Collaborative Innovation: Leverage Your Creative Differences

Written By Andrew Slade

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could just get along? When it comes to creativity, maybe not. According to many experts, constructive conflict and creative tension influenced by a diversity of perspectives can lead to greater creativity and innovation. And this should come as no surprise. If you put together a group of like-minded individuals, it's unlikely that you’ll create something that’s genuinely new.

So why would I tell you something you probably already know? Image you’re throwing together a team for a new project. It’s only natural that you will want to build your team around go-getters like yourself. And chances are you’ll want them to work well with you and each other, so it’s likely you’ll seek to minimize and eliminate conflict whenever given the opportunity. But without even realizing it, you’ve already waved goodbye to your next big idea.

So how should you go about collaborative innovation? First, we recommend putting together a team with a diversity of perspectives. Often times the best teams are comprised of thinkers from varying ends of the creativity spectrum, from artists to engineers. Consider Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, for example.

Next, establish a common goal and embrace your conflicting ideas. One of the greatest barriers to innovation is the belief that conflict should be avoided. Instead, leverage your creative differences by integrating the contrasting ideologies into your project. Make your conflicts constructive and, finally, come to a hybrid conclusion!

How to Deal with a Micromanaging Boss

Written By Fritz Hillegas

Having a boss who is involved in your work and who gives feedback can be a really great thing. While it can really improve the quality of work that you do in the workplace, this constructive criticism and management can be taken to the extreme. I’m sure most of you have had a boss at one point or another who likes to be a little too involved in everything you work on. Here are a few tips how to deal with a micromanaging boss.

Trust

The most important aspect of working with a boss who likes to micromanage is the level of trust that you have with them. A lot of the time, this kind of attention to detail stems from personal perfectionism--it may have nothing to do with you; that being said, building up a relationship of trust with your boss can help to alleviate some of their worries. If they have faith in your quality of work and your work ethic, it can decrease the need they feel to check everything that you’re working on.

Don’t resist

Even though it can sometimes get bothersome when your boss is always looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing good work, matters will only get worse if you fight against their behavior. Resisting can make it seem as if you’re trying to hide something for them and it can even make it so that they try to control you even more.

Be Proactive

Ensure that you make a concerted effort to understand what your boss expects from you. If you ask targeted questions that makes it clear you know what you’re doing, but that leave room for your boss to make minor suggestions, it can really help to improve your working relationship. Also, if you complete tasks ahead of time and have an ambitious attitude it can improve your bosses overall impression of your work ethic.

While a micromanaging boss can be quite overbearing at times, if you follow this list of tips it will help you to both have a good relationship with them, and make your experience in the workplace more positive.

 

How to Prepare for an Interview

Written By Stephen Cornwell

From CEOs to interns, everyone needs to prepare before an interview. It will not matter if you are the most qualified candidate if you are not able to effectively convey that fact during the interview. No matter how many interviews you have done, completing the following three tasks is essential.

1. Research the Company

The first step is always to familiarize yourself with the company you are interviewing with.  You will almost certainly be asked why you are interested in the position, and if you are knowledgeable about the organization, you will be able to formulate a specific and detailed answer. Demonstrating knowledge of the company shows genuine interest and will help you stand out as a candidate.


2. Understand What They are Looking For

Once you are familiar with the company, it is important to review the job description and any other materials you have been sent about the position.  Try to identify the most important requirements for the role. Interviews are a limited amount of time, so it is important to focus on the most relevant aspects of your experience and qualifications.

3. Think of Examples

After identifying the most important requirements for the position, spend some time thinking of examples to use in your answers.  Good examples are one key to standing out in an interview.  Instead of just stating that you have strong leadership skills, discuss your past experience leading a team and how you were able to accomplish something.  Being able to identify how you have added value to your company in the past will make you an attractive candidate and show what you are capable of.

 

What to Do When You Don’t Know the Answer

Written By Stephen Cornwell

At least one point in your career an interviewer will ask you a question you do not have an answer for.  The first step is to relax and think.  Interviews can be stressful and often you may be able to think of an answer with some thought.  When doing this it is essential to not sit in silence. Especially during phone interview silence comes across as very unnatural. Instead, use filler expressions such as “let me think about that for a moment.”  If it is a technical question talk through your thought process.  Even if you are unable to find an, you will demonstrate that you have knowledge of the field.  

If you truly do not have an answer, DO NOT FAKE IT. If it is a technical question the interviewer knows the correct answer, and if it is a question about experience they will see through a fake answer.  Companies do not want to hire someone who is not willing to admit when they are inexperienced at something.  Some companies will ask questions that they do not expect candidates to be able to answer solely to test if they can admit when they do not have the answer.

Although admitting you do not know the answer or have experience in an area is certainly not ideal, it is also not a deal breaker most of the time. However, it is essential to also express an interest and willingness to learn about the topic in question.  Companies understand that no one is experienced in every area, and they are interested in candidates who are motivated to learn and grow when presented with a novel problem.

Laughing Your Way to a Promotion

Written By Andrew Slade

Pleasant humor is a key to success at work, but it’s likely that very few jokes are actually being cracked. It turns out that people are so afraid of bombing jokes and not being taken seriously that they rarely try to use humor in the workplace. And I’ll admit, knowing when to deliver jokes can sometimes be tricky and require a great deal of confidence. We all know the poor soul that once delivered a joke so poorly that they seemed to muster up more winces than they did polite smiles.

And there are other reasons why people decide not to embrace banter other than just a fear of not being funny. Many don’t want to risk accidentally offending someone or fear that their humor might contradict the culture of the company.

However, a survey issued by Robert Half International found that 91% of executives believe that a sense of humor is important for career advancement, while 84% feel that people with a good sense of humor generally do a better job. Another study by Bell Leadership Institute found that the two most desired traits among senior leaders were a strong work ethic and good sense of humor.

I guess the real joke here is that when people decide to tone down their well-placed humor with the intention of being taken more seriously, people actually take them less seriously.

So why is humor a key to success? To begin, people will enjoy working with you more. Wouldn’t you want to work with someone with a great sense of humor? It’s our natural stress reliever, providing us with a cognitive shift on how we view our current situation. It puts us at ease and helps us relax, clear our minds, and become more productive.

Moreover, humor has been shown to generate creativity and boost morale. It can make individuals more approachable for both coworkers and clients, which often times increases trust, elevates team support, and improves client loyalty. You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian, but embracing a tasteful sense of humor might be your ticket to your next career opportunity.

Our Fee Structure vs Traditional Firms’ Fees

Written By Stephen Cornwell

The traditional headhunting fee structure is ⅓ up front, ⅓ for initial candidates, and the final ⅓ when a candidate is placed.  With this system, companies can earn ⅔ of the total possible profit without even placing a candidate.  The company’s motivation to continue searching to find the perfect candidate is greatly reduced.  If the initial selection of candidates is not what you had in mind, the company can claim they have exhausted the market, leaving you with the position unfilled despite a significant financial investment.

In contrast, Accelerate only charges a fee when a candidate is successfully placed.  Not only does this ensure that the client is not taking any risk, but it also fully aligns the interest of our firm with our client’s interest.  We are just as passionate about filling each opening as the company is.  This alignment of interest fosters the close relationship we develop with each client.  

After interviewing initial candidates, our clients often identify new criteria that they need the successful applicant to meet. We are then able to refine and better focus our search.  We continue this process of feedback, communication, and refinement until we finally find the perfect fit for the position.

Additionally, we guarantee to replace any candidate who leaves within 12 months, creating a truly zero risk situation for our client.  If this sounds appealing, please contact us.

Can a Robot Find You a Job?

Written By Fritz Hillegas

In the modernity of the world we live in today, where companies want to drive down costs, and where people are competing not only with an increasing number of other people, but also with technology, the future can seem worrying. Even within the realm of the headhunting industry, automatization seems like a real threat to recruitment jobs in the future. However, this kind of technology is precisely why boutique executive recruitment firms, such as Accelerate, are so important (1).

Individual Focus, and Relational Understanding

Executive recruitment is an industry that relies heavily on cultural, linguistic and social factors in order to operate properly. One of the most important functions of a search firm starts with the initial fielding of candidates. Candidates are individually selected through a careful screening process to ensure that they not only have the necessary skills on paper, but also are able to demonstrate and explain those skills in person (2). Once a list of candidates is selected from the initial search, the next important function of the executive recruitment firm becomes clear.

The Needs of the Candidate and the Client

There is an important preparation process that takes place before any interview takes place between a potential candidate and a company. A successful recruiter will be able to have a conversation with a candidate about their skills and experience to make sure they’re what the company is looking for, while at the same time are making sure the candidate is interested and excited about the position. Additionally, candidates should be prepared so that they know how to best present themselves to the potential employer. A recruitment firm knows what the client is looking for and knows the candidate’s strengths—therefore the firm will help the candidate to stand out above the rest. A computer with even the most advanced software can in no way give the individualized attention required to both the client and the candidate nor can it perform the complex social processes required to understand their needs and wants.

Executive Recruitment and the Future of Our Business

Are we worried about the future of technology? No. But, we’re here to ensure that you’re best prepared to tackle the job market of the future, and that our clients will continue to receive top notch talent.

(1) http://www.entertainment-news.online/2017/02/12/ai-lawyer-ross-hired-first-law-firm/

(2) https://www.markpearce.net/single-post/2016/12/07/Not-another-RIP-recruitment-blog/

 

Recognize Your Value; Combating Talent Hoarding

Written By Andrew Slade

Do you feel stuck in your position at work? Hungry for more but not being given the opportunity? You might be one of the many victims of “talent hoarding”—when managers do not promote or transfer their top talent to keep from losing them.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported a survey from the Institute for Corporate Productivity showing that half of the 665 employers polled harbor talent-hoarding managers. And among the lower-performing employers in the survey, 74% have talent-hoarding managers.

The Institute’s lead researcher suggests that the issue persists because managers are rarely rewarded for moving individuals, but rather for the performance of their teams.

And the dangers of talent hoarding are real. It creates a shortage of skills; crippling growth, stunting business development, and causing key players to leave the company. Executives and Human Resource officers are calling it one of biggest management problems faced today.

So how can you combat a talent-hoarding manager? Honestly, there’s not a whole lot you can actually do to fight it internally. You can search through the company’s policies and potentially go to HR, and if that’s unsuccessful, you can try to be transparent with your boss. But at high performing companies, managers are actually rewarded for moving high potential talent through the company. So if that’s not the case where you currently work, and it’s been a reoccurring problem, it’s probably time for a change.

Here’s what we suggest: keeping your CV and LinkedIn profile up to date, keeping in touch with executive search firms, and keeping your eyes open for advertised opportunities.

4 Rules for Drinking with Your Co-Workers

Written By Andrew Slade

There’s no better season than the summer to slip out of work at 5 and head to the nearest happy hour with your coworkers. Outings like these, even with your boss, can build camaraderie and allow you to get to know your professional peers past all of the projects and assignments. Some studies suggest that drinking with coworkers – even a lot – can help you move up the professional ladder… although we think moderation is your best bet. So here’s four tips for mastering the after-work trip to the watering hole.

1. Make an appearance!

Don’t limit your social options at the workplace to just the office. Even if you would prefer not to drink, there’s nothing stopping you from sipping on a tonic and lime. The casual atmosphere is likely to foster better relationships, both personal and professional. Plus, you might miss out on a discussion that leads to a big project for those who were there!

2. “When in Rome” does not apply.

While it is suggested that drinking with coworkers can lead to many positives, this is no time to show off what you learned in college. If your coworkers are going drink for drink, play it cool and stick to your glass, because there is likely to be at least one sober person present; so for their sake, try to keep yourself in check. We want you to enjoy yourself, but suggest using the mantra “have one less” and not treat the outing as your chance to let loose, especially if your superiors are present.

3. Don’t discuss your problems.

No matter how loud your neighbors are at 2am or how badly your cubicle mate smells, happy hours are not meant to turn into complaining sessions. Save your problems – whether personal or professional –for another time and don’t earn yourself the wrong reputation. As cold as it might sound, you didn’t come to hear about others’ problems and others didn't slip away from work to hear about yours.

4. If you’re past your limit, abort!

Know your normal drinking limit ahead of time… and stay far away from it. But if you sense you’re feeling a little top-heavy, get up and leave. Like, right away. The beautiful thing about happy hours is that there will always be another one. And while it might be fun to close down the bar with your friends in Marketing, it’s not worth making a fool of yourself. If you need an excuse, just say you have to call your buddy or feed your dog. You’ll always have another chance to see your coworkers out of the office!

 

Social Media, It’s More Important Than You Think

Written By Andrew Slade

According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 84% of companies report using social media to recruit job candidates. While that number might seem high, it’s easy to see why. Imagine you need to find an experienced candidate within your budget but have neither the resources nor the experience of a professional recruiter. Why not utilize free social media platforms with access to hundreds of thousands of working professionals?

Not only can social media make the recruitment process easier for the employer, but it also allows them to see past a job seeker’s CV or resume. Don't think they’re only using LinkedIn. Last year, CareerBuilder.com conducted a survey asking 2,000+ hiring managers and HR professionals why they incorporate social media into their hiring process. Here were a few major takeaways:

1) 65% said they check social media to see if a candidate presents himself or herself professionally.

2) About half used social media to gauge whether a job candidate would fit well into the company culture.

3) Over one third admitted to having turned down a job candidate due to content posted on his or her social media profiles.

Moral of the story: if you choose to share content publicly, make sure it’s working to your advantage. So what can you do to leverage recruiters’ social presence?

Make sure it’s clean. Basically, just use common sense. If employers are trying to get a good feel for your personality, make sure you’re providing them with positive material. Moreover, avoid posting controversial or potentially offensive material.

Increase your visibility. Be active on social media. Facebook might have once served as an idle distraction, but it’s now being utilized as a space for amazing potential. Don’t miss out on the opportunity!

 

Overcoming Self-Doubt, 3 Tips for Combating “Imposter Syndrome”

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Written By Andrew Slade

How should you feel at the height of your career? Confident, proud, and empowered? Believe it or not, 70-percent of people actually say that they feel like they are not qualified to be in their current roles and are afraid of eventually being exposed as professionally fraudulent. And this fear is not achievement-specific. Actresses Tina Fey and Renee Zellweger, and even Nobel laureate Maya Angelou, have all spoken out about their experiences with feelings of self-fraudulence. So if you’re one of these individuals, you’re in good company.

Imposter Syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. And Imposter Syndrome does not equate to low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence. In fact, high achieving, highly successful people often suffer from Imposter Syndrome. So here are 3 things you can do to combat these feelings, should they emerge.

Keep Track of Your Achievements. It might seem all too self-absorbing, but keep a journal of your tangible achievements in the workplace. Note the work that was required to accomplish each achievement; even tally off your accomplishments if you have to. Show yourself that your achievements are not the product of luck or chance. As you do so, start listing some of your less tangible achievements as well. These can include personal achievements outside of the workplace, relationships with colleagues, things you did to accelerate a co-worker’s project or career, etc.

Be Kind to Yourself. Imposters often feel a huge pressure to “not fail” and not be “found out,” but you are human and there will be times where you do fail. So rather than harking on self-confidence to combat these feelings, try self-forgiveness. Self-forgiveness allows for mistakes to be made and lessons to be learned.

Use it to your advantage. It’s probably not a coincidence that many high achieving individuals suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Many researchers attribute Imposter Syndrome to perfectionism; and without this need for perfection, many successful individuals would not have reached such a height in their professional career. So when encountering feelings of anxiety driven by Imposter Syndrome, channel the anxiety to focus on the quality of your work and the things you can actually change, as opposed to focusing on yourself and things you cannot immediately affect.

Moral of the story, you’re not alone! And rather than letting self-doubt hold you back, switch your mentality, use it to your advantage, and propel yourself to even greater heights.

Why Leave Your Comfort Zone?

Written By Andrew Slade

Taking calculated risks is a part of life, but when it comes to our career, why are people so reluctant to take risks? Truth be told, there are all sorts of complicated financial and behavioral reasons as to why people shy away from the unknown for the known, even when a change might be beneficial in the long run. Be that as it may, not taking risks can actually be the riskiest career move of them all. Here are 4 steps to leaving your comfort zone for smarter career actions.

Identify your comfort zone. Knowing your comfort zone will help reveal areas in which you aren’t so comfortable -- areas you can potentially improve upon and explore. They can be anything from your working habits, relationships with colleagues, or even your willingness to explore a career change. Perhaps one of the greatest barriers people face is the perception that any career risk has to be all or nothing… but that’s not the case!

Know your potential. What are you most uncomfortable doing and how could overcoming these trepidations open new career opportunities? Break down your career problems into small actions and recognize your potential. Write these things down and let them serve as motivation for what you can accomplish.

Gradually leave your comfort zone. The best way to start is with small, day-to-day tasks. For example, take a different route to work, change an eating habit, or try a new workout. Get comfortable with change and start exposing yourself to the unexpected. Gradually swap these daily tasks for weekly work challenges that might normally make you uncomfortable. Eventually transition these weekly challenges into career goals, and open yourself to opportunities that will allow you to accomplish these goals.

Build your network. The connections we rely on in a stable, steady job are rarely the ones that open new doors. This is why it’s so important to build your network because more times than not it’s your professional network that presents you with new career opportunities. So build your network and start taking some smart risks. You’ll be a better and happier person for it!

Why the Successful Executive Recruiters Dismiss the Big Data Craze

Written By Andrew Slade

Within the past decade we’ve witnessed the business world develop an infatuation for “big data” – large data sets that may be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. And the appeal for big data is certainly justified. It provides businesses and investors with a means to discover consumer trends that might otherwise go unforeseen. Big data can even detect fraud and fuel self-optimizing artificial intelligence.

As it applies to executive recruitment, one would think big data could reveal a multitude of useful trends and patterns: clients’ hiring preferences, more defined market maps, and optimal candidate-acquisition practices within a given industry. And let me tell you: the first search firm able to identify the best candidates for a given client using only market data, algorithms, and databases will rule the executive search industry. But until we are able to quantify the unquantifiable, this is a far fetched dream. So as it pertains to the executive search industry, big data is best regarded as just digits on a screen…and here’s why.

Logistics. When our clients brief us with a job opening to fill, they don’t request a candidate with a specific age, degree, or salary. Very rarely are the required qualifications quantitative. Our clients want candidates with very specific industry experiences and stand-out qualities. They want candidates that demonstrate skills like decision-making, communication, and leadership; and that’s not necessarily the candidate with the most years of experience or highest net earnings. It just so happens that LinkedIn attempts to quantify these skills with their endorsements feature: the number of endorsements being proportional to the degree of skill. However, given that the LinkedIn endorsement process requires nothing less than one click of the mouse, any good headhunter will disregard them.

True leadership cannot be quantified. Headhunters will sometimes use hard numbers like salary, years of experience, and number of direct reports to try to get a better idea of a candidate’s leadership abilities. And while this information is certainly relevant, one’s true leadership capabilities are most often defined by his or her judgment and gut instinct, especially at the C-level. That’s why we carefully screen candidates to ensure that they are not only qualified for the role, but also demonstrate a high degree of competency necessary to succeed with our client.

Personal Connections. A search firm’s greatest asset is its networked connections. While we want to find the best candidates for our clients, we also want to make sure that the opportunity is the best career option for the candidate. Rather than matchmaking candidates via an algorithm or database, we individually assess potential candidates as we go – building our network with every search.

Why the Best Recruiters Save You Money

Why the best recruiters save you money.jpg

Written By Andrew Slade

When you’re trying to balance your regular work with reviewing applications, interviewing, and hiring, all by yourself, it’s no surprise that important matters get pushed aside. So why wouldn’t you work with a recruiter and save yourself the time and trouble? Because it’s too expensive and more cost-effective to do it yourself... right? Wrong. Recruitment firms are actually an extremely valuable asset for many employers and make up a $35-billion-dollar industry. They specialize in maximizing their clients’ hiring efficiency while cutting down costs. If you’re still not convinced, here are 3 reasons why partnering with expert recruiters is a smart investment:

1. It saves you time

Everyone knows the oldest business saying of them all: “time is money.” And that is exactly why you cannot afford to not hire a recruiter. Think about everything that the search process actually requires: drafting up a job description, finding the right industry channels to distribute it among and advertise in, sifting through CVs, screening and interviewing candidates, and sorting through hundreds of emails and dealing with the many other time-consuming tasks involved in the recruiting process… all the while unsure if you have found a suitable candidate. By outsourcing all of this work to professionals who specialize in swift, effective recruitment, you can not only fill the role more quickly—giving the new employee a head start on their new job and saving the company money—but you can also maintain progress on your own job responsibilities in order to reach company goals and objectives.

2. Gain access to hard-to-find, top-quality talent

More often than not, the best candidates for a role are those not actively looking. The best recruiters will constantly have their their fingers twirling in the pools of various professional networks so that they always know who the best candidates are and how to effectively approach them. Please remember, recruiting is their profession! Not only will they have access to top-quality talent, but they’re experts in selling these new career opportunities to high caliber candidates.

3. Avoid costly mistakes

Outsourcing the hiring process to expert recruiters, rather than handling everything internally, will almost always result in a more qualified candidate in a shorter period of time. But let’s say you have no other option but to fill the role on your own. According to Oxford Economics, it takes almost 28 weeks for a new employee reach his or her full potential. And with the average cost of replacing an employee estimated to be $40,000, finding out that your candidate is a poor fit 10 weeks after filling the role—causing you to repeat the search—could result in crippling and unnecessary losses.

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Leveraging Today’s Technology to Improve the Recruitment Process

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Written By Andrew Slade

In an age of rapid technological advances, nearly every industry has seen major transformations. It’s no surprise that this has been the case for the executive recruitment industry too; no longer are the days of advertising job openings in newspapers! Only the best executive search firms are able to utilize digital advancements and constantly improve their operational processes, and when it comes to the recruitment process, there are two steps that have been particularly affected by technological advancements.

Sourcing. Our primary role as an Executive Search Firm is to identify future talent for our clients and ensure that we find the very best candidates for our clients’ job openings. In previous years, search firms had been mapping talent through good ole fashioned networking. And while this approach is sometimes still useful, our ability to utilize digital resources such as LinkedIn, social media, and website postings has allowed us to more affectively access high caliber, passive candidates. Passive candidates are those not necessarily looking for new opportunities, and are usually successful at their current position. These are the candidates that all search firms aim to identify.

Interviewing. The digital age has also heavily impacted the interview process, making to face-to-face interviews a thing of the past. And while digital tools may never completely replace human to human interactions, only the successful firms will be able to stay on top of technological trends and adapt with the times to remain competitive. The competitive search firms have found ways to minimize the opportunity cost for candidates, and this begins with limiting the time commitment required to explore other opportunities. By using tools like Skype, FaceTime and, most obviously, the phone, we are able to more effectively attract and screen higher-caliber candidates.

Despite these changes in the recruitment process, our overall objective has remained the same: find the very best candidates for our clients’ job openings. And while technological advances have made our objectives more easily obtainable, it has also had major benefits for our clients. We now operate on a contingency basis; if we don’t fill a position, we do not fee our clients. So in short, technology has helped progress the foundations of the recruitment process to provide better services and deliver top talent to our clients.

Networking Tips for the Emerging Professional

Written By Andrew Slade

Regardless of where you are in your professional life, networking is an essential part of advancing your career. And while it can be tough forcing yourself to go meet new people after a long work week, just think back to your professional infancy and recall your parents telling you “it’s not about what you know, but who you know.” And I’d like to remind you that the “who” started from the bottom just like yourself before achieving some degree of success.

So why does networking deserve all of this attention? Besides the obvious, it’s the only professional setting with no hierarchy; where the driving force is generosity rather than greed. And every professional remembers the one individual who helped accelerate their career. So in order to best build your network, follow these 5 networking tips and you’ll be well on your way to your next career opportunity!

#1: Be intentional.

Like many things in life, networking is an investment paid for in time. As such, you should take full advantage of your limited opportunities. Last year the Harvard Business Review published a study concluding that professionals who approach networking with an opportunistic mindset almost always professionally outperform those who perceive networking as a necessary evil (1). So we suggest approaching networking opportunistically and strategically, and you can start by creating a means to measure your success. For instance, set networking goals ahead of time and be prepared to deliver your own value when the opportunity arises. And while the impact of making a new contacts might not be immediate, the compound effects of networking over time are significant and long lasting.

#2 But don’t pitch the whole room.

The last person you want to be is be the guy or girl hijacking every conversation, dealing out business cards like they’re playing cards. The purpose of networking is to create new professional relationships, and like any relationship, it’s a two-way street. It’s important that you listen to your professional peers, their stories and experiences, and let them know that they’re more than just another business avenue. And even though you’d like to meet everyone in the room, if you can’t remember a person’s name after meeting them, it’s unlikely that your professional network actually grew.

#3 Align common interests.

How can your interests and goals help forge a more meaningful relationship? What is it that you have to contribute? Even if you’re junior compared to the rest of the room, you can always find something valuable to offer by thinking beyond the obvious. It might not always be easy, but given that you have the most to gain, pitching an open mind and work ethic can sometimes be enough to open the right door.

#4 Find a higher motivation.

Included in the HBR’s networking study was a finding that suggested that those who accredited some sort of altruistic motivation behind their work were perceived as more authentic and acquired more business while networking (2). It’s important to keep in mind that you’re engaging in conversation with a person, not a title. So don’t be afraid to be personable and engage your philanthropic side!

#5 Remember to follow up.

If you’ve had a great conversion, ask how to best keep in touch. Get back to them within 24 hours and reference something you talked discussed to help put the face to the name. This is especially important if you find yourself networking over a few drinks; let your conversation partner(s) know you’re serious about potential opportunities. Do these things and you’ll be set up for success… may even make a few friends along the way.

 

 

(1, 2) Casciaro, Tiziana, Francesca Gino, and Maryam Kouchaki. "The Contaminating Effects of Building Instrumental Ties: How Networking Can Make Us Feel Dirty." Administrative Science Quarterly 59, no. 4 (January 13, 2015): 705-35. Accessed July 6, 2017. http://static1.squarespace.com/static/55dcde36e4b0df55a96ab220/t/55e86ab6e4b01fadae0024b5/1441295030249/Casciaro Gino Kouchaki ASQ 2014.pdf.

How to Tell if an Office is Right for You

Written By Fritz Hillegas

Often, the office is thought of as a dreaded place where stress levels are high, the level of satisfaction is low, and the hours slowly pass by; however, this doesn’t need to be the case! While title, company and compensation are all factors that seem to be the most important when searching for a new job, company culture can be just as central to not only your happiness, but also to your success. When on the market for a new job, there are a few things that one can look for to determine whether a workplace is right for you!

Research

When looking through different jobs one of the best ways to get an initial impression about the company is to simply look it up online.

  1. Most companies have their own websites which can have a wealth of information about their policies, their mottos, and the different initiatives they’re working on.
  2. In addition to the company website, their social media accounts can give some helpful insight into the goals and focus of the company. The kind of articles, photos, and messages that a company posts can speak volumes—for example, if a company shares a lot about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it can be a good sign that those are key to the company culture. Also, if the employees are featured from time to time it can show that the company really cares about the people who work there.
  3. Finally, a lot of the time there are blogs online from current and past employees of companies that talk about what the company culture is like.

During the interview

While doing research can be a good way to form an initial impression of a company, one of the most dreaded parts of the job-finding process, can be the most informative about whether or not a workplace is the right fit for you! During an interview, there are 3 important things that you should do.

  1. Take notice of the way people are interacting with you in the office. Are they friendly and open? Also, notice how the employees interact with each other. Do they seem happy? Do they interact with one another?
  2. Figure out who your boss is, and try to meet with them if it’s possible. A boss can have a greater impact on your overall happiness in the workplace than you think. Do you interact with them well? Do they seem genuinely interested in talking with you about this job opportunity?
  3. Ask questions about company culture! There is always a part of the interview where the interviewer asks if you have any questions. This is your time to get more information about the role! Ask about office mixers/activities, what the usual team dynamic is, etc.

During the process

One of the easiest ways to understand a company’s culture is to see how they are running the hiring process. Do they seem to be actively engaged in the search? Does it seem like hiring for this position is a priority? Do they seem excited/enthusiastic about the job?

Final Thoughts

We all know that looking for jobs can be hard, and sometimes there aren’t as many options as we would like; however, it is of the upmost importance to make sure that you are in a workplace where you feel welcome, inspired, and happy. Using these tips and tricks is an easy way to figure out if a workplace is right for you before you even step foot into the office for the first day of work.

Why Moving Away From the Big Names Makes Sense

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Written by Andrew Slade

What are the advantages of a boutique search firm, and why are so many large companies choosing to partner with them over the more traditional executive search firms?

Compared to large search firms, we work with fewer clients and only engage on searches we can realistically fill. Large companies are starting to realize that the most important part in choosing an executive search partner is the people actually doing the search rather than just the firm name behind them. Our greatest advantage is our small team, comprised of elite recruiters with many years of dedicated experience. We deal directly with both clients and candidates, rather than relying on entry level recruiters conducting the search through a data base. This way, our team is able to effectively build strong relationships and actively source passive talent (those not necessarily looking to change roles) in order to find our clients the best candidates in the market.

Additionally, we are able to place top-quality candidates much faster than traditional retainer firms. We can more easily prioritize our clients and allow them to communicate directly with our recruiters in order to find the right candidate for their specific needs. This approach has generated a 100% retention rate on all of our placements.

And while most big name search firms charge a minimum retainer fee with a 33% fee on first year compensation, most boutique search firms operate on a contingency basis. For example, we only charge our clients if we successfully fill the position we are assigned to.

Our business is founded on strong relationships that reflect our boutique approach to recruitment. Our goal is to create valuable partnerships and to uphold our reputation of excellence based upon customer satisfaction, which ultimately contributes to the success of everyone involved.

The Importance of Your LinkedIn Network

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Written by Fritz Hillegas

When building your professional profile almost everyone thinks about their CV, their references, and their various interviews; however, one of the things that is most often overlooked is a tool that almost all employers and recruiters alike use; LinkedIn has the potential to be rich with information from education details to professional history to the size of one’s professional network. While there have been numerous articles and blogs written across the internet about how to build an impressive professional profile on LinkedIn, one thing that these articles often fail to highlight is the importance of the size of one’s professional network.

Don’t get me wrong, your ability to get a job will not be made or broken by the size of your LinkedIn network. That being said, there are so many benefits to having a larger number of connections that you could be missing out on. First of all, LinkedIn is a great place to network—you never know who could be a potential employer. Additionally, having a larger following increases the amount of traffic on your profile—and that is always a good thing.

While talking about a large network is one thing, achieving and maintaining a large network is totally another. However, fear not because here are some tips and tricks as to how to grow your network on LinkedIn.

1. Complete your profile

Now this might sound like an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised by how many people fail to complete this step. Include everything from your birthdate, to the entirety of your pertinent professional experience. Make sure to fill in the details about your responsibilities and achievements at each of your past jobs. Having a completed profile makes you look legitimate and professional, making people more likely to accept connection requests and connect with you in the first place.

2. Set goals

Set network goals for yourself. This will encourage you to spend time looking through connection suggestions. The ideal goal should be to have a network of at least 500 people because after 500 connections LinkedIn only shows 500+ on your profile. However, for those of you who are just starting out or who have small networks, usually goals of 50 or 100 connections at a time can be more effective and attainable.

3. Don’t be afraid to connect

Usually on social media there are strict rules to follow about following or friending people. On sites like Facebook or Instagram, if you follow people who you barely know you could cause some uncomfortable and quite awkward social scenarios; however, on LinkedIn the barrier to connecting is much lower. Past co-workers, friends from middle/high school, or people that you have ever done any kind of business with are all viable candidates for your professional network. There is much less of a stigma around following people you’re only vaguely acquainted with because on LinkedIn you’re both helping each other out by expanding your networks and influences.

4. Join group pages

LinkedIn has a wonderful section on its website titled Groups. Joining different groups that pertain to your experience, your industry, or your interests can connect you with people in similar fields/situations and will not only help you keep up with what’s going on in these areas of the professional world, but also will help you to make more connections.

5. Post interesting content frequently

Most people barely ever post on their LinkedIn pages, but this is a big mistake if you’re trying to grow your network. Even if you just post a few articles/videos you find interesting, it can increase interaction with your page and grow the number of connections you have.

If you follow these tips and tricks you should be able to grow your professional network in no time on LinkedIn. A larger network means a greater amount of access to jobs, advice, and other professional opportunities.

 

Interview Trap: The Bad Past Employer

Written by Stephen Cornwell

Bad work experiences are unavoidable, but ranting to an interviewer about them is a quick way to lose a new job opportunity.  Even if your last employer truly was horrible, stupid, or incompetent, these are all words that should never be used to describe a previous employer.

Criticizing previous employers makes you appear to be a negative person or one who cannot work with others. Discussing others' failures or weaknesses makes it appear that you are not taking any responsibility for the success or failure of the projects you are assigned. Additionally, the world can be very small, and your interviewer may know or be friends with the supervisor or coworker you are discussing.  Even if the interviewer does not know the person, they do not want to hire someone who may say similarly, negative things about them or their company in the future.

What is the best way to respond when asked about a job you left because of a bad employer? Remember, interviews are about getting to know you. Discussing how someone else was incompetent or unpleasant wastes the interviewer’s time and makes you look bad. Instead, follow these three steps:

1. Take responsibility

Problems are almost never one-sided.  No matter how incompetent or rude your past employer may have been, you also could have done some things differently.  Taking some responsibility for what happened shows the interviewer that you do not push the blame off on others and are humble enough to admit when you are wrong.  It is very possible to take responsibility without making yourself look bad.  For example, instead of saying an employer had no idea what he or she was doing, say something more like, “I failed to establish a clear set of goals at the beginning of my employment which led to us struggling to reconcile our different visions for my role.”

2. Explain what you could have done differently

Discussing what you could have done differently shows that you are able to be self-reflective. It is easy to want to discuss what everyone else should have done, but talking about ways that you could have changed will make you stand out.  For example, if you felt underappreciated you could say, “I should have scheduled a meeting early on to discuss the issue instead of letting it become a serious problem.”

3. Discuss how you will avoid similar problems in the future

This step is the most important.  Interviewers do not want to hire candidates who may have problems in the future. Outlining proactive measures you plan to take to prevent a similar situation demonstrates that you are trying to learn and grow and helps alleviate the interviewer's concerns.  For example, if the problem stemmed from your boss expecting you to do more than you were able you could say, “In the future I will make sure to discuss early on what the supervisor’s expectations for me are so that a similar problem does not occur.”

If you would like to receive one on one interview coaching please contact us.