Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pick Two: A Job Seekers Guide to Finding the Perfect Position

 
I recently addressed hiring managers, relating back to them a lesson I learned in business school. The main premise of that lesson was that there are 3 variables to consider when developing a product:
  • Speed
  • Price
  • Quality
You can only prioritize two of these three variables. Either you have a low cost product that offers superior quality but takes time to produce, or you pay a premium to produce the product both quickly and with the quality you desire.
The real beauty is how this concept can be applied to multiple arenas of life. It isn’t just product development where you might find yourself having to choose two of three. In the midst of a job search, you also have to know where your priorities reside.
So let’s say you are looking at three main variables while searching for your perfect job.
  • Location: This is the difference between staying put, and being willing to relocate for the job of your dreams.  
  • Pay: We all have a number in our heads of what we want to make. But what would you be willing to drop that number down to for the right job?
  • Fit: This is the job that fulfills all your desires. You would be doing the work you are most passionate about, for a company you are excited to work for, and as part of a team you blend well with. 
The more established you become in your career, the more likely it is that you will actually be able to find all three of these things in your job hunt. That’s because, if you have spent 20 years building up a reputation and proving yourself in your field, you tend to have a better shot at the openings that come up – and the ability to cherry pick the opportunities that match what you are looking for most closely.
But in the beginning of your career, it is far more likely you will have to prioritize two of the three. You may be able to find the fit you’ve been dreaming of, and at a rate you could be very happy with, but it may involve you relocating to get it. Or perhaps the location and fit are great, but the pay leaves something to be desired.
As you build your reputation and improve upon your experience in the field, it is all too common to have to sacrifice in one of these three areas in order to find what you are looking for in the other two. So be open to that. And know that the perfect job may not always be perfect in every way. Go into the job search knowing what you are willing to sacrifice, and where your own priorities lay.
 

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pick Two: The Hiring Manager’s Guide to Candidate Selection



In business school, I learned that there are 3 variables to consider when developing a product:
  • ·         Speed
  • ·         Price
  • ·         Quality
Common wisdom says that you can usually only have exactly what you want in two of those three areas. You can have a product that is quickly made and with a competitive price, but your quality may be lacking. Or you can have a product that is quickly made and of high quality, but you are going to pay for that in price.
You get the picture.
One of the things I always found fascinating is how this concept can be applied to a variety of different scenarios. For instance, one might say that the variables for a happy life would be:
  • ·         Friends and Family
  • ·         Career Success
  • ·         Outside Passions and Hobbies
You could excel in two of these three areas, but it would be extremely difficult to commit yourself equally to all three at the same time. It is far more likely you would have to choose which two to prioritize.
Applying the same thought process to hiring, lets say there are three variables to consider when looking at candidates.
·         Education and Experience: Do they have the background you are looking for in this role?
·         Fit: Do they seem as though they would be a good fit within the corporation and team they would be joining? This applies to personalities meshing and passions aligning.
·         Salary Requirements: Are their salary requirements within the range of what you are looking to pay?
Let’s face facts: A candidate who meets both your education and experience requirements and also seems like the perfect fit for the job is probably going to be a candidate who commands a higher rate of pay. If you are going to be strict about the background and capabilities your selected candidate embodies, you need to be willing to pay for that higher quality.
If, on the other hand, remaining within budget in terms of salary negotiations is your highest priority, it might be important to consider candidates who don’t necessarily have the education or experience you are looking for, but who do seem like they could be a good fit in the position and capable of growing into it.
As you review resumes, always keep this concept in mind. You may not be able to find a candidate who fits all your requirements and is willing to step in at a lower pay, but if you are open to prioritizing two of the three realms (compromising on the third) you might find a candidate who completely surpasses your expectations! 



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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Job Searching as Retirement Nears


In a perfect world, you would spend the last of your pre-retirement years working for a company you helped to build. You would be respected for both your talents and previous contributions, and your co-workers, superiors and subordinates alike would all value your opinion and what you continue to offer.
In a perfect world, you would spend those last few years solidifying your legacy and going out in grand style.
That was how it used to go, not that long ago. But we are no longer in an era where longevity and decades of experience are as valued as they once were. With layoffs an ever-present threat, as well as the closure of long-standing corporations always a possibility, more and more seasoned workers are finding themselves in the position of needing to look for new work just a few years shy of retirement. And then there are those who are simply bored in their current positions, yearning for a new challenge and flush with the belief that they have more to give. Yet all of these experienced job seekers are competing against those who are half their age and getting passed over more times than could possibly make sense, given the strength of their resumes.
Legally, age discrimination should not be occurring. But realistically? You and I both know it happens. So if you are one of those workers, on the cusp of retirement, but with a few good years still left in you – what can you do to boost your chances in today’s job market?
Well, it starts with getting more proactive:
  • Utilize Your Network: This could potentially be one of those career transitions in which a person’s network is more valuable than at any other time. Those within your network know you beyond just your reputation – they are the men and women who have worked with you in the past and can vouch for the quality contributions you can provide. Reach out to them. Ask about any openings they may know of within their organizations, and don’t shy away from asking for a recommendation. It could be that their vote of approval is all a hiring manager needs to shake their pre-disposed prejudices against hiring older workers.
  • Turn to a Recruiter: This is another good time to rely on the help of a recruiter. Not only do recruiters have an “in” to upcoming openings, but they are also in the position of knowing discreet details about what a company is looking for, and of being able to “sell” you to a hiring manager before you ever show up for an interview.
  • Be Open to Alternative Employment Arrangements: The hard truth is, you still may struggle to find a traditional employment opening available to you. Senior level positions are extremely competitive, and it might not be possible to find a role on par with your previous salary and level of responsibility. But that doesn’t mean you should just give up and retire early. If you are willing to take a step or two down, you may be able to find fulfilling employment at a lesser pay. And if that doesn’t seem reasonable to you, now may be the time to open yourself up to alternative employment arrangements, including consulting. Utilize your background and experience to present yourself as a potential contractor, rather than a full-time employee. In many cases, you can actually make more and work less under these arrangements – so long as you are willing to think outside the box.

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