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Interviews

Job Search Mistakes You Could Be Making Right Now

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As the pandemic continues to negatively impact unemployment numbers across the U.S., many candidates are entering an uncharted job market that’s being driven by employers for the first time in years. Whether you lost your job because of the coronavirus or were looking for a better opportunity before it hit, many of the job search strategies that were effective before might not be as useful now. From e-commerce to cybersecurity, there are still some companies that are recruiting for top-level positions. But it’s going to take more effort than before to stand out from your competition. Don’t let these job search mistakes get in your way.

Don’t: Use the same tactics as before. Hiring managers are shortlisting candidates that are more assertive and creative. Candidates that are sending traditional cover letters and resumes have to adapt and take a more proactive approach to overcome the crowded marketplace.

Instead: Think outside of the box. Furloughed employees can use downtime to learn new skills, volunteer, etc. Then create a short video resume highlighting your new skills, accomplishments, etc. Request a video conference call with hiring managers to connect and build rapport.

Don’t: Mass apply everywhere. It may be tempting to send applications to every job opening that potentially matches your qualifications, but it’s a trap that can leave you unprepared for interviews.

Instead: Take a more targeted approach. There are still some high-level positions that are in demand, you just have to find the right industry. Focus on the quality of your pitch rather than the quantity of applications being sent out.

Don’t: Panic and become impatient. Hiring managers have noted that more candidates are coming across overly aggressive and pushy. Remember, there’s a fine line between showing enthusiasm and following up too strongly.

Instead: Make a positive impression. Refer to the video interview tips we shared to help land your dream job. C-level executive assistants can use this time to shine by proving that they can run flawless video conference calls. Then, limit the number of times that you follow up to once or twice per week because many hiring managers are overwhelmed with other job functions right now.

Don’t: Be shortsighted. From unrealistic salary expectations to refusing job start dates, now is not the time to be stubborn. Insensitivity is a turnoff to organizations that were really impacted by the pandemic.

Instead: Show your flexibility. Be willing to accept part-time, or temporary work, different jobsite locations, etc.
The hiring flood gates might open again in the future and tilt the scale back to a job-seeker’s market. In the meantime, try using some of this advice for a more successful job search.

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Advantages of Hiring Temporary and Contract Workers

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The pandemic has affected all facets of the economy, including C-level support. As companies continue to adjust to the changing economic climate, many are looking to hire temporary and contract employees as a solution. Below are some of the advantages of hiring temporary and contract workers.

Immediate Availability

Hiring full-time employees can be a lengthy, time-consuming process. Many candidates out there are also passive candidates, so connecting with them and marketing an opportunity to them does not happen all at once. With temporary and contractor workers, the talent is ready to work now. The immediate availability that comes with temporary employees allows businesses to adapt quickly to changes in workload. This gives companies a level of resilience to face an evolving economy.

Health Benefits

One advantage of hiring a contract employee through a recruiting firm is that the firm will likely offer health benefits to the employee starting on day one. When finances are tighter than usual, this can be an opportunity to save some money on employee expenses.

Less Risk

It is generally much less risky for businesses to hire temp workers compared to full-time permanent employees. Usually, the recruiting firm incurs all liability associated with onboarding temporary employees, including health benefits, workers comp, payroll costs, California and San Francisco taxes, and liability insurance.

Various Contract Options

The versatility of contract options is another advantage. Contract workers can fill in for employees when they go on vacation, for example. Contracts can also cover multi-week projects, parental leaves, and medical leaves. There is also the temporary to permanent route. Contracts allow both the client and the candidate to test the waters so they can figure out if they are a good fit for each other before making any kind of long-term commitment.

Different Levels of Talent

With contract workers, you have access to a variety of talent levels. The candidate pool ranges from entry-level receptionists to high-level executive assistants. Companies will also be able to find temporary employment for every administrative role in between. This flexibility makes hiring contract and temporary employees a great option for businesses right now.

In the field of C-level support, hiring temporary and contract workers can be a smart way to save money and meet hiring needs. With various contract options and levels of talent, employing on contract offers a lot of flexibility for companies. Temporary employees also present less of a risk to businesses and allow for companies to make quick hires when time is of the essence.

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Video Interview Tips to Help You Land Your Dream Job

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Video interviews offer some significant advantages over traditional interviews, such as reducing travel expenses and making the hiring process more efficient. Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Skype are a few popular video conferencing platforms that companies use to screen candidates for c-level support positions. Some of the same phone interview tips we shared in a previous post are applicable, but video interviews add some unique challenges. Regardless of how confident you may feel about discussing your qualifications on camera, there is always room to polish these skills to ensure you are making a positive impression. Below are a few video interview tips to help you land your dream job.

Create a Professional Set Up

You don’t have to be a videographer to create a professional video setup. Just like in-person and phone interviews, there are variables you can control like technical, camera, and body-language-related factors. Prepare in advance for some of the common technical issues that could arise during video interviews, including:

  • Lighting – Be sure to give special attention to the lighting around the interview space. Natural light is recommended, but selfie ring lights can be suitable alternatives. Don’t sit with a window or light source behind you or your face will appear dark. Try to have light on either side and in front of you. You can use a combination of natural light and lamps.
  • Microphone – Receiving and sending clear information is essential. Headsets are typically preferred for quality sound and reducing background noise. A good microphone on a stand out of frame would also be a good choice. Just be sure to check your audio prior to the call.
  • Camera – Phone or tablet cameras should be used as a last resort. External webcams, laptop cameras, or desktop cameras are favored because they typically have adjustments for exposure, balance, and color.
  • Internet – Ensure that your connectivity speed is sufficient to support video and audio. Being physically connected to a router is generally a safer bet than trusting wireless hotspots.

Basic Etiquette Still Matters

Although you might not be in the same room with the interviewer, most of the usual rules still apply during a video interview. Maintain good eye contact without overdoing it. Using just the right amount of eye contact in video is a skill that can take some time to adjust to. Five seconds of eye contact is what most professionals suggest to avoid appearing too aggressive or too meek. Next, finding the appropriate balance of smiling is important. Hiring managers might perceive too much smiling as fake enthusiasm or aloofness. It’s still important to smile to show that you are a pleasant, confident person.

We encourage candidates to prepare for video interviews much like they would an in-person meeting. Spend plenty of time practicing, mitigate any technical issues that could surface and remember to practice overall good interview etiquette.

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11 Interview Practice Questions to Help You Prepare

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To prepare for an interview, it’s important to practice answering both traditional and behavior-based questions. In this article we’ll cover some common questions an interviewer might ask a candidate being considered for a position at any level of an organization. Also included is an analysis of the question which may help you answer such a question in your job interview. Below are eleven interview practice questions to help you prepare.

Interview Practice Questions

1. Could you please tell me about yourself?

Although this question is broad, keep your answer focused and relevant to the job for which you’re applying. Mention the top three or four aspects of your experience, skills, interests, and personality that make you a qualified candidate for the job.

2. What are your long- and short-term career goals?

With this question the interviewer is trying to get a feel for why you want this job and how long you’re going to stick with it. The ideal answer will assure the employer that you’re worth the investment—that is, training you, introducing you to clients, entrusting you with responsibility. Your answer should assure that you’ll be around for a while—and maybe even a long time.

3. Outside of work, what are some of the things you do?

Employers know that what an applicant does for free can speak louder about his character than what he does for money. Tell the interviewer about something in your nonprofessional life that says: “Hey, I’m a good person.”

4. What strengths do you bring to this job that other candidates might not?

There’s no hidden message here. The employer is giving you the floor to sell yourself for the job. Prepare well for this answer and deliver it with confidence. After all, who knows more about why you’re suited for the job than you? Make your presentation using brief achievement stories whenever possible.

5. Why do you want to leave your current position?

The interviewer is concerned about any problems that might arise based on past experience. Be sure to use good judgment here. Don’t bad-mouth your current boss and don’t bring up anything negative.

6. Why did you leave your last job?

Sounds like the interviewer wants to know if there are any underlying problems like a lack of commitment, difficult personality, poor performance, or anything that might lead to termination. Employers don’t want to take on someone who has a record of walking out on jobs or getting fired. No matter why you left your last job, couch your response in positive terms, without lying.

7. Please explain why you have a gap in your employment history.

With this question, the employer is looking for any problems in your personal life that might become a headache if you’re hired. Explain your gaps honestly, leaning on activities that support your job objective, if that’s possible. If you don’t have anything to say that’s relevant, then talk about activities that show your strength of character and helped you know what you really want to do next: the job you’re interviewing for.

8. Of all the problems you had at your previous position, which was the hardest to deal with?

What a sneaky question! “Of all the problems. . .” Don’t fall for it. Don’t let on that you had many problems, even if you did. Instead, refer briefly to an area you—and probably the rest of the world—find challenging, and move right on to how you’ve learned to deal with it.

9. What project required you to work under pressure? What were the results?

How you respond to this question will tell the interviewer if you excel while working under pressure. Be honest and positive. All jobs bring with them a certain amount of pressure, but some have a lot more than others. Give an example in which the level of pressure was just right for you that will suggest how much pressure you’re looking for on your next job.

10. What college experience are you especially proud of?

If you haven’t been in the workforce long, this question is your opportunity to give balance to the fact that you don’t have much paid experience. Spotlight your academic and extracurricular achievements, especially the ones that are relevant to your job objective.

11. What classes or training are you planning to pursue at this point?

This one’s tricky. You want to look dedicated to developing your profession but you don’t want to appear to have so much going on that you won’t be 100 percent on the job. Make it clear that your number one priority is your job, and developing your profession is second.

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19 Job Interview Tips that Will Set You Apart

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Once you have been invited for a job interview, be sure to prepare yourself so you make a fantastic impression. The interview is an opportunity for you to shine and really show the employer what you are capable of if you’re hired. Below are 19 job interview tips that will set you apart from the competition and give you the best shot at receiving a job offer.

  1. Get clear directions to the interview site and arrive on time—or early—for your meeting.
  2. Be sure you are dressed appropriately for the interview. Dress professionally and conservatively (this also applies to makeup), avoid wearing perfume, and wear close-toed shoes
  3. When you pack your bag for the interview, be sure to put in a few copies of your resume, a pen, note pad, and that list of questions you want to ask. Also bring samples of your work, if you have any that is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  4. Your job interview starts the minute you walk in the company’s front door and lasts until you exit that door. Keep your best foot forward from start to finish. Be kind to everyone you meet. When introduced to potential co-workers, be friendly. Your interviewer may be watching to see how you interact with the staff and may later ask employees how they liked you.
  5. Smile, especially when you first meet the interviewer. That first impression will stick in the manager’s mind for a long time.
  6. There is nothing like a confident handshake! The right amount of tension in your grip is important—not too tight, not too limp.
  7. Eye contact is a form of communication and it has a magical ability to build rapport. Make eye contact with your interviewers, both when you’re talking and when they are talking.
  8. Try to have good posture that shows you are alert and focused. Avoid negative body language. In other words, don’t cross your arms over your chest, don’t clench your fists, don’t clutch your purse or briefcase tightly, or do anything that might indicate insecurity, hostility, or resistance to change.
  9. Listen carefully to everything the interviewer says and ask questions when you don’t understand something. Understanding each question will help you give the best response.
  10. Answer questions with the right balance between confidence and humility.
  11. Respond with answers based on PAR (Problem, Action, Result): What was a problem you faced? What action did you take to solve it? What was the result?
  12. Shift your interview from an interrogation to a dialog by occasionally finishing your answers with a relevant leading question.
  13. Occasionally, answer a question by saying what somebody else has said about you. For example, “My supervisor always used to say, ‘Bob’s the one you want around when it’s time to launch a new product.’”
  14. It’s okay to be quiet for a minute before you answer a question. It will help you gather your ideas and give a good answer. The employer will appreciate the fact that you’re thoughtful.
  15. Be honest, even if that means saying you don’t know something, or you don’t have a particular experience. At some point, you may need to say something like: “No, I’ve never done that, but here’s why I know I can do it or why I think I’d be very good at it.”
  16. Be prepared to tell stories that show how you work with people, as the interviewer is undoubtedly curious as to how you’ll fit in with the staff. Remember to weave your stories into the answers of pertinent questions.
  17. A terrific way to build rapport is to use your interviewer’s name when you answer a question. So, learn his or her name, and, if it’s a tricky one, practice the pronunciation beforehand so it’ll roll off your tongue during your interview.
  18. Delay talking about salary history and expectations until you fully understand what is entailed in the job and you have had time to think about what is fair.
  19. Send a thank you letter as soon as your job interview is complete. The interviewers took time out of their day to give you a chance at a job, so this is the time for you to say “thanks” in writing.

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Become Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

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No matter your role or how long you have been in it, we all have work situations we would rather avoid. Scenarios can range from taking on a project at which you are not sure you will excel, having a difficult conversation with a client or colleague, or even simply interacting with coworkers in a social setting outside of the workplace. No matter the situation, most would agree that leaving your comfort zone can create the opportunity to flourish professionally, personally, and financially. Yet that comfort zone can be a cozy blanket of security quite difficult to shed! So how do you become comfortable with the uncomfortable?

Embrace It

As a child you may have had a community pool in your neighborhood with a diving board that (especially in your youth) seemed about twenty stories tall. And each summer, during swimming lessons, the instructor would force you to you climb those stairs, teeter out to the end of the board, and would basically push you off the end. Do you remember how that felt? Your whole being was screaming at you not to do it, because you knew that the inevitable would happen and you were most certainly going to plunge to your death. As you fell for what seemed like eternity, suddenly you would hit the water and have the realization that you had survived and, in fact, it was not that bad at all.

As children, our parents, swimming instructors, and teachers were obligated to give us a gentle nudge over the edge. Embrace the fact that now you are the only one who can take that leap of faith. We know how the story continues with those summers at the swimming pool. Once you throw yourself off the diving board and realize that it’s pretty fun, you actually enjoy proving to yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to. You then jump off enough times repeatedly that it’s no longer an intimidating challenge. The first step is to embrace what makes you uncomfortable. Professional growth also comes from new experiences and often distressing ones.

Understand It

If you want something in life that you have never had, you will likely have to do something that you have never done. However, knowing what needs to be done and understanding what is holding you back from doing it are two different tasks. It might be completely evident to you what the looming task or situation is. What you may not be able to immediately recognize is why you’re feeling the way you are. What is it about the situation that is triggering the feeling of fear?

More than likely, it is a fear of failure or a fear of not being good enough. Simply summarized, most paralyzing situations stem from one of those two roots. When you start listening to the doubts of yourself and others, the voice in your head becomes a breeding ground for negativity. People will always have opinions. Understanding that those people are entitled to their own thoughts, yet disassociating yourself from those opinions, is an important step in moving passed any fear of being judged.

Coach To It

As comedian George Carlin stated, “If you’re looking for self-help, why would you read a book written by somebody else? That’s not self-help, that’s help!” In short, let go of the need to try to solve your challenging situations all by yourself. When faced with a situation that seems overwhelming, seek out an individual who you respect in terms of their ability to handle similar situations. Ask for guidance. Pursue coaching from a more veteran individual or perhaps even role play in order to make the foreign seem less intimidating.

People’s words and perceptions of us can actually shape our own beliefs about ourselves. Identify someone who can provide positive mentorship and feedback as you work through whatever it is that is creating the intimidating environment. In time, positive reinforcement can be the catalyst for courage.

Act On It

At some point, you must make the choice to step off the high dive. The battle is half won by that small step! If needed, “fake it until you make it” and simply pretend to be confident. When you have come through to the other side, you will likely realize that it was not as bad as you thought it would be, and you are proud of yourself. Remember that fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.

To make change a constant and not a singular event, consider investing in your own personal and professional growth and well-being. Go ahead and get the membership to the gym that you have talked about for months, research therapists or personal coaches and sign up for an exploratory conversation, book the vacation you’ve been wanting to go on, splurge on a massage, or ask others for suggestions of personal development books they have enjoyed – the key is to act on something! If you are not taking the necessary steps to have a plan for personal and professional growth, the road ahead may not seem so uplifting.

We all have the right to live our best life. Anything else is mediocre, and none of us were put in the roles we are in to be simply mediocre.

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5 Tips to Thrive in a Phone Interview

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Phone interviews are frequently used by companies to save time by pre-qualifying your interest and expertise. They are a great opportunity for you to put your best foot forward and get noticed. The following are some recommendations to ensure your next phone interview is successful for you.

1. Isolate Yourself

Phone interviews can be challenging because you only have one tool of communication: your voice. The interviewer’s impression of you is shaped by all the sounds coming through the phone. Insulate yourself from distractions and background noises. Do not have your phone interview when you are surrounded by a lot of noise like an outdoor café at a busy intersection. If the call is on your cell phone, make sure that you have excellent reception and make sure the caller can hear you clearly as soon as you begin.

2. Stand Up

During the call stand up, walk around, and smile. Standing gives you more confidence and it really makes a difference in the tone of your voice. Smiling is like a secret weapon on a phone interview. It automatically makes your voice friendlier and calm. Both of these things make a big difference in the projection and quality of your voice.

3. Prepare Your Responses

Phone interviews follow a similar pattern of questioning with the purpose of screening people out of consideration. Below is a list of questions most phone interviewers ask. Write them down and practice your responses in advance. Make notes for your reference during the call.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you know about our company?
  • How did you learn about this position?
  • What are your compensation requirements?
  • Why are you looking for a new position?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Do you have any questions?

4. Ask Thoughtful Questions

Questions are your primary tool of influence with an interviewer. They help you direct the conversation and assess if the company is right for you. Here are some questions to ask during a phone interview.

  • What business imperatives are driving the need for this position?
  • Describe the three top challenges that I’ll face in this job.
  • What are the characteristics of people who are most successful in your company?
  • What are the key deliverables and outcomes that this position must achieve?

5. Ask Closing Questions

The end of the interview is a perfect time to finalize any additional thoughts and ask any remaining questions you have. The following are some questions you should consider asking at the end of the phone interview.

  • What additional information would you like me to provide?
  • What concerns do you have at this point?
  • What are the key things you’d like to learn about my background?
  • When is the best time to follow up with you?

At the conclusion of your phone interview, ask the interviewer about next steps and the timing of their hiring process. This will leave you with a clear idea of what to expect so you’re not left in the dark.

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Who Thanks Whom? It May Be Time to Evaluate Your Hiring Process

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A recent article penned for Inc. by Suzanne Lucas made the bold statement: “Dear Hiring Manager, Perhaps You Should Write the Thank You Note.” She continues: “The traditional thank you note is from candidate to hiring manager. That’s wrong . . . Just what are you exactly thanking the manager for? Taking the time to talk with you and consider your application for the job, right? But what were you really doing? You were taking your time out of your day (and often using vacation time from your current job to do so) to try and solve a problem for the hiring manager.” At first glance, most would read these statements and think “thank goodness this wasn’t a candidate I interviewed; seems quite entitled.” However inverted a perspective this author seems to hold from standard interviewing protocol, there is an underlying message communicated by her article. It may be time to evaluate your hiring process through a new lens.

If we assume it is the candidate’s responsibility to pen the thank-you note, doesn’t that inherently mean that we also assume it’s the candidate’s responsibility to be thankful for being granted an interview to begin with?

Evaluate Your Hiring Process

You may have this mindset and not even realize you have it. A few questions to consider:

  • How much time do you expect a candidate to prepare for the interview with you? How much time do you spend preparing for that same interview?
  • You likely have asked the question “so why should we hire you” without batting an eye – how receptive are you when a candidate questions “why should I come to work here?”
  • Checking candidate references from past employers is a probable interviewing step; candidates volunteer these regularly. What would your reaction be if a candidate asked to check references from those who had worked under your supervision in the past but were no longer with the firm?

These are just a few scenarios to help challenge your hiring process. Lucas ultimately summarizes this mental shift: “When we think of all the things we demand of job candidates, we should realize that they are the ones doing the hiring managers big favors. You need that position filled, and these people are graciously helping you to do so.”

Start with Motivation

Secure more insights than exist on paper. Schedule time with your recruiter to go beyond more than “the individual is looking to take that next step in his career” and instead have a solid understanding of what the candidate does not have currently and is looking to have within your organization. Know what is most important for this candidate to learn from your initial meeting as it relates to what he is looking to accomplish in this career move. Additionally, make sure you know “why your firm” – why this candidate wants to talk with your firm as opposed to others. What is it that initially sparked their interest, and how you can expand on that to have the candidate walk away with their own motivating factors addressed? Finally, know “why not” – any concerns this candidate has in areas such as the cost of living (if relocation is involved), or stability, or any other detail no matter how large or small. This is the opportunity to address them, either openly or candidly, throughout the interview.

It’s the Little Things

Small things stand out, especially when candidates are in a thriving economy and may have the opportunity to interview with multiple organizations. Take a moment and look at your physical office space through a new lens. What does someone entering your space see and experience? Is your boardroom, interviewing space, or personal office dated and could use some modernization? Do you have anything on the walls that showcases your organization’s accomplishments, or highlights your culture? Think through the impression you make as it relates to your physical office space.

When the candidate arrives, give them bottled water without them having to ask or accept it. When the candidate leaves, consider an exit gift of some sort – a small item with your logo on it or something personalized based on what you know about their interests or background.

The Sell

Take some time to consider your hiring process and craft concrete answers or success stories around questions such as the following:

  • What are the primary reasons someone would join your organization instead of another firm?
  • What is the specific and measurable career path?
  • What in-house resources do you have that give people a competitive advantage? What external resources?
  • How does your company differentiate itself from other competitors in your niche, and what would this mean to someone joining your firm?
  • What is the tenure of your senior staff? What benefit does that provide a new associate?
  • What future growth plans do you have for your firm? What opportunity does that create for someone?

Even if the candidate does not ask the direct question, you want to remain confident that you are articulating “why you” just as much as you are trying to determine “why them.” If, during the interview, a light bulb switches on and you have the revelation that this is the exact person you need to hire, the better you can articulate your true value proposition the higher the chance that candidate will want you as much as you want them.

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Opportunistic Outsourcing: Career Path Advancement for Key Contributors

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Business coach Peter Drucker was known for dispensing some sage advice that still rings true decades later: “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.” What comes to mind when you hear that mantra? An immediate list likely appears of all the tasks you know are not the greatest use of your efforts and energy. In the few seconds you spent thinking about what pops to mind you may already have vowed not to waste time any longer on select mundane projects or responsibilities that fill your plate and don’t leave room for much else. “I really need to hire someone to manage my schedule” or “someone else should be responsible for compiling our weekly reports” are certainly reasonable solutions, but the outsourcing we will cover next is far more strategic.

Instead of viewing outsourcing as a chance to create more time for you, shift instead to think through how outsourcing could actually create an opportunity for others within your team.

The Shift

Stop thinking of outsourcing as the things you no longer want to do and look instead at the opportunities you could create for others. A great leader is always one step ahead of career path advancement for key contributors. Take a moment (or a few hours) to evaluate each direct report you have; who are they each capable of becoming over the next few years and beyond? Now, what do you need to teach each of them to advance their responsibilities and skillsets?

You have now defined your first round of opportunistic outsourcing.

Think less about performance management and think more about professional development. Do you spend the same amount of time talking about where you see a key contributor’s career going as you do talking about how they are doing with deadlines or quotas? Is your coaching equally dedicated to skills that will help them achieve in their current role just as much as prepare them for the next step you believe they could grow into? Do you purposefully put key contributors in situations in which they may fail, but that failure propels growth?

At times, you may need to believe in others a little more than they believe in themselves. The best leaders help their team members discover their genius.

Survivorship Bias

When you focus too heavily on the “survivors” of a given group, you tend to ignore essential qualities about the rest of the population. Take entrepreneurship; we tend to gravitate toward the most successful entrepreneurs in the world when we study examples. Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of school; after learning about them many people conclude that a college education is not necessary to succeed.

But for every Branson, Gates, and Zuckerberg, there are thousands, if not millions, of other entrepreneurs who dropped out of school and failed in business. We just don’t hear about them, and so we don’t take them into account. The misconception is that you should focus on the successful if you wish to become successful.

How does this relate to our topic at hand? Until now, we have been focusing on key contributors – those whom you feel strongly will continue to play an integral role in the success of your organization. What about those who hover just below that line?
One option is certainly to “top grade” and perpetually focus on proactive hiring that improves the strength of your bench, not just hiring that fills empty seats. Spend less time addressing reoccurring performance issues and instead craft a hiring plan that proactively attracts the “A” or “B+” contributors to the team.

An additional option is to opportunistically outsource. Give others the chance to take on tasks and responsibilities they can succeed with and are passionate about. Be sensitive to the skills and interests of individuals; match the dreamer with more creative tasks and the perfectionist with the detail-oriented projects. Just think how much more would get done if people only did jobs for which they had a talent and a passion. Don’t focus only on the already successful individuals within your team but outsource thoughtfully to those to whom you are still trying to uncover their fullest potential.

Just Ask

Not sure what to outsource, and to whom? Challenge yourself to get to know those on your team. Ask questions to assess the present and design the future:

  • When you come to work each day, what things do you look forward to?
  • What are you learning here? What have you not yet been given the chance to take on, that you’d like to?
  • Is this what you want to do?
  • What can I do to make your experience here better?
  • What would you be excited to take on? (projects, responsibilities, clients)
  • When was the last time you feel like you massively over-delivered on something? What was it, and why did you work so hard?
  • What would make you listen to a call you’d get from a recruiter? Be honest; no judgment!
  • What’s on your personal and professional bucket list?
  • Fast-forward a year (two years, five years) from now; what would you be most proud of having accomplished?

Even when individuals are assigned difficult challenges, when they are involved in the decision there is a huge increase in performance. Those who volunteer look at projects as developmental, while those who are assigned regard the task as hard labor. Take the initiative now to truly engage the hearts and minds of your team, so they one day will have the ability to outsource opportunistically to the next generation of future leaders within your firm.

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How to Use Behavior-Based Questions to Gauge Emotional Intelligence in the Interview

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One of the goals of an interview is to assess whether the candidate has the emotional intelligence needed to succeed in the job. An emotionally intelligent person demonstrates self-awareness, empathy, motivation, and strong social skills. These tips will help you develop behavior-based questions that can effectively gauge emotional intelligence during the interview.

Facing Challenges

An important aspect of the candidate that should be assessed is how they face challenges. One way to do this is by asking about professional demands they have faced. Have the candidate tell you about past trials they encountered in their job and have them explain how they overcame it. This will give insight into how they approach problems. The focus of this question should be on finding candidates who are excellent problem-solvers and aren’t afraid to take on new challenges. Finding employees who can take a difficult situation and turn it into a positive is essential.

Resilience and Stress Management

The ability to bounce back from adversity is a powerful life skill to have. One way to assess a candidate’s resilience is to ask them about past projects that required them to work under pressure. Have the candidate talk about professional projects they have worked on that were stressful or that ultimately failed. Executive support positions come with a certain amount of stress. There are deadlines and goals that need to be met. It’s important to understand how a candidate behaves under pressure. Do they shut down when things become too tough, or do they push through and make the best of the situation? The goal is to find talent who has the emotional maturity to thrive in intense situations.

Proactive Drive

To ascertain a candidate’s level of drive, ask them whether they have ever assisted in establishing new goals for a company. Allow the interviewee to discuss a time where they helped establish new goals or objectives for a company they worked for. This can reveal a lot about a candidate. Are they proactive? Can they identify shortcomings within the company? If they managed to convince management to implement a new objective, this shows they are persuasive.

Growth and Leadership

In executive support roles, it’s vital that candidates have great leadership skills, adaptability, and a willingness to grow. To get an understanding of their strength in those areas, ask them if they changed the scope of their role in their last job. How did they redefine the position and why did they feel like they needed to? Did other coworkers follow suit and redefine their own roles? It’s helpful to see how well the candidate can adapt and grow. A candidate who is confident enough to take on additional responsibilities and has strong leadership skills will rise to the challenges of a new position.

Behavior-based questions are the most important questions you ask during an interview. These questions allow you to understand how a candidate would perform if they land the job. One of the goals of behavior-based questions is to assess the candidate’s emotional intelligence– how they handle stress, if they are proactive, and if they have the skills to readily adapt to change.

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