Tag archive for "hiring"

by Bill, by Richard, Leadership, Management

Three Things That Will Improve Employee Engagement

No Comments 03 July 2014

Recently I read a piece in the e-version of a major business publication which, by title and implication suggested that seventy percent of Americans hate their work. The piece used as its factual anchor the oft-quoted “State of the American Workplace Report” by Gallup, which suggests that only about 30% of American workers are truly “engaged” in their jobs, leaving 70% or so in one level or another of disengagement.

Without doing too much ballet on the head of a pin, let’s make a distinction, an important one. My strong belief, after a couple decades of effort in this arena, is that by and large, people don’t hate their work at all. In fact, most of us rather like our work. Some of us even love it. What we dislike, and what we have difficulty ‘engaging’ with is our jobs, that broader context within which our work resides, and does or does not get done. The “job” encompasses a lot more than the task(s) that we get paid to do. It includes the terms of the deal, the people we interact with and answer to, the support that we get (or lack), the culture that permeates and defines the workspace, et. al.

Indeed, satisfaction and engagement surveys, which our firm has done for longer than I care to admit, suggest that quite often the greatest source of disengagement stems from people and processes that keep us from doing our very best work. In other words, that utterly stupid purchasing policy, or clueless manager who frustrate, rather than enable our best effort are among the primary culprits causing us to disengage. If we didn’t like our work, or want to go home at the end of each day feeling that we made progress, that stuff wouldn’t bother us. But we do, and people and things that block our work progress do more than cause disengagement – they make us crazy! Following are three things that most leaders can do (or refrain from doing) to improve employee engagement levels:

1. Become More Intentional and Selective in Hiring: By most measures, the burner underneath hiring in this country has been turned from “Off” to “Low”, and recently to “Medium” heat. In parts of the energy and tech landscape, it remains on “High.” Ergo, it’s more important than ever that, beginning right now, we use methods and processes that yield more talented, more compatible people. Put plainly but crudely, our staffers (particularly the better ones) don’t want to work with turkeys. Few things are more disengaging than working alongside people who can’t do the work, choose not to, or just plain don’t fit in.

So, as we go about the process of adding staff, it is imperative that we find people who have a penchant for doing terrific work, and whom others want to work with. If they don’t fit the culture, do NOT hire them, regardless of how talented they may be. And, it is also important that we move more quickly to identify and de-select those folks, including managers, who fail to measure up. Doing otherwise is unkind and a disservice to all involved.

2. Get Serious About Learning and Development: Every dentist office is equipped with a sign that says something to the effect of: “Do I have to brush and floss my teeth? Only the ones you want to keep.” The same thing could be said for training and developing our workforce. Engagement surveys consistently tell us that one of THE most important engagement drivers is the opportunity to learn, grow, and yes, build your resume. Yet, owing perhaps to a formerly soft job market, the response from most quarters has been a big, collective yawn.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the realm of so called “soft skills” training, especially leadership development, which for too long now has been a DIY proposition. And it shows. We are now seeing people move into every level of management, including the C-suite, without the benefit of even a shred of training. Consistent with the recent shared ownership of the healthcare equation in the U.S., we would do well to engage our staff members in earnest discussion about their professional development, and work with them toward a more jointly owned development process that is uniquely tailored to them. Beyond getting a more engaged workforce, we’ll also benefit from much better execution.

3. Don’t Fool* With the Gravy: Legend has it that not long after he sold the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain to Heublein Inc., Col. Harland Sanders began taking issue with some of the changes imposed by the firm’s new owners. Upon reaching a point of exasperation, the Colonel invited himself to a Heublein management meeting. When asked the purpose of his visit, he allowed that, for the $285 million purchase price, the new owners probably had the right to exercise bad judgment in changing store layouts and the menu, but, he nonetheless had five words of advice for them… “Don’t fool* with the gravy.” (*Legend also has it that the Colonel’s choice of verbiage was, like his chicken, a little spicier than mine.)

The lesson for us is that, as we continue to innovate, streamline, and economize, we must be mindful not to callously ignore the hard earned knowledge and opinions of those who are, and have been doing the work and who might, just might be able to prevent us from making big, expensive mistakes. Doing a better job on the listening front isn’t just a tool for avoiding mistakes though. Anyone with as few as five gray hairs in their head can affirm that one of the quickest ways to disenfranchise a workforce is to ignore (disrespect) them.

Better listening is a product of hard work as well as technique. A tip given to me not long ago is to try to “read” the words as they come off of someone’s lips. It’s akin perhaps to the advantage that great baseball hitters get by seeing the ball come out of the  pitcher’s hand and then tracking it all the way to the plate. Try it, I think you’ll like it.


A pathfinder in the arena of leadership and employee engagement Bill Catlette is an Executive Coach, Advisor to Management, Conference Speaker, and Business & Workplace Author. He helps leaders connect the dots between People, Passion, Performance and Profit, hone their leadership skills, and achieve demonstrably better outcomes. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard Hadden, and their work, please visit their website, or follow them on Twitter.


by Bill, Management

Be As Judicious About Adding Headcount at Work as You Are at Home

No Comments 27 March 2014

By many measures, the U.S. economy is in spring-like mode, pushing up new green shoots and showing greater signs of vitality. Consumer confidence is up. Ditto for hotel occupancies and rates, manufacturing output (yes, we still make stuff here, e.g., Shinola.com), and corporate profits. Have you noticed the stock market? And, dare I say, hiring shows signs of strengthening.


On that last point, I’m going to go a little counter-cyclical with the advice. Hire ‘em if you need ‘em, but hire slowly and thoughtfully, for two reasons:

  1. The decision as to who does and does not wind up on an organization’s payroll is arguably the single most important decision any manager has to make. The differences between slugs, stars, and misfits are many, they are usually predictable, and they inevitably wind up in the laps of coworkers, customers, and shareholders alike. So take the time to use a robust, thoughtful selection process. Remember, there are no mulligans in this game.
  2. Unless you just don’t care about your reputation as a place to work, hiring thoughtfully also means being just as sure as you can be that the need for this person isn’t going to go away any time soon. If any reasonable doubt does exist, our advice is to hold off on hiring pending better visibility, and opt for stretching existing resources via overtime or contractors. The damage that occurs to your employment brand from bingeing and purging is considerable, and again, it’s preventable.


  A pathfinder in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. He is co-author of the Contented Cows leadership book series, and Rebooting Leadership. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard Hadden, and their work, please visit their website, or follow them on Twitter.


Talent Matters

by Richard, Management

Talent Matters

1 Comment 07 February 2011

Christina Aguilera is a talented singer, fully capable of rendering a flawless and inspiring performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, or many other songs, to the delight of all those within earshot.

Unfortunately, during the 2011 Super Bowl, she failed to deliver her best performance, butchering the tune, and forgetting words she has known since childhood. Everyone has an off day now and then. It’s better when it doesn’t happen in front of 100 million people, but hey, it happens.

There are thousands of singers in America, who, in terms of raw talent, could have outsung Ms. Aguilera, but let’s face it, talent was probably not the only, or even the primary, consideration in her selection. And that’s fine. The NFL, who does usually place a premium on talent, to the exclusion of less relevant factors, can hire whomever they like. In this case, it didn’t turn out so well, but it didn’t seem to detract much from the enjoyment of the game, especially for Packers fans.

All indications are that hiring in the US is slowly waking from a long hibernation. As employers get back into the hiring game, those who can’t afford a lot of missteps would do well to focus more on factors that predict job success, and less on criteria that miss the point.

Examples of the former:

  • Talent. Pure native talent. Are they naturally good at the job they’re expected to do?
  • Fit. Do they “fit” the organization’s culture, by virtue of temperament, nature, values, and character?
  • Behaviors. Do they tend to exhibit behaviors needed for the job under consideration.
  • In some cases, and I emphasize in some cases, experience doing the kind of work, industry and environment notwithstanding, they’ll need to do.

There are valid and defensible ways to screen for all of the above. Find them, and use them.

Examples of the latter:

  • Looks, height, weight, age, race, gender, politics, connections, and who they sleep with.
  • Credit score, unless it’s pertinent to the job, which in most cases, it isn’t.
  • Experience in your specific industry, again, unless it really matters. Hint: it often doesn’t. Employers in some fields in particular labor under the arrogant and often mistaken notion that unless the candidate has experience in their specific industry, they’ll never make it.  Banking and healthcare are good examples, but they’re not the only ones. If you’re looking for lenders and anesthesiologists, industry experience would be a must-have. Accountants and project managers, not so much. Talent, skill, and “fit” transcend industry.

Talent matters. It matters a lot. Look for it, know how to recognize it, hire it, develop it, and reward it.

Richard Hadden (twitter at http://twitter.com/ContentedCows) is a leadership speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations improve their business results by creating a great place to work. He and Bill are the authors of the acclaimed business classic Contented Cows Give Better Milk, and Contented Cows MOOve Faster, and the brand new book Rebooting Leadership. Learn more about them and their work at ContentedCows.com.

by Richard, Management

Time for an Employer Brand Checkup?

No Comments 10 January 2011

I remember seeing a cartoon depicting a couple in the southern US, watching TV in a cluttered living room, strewn with beer cans, newspapers, and laundry. The wife hangs up the phone and says, “Paw, put on a shirt and straighten up the front room. Company’s comin’!”

If the momentum of a slow recovery pans out, with the attendant moderate uptick in hiring whose prediction was reported last week in USA Today, then a lot of employers will need to put on their shirts and straighten up the front room, because for the first time in years, company is sure enough comin’ through the HR office, the metaphorical “front room” of most organizations.

A December 1, 2010 article by Andrea Davis, in Employee Benefit News, reports that with hopes of at least a modest recovery, up to 60% of high-performing employees are eyeing plans to leave their organizations in 2011. That remains to be seen, of course, but what’s certain is that there’s lots of pent-up desire to seek greener pastures, and a more robust hiring picture will certainly open the gates for those who may feel abused and taken for granted during hard times.

If you’re planning to ramp up your hiring after a hiatus, it may be wise to do a checkup on your intake process, remembering that your reputation as an employer has everything to do with the caliber of your applicants. Some (no, lots of) organizations have become sloppy, cocky, and arrogant in how they treat potential new hires, reasoning that the labor supply/demand imbalance gives them the upper hand. They’ve apparently forgotten that every applicant represents a window, with a mouth, into the character of their organization.

If you know an organization like that (wink, wink, nod, nod), here’s a checklist you might want to send them anonymously:

  • Do we have enough HR staff to handle an increased workload without botching the job or burning themselves out?
  • Is the HR staff sufficiently trained in all aspects of their jobs, especially those who will be conducting interviews?
  • Does the professionalism and consideration with which we treat job applicants accurately reflect the way we treat our employees?
  • Do we treat every interviewee as we would a guest in our home?
  • Who – or what – is making decisions to take applicants to the next step? Do real humans have input at every point? Or are we letting software determine who gets to play on the team?
  • How well do we communicate with applicants? Do we let them know, in a timely and professional way, that they’re out of the running? Or do we assume they’ll figure it out by our inaction?
  • Are we looking for the right qualities? Things that really matter? Or are we stuck on irrelevant “qualifiers” that leave the best talent to the competition?
  • Do those we don’t hire feel at least about 80% as good about us as those we do?

Richard Hadden (twitter at http://twitter.com/ContentedCows) is a leadership speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations improve their business results by creating a great place to work. He and Bill are the authors of the acclaimed business classic Contented Cows Give Better Milkand Contented Cows MOOve Faster, and the brand new book Rebooting Leadership. Learn more about them and their work at ContentedCows.com.

5 Tips for Conducting More Effective Reference Checks

by Bill, Management

5 Tips for Conducting More Effective Reference Checks

No Comments 20 August 2010

The following is a guest post by Zuni Corkerton, Founder and President of RefCheck.

Today’s economic environment leaves no room for risk-taking in the talent-acquisition process.  Employers simply cannot afford the costs of re-hiring (estimated to be 2 to 3 times the annual salary of the position).  Conducting limited, perfunctory background checks (e.g., criminal records) is insufficient due diligence for employers, because even in cases of embezzlement, many cases are never pursued through the legal system.  The losses that result from hiring employees without the benefit of checking their references are realized at every level of the organization—from outright employee theft to lost productivity and damaged employee morale and engagement.   Checking references must no longer be limited to senior level positions.

Because employee loyalty is at an all-time low, employers must hire people who stand a greater chance of fully engaging with the organization’s values, style, and strategies.  Will that frontline supervisor be able to effectively deal with the pressures of his/her job?  Will s/he be able to interact with the entry-level staff as well as his/her superiors?  Does s/he have the courage that your organization and the position requires?  History and past performance are still considered strong indicators of future performance, and it is only through a thorough and robust reference-checking process than an employer can gain insight into the critical aspects of what a candidate will bring to their organization.

The thought that references won’t talk is a myth.  When the right reference is contacted, and credibility is quickly established, references will participate in a conversation.  Interviewing references effectively is an art that is supported by clear processes.

Tips to Effective Reference Checks:

  1. Maintain control over the references that are called.  YOU—the employer, not the candidate—determines who will be called.  Ask each candidate to provide information for his/her last supervisor or manager at each prior position, as well as their current contact information.  Today’s research tools make it possible for candidates who really want to work for you to locate these individuals.
  2. Request email addresses for the references so the conversation can be scheduled in advance and the reference can allow ample time.  (At RefCheck® it’s not uncommon to spend 20 to 45 minutes with a reference.)
  3. Assign the reference-checking process to professional-level staff, so the reference can be engaged in a true conversation.  Particularly at the senior levels, references want to speak with their equals.
  4. Do not adhere to a rigid Q&A format, which leads to limited responses.
  5. Thoroughly document the conversation. Take notes as the conversation takes place and review the notes for completion at the conclusion.

Ms. Corkerton can be reached at:

P: 614-777-8844, ext. 12

E: zcorkerton@refcheck.com

by Richard, Management

The latest faulty hiring filter: bad credit

No Comments 04 March 2010

You finally get approval to fill that long-vacant position – the opening that has taken your team to the brink of burnout. You spend nights and weekends reviewing the pile of applicants, and narrow it down to someone who looks like a superstar. They’ve got the experience, the education, the specialized certifications, terrific references, and, most important of all – they’re an exceptionally good fit for your company and your team.

But, and this is a big but – they’ve got a bad credit score. So HR tells you no. You can’t hire them.

There are lots of good reasons not to hire someone. Usually – bad credit alone isn’t one of them. And yet, it’s become the reason du jour, in the eyes of many, to disqualify an otherwise highly qualified person to do a job they’re particularly well suited for. And it makes us wonder (although not for very long, really) if some employers might be taking undue advantage of the current imbalance in the labor supply/demand ratio.

A March 2 Associated Press article by Kathleen Miller says, “Sixty percent of employers recently surveyed by the Society for Human Resources Management [SHRM] said they run credit checks on at least some job applicants, compared with 42 percent in a somewhat similar survey in 2006.”

I get the arguments: People with money woes are more tempted to steal from their employer. Bad financial decisions mean bad judgment at work. (Try telling someone “You’ve made too many bad spouse choices, so we’re not hiring you.” See how far that gets you with the judge.) SHRM likes to point to a study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners that found that the two most common red flags for employees who commit workplace fraud are 1. living beyond their means, and 2. having difficulty meeting financial obligations. Well, no duh. They needed a study to figure that out?

And the counter from the social humanitarian everybody-deserves-a-job bunch is “how can you get out of debt if no one will give you a job?” It’s as if they think employers are somehow obligated to put people on their payrolls to pay some social duty.

And employers who use the practice will point out that it’s perfectly legal (which it is, in most US states), and besides, you can’t run a credit check without the applicant’s permission. Yeah, right. Like the applicant who refuses permission has any hope of being hired.

The real problem with giving too much weight to a job applicant’s credit score is that, in too many cases, it’s simply a faulty filter. OK – I’m not a complete idiot. For most bank jobs, jobs in accounting and finance, those who handle money, C-level positions, and those with greater opportunity to commit fraud – employers have an obligation to be duly diligent in bettering their odds against would-be miscreants. But for the vast majority of jobs that fall outside that realm, credit score is no better a predictor of (honest) job success than are race, gender, marital status, religion, or national origin. And didn’t we outlaw that a long time ago?

Did somebody say outlaw?

Yep. As in so many cases, when organizations (or individuals) can’t be relied upon to behave like grown-ups on their own, the law steps in. Wisconsin, South Carolina, Oregon, and thirteen other states are currently considering bans on most pre-employment credit checks.

What to do?


  • Beware of using faulty filters…like credit checks, and other sieves that let can let bad hires in, and keep good ones out.
  • Start looking at hiring quality for what it is: a competitive issue. These days, the company with the best talent wins. So what if the best talent went through a messy divorce that trashed her credit, or was eaten alive by medical bills from his child’s serious chronic illness? The one with the best talent still wins. This stuff’s too important to rely on arbitrary standards.
  • Realize that hiring is one of the most important jobs any manager does. And one of the hardest. It may sound attractive to relegate the hard work of hiring to automated resume scanners, exams and assessments, and credit checks, but in the end, there’s no substitute for taking a hard look at the things that really matter, going eyeball-to-eyeball with the prospect, using judgment and your powers of discernment, and making a well-informed decision.
  • If you do check credit, and find something of concern, on someone you think would be good in the job, give them a chance to explain. And then listen.


  • As if you needed one more reason to maintain a clean credit record, this is one.
  • Unless pre-employment credit checks are prohibited where you live, be prepared for the scrutiny. Just as you would if showing your home to a prospective buyer, tidy up your credit record before you put your career on the market.
  • Know your credit score, and examine your credit record. If there’s an error, U.S. residents can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website to learn step-by-step how to dispute and correct the error.
  • This issue underscores the value of investing in networking, long before you may need it. Chances are, if the prospective employer has some history with you, or valued connection to you, your credit score may matter a whole lot less.

Happy hunting…on both sides.


Richard Hadden (twitter at http://twitter.com/ContentedCows) is a leadership speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations improve their business results by creating a great place to work. He and Bill are the authors of the acclaimed business classic Contented Cows Give Better Milk, and the followup Contented Cows MOOve Faster.

by Richard, Leadership, Management

Hire the Best…They’re Out There

No Comments 19 January 2010

The US Census Bureau is witnessing, firsthand, one of the consequences of the bad economy. Very much unlike the last time it was in heavy recruiting mode (1989-90), the supply of talented, qualified, educated, and eager workers for the decennial project is plentiful.

USA Today quotes US Census Bureau Director Robert Groves (not to be confused with Defense Secy Robert Gates or Press Secy Robert Gibbs), as saying “The horrible recession has benefited us in an indirect way — our applicant pool contains a set of people with experience and background and training that is unprecedentedly rich”.

And so does yours… if you’re recruiting. And smart employers are ALWAYS recruiting, whether they’re hiring or not.

Here’s what those same smart employers know, are learning, or will learn from this:

  • Just because there are more people in the pool doesn’t mean it’s easier to spot the best swimmers. In fact, in many cases, an oversupply of labor makes the job of hiring – and hiring well – even harder. Whenever you hear the words “inundated” and “applications” in the same sentence, you can be pretty sure of hearing the words “it was just a bad fit” being uttered not too far down the road.
  • This is a case where hi-tech has to be paired with hi-touch. If you over-delegate this core leadership function to so-called smart selection systems, or to HR (whose job it is to help, not do it for you) – or if you don’t – you’ll get what you deserve.
  • These days, making the right choice is as important as ever, because making the wrong choice shows up more than when the economy is on a firmer footing. Prosperity insulates against lots of bad decisions, including bad hires.
  • Relying on (hoping for?) an “any port in a storm” mentality on the part of the unemployed workforce is a great way to miss the recovery. Pre-recovery is precisely the time you don’t want to foul the gene pool with “just anyone”. The best applicants will still discriminate with respect to employer reputation. Don’t let your competitors get the good ones – and they’re out there.

Richard Hadden (twitter at http://twitter.com/ContentedCows) is a leadership speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations improve their business results by creating a great place to work. He and Bill are the authors of the acclaimed business classic Contented Cows Give Better Milk, and the followup Contented Cows MOOve Faster. Learn more about them and their work at ContentedCows.com.

by Bill, Management

On Being ‘Overqualified’ – Job Hunting Tips for Baby-Boomers and Others

1 Comment 02 April 2009

For readers who are not looking for jobs at the moment, be thankful, and please pardon the posting of job hunting tips two days in a row. It just seems a bit relevant at the moment. Today’s post is directed largely at the over 50 crowd (or over 40, or whatever age you have to be to start worrying about your age, ‘er being “overqualified” being an issue.)

Before proceeding, here’s a shout out to Michelle Goodman, who recently wrote a really good piece on this same topic for ABC News.

From an employer’s standpoint there is no such thing as “overqualified.” Under qualified yes… mis-qualified perhaps… once qualified, sure – but not overqualified. I’ve never heard anyone complain that their doctor, airline pilot, plumber, teacher, or lover had too much talent or experience.

As an HR executive during the high growth years of FedEx, and ADP, I was responsible for the hiring of perhaps 70,000 employees. We worried a lot about things like:

  1. whether or not we’d be able to keep people whose skills might not be fully utilized right away
  2. whether or not someone had done something for so long that they would be unable or unwilling to try different approaches
  3. if an exceptionally well qualified candidate would become bored
  4. whether or not those credentials would cost us more, and if not, why not?

I can assure you though, I never once worried, and the companies we work with today don’t spend one nanosecond worrying about people bringing too much talent to the game. The question is, is that talent fresh – is it relevant to the tasks at hand? And, perhaps more importantly, what kind of attitude do they bring to the game?

What hiring managers do mind is someone who has been around the block a few times and doesn’t want to listen or learn new stuff. To be sure, a lot of managers are intimidated just a bit by the prospect of hiring somebody who may be older, smarter, more experienced, or all of those things.

That said, a lot of people are in fact told by prospective employers that they are “overqualified.” Put bluntly, that’s code for “I’m not going to hire you, and I want a short, polite, non-confrontational, legally defensible explanation for it.”

And yes, there’s a bit of a dark side to this. The odds of folks over 45 years of age (like me) hearing the “O’ word are a lot greater than my 34 year old son hearing it. What is said is “overqualified” but what is sometimes meant is another word that starts with “O” – old. That may have something to do the significant increase in age discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC in the last decade. Can you as an individual change that? No. But here’s what you can do.

1. You can make darned sure that you don’t waste one precious minute of your life getting bitter about it. You didn’t get to this ripe ‘uh age still believing that life was always fair, so get over it. Besides, you’ve got better things to do, like conducting a job search, which, by the way is about as close to a full time job as any.

2. The 1st place to invest your time and energy is in doing a targeted job search. We are in corporate classrooms just about every week, training managers to hire those people (and only those people) whose temperament, preferences, and values will allow them to be happy, productive and successful working for a given organization. You need to do the same by identifying those companies (and even individual managers) with whom you will be successful. One of the major tenets of our work is that just as people have reputations, companies have a reputation as a place to work. The more successful businesses and even individual managers have figured out that their reputation as an employer matters, a lot. If I’m on a job search, those are the businesses I should be targeting. Sites like GreatPlaceJobs.com can be a good place to begin your search.

3. Do not, repeat, do NOT apply for jobs that you feel ‘overqualified’ for. Translation:  You believe going in that the job is beneath you. Doing that is committing fraud against your psyche, your resume, and a potential employer, not to mention the folks you’d be working with.

4. Your resume is your ticket to the dance. It needs to look like a ticket to a dance that is occurring in the year 2009. On the one hand, there have been enough football coaches caught putting their resume on steroids to suggest that falsifying documents is not a very smart thing to do. On the other, you need to worry – a lot about how that resume presents you. How does it look electronically, for example? Email it to yourself and find out.

Though you should never fabricate the data (dates, positions, degrees, etc.), there is nothing wrong with choosing how you want to allocate the white space on your personal billboard… which particular talents or experiences you should emphasize for a given job or employer. You should definitely consider adapting your resume for specific jobs and situations. Skills and experiences that are no longer relevant in the job market, or for a particular job don’t bear mentioning on your resume. You wouldn’t wear a thirty year old suit to the interview would you… would you?

Yet, selective creativity is perfectly legit. I once hired a sales rep for ADP  whose resume listed outstanding qualifications – as a baseball player. His resume listed his last position as “Catcher, Kansas City Royals” and his reason for leaving as, get this… “couldn’t hit a curve ball.” Upon seeing this, I just had to talk with the guy, and he had his foot in the door. Think of it as one-to-one marketing.

5. Once you do get an interview, show up prepared – something most people don’t do. Companies that are particularly successful at making acquisitions do very good due diligence on the business they are about to acquire. An applicant’s failure to conduct that same basic research on a place they might spend 8 hours a day working at is fundamentally stupid.

Similarly, show up prepared to participate in an interview. Practice being interviewed, and in particular, answering the obvious questions about why you are willing to consider a job you were qualified to do ten years ago. Get with an interview coach who is skilled at behaviorally-based interviews, have them videotape the practice interview and give you some bone-honest feedback. Watch the tape, throw up, make some changes, and do it again. This is serious business, and your first practice session shouldn’t be on the day you need to have your best stuff. Even Mariano Rivera warms up before he pitches.

6. On the big day, go into that interview brimming with confidence, secure in the knowledge that you’ve done your homework, are well prepared, and happen to be exceptionally well qualified.

This post has been excerpted from articles available in The Fridge at ContentedCows.com.

A thought leader in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard Hadden, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com

by Richard, Management, Think About It...

Now Hiring

No Comments 26 October 2008

Now HiringDespite the barrage of bad economic news, it’s interesting to note that companies are still producing, serving, shipping, billing, paying, borrowing (which means banks are lending), getting paid…and yes, hiring.

(In the last 2 weeks, I’ve been on 13 commercial flights – all of them – repeat, all of them – were oversold. Stayed in 8 hotels, most of which were sold out for the night I was there. Twice during this time, have had to wait 20 minutes or more for a seat in a restaurant. So, things haven’t exactly shut down yet.)

Back to my point about hiring. Lots of businesses are still hiring. Some of them, still, aren’t doing it very well. Others are. I suspect those in the latter group are getting a better crop of new recruits.

My daughter, a college student, has been seeking, for some time, a part-time job in retail or food service. She made it a point to apply only to storefronts bearing a “Now Hiring” sign. She completed 12 applications. All 12 of the prospective employers promised they’d follow up. Five did. Four interviews. Of those, all promised to call to let her know “one way or the other”. Two never called. The other two called with job offers. 

Of course, I can’t be completely objective, but I think most others who know my daughter would agree that she makes a good impression. None of the prospective employers had any obligation to hire her. But, they did create an obligation to do as promised. In choosing between the two offers she received, Lindsay’s primary consideration was the professionalism with which the entire process had been handled. She chose to go to work at The Gap.

A couple of things to remember here. Every job applicant represents a potential (or current) customer. With friends, family…and a mouth. Especially for those in retail, food service, and other consumer industries, the way you handle the hiring process reflects, right or wrong, on how you handle customers.

Secondly, the war for talent is far from over. No organization (that hopes to compete in this economy) can afford to let up on recruiting, retaining, and making productive, the best people out there.

Richard Hadden is a leadership speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations improve their business results by creating a great place to work. He and Bill are the authors of the new book Contented Cows MOOve Faster, as well as the acclaimed business classic Contented Cows Give Better Milk. Learn more about them and their work at ContentedCows.com.




Considered thought leaders in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden speak to, train, and coach managers on leadership practices for better business outcomes.

OUR PREMISE: Having a focused, engaged, and capably led workforce is one of the best things any organization can do for its bottom line.


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A Road Warrior's Leadership Test - Richard's article in Progressive Dairyman Canada Click here