The Ego Trap Will Clamp Down On Your Career

Author Jen Shirkani writes in her book, EGO vs EQ, that there are eight common ego traps that will derail a leader’s career. No matter where you think you are in your career, your company probably expects you to show leadership traits… and it’s not just a perquisite for those in the C-suite. This article is a synopsis of Shirkani’s conclusions and is a worthwhile read for anyone at any level. 8 Common Ego Traps could be the reminder that keeps you grounded, focused, and even more productive in your career.

Resume Errors Get Laughs – At Your Expense

Think your resume is just perfect? Then why do 98% contain spelling, grammatical, and syntax errors? This article by Dixie Dean is a quick primer on common mistakes and how to avoid them. The tragedy is that while you made a few recruiters laugh or added some humor to a hiring manager’s bleak day, your resume ended up in the trash. Don’t Let CV Errors Make You A Laughing Stock is definitely a worthwhile reminder to take an extra look before you hit ‘send’.

Are You A Free Radical?

Scott Belsky is an entrepreneur and best-selling author who founded the online creative platform Behance, which he recently sold to Adobe. He is a much sought after speaker on the emerging patterns of work in the 21st century, and this article is an excerpt from his foreward to a new book, Maximize Your Potential. Belsky says that “free radicals” demand a lot of themselves AND their employers, expect their skills to be fully utilized, abhor ‘easy jobs’, and have little tolerance for bureaucratic friction or old-boy networks. With the increasing exit of baby-boomers from the workplace – and with it, the demise of “we always did it this way” mindsets – employers should be asking themselves important questions. Are you a free radical? Can you accommodate free radicals in your workplace? If not now, when? What advantages could be gained from embracing more free radicals? Belsky believes that free radicals are already changing the face of work and jobs, and organizations will foster dramatic innovation by accelerating their contributions. The Free Radical At Work is a worthwhile read. 

Job Search Fumbles Can Cost You The Game

Amanda Augustine is a job search expert for The Ladders, and she writes extensively for their blog and website. Personally I think she writes in a very accessible, almost breezy, style but the principles contained in her articles are very actionable and timely. Speaking of timely, since we’ve just embarked on another football season, Ms. Augustine has crafted this article around appropriate gridiron analogies. Job Search Fumbles is a quick and worthwhile read to help you keep the ball in your possession!

Bad Hires Can Ruin A Good Strategy

Lou Adler is a New York Times best-selling author of such books as Hire With Your Head and The Essential Guide To Hiring And Getting Hired. Adler believes that there are really only four (yes, 4!) jobs in any business and only four (there it is again) types of corporate strategies. I’ll admit skepticism… until I read this article. Adler makes a compelling case for getting the right matches and understanding their various roles in order to propel your corporate performance to new heights. Read How Bad Hiring Decisions Can Mess Up A Good Business Strategy to avoid the path to mediocrity… or worse.

Tips For A Successful Video Interview

EDI Specialists is a boutique recruiting firm focusing on the IT integration and electronic data interchange fields. This article is written by Adam Barron and it spotlights some “how-to advice” when you receive a request for a video interview. This is not something to be treated lightly, even though it may seem “different” or “more casual” than a real face-to-face interview. It is actually neither, and doing it right requires some serious thought and pre-planning. Treating a video interview as anything less than the “real thing” can eliminate a qualified candidate from further consideration… and it doesn’t have to happen! 6 Tips For A Successful Video Interview is a worthwhile read for anyone on a job search when technology is increasingly a tool to bridge time and distance.

Don’t Waste An Internship!

Amanda Augustine is a job search expert at The Ladders and she contributes to their blog extensively. Her articles are short yet impactful, and her topics are very timely. In a recent post, 4 Ways To Waste An Internship, Ms. Augustine speaks to college students about the realities and value of internships. Although summer is winding down and the kids will be returning to campus, many will have in-semester internships and co-op positions. This article is a must-read to avoid the pitfalls of treating an assignment too lightly.

Remember To Ask These 3 Interview Questions

James Caan is the CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw Ltd, a mid-market private equity firm based in London, England. Caan is the author of The Real Deal, a best-selling book about his rise from Pakistani immigrant and high school drop-out to British business tycoon. He is also a panelist on Dragon’s Den, the British equivalent of the ABC television program, Shark Tank. The following is from a post he made on a Linked In recruiting group:

“Getting an interview for that dream job is a perfect chance to sell yourself and you need to make sure that you get everything right. Preparation is vital and it goes without saying that you should turn up for the interview knowing everything there is to know about your prospective employers and the role that you have applied for.

Of course, no two interviews are ever the same and the line of questions that you take will be determined by the nature of the company and the people who are interviewing you. But I have always been more impressed by candidates who ask ME questions. The process should never be one sided – you need to take control. The best way of doing this is to ask as many questions as the interviewer does.

There are at least three questions you should definitely have ready to ask for every job interview you go for. Remember the aim is to sell yourself as a bright, motivated and ambitious individual but it is important not to be too obvious. The people who are interviewing you will have heard it all before and they will be looking for someone who has that little bit extra quality or personality which sets them apart from the rest of the crowd.

Here are three questions that you should always try and ask:

What qualities are you looking for in the person you are hoping to appoint?

This may sound like a very obvious starting point but it is vital for both parties to grasp exactly what it is needed from candidate in terms of skills and experience. Remember the whole point of the interview is to prove you are the person that they want and are looking for. There is a much better chance of being able to do that if you actually ask the interviewers straight from the start what their ideal candidate would be.

What scope is there for personal development at your company?

It is important to show any prospective employee that you are the type of person who is ambitious and is looking to move their career forward. No one wants to take on an individual who is going to be content to coast and you need to show that you are not coming along just for an easy ride. Any ambitious and forward thinking company will be looking for like minded individuals. Ask a question which will give you give the chance to show just how driven you are.

Is there anything you have seen in the other people on the shortlist that you have not seen in me?

This is a great question to throw into the mix as the interview is drawing to a natural close. I remember a candidate asking me this once and I had to smile because it left me with nowhere to go. As well as turning the tables on the panel it is also a great way of gauging just how well or how badly you have performed throughout the course of the selection process. You should always be looking to improve and getting feedback from an interviewer is a crucial part of this. It is a risky strategy to take because you might get an answer you are not happy with. But if you are prepared to take a risk, then this final question is a gamble that just might pay off.”

Reasons To Confront Sexism Head-On

Are you a female executive? Been called “honey” or “babe” in the workplace? Asked to pick up the coffee and donuts for the staff meeting? Been expected to ‘straighten up’ the conference room after an ideation session? Those (and many other) seemingly innocuous situations are indicative of a culture steeped in sexism. This article in Forbes magazine offers up three good reasons to confront the perpetrator(s) head-on.

Counter-Offers: Buyer Beware!!

Counter-Offers: Buyer Beware!!

Few things in the employment search are as fraught with danger as the dreaded counter-offer. Why? Well, it always comes at the tail-end after the candidate has accepted a new position and is advising her boss of the resignation. It usually happens suddenly, with long overdue words of praise and promises to make things better. Frequently the soon-to-be former employee is hearing for the first time how extremely valuable she is to the department. The temptation to stay in the nest can be overpowering. And it is VERY dangerous. Here is some advice to consider before heading down that road.

Handling a Counter-Offer

Many companies, as a matter of policy, will make a counter-offer to retain a departing employee. On the surface it may seem flattering but here are nine important business issues to consider:

  1. What type of company do you work for if you have to ‘threaten’ to resign before they suddenly pay you what you’re really worth all along?
  2. Where is this ‘new’ money coming from? Is it just your next salary increase early? Will your next review be sacrificed at the altar of ‘parity’ to preserve departmental budgets?
  3. You may be the victim of an almost immediate search (however ‘quiet’) to replace you with someone more ‘loyal’ at a lower salary. You may become just an interim employee… without knowing it and after having been assured of your value to the company.
  4. You have already alerted your boss of an intention to leave the company. From this day forward, relationships are changed and your loyalty is always in question.
  5. The same circumstances that created your desire to move on will undoubtedly resurface in the future. The process will start all over again… but the next opportunity, if one comes, could reflect a changing market and a reduced scope. It is a big gamble to reject a great offer only to find you are stuck with the same unpalatable circumstances – only then realizing that your counter-offer is actually restricting you from advancement.
  6. Statistics show an alarming trend. If you accept a counter-offer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six (6) months doubles, and the likelihood of being terminated in less than a year triples!!
  7. Accepting a counter-offer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride. You know you’ve been bought. And…
  8. Your present employer knows he just bought you. You’re impressed with your negotiating skill. He isn’t. You submitted a letter of resignation and allowed him to talk you out of it. He feels you are weak and can’t stand behind your decisions. He thinks it was just a ploy to increase your salary. He knows that people who can’t make decisions can’t manage.
  9. When word gets out, your relationship with co-workers will never be the same. It’s likely the camaraderie and peer acceptance is gone.

The greatest irony of considering a counter-offer is that there is no gain, only loss. Not accepting, however, translates into zero downside risk and 100% upside potential. You get to embark on an exciting new career, coupled with all the benefits you originally set as parameters for change.

Emotional Gymnastics

Let’s face it. When someone quits, it is a direct reflection on the boss. It’s never about the food in the company cafeteria, the parking spot that’s too far from your office, the vacation policy, or the fact that you missed a nephew’s 11th birthday party. No. Research shows that people leave companies because of their direct boss. And he’ll do what he needs to in order to stop that from happening. He wants to keep you until he’s ready for you to leave. He knows about the fear of the unknown (new job) and he’ll press those buttons to keep you safe in the nest.

What’s Going Through His Mind…

  • “This couldn’t happen at a worse time for me.”
  • “This is one of my best people and her departure will wreak havoc on my work schedule.”
  • “I already am short one person, I don’t need this now.”
  • “This will screw up the vacation schedule big time.”
  • “I can’t really do her work, so the company might lose me over this.”
  • “My review is coming up and this will make me look bad.”
  • “I can’t stand dealing with HR and talking to recruiters again.”

What The Boss Might Say…

  • “I’m really shocked. I thought you were as happy with us as we are with you. Let’s discuss this again tomorrow before you make your final decision.”
  • “I’ve been meaning to tell you about the great plans we have for you but it’s been confidential until just this morning.”
  • “The VP has you in mind for some exciting and expanded responsibilities.”
  • “Your new raise was scheduled to go into effect next quarter, but we’ll make it effective immediately.”
  • “You’re going to work for who!?”

Final Thoughts

Career changes, like any new venture into unknown territory, are tough. It’s human nature to crave the known and the safe. But before you succumb to a counter-offer consider:

  • Your reasons for wanting to leave still exist. Any promises and improvements will likely be short-term only.
  • The counter-offer was only made in response to your threat to leave. What will you have to do next time?
  • Well-managed companies don’t make counter-offers… EVER. Their policies are fair and they won’t be coerced by what they may perceive as blackmail. What does it say about your company if they counter-offer?

If the urge to accept a counter-offer hits … keep cleaning out your desk while counting your blessings!

Download the Counter-Offers: Buyer Beware Whitepaper as a PDF

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