Latest Articles

Up for an Interview? Don’t Talk Yourself Out of the Job

You’ve got the great references, you’ve got your best suit on, and you’ve even done due diligence on the company you’d like to work for. But are you really ready for the interview?

John A. Challenger, the head of an outplacement firm, has some interview myths to keep in mind as you go about trying to impress HR, the hiring manager, and everyone else you meet.    Read More →

Bullet Points: No Ideas No Problem for One VC Fund’s Startups

  • The venture capital firm Y Combinator is willing to fund startups that have no idea what they’re doing — literally: “If you apply for this batch and you seem like you’d make good founders, we’ll accept you with no idea and then help you come up with one.”
  • From now through the end of April, Inc. magazine is taking submissions for its annual Inc. 500/5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies. To make the list, companies need to have made at least $2 million in revenue last year and at least $100,000 in revenue in 2008.
  • Scott Belsky of Behance covers “Reactionary Work” and the four other kinds of work that fill our day. As you might expect, it’s the essential but hard-to-schedule Planning Work that usually gets short shrift. [The 99 Percent]
  • And David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, has some ideas on how to fight back when technology keeps you from being as productive as you’d like to be. Spoiler: there’s no quick fix. [NYT]
  • The clothing chain Uniqlo pays its workers a lot more than its competitors, and so far that strategy has paid off in equally high profits. James Surowiecki looks at the “false economy” of scrimping on payroll. [The New Yorker]

Salary Questions?

Quick reminder:  Jim Hopkinson’s Hired Guns Academy class on becoming a salary negotiation rockstar is next Wednesday, March 21 — and he’s taking your salary questions via email in the meantime.

Here’s a sample of Jim’s often counterintuitive advice on getting the salary you want and deserve:

Why Your Employees Want Partnership, Not Ownership

The interwebs lit up yesterday when the now-famous Greg Smith blasted his soon-to-be-former employer, Goldman Sachs, for losing its culture and turning into something “toxic and destructive.”

Most of the chatter has been about the negative state of the financial securities industry and whether or not the guy will ever work in this town again. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan, felt so bad for Goldman that he issued a memo telling his bankers not to attack Goldman while it was taking it on the chin.

But under this news lies a bigger story. And it may not be one that many calcified American companies are ready for…your employees have a voice. And if provoked, they will use it.    Read More →

Bullet Points: Where the Recruiters Are

  • For a recent study, the social-recruiting company Bullhorn Reach analyzed the way the 35,000 recruiters on its network use the “big three” of social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). It’s probably no surprise that LinkedIn is the runaway favorite, used by 98% of the recruiters who have connected their Bullhorn account with any social-media account at all. Twitter and Facebook are used by only 42% and 33% of the recruiters, respectively. Whether or not this means that recruiters are hunting in the wrong place remains to be seen, but we bet that you’ll see more and more recruiters at least trying to prospect more on Facebook and Twitter in the future.
  • The Daily Herald of Everett, WA, considers a job interview on Skype a real downer: “Because of the awkward nature of the on-screen interaction and lack of flow in the conversation, Skype is a good tool for employers who want a cost-saving way to rule out candidates. However, the job candidate is almost always at a disadvantage.”
  • “There is only one thing you need to measure when it comes to being a perm or search recruiter… How many of your candidates are sitting opposite your clients.” [Greg Savage]
  • Ex-Goldman man Greg Smith may have made “muppets” famous, but the New York Times points out that lots of businesses have less-than-kind terms for their customers.

When Is It OK to Talk Down Your Former Employer in Public?

As you’ve probably read, Greg Smith, an executive director at Goldman Sachs, brought a lightning bolt of bad publicity down on his employer this morning via a high-minded letter in the New York Times. Here’s a sample: “It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success…. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years.” As quitting methods go, it may not have been as splashy as bringing in your own brass band, but it definitely had an enormous impact. And everyone loved it, or at least loved talking about it.    Read More →

Salary Negotiation Questions? Jim Hopkinson, The Hired Guns Negotiation Coach, Has Answers!

The Hired Guns blogger and coach Jim Hopkinson debuts his new Academy class, Become a Salary Negotiation Rockstar, next Wednesday, March 21st.

Over the next few days, Jim will be answering the burning questions you might have about how to get all the Benjamins you deserve — things like the prep work you should do to position yourself for a raise, the best time to ask for a bump in pay, how to negotiate extra perks like vacation days and signing bonuses when you switch jobs, and even tips for freelancers. So fire away.

Jim isn’t only a negotiation pro, but he’s also worked in digital for nearly his whole career, at companies that include Wired and ESPN. So he really has a good handle on our space.

Leave your questions in the comments or fire away on our Facebook page. If you’d rather be anonymous, then email us — your secrets are safe with us.

Why Tech Won’t Talk—and How You Can Get Them to Open Up

In my last post, I listed nine questions to ask the digital team to help you understand what they do, and why and how they do it. And the first question we got back was, “What if the techs aren’t talking?” Well, hmmm, I thought. I guess that does happen — and I rashly promised a follow-up post, completely breaking my rule about not making a promise for delivery before fully clarifying the specs, by the way.

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a Hired Guns event to preview and critique various Guns’ SXSW presentations. I was overwhelmed by the positive energy in the room and the level of truly supportive and constructive criticism. These Guns were flat-out awesome stars in the digital field, and there was tons of feedback. I thought, “Wait a second — we techies share plenty!” So what gives? Why were these folks sharing so freely, while there’s still lots of non-digital people out there complaining that their digital teams don’t do the same?    Read More →

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