Top 3 Tips for Hiring + Mentoring An Ideal Team Player Jan25

Top 3 Tips for Hiring + Mentoring An Ideal Team Player

Last week, we reviewed the three must-haves of any team player, following the essential virtues – Humble, Hungry and Smart – laid out in Patrick Lencioni’s new book, The Ideal Team Player. This post is all about putting those virtues into action – in interviews, staff assessments and team development. Most of our clients already know they want a team player: They ask for leaders – people capable of motivating, inspiring and managing others. They talk about culture – the values, traditions and even emotions that fuel their work. They bring up all the times they definitely did NOT hire a team player (often, painful). But even though they know they’re looking for that “ideal” person, they aren’t exactly sure how and where to identify them. And even with the three virtues memorized, it’s difficult – in the day-to-day realities of HR processes, meetings and deliverables  – to dial-into what truly makes someone “hungry, humble and smart.”   “The cost of hiring a non-team player is lost productivity, downward pressure on the team’s results-and the misery of working with the person.” – Patrick Lencioni That’s where expert recruiters come in. Here are some of the techniques we use to smoke out the pretenders in interviews. We think these same tactics also apply to performance reviews, one-on-one’s and conflict resolution – and personal development, too.    Stay Nimble Recruiters are skilled at the gentle-judo often required to “get real” in interviews. Candidates with large egos (#yuge, even) can present as powerful, capable and extremely confident. When you get the feeling #AlternativeFacts are being presented, a slight adjustment or change of tack in the conversation can help de-stabilize the “only hungry” and reveal their troubling lack of humility. Stop asking hypothetical questions (i.e. how would you...

How to Reel in Interview Rambling in 3 Easy Steps Nov01

How to Reel in Interview Rambling in 3 Easy Steps

Of all the deadly job interview sins, rambling is one of the worst. An HR Manager recently confided to me this about a candidate: He looked great on paper, but in-person he wouldn’t stop talking. I felt like I needed reins. As Matt Youngquist writes in his article on Interview Rambling, “Many candidates talk until they run out of steam or eventually just trail off to the point at which the interviewer decides to interrupt them. This is not ideal, as you might imagine.” Chalk it up to nerves? I’m not so sure. Feeling on-the-spot is one thing, but I’d credit most interview rambling to a simple lack of candidate preparation. As the interviewer, I want to see a candidate’s top performance, not their first rehearsal. After a first meeting, I tend to remember not just what a candidate said but how they made me feel. Was I intrigued? Was I annoyed? Did I feel my time and my questions were valued? Was I comfortable? Unfocused, long-winded talking can kill the sense that a two-way conversation is happening. It can also make a candidates seem unorganized, unsure of his/her self and unable to cope with pressure. And, frankly, it can be boring. Here’s how to pull back on interview rambling and make every word count: 1. Start in a Good Place Glassdoor.com recommends you take some time pre-interview to get happy and confident about who you are as a candidate – especially as it correlates to the job in question. Ask yourself: Why are you a great fit for the job? Do you have exemplary and compelling stories to relate about your career? Are you excited about you? Luckily, interview questions themselves are highly predictable – or at least the overarching themes are (prove leadership; prove likability; prove experience). Career...

What’s Your Story? Our 5-Step Elevator Pitch Builder Sep08

What’s Your Story? Our 5-Step Elevator Pitch Builder

One of my first questions when screening a new candidate is: can you give me a two-minute overview on you? The first reaction is often awkwardness – the kind of awkward that ensues when people give their LinkedIn profile the 3rd person treatment. I include the words “two minute” for an elevator pitch because most people need a time frame. I think it helps give the impression that the ‘story’ I am asking for should be succinct, short, and to the point. I don’t specify “professional background” because I’m curious to see how you respond. But what do I hear? Despite the running cliché of mirror-practiced elevator pitches and major networking fails, most people lack the ability to answer this simple, focused question: who are you and why are you here? Here’s what I usually get in reply: Dazed and Confused: Do you mean about me, as a person, or my work history? I’m definitely not asking about your romantic history, so let’s just agree-to-agree that— at least in this professional setting — you (as a person) and you (as in your work history) are one in the same. Ramble On: Long, rambling, high in detail, low in focus, and uncomfortably hazy in end point. You lost me somewhere between where you were born, your first job in high school and your latest management philosophy. I am still not sure what’s important and what’s not. Total Recall: A chronological breakdown of one’s work history, often recited bullet-for-bullet from their hard copy resume. One word: redundant. Appetizer. Movie Trailer. Elevator pitch. Do you see a pattern? They’re all a bite-sized sampler of the bigger picture – all meant to entice, spark interest, and act as a sales mechanism for what’s to come. Likewise, when I ask for your two-minute personal overview, I...

Using Psychometric Tests During The Hiring Process Sep01

Using Psychometric Tests During The Hiring Process

How would you describe your hiring process? Intuitive? Personal? Subjective? What about technical or scientific?  The next time you hire, you may want to consider getting to know your candidate from a new perspective by inviting them to take a personality or aptitude test. More and more, the recruitment industry and HR departments are looking to data to help legitimize the hiring process through talent measurement tools called ‘psychometrics.’   WHAT Some of these tests have gained notoriety over the years, such as personality test Myers-Briggs which ranks individuals on four distinct areas (but is actually not recommended for hiring purposes). Others, such as the Birkman (a must-do for internal employees at Smart Savvy) assesses both personality and behaviour, and gives a comprehensive overview of how you work and where your career strengths are. There’s also the Kolbe, DISC, EQ-i, and StrengthsFinder (which we’re hosting a LeaderLounge session on in September, if you’ve ever wondered how to put your strengths into play in the workforce.)    WHEN Hiring managers and recruitment firms use psychometric tests varyingly. You may encounter them: After an initial resume screening (this method helps recruiters and HR managers weed through piles of resumes before moving forward to in-person interviews) As part of the interview process (either used in the decision-making process or used not for selection but rather simply to facilitate discussion) In the final stages of candidate deliberation (to truly assess one candidate against another and seek further evidence of personality traits or strengths that were not satisfied in conversation).   WHY Some believe that psychometrics can be used to add to the candidate experience and ensure that how they’re treated during the hiring process is nothing but fair. Rather than making gut instinct decisions, decisions become founded on test results and concrete information afforded by the candidate themselves. These tests also save the...

Back to Basics: Phone Interview Tips Jan13

Back to Basics: Phone Interview Tips

Even with the growing popularity of Skype, Google Hangouts and Facetime, the old-fashioned phone interview is here to stay. After all, once your resume’s been flagged for a skill match, it’s a recruiters’ next logical step: phone interviews are efficient, cost-effective and often a great predictor of cultural and behavioral fit. But for many, it’s just downright hard to have a thorough and relaxed conversation on the phone with a stranger – especially when that stranger’s evaluating you. Is that silence because the interviewer is writing down what you’re saying? Or are they still waiting for you to say something interesting? The phone interview is your one opportunity to get in the door. You need to take the time to prepare yourself, just as if you were having a real face-to-face interview. As pointed out by learnvest.com, “You might have the best intentions, but what you say and how you say it (tone, pace, inflection, etc.) can easily be misinterpreted.” So, after you’ve done all your essential pre-interview research and connected with your #standapart self, take some time to review these six essential tips for giving your best phone interview – some of them obvious and some of them definitely not: (A special thanks to Jane Terepocki, HR Administrator and Recruiter at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)  for sharing her experiences and tips with us.) 1. Make a List, and Check it Twice Preparation is a given. What might not be so obvious is the importance of creating an “example list” to refer to during the interview. Think of the standard interview questions (strengths, weaknesses, skills, conflict) and create a list of 8 to 10 examples that you can access during the conversation (without the long thinking pauses). Jane @MEC recommends that you choose examples from across your entire work history. Hiring...

Keep Your Resume in the Follow-Up Pile: 5 Resume Must-Haves Oct23

Keep Your Resume in the Follow-Up Pile: 5 Resume Must-Haves

The other day on LinkedIn, I came across a conversation that reminded me of this important rule of thumb: don’t underestimate the basics. Holiday party invite: don’t forget to RSVP. Cooking for co-workers: check for allergies. Interview etiquette: turn off your phone. Whether you’re applying for a job, following a business lead or even just replying to the boss’ last email, the ‘basics’ are the foundation of your personal brand. The smallest details can signify big things. Personalized content on a cover letter shows investment. Clean grammatical work speaks to diligence. Contact details prove common sense. Before you hit ‘send’ on your resume, give it a second look with these 5 basic reminders for keeping your resume in the follow-up pile: 1. Contact Information David Rogers, Recruitment Partner  for BC Hydro posted this on his LinkedIn the other day:“Reminder, as an applicant applying to any job out there, please remember to include phone # and email on your resume.” I had to give it a hearty “like” – just the other day I’d dealt with a candidate who’d listed an invalid phone number on her resume (no wonder no one was calling her back)!  While you’re updating your contact info, don’t forget your LinkedIn profile url, your Twitter Handle and any other relevant social media accounts (i.e. personal blog) too. 2. Spelling & Grammar 6 hours spent on your Vine Resume means nothing when your introductory email is full of spelling erors (oops). Double check everything. Don’t sound like a template. And certainly don’t plagiarize someone’s LinkedIn summary. For all its world-class fare, Vancouver is still a small town by many measures. And if you’re serious about the job (whether you’re a VP or a recent grad), you’ll need a second set of eyes on your final...

Hands Up: Do You Ask Good Questions?

There was an article flying around Facebook last week called, The Questions That Will Save Your Relationship. In all fairness, it was about the varied challenges of marriage and kids, but I think it can equally apply to work relationships. The article focused on one innocent question and the avoidance of it at all costs. The question was: How was your day? Seems innocuous enough, right? But the question, so well-meaning, such a good interluder, can open up a huge bag of worms. When you’re covered in apple sauce and the baby is screaming, it can say, “I don’t see you.” And when you’re on day-two without a shower and s, it can even say, “I don’t know you.” True enough, for author Glennon Melton, it was the simple complexity of early-motherhood that made the question unanswerable. Her days were packed with every high and every low (joy, pain, sorrow, glee) sandwiched together like jam and peanut butter. Enough so that a question like, How was your day?, became an unbearable weight. It was just not a “good” question. So what’s the tie-in with careers? There were three great lessons in the article that spoke to me with respect to asking better questions. I think these are important lessons when it comes to interviews and career growth too. Improving the questions we ask (the way we see and deal with others), can make vast improvements in our overall work performance. Here are the insights: 1) Don’t just check boxes with your questions – First step to a good working relationship is caring. As Penelope Trunk once said on her blog: “People would rather work with someone they like than someone who is good at the job.” If you don’t care, don’t ask. But if you want to move forward, find a...

Get on Board: Cultural Fit Matters Jan22

Get on Board: Cultural Fit Matters

What if I told you, as a job candidate, that besides a skills and experience checklist, you’re also being measured by a cultural fit cheat sheet? And sometimes it will take three or four interviews for a company to figure it all out? CEO, Kristine Steuart reveals some of those behind-the-scenes team-building details in her latest post for the Allocadia Leading in Change Series. In it, Steuart describes the process her and her partners stick to when bringing new people on board (a timely topic, considering their recent appointment of SAP-vet, James Thomas, to the role of Chief Marketing Officer). When I read the post, I couldn’t wait to point out a few of the big candidate a-ha’s I saw in her post. I’ve seen one too many marketers nearly at their wit’s end in the midst of a complex recruiting process. The problem? They think the drawn out hiring process is all about them (and their perceived shortcomings), when in fact, it’s all about the company. The long and the short of it is this: if you are applying for jobs in a vacuum of skills & qualifications -i.e. if you are forgetting about the goals, culture and people of an organization – than you are doing nothing to prove your fit. Here’s what you can learn from Allocadia’s hiring process – and how it translates to your own “cultural fit cheat sheet” for getting the job:   1. Don’t be shy about working within your network (they are working within theirs) How can you compete with the friend of a trusted friend who’s got the skills and already passed the pre-screen test of someone they wouldn’t mind eating lunch with? You can’t. The job goes to them. When candidates ask me if it would be too pushy/presumptuous to let...

Pulling the Reins on Interview Rambling Jan08

Pulling the Reins on Interview Rambling

Of all the deadly job interview sins, rambling is one of the worst. An HR Manager recently confided to me this about a candidate: He looked great on paper, but in-person he wouldn’t stop talking. I felt like I needed reins. As Matt Youngquist writes in his article on Interview Rambling, “Many candidates talk until they run out of steam or eventually just trail off to the point at which the interviewer decides to interrupt them. This is not ideal, as you might imagine.” Chalk it up to nerves? I’m not so sure. Feeling on-the-spot is one thing, but I’d credit most interview rambling to a simple lack of candidate preparation. As the interviewer, I want to see a candidates’ top performance, not their first rehearsal. After a first meeting, I tend to remember not just what a candidate said but how they made me feel. Was I intrigued? Was I annoyed? Did I feel my time and my questions were valued? Was I comfortable? Unfocused, long-winded talking can kill the sense that a two-way conversation is happening. It can also make a candidates seem unorganized, unsure of his/her self and unable to cope with pressure. And, frankly, it can be boring. I want to Here’s how to pull back on interview rambling and make every word count:   How to Reel in Interview Rambling in 3 Easy Steps 1. Start in a Good Place Glassdoor.com recommends you take some time pre-interview to get happy and confident about who you are as a candidate – especially as it correlates to the job in question. Ask yourself: Why are you a great fit for the job? Do you have exemplary and compelling stories to relate about your career? Are you excited about you? Luckily, interview questions themselves are highly predictable –...

Career Layovers: Why Contract Roles are Worth the Risk Dec04

Career Layovers: Why Contract Roles are Worth the Risk

A few months ago I had the perfect career opportunity for a candidate. The only roadblock? She didn’t see it that way; it was a contract position. These were some of her concerns: Leave her job to fill the shoes of a one-year maternity leave? Sounds risky. What about company loyalty? If the position didn’t lead anywhere, she could likely never go back. What happens when the contract is done? She didn’t want her own consultancy business. On the other hand, she and I both knew she was ready to take the next step in her career. There were no current or foreseeable openings or restructuring opportunities at her current company and this contract role offered it all: a seniority-level jump, a great salary and the chance to get exposed to a new industry and work with a high-performing team. You might call it ‘the complete package’ – except, of course, for the worrisome contract part. Here’s Why You Should Think Twice Before Skimming Past That Contract Job Every so often one of these ‘contract opportunities’ comes up (a mat-leave, a specific project or launch, etc.) and I have to say, they’re a real challenge to fill. But sometimes with contract roles, the upside is just too good for those willing to take the risk. A short career-layover can connect you to new contacts, add important skills and depth to your resume and maybe even help reach your dream career destination. My advice: don’t be so quick to pass up a job with “contract” in the title. Taking a contract position doesn’t mean you are a business owner or consultant. If you are employed but looking to pivot your career or take it to the next level, leaving your full-time role for a contract position might be the best...

Growth Hacker: The Next Marketing Leader? Nov22

Growth Hacker: The Next Marketing Leader?

I read a lot of job descriptions for Marketing leadership roles – and coding and technical chops don’t often make the standard requirements list. But that might change sooner than you think. You see, according to Andrew Chen – noted as one of the “smartest geeks in Silicon Valley” by PayPal alum, Dave McClure – there’s a new job title sneaking into Valley culture: Growth Hacker. Three to four short years ago, that same “Growth Hacker” would have been called the VP, Marketing – a people-centric, communications driven, data-interested superstar. But this new nom-de-plume is the revolutionary answer to an ultra-speed web-universe where products are built on top of open platforms (Apple, Facebook) giving unprecedented access to millions of users. Chen explains: Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. On top of this, they layer the discipline of direct marketing, with its emphasis on quantitative measurement, scenario modeling via spreadsheets, and a lot of database queries. This isn’t just a single disruption either, but an entire marketing team full of disrupts (and if you’re thinking it’s all just Valley-talk, check out this recent, local job posting from HootSuite for a Growth Hacker/Marketer): Rather than a VP of Marketing with a bunch of non-technical marketers reporting to them, instead growth hackers are engineers leading teams of engineers. The process of integrating and optimizing your product to a big platform requires a blurring of lines between marketing, product, and engineering, so that they work together to make the product market itself. With regards to the latter, Chen gives an excellent example: Airbnb’s incredibly smart Craigslist integration.  At the offset,...