Posts Tagged: career path

Find the Perfect Career Coach and Maximize Your Investment

September 22nd, 2017

There are many reasons why your job search might not be exactly progressing. Maybe you’re one of those people who originally had success when job hunting. Then time passed and life happened. Maybe you’re a young professional who decided to take a few years off and take care of the kids while your spouse continued working. Now that you’re ready to jump back into the game (at least part-time) you’re finding that today’s job market has changed and that you’re not getting replies to any of the hundreds of resumes you’ve been sending out. Maybe the job you used to do doesn’t even exist anymore! Before you get tangled any deeper in a web of both your own device and the result of a downward sloping economy, it might be time to call in an expert – a career coach who is in tune with the latest ways to be successful in finding a new career.

Where to Begin

A keyword search on Google can get you started. If you live in Newark, Wilmington, Hockessin, or the New Castle, Delaware area, put your location name online along with keywords like career coaching services, career resources, and finding a job. A career counselor will help you by using a variety of career assessment tools (MBTI – Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator – Career Leader, SkillScan, etc.) to explore your aptitudes and work with you on applying the results to your job searches. A career coach will work with you on successful resume preparation and help you to understand career research resources, and also prep you on how to prepare for an interview. Today’s career counselors will review your presence on various social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, blogs, etc.) so that you will present a positive picture for any prospective employers when they go to check out your online presence. In addition, they will provide job search support, and help you with strategies to overcome any obstacles in today’s very hard job market.

What Will A Career Coach Do For You?

A good career coach will do their best to suggest careers that are very closely matched with your life purpose. They will discover what your life purpose is by administering tests, having general discussions with you, and also ask you some specific questions about your goals. The best career coaches are very honest, and they will show you what your strengths are as well as your weaknesses. They will help you both with your job search and your resume, and they will coach you on how to perform in the job interview. Remember this, though – you can hire an excellent career coach, but if you don’t do the follow-ups and listen to the advice that is given, you will simply be throwing your money away. A career coach will instruct you on which job posting site is best for your particular career, and which staffing agencies, employment agencies, temp jobs, and temporary staffing opportunities can offer the most chances for a successful new career opportunity.

CBI Way: The Candidate/Applicant Experience

June 19th, 2013

Guest blog spot by Lisa Van Ess, Recruiter On-Demand and Managed Staffing Practice Leader

There is a lot out there today on improving the candidate or applicant experience, speeding up the time it takes for applying on-line, integrating systems so candidates (as they journey from applicant to employee) only need to type their name and address 3 times not 8, and (the one that makes HR and Recruiting professionals cringe) – the dreaded auto-response telling the candidate that just spent 45 minutes applying on line “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

So yes, automation and system improvements do help, but here’s how I try and think about the treatment of candidates:

1. Candidates you hire evolve into employees who often rise to management – keep in mind that this person could be your boss someday.

2. Candidates you don’t hire will have something to say to their friends in the same candidate pool. think of the best experience you have had when you didn’t get the job, that is most likely how you want someone to talk about their experience with your company.

3. Candidates with multiple job offers do consider the company where they had the best experience – where they were greeted on-time, got a bathroom break, had an agenda ready, didn’t get asked the same questions over and over again by each interviewer, ya’ll know the drill.

4. You were a candidate once, too! (And that auto-response letter really sucks.)

So be sure to remember the human aspect of Human Resources and the talent aspect of Talent Acquisition. If we only serve to drive the resources and acquisition components of our industry, instead of the people needed to fill the positions, we are not fulfilling the needs of our customers.  Automation and systemic tools serve to expedite the hiring process but at the end of the day our candidates are people with their own feelings, needs, and ambitions. Be Outside-In®, put yourself in the candidate’s shoes, and take into account all that’s involved in the candidate/applicant experience!

The CBI Way blog series explores the tools and practices used in Talent Acquisition. CBI Way is CBI Group’s recruiting approach and methodology – it’s how we do what we do! Check in with CBI Way for insights around workforce education and training, the latest trends in recruiting technology, and how to best utilize these tools towards improving your own recruiting practices.

CBI Way: Managing the Nightmare Candidate

February 27th, 2013

CBI Way blog spot by Glenn Koetz, Search Practice Lead and Lisa Van Ess, Outside-In® Group Lead

We have all had those days when we are sitting with our trusted colleagues talking about the nightmare candidate who came to the interview with a bulls-eye tattooed on his forehead, or the one whose answer to “Why would you like to work for us?” is “I am eating dog food at this point and will have to change to cat food if I don’t get a job”, or the one whose interview turns into a disaster right from the start. We all chuckle and agree that if we wrote a book on what we have seen throughout the candidate management process, we would make millions and could all retire… Yet sometimes in that same conversation we actually get to the, “Well, how did you handle that?”, and the wisdom shared at that point is a rare gift.

One of my favorite sayings is “You can’t manage crazy.” Unfortunately, if you have chosen a career in HR or recruiting you are called upon to do just that. Here are some proven tactics I have found helpful in managing Candidate Crazy.

Remember, as a recruiting professional you have the ability to say No.

This means you can tell the person who comes in for the interview with the bulls-eye on their forehead, “No, you are not meeting with the hiring manager.” It is up to you to screen out candidates and not waste your hiring manager’s time. In this case, I took the time to meet with this individual and tell him that the position required the quick building of face-to-face relationships in a very conventional firm and that he would be better suited to work in a more casual environment; mentioning both he and the company would be happier. The candidate thanked me, we parted ways and all lived happily ever after…

Educate, coach, and use a personalized No Thank You letter if needed.

For my dog food gal…she was a really talented, experienced candidate who made it beautifully through the phone and in-person recruiting interviews. When she got in front of the decision makers – the dog food versus cat food answer was the one she gave when asked why she wanted to work for the company. I called her to let her know she did not get the job and specifically why. I will tell you that I was very sympathetic and agreed to present her to another hiring manager with the coaching, even direction that she answer the question with why working that job for that company was important to her – we even rehearsed her answers. (File this under no good deed goes unpunished).

Fast forward to interview number two: Interviewer: “Why do you want this job at our company?” Dog food Gal: “To keep me and my kids from living in a refrigerator box in an alley.” This is when the call explaining to the candidate she did not get the job (and why) is followed by the specific No Thank You Letter to ensure that they understand they will not be coached any further and that the official rejection is required.

Maintain control when an interview starts to unravel.

And then, there are always those interviews that are complete disasters right from the start. The candidate comes in an hour and a half after the scheduled time and fails to communicate that they’re running late…or the candidate becomes emotionally unstable halfway through the interview because they realize they are not going to make it through to the next round…or maybe, the candidate becomes desperate and starts to beg you to review their resume credentials when both parties know the damage has already been done.

In these situations, it’s important to communicate to this person that the mistakes they’ve made, can be used as lessons learned or motivation for their next job interview. If they’re going to be late, they ought to communicate it! There’s nothing worse than a no-show, without any reason for it, right? When emotions get out of hand, its important to remind them that this interview is not the end-all be-all, and that the reason they are not moving forward is not because of something they lack. And finally, when it comes to credentials, (this scenario is often found most with recent college grads or young professionals), tell them that its about their potential value and capacity to grow within an organization that’s important, not always what they’ve already accomplished. Reinforcement is key to managing this type of nightmare candidate.

I am sure we have all been on either or both sides of this, the moral to the story is to take a proactive, openly communicative position with all your candidates to ensure the very best time, energy and matches among hiring managers and hire-ees!

The CBI Way blog series explores the tools and practices used in Talent Acquisition. CBI Way is CBI Group’s recruiting approach and methodology – it’s how we do what we do! Check in with CBI Way for insights around workforce education and training, the latest trends in recruiting technology, and how to best utilize these tools towards improving your own recruiting practices.

Developing Bucket List Leadership

August 29th, 2012

So, if you haven’t heard already, I am coaching Varsity soccer at Elkton High School.  The joke is that I probably have told you. I’ve told anyone and everyone that will listen…and be wary when asking me a question about business! (I will turn it into a soccer metaphor in a hurry.)  Why all the soccer talk these days? Well, coaching soccer is a Bucket List moment for me.  It’s something on my List that I’ve been wanting to achieve for a long time.

Coach Varsity soccer.  Check! 

Elkton High School Varsity Soccer 2012

Everyone should have a Bucket List of things they hope to achieve some day.  These things do not happen on any given day, you know. I find I may check off one moment per year at best.  And this particular one gives me a chance to use what I have applied and learned about leadership in my attempt at mastery of the subject.  Running a company?  Being Leader of a not-for-profit?  Running two companies?  Being head coach of a soccer team?  It is all the same. It all requires leadership.

So here is my Bucket List Leadership for today:

  • Players, employees, and volunteers respond well to cultural values.  Not rules.  Give a group values and it inspires and empowers.  Give them a rule book?  They will show you how to break them.  Trust comes from values.
  • Expect a lot.  Good coaches know how to get more from a player than they do on their own.  Believe in your people, support them, teach them, give them a great environment, and they will thrive.
  • Feedback really matters.  But don’t be vague.  “Good job” leaves people lost.  As I told my team, I can be tough on you but fair every day. Demand greatness and you can be the best we can be; or you can be content and happy everyday with no real challenge until we get beaten badly on game day.
  • Change is hard whether you are 14 or 44.  I changed forty years of tradition at Elkton High School this year.  It seems that freshman have carried water forever.  This was the “initiation” of sorts.  Do your time rookie!  No more.  Today we will all carry water led by upper classmen.  We are all leaders and teachers.  Modeling the right behavior is important for any leader from pitch to boardroom.
  • Half-Full matters to me.  I will not live with negativity.  I don’t want to hear it.  Don’t get me wrong – I can handle something that is wrong, broken, or that needs discussion.  But I will not tolerate anyone that is half-empty in my complicated world of leadership.  My list is too long, and time too short to be around it.  In fact, our value on the team is Hear no negative, Speak no negative.  And it works.  The boys correct themselves and each other.  They get it.  It wastes time and energy.

Why Aren’t there Entrepreneurial Olympics?

August 1st, 2012

So, I am sitting with my family watching the opening ceremonies Friday evening (I think I am the only one I know that liked it…must be that strange, British wit!) and I kept thinking about all of the human interest stories about the athletes.  I thought about their struggles…family sacrifices…the long hours training…the obstacles overcome…and the incredible courage it takes to truly be the best in the world.  I find that is truly the best part of the Olympic experience.

All of us can identify with the moms sitting on the edge of their seats wringing their hands in agony as they watch their sons and daughters compete! Or the sense of pride that wells up inside us when our country earns a medal.  There is an emotional connection to the athlete.  All of us seem to identify at some level to the people…badminton or air rifles? Not so much.

This got me thinking about business and the world that entrepreneurs enter every day.  There aren’t any “Entrepreneurial Olympics”, but, there should be.  Yes, there are growth awards, there are special lists for your company in your industry, and you can even become Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2010, I was the Entrepreneur of the Year, and the hardest part of the whole thing was to bring the story of my success to life. My journey up to that moment  had been embroiled in so much risk.  My first office was a coat closet. My first desk, a card table. No customers. Little kids at home. A wife counting on me. Long, arduous days. Shifts in the marketplace. The emotional toll of the terrorism on 9/11. Not to mention the unexpected challenges of IT failure, theft, and flooding on the new furniture – and this was just during my first month!

I can just imagine what would happen if Bob Costas were to interview me or another entrepreneur.  Bob would ask, “How did you continue to train 14 to 16 hours a day while knowing you had put a second mortgage on your home?  What was it like to grow a business from an idea and attract that first, second or third employee to your vision?”, or maybe, “What is it like on Sunday nights when you need to meet payroll?  Does that feeling ever go away and how do you manage that anxiety when you lead and direct?” 

Would the interviews be as riveting?  Would you well up with emotion the way we do for Olympians? If you think, “Eh, maybe not”, I have some zingers for you. Like when our office caught fire and flooded on Super Bowl Sunday a few years back. How I almost lost everything, AGAIN! Video footage would help but, frankly, I am not sure if folks would get it or like it! Pop culture does not quite understand the life of an entrepreneur (unless your family has or is one!) but we all should try.

There are so many parallels, so many comparisons, so much in common between athletes and entrepreneurs.  The odds are steep. The time commitment is exhaustive.  The accolades and medals?  For professional athletes, there is a wide range of possibilities even outside of Olympic medals. For entrepreneurs? Well, they are earned only by a few.

The Olympic metaphors are so much an entrepreneur’s life story:

  • Like athletes, most entrepreneurs do not make the “games”.  So few make it to one year, five, or ten!
  • Athletes and entrepreneurs must train to win,  the athletes that don’t medal seem to lose their focus and routine.  Same for entrepreneurs.  Focus, priorities, and routine are critical to maximizing energy and using limited resources to get the result you want!
  • Playing the sport is all that matters. The lessons learned about yourself, about competition, self esteem and confidence, being a part of a team all apply to small business.  Without them no one earns a spot on the medals stand.

Now imagine your own interview with Bob. Or better yet, put yourself on the podium with flowers in hand, a gold medal around your neck and your company’s logo flying high above you as its raised above your head in flag-form. What would that be like as an entrepreneur?

“I would like to thank my mom…

Mr. Big, Gigantic Job!

April 27th, 2011

Hello, I am Mr. Big, Gigantic Job. I lack definition but certainly not meaning or impact. I am not a number unlike the little, tiny job. I can be whatever I need and want to be. I am fast-paced, hands on and thrive on change. Being flexible, adaptable and receptive to customers’ input can do that to you.
I drive the economy. I am created at a ratio of two to one compared to my friend, the little, tiny job. I am sought after for my depth and breadth. I live to evolve, learn and get more done! I am constantly challenged and a bit overworked but I love what I do because I do meaningful work and have real impact. I interact with customers and collaborate with colleagues. I have a sense of how my company adds value in the marketplace and makes money. And I can see the value I create and how it affects the big picture.
A pin from an employee empowering campaign at Placers, where I started off my career in the staffing industry. I am great for careers. If you are like me, you get exposure and experience at an accelerated pace compared to most work environments. You can try new things and work on teams where you learn from others and teach them too. I grow and improve as I learn more each day. I am proof that your title and chair do not need to change to get more experience, responsibility, new challenge or even a pay increase! For me, the rewards and recognition come in many forms. Most importantly, I am empowered. I am my company. I would not have it any other way.
But there are risks right? Sure, about the same as the little, tiny job. You and you alone are responsible for your career at this point. Gone are the days where the little, tiny job starts in the mail room and goes thirty years and gets the gold watch. All businesses succeed and fail, so you must build your assets! Today, you must move laterally and focus on learning and knowledge. That is what I am all about!
Who am I? I am a job in an entrepreneurial company. I exist in thousands of fast growth business’s throughout the marketplace. Yes, I can be unstructured but the facts don’t lie. I can grow people. And I provide opportunities in spades. I am the Big, Gigantic Job.
Thanks for letting us have some fun and I hope you enjoyed our short stories! CBI Group is one of those companies with Gigantic Jobs! In your company, do you have tiny little jobs or big gigantic jobs?

Workforce Planning – Clint Style

February 19th, 2010

For some reason as leaders we have it in our heads that work must get done a certain way. Yes, we all embrace expense management tools that keep our costs flexible. We have been educated to use a contingent workforce. A blend of temporaries, contractors, outsourcing or co-sourcing to manage the ebbs and flows of work, and frankly workers, is a necessity today. Peaks and troughs get steeper and come with ever increasing frequency. Leaders need to do anything and everything to keep ahead of the curve.

Yet we have short memories. We have big egos. Leaders never forget the pain and challenge of reducing staff, right? It sticks with us for a long time. Have you ever gone to a funeral and been so moved that you spend days talking about living life to the fullest and that our “problems” of the day are not really problems at all? That lasts for few days… How about your News Years Resolutions? I just saw a statistic that less than 30% of folks are still sticking to their resolutions for the year and it is only 6 weeks into the year. I think you get my point. It is the human condition; we survive by moving on.

We follow a similar path with how we staff our organizations. Successful leaders are optimists. It is how we attract talent, investors, customers. We are successful because of this outlook and view of the world. As things get better we will hire more staff. We will get jazzed and intoxicated about business again. We will take our eye off the payroll and headcount figures we now review weekly.

Right now the US economy is in a recovery, albeit slowly. My words might even seem silly; however things will creep along and continue to improve. Some day you will forget. The time is now to plan to do it differently. Never has their been a better time to keep your business more flexible, adaptable and responsive. We are all testing new business models right? We are driving top line while we micromanage expenses. Your staff has never been more open and accepting of change. Oh, how survival brings people together against there common enemy.

And you know what the workforce expects it. People understand that they must fend for themselves & manage their own careers Clint Eastwood Style, but are you ready to embrace it? Or will traditional mindsets and more about work and careers drive you to repeat the over-hiring mistakes of the past.

The leader than learns the lesson will win. Pure and simple.

Today’s Workplace Realities!

February 10th, 2010

Some lessons are hard to learn; others hard to remember. There are some definite old and new realities of the workforce and the workplace. Go back a few decades and imagine your favorite Clint Eastwood movie. Clint is riding into town on his trusty horse, what do you see? Blacksmiths, General Store Owners, Saloon Proprietors and, of course, the town Undertaker.
There is a common thread to their careers; they had to manage them on their own. Even a hired gunslinger was 100% responsible for their career path. Clint made it work. These were the original entrepreneurs. As leaders and business owners today we have to help employees today embrace this “old, new” way to manage their careers. We do this by running our companies with flexible approach to getting work done. This is your competitive advantage today; you have one in place now right?

We all know that eventually Clint’s world changed. Cities grew around the Industrial Revolution. People moved to the cities in droves to improve their lot in life. They gave up career control and gained good wages. Over time career path, quality of life, benefits and retirement became perks for this new way to work. And for many, many decades it worked famously — 30 years and the gold watch. It became the American dream. Ask the workforce today and they know they must manage their own careers! The workforce knows that loyalty is a promise that business can no longer live up to. Why? Because people are outliving companies.

What happened to the parental company? The speed of change in business used to be manageable. The world was small. Competition somewhat limited. Then it all changed; the world got smaller, technology makes us faster all of the time. Communication is now instant. Competition? We all know; it is everywhere. We should study history in order to make sense of the present.

As competitive as finding work is today with 6 people for every job there is a real opportunity to think differently about your career.

    – Do you have a career agent to help guide you through this new world?
    – Are you taking steps to improve your skills?
    – Are you thinking like an entrepreneur?

When Clint road through town, each small business owner saw the opportunity in starting their saloon or store. They were in control of their career. Are you?

The Recession was the Earthquake…

November 14th, 2009

The business marketplace is alive and interconnected like the ecosystem around us. When demand drops in business it has a ripple effect on all of us. Business is forced to become more efficient or do without. Same for the consumer. The recession is much more than a ripple, it is a large tremor. In fact, it is the earthquake deep below the sea. What comes next after a real earthquake in the ocean? A Tsunami is sure to follow.  As if the “earthquake” in business is not bad enough. I am certain there is little new to say beyond that it has had a profound impact on all of us. Living it means so much more than words. Not that it will be easy again.  Yet we have this belief that if we can just get through it- there will be less competition and more opportunity. And most of us would like to believe the the worst is behind us. Well perhaps. With every action there is a reaction! And with most underwater earthquakes there is a tsunami.
So what is the business Tsunami? Look around. Employees have changed. Those that took risks won’t anymore. Their spouse lost their job and its hard to speak up for fear that you might be next. Those that were loyal, can no longer afford to be. Business can’t be loyal to them right? Time for all to officially manager their own careers. Turnover is low for you right now? Not for long. Their are two years of employees that made the decision to stay because they felt lucky to still have a job! Yet they are starting to sense that they can look for greener grass. Not for money mind you. Rather to forget. It is easier to walk away from tough times when you can than it is stay and fight. Common sense and basic instincts of fight or flight. No ones fault. In fact, just understand it.
Employees stop wanting to make decisions? Looking to leadership to make the tough call? These are tough times, however, the front lines talk to your customer everyday and now they want to just do their jobs?  Now is the time to teach, to support, to remind all that is it is ok to risk. That not risking is a sure way to delay any hope of a turnaround.
The recession has changed the workforce in many indelible ways. Yes recessions end. Yes we will someday look back at this time as a distant memory. In the meantime we must live with the tidal wave of change that is just beginning. Are you feeling it? Do you see it? Do you disagree? I think I am looking for a fight on this topic. Be prepared. This is time to plan for the unexpected. And to expect surprises!

The “New” New Reality of the Workplace

October 29th, 2009

Today we face unprecedented marketplace challenges for our business and our careers. The economy takes one step forward and one backward almost daily. How to deal with the uncertainty of this as leaders? Well for one, being a student of change is critical to all of us today. We have a choice every day. Are you the victim? I lost my job and it is their fault! Or my sales are down and there is nothing I can do about it! Or will you learn to embrace change; maybe even relish in exploiting it. Yes taking full advantage of it. There is on old proverb,” Now that the barn is down I can see the moon.” In action there is always something to take advantage of. To use to your advantage.
There is something to be said to being a student of change and knowing the phases of it:

  1. Blame. It is not your fault at all.
  2. Acceptance. It has happened and there is nothing I can do about it.
  3. Embrace it. I know it is a way of life and I am willing get on board.
  4. Exploit it. I intend to make the change itself. I am going to take advantage of change around me and use it for good. To make improvements.

As a leader this has a real impact on how we handle the day to day. We are in the era now of relatively limited growth markets and where demand is quite limited. This has a tremendous impact on our approach to business and the environment we create. What should we be thinking about? I may have more questions than answers.

  1. How do we rethink careers paths in an environment of limited growth?
  2. How do we make the right investments in our business that actually get a return?
  3. How does your business model transition to this new era and make money?
  4. Are you actively involving employees in your business?  Gathering their ideas as they talk to customers?
  5. Are you willing to reinvent your leadership persona?

As a leader in an entrepreneurial business over the last 20 or so years I have seen leadership success and setback. The common denominator is a willingness to embrace change that is rooted in good instincts and hard work to gather information as you make strategic directional changes to the business. Nothing stays the same. Leaders must be willing to shed legacy thinking and be willing to cannibalize their own success and know that destruction is part of the process of business success!

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