HBR COMMENTARY CASE STUDY
by Bronwyn Fryer
What’s the best strategy for Astrigo? Four commentators offer expert advice.
About this talk
Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.
About Elizabeth Gilbert
The author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert has thought long and hard about some large topics. Her next fascination: genius, and how we ruin it.
The talk runs 20 minutes, but of course you can always bookmark and comeback. Enjoy! We did.
Avoiding Star Trek Walk-on Guest Syndrome (aka The "Petersen" Syndrome), when Working with Recruiters
You remember it: whenever Captain Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard took an unknown crew member on the Away Team, that person died pretty soon after stepping foot out of the transporter. I don’t recall anyone ever saying “Gee, it’s too bad Petersen just got eaten by that Rock Monster” either.
He served his purpose to heighten suspense, got his SAG card, and he was outta’ there.
Sometimes, not all but sometimes, working with a contingent recruiter may be much the same, with you sadly, playing the all too short-lived role of Petersen.
Before every recruiter on the web writes me mad-mail, let me preface by saying I have been a recruiter in the Permanent Placement Industry (also in the Temporary Placement industry, but that’s a story for another day). I am now in the Outplacement business. Different thing but there are similarities.
Let’s go to Wikipedia for the definitions:
Executive search (informally headhunting) is the process of recruiting individuals to fill executive positions in organizations. Executive search may be performed by an organization's board of directors, by executives in the organization, or by an outside executive search organization.
The executive search profession has two distinct fields, retained executive search and contingency search. Retained search firms are paid a retainer fee regardless of whether a successful placement is made. Contingency firms are paid only if a candidate is found, and generally, the candidate must stay in the position for X weeks or months for payment to be made and the contract fulfilled.
OUTplacement is a term used to describe the efforts made by a Company Fee-paid downsizing firm to help the redundant employees through the career transition process, and help them re-orientate to the job market. An Outplacement firm may refer a candidate to retained executive search or contingency search firm to assist in the transition process.
In the current employment market, there is a glut of talent in the available pool – a buyer’s market as it were, at a time when there’s not a lot of buying going on. If you’re searching for a new position, there’s a huge, talented competition pool out there with you.
For a Contingency Executive Search professional, it is critical that they respond quickly to an organization’s request for a specific talent-set in a potential employee. The Executive Search Professional may have 3 or 4 candidates basically suited to fill the open position; however, one of those is the favorite, the perfect fit. The search professional must send a handful of people to the interviewing company to give them options, but they may be selling one specific candidate a bit more aggressively than the others.
In other words, one of those candidates is Spock. The others are Petersen 1, Petersen 2, and so on.
It’s up to you, the Job Seeker, to figure out which you are, and to effectively manage the process in partnership with the search professional, not at the bidding of.
A great search professional is your partner in this process. They can be an invaluable asset. A really great one will work with you throughout your career if you have demonstrated in-turn that you are a prepared, articulate, employable professional.
An Executive client of ours recently mentioned to me, that a third-party recruiter he was working with kept sending him to interviews that didn’t seem to fit for him. I asked him why he kept accepting interviews from this particular Placement representative. He said “Well, I don’t want to make them angry, so I figure I’d better go.”
You can’t have that folks. This is not a time to be wasting time.
Shop around, network, talk to others in your field that have a relationship with a Search Professional or firm and request an introduction. Be very prepared for the subsequent telephone or face-to-face interview.
Find a search professional that thinks you’re Spock. Anything else would be illogical.
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David Harkleroad, CMO - Managing Director, Global Marketing at Hay Group has a wonderful Blog, and recently posted this gem, How NOT to get a job interview, related to a recent experience he had regarding an Executive, a Contact, and a Cover Letter.
I let David know I'd be pointing to it, and I've also added David's Blog to our Blog Roll. You must read it.
Hay Group is a global management consulting firm that works with leaders to transform strategy into reality. They develop talent, organize people to be more effective and motivate them to perform at their best. Their focus is on making change happen and helping people and organizations realize their potential.
Hay Group has over 2,600 employees working in 86 offices in 47 countries. Hay Group clients come from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, across every major industry and represent diverse business challenges. For over 60 years, they have been renowned for the quality of their research and the intellectual rigor of their work.
Visit The Hay Group
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Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age: A New Model for the Workplace
Pixar University's Randy Nelson explains what schools must do to prepare students for jobs in new media.
From Edutopia, A George Lucas Foundation
We all know we’re in an interesting economic climate. With hundreds of thousands of jobs being eliminated (and not being back-filled), I’m in a unique position to do what I do best – assist people through involuntary career transition.
I’ve been doing this for more than twenty years, and of course, a lot has changed.
(Note to all of you really smart people – please stop changing things until I catch up. Thank you.)
What has not changed however is the need for a person to clearly articulate work accomplishments that give them a sense of pride and satisfaction, and why the work contributes to the overall goals of their employer.
This you must still do.
People struggle with this. I struggle with them struggling.
We struggle our little hearts out, because most people can come up with one or two instances of times when they felt they achieved a superior result, and can quantify that result. It is when I ask for fifteen to twenty examples that the struggle begins.
I worked with a terrific group of folks today, who are being transitioned from a good company under new ownership. They are some of the aforementioned smart people – Molecular Biologists. (I’ll link this blog to their Resumes as they complete them).
As we introduced ourselves, one member of the group reminded another that said other also served as Site Safety Lead for the facility.
As we really started to work, I asked the person who had been Site Safety Lead to talk about her accomplishments in that area. She said what so very many people say at this point: “I don’t know, I just did my job.”
As it turns out, she did her job very well. Through asking her questions and probing a bit deeper, she was able to articulate that she attended and completed OSHA Certification, implemented a Site Safety plan, assured understanding of policies, procedures and processes, and maintained not only 100% OSHA compliance, but an accident-free work site as well. Next, we’ll figure out the average cost for an accident and other costs related to safety violations, and she’ll be able to clearly state how much she saved her employer by “just doing her job.”
That’s important, and she feels good about it. She will not refer to it as an “oh by the way.”
When discussing in an interview she’ll sit forward in her chair; her body language will show engagement; she will enjoy discussing the subject. That makes for a much more powerful interview.
So think about what you’ve done, what you’re proud of, what gave you a deep sense of satisfaction, and write the story of it.
Start by identifying:
Review the statements to spot patterns of your Traits, Skills, Knowledge and Abilities. This will assist you in writing the Summary Statement which heads the resume, and also will assist you in developing your “Elevator Speech” response to the question, “Tell me a little about yourself.”
This is the foundation exercise for any career transition.
The real bottom-line here is don't wait until you are unemployed to go through this exercise.
This is something you should do once a quarter, every quarter for the rest of your work life. Come up with 3 or 4 quarterly accomplisment statements, and by the end of the year, you'll have a solid history of your work year.
Doing so creates greater engagement conversations no matter your employment status.
If you bump into the CEO in the hall, and he or she asks you “So what have you been doing?” wouldn’t it be great to say “well, I just collaborated on a team that revised our benefits processes and saved the company more than $250,000 a year,” instead of, “Oh you know, same old same old?”
Make this a habit. Go on, do it now.
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