job description

Forget everything you have heard about interviewing 1

I have written many, many articles about the responsibilities a person has when going for an interview. But what about the responsibilities of the interviewer? In speaking with job applicants recently, I am hearing that the person conducting the interview:

  • was late for the interview
  • was unprepared
  • asked inappropriate (and sometimes illegal) questions
  • was unclear about the job description for the position they were hiring for

So all of the preparation candidates do by practicing the answers to basic questions and having great questions to ask may not be enough to land the job. While forgetting all of that preparation really isn’t the answer, my suggestion is that you have a plan for the interview. Don’t wait to be asked. Have a plan to communicate your abilities, but more importantly how you use those abilities to solve problems. Regardless of the job you are applying for, the reason there is a job opening is because the company has a problem and they are hiring to solve it.

It may be that they are swamped with phone calls for orders and so their problem is they don’t have enough experienced sales people or the company is looking to expand into China and they don’t have an experienced manager who is fluent in Mandarin. By identifying the specific  problem the company has, the problem the interviewer is hiring for, you can land the job by showing that you can solve the problem.

In the end, it is up to you to show, with specific stories, that you are the right person for the job. By understanding that the person doing the interview may be more nervous and much less prepared than you are, you can help them by showing them what they need to know to hire you.

While that’s not what you usually hear about how to land a job, in today’s market, it may be what you must do to stand out, to end up in your next new hire orientation!

The shocking truth about Management. This is your real job 2

At a meeting last year, I was learning the in’s and out’s of a particular process my employees were going to be using. The instructor was almost finished when he asked his Boss, who had been sitting in the back of the room, if he would like to say a few words.

I expected the man to review the same material or make a specific point about the training. Instead, he talked for a few minutes about how he ended up with this company and what it takes to manage. He ended with his assessment of what his job really was about:

“My job is to solve any problems before they get to my Boss”

Regardless of the nature of your business, at some level as a manager, this is your job. You report to someone who is expecting you to figure things out and to “take care of problems”. After all, that is a big reason why you were hired or promoted.

My experience is that those who are good problem solvers also have the most ownership of their jobs and their areas of responsibility. Good problem solvers are self motivated and get satisfaction in being able to resolve issues within company policy. In short, good problem solvers are good managers.

So pull out your job description and make sure you pencil in at the bottom, “My job is to solve problems before they get to my Boss”. Your employees, suppliers and customers will be glad you did. Oh… and your Boss will be happy too.