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Celebrating 5 Years!

Today is an exciting day for Essence Recruitment. Believe it or not, today marks 5 years since opening the doors and taking a leap into life as a small business owner. It’s crazy to think about how the years have flown by, but I am proud of what has been accomplished in those years!

In 2011, we opened the doors (well, partially anyways) to a one person show in a VERY small office. Over the years, a lot of lessons have been learned and mistakes made, but the key organizational values have always stayed intact – transparency, respect, community, integrity and honesty. Our goal was to be a business that worked hard to build long-term relationships, so we focused on fit and culture as opposed to just filling a job. This way of thinking has been the number one reason for our growth.

In the 5 years, we have had a lot of successes. Year over year, we have grown our client and referral base. We have a built a positive reputation, expanded naturally from professional recruitment into executive recruitment. And, as in most other small business, we will continue to evolve our services.

Over the next few months we will introducing our newest division, “People Strategies”. This division of Essence will focus on looking at the organization as a whole prior to the actual recruitment process. This approach will ensure that the organization understands what skillsets already exist within their team and where the gaps exist. It is also an important service to help organizations better understand their culture and values.

We are excited about how far we have come, but we are even more excited about the future! Thank you to everyone who has been part of this journey and hope you will continue to trust your recruitment needs to Essence as we continue to grow.

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5 Signs Your Company Culture May Actually Suck

Great company culture is visceral. We’re talking about the type of culture that is so real, it envelops you from the minute you step into the office. It’s refreshing, like splashing cool water on your face in blistering hot weather. It radiates from every person in the business.

Having a strong company culture is the secret ingredient to modern success. Airbnb’s Brian Chesky has gone so far as to proclaim company culture as the sole subject of a company’s legacy. Company culture, he says, is the foundation for all future innovation. It’s that important.

Most companies want great company culture, but only a few do what it takes to actually have it. It certainly doesn’t come easy, but pinpointing your weaknesses and shifting your work environment will put you on the right path.

The first step of improving your culture is to identify where it’s lacking. Here are five indications that your company culture may actually suck, and solutions to make it better.

  1. Your culture relies on perks.

It can be tempting to say you have good company culture since you have a company-sponsored happy hour every Friday or because you recently hired an in-house barista to make lattes every morning. But culture does not come from perks, it’s rooted in a shared philosophy that brings your people together. Perks are used to empower your culture by supporting the company philosophy.

Buffer, for example, has a philosophy of transparency. One of the company perks is a free Jawbone’s Up wristband so that the whole team can share their sleeping, eating and activity information in full transparency. In this case, the perk supports the philosophy while helping build strong relationships among a remote team.

  1. Your company has a generic mission statement.

It’s not enough to simply plaster a mission statement from your first business plan across the office wall. Your company must have strong core values and a noble cause at the foundation of everything you do to achieve great company culture.

noble cause captures your company’s higher purpose and what your team is working to accomplish every single day. It is a statement that defines the direction of the company, everything from business development to new employee orientation. The company’s core values and shared beliefs are the soul of a company and its foundation for outstanding company culture.

  1. Your culture only exists at work.

Great company culture doesn’t drop off when you exit the building, it is carried out into the world by your people, ambassadors and witnesses of your culture. It is internalized and adopted by your team, shaping them as people and helping them to evolve at work and beyond.

At Digital Telepathy, they empower employees from the inside out through betterment bonuses. Every year, each team member receives $1,500 for a project to simply better themselves or others. They choose something they have always wanted to do, work on the project throughout the year and share their experience with the whole team.

Betterment is a core value at Digital Telepathy, so as their team betters themselves, they are evolving the culture inside and outside of the office.

  1. You hire skills, not people.

Every person you hire either adds or detracts from your company culture. Employees who don’t fit into the culture, no matter how talented they are, will not contribute to the longevity of your business.

study from RoundPegg found that new employees with strong cultural fit were 27.2% less likely to leave within their first 18-months on the job. If you don’t have job applicants going through intensive, culture related interviews before you hire, you may want to rethink your hiring process. Consider using a personality profiles, in addition to a skill tests and reference checks, to help decide if an applicant is a cultural fit.

  1. You discourage risk.

Part of learning and growth is trial and error. Not everything can be predicted, practiced and projected. If your company culture awards short-term performance and punishes risk takers, you’ll be cultivating a norm of anti-innovation. Allowing employees to fail quickly without repercussion encourages your team to explore possibilities and be more innovative. Your team will feel more valued when it has a voice and that will benefit your business.

The bottom line: Building great company culture is about being inclusive of all employees, creating a shared philosophy to guide your decisions and protecting that foundation by bringing on and empowering the right people.

When you have great company culture, you’ll feel it, and so will everyone in and around your company. It is not easy to achieve but, once done right, it can’t be ignored.

Written by Chuck Longanecker, Founder of Digital Telepathy and Filament.io. 

 

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Everything You Need To Know About Resume Writing

When you haven’t updated your resume in a while, it can be hard to know where to start. What experiences and accomplishments should you include for the jobs you’ve got your eye on? What new resume rules and trends should you be following? And seriously, one page or two?

Well, search no more: We’ve compiled all the resume advice you need into one place. Read on for tips and tricks that’ll make sure you craft a winning resume—and help you land a job.

Telling Your Story

  1. Don’t Put Everything on There

Your resume should not have every work experience you’ve ever had listed on it. Think of your resume not as a comprehensive list of your career history, but as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job. For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand (even if that means you don’t include all of your experience). Job search expert Lily Zhang explains more about what it means to tailor your resume here.

  1. But Keep a Master List of All Jobs

Since you’ll want to be swapping different information in and out depending on the job you’re applying to, keep a resume master list on your computer where you keep any information you’ve ever included on a resume: old positions, bullet points tailored for different applications, special projects that only sometimes make sense to include. Then, when you’re crafting each resume, it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting relevant information together. Think of this as your brag file.

  1. Put the Best Stuff “Above the Fold”

In marketing speak, “above the fold” refers to what you see on the front half of a folded newspaper (or, in the digital age, before you scroll down on a website), but basically it’s your first impression of a document. In resume speak, it means you should make sure your best experiences and accomplishments are visible on the top third of your resume. This top section is what the hiring manager is going to see first—and what will serve as a hook for someone to keep on reading. So focus on putting your best, most relevant experiences first—and then check out these five other marketing tricks to get your resume noticed.

  1. Ditch the Objective Statement

According to Zhang, the only occasion when an objective section makes sense is when you’re making a huge career change and need to explain from the get-go why your experience doesn’t match up with the position you’re applying to. In every other case? Consider whether a summary statement would be right for you—or just nix it altogether to save space and focus on making the rest of your resume stellar.

  1. Keep it (Reverse) Chronological

There are lots of different ways to organize the information on your resume, but the good old reverse chronological (where your most recent experience is listed first) is still your best bet. Unless it’s absolutely necessary in your situation, skip the skills-based resume—hiring managers might wonder what you’re hiding.

  1. Keep it to a Page

The two- (or more!) page resume is a hotly debated topic, but the bottom line is this—you want the information here to be concise, and making yourself keep it to one page is a good way to force yourself to do this. If you truly have enough relevant and importantexperience, training, and credentials to showcase on more than one page of your resume, then go for it. But if you can tell the same story in less space? Do. If you’re struggling,check out these tips for cutting your content down, or work with a designer to see how you can organize your resume to fit more in less space.

  1. Consider an Online Supplement

Can’t figure out how to tell your whole story on one page, or want to be able to include some visual examples of your work? Instead of trying to have your resume cover everything, cover the most important details on that document, and then include a link to your personal website, where you can dive more into what makes you the ideal candidate.

 

Formatting

  1. Keep it Simple

We’ll talk about getting creative in order to stand out in a minute. But the most basic principle of good resume formatting and design? Keep it simple. Use a basic but modern font, like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic. Make your resume easy on hiring managers’ eyes by using a font size between 10 and 12 and leaving a healthy amount of white space on the page. You can use a different font or typeface for your name, your resume headers, and the companies for which you’ve worked, but keep it simple and keep it consistent. Your main focus here should be on readability for the hiring manager. That being said, you should feel free to…

  1. Carefully Stand Out

Really want your resume stand out from the sea of Times New Roman? Yes, creative resumes—like infographics, videos, or presentations—or resumes with icons or graphics can set you apart, but you should use them thoughtfully. If you’re applying through an ATS, keep to the standard formatting without any bells and whistles so the computer can read it effectively. If you’re applying to a more traditional company, don’t get too crazy, but feel free to add some tasteful design elements or a little color to make it pop. No matter what, don’t do it unless you’re willing to put in the time, creativity, and design work to make it awesome, or get help from a professional.

What does a “tastefully designed” resume look like? Check these examples from Elevated Resumes, which will catch a hiring manager’s eye without being distracting or unprofessional.

  1. Make Your Contact Info Prominent

You don’t need to include your address on your resume anymore (really!), but you do need to make sure to include a phone number and professional email address (not your work address!) as well as other places the hiring manager can find you on the web, like your LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle. (Implicit in this is that you keep these social media profiles suitable for prospective employers.)

  1. Design for Skimmability

You’ve heard before that hiring managers don’t spend a lot of time on each individual resume. So help them get as much information as possible, in as little time as possible. These 12 small formatting changes will make a huge difference.

  1. Get Help From a Professional

Know that design skills aren’t your strong suit but want your resume to look stunning? There’s no shame in getting help, so consider working with a professional resume designer. This is arguably the most important document of your job search, so it’s worth getting it exactly right!

 

Work Experience

  1. Keep it Recent, Keep it Relevant

As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. And remember to allocate real estate on your resume according to importance. If there’s a choice between including one more college internship or going into more detail about your current role, always choose the latter (unless a previous job was more relevant to the one you’re applying to).

  1. No Relevant Experience? No Worries!

Don’t panic if you don’t have any experience that fits the bill. Instead, Zhang explains, focus your resume on your relevant and transferrable skills along with any related side or academic projects, and then make sure to pair it with a strong cover letter telling the narrative of why you’re ideal for the job.

  1. Curate Your Bullet Points

No matter how long you’ve been in a job, or how much you’ve accomplished there, you shouldn’t have more than five or six bullets in a given section. No matter how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them. Check out these tips for writing impressive bullet points.

  1. Bring it Down a Level

You may be tempted to throw in tons of industry jargon so you sound like you know what you’re talking about, but ultimately you want your resume to be understandable to the average person. Remember that the first person who sees your resume might be a recruiter, an assistant, or even a high-level executive—and you want to be sure that it is readable, relevant, and interesting to all of them.

  1. Give ’Em the Numbers

Use as many facts, figures, and numbers as you can in your bullet points. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? By quantifying your accomplishments, you really allow the hiring manager to picture the level of work or responsibility you needed to achieve them. Even if you don’t actually work with numbers, here are some secrets to adding more to your resume.

  1. Take it One Step Further

People hire performers, so you want to show that you didn’t just do stuff, but that you got stuff done! As you look at your bullet points, think about how you can take each statement one step further and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you. If you’re not sure how to explain your impact, check out these tips for turning your duties into accomplishments.

  1. Show—Don’t Tell—Your Soft Skills

Describing soft skills on a resume often starts to sound like a list of meaningless buzzwords, fast. But being a “strong leader” or an “effective communicator” are important characteristics you want to get across. Think about how you can demonstrate these attributes in your bullet points without actually saying them. Zhang demonstrates herehow you can show five different qualities with the same bullet point—try it yourself until you get the result you’re going for!

  1. Don’t Neglect Non-Traditional Work

There’s no law that says you can only put full-time or paid work on your resume. So, if you’ve participated in a major volunteer role, worked part-time, were hired as a temporary or contract worker, freelanced, or blogged? Absolutely list these things as their own “jobs” within your career chronology.

  1. Mix Up Your Word Use

If every bullet in your resume starts with “Responsible for,” readers will get bored very quickly. Use our handy list of better verbs to mix it up!

  1. Use Keywords

Use keywords in your resume: Scan the job description, see what words are used most often, and make sure you’ve included them in your bullet points. Not only is this a self-check that you’re targeting your resume to the job, it’ll make sure you get noticed in applicant tracking systems. Stuck on which words to include? Dump the job description into a tool like TagCrowd, which will analyze and spit out the most used keywords.

  1. Avoid Empty Words

What words shouldn’t you include? Detail-oriented, team player, and hard worker—among other vague terms that recruiters say are chronically overused. We bet there’s a better way to describe how awesome you are.

 

Education

  1. Experience First, Education Second

Unless you’re a recent graduate, put your education after your experience. Chances are, your last couple of jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job than where you went to college.

  1. Also Keep it Reverse Chronological

Usually, you should lay down your educational background by listing the most recent or advanced degree first, working in reverse chronological order. But if older coursework is more specific to the job, list that first to grab the reviewer’s attention.

  1. Highlight Honours, Not GPA

If you graduated from college with high honours, absolutely make note of it. While you don’t need to list your GPA, don’t be afraid to showcase that summa cum laude status or the fact that you were in the honours college at your university.

  1. Include Continuing or Online Education

Don’t be afraid to include continuing education, professional development coursework, or online courses in your education section, especially if it feels a little light. Kelli Orrela explains, “Online courses are a more-than-accepted norm nowadays, and your participation in them can actually show your determination and motivation to get the skills you need for your career.”

 

Skills, Awards, and Interests

  1. List Out Your Skills

Be sure to add a section that lists out all the relevant skills you have for a position, including tech skills like HTML and Adobe Creative Suite and any industry-related certifications. Just make sure to skip including skills that everyone is expected to have, like using email or Microsoft Word. Doing so will actually make you seem less technologically savvy.

  1. Divvy Them Up

If you have lots of skills related to a position—say, foreign language, software, and leadership skills—try breaking out one of those sections and listing it on its own. Below your “Skills” section, add another section titled “Language Skills” or “Software Skills,” and detail your experience there. Again—we’re going for skimmability here, folks!

  1. Show Some Personality

Feel free to include an “Interests” section on your resume, but only add those that are relevant to the job. Are you a guitar player with your eye on a music company? Definitely include it. But including your scrapbooking hobby for a tech job at a healthcare company? Don’t even think about it.

  1. Beware of Interests That Could Be Controversial

Maybe you help raise money for your church on the reg. Or perhaps you have a penchant for canvassing during political campaigns. Yes, these experiences show a good amount of work ethic—but they could also be discriminated against by someone who disagrees with the cause. Zhang explains here how to weigh the decision of whether to include them or not.

  1. Strut Your Stuff

Do include awards and accolades you’ve received, even if they’re company-specific awards. Just state what you earned them for, e.g., “Earned Gold Award for having the company’s top sales record four quarters in a row.” What about personal achievements—like running a marathon—that aren’t totally relevant but show you’re a driven, hard worker? Zhang shares the proper ways to include them.

 

Gaps and Other Sticky Resume Situations

  1. Kill the Short-Term Jobs

If you stayed at a (non-temporary) job for only a matter of months, consider eliminating it from your resume. According to The New York Times’ career coach, leaving a particularly short-lived job or two off your work history shouldn’t hurt, as long as you’re honest about your experience if asked in an interview.

  1. Deal with the Gaps

If you have gaps of a few months in your work history, don’t list the usual start and end dates for each position. Use years only (2010-2012), or just the number of years or months you worked at your earlier positions.

  1. Explain Serial Job Hopping

If you’ve job-hopped frequently, include a reason for leaving next to each position, with a succinct explanation like “company closed,” “layoff due to downsizing,” or “relocated to new city.” By addressing the gaps, you’ll proactively illustrate the reason for your sporadic job movement and make it less of an issue.

  1. Explain a Long Break in Jobs

Re-entering the workforce after a long hiatus? This is the perfect opportunity for a summary statement at the top, outlining your best skills and accomplishments. Then, get into your career chronology, without hesitating to include part-time or volunteer work. See more tips from Jenny Foss for killing it on your comeback resume.

  1. Don’t Try to Get Cute

Don’t try to creatively fill in gaps on your resume. For example, if you took time out of the workforce to raise kids, don’t list your parenting experience on your resume, à la “adeptly managed the growing pile of laundry” (we’ve seen it). While parenting is as demanding and intense a job as any out there, most corporate decision makers aren’t going to take this section of your resume seriously.

 

Finishing Touches

  1. Ditch “References Available Upon Request”

If a hiring manager is interested in you, he or she will ask you for references—and will assume that you have them. There’s no need to address the obvious (and doing so might even make you look a little presumptuous!).

  1. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

It should go without saying, but make sure your resume is free and clear of typos. And don’t rely on spell check and grammar check alone—ask family or friends to take a look at it for you (or get some tips from an editor on how to perfect your own work).

  1. Save it as a PDF

If emailing your resume, make sure to always send a PDF rather than a .doc. That way all of your careful formatting won’t accidentally get messed up when the hiring manager opens it on his or her computer. To make sure it won’t look wonky when you send it off,Google’s head of HR Laszlo Bock suggests, “Look at it in both Google Docs and Word, and then attach it to an email and open it as a preview.”

  1. Name Your File Smartly

Ready to save your resume and send it off? Save it as “Jane Smith Resume” instead of “Resume.” It’s one less step the hiring manager has to take.

  1. Constantly Refresh It

Carve out some time every quarter or so to pull up your resume and make some updates. Have you taken on new responsibilities? Learned new skills? Add them in. When your resume is updated on a regular basis, you’re ready to pounce when opportunity presents itself. And, even if you’re not job searching, there are plenty of good reasons to keep this document in tip-top shape.

About the Author

Erin believes in the power of content to spread ideas, build communities, and engage and delight people—which is why she spends her days helping employers and brands do just that. During her time at The Muse, Erin has also worn the hats of personal website expert, video producer, Shutterstock wrangler, master lunch-packer, and company librarian. Erin is always looking for new places to explore on the weekends, and she almost never says no to tea and a croissant. Invite Erin to tea at eringreenawald.com or on Twitter @erinaceously.

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How much money to ask for in a salary negotiation?

How much can I ask for in a salary negotiation without leaving a bad taste in the employer’s mouth or losing the job offer?

When you’re finally down to the wire on your impending job offer, there will come a time to talk numbers. That one last conversation — where you negotiate salary — can unnerve even the most savvy job seeker.

While most employers expect you to come back with a counteroffer, many job candidates avoid the practice and leave money on the table. You don’t have to be one of them. You’d be well served in your career to become comfortable with the process. You get one chance to accept a final compensation package at your company, so be prepared to make a persuasive argument.

So how do you stay true to your target without alienating the hiring manager or hurting your prospects?

First, to prepare for that discussion, you’ll want to do your research ahead of time and figure out what someone with your experience and skills typically makes in this particular role.

Once you hear their offer and it’s time to negotiate, you should keep those numbers in mind, but also consider the nature of the first offer and how much bargaining power you think you have. And think about whether you’re currently under- or overpaid.

As a general rule of thumb, however, it’s usually appropriate to ask for 10% to 20% more than what you’re currently making. 

That means if you’re making $50,000 a year now, you can easily ask for $55,000 to $60,000 without seeming greedy or getting laughed at.

If the original offer is on the low side of the scale, you have more leverage. If you get an offer for 20% over your current salary, you can still negotiate for more — ask for an additional 5% — but know that you’re already in good stead.

The bottom line: Do the math (and your research!) beforehand — know what a 10% to 20% pay increase would total, and what the going rate for someone with your skills is — and ask for that amount. Worst case scenario, the employer says “no.”

Written by Jacquelyn Smith of Business Insider. Based on an interview with Lynn Taylor, a National Workplace expert.

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4 Ways to Test “Cultural Fit” During the Hiring Process

As workplace structures evolve, finding candidates who are the right “cultural fit” is now a top priority of recruiters.

In the business world (and in life), we tend to gravitate toward people similar to us. Our hiring practices are no exception — if you’re an introvert, you might find extroverted candidates off-putting. A detail-oriented recruiter might be uncomfortable hiring an abstract thinker.

However, seeking cultural fit doesn’t mean hiring clones. In fact, research shows that diverse teams actually perform better than like-minded ones. It’s vital to be able to recognize a strong fit for your company, even when a candidate’s personality and ideas might be far different from your own.

Finding the right cultural fit

There’s no denying that cultural fit is important but make sure you actually know what it is before judging candidates. It’s easy to mistake cultural fit for personal biases — just because you wouldn’t mind being stuck in an airport with a candidate doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a great fit for your company.

A candidate’s approach shouldn’t be so divisive that it creates rifts among employees, but you shouldn’t be afraid to hire somebody whose personality clashes with your own. If you perceive that a candidate would make a meaningful contribution to your company while maintaining decorum, that candidate might be a cultural match.

Here are four ways to determine whether a candidate might be a good fit for your company:

  1. Differentiate between the person and the job.

Your applicant is not interviewing to be your best friend; they’re interviewing to be a great contributor to your company. Never lose sight of this during the interview. What you like about a candidate personally cannot trump their potential as an employee.

  1. Have candidates take a personality assessment.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can offer you concrete metrics by which to judge candidates for a particular position before they ever set foot in your office.

For instance, if your company wants to hire confident individuals with strong leadership skills and the ability to make objective decisions, you might take a close look at candidates’ Myers-Briggs results. The assessment can reveal whether somebody is an introvert or an extrovert, how they process and interpret information and whether they make decisions through logical reasoning or intuition. The Myers-Briggs provides a quantitative basis for making hiring judgments based on personality.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask off-the-wall questions.

As long as you don’t ask prohibited questions during the interview process, it’s your prerogative to ask candidates about anything from their appreciation for soccer to their favorite foods.

Interviewees prepare for interviews by rehearsing boilerplate responses to conventional questions. Get a real impression of who they are as people by steering conversations toward unexpected topics. The ability to take the unexpected in stride is a plus, even if their hobbies and interests are different from your own.

  1. Give applicants a chance to lead the conversation.

We’ve all been to interviews where the interviewer sticks to an approved list of 10 questions and treats it as a strict Q&A session between the interviewer and interviewee. While this might be the most efficient way to churn through questions, it can only tell you so much about the person.

Instead, hand the interviewee the keys. See how he communicates without prompts or guides. This is certainly a greater challenge than offering a distinct question to answer, and it can provide an opportunity for vibrant personalities to shine. If interviewees have difficulty conversing with you of their own accord, that can be a sign that their personalities don’t fit the position.

Cultural fit clearly plays a pivotal role in today’s hiring process, but that doesn’t mean you should hire clones of your existing staff. Differing backgrounds lead to positive, productive innovations and exchanges of ideas. Once you truly understand your company’s culture, make sure you’re focused on it — not your personal biases — when vetting candidates.

Article written by Sathvik Tantry, CEO and Co-Founder of FormSwift. 

 

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Top 10 Questions a Candidate Should Ask in an Interview

Many job seekers focus so hard on answering interview questions well that they forget something very important: You are there to ask questions, too.

Asking the right questions at an interview is important for two reasons:

First, when done correctly, the questions you ask confirm your qualifications as a candidate for the position.

Second, you are interviewing the employer just as much as the employer is interviewing you. This is your opportunity to find out if this is an organization where you want to work.

3 Things You Want to Achieve

When you ask the right questions, you want to achieve three things:

  • Make sure the interviewer has no reservations about you.
  • Demonstrate your interest in the employer.
  • Find out if you feel the employer is the right fit for you.

There are an infinite number of questions you could ask during a job interview, but if you stay focused on those three goals, the questions should come easy to you.

I recommend preparing three to five questions for each interview, and actually ask three of them. (I like to have more prepared than is needed because some of my questions might be answered in the course of the interview.)

10 Questions You Might Ask In a Job Interview

Here are 10 interview questions you could ask, and why:

  1. What skills and experiences would make an ideal candidate? This is a great open-ended question that will have the interviewer put his or her cards on the table and state exactly what the employer is looking for. If the interviewer mentions something you didn’t cover yet, now is your chance.
  1. What is the single largest problem facing your staff and would I be in a position to help you solve this problem? This question not only shows that you are immediately thinking about how you can help the team, it also encourages the interviewer to envision you working at the position.
  1. What have you enjoyed most about working here? This question allows the interviewer to connect with you on a more personal level, sharing his or her feelings. The answer will also give you unique insight into how satisfied people are with their jobs there. If the interviewer is pained to come up with an answer to your question, it’s a big red flag.
  1. What constitutes success at this position and this firm or nonprofit? This question shows your interest in being successful there, and the answer will show you both how to get ahead and whether it is a good fit for you.
  1. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? I love this question because it’s gutsy. Also, you’ll show that you’re confident in your skills and abilities.
  1. Do you offer continuing education and professional training? This is a great positioning question, showing that you are interested in expanding your knowledge and ultimately growing with the employer.
  1. Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with? Notice how the question is phrased; it assumes you will get the job. This question also tells you about the people you will interact with on a daily basis, so listen to the answer closely.
  1. What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth? This question should be customized for your particular needs. Do your homework on the employer’s site beforehand and mention a new product or service it’s launching to demonstrate your research and interest. The answer to the question will give you a good idea of where the employer is headed.
  1. Who previously held this position? This seemingly straightforward question will tell you whether that person was promoted or fired or if he/she quit or retired. That, in turn, will provide a clue to whether: there’s a chance for advancement, employees are unhappy, the place is in turmoil or the employer has workers around your age.
  1. What is the next step in the process? This is the essential last question and one you should definitely ask. It shows that you’re interested in moving along in the process and invites the interviewer to tell you how many people are in the running for the position.

With luck, the answer you’ll hear will be: There is no next step, you’re hired!

About the Author: Joe Konop is the founder and principal of One Great Resumé, a resumé creation and career service provider. His website is www.OneGreatResume.com. 

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Build a Corporate Culture for All Ages

We live in a unique time. It’s getting more and more difficult to predict trends in the labor force. We have Generation Z at one end of the spectrum, the youngest of which are just starting to graduate college and enter the job market (depending on where the generational line is drawn). On the other end, we have the 65-to-74 and 75-and-older demographics, which are expected to grow significantly in the workforce between now and 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Millennials have taken the business media by storm the last couple of years. There’s no shortage of articles about how the younger generation demands a good work/life balance from the first days of their first internships and entry-level jobs. But what about the older generations? What’s work like for them?

65 Is the New 50

In American society, we tend to think of 65 as retirement age, but as the BLS statistics show, more people are working well past the time when they can start collecting their retirement.

“The biggest reason is probably financial, given the fluid perceptions and realities swirling around Social Security benefits, 401(k) value in shifting markets, and medical care and costs,” says Greg Karr, executive vice president atSeven Step RPO. “In general, I think a lot of people know or think that they can’t afford to stop working and maintain their desired lifestyle. The extra income, combined with a more robust Social Security benefit if you defer even a couple of years, makes a big difference.”

“Also, given an overall supply and demand imbalance in the workforce and shifting workforce characteristics, there is more opportunity for meaningful work – for example, being able to work from home versus having to commute and sit in an office all day,” Karr adds. “Lastly, the average life expectancy continues to rise, so people are healthier at 65 and aware that there are a lot of years left. Not working at all from age 65 to age 85+ is a lot of years. Many folks like what they’re doing for work and are still valuable contributors. I think some would just as soon keep working and contributing for a few more years, with the knowledge that they’ll be better set financially.”

ConferenceMeanwhile the birthrate is increasing again in the United States, millennials hold most of the entry-level and lower management jobs, and Generation Z is hot on everyone’s heels, arriving soon to grab up those internships and entry-level spots. As upper management reaches standard retirement age and stays on the job, upward mobility and opportunities for younger generations become limited.

It’ll be up to companies to figure out how to integrate both the old and the new to create corporate cultures that appeal to all ages. Employers will also have to find ways to keep valuable employees from leaving when they see that the corporate ladder is too crowded for them to advance as high as they’d like to right away.

“In an environment where the workforce will shift continuously, you need to be able to retain key talent and use a winning culture to attract new talent,” Karr says. “This is not a marketing activity, but rather a set of persistently and authentically executed strategies to make your company a great place to work where people like what they do and who they do it with. No matter how the workforce evolves, top candidates always want to work in an environment where they are valued and rewarded for their contributions, where they have a chance to learn and grow, and where they are treated with respect. Structured, plentiful time invested in building and maintaining an environment where people want to work is time well spent.”

There is a middle ground to be found somewhere between the suit-and-tie boardrooms of the ’90s and the untucked shirts and sneakers of the recent college graduates. Companies that can find a way to appeal to both sides of the coin (and everyone in the middle) will never find themselves struggling to fill open positions.

For the complete article please visit, https://www.recruiter.com/i/build-a-corporate-culture-for-all-ages/

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10 Signs You’re a Real Leader (even if your title doesn’t reflect it)

We often feel that to be a leader you need to be born a leader, or be drawn to leadership, or have a leader-ly position.

We think of leadership as a title that has to be deserved or earned. But leaders are rarely, if ever, born. If we had to isolate a factor that creates leaders, it’s probably some combination of circumstance and persistence.

Many, many leaders walk among us—in all kinds of people, places, and positions.

Some of the greatest leaders you’ll ever meet aren’t even aware of their own leadership.

Here are 10 signs that you may be one of them:

  1. You Have an Open Mind and Seek Out Other People’s Opinions

If people are drawn to you because you are open to others people’s opinions, you are a leader.

  1. You Offer Advice and Counsel

If you find yourself advising your colleagues, and your friends are asking you to counsel them—if people seem to seek out and value what you say—then your empathy is strong and your perspective has real-world usefulness to those around you. If you often help those around you navigate their rough patches, you are a leader. 

  1. People Count on You

If people rely on you, it follows that they trust you to follow through and deliver on your promises. If you hold yourself accountable and demonstrate the kind of day-in, day-out responsibility that leads others to trust you, you are a leader.

  1. You’re a Good Listener and People Confide in You

Being able to listen to others, having people speak to you frankly without worrying about who you’ll tell or how you might use that knowledge against them, are signs of strong leadership—not to mention of being a nice person. If you understand that listening is more important than speaking, and if people know they can confide in you, you are a leader.

  1. Others Follow Your Example

The most powerful form of leadership isn’t persuasion or argument or force, but example. Whether times are good or bad, people notice who’s present, who’s effective, who’s working hard without distraction. When that person is you, others naturally follow you—and you are a leader.

  1. You Insist on Excellence

As Aristotle said, we are what we repeatedly do, and therefore excellence is not an act but a habit. When you are in the habit of standing up for excellence and you hold yourself and those around you responsible for quality, you are telling others that you act rather than talk, show rather than say, deliver rather than promise. If you are not making excuses or blaming others but holding up the standard of excellence and quality, you are a leader.

  1. You Have a Positive Attitude

Positive, optimistic people make people around them happy. A positive outlook doesn’t blind you to problems or issues but allows you to seek out something good in almost every situation and to know that eventually things will be all right. It’s the kind of spirit that keeps people motivated and spreads optimism, and it means you are a leader.

  1. You Treat People With Respect

Knowledge may give you power, being smart may give you an advantage, but when you give respect you will always receive respect in return. If you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect them for who they are, it’s likely that they hold you in high esteem and that you are a leader.

  1. You Genuinely Care About Others

If you spend time supporting, guiding, and sharing your knowledge with those around you, giving them the opportunity to achieve success, and if you care about their well-being and do all you can to help them attain their own success, you are a leader.

  1. You Are Confident and Passionate

Most people are always watching each other, looking for cues about how to behave. Being confident means moving with assurance, being passionate about what you believe and refusing to let anything get in your way. If you work consistently toward a cause with vision and confidence, you are a leader.

Are you failing to see something important within yourself? Weigh yourself against these traits, reconsider what you think you know, and recognize yourself for the leader you may really be. 

Article written by Lolly Daskal of Inc., founder of Lead from Within, a global leadership, executive coaching, and consulting firm based in New York City.

For the complete article please visit, https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-signs-youre-a-real-leader-even-if-your-title-doesnt-reflect-it?ref=carousel-slide-0

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The Importance of Soft Skills in Leadership

What used to be called “soft” skills are now some of the most coveted skill sets in the business world — now and for the foreseeable future.

As Boomers retire for next decade at a rate of 10,000 per day, they will be replaced by female leaders — many of them Millennials.

Both women and Millennials put a premium on communication, community, and meaningful connection. We are entering a whole different era of leadership with millennial female execs as the new powerhouse leaders.

Many modern female leaders naturally spend time mastering the “people” process. Their business experience and inherent personality traits give them the ability to connect with and motivate people. They can easily advocate and facilitate between different groups, sectors, and departments, and run interference between technical and creative parties to launch major products.

Soft skills — the ability to be compassionate, empathetic, sensitive, and human, creating a safe psychological space — are a sought after combination lead by companies like Google. The company recently commissioned a three-year study called Project Aristotle that attempted to determine the factors of a productive team. What distinguished the good teams from the bad was the way people treated each other. High-performing teams had high social sensitivity characterized by trust, mutual respect, and real connections.

Most of these soft skills are innate for thoughtful female leaders. You probably already possess most of them, and can easily master them. Because of this, you are the most coveted type of leader in the workplace today. These are factors recognized by leading CEOs, like The Container Store’s Kip Tindell. They have been ranked for 16 years as one of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, and Tindell is enthusiastically supportive of his workforce … 70% of them women.

This is the perfect time for female leaders to embrace these strengths, and seize the “soft” skill leadership advantage at their fingertips. In fact, if you are suppressing your natural skills and trying to emulate traditional “tough” leadership skills, you might even be feeling stunted, frustrated, or unwell.

The interesting reality is that when we don’t exercise this side of the work balance, we see a lot of illness, burnout, fatigue, conflict and missed opportunity. Embracing and developing these characteristics is the most important way you can shape your career right now. Here’s how to embrace and use your “soft” skills masterfully.

Communicate with clarity

Women are innately good and intuitive communicators, so use your voice. Don’t let old-fashioned leadership thinking stop you from leaning into your unique leadership style. You will become more effective if you embrace your comfortable communication ideals, and explain to others how they can best work with you.

If you need a meeting agenda and a day to think about your points before attending a meeting, say so. If you do your best brainstorming work in a small group of 2-3, set up that situation.

You will develop this type of authentic communication by practicing daily. Start with friends and coworkers who are receptive to your message, and then work up to people who challenge you more. Connections start when people are authentic and feel safe enough in a group to share. By creating this dynamic with your own example, you will strengthen your team and help it perform better.

Practice emotional intelligence

Show empathy — starting with yourself. It begins with understanding your working style, and supporting yourself to create a stable base. When I coach MBA grads, I give them the assignment of creating an “internal” personal leadership strategy for “their eyes only.”

It becomes a great roadmap to navigate daily chaos at work. Much like a business plan, a personal leadership strategy outlines how you plan to work with subordinates, colleagues, and supervisors in a variety of situations. Think of it as an internal operations plan comprised of policies and processes for daily management, as well as getting through tough issues and dealing with conflict.

Your personal leadership strategy is a living document that details the DNA of your approach, and it will change as you grow as a leader. When you put your ideas to paper, you will feel much more confident and secure in your ability to handle leadership challenges as they arise.

Apply diplomacy to conflict

Your thoughtful nature can make you a wiz at handling conflict, even if you don’t really enjoy it. It all comes back to empathy, ease of communication, and the gift that many women have for reading people.

When conflict arises, start by listening before you speak. The more you understand about the other person’s side and the emotions or preconceptions that are leading them, the better you can present your argument. Try mastering a tem plated approach to conflict management and applying it when drama creeps in.

When there is conflict between teams, you can use your skills to facilitate a conversation with clear action steps between groups. Being the person who runs interference is a powerful leadership skill.

Keep score

Keeping a daily journal of what went well and not so well each day can be a very insightful tool. This process allows you to separate the emotion from the situation, and to see business successes and failures for what they really are. It also shows progress and is an opportunity to celebrate your wins, instead of holding yourself to standards that are unrealistic.

A journal like this also helps you identify your gaps, and make a plan to fill them. Some people use it as a means to shut the door at the end of the each day, and to get the day’s activities out of your system, putting you in a neutral space of innovation for the next day. And as you develop solutions for recurring conflicts, you will find that you can bring some of these ideas into the general business agenda as well.

When you begin to practice and master the soft skills you innately possess, you will see a shift in your effectiveness and overall satisfaction. And when you match these skills to the business agenda, the ROI will be obvious and measurable.

Article written by Courtney Feider, Global Leadership Consultant, Creativity and Brand Strategist at Adrian + Sabine.

For the complete article please visit, https://www.ellevatenetwork.com/articles/7277-how-to-display-your-soft-skills-as-coveted-leadership-traits.

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Close Your Interview on a Positive Note

We’ve all been there: It’s the end of the interview, and after nearly an hour of pouring your heart (and work experience) out to a potential employer, the hiring manager asks if you have any last questions before wrapping up.

It’s meant to be a formality, of course—a way to end the conversation without kicking you out right then and there. But it’s also an opportunity, intentional or not, to make one final impression and give your interviewer something to remember you by.

As Marshall Darr points out in his short piece on Medium, this final remark is actually a moment to “add value to the conversation” before you both head your separate ways. It’s especially noteworthy when you do manage to pull that off, since so many other candidates, having already asked many questions throughout the session, mindlessly shrug off this little last thing at the end.

But if you play your cards right, he says, it can turn a completely lost cause into a foot in the door. According to Darr, you should wrap things up nicely with this question:

“Actually yeah, I was wondering what your best moment so far at [Company Name] was?”

This simple ask, cleverly masked as innocent curiosity, can give you many important insights—on your interviewer’s values, the company, and how well you might fit in with a position there. Think about it: There’s no higher note to end on than with your interviewer’s fondest memory of the company, a feeling that can now be subconsciously associated with your prospects as a future employee.

And aside from being an emotional plus for you, it’ll also give you an idea of what your future co-workers might value, and the kind of culture that company cultivates for its team members. If your interviewer struggles to come up with a meaningful memory, that’s a helpful red flag for you to keep in mind if you end up with an offer.

So, the next time you’re hard-pressed for something to say in those awkward few moments before the door closes with you on the other side, give this question a shot. Odds are, it can only help.

Article written by, Caroline Liu, freelance writer, graphic designer, and computer programmer studying at Wesleyan University.

For the complete article please visit, https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-best-question-to-ask-if-you-want-to-end-the-interview-on-a-great-note.