and jot down the first three words that spring to mind when you think of your supervisor, and then do the exact same thing for your colleagues.

Take a look at what you wrote down. Do you see mostly positive words, like “supportive” or “motivating?” Or, did you mainly list things like “overbearing” or “untrustworthy?”

The environment you work in can have a huge impact on how you feel about your career overall. So, taking the time to evaluate what you truly think about the people you work with will help you to focus in on what’s actually bothering you about your current position.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/new-company-or-new-career-4-questions-to-ask-yourself-if-you-cant-decide

 

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

7 Career Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid By Just Reading This

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1. I Never Officially Asked Someone to Be My Mentor

I’ve worked with a lot of incredible writers and editors in my career who know I look up to them and who I’ve gone to for advice numerous times over the years. But I never sat down any of them and said, “I really admire the career path you’re on, and it’s very similar to the plan I envision for myself—will you take me under your wing?” You know that old adage, “Ask and you shall receive?” There really is a switch that flips when you tell someone what you want from them and explain how they can help you.

Case in point, when I was a young entertainment editor at CosmoGIRL!, I was all set to interview John Mayer for a feature. At the time, he was my favorite singer and I felt like the lyrics from his first album were ripped out of my own diary. But a high school student who had asked our editor-in-chief to be her mentor was a fan, too—and wanted to develop her interview skills—so, my John Mayer interview was given to her.

Now, this is an extreme case, and not every mentee is going to get such a major opportunity handed to them from a mentor. But there is a huge lesson to be learned here: If you don’t ask someone to be your mentor, you’ll never know what doors it could have opened for you.

2. I Didn’t Keep in Touch With My Interns

It never ceases to amaze me how many of my former interns have gone on to basically rule the world. Often on their last day, I’d simply thank them for all of their hard work and send them out into the world, only to maybe hear from them for a job reference when they graduated.

Now that I’m a freelance writer who pitches a wide variety of publications and editors, I very often end up pitching former interns. It makes my heart happy to see them succeeding, but it would have been even better if I’d made an effort to keep in touch with them. It would make those “Hi, please assign me a story” conversations a lot less awkward.

And on that note—be nice to your interns. I always did try to treat mine with respect, but things get busy and it can be easy to take out your stress on them. Don’t do that—because if they’re going to be in a position of power one day and you were mean to them, they might just take pleasure in rejecting you.

3. I Spoke Back to My Superiors Sometimes

As a junior editor, there was one senior editor who edited a majority of the features I wrote. Our interaction went something like this:

Senior editor: “Do you think our readers care, like really care, about Britney Spears anymore? Should we change that reference?

Me: [Eye roll]

Senior editor: “So—what do you think?”

Me: [Long, drawn out sigh] “You really don’t know anything about entertainment or what I do as an entertainment editor if you’re asking me a question like that. Everyone loves Britney Spears.”

Senior editor: [Draws in breath and throws copy back to me, effectively ending conversation]

So here’s what happens when you’re blatantly disrespectful—you’re essentially hanging a sign around your neck that screams “Difficult.” The person you disrespected will always remember that when asked by another colleague about you or—and this is a biggie—when your professional paths cross again. And trust me, they always do. It’s very tough to redeem yourself (even if your excuse really was being an insolent 20-something who didn’t know better).

4. I Didn’t Negotiate

I was at my first job for five years before I finally decided it was time to move on. I was apprehensive about breaking out of my comfort zone and going somewhere new, but I was recruited for a job that seemed like the perfect next step in my career. The executive editor who interviewed me was very persuasive. That was great—but the job paid less money than I wanted, came with a title that was technically a step down, required that I sit in a cubicle instead of an office (I was coming from an oversized private space) and didn’t include any of the new responsibilities I wanted, such as managing a team or top-editing junior writers.

It had been so long since I’d interviewed for a job—and gotten an offer—that I was afraid to accept anything other than what was offered to me. So I got the offer and took it, no questions asked. I didn’t even try to get more money or find out if an office would be possible down the line. I left everything on the table and showed up for my first day of work with a massive pit in my stomach. I only stayed at that job for nine months, and every single day I wondered what would have been if I even tried to negotiate a little bit.
Here’s the thing—the very worst that can happen during negotiations is you’re told “No.” And if you’re told “No” to the things that you consider deal breakers, then you have the power to decline and wait for a better opportunity to present itself.

5. I Should Have Asked for Feedback Before My Reviews

After a few years at my first job, some changes took place and I had a brand-new boss. I thought I was doing great before she came on board and that I was on track for a promotion. And then, it was time for our annual reviews, and she told me how very presumptuous I was for thinking I was ready for more responsibility—that I had very specific things to work on before she would even consider it. Yes, my boss should have sat down with me before the review if she was that concerned about my performance—but I should have been checking in with her, too.

Let me empower you: It’s OK to check in with your boss every six weeks or so. It doesn’t even have to be a formal meeting. Just find a free minute to ask if you can review your latest projects or get feedback on how you’ve interacted with recent clients. Find out what your boss was impressed by and where you need to improve. Be bold enough to ask where she sees you in the next year and how she suggests you get there.

6. I Was Terrible About Managing My Contacts

Get in the habit of creating a Google spreadsheet with the contact info of everyone you meet. Update it with every business card you receive or contact information in the signature of every email. Store it in your Google drive, email it to yourself as a backup, and be diligent about updating it when someone’s information changes.

Please just trust me on this one—there’s nothing worse than having to dig for the contact information of someone you met five years ago. It may take five years until you need to reach out to people on that list again. That’s OK—it will save you a lot of time and energy if you can quickly pull it up on your computer rather than racking your brain trying to remember where you met that contact or how you think their last name might be spelled as you desperately search your email.

7. I Didn’t Always Speak Up After I Made a Mistake

Many times in the early part of my career, I made mistakes and I did not speak up. Luckily, I was never fired and none of my mistakes were so detrimental that they couldn’t be fixed. But there were a lot of close calls that created more work and unnecessary late nights for my colleagues and myself.

We are human. We all make mistakes. And if you have a boss who makes you feel like mistakes aren’t tolerated, then perhaps you need to find someone else to work for. However, what is unacceptable is not taking responsibility for your mistakes. Hiding from mistakes, lying about mistakes or throwing others under the bus because of your mistakes will catch up with you—and it won’t be pretty. Admitting something went wrong as soon as it goes wrong will suck, but the mess will be a lot easier to clean up and your reputation should come out unscathed.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-career-mistakes-you-can-easily-avoid-by-just-reading-this

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

 

4 Avoidable Traps Career Changers Fall Into When They’re Job Hunting

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If you’re thinking about making a big career change, you’re not alone. More and more people are making at least one big shift during their professional life, and they’re doing it successfully. Chances are, you already know that you need to tailor your resume, learn how to tell your career story, and explain your transition in a compelling way. So you’re good to go, right?

Not necessarily. Although there are plenty of resources out there to help you make the shift, there are still some not-so-obvious, yet common mistakes that can trap you if you aren’t aware of them. Beyond the challenge of telling your story, individuals making this move often fumble in unexpected ways that can stall progress and leave them feeling like the whole transition was a terrible idea.

Here’s what not to do.

1. Going it Alone

It’s scary to change careers, partly because fear of failure is real. This fear can make it nerve-wracking to tell your friends, family, and network about your plans. You figure you’ll announce it when you succeed. Part of this instinct is a result of how social media shapes our perceptions. Seeing the best of everyone’s lives online can make it hard to admit when something in your own life isn’t going how you anticipated. It’s easier to tell a story of success rather than ask for help in the process.

But if you want to break into a new industry, the people you already know are where you need to start. They’re very often your best possible assets. Evidence suggests that even those long-lost Facebook acquaintances that you aren’t close with might just be your ticket to a new path. Social media is not just for vacation selfies and political rants; it’s a powerful tool that you can use to get a head start on your search. Tell your friends—IRL and digital—about the change you want to make, and you may be surprised with a connection you never thought about. If you have connections from college, mentors from a past job, a distant cousin, reach out. Don’t wait until you get frustrated by the process—connect early to avoid feeling helpless or lost.

2. Avoiding Big Questions

Major life decisions deserve introspection, but if you can believe it, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about this seemingly straightforward exercise. I’ve seen too many career changers think about what they want to leave behind, rather than what they want to move toward—and why. If you’re in a job that you hate, and you want to get out as fast as possible, you might not be asking yourself the necessary questions about your career move. Are you trying to use a different skill set? Make a bigger impact in your community? Feel more challenged?

Think hard about why you want to shift from marketing to finance, or from sales to product management. Understand why you want to get your MBA. If you want to be successful in a new career, you need to know why you want to be there. It’s OK if you can’t think 10 years into the future, but try to think about the next three to five. How will this career transition help you grow, better your life, or set you up for your future goals? Until you can answer these kinds of questions, any satisfaction you get from escaping your current job will likely be temporary.

3. Getting Impatient

The job search takes time, and if you’ve done your introspective work and finally made the decision to switch careers, you may begin to feel frustrated by all that you still have to do. You want that new track ASAP, but the reality of a career change is that it’s rarely a speedy process. Unlike moving to a new role in the industry you have experience in, the transitional move is often complicated. In fact, you may have to consider a side gig to get your foot in the door. An internship is another possibility. If you’re not ready and aware of the commitment involved, you may feel like giving up before you even really get started.

One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to start with a realistic step-by-step plan for your career change. Working with a friend, on your own, or with career coach, give yourself a minimum of six months (be prepared for it to take twice as long though) to research, polish, and tweak your documents and narrative, network, get industry practice, and apply to jobs. If you find something sooner, great! But do yourself a favor and take the pressure off of making the transition with speed.

4. Applying to the Wrong Jobs

So you’ve informed your network (and continually worked to build and strengthen it), sought and gained introspection, and planned out the next several months. There’s still one more common yet not quite obvious mistake I’ve seen time and time again: choosing the wrong roles. Either you become so narrowly focused on the one title/job/role you want and only apply to the (very few) jobs that fit your preconceived notion without exploring new opportunities, or you start applying for everything in the new field with little attention paid to whether or not it’s even a right fit for you. Both usually result in a lot of anxiety.

As with most things, striking a balance is key here. No job is a perfect reflection of its description, and you may pass up a really interesting opportunity if you’re only focusing on a few keywords. Career changing is a journey, and you should be ready to take on some unexpected challenges in whatever new role you find. Don’t automatically pass up that marketing role at the boutique firm just because it also involves some customer service or budget management.

You may find that you have a knack for wearing multiple hats and like the variety. But if you find a marketing role at a sporting goods company when you’re an indoorsy bookworm, you might want to think twice before just hitting send on the application. So before you hit “pass” or “apply” on any job, take the time to really read the description, learn about the company, and see if you can picture yourself there. Then you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

Whether you’re changing your track after only a few years, or after 25, keep in mind that you have the skills and the savvy to be successful in your new field. Avoiding career-changing mistakes will save you from burnout and help you get to where you want to be.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-avoidable-traps-career-changers-fall-into-when-theyre-job-hunting

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

The 2 Traits All Hiring Managers Look for During Interviews (Without Even Realizing It)

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How cool would it be to have an X-ray into the head of the person who controls your career fate? To understand exactly what a hiring manager at your dream company is thinking when she’s picking which lucky candidate she’ll bring on full-time?

Well, until CAT scans start to pick up hiring decisions, that day may still be far away. But in the meantime, let me at least give you a glimpse into the typical interviewing process so you can get a sense of the main criteria hiring managers use to make those decisions.

How Humans Evaluate Each Other

Even though your potential boss has the fancy title of “Hiring Manager,” at the end of the day, she’s just a human being. Which means that contrary to all that time you’ve spent obsessing about brainteasers, she doesn’t actually care how many tennis balls could fit in a 747.

Instead, she’s going to size you up the same way that all humans size each other up: By getting to know you for a few minutes and then making a snap judgment. It’s really not that different from meeting someone at a party, making some chit-chat, and then getting a gut feeling that either says: “Mm…I like talking to you. Tell me more!” or “Umm…I think I need to go to the bathroom. Will you excuse me for a second (a.k.a., the rest of your life)?”

But where does that gut feeling come from?

One Psychology theory suggests that these flash judgments are really based on two data points:

  1. Warmth: Do I like you?
  2. Competence: Are you good at what you do?

In other words, we ultimately reduce everyone we meet into four buckets:

  1. Warm + Competent
  2. Warm + Incompetent
  3. Cold + Competent
  4. Cold + Incompetent

Any guesses which of these buckets your hiring manager is more likely to pick?

Let’s look at her inner monologue for each:

How to Get Picked

So clearly, your goal is to get into that top-left quadrant: warm and competent. But how do you do that?

The trick is to not only focus on coming up with specific answers to questions that may be asked. But to also focus hard on how you answer those questions. Because, as you’ll see, warmth and competence judgments aren’t definitive evaluations but mere perceptions. And while you can’t change who you are, you absolutely can change people’s perceptions of you.

As an example, let’s take that old interview chestnut: “Tell me about a time you influenced a team.”

A standard answer might go like this:

“OK, so there was this time that I had to work with a bunch of people on a project. Some of them weren’t that easy to work with, so I really had to influence them to do a better job. Which was super tough because they weren’t that motivated. But after I talked with them, they started doing way better. So that’s how I influenced my team.”

The person listening would most likely think the following: This person is both cold (it feels like she’s throwing her teammates under the bus) and incompetent (wait a second, what did she actually do here—does she even know how to work with other people?).

While there’s a lot more to this person’s story, this snap judgment from a hiring managers
makes it clear just how quickly interviewers can rush to evaluate a candidate.

But it also illuminates the importance of how we tell our stories. Because now consider this same story told a second way:

“OK, so there was this time that I got to work with a bunch of people on a big project—the launch of a new website. I was nervous about it because we all came from different departments—sales, marketing, and engineering. So the first thing I did is I got to know my engineering colleagues better by setting up coffees with each person and learning about their backgrounds and goals. And then, when we ran into a situation where the engineers weren’t making as much progress as we had planned, I was able to reframe the new website around their own goals. Seeing the connection between their personal ambitions and our team mission really seemed to light a fire under them. And the result was that we not only hit our deadline, but we actually launched two weeks early.”

Again, same exact high-level story. But notice how the telling of it changes the candidate from cold to warm (“Nice—I’d want to grab coffee with her too!”) and incompetent to competent (“Wow—she knew exactly what to do and got the results to prove it”). All through subtle techniques like:

  • Using specifics: Instead of focusing on the boring abstract, the candidate brings her story to life through details: a new website, falling behind, coffee chats, a clear result
  • Being self-aware: Instead of needing to stroke her own ego, the candidate shows she’s human and likable by admitting to her nerves
  • Going step-by-step: Instead of glossing over the meat of the story, the candidate draws a clear connection from the challenge to her response to a specific outcome

 

https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-2-traits-all-hiring-managers-look-for-during-interviews-without-even-realizing-it

 

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707 ext. 5 or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

 

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com