Working for a Family Owned Business – Pros and Cons

Family Owned Business

family owned businessHave you considered going to work for a family owned business?

These businesses have their own special qualities.

What prompted me to write about this was an e-mail I received after I posted my LinkedIn Publisher post, Are You a Perfect Fit for the Job? Then You Will Not Get It!

The author of the e-mail said she had been a perfect fit for her last job, but had to quit after one year. She wrote that her predecessor lasted only seven months. The job was crazy! The boss was crazy!

My response was, “I bet it was a family owned business!”

She said, “Wow. Yes. The owner, her husband, and son worked there.”

From my experience, there are pros and cons when it comes to working for a family owned business.

Pros

Family owned businesses tend to be smaller. If you are a generalist (versus being a specialist), this is a good thing. You will likely get to wear more hats—getting a greater variety of assignments.

A family owned business can feel like a family for the whole staff. I have known many owners who treat their employees like they are part of the family. For the right person, this can be quite comforting and create an inviting environment.

Cons

A family owned business is exactly that—family owned. Did you grow up in a dysfunctional family like I did? If the family is dysfunctional, then it is highly likely the family owned business will be dysfunctional. I have worked for a non-profit that was dysfunctional, and cannot imagine working in a dysfunctional family owned business.

Do you want to move up? Well, if you are not family, the likelihood of taking a leadership position is small. Well-run family owned businesses also tend to have very low turnover. This can make moving up within the organization difficult.

Is the business growing? Yes? Will the business grow past the capabilities of the owners to manage it, and are they willing to bring in outside talent? If you are in your 50s, you will remember a book titled the Peter Principle. The premise of the book is all of us will inevitably rise to his or her level of incompetence.

I have seen this with multiple clients who work for a family owned business. The business grows and grows, but the management team rises to their level of incompetence. The family cannot see that they need to bring in talent from outside of the family.

Family Members After the Business Fails

I have worked with multiple clients who were part of a family that ran a family owned business. They were left jobless when the business failed during the great recession. Many of them find it difficult to find jobs with traditional employers because they simply do not fit into a corporate role.

Have you worked for family owned business?

What was your experience?

Are you a good fit for a family owned business?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Are You Seeking Respect and Failing in Interviews

Seeking Respect in Interviews

seeking respectAre you seeking respect and backing off your usual style when you first meet someone?

I have several new clients whose natural style is to be direct in their communication. In contrast, they have a high need for respect in their dealings with other people, as defined by their Birkman Assessment.

In other words, the way they communicate is not how they want to be treated. Hmm…an interesting combination. This is far more common than you think. Most of us communicate in a more direct fashion than we want others to communicate with us.

These clients, who are seeking respect, will often back off their usual style when they first meet someone. They will ask more questions and listen more to get the respect they desire.

Does this work in an interview situation? Not necessarily!

Have you been failing in interviews because you are not your authentic self?

Interviewing with Unfamiliar People

It is very common that you will interview with the hiring manager and potential future peers that you are unfamiliar with. What can you do? Try the following:

Probing Questions

Bring a set of probing questions with you to the interview. You want to probe for pain points. The more insightful the questions you ask, the faster you will gain the respect you want.

We are setting ourselves up to get the respect we want as fast as possible. We want to revert to our natural communications style early in the interview. We all are human, and should seek to become comfortable with the situation as quickly as possible.

Closing the Interview

Be prepared with a set of questions that will help you determine whether the job is a good fit for you. Please rehearse asking these questions so that they roll off your tongue. Practice asking these questions with others and in front of a mirror. Be as natural and direct as your usual style.

Pay Attention to You

Do you know what is your natural style of communicating? Pay attention to how you naturally communicate. Ask your friends and colleagues (who you trust) to describe your communication style.

The more you understand how you communicate, you will be able to identify when you are seeking respect in an interview and adjust accordingly.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Career Planning and the Holidays

Career Planning and the Holidays

career planningThe holiday season is a great time to do some critical career planning for the following year. You will likely have some time off to reflect back on the year that is ending and make plans for the new one.

Accomplishments

Reflect back over the previous year and identify key accomplishments in both your work and personal life.

Develop a set of ARM statements (Accomplishment Results Metrics) for each work accomplishment. Weave these statements into your LinkedIn profile and resume.

Accomplishments in your personal life are critical. These are often the activities that feed your soul and make you a well rounded individual. Do any of these activities belong in your LinkedIn profile? Non-profit board position? Volunteering for a prominent cause in your community?

Your career planning process should include both work and personal accomplishments.

New Skills and Certifications

What new skills have you acquired in the past year? Did you acquire a new certification or renew one?

Update your LinkedIn profile and resume to reflect these new skills and certifications.

As part of your career planning process, you will want to access the value of your new and current skills in your local market. Use LinkedIn advanced search using your skills as keywords to find others who have similar skills to see where they work. Has anything changed in your local market?

Similarly, do the same assessment as it relates to your certification. Does your certification still hold value in your local market?

It is critical in your career planning process to assess shifts in the market for the value of your skills and certifications annually!

Target List

An essential part of the career planning process is to review your target list of prospective employers twice a year. Have any new employers entered your local market? More and more companies are setting up satellite offices or allowing their employees to work virtually. Have there been any major upturns or downturns for companies on your target list? Do you need to remove any companies from your target list?

Establish a plan for the next six months to regularly work your target list developing key relationships at these target companies. You never know when you will need to make a career pivot!

Goals

Create goals for the next six months, this should include both work and personal goals. Make a calendar entry for early July of next year and document your goals there. If you are based in the United States, use the July 4th holiday for the date of the calendar entry.

Even if you are employed, you should always be developing a plan for where you want to work next.

Make career planning and career reflection a habit that will be performed like clockwork twice a year.

I wish all of my readers a happy holiday season and a very prosperous new year!

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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The Challenges and Strategies of Changing Industries

Changing Industries

changing industriesAre you planning on changing industries but find that you’re running into a lot of roadblocks? If so, you are not alone.

A couple of years ago, I had a client who was a PMP certified project manager. He had a lot of project management experience managing IT projects, but he wanted to transition to the healthcare industry.

I arranged for him to meet the COO of a rapidly-expanding healthcare provider. The COO told him that his credentials were impressive, but he had no healthcare experience. The COO said they really should not care that he had no healthcare experience, but that they would.

Skill Sets

Whether you are a project manager, product manager, business analyst, or any other position, you will likely have two sets of skills:

  • Business skills
  • Industry skills

Which are the most important? Your business skills!

Which will the hiring authorities care most about? Your industry skills!

This why changing industries is so difficult.

You might be thinking that this is not fair. You are right! You might being saying, “These folks are not any good at interviewing candidates! You would be correct!

A good project manager should be able to manage any project. A good business analyst should be able to work in any industry. There should be peace on earth and good will towards men! There should be no wars! Well, there I go again. I am using the S word—should.

Employers today are frequently looking for the purple cow candidate—or a candidate that likely does not exist. The want a candidate that has both business and industry skills. If they have to compromise, most will lean on industry skills.

Strategies for Changing Industries

Whether you like it or not, when changing industries, you will need to show that you have some some industry experience.

You will need to study and then demonstrate this expertise. How can you do this?

  • Create a blog and interview people in the target industry. I am going to profile someone who did exactly this on the Career Pivot blog in the coming weeks.
  • Comment on blog posts and social media where you will be seen by others in the target industry. This is a slow, tedious process, and it will take a while to be noticed.
  • Publish LinkedIn Publisher posts on topics related to the target industry. Write about relevant topics that you have researched thoroughly. Make sure you get someone in the target industry to review them before you publish.
  • Attend industry conferences and make sure to interact with individuals from your target companies. Get as much face time with individuals who can either hire you or influence a hiring manager.

The advantage of writing LinkedIn Publisher posts is they will be seen in your LinkedIn profile. When a recruiter or hiring manager finds your LinkedIn profile, they will see that you have published and, thus, have demonstrated your knowledge of the industry.

When changing industries, it is a lot easier to develop the industry skills than the business skills. Most companies will focus on industry skills. It is not right, but…

It all comes down to how do we know that you know your stuff!

You will need to demonstrate your expertise in the target industry.

Look for a case study of someone who change industries successfully!

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Pursuing Jobs Where You Are Not A Good Fit

Pursuing jobs where you are not a good fit

good fitMy client was approached about a job where she was not necessarily a good fit. She asked me if she should she pursue the position.

My response was yes! They approached her. Talk is cheap. Plus, it was good practice on multiple levels.

Resume

This is a good time to customize your resume using keywords that you harvest from the perspective employer’s website.

Tailor the resume by using ARM (Action, Results, Metrics) phrases that match each responsibility and requirement in the job description.

Preparing for the Interview

Look at each responsibility and required skill in the job description and develop an story in which you demonstrate that you meet the requirement. Make sure you document the key points in the story so that you can use it again in future interviews.

The goal is to develop a library of stories that you can use over and over again.

Build a set of questions that you will ask during the interview. This should include questions on management style, work environment, and teamwork. You want to see if this is a good fit for you!

The Interview

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Career Pivot Sponsor for the Month of November 2014

Plan on probing for pain points very early in the interview. Ask probing question like:

  • Why the position is open
  • What is the problem they want to solve with this hire
  • What are the metrics that are motivating to hire someone for this position

Answer every question with a story. You should say “Let me tell you about when…”

Make sure you ask all of the questions that you developed to determine whether this is a good fit for you.

Postmortem

After walking out of the interview, make some mental notes on what you thought and whether it was a good fit.

Did the interviewer know what they were doing?

Did this seem like a place you would like to work?

After the interview, review the following:

  • Did they review your resume with you?
  • Did they make any comments about your resume?
  • Were you successful in probing for pain points? If so, what were they, and document them for future reference.
  • Were you able to answer every question with a story? If not, develop new stories based on the questions they asked.

Where you a good fit for the job?

If not, why weren’t you a good fit for the job?

Were you a good fit for the company and their culture?

If you will get into the habit of taking all of these steps, you will able to determine what is a good fit for you. Even interviewing for a position that is not a good fit can be a great learning experience.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Please check out this months sponsor III Financial

and their guest post

Why Save For Retirement If You Don’t Plan On Retiring

Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

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When you subscribe to this blog you get full access to Career Pivot’s Whitepaper Library

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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You can also download my latest white paperStrategic Networking – A Career Pivot White Paper

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Perfect Fit for the Position? Expect to Lose!

Perfect Fit for the Position

perfect fitI have heard it over and over about how you are a perfect fit for the position.

I hate to tell you that, if you are really a perfect fit for the position, you will almost always lose!

WHAT???

Let’s start at the beginning of the hiring process with the creation of the job description.

Job Description

I am going out on a limb to say that most job descriptions are badly written. The hiring manager uses the Internet to find a similar position and then modifies it to fit the position they want. They will put every possible qualification in the job description. This turns into a Purple Cow Job Description that is almost impossible to find a perfect fit.

Your Resume

If you are smart, you will customize your resume so that it highlights accomplishments, results and metrics (ARM) for each responsibility in the job description.

When a recruiter looks at your resume, they quickly scan for these ARM statements and decide whether to call you. Typically, if you meet six out of the ten criteria, you will likely get a call for a screen interview.

If you meet ten out of ten, well, they may determine that you are overqualified!

You will likely get—at the very least—a phone interview.

The Interview

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You prepare for the interview by researching the company and the hiring manager thoroughly. You probe for pain points during the interview and simply wow them with your expertise. You can do this job in your sleep!

You walk out of the interview thinking you just nailed it. You then wait for the call saying they will be making an offer.

You wait and wait and wait…

You say to yourself, “I am a perfect fit. I can do this job. Who would be better?”

The Problem

You are a perfect fit! That is the problem. There is nothing for you to learn. There is nothing for you to grow into.

The hiring manager is sitting in the interview saying to him or herself, wow this is one impressive candidate. Will they get bored in six or more months and then leave? Would I rather have a less qualified candidate who can grow into the role, possibly pay them less, and have them stick around for two or three years?

If you are a perfect fit, there is no room for growth! Why would you want to take a job that does not stretch your skills?

This is an area where a lot of baby boomers get into trouble. Maybe they want to scale back and take on fewer responsibilities. They are a perfect fit for the position, but will anyone believe them that they will not get bored in a few months?

NOPE!

If you really are a perfect fit for a position, you will almost always lose.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Please check out this months sponsor III Financial

and their guest post

Why Save For Retirement If You Don’t Plan On Retiring

Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

Subscribe

When you subscribe to this blog you get full access to Career Pivot’s Whitepaper Library

————————————————

Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

————————————————

You can also download my latest white paperStrategic Networking – A Career Pivot White Paper

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Unretirement by Chris Farrell – Book Review

Unretirement – How Baby Boomer Are Changing The Way We Think About Work, Community and the Good Life

unretirementUnretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life by Chris Farrell, was released in early September of 2014.  Chris Farrell is economics editor of Marketplace Money, a nationally syndicated one-hour weekly personal finance show produced by American Public Media.

The concept of retirement is a relatively new one. In the United States, it first was mentioned in 1935 when Social Security was created. It then became a really viable concept in the 1950s, when Florida and Arizona were being developed. Affordable housing and warm weather attracted thousands to live there in their golden years.

Chris Farrell writes in Unretirement that, for many baby boomers, the concept of retirement will be replaced by unretirement. It is the concept that, if we want to live longer, happier, and more prosperous lives, we need to work past the traditional retirement age of 65.

It should come as no surprise to most baby boomers that 80% or more of us will not retire as planned. This is where the concept of unretirement comes into play.

Chris Farrell writes:

The last third of life is being reimagined and reinvented into “unretirement.” If the popular images of retirement are the golf course and the RV, the defining institutions of unretirement are the workplace and the entrepreneurial start-up. The unretirement movement builds on the insight that a better-educated, healthier work force can continue to earn well into the traditional retirement years.

The author hypothesizes that, if baby boomers delay retirement to 70 years of age, most baby boomers will have a secure retirement.

Here is the challenge, will baby boomers be able to find adequate paying jobs to be able to work till 70 years of age. I wrote in my previous The State of Baby Boomers in America that in many baby boomers are retiring early because either they cannot find work or unable to work due to health issues.

The author states:

Employer stereotypes that view older workers as lacking creativity won’t hold up to scrutiny. The prejudice that older workers aren’t productive will be proven false. The competition for talented employees will push managers to abandon long-held hiring hurdles against aging workers. Seniors will recharge the nation’s entrepreneurial energy.

What do you think?

Baby boomers have redefined society to match their needs and wants. The author states that baby boomers will redefine the concept of retirement to create unretirement.

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Career Pivot Sponsor for the Month of November 2014

This will likely mean that most will work at both traditional and non-traditional jobs well after the age of 65. We will not necessarily work in the same industry or use the same skill sets, but will reinvent the concept of retirement to live longer and happier lives…because we continue to work.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and agree with most everything the author hypothesizes. It paints a rosy picture going forward that looks very different from what we planned or assumed just ten years ago.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Please check out this months sponsor III Financial

and their guest post

Why Save For Retirement If You Don’t Plan On Retiring

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Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

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When you subscribe to this blog you get full access to Career Pivot’s Whitepaper Library

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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The State of Baby Boomers in America

Baby Boomers in America

Baby Boomers in AmericaBaby Boomers in America are in the process of dividing into multiple groups as we all approach the traditional retirement age of 65. Unfortunately, I see a very disturbing trend that I would like to discuss in this post.

Baby Boomers in America and Encore Careers

Recently, Encore.org announced their 2014 Purpose Prize Award winners. The purpose prize is given to six inspiring social innovators over 60 who are working to advance the social good in their communities and the world. These are tremendously inspiring stories of people who have decided to dedicate their later years to social good. They should be an inspiration to all baby boomers in America.

Baby Boomers in America and Entrepreneurship

We are seeing entrepreneurship grow among baby boomers in America. Self employment rates among those over 60 is growing exponentially. This is both good and bad.

Some (I include myself in this group) have reached a point in their lives where pursuing entrepreneurship can be a reality. It might be kids out of the house, paying off the mortgage, or just tired of working for the man that makes this plausible.

For others, it is a necessity. I refer to these as necessity entrepreneurs, or “buying a job.” They cannot find a job due to age discrimination or their industry or profession has disappeared.

Many are not really oriented to being an entrepreneur, and their best option is to buy a franchise or buy a business in a box. I have seen many people successfully do this. Are they happy? Well…they are financially independent…but happy? I just don’t know.

Baby Boomers in America and Malaise

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Career Pivot Sponsor for the Month of November 2014

Over the last couple of years, I have talked to a lot of baby boomers in America who are in a holding pattern, or malaise. Many have lost their jobs and have not been able to find work. They are in a financial position where they can afford to retire, but they are young enough that they really do not want to retire.

They view retirement as defeat. They are scared that, if they retire now (typically in their late 50s or early 60s), they will run out of money before they die.

Many of the people I have talked to have always worked for someone else. They are not suited to starting their own businesses. That is not how they are wired.

Most of them will never work again. In my humble opinion, this is one reason the labor force participation rate is declining.

Baby Boomers in America and Poverty

Baby boomers in America are retiring into poverty in large numbers is my greatest concern. I have talked to a lot about baby boomers in America who applied for social security at the age of 62 because that was their only source of income. They cannot find work and probably will never work again.

In the coming weeks, I will be reviewing the book Unretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life by Chris Farrell. Chris Farrell is economics editor of Marketplace Money, a nationally syndicated one-hour weekly personal finance show produced by American Public Media.

Chris hypothesizes that, as the economy continues to grow, it will reach a point where companies will have to hire older workers to fill their needs. He also states that that will only happen if—and this is a big if—companies change their hiring practices that currently exclude hiring older workers.

I hope he is correct!

Conclusion

I have concluded that these last two groups, baby boomers in America and malaise or poverty, will make up the majority of baby boomers in America in the next ten years. I find this very disturbing!

What group do you fall into?

Am I wrong in my findings? I would love for someone tell me what I am missing!

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Please check out this months sponsor III Financial

and their guest post

Why Save For Retirement If You Don’t Plan On Retiring

————————————————

Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

Subscribe

When you subscribe to this blog you get full access to Career Pivot’s Whitepaper Library

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

————————————————

You can also download my latest white paperThe Multi-Generational WorkplaceMaking Generational Diversity Work

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

How Long Will My Job Search Take?

How Long will My Job Search Take?

job searchI am often asked, “How long will my job search take?”

My answer is almost always, “It depends.”

I work, primarily, with experienced professionals—which is code for those over 50 years of age.

I tell them that a really short job search is three months. It takes almost three months for a company to decide to hire someone, post the job, interview candidates, make an offer, and then make the hire.

What factors affect how long the job search will take:

  • Depth of experience and perceived salary requirements
  • Your Network
  • Geographical demand for your skills
  • Time of year
  • Age discrimination

Depth of experience and perceived salary requirements

The more experience you have and the greater perceived salary requirements, the longer it will take. Notice I wrote perceived salary requirements. Yes, I know you say you will take less money butno one will believe you!

The reality is, the higher the perceived salary requirements, the fewer and fewer jobs there will be. After you get over a 6 figure income, the number of jobs decreases in most job markets.

Your Network

Your next job will likely come through a referral. If you follow the Target Job Search Strategy you will be strategically building a referral network.The stronger your network the shorter your job search.

Geographical demand for your skills

Are your skills valued in your local job market? For example, if you have an oil and gas background and you are looking for a position in Central Texas, where I live, well…it will be a tough and long job search. However, if you move to Houston,  you will find your skills much more valued.

If you have a certification, is it valued in your local market? The varies greatly by region!

If your skills or credentials are in over abundance or are not valued in your local region, you need to extend the length of your job search or expand your geographical search zone.

Time of year

Like every other business process, hiring goes through cycles. A lot of hiring occurs after annual budgets are approved. Look at financial statements of each target company on your target list and determine when the financial year begins. Some companies start their fiscal year in October and others start in January.

Hiring usually stops from late November through the middle of January. This is an excellent time to network and build your tribe, but little hiring occurs during this time.

Similarly, hiring slows down (but does not stop) during July and August when many people go on vacation. It only takes one person in the hiring process to go on vacation for everything to grind to a halt.

Age discrimination

Age discrimination is alive and well. You need to factor this into the length of your job search. You have to be realistic and find employers who value your skills and experience and will not discriminate based on your age. I am working with a client right now who in part of the long term unemployed cohort, and she is targeting government positions. For her, it is a numbers game, but she will be treated fairly in applying for government positions.

So how long will my job search take?

I tell my clients to plan on a minimum of 6 months to 2 years. If you are employed, it really depends on the amount of time you can dedicate to the job search. If you follow my Target Job Search Strategy, you should plan on starting your job search 18 months after you start a new job and plan on that search taking 18 months. That means you will be prepared to changed jobs every 3 years. That does not mean you will change jobs every 3 years, BUT you will be prepared to do so.

How long do you expect your job search to take?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

Subscribe

When you subscribe to this blog you get full access to Career Pivot’s Whitepaper Library

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

————————————————

You can also download my latest white paperStrategic Networking – A Career Pivot White Paper

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Interviewing with an Uneducated Interviewer

The Uneducated Interviewer

Uneducated InterviewerYou have likely encountered the uneducated interviewer! It is my claim that most hiring managers have never been trained to interview candidates.

I just finished reading Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. This book is the bible on how to interview for A players.

They chronicle ten different interview styles of the uneducated interviewer:

  1. The Art Critic -These are the managers who think they can spot talent when they see it.
  2. The Sponge - They think if they spend enough time with you they will soak up enough to make a hiring decision.
  3. The Prosecutor – The have watched too many episodes of Law and Order. They will aggressively question candidates attempting to trick the candidate.
  4. The Suitor - They want to sell the candidate rather than interview them.
  5. The Trickster - These are the interviewers who use gimmicks to test for certain behaviors. The authors state “they might throw a wad of paper on the floor to see if a candidate is willing to clean it up.”
  6. The Animal Lover - Have you been asked in an interview “What type of animal would you be”?
  7. The Chatterbox - Have you spent more time in an interview talking about the local sports team or the weather?
  8. The Psychological and Personality Tester - Have you been required to take an assessment before being able to interview?
  9. The Aptitude Tester - This is a variation of The Psychological and Personality Tester.
  10. The Fortune Teller - The interviewer asked the candidate to predict the future. The authors give an example “If you are going to resolve a conflict with a co-worker, how would you do it?”.

Do you recognize any of these?

Have you used one of these interviewing techniques? I have!

I will admit it. I have not been a very good interviewer!

Let’s address the three most common in my experience:

The Suitor

The suitor is the easiest of the uneducated interviewer to deal with. Be prepared to tell stories. You should have a story prepared for each responsibility listed in the job description.

When there is a break in the conversation, pivot it back to the job description and immediately launch into a story. “Let me tell you about the time I demonstrated…”

The Chatterbox

The chatterbox is definitely an uneducated interviewer. Most do not have a clue of how to interview, but be prepared to be hyper-vigilant when interviewing with other interviewers. If the hiring manager is a chatterbox, the decision on whether to hire you will most likely come from others.

The Prosecutor

As soon as you realize your interviewer is playing the role of district attorney, you have to play the role of a good witness. You need to listen carefully to the interviewer and answer the questions. Be prepared to thoughtfully delay answering the question. You can rephrase the question, “Let me make sure I understand the question. You said…” This will give you time to think and make sure you really understand what he or she is asking.

When I taught high school math, I used questions like, “Do they have 4th of July in England?” The answer is YES! They do not celebrate it, but they do have 4th of July.

Lastly, be prepared to probe for pain points. Ask the interviewer about what was behind the question they just asked. You might say, “From the last question, can I infer that you are having a problem with…? If true, let me tell you about the time…” It is important not to pause between the question and the second sentence. Remember, you are dealing with a district attorney and you want to take control of the flow of conversation.

The key in dealing with an uneducated interviewer is to be conversational and respectful. You definitely want to control the flow of the conversation. Be prepared to tell stories on how you demonstrated your expertise.

Can you spot a uneducated interviewer?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist