Company Loyalty: Does It Carry Weight in the Job Search?

Company Loyalty: Does It Carry Weight in the Job Search?

It used to be that company loyalty was a valued attribute and considered a major asset. It implied commitment. Ten years with a company? Great. Twenty years? Even better. Today the tables have turned — now a diversity of experience trumps longevity.

Recruiters and hiring managers like to see that candidates, especially executives, have operated and flourished in a variety of environments, alongside different colleagues, leaders and circumstances.

Whether people leave for a bump in pay, career advancement, or a new experience, a one- or two-year stint at a company is no longer considered a blemish on a resume. Rather, it’s increasingly becoming the norm — even valued.

In my latest article for Forbes—”Company Loyalty: Does It Carry Weight In The Job Search?“— I lay out the implications of a long stint at a company on your career and I recommend what you should focus on when seeking a new job after a long term at your current job, including:

Highlight Diversity of Experience and Impact

Provide a career snapshot that illustrates how you progressed, remained engaged, were challenged by new leadership experiences, solved problems and — crucially — made an impact.

Demonstrate Ability to Lead Change

Focus on the aspects of the job that demonstrate a direct influence on driving change, since it is a highly coveted and transferable skill set. That can mean how you:

  • Led your team and organization through significant periods of growth, ownership changes, corporate restructuring  and strategic business shifts
  • Reinvented the business as a response to changing market conditions, consumer demands or the competitive landscape
  • Shepherded a new business start-up or turnaround

Avoid Company-Specific Language

The acronyms, phrases, and overall jargon some have been using for decades are not always transferable to other companies and may imply that one is too steeped in another corporate culture to succeed elsewhere.

To read more about the effect of company loyalty on your job search, visit Forbes.

If you are looking for a partner to help you prepare for your executive job search, contact me to learn more about how we can work together.

Candidate Relationship Management: Is Neglect The New Normal?

Candidate Relationship Management: Is Neglect The New Normal?

A brand president shared a story with me about his recent interviewing experience. After receiving an interview confirmation with the CEO of a multibillion-dollar global apparel company, he arrived at the corporate headquarters only to be informed that there had been a mix-up: The CEO was traveling for business on the West Coast and would not be available. The SVP of HR met with him instead and—for the next 60 minutes—proceeded to bash the company’s internal communication practices. There was no follow-up from anyone at the company, including the CEO.

This anecdote—about poor candidate relationship management—inspired my latest article for Forbes, “Candidate Relationship Management: Is Neglect The New Normal?”

A simple Google search for “bad job interviews” returns more than 15 million results. Whether it is being stood up, being treated rudely, or receiving no feedback, poor candidate relationship management is on the rise.

Most of us—regardless of our age—can still vividly recall our worst experiences as a candidate. Prior to social media, we may have shared our experiences with a few friends and family members and then dropped it. But today? Remember that old adage “bad news travels fast?” Well, “fast” has been replaced by “warp speed,” as social media has enabled anything to become viral and remain a few clicks away for eternity.

Why does this happen? The Talent Board, specializing in candidate experience research, identifies many factors that can derail candidate relationship management. The following three rise to the surface:

  1. Communication.Whether internal (human resources and department hiring manager) or external (recruitment firm), information is not being shared consistently and who owns what part of the process is unclear.
  2. Training. Oftentimes individuals have not been trained in how to conduct an interview.
  3. Culture. A workplace may be understaffed and the time needed for an employee’s own work will supersede his or her ability to participate constructively in the candidate recruitment process.

To read more about how you can improve candidate relationship management, visit Forbes.

If you are looking for a partner to help you prepare for your executive job search, contact me to learn more about how we can work together.

Executive Interviews: The All-Important Fit Conversation

Executive Interviews: The All-Important Fit Conversation

Executive interviews are not only about determining if you can do the job — and do it well — but also if you’ll fit in with the people and the environment. Hiring decision makers want to know you’ll be able to operate effectively up, down and across the organization and be able to get your job done through your teams and together with your colleagues. “Poor culture fit” is often one of the reasons why executives don’t succeed in positions (usually observed and addressed quickly), and make their exits — either voluntarily or involuntarily. We see this play out time and time again in the business world. In a 2015 Fortune interview, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, reflects on his hiring — and swift firing — of European retail executive John Browett. “That was a reminder to me of the critical importance of cultural fit,” Cook said about his executive hiring misstep and Browett’s poor fit with Apple’s culture.

Assessing fit in executive interviews is often a challenge for both companies and candidates alike, as it is often difficult to determine if there is full alignment on all value points. I was networking recently with the Head of Talent Acquisition at a NYC-based PR firm and asked her to describe the company’s culture, to which she responded, “scrappy, lean, open-office environment, shared business line P&Ls, very collaborative, casual and non-corporate.” These words conjure up different feelings for people and do not have the same appeal for all individuals. Therefore, during the executive interview, it’s just as important for the candidate to get a true sense of what it would be like working at the company as it is for the company to understand what it would be like working with the individual.

Here are some questions that will help in preparing for the “fit conversation” in executive interviews:

Questions to anticipate:

  • How do others describe your leadership style?
  • What do you value most as a leader?
  • What type of culture do you foster among your team as well as the broader organization?
  • How would you describe your decision making/conflict management/communication style?
  • What factors are most important to you in considering your next role?
  • What factors are most appealing to you about this opportunity?
  • What career successes are you most proud of and why?
  • What was your biggest career mistake and what did you learn from it?
  • What motivates you?

Questions to ask:

  • How would you describe the culture here?
  • What does the organization value?
  • What’s kept you working here?
  • What do you view as the organization’s/team’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What makes leaders successful here?
  • What has caused leaders to fail?
  • How does the organization keep teams engaged and motivated to perform?

If you are looking for a partner to help prepare for your next round of executive interviews, contact me today to learn more about how we can work together.

 

Ask Not What the Company Can Do for You, but What You Can Do for the Company

Sound familiar? I saw JFK’s famous quote recently and thought that this same mindset can be applied to the candidate interview process. Questions asked by candidates in an interview speak volumes about the person, so you want to be sure that you are asking the right ones and are avoiding those that will turn prospective employers off. Your questions in the beginning of an interview process should say to the employer, “here’s what’s in it for you” versus “what’s in it for me?”. Regardless of your career level or interviewer, here are 10 questions that you should never ask during a first round interview or in the beginning stages of the process:

  1. How much vacation time will I get?
  2. When would I be eligible for a raise or a promotion?
  3. What do the benefits and employee perk packages look like?
  4. My commute here would be long, would a later start and end time be acceptable?
  5. Is there flexibility in working from home?
  6. How many hours on average do you think I’ll be working?
  7. Are my responsibilities limited to my job description or will I be performing duties outside the position scope?
  8. How does the company recognize and reward its employees?
  9. Can you describe the company’s employee review process, commitment to diversity and ongoing training/professional development programs?
  10. What would my onboarding and initial training period look like?

While some of these may certainly be factors you are considering in your employment decision, you should wait until you move further along through the interview process to broach these subjects. Once you’ve proven you’re the perfect fit for the job and have sealed the deal, ask away. In addition to dazzling interviewers with your responses to their questions, you need to impress them with questions asked by you. During your initial meetings, stick to questions that are related to the organization, the business, the department and the role. Some good examples are:

  1. How has the business or department evolved over the past five years?
  2. What’s the company’s vision? What are the projected growth plans over the next five years?
  3. What are the company’s biggest priorities?
  4. What are the biggest challenges facing this department currently?
  5. In which area are you looking for the person in this role to make the greatest impact?
  6. What do you hope the person in this role achieves within the first six months?
  7. What would be the first big assignment/project/task that the person in this role would take on?
  8. What does success look like in this role?
  9. What do you see as the biggest challenge in this role?
  10. What competencies do you think are most critical for success this role?

These questions demonstrate that you’re thinking in broader terms, have a genuine interest in the company and are thinking about how you could potentially fit into and add value to the business. Responses to these questions will also help you to further determine gaps that exist in the organization or department and how you could work to fill them.

Bottom line: avoid “what’s in it for me?” questions during the job interview until you’ve proven your value.

What are your thoughts? What other questions do you think candidates should never ask in the beginning stages of an interview process? Hiring Managers, Recruiters and HR Professionals – what questions have been asked by candidates that have turned you off?