Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Missing Link

LinkedIn is the world’s largest business-oriented “social” network. It’s a Facebook for professionals – but more meaningful. There are no lame games to waste your time on or “which one are you” tests. It “connects” you to professional contacts all over the world and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities. You can find out if people in Timbuktu are having the same issues as you are in Cleveland. Having launched in May 2003, LinkedIn now has over 55 million members and is still growing.

The purpose of LinkedIn is to permit registered users to “connect” with professionals in all types of businesses, anywhere where they can get to a computer. Connections can be used in a number of ways:
- build your own network to learn/share more about your business and others’. Stay on top of the days most pressing issues by asking questions, posting surveys, and joining in on discussions.
- use it to find jobs, people and business opportunities.
- list job openings.
- if you’re job seeking you can review profiles of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can "introduce" you.
It’s really one stop shopping.

Here’s a list of a few things you can do to get more out of your experience.
1 - Register with your personal email address. Don’t use some goofy email either. This is a professional site. So keep your manstud@yadayada.com for MySpace.
2 - Create a quality profile. Keep it professional
(are you seeing a trend here?) and honest. Just like a resume, you'll be scrutinized and your bluffs will be called, buddy.
3 - Upload your email address book from gmail, yahoo, netzero, etc and connect with everyone who's already a member. The site will search for you and let you know who's registered. Then you can choose who to connect with.
4 - Use personal messages for EACH person you're requesting to connect with. Don’t send the generic message to blanket everyone.
5 - Look for connections to make recommendations for. It’s just like writing a letter of recommendation. Give a good recommendation and they’re likely to return the favor. Once you get a recommendation, you’ll start showing up in that person’s list of recommended professionals. So get as many as possible to increase your exposure.
6 - No one’s going to care that you made mac & cheese for dinner or just gave your dog a flea bath. Post meaningful statements and discussions.
7 - Promote your
LinkedIn profile on your other social networks, personal websites, and blogs. It’s your online business card.

Whether you’re looking for new business opportunities, discussions, or just wanting to “be seen”, LinkedIn is the site that you need to be on. And the best thing? It’s FREE!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Interview? You Do It.

Jeez, I have to hold another interview today. I’ve got more important things to do.” To take a quote from tennis great John McEnroe, “You can’t be serious!” Maybe that’s why you have such a big turnover. The key to successful hiring is to take it seriously and not to pawn it off on someone else.

Your preparation for an interview is just as important as the preparation of the job-seeker. There are a number of things that you can do in order to make interviewing less painless and more successful.
Review resumes the morning of the interview. Don’t sit in front of the candidate reviewing his/her resume. That’s just tacky and shows a lack of commitment.
Be sure you know the job description. You have to ensure that the candidate knows exactly what he’s in for. You can’t leave things out or describe things beyond the scope. The candidate is making a decision on you as much as you are on him.
Think about and write out your questions ahead of time. Don’t sit in the interview going, “um, what else can I ask?” Hey Boy Scout, “be prepared”. Show the candidate that you're serious in hiring just the right person.
Have a place for the interview set up ahead of time. Don’t wait till the last minute looking for a room. Again, it looks as if you’re not too serious, and you’re showing the candidate that you’re unorganized. In addition to finding a place, make sure that it’s in comfortable surroundings. Not somewhere where you have to pull up folding chairs – ouch.
Avoid the power trip. Now’s not the time to show them that “I’m the boss!” Forget the trick questions and sitting in the bigger chair. Provide the opportunity for them to be open and candid.

Even though some small talk is appropriate for helping the candidate relax, the interview questions are one of your best tools for determining the right fit. PREPARE and LISTEN. Limit your talking time.

Asking the right questions and using the tips outlined above will put you in a position for making a better educated decision – a decision (and employee) you’ll be able to work with.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How Weird Are You?

That’s an odd question, isn’t it? Not if you’re applying for a job at Zappos.

I just read an interview in the NY Times with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh on Zappos’ company culture. I wanna work there. They’ve formally defined their culture into 10 Core Values with which they use to hire and fire. What a neat concept. Most organizations talk about their culture in orientation (you know, that week long sleep-fest) and that’s about the last time you “experience” it.

Zappos holds
two sets of interviews for prospective employee’s – one with the hiring manager and team to determine knowledge and team fit. The other is with HR to determine culture fit. Cool.

One of their values is, “Create fun and a little weirdness.” So for this HR asks, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?”. One means you’re probably too straight-laced for them and 10 means you may be too psychotic. This is good stuff.

Because “everyone is a little weird”, Hsieh says, they want to “celebrate each person’s individuality, and want their true personalities to shine in the workplace environment, whether it’s with co-workers or when talking with customers”. Wouldn’t it be great to work at a place where you can actually just be yourself, quirks and all?
Now check this out - each year they create a "culture book" in which all employee's are asked to write about what the Zappos culture means to them. The unedited employee reviews of the company are then "freely available to visitors and anybody who asks for a copy." If you've ever looked up employee company reviews on www.glassdoor.com (Zappos reviews rated no less than 4 on a 5 scale) you'd know that most companies would never make such books available.

Where most organizations let the culture happen, Zappos has taken the lead in defining it. Employee's need to
FIT INTO the culture, not transform it.

To read the whole fascinating interview with Tony Hsieh on nytimes.com, click on the title of this blog.