Take Time with References

References. Applicants and interviewers worry about them, don’t know how to choose them, to use them, to check them, and as a result, lose out on opportunity, insight, and information both could benefit from receiving. Job hunters need references, good references, because bad ones or those casually chosen can sink an opportunity like a rock. References should be chosen from the pool of individuals who have directly or indirectly supervised their work, and are willing to Continue reading →

Immediate and Specific Feedback Is Best

“When I give performance feedback to employees, I want them to listen to what I’m saying. If they argue, get defensive, or give me body language that indicates a bad attitude, I’m not going to waste any more of my time. If they mess up again, I’ll just fire them.”           Is that the gospel according to Donald Trump or is it Simon Cowell? Neither. It’s your garden- variety supervisor, manager, or business owner. “I Continue reading →

Read, Respond, Value, and Build

I’m often asked for the keys to improving interviewing strategies.  As I think about it, I’m struck by the notion that what makes us good interviewees makes us good interviewers; what makes us good employees makes us good employers. Read, respond, value, and build are four keys to establishing and maintaining professional relationships. Read your audience. Whether you’re networking, interviewing, leading or managing, joining an organization or leaving one, pay attention to what’s going on Continue reading →

Watch Your Body Language – Others Are!

Body language has power of its own. The more aware you are of what that looks like, the better an interviewer and applicant you’ll be. Here are examples of the unintended consequences of body language. “The interviewer had no feedback. No smile, no frown, no affect, no small talk. I could have been a stack of books or a coat rack. It was discourteous and insensitive.  It turned me off to the job and the Continue reading →

If You Want Them to Do a Good Job, Give Them Feedback

Joe hadn’t received performance feedback in several years. When it finally came he wasn’t prepared and took it like a kick in the gut. “You have to be kidding! All this time, I don’t hear anything, and this is what you have to tell me? That people have a problem with me? A problem? They ought to be lovin’ me; they owe their jobs to me. This is the thanks I get? We’ll just see Continue reading →

Unspoken Messages

If you don’t think that body language has power all its own, read this employer’s account of an interview he recently conducted: “The applicant’s resume described a real go-getter who had accomplished a great deal in a short period of time. His academic credentials were as impressive as his letters of recommendation. You can imagine my surprise and disappointment when he settled into the chair across from me. The live version of the paper hero Continue reading →

Feedback Done Right

Why do so many employers wring their hands and pull their hair when it comes to giving feedback? You’d think they’d have figured out how to do it with all the workshops and websites out there, promoting the 10 best ways to crate up cranky people and the five best ways to defend against fussy folk. When you get down to it, employers aren’t worried about giving feedback; they’re worried about the reaction they get Continue reading →

Loyalty on the Front Line

It wasn’t that long ago that business hired receptionists and clerical staff  to answer phones, set appointments, do some billing and, generally speaking, manage the public. They wanted these folks to be warm, friendly, helpful, and have a good work ethic. Now those jobs are called “front line” and they come with a warning: “be careful out there”. Companies still want their employees to meet, greet, and serve the public in ways that are inviting Continue reading →

What do Employees Want

What do employees want? It depends on the person you ask. Managers and supervisors want their direct reports to become more responsible and accountable for their work and their behavior. They grow weary of the constant refrain of “you’re doin’ it to me”. Employees complain that they’re not recognized for their hard work. Supervisors come back with a “you call that hard work?” Back and forth it goes, with the subordinate wanting more money, more Continue reading →

Lessons Learned……

Harold did it again. He hired the wrong person and is in a world of hurt. Harold’s a businessman who describes himself as street smart, strategy savvy, and a sap when it comes to hiring. First it was his financial advisor. Harold was ecstatic, he couldn’t believe his luck. He found a creative accountant who doubled as a visionary. At last, someone who agreed with his spending habits and encouraged him to spend even more. Continue reading →

Both Sides of the Same Coin

A recent reprint of an archived Ann Landers column from 2000 is just as relevant today as it was when it was first printed. It was practically on fire with letters from customers who were fed up with the attitude of retail clerks. I was struck by the irony of what these letter writers were saying: “If you don’t like people and consider them an interruption or a nuisance, go find another job.” “Within driving distance Continue reading →

I Didn’t Tell You Because I Thought You Knew

A recent letter writer suggested that employees, the newly hired and the barely there,  would benefit from understanding that employers have some very basic expectations of them. I heartily agree. In fact, here’s one boss’s secret copy of Here’s What I Didn’t Tell You Because I Thought You Knew. This place is called “Work” Get to work earlier than on time (and that’s based on my watch, not yours). Get to work earlier than on time every day Continue reading →

A 360 Degree View

The trend toward 360 degree performance appraisals can be more of a jolt  than the faint of heart can handle. Back in the old days, which can be as recent as a few minutes ago, high ranking employees could stay in their jobs,  earn substantial bucks, and be as good or as bad as they always had been. That was when an annual review came around as often as a bicentennial event.It’s not that employees Continue reading →

Telling the Talent Truth

Last week I meet with four very talented and very disagreeable employees whose careers were on the chopping block. They had one universal complaint: No one told them they were going to get fired until it was too late to do anything about it. Were they told in advance and did they have sufficient time and support to turn themselves around? The employees’ case: They received significant promotions and salary increases that indicated they were recognized as Continue reading →

Questions: The Customer is Always…?

Q: How does a retailer, operating a very legitimate business, protect his/her company from misguided customers who are very clearly inappropriate in their demands and yet threaten all types of exposure and legal measures to get their way? Seems to me that this is a form of extortion… the customer isn’t always right! A: I asked several local retailers their take on the subject and received a variety of responses from them. Here’s a sampling: Continue reading →

Interviewers: Ace the Interview

Interviewers who see themselves in the driver’s seat,  need to check their side view mirrors. Their would be  passengers can afford to be selective about where and with whom they climb aboard. Job applicants can get mighty frustrated when they arrive at their interviews and are told “we’re busy, come back tomorrow.” Most of them are currently employed and find it challenging  to arrange time off without neglecting their ongoing responsibilities, and nerve wracking to explain their Continue reading →

Conventional Wisdom Won’t Keep Your Employees from Leaving

“How can I stop my employees from leaving when I can’t afford to compete with the salaries and benefits the other folks are offering?” That’s the question many employers are asking. The problem is, they’re listening to Conventional Wisdom for the answers. CW suggests that people join companies and stay with them for salary and  benefits; that employees have no loyalty; if they can get better down the street, that’s where they’re going to go. Continue reading →

The Three C’s of Effective Communication

Political pundits advise the President to have news conferences early and often. Why? 1. The public wants to know what’s happening and what the President’s doing about it. They want to know his command of the issues; how aware, involved, and decisive he is regarding critical events and breaking news. 2. The more often the President meets the press and the public, the more on top of issues he has to be. Political advisors aside, Continue reading →

Passing the buck? Don’t Delegate Unpleasantries!

“Everyone wants to shoot the messenger!” says Mary, who’s the messenger for a boss who would rather “not get involved.” Here’s her story. It might have familiar ring: Mary is a seasoned executive assistant. She’s able to see what needs doing and gets it done. She thinks on her feet, consistently makes good choices, and good decisions. She’s hard working and dedicated to her job; organized, good with details and sees how they connect to Continue reading →

Advice for the Advice-Giver

If you’re a frequent reader, you know that I typically offer advice to job seekers, providing strategies for getting and keeping jobs. I often suggest they contact you, as possible references, networking contacts, and prospective employers, and in turn, ask that when you offer your wisdom and perspective you’re doing it to help them stay on the road and out of the ruts they inevitably encounter. It occurred to me that you might want a Continue reading →