Friday, May 15, 2009

Talking to New Grads? Think S.O.S - Sustainability of Self!


The S.O.S here is not the distress signal of dots and dashes meant to transmit "Save our Souls" that weary sailors and pilots use when they are in trouble. Then again, if you think hard enough, it could actually be a distress signal.

This new S.O.S I am talking about means "Sustainability of Self".

A little back story.

A few months ago I was having a conversation with my teens and a friend of theirs about their futures and their goals. I realized in that conversation that teens really hate the word "career". They don't just have a mild distaste for it, they really hate it. Especially my teens who are sixteen and seventeen.

I started to wonder if it was because, I, their mom, have been in the career management field for ten years and so the word "career" has been around for most of their lives? I know I have seen them roll their eyes when they heard Dad and I get into "alphabet soup" conversation about "typing" based on career assessments. Maybe that was it?

Or, could it be that their "Family Advocacy" class where they talk about careers and jobs and life, only address those well known occupational staples of Lawyers, Doctors, Accountants?

Considering my teens and some friends are in a "Visual Arts" cluster at school, I can see where they might zone out as uniformed teachers do their best to deliver "career education".

In that conversation, my daughter finally said, "Why do you have to call it a career? It's sounds like punishment or a disease!"

My instinct, of course, educator that I am, was to add more clarity, talk about a diversity of careers, but all my arguments came right back to using the word - career. I walked away stumped, but kept thinking about it.
What I see in my teens is the same thing I have seen in recent years working with hundreds of new grads. They are not wanting to talk about careers.

Then it came to me. What about "Sustainability of Self"? I passed it by my husband. What would you think if we talked about the future that way? Would this be better or am I just giving in to teen rebellion?

Here's what I discovered once I tested it on my teens, their friends and some new college grads - "Sustainability" is a good word to use with young people when talking about the future! They know what it means. They see it everywhere. In fact, they talk about it in the context of the environment and the globe, so why not use it to convey the concept of a profession? We know that this generation can expect multiple careers in a lifetime, so why not a new principle or a new metaphor?

My daughter, who is the C.R.O (Chief Recycling Officer) in our house, thinks it is a good approach. She would much rather have a conversation about future "Sustainability of Self" than talk about her future career or job.

I introduced the concept on Twitter and my Tweet buddy, Zach Smith, who writes The Capacity Evolution Blog, thougth the principle was good and we could extend it to: "Sustainability of Family" and "Sustainability of Community".

I like those!

What do you think? Where else could we go with that? Can you use the concept talking to new grads this year who are struggling with this job market!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Are you Kidding Yourself in Your Career?

Check out these 6 ways you could be kidding yourself in your career from CAREEREALISM.

After reading the article, I was wondering if people were really kidding themselves or just choosing an option that makes them feel better. Is that kidding one's self or just wanting to be positive?

Bookmark CAREEREALISM if you haven't yet! Their blog is really a good resource.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Body Language can Bury you in the Job Interview


A UCLA study showed that up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Author, Alton Barbour, author of Louder Than Words: Nonverbal Communication, states that the impact of a message is 7% verbal, 38 % percent vocal ie. volume, pitch, rhythm, etc and 55% is about body movement, mostly in the form of facial expressions.

If you are job hunting, you should know that hiring managers and interviewers spend a lot of time interpreting body language in the job interview. Some interviewers are actually masters at the body-language game. They can spot fear through hunched shoulders, rapid or really slow speech and disinterest in a job seeker’s slouch.

Here are some of the body language issues to watch for in the job interview:

- Not making eye contact with the recruiter or interviewer or looking only at one interviewer if you are in a panel interview.
- Weak handshake
- Slouching or hanging over the arm of the chair might tell your interviewer that you don’t really care. Maintaining an arrogant posture, leaning back in a matter-of-fact way might indicate some arrogance.
- Gesticulating wildly and relying on your hands to do all the talking. Resting your hands in your lap or on the arms of the chair is good.
- Fidgeting with tight or ill fitting clothing such as trying to close the gap between buttons on a tight blouse or pulling down uncomfortable pants.
- Scratching head, hair, skin or other body parts are a no-no.

These body language no-no’s can be a real turn off to recruiters in the job interview. The worse part is that the job seekers may not even be aware of how they are missing opportunities.

Job seekers should create a quick checklist with these and other points and practice the job interview with someone who will critique them honestly. Another way to check on your body language turn-offs is to set up a camera to record your movements. Work on eliminating any negative messages you might be transmitting through your body language.

As you watch your own body language and movements in the job interview, also watch those of the recruiter.

-Is your panel interviewer at the end of the table falling asleep?
-Is anyone yawning from your stories?
-Is the interviewer texting under table?
-Are they working on other projects?
-Are they eating during the phone interview?
-Are they taking calls that they did not say would be coming in?
-Are they leaving in the middle of the interview again without saying they would?

I have actually seen or heard of recruiters doing all these things in job interviews. Not only is this bad recruiter behavior, and rude to the job seeker, it is also very distracting to an already nervous candidate.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Is the Recession Changing How Companies Hire?


A new article in The Economist magazine says - Yes!

Here are just four of the ways that this global recession is impacting hiring practices per this article. It could impact the job search strategy you execute moving forward.

1. Screening now and making offers but not to start working until next year or sometime after the recession ends. Companies want to be ready to ramp up when things turn around. Look for employers to defer start dates, "giving them six months or a year to travel or do public service."

2. More companies are hiring freelancers, contractors and part time help. This eliminates the costs associated with full time benefits. Many new college grads, including MBA's have to be satisfied for now with temporary work assignments.

3. Companies are pulling back on the perks they use to offer to attract the best and the brightest. With much talent in the marketplace, employers realize they don't need to offer the same incentives.

4. Less opportunities are now available for international students who thought they would be able to get lucrative job offers after graduation from US schools. Many companies are looking at local talent first.

Read the entire article here.

What changes are you seeing in recruiting at your company?