Category Archives: Job Recruiters

So you’ve lost your Job. What do you do now?

Losing a job is a traumatic experience under any circumstance.  Losing a job creates immediate fear, anxiety and worry.  Not only because of the loss of a paycheck, but because our identities are so closely tied to what we do for a living; its WHO we are and WHAT we do!

And when a person loses a job, conventional wisdom says to immediately start looking for a new job. The resume gets dusted off, the job board power surfing begins, cover letters are being written and before you know it a full-blown ‘shot-gun’ job search is underway.

Three months later after dozens of resumes have been sent out, hopes have been dashed, confidence is blown, and self esteem is lowered as the job search trudges on, with no interviews or job in sight.

What happened?

Often, professionals who have just lost a job rush into the job search way too quickly without giving themselves some time to take a deep breath, consider their options and better yet, look at the situation as an opportunity to do some soul searching and some self introspection about their careers and their lives.

Yes, I know….there are bills to be paid!  Mortgages, car payments, credit cards…this is not a time to dilly-dally!  You need a job quickly!

But in my research, successful job seekers improve their chances of finding a new job when, even before they begin writing their resume, they invest a short amount of time in asking themselves some important questions:

1.    What do I want to do?  Not what SHOULD I be doing, but what do I WANT to do?  It is the most basic of questions, and if you are honest with yourself, your answer may even surprise you. Have your passions and your values guided your career choices in the past or have you got stuck in a hamster-wheel mentality of working in jobs where others have told you your skills best fit?  By answering this question honestly at the very beginning, you will start to eliminate a ton of frustration and begin a focused job search that is based on the the type of career and life you envision for yourself.

2.    What are the most important criteria for my next job?  Make a list of things ranging from things like salary, daily commute time, amount of travel, benefits, size of the company/team, etc. There are a lot of different things different people place importance on and it’s critical for you to start developing your list of what’s important.

3.    What kind of company or organization do I want to work for?  Is it important for your future employer’s values to match your own?  Are there specific work environments you’ve experienced in the past that have allowed you to thrive?  What does that look like?  Is the company culture reflected in the things that are important to you?  Does the company provide you with opportunities that reflect your skills, your ambitions and opportunities to move ahead?

4.    What is the proudest moment of my career to date?  Was it a project or an assignment?  An accomplishment that resulted in a raise or a promotion?  It’s important to think of these moments because your proudest moments are usually full of examples of your tangible skills, talents and expertise.  Not only are they reminders of the types of situations you LIKE to be in, but they are also good anecdotes to explain how your background is of value to a future employer.

5.    What is my salary threshold?  In other words, let’s cut through the what I’m worth dilemma and answer the question head on: what’s the LEAST amount of money you will accept for a new position?  It’s important to think of it this way.  Let’s say you have a salary range that you believe is reflective of your education, your experience, and, of course, what you have been used to making. That’s good to know, but, what if the job you really want is going to offer you $5,000 less than the range you’ve come up with?  This situation comes up quite often and it is up to YOU to know when it is time to walk.

6.  Am I the right person to write my own resume?  According to a recent survey, 65% of candidates selected for interviews had professionally written resumes over self-written resumes.  Why?  Often, we are our own worst cheerleaders. We have a naturally tendency to want to be modest about our accomplishments, but a professional resume writer will demand that you take ownership for your accomplishments. We often don’t recognize our skills, expertise, accomplishments that are important to highlight or that are valuable to future employers.  Professional resume writers know what recruiters are looking for and how best to present you in a resume format that will get a recruiter’s attention and YOU a job!

BOTTOM LINE - By taking the time at the beginning of your job search to answer some important questions, you will immediately approach your job search with more determination and focus.

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Keys to Reinvention: Reinvent Your Career – Transform Your Life

On November 9, AH Jobs List will be holding its quarterly seminar entitled “The Reinvent Event.”  This seminar will feature discussions on a variety of career reinvention strategies.  This event typically sells out, so make sure you register soon.   Click here to find out more information and to register.

I’m an example of a ‘reinvention’!   I spent the majority of my 20-year career in the marketing and communications profession.  But 12 years ago, I began a weekly email that provided job listings in Denver to a couple hundred public relations professionals.  A simple e-mail blast, this free service helped top PR professionals connect with some of the best jobs in the Denver metro area.  The list grew into Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List, an automated website with several categories of jobs in Colorado and today, more than 25,000 subscribers have signed on to receive the weekly updates.

About two years ago, I began the process of figuring out how to turn my ‘hobby’ (which had turned into a passion) into a full-time career.  I imagined life running my own business and helping others by dedicating all of my time to Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List.  I knew the job site was working; I’d heard from hundreds of employers and employees that it was one of the most effective job boards in Denver.  I also knew that if I could commit my life to building on this idea of a localized job board, that I could make it even MORE effective.

But turning my ‘hobby’ into a full-time business?  It was completely intimidating!

I had no experience in entrepreneurship!  How do I write a business plan?  What about licenses, IRS rules, business accounting, lines of credit, investors, how would I insure myself?  There were many times when my dream just seemed like – a dream!  Was I really handcuffed to the comforts and benefits of a full-time job?  What if it didn’t work out?  What if I couldn’t make it work?  Was I willing to put my reputation on the line?  I talked to a lot of people who encouraged me but I also spoke with others who warned me about of the risks of starting a business in a recession.

The thing that kept me pushing forward was imagining the life that I REALLY WANTED!  I imagined what it would be like and how much freedom I could have if I was doing what I REALLY wanted to do.

There were several keys that helped me overcome the common fears and anxieties of ‘reinvention,’ which I believe are critical to anyone wanting to do something different in their lives.

Whether you want to start a business, transfer your skills into a new line of work, or learn a new set of skills to follow a new career path, here are some strategies I found helpful:

1.) Imagine and make a commitment to living the life you want to live.  Attitude is everything.  Friends tell me all the time, “Andrew, if you want to do something, you simply figure a way to get it done.”  They are right.  I’ve been inspired by this attitude in others throughout my life and luckily, it’s rubbed off.

If you have an idea of what it is you want to do, you need to first, make a commitment to yourself.  Start with the basic question, “What does that life look like?”  Does it fulfill a desire and a passion?  Is it something that you envision making you happy?  Is it a passion you can imagine doing as your life’s work?  Now is also the point where you change your attitude from “I’ve always wanted to…” and start thinking “I am committed to….”  You will see that this one shift in attitude is the first and most critical step of your reinvention journey.

2.) Make a plan.  Sit down with a pad and pen and start answering some critical questions.  What do you need to do to reinvent yourself?  What are the strategies and tactics you need to follow to make that life happen? Does your reinvention include additional education?  What financial investments will it require? Do you have to make modifications to your current life in order to make this happen and what do those modifications look like?   Realize that your reinvention journey is most likely not going to happen overnight, but is a process that will take time, effort and energy.  In order for your reinvention to not overwhelm you, try to address each issue in manageable bites. Then, draft a simple timeline that spells out achievable short and long-term goals.

3.) Research.  Determine what is required to pursue your dream.  For example, if you are a Human Resources trainer but you want a career working in marketing, what additional skills will you need?  Inventory your current skills and talents to determine which skills transfer into the career to which you want to transition.  What are the types of jobs that are available?  There is a remarkable amount of information on the Internet and from professional associations that describe career path scenarios for many career sectors.  If you are starting a business, there are accessible resources available from organizations such as the Small Business Administration, local Chambers of Commerce, the Secretary of State’s office, local government economic development agencies and workforce development offices. These include resources on how to write a business plan, low-interest loans, free workshops on career transitions and many other areas that will help you.

4.) Learn from others.  When I made a transition into entrepreneurship, I leaned on a lot of friends who had successfully started their own businesses.  They mentored me and gave me guidance about common issues and pitfalls I needed to avoid.  In the same vein, if you are looking to make a transition to a new career, talk to friends and colleagues that are currently in careers where you want to move.  Or if you know someone who has reinvented themselves, talk to them about their journey.  When you ask for advice, REALLY LISTEN.  While you may be reinventing yourself, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – or in other words, learn how to avoid making common mistakes.

5.) Educate yourself.  We all have the potential to be lifelong students.  If you believe additional education is necessary in order to pursue your dream, then go back to school!  Scholarships and financial aid are available to students of ALL ages.  There are also a variety of non-traditional ways to further your education.  Some universities have programs that allow you to earn an MBA in only one year’s time!  There are many technical colleges as well as traditional universities that cater to professionals’ unique schedules and timelines.  In my case, I researched business plans online and bought reference books.  I attended seminars and listened to new business lectures on YouTube and took online tutorials to learn new software.  I learned the basics of small business accounting.  I also enhanced my marketing and public relations skills and learned savvy sales and pricing techniques.

Bottom line:
Making the commitment to reinventing yourself is a major lifestyle change; it requires a huge dose of confidence and belief in your goal, it involves taking yourself out of your comfort level, it means you must be willing to take some risks and ultimately, it requires patience.  Most reinventions don’t happen overnight.

But choosing and committing to live the life you want can also be one of life’s most richest journeys.

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Filed under Andrew Hudson's Jobs List, Human Resources, Job advice, Job Interview, Job Posting, Job Recruiters, Job Seeker

The Process of Career Reinvention

Stuck?  Unemployed?  Ready to follow your passion?
Learn the process to transform your career: an interview with Linda Sollars

Linda Sollars, is President of Creating Purpose (www.creatingpurpose.com) and is one of Denver’s most well know job-seeking consultants. She will be leading the career reinvention seminar at next week’s AH Jobs List Reinvent Event which will be held on Wed., November 9 at the Denver Athletic Club in downtown Denver.   Two of Linda’s clients who have successfully reinvented themselves will sit on a panel to discuss their career reinvention process.

Linda provides her inspiring, heartfelt and common-sense approach to job development and has transformed jobs seekers in defining their personal brand and aligning their strengths with a solid foundation of purpose, quality and success. She provides individual sessions and workshops designed to recognize core visions and values and to develop solid networking and job search strategies.

She spent 20 years in senior level marketing positions before transitioning into career coaching and consulting several years ago after discovering her purpose in empowering others. She has been a featured panelist on CBS, Channel 4, Beating the Recession, featured expert on ABC, Channel 9, Get Me A Job! and the national forum, Careerwell. She is also the keynote speaker at many conferences and events regionally and nationally.

Linda holds a master’s degree in Adult Development, with an emphasis in Leadership and Coaching, as well as an advanced certification from University of Denver in Training and Development.  She is also an Affiliate Professor at Regis University and is on the UCOL Alumni Board of the University of Denver.

Recently, I sat down with Linda to discuss the process she takes job seekers through and some of the common challenges as well as successful habits of professionals who have reinvented their careers.

Linda can you talk a bit about the career reinvention process you take job seekers through?

Most of my clients, when they first come to see me, are either stuck in a job they don’t like and want to get out of, are recently unemployed, or want to follow a passion and don’t know how. Most of the people who reach this stage simply don’t know what to do; they are stuck.

The first thing we work on is determining who they are before they decide what it us they want to be.

To do that, I take them through a very specific three step process.

First, we work on recognizing and owning their unique strengths and values.  How would they describe themselves?  What would their co-workers say about them?  What do they care about at their core?  I ask my clients to talk about the strengths that characterize who they are and also ask them to give specific examples of how they have used these strengths in the past.  We go through assessments and exercises I’ve designed in order to come up with a personal statement of strengths that teaches people how to talk about themselves in terms of WHO they are as opposed to their skill sets.

Second, we work on motivational style.  What gets them up in the morning?  What is it that sends them out there every day with aspirations to accomplish something and be successful?  How they motivate themselves is critical in determining the type of position that is successful and satisfying.

Third, we work on a process I call career design – a very specific, personal and powerful format that answers questions about what they want their ideal work situation to be.

We look at where you want to work, how far do you want to go, how much travel do you prefer, how much money do you want to make, what kinds of benefits do you expect, what kind of vacation schedule do you prefer, how many people do you want to work with, do you want to work from home?

Reinventing or transforming your career seems overwhelming.  How do you manage someone’s anxiety about reinvention?

So many of the people who begin this process with me have a feeling that the world is controlling them and when we break it down into these three manageable areas, it switches their view so they feel as if they can manage and are in control of their situation and their aspirations.

Going through this three-step process, which is a very personal, specific and a very thoughtful introspection, also provides the basis for developing a resume and their LinkedIn profile in a way that that communicates their strengths, their motivations, their skills and the type of work that will match their values and the values and culture of an organization.

We then take a look at different companies and organizations that fit their career design.  They have already decided whether their strengths and skill sets are going to work for a large or mid-size company, a start-up or perhaps they want to follow a career path in the nonprofit world.

At this point, they have a clear vision and mission that is now aligned with their strengths, their motivation and their career design, communicated on their resumes, their cover letter, their networking pieces, and it is much easier for them to discuss their goals and expectations with prospective employers, either in informational interviews or at actual job interviews.

As a matter of fact, I’ve had several clients who were offered positions during informational interviews because they were so clear about expressing who they were, what their motivation style was, what their skill set was and what it is that they were really passionate about.

When people want to transform a part of their lives – whether it be their health, their finances, or in this case, their career – there are certain habits, beliefs and regular routines they need to begin to follow.  What are the habits of those who successfully transform and reinvent their careers?

The first thing is passion.  You have to have a passionate belief that you WANT to change.

If people come to me and say, “Anything is better than what I’m doing now,” I’m very clear that this is not enough, because they will immediately fall into the next thing that comes up.

Second, they need to own their passion as a unique, personal specific goal.

Finally, they connect their passion, strengths, skills, and motivation with specific careers.

Some of the things that people develop, in terms of habits and patterns, are the specific outcomes they design; they work on a specific item each week that leads to an outcome so that there is a very real sense of progress.

I also tell people – because it can be overwhelming – that this is a process and there needs to be a focus on each step. Trying to progress too quickly will not lead them to where they want to be; there needs to be a real sense of focus, along with quality time and effort put into each step.

Ultimately, they replace bad habits or patterns with good ones.  Over time, they begin to realize not only what was causing them to freeze when asked the question, “Tell me about yourself,” but they are comfortable, confident and passionate in expressing their skill sets, what makes them unique, what motivates them and what specific strengths they bring to the table.

The last thing I work with people on is job descriptions.  Does the job description match my career design, my motivation style, my strengths and my career design?  If not, we move on to the next job description and that’s okay.  This reinvention is about matching their goals to positions that meet their expectations and no longer trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. When we find a job description that does match, I teach them how to break it down, line by line – so that they can respond to almost all of the things in the description that they have either done or have a passion for.

What’s one of the biggest challenges for job seekers?

The biggest challenge is working with individuals to understand their strengths and their motivation and then have to express these to someone else.   It’s about developing that clarity – the confidence – about who they are.

This is difficult for a lot of reasons.

Many people feel they have lost their edge.  They’ve been beaten down at their current job.  They’ve faced overwhelming rejection looking for a job.  Regaining confidence and self-esteem is a process.  For most people, talking confidently about themselves seems unnatural – we’re told from an early age not to brag.

As I tell people: strengths are like the color of your eyes.  When I say “I have brown eyes,” no one is going to argue with me that I have brown eyes.  When I say that “I’m creative,” I’m creative!  That’s part of the strengths I have had since a very young child.  I know how to do creative things well and that’s a strength I bring to the table.  It’s not bragging – it’s the confidence of knowing this is who I am!  You may have known it your whole life but not acknowledged it, but it is still who you are!  Once you understand this, and own it, the confidence flows.

Too often, we run into this “imposter syndrome” – this voice that is sitting on our shoulders telling us “What are you thinking?  You really don’t know what you are doing.” Or we convince ourselves that someone is going to come in and say “We really don’t want you here anymore.”   It forces us to constantly feel as if we are being judged by others expectations.

Once you know that your strengths are owned by you and they are not measured by anyone else – just like you eye color – then you get to a point where you don’t compete against this voice and it is actually replaced with that red-hot confidence and courage to make a change.

For many job seekers, starting in their mid-30s, they begin to reflect on their current job or career path and pangs of regret seep in.  There’s a sense that they are stuck in a job or a career path that doesn’t reflect who they really are or what it is they really want to be doing.  Do you see that?

I work with a lot of people who struggle with this; they absolutely don’t want to be doing what they are doing. They’ve spent so much time and money on their educations, they’ve been working successfully for a number of years and progressing their careers, are making good money and in everyone else’s eyes, they’ve reached their pinnacle.  But, they absolutely hate their jobs to the point, sometimes, that it is mentally paralyzing to go into work.

Often this is the result of not having acknowledged their passion.

They might have recognized their passion in college, but they focused on careers that their parents thought they ought to be doing, or a career they thought was going to make them money, help them become financially stable, pay off their student loans, raise a family and buy a new house, a car and take a vacation every once in a while.

It’s clear that their passion doesn’t lie with what they are doing and when I talk with them about their passion, they have very different ideas about what kind of work they’d prefer to be doing.  But it is also a very scary situation for them because change is always challenging.

How do you resolve this fear?  

It’s probably the number one thing I hear from folks who are frustrated with their current jobs.  Through the career design process, we try to answer all of the questions that help people to resolve these fears.

How much money do you need to make?  What expenses do you have?  What’s the work-life balance you are seeking?  What can happen if you are out of a job for 4 months?  We ask all of those questions in the very beginning to assist the reality of their personal reinvention.  Many people simply say they can’t give up their jobs, no matter how much they hate going to work each day.

I tell them their career does not have to be an “either/or” scenario.  This can be about “and/both” so they can stay in the position they are in and start looking at the options out there following their passion.  Is it going to take some time?  Yes.  Will it take 15 years?  No.  It’s going to a few months of working on the process during the time they have available – in the evenings and on weekends for example.  I would never tell someone to quit their job tomorrow to pursue their passion unless they could afford to do so and have given serious thought to how they can realistically make this work for them.

Read more about Linda Sollars at www.creatingpurpose.com

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Touch Points.

One of the most common strategies in successful branding is to develop a believable brand promise that creates a positive perception about a product in the eyes of the targeted audience the product seeks to influence. Through that perception, the brand will trigger a response from the targeted audience, which, if successful, will initiate a ‘trial’ of the product.

If, through the trial of the product, the product lives up to the brand promise that initially influenced the audience to action, then the audience will repeat their behavior and ultimately, if the product continues to deliver on its promise, will create the ultimate in branding success – brand loyalty.  

At each stage – trial, repeat and loyalty – there are specific marketing touch points the brand is using to connect to and influence its audience.

And as a ‘product’ in the marketplace of employment, we also have the power to create our own brand promise and influence the perception of ourselves in the eyes of a targeted audience – in the job seeker’s case, the audience being a potential employer.

The resume, the cover letter and the interview are the three most common touch point opportunities a job seeker has to influence an employer’s perception and opinion.  The job seeker wants to persuade the employer that they match the requirements of the job posting in every way – from the experience, the talents, the qualifications, the skills and expertise; and prove that they will add value to the company and to the department.

In most cases, it is not too difficult to interpret the job posting to determine the most essential requirements and skills the employer is searching for, but in each stage, it is up to the job seeker to connect their relevance to the job posting’s requirement.

The resume and the cover letter are the first touch points and it is up to the job seeker to make the connection from the job posting requirements to their ‘brand’ in order to influence an employer to contact them.

The interview is commonly the most difficult part for job seekers.  It is at this point where you must translate in a person-to-person conversation the elements of your ‘brand promise’ that came across in the resume and cover letter that influenced the employer to contact you (trial) for an interview.

While this is a simplified explanation of branding, job seekers need to think much the same way, because let’s face it, when you are looking for a job, you are the Chief Marketing Officer for yourself.

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Ace the Job Interview through Building Bridges


Let’s face it:  the job search process seems a little silly.

Your resume is supposed to spell out your years of experience, expertise and accomplishments using a dozen-or-so short, bulleted synopsis with the hope that someone ‘gets you’ and sees that your background, above everyone else, is the right fit for the position.

Now, saying that, resumes and cover letters are necessary and there are clearly effective ways to write impactful resumes and cover letters that help you to stand out.

Assuming your resume does open the door for you and you are now in the formal recruitment process, you are now faced with an even more daunting challenge: convincing the hiring manager at the interview that you are the right person for the job.

It’s during the interview where you not only must connect all of the relevance to the position they detected on your resume, but also where you must display a true passion and desire for the company and for the job for which you are applying.

I spoke with an HR manager at one of Denver’s biggest ad agencies last week and he told me that the thing that really stands out with him when interviewing someone is that the job seeker displays a level of self-assuredness not only about their skills, but how they can display how their skills translate to the specific job they are interviewing for.

“Often I see job seekers in interviews who are trying to convince me that their breadth of background would be a perfect fit for the company; I need you to connect your background to the specific job your are interviewing for – that is what I will be ultimately be judging you on.

“If someone appears desperate, then they will probably go overboard in describing how they can do anything we ask of them. Often, this also translates to long-winded answers which give us the impression you are boring.  If you are boring me, I’m left with the impression you will also bore our clients.

“Give me short, specific examples of how your background connects to the specific position.   Paint the picture in my head of how you will be the most effective person for this job.  Convince me that you are right for this job.”

Building Bridges

I’ve found that most job-seeking advice sounds good when you describe it, but in fact, is much more difficult in practice.  This is particularly true with advice about how to effectively interview.

The fact is that the end-goal for any job-seeking interview situation is to influence the perception of the person who is doing the interviewing in your favor; you want them to leave the interview believing you are the right person for the job.

One of the biggest mistakes people in interviews make is trying to quickly determine the answer you believe the interviewer wants to hear. There are a couple of things wrong with this approach.  The primary mistake is that you simply don’t know what the interviewer wants to hear; and secondly, you are giving up a great opportunity to display your true grasp of the issue.

When I was the Chief Spokesman for the Mayor of Denver, I perfected a few tricks that helped the Mayor to navigate through tricky media interview situations.

In any interview, we would prepare the Mayor to concentrate on 3-5 messages that HE wanted to get across in the interview – in other words, we worked with him to control weaving these messages into the interview.  So no matter the question, he would tailor his answers back to the points HE wanted to make.

This technique is called bridging and is completely applicable to the job-seeking interview process.

In bridging, the goal is to lead your answer to one of the 3-5 points you want to make – again these 3-5 points are going to be connected to your relevance to the job.  When you think about it this way, you can see that you are in much more control of the interview and can communicate with a much greater level of confidence and assuredness.

For example:

Q:  Our company is still coming to grips with using social media effectively.  What are the things that you would do broaden our reach using social media and how can we use a blog for our CEO to promote the company?

Wrong Answer:  Without question, you need to be on Twitter, Facebook and also we should create a CEO blog that will help promote your CEO.  I’m familiar with all social media and could really help this company promote itself using social media.

Right Answer:  My experience with social media tells me a couple of things.  Primarily, it requires a serious assessment of the need and as importantly the time, effort, and resources that are required to use social media effectively.  In my last position, we looked at all the tools we were using in our overall marketing efforts and developed a specific campaign that included social media to see how our customers would respond. Through Twitter alone we increased traffic to our point-of-sale website by 22% in the first 3 months.  But the blog we created was more difficult because of the lack of time and commitment from upper management. But the critical issue is this: before committing to using one social media tool over the other and to set realistic expectations about what social media can deliver, its important to test different social media tools.

As you can see, the second answer uses the bridging phrases ‘My experience…tells me a couple of things’ and ‘…the critical issue is this.’  Using these types of bridging phrases immediately sets up an expectation of an authoritative response.  Bridging gives you power – it allows you to use past experiences to demonstrate a point and it highlights your expertise and how it would apply to the job your applying.

Here are several other bridging phrases that can help you:

From my perspective…

I have heard that too, but the real focus should be on….

If I may, let me pick out another point that is equally as important….

Based on a similar project I was involved in, I might describe it differently…

Looking ahead, I believe…

Here’s a related point I’m even more familiar with…

That’s an important point, but here’s my view on the issue…

The question might also be…

Opinions might differ on this point, but here’s my bottom line…

Let’s use another perspective…

Some people might consider this is the most important issue, but my experience tells me that…

Bottom Line
Bridging works.  Remember, don’t always answer the question in the way you think the interviewer WANTS to hear the response, think about how you can get to the answer that is most helpful to demonstrate your 3-5 points you want to make in an interview.

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What an employer is thinking: the most important job interview questions that will never be asked.

In a recent New York Times profile, a respected CEO was asked, “How do you interview job candidates?”

His response? “I have two basic questions in mind: Can you do the job and would I enjoy spending time with you?”

It’s a revealing statement but really not that surprising.

When you are in the interview stage with an employer, chances are, you are one of several candidates who has proven to have the experience, background, expertise and talent to fulfill the requirements of the job.  At this point, the person who is doing the hiring is trying to unlock the greatest mystery in their mind: what would it be like to actually work with you?  Why would I want you on my team?

Put yourself in the shoes of the person who is interviewing you for the job.

They have probably never met you before – they might only know you from your resume and cover letter.  And yet,  they are about to make a decision and a commitment that means they will most likely be spending more time with you at work than they do at home with their spouse, their kids and their friends!  In addition, they are trusting that your performance will help to increase the value and productivity of their organization/department and on top of that, they are going to pay you MONEY for doing so!

This is a relatively short courtship; within a period of a few weeks, this person is bringing you onto their team with the relatively blind expectation and finger-crossing hope that you are the perfect match.

Throughout the interview, they will try to figure out the answers to the following questions.  While these questions most likely will not be asked directly, by understanding and anticipating the mindset of the interviewer will allow you to demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the job.

Prepare yourself!  Demonstrate with examples and specific situations answers to these questions.

Are you enjoyable and fun to be around? (I have to spend a lot of time with you, I don’t want to dread seeing you every day!  Are you a suck-up?  Are you nervous around the boss?  Are you someone I’d feel comfortable having a beer with from time-to-time? Will you get along with my other employees?)

Will you be a good deputy? (Will you be loyal and trustworthy?  Someone I can  always rely on?  Will you watch my back?  Will you be a constant ‘yes’ person or are you willing to challenge me and help me avoid mistakes?  Will you be thinking three steps ahead and help me and my department to avoid mistakes?)

Will you be easy to manage? (Are you someone with great enthusiasm who will be help me inspire my team or are you going to be a pain in my rear;  a complainer and a whiner? )

Are you a  good team player? (Do you recognize your role on my team?    Can you get along with others and inspire others?  Can you play well with others and not get sucked into office politics? Do you have leadership skills and can you leverage other team member’s strengths with your own for the good of the department?  Will you put the team’s goals ahead of you own personal ambition?  Will your negative energy drag down the morale of the department?)

Do you listen intently and can you follow instructions easily? (Do you have common sense? Can I rely that I can explain something once and expect that you’ll accomplish the assignment?  Is this person a know-it-all, been-there-done-that?  Do I have to explain multiple times how to get something done?)

Do you communicate well? (Are you charismatic?  Confident? Do you explain yourself clearly?  Do you get flustered under pressure?  Can you make a good case and argue points effectively?  Are you organized in how you communicate?)

Are you a hard worker? (Can I count on you to go the extra mile to get a project completed and not complain?  Will you work late or on the weekends if required from time-to-time?)

Are you creative?  Innovative? (Are you full of great ideas?  Do you think outside of the box?  As important, can you implement a vision?  Can you inspire people to think differently?)

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Filed under Andrew Hudson's Jobs List, college graduate, entry level, Human Resources, Interview Questions, Job advice, Job Interview, Job Posting, Job Recruiters, Job Seeker, Social Media Jobs, Uncategorized, Workplace culture

What we wish we knew at graduation…10 pieces of advice to college grads

It’s college graduation season and as a result, there’s a lot of new entry-level job seekers entering the job search market right now.

When I graduated from the University of Colorado in 1989, I saw the President of the University of Colorado at my graduation and walked up to him.  “President Gee,” I said.  “What’s the best piece of advice you can give a new college graduate with a degree in English Literature?”  He looked down at me, smiled and said.  “Never, never, ever forget to pay your alumni dues.”  This deflating piece of advice was exactly what I didn’t want and need to hear.

In any event, without sounding like a cliché graduation commencement lecture, I’ve solicited practical advice from my thousands of friends on Facebook and Twitter.

I asked a simple question:

“If you could offer one piece of advice to a recent college graduate what would it be and what do you know now that you wish you knew when you graduated from college?”

I’ve condensed the hundreds of answers I received into some general themes and transfer this advice in the spirit of mature wisdom in which it is intended.

1.)  Debt is a soul-sucker.

Live within your means and avoid the debt trap like the plague.

Right now, as a recent college graduate, you have amazing ambitions, goals and hopes for the future – don’t let those be derailed because of unnecessary debt.

All too often, I’ve met with professionals who, now in their 40’s and 50’s, are slaves to the debt trap that controls every aspect of their lives: they are in jobs they don’t like, stressful marriages, living paycheck-to-paycheck with no savings for their kid’s college education as well as their own retirement – all because of the enormous debt they began racking up early in life.

There is NO SUCH THING as FREE MONEY! Avoid the temptations of the credit marketing hucksters who are pitching easy money with credit cards offers, department store lines of credit, banks, automobiles – there’s endless ways to get handcuffed to debt for the rest of your life.

Get a credit card to establish credit, but avoid the high interest-rate and pay it off each month.   Finance problems and debt are cited as one of the top reasons for divorce.  If you are getting married, from the get-go, have honest and open conversations about finances and try your best to pay off student loans and any other debt you may have each incurred.  Work with a financial planner early in your marriage so that you can map your goals as a married couple.  Save and invest but avoid the financial slavery of debt.

2.)  Travel while you are in your 20’s.

Save up and visit new countries when you have minimal commitments.   Study abroad, intern overseas, volunteer or consider working for a non-profit or a non-governmental organization (NGO) in another country or get an advanced degree abroad.

Being able to travel not only is fun, but can be a time of self reflection after your hard work in college and give you new insights into your career and life goals.  Your experiences can be a real differentiator in job hunts.   There are plenty of resources available that can lead you to work abroad opportunities and help you be able to travel affordably.

3.)  Be a life-long student.

Just because you have a college degree doesn’t mean you should stop learning.  Be infinitely curious about all things.  Continue to learn and master new skills and open your mind to different cultures, political opinions and new ideas.  You are going into a workforce that requires you to interact with a wide range of ages, work ethics, business atmospheres, personalities and diverse opinions that you may not have experienced before.  At the end of every day, ask the same question your parents asked at the dinner table after school: “What did you learn today?”

4.) Your first job is going to be a learning experience.

Don’t be afraid to start at the very bottom.  Paying your dues means proving yourself – proving that you don’t feel entitled and that no job is below you, proving that you have the heart, the passion and drive to always find a way to get the job done, under any circumstance, proving that you will work long hours and on weekends, and proving that you will always be reliable and true to your word.

5.)  You will fail at something sometime.

John Elway threw way more interceptions than he did touchdowns.   Every successful person is also an expert at failing.  Like them, prepare to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.

6.) Be ethical, honest and confident about your integrity.

You will be faced at times during your career when a decision you have to make or a situation you are in will seem to test your character and integrity.   If you are confident in your character and integrity, these situations will never be considered a ‘judgment call.’  You are ethical and honest or you are not.  It is that simple.

7.) Happiness is many things, but it is not about money.

Don’t believe the marketing hype: happiness is NEVER found in how much money you have, how big your house is, what type of car you drive, what type of title or power you hold, the types of clothes you wear or how attractive you (or others) believe yourself to be.

Typically happiness in life is found in deep and meaningful relationships with your family and friends, being satisfied and enjoying your work, enjoying good health, having self confidence and enjoying freedom and independence from financial debt.  Most importantly, it’s found in constantly recognizing and acknowledging the things in your life that present you with joy.

8.) Become an inspirational leader.

We need more leaders in the world.   Volunteer for leadership positions whenever you get the chance.  Try to become a supervisor or a manager.  Join a nonprofit board, or volunteer for a leadership position through a professional industry association.

9.) Be passionate and committed to being the best at everything you do!

Believe in yourself, in your goals and ideas and learn how to manage people and resources wisely and fairly.   Always have a vision for the future, but more than just having a vision, learn how to inspire others to believe and help you to implement and manage your vision.

10.) Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do right now.

Expect that your life will take many twists and turns.

When asked about their current jobs, most seasoned professionals start out by saying, “If you’d have told me when I graduated from college that I’d be doing what I’m doing for a career today, I’d have thought you were crazy!”

The fact is your niche will most likely not be what you expect it to be today.  You will discover skills in your first job out of college that you didn’t realize you possessed.  You will recognize interests that will help you focus on your future goals.  Your will find a career that will fit you – your talents, your personality, your experiences Expect your life’s mission and your professional goals to become more clear over the next few years.

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Filed under Andrew Hudson's Jobs List, college graduate, entry level, Human Resources, Job advice, Job Boards, Job Interview, Job Posting, Job Recruiters, Job Seeker, Social Media Jobs, Uncategorized, Workplace culture