Last week, I wrote about what the first presidential debate can teach public speakers. This time around, I decided to switch gears a bit and consider the vice presidential debate with an eye toward those in Guns-land who are currently (or hoping to be) interviewing for gigs. Because I found myself traveling home via NJ Transit during the debate itself, I was forced to follow the whole thing on Twitter using a CNN hash tag. But being left to my devices gave me a great perspective on what TV audiences found most affecting, effective, distracting, and annoying – much of it focusing on Joe Biden and Paul Ryan’s presentational styles. When it was all said and done, I came away with four themes interviewees can learn from. Read More →
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In the first of a three-part series, The Hired Guns’ Top Gun Allison Hemming discusses the signs of recovery and the new rules of the road.
Working in the talent and hiring business means you have no choice but to learn to read the economy’s tea leaves. Just before the dark days of 2008, we were the scary canary squawking about the imminent doom headed our way. You might say that it wasn’t well-received. I got hate mail by the score. Nobody wanted to hear it, but that didn’t make it any less true. No one knew how long that disastrous roller-coaster ride would last. And no one expected it to get remotely as bad as it did. We all went through rough patches and almost no one’s career got through unscathed.
But just as we felt the weight of the recession before others, we’re now beginning to see a genuine recovery taking shape. As we noted last week, the September jobs report looked good. On the surface, it’s clear that unemployment is starting to edge down and the private sector is hiring. But what looks like simple green shoots is actually much more complex and vastly more exciting. Read More →
Today we are pleased to welcome Wyatt Jenkins, VP of Product for Shutterstock, to the blog. Wyatt shares his insights on breaking into the product management game and how he built a world-class team.
Hiring is a topic I’m passionate about because I like to work with bright, enthusiastic people who challenge me every day. I’ve spent the last decade building teams (most recently a product organization that includes designers, researchers, and product owners), and I’ve learned a number of lessons in that time. Let’s focus specifically on product ownership — a role that many gravitate toward, but few do well. I’ve seen many different types of people find success as product owners — from former developers, English majors, designers, and project managers, all the way to former CEOs and small business owners. (I prefer the term “product owner” to the more well-known “product manager” because managers manage and owners own, and building great products demands ownership.) I want people who are technical enough to dig deep with the development team and at the same time enjoy interacting with customers to discover value. Finding the right person with the right combination of customer focus, consensus building, and technical savvy isn’t easy, so I’ve put together a few things to look for during the interviewing process. Read More →
Hiring methods continue to evolve, but it’s safe to say that at most companies, their success rates are inconsistent and hard to predict. But if one startup’s product gains traction, getting entry-level talent in place just might become less painful, and a lot more reliable. The Certified Baccalaureate Test (aka “The Business Test”) is designed to give companies consistent metrics for measuring candidates’ skills in basic accounting, general marketing, finance, business writing, and other corporate-America staples — including excellence in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The questions were devised with input from business-school professors — no word on what input (if any) corporations may have had in determining what went on the test.
The startup that launched the test last year, GF Education, is marketing the test scores as a good way for job candidates to set themselves apart. GF Education’s founder, Guy Friedman, told Forbes that he hopes to bring “meritocracy” to the market, since the scores will apply to grads from all sizes and types of schools. The test will cost $500 in the future, but it’s currently $199. One nice touch: candidates who manage to score in the top 30% but fail to get a job in six months can get their exam fee refunded. In addition, high scorers’ details are passed along to a gaggle of recruiters and to companies who ask to see this list. It’ll be interesting to see if this idea catches on, and how it changes the way companies staff up.
- How does Google Ventures decide which startups get part of its $200 million? [Mashable]
- Comparing “workaholics” in various countries. [Jezebel]
- Liz Ryan looks at 4 of the worst hiring managers she ever met. [Businessweek]
- This week in viral promotions and digital marketing: Take This Lollipop, a creepy, Facebook-soaked video to make you even more worried about online privacy than you were already. Or maybe it’ll just remind you to find a better head shot and update your status once in a while. [More on it from The Next Web and Slate....]
- There’s a downside to excessive detail orientation: how to manage a perfectionist. [HBR]
- Your employees WILL leave you. How to deal with one of the facts of modern-day corporate life. [The Next Web]
- Why aren’t all those newly available jobs helping push down the unemployment rate? [PRI]
- 11 weird tips for being a great public speaker (OK, maybe they are more “unusual” than “weird.”) [Altucher]
- 10 steps to get more done at work, from Forbes.
- Steve Jobs “did what a CEO should: Hired and inspired great people; managed for the long term, not the quarter of the short-term stock price; made big bets and took big risks.” — Walter Mossberg
- The Metropolitan Museum recently emerged from an extensive redesign of its website, with new itineraries and lots more coverage of its holdings.
- Purdue University has dropped out of the running for opening an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island. This project, estimated at costing at least a billion dollars, is one that the Bloomberg administration is supporting through a promise of up to $100 million in infrastructure funding from the city — Purdue said it wasn’t enough, given the likely total cost. Roughly 26 other schools are still interested in the proposal, including Cornell, Stanford, NYU, and Columbia. [WSJ]
The gloom and doom about the state of the job market, the economy, and the political sphere are enough to send even the most optimistic job hunter over the edge these days. Well, friends, I am here to tell you to get back on track and to tune into what’s happening in your field. Today in Digital, hiring is what’s happening. Now that Q4 is here, it’s going to get a little nutty. Why?
The great standoff in Washington basically slowed the hiring process in August and much of September to a standstill. Our politicians are to blame, not the companies. Businesses did what they needed to do to survive — they were cautious, putting roles on hold and taking a wait-and-see attitude. But jobs are slowly getting reapproved, and we see conditions improving all around.
Read More →
- What’s the point of Yahoo these days? Hardly anyone knows. [NPR]
- For software developers, the jobs are pouring in, recession or no, and the salaries are keeping pace, too. [NPR]
- Some companies are dropping year-end performance reviews and moving to weekly ones instead, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s providing that instant feedback that the Twitter-addled kids need and love! Evil HR Lady: “Back in prehistoric times people used to call this conversation.“
- Studies have shown that low job satisfaction may cost companies as much as “$300 billion in lost productivity annually,” write the researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer in the New York Times. “Promoting workers’ well-being isn’t just ethical; it makes economic sense,” they argue.
- “Copyright troll” Righthaven has been lying low for the past couple months, presumably because judge after judge has ruled against them (and, implicitly, its business model). [Wired]
In between the time that you become a manager and the time you get fired, you may be asked to replace a worker who has quit in disgust. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills in hiring by disregarding resume-screening “best practices” and instead “thinking outside of the box.”
Although this frequently results in hiring serial killers, occasionally you will end up hiring a unique, relatively harmless individual who shakes up the status quo and whose body odor is hardly ever a distraction.
Consider these tips for going through resumes:
There is one key rule in management: never hire anyone desperate or stupid enough to work for someone like you. Unfortunately, at some point in your management career you may need to replace an employee who was smart enough to quit.
If and when this happens, you will probably come across something known as a “resume” and its useless cousin, the “cover letter.”
Back when people used typewriters and an archaic delivery system known as the U.S. Postal Service, cover letters served the important function of protecting resumes against damage caused by psychotic postal workers.
Since the advent of computers sometime around 1885, resumes have been sent via email. Today, the purpose of a cover letter is to avoid attaching a resume to a completely blank email, which is frowned upon in some cultures.
You will recognize a cover letter by its adherence to the following format:
Beginning: Blah-blah-blah. Blah-blah-blah.
Middle: Blah-blah-blah. Blah-blah-blah-blah.
End: My resume is attached.
While most managers read only the resume, you should always print out and read the cover letter as well. This is a handy way to kill time and avoid doing actual work. Perhaps more important, it can serve as inexpensive gift wrap, lining for a birdcage, or holiday party confetti.
Under no circumstances should you pay attention to the following: Read More →
If you’re a startup with limited funds, then you have no choice but to hire generalists. Employees who wear many hats can produce a minimally viable product faster and more cheaply. And a smaller team means a nimbler team, which takes less time to make decisions.
The downside, of course, is that rarely will someone be an excellent engineer, product person and CEO all rolled in one. Rarely is someone a great saleswoman, marketer, and financial analyst. And even more rarely is someone a great UX designer, writer, visual designer, and researcher. Everyone has a finite number of strengths, and that means that your startup will suffer from a lack of talent in the areas in which your team is weak.
Fast-forward a bit, to when your company has grown to the point at which you can start hiring for specialized positions. You can bring in the top players in all the essential disciplines and start filling out the areas in which you’ve been weak. From a hiring perspective, things get a bit easier: you know exactly what you need. However, the startup world still tends to attract players who can play multiple positions. It rarely attracts star single-position players. You may still find yourself interviewing generalists—some of whom are very talented—but the organization you’ve now created mostly needs specialists. If you hire a generalist for a specialist position, he or she is likely to feel underutilized and start branching out of the space you’ve carved out for them. Read More →
Bullet Points: 29 Ways to Stay Creative; 10 Best Imaginary Companies; 11 Commencement Speeches by Celebs
- 10 Ways to Fix Broken Corporate Recruiting Systems [BW]
- Looking For Talent? Here Are Three Steps To Making The Right Hire. The cofounder of the cleaning-products company Method talks about how his company gets its people. [FastCo]
- Graduation Real Talk: 11 celeb commencement speeches [The Vault]
- Ten Best Fictional Companies [Red Stapler Chronicles]