Archive for the ‘Human Resources (HR)’ Category

Get Employees To Think Like Entrepreneurs

March 14, 2013 Leave a comment

An organization’s most valuable assets are its employees. When workers are happy and motivated, they’re more likely to perform at the highest levels.

The most strategic way to create this type of environment is by giving everyone a sense of ownership, says Robert C. Pozen, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, in his book Extreme Productivity. In other words, get all your employees to think like entrepreneurs. “If your employees don’t feel that they own their own spaces,” Pozen writes, “they will constantly wait for your day-to-day directions and expect you to solve every problem.”

In his book, he outlines what he calls the ”Owning Your Own Space” principle, which will help employers get employees motivated to become star performers:

1. Set project goals. At the beginning of every project, make sure your subordinates know your goals and constraints for each task. Give them “considerable leeway in establishing the time frame for those goals,” Pozen says, because when they’re able to choose their own deadlines, they’ll feel more accountable in meeting them.

2. Establish accurate metrics. When implementing both quantitative and qualitative criteria, you’ll have to have ”a deeper discussion with your team about what you really consider important about the  project,” Pozen says. As a manager, you need to let your workers know what metrics you consider more important than others so they can decide what tradeoffs they’re willing to take when making choices.

3. Supply needed resources. If your employees don’t have the appropriate resources to complete their tasks, they won’t be able to finish the project. If there are budget constraints, as a manager, you should understand how much of a role this will play into the success of the overall project and reduce parameters of certain tasks, or decide if the project is realistic.

4. Monitor without suffocating. Just because you’re not physically hovering over your worker’s desk doesn’t mean that you’re not micromanaging. Pozen says that micromanagement is a lot more subtle in reality. For example, it could take the form of you taking back authority over previously delegated projects or having an overly critical eye for details.

Are you micromanaging your staff? In his book, Pozen says that if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you could be a micro-manager:

  • If there is a problem with a project, do you take it over and issue detailed orders?
  • Do you tend to object if your team takes an unorthodox approach to a project?
  • Do your subordinates always seem to follow your “suggestions” to the letter?
  • When you’re looking at a finished project, do you search for every small mistake?

Instead of micromanaging, you can go over the status of a project by having meetings at midway points and making suggestions. However, you need to keep in mind that your team should still be “free to achieve the revised goals in the way they think is best,” Pozen says. In other words, make sure they know you’re only making suggestions and not delegating orders.

5. Tolerate mistakes. If you want your employees to take chances, you need to be forgiving when they make mistakes. Pozen says you shouldn’t accept mistakes that are caused by laziness or sloppiness, but you do need to tolerate “a well-intentioned mistake.”

If a project fails, you can make it a “teachable mistake” by giving your subordinates feedback on what led to that mistake, but don’t attack the person.

“You can ask employees to change specific actions and behaviors, not to alter their personalities. To obtain this balance, talk about what went right before you discuss what went wrong,” Pozen writes. And whatever you do, don’t humiliate them in front of others or you’ll witness an “intentional” decrease in productivity in response to your actions.

When you’re successful at making your employees feel like they have ownership in the company, they will begin to “make choices as if they’re spending their own money.” They’ll also be able to adapt quickly in case anything changes along the way. Pozen says that this state of mind will also increase motivation and help you to achieve better results.

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Categories: Human Resources (HR)

Formatting Rules to bypass The Screening System

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

When you apply for a job at a larger firm, there’s a high chance that your resume will be scanned by a filtering software for words related to certain job vacancies.

This kind of automation process will also reject your resume if it doesn’t “meet traditional, business-dictated document formatting,” writes Rick Gillis in his book “Job!: Learn How to Find Your Next Job In 1 Day.

Here are some formatting rules that Gillis says job seekers should follow to create a filtering software-friendly resume:

  • Do not place your contact information in the header of your resume, because filtering softwares can be set to ignore headers and footers so there is a risk this information will be deleted.
  • Choose a conservative font such as Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, or Calibri. Gillis says that serif fonts, such as Times Roman or Cambria may be rejected by screening software.
  • Do not use any script fonts.
  • The smallest font size to use for the body of your resume should be 11 point. “Any smaller and you’re probably asking for trouble.”
  • No graphics or logos.
  • Do not format using tables.
  • No borders.
  • A one-inch margin top and bottom is best.
  • Do not use any lines that cross the entire page from margin to margin, because “some filters have been created that will reject a document for nothing more than having a single line run continuously across the page,” he writes.


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Categories: Human Resources (HR)

The Most Ridiculous Interview Questions Job seekers Need To Be Prepared For

January 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Wacky interview questions are asked to make you think on your feet — and it doesn’t seem like these mind-numbing teasers are going to go away any time soon.

For the past year, Glassdoor compiled the most off-the-wall questions to “help job seekers prepare for challenging or unexpected questions that may arise during an interview.”

Here are the top oddball questions from last year:

1. “If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?”

Asked by Forrester Research for a Research Associate candidate.

2. “How many cows are in Canada?”

Asked by Google for a local data quality evaluator candidate.

3. “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?

Asked by JetBlue for a pricing / revenue management analyst candidate.

4. “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?”

Asked by Clark Construction Group for a office engineer candidate

5. “What songs best describes your work ethic?”

Asked by Dell for a consumer sales candidate.

6. “Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?”

Asked by Amazon for a product development candidate.

7. “What do you think about when you are alone in your car?”

Asked by Gallup for an associate analyst candidate.

8. “How would you rate your memory?”

Asked by Marriott for a front desk associate candidate.

9. “Name three previous Nobel Prize Winners.”

Asked by BenefitsCONNECT for an Office Manager candidate.

10. “Can you say: ’Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?”

Asked by MasterCard for a call centre candidate.

11. “If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?”

Asked by Trader Joe’s for a crew candidate.

12. “How would people communicate in a perfect world?”

Asked by Novell for a software engineer candidate.

13. “How do you make a tuna sandwich?”

Asked by Astron Consulting for a office manager candidate.

14. “My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend?”

Asked by Pricewaterhouse Coopers for an advisory associate candidate.

15. “You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on Iron Chef. How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?”

Asked by Accenture for a business analyst candidate.

16. “Estimate how many windows are in New York.”

Asked by Bain & Company for an associate consultant candidate.

17. “What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now.”

Asked by LivingSocial for an adventures city manager candidate.

18. “Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when time is 11:50.”

Asked by Bank of America for a software developer candidate

19. “Have you ever stolen a pen from work?”

Asked by Jiffy Software for a software architect candidate.

20. “Pick two celebrities to be your parents.”

Asked by Urban Outfitters for a sales associate candidate.

21. “What kitchen utensil would you be?”

Asked at Bandwidth.comfor a marketer candidate.

22. “If you had turned your cell phone to silent, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me?”

Asked by Kimberly-Clark for a biomedical engineer candidate.

23. “On a scale from one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.”

Asked by Kraft Foods for a general laborer candidate

24. “If you could be anyone else, who would it be?”

Asked by for a sales representative candidate.

25. “How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?”

Asked by PETCO for an analyst candidate.

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Categories: Human Resources (HR)

11 Warning Signs Your Career Has Stalled

November 14, 2011 1 comment

Your career can lose power for many reasons: a lack of opportunities, industry changes and plain old boredom are just a few of them.
Are you wondering whether your career has stalled? Here are some of the top warning signs, according to experts:

1. Your role and responsibilities haven’t changed in a few years or more.

2. You’ve bounced from employer to employer without much change in job title or salary.

3. You can’t remember the last time you learned something new about your industry or field.

4. People hired after you have been promoted faster than you.

5. You’re not invited to important discussions or meetings of the kind you used to attend.

6. You have fewer job duties than you used to.

7. Your performance reviews contain terms like “consistently meets expectations” or “adequate performance.”

8. No one at work asks for your help — or no one in your professional network asks for advice.

9. You dread going to work in the morning.

10. Your manager and coworkers stop communicating with you — in general, your phone rings less and you get fewer emails.

11. You spend a lot of time complaining about work, or and when you tell stories about work, you are the story’s “victim,” not its hero. Sound familiar? Never fear — there are plenty of ways to get your career back in the fast lane.

Here are some ideas:

Talk to Your Boss

A first step is to address problems head-on. For instance, if you’ve been stalled in the same position at the same employer, request a copy of the title hierarchy and job descriptions in your organization, says Debra Yergen, author of the Creating Job Security Resource Guide. “Work with human resources and your boss to find out what steps you need to take to move from where you are to the next step up,” she says.

Alternatively, tell your boss you’re ready for new challenges and new assignments. If you’ve been quietly doing your job and
keeping your head down, he may not realize that you’re feeling unfulfilled.

Ask for What You Need

Alan G. Bauer, president of recruiter Bauer Consulting Group, says you can ask your manager for tips on what you need to improve. Also, he says you can ask your HR department what’s going on with an overdue raise. “If your merit increases are lower than your coworkers’, there may be an issue,” he says. “The company budgeted a certain amount for salary increases — if you aren’t getting your share, you need to find out why.”

Brad Karsh, founder and president of the career-services firm JobBound, says to look for ways to be more effective, efficient and
strategic. “Ask your manager about the possibility of a rotational program to see the inner workings of the company and gain fresh perspective and new ideas,” he says.

Take Initiative

Karsh also suggests figuring out what keeps your boss up at night. “Find a way to solve that problem,” he says. “You need to be a key player.”

You can also take some classes or work toward a degree, suggests Mary Greenwood, author of How to Interview Like a Pro.

Or consider on-the-job training. “If you value continuous learning, you can volunteer for a project that will require new skills,” says executive coach Elene Cafasso. “Perhaps you can transfer to another area of the business or learn what’s needed to back up a coworker.”

Rick Dacri, author of Uncomplicating Management, suggests getting actively involved in a professional association. “Get a leadership role, speak before the group or write an article for the newsletter, for instance,” he says.

Adjust Your Attitude

Negativity is one of the worst career killers. “If you are spending a great deal of your energy moaning and whining about your circumstances, it’s time to try and make a new start before you become so emotionally expensive that the organization feels the
need to cut you,” says Cy Wakeman, author of Reality-Based Leadership.

Identifying your dissatisfaction and taking steps to resolve it is the first step. The next step may be to update your resume and start
looking for a new job. “It may be that hanging on to an unhealthy or unproductive employment relationship is what’s holding you back,” Yergen says. “I’ve witnessed a handful of people this year who have identified their dissatisfaction and set a date to quit —
even without a job waiting — and found something just before or just after the date of their resignation. Sometimes you just have to take that step.”

If your career is stalled, perhaps a new career is the right answer. Start exploring options by reaching out to your professional network, job shadowing or talking to your HR department about an internal transfer.

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Categories: Human Resources (HR)

How Long Should You Wait for an Offer?

November 9, 2011 1 comment

You have an interview or two for a position you really want, and everything goes well. It’s a regular love fest between you, the hiring manager and your future boss. Your heart skips a beat when you’re told, “We’ll have an offer to you by the end of the week.”

But what happens when a week goes by and you don’t receive an offer? Should you sit by the phone and wait or throw in the towel?

Neither, says career counselor Robin Ryan, author of 60 Seconds & You’re Hired! She believes you should continue your job search until you receive and accept a formal job offer. “Even if you’re certain an offer is coming, do not stop job hunting,” she says. “These things have a tendency to fall apart.”

Take Action

Don’t wait too long to follow up after an offer fails to materialize. “Contact the person who said you’d be getting an offer no more than a few days after you were to receive it,” Ryan says. Ask leading questions about its status, such as “Where are you at with this?” or “When will this come through?”

Ryan adds, “If you’re told that the process is going to take a bit more time, ask, ‘Are you talking weeks or months?'”

If you are being stalled, it’s risky to wait on an offer, Ryan says. “If it doesn’t come through and you haven’t been searching elsewhere, you’re going to get really depressed,” she says.

Poof! There It Isn’t!

A number of things can delay a job offer. Some are tied to how large a corporation is and how elaborate the hiring chain of command is. If you’re applying to a Fortune 500 company, the process as a whole may take longer than at a small business. However, job offers can fall apart at anytime — and at any size company.

“A hiring manager may be stalling you while an offer is out with someone else for the same position,” Ryan says. “You also may be
promised a job only to learn that the funding for the job is no longer there.” She reminds job searchers that mergers, too, may kill a position’s creation or eliminate an established job altogether.

Hold or Fold?

If you feel that your job offer is stalled indefinitely, you may be tempted to try to force a potential employer’s hand by saying that
you have another offer when you don’t. “Never bluff,” Ryan says. “Many companies — especially bigger ones — will call you on it and tell you take the other offer.”

Rather, says Ryan, inform the recruiter, “I’m continuing to interview, but I’m still very interested in this job.” She urges candidates
to try to find out what is really happening with the position and get a commitment from the company.

If the offer does vanish, Ryan reminds workers to remember, “There’s more than one dream job out there.”

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Categories: Human Resources (HR)

Asking for Help When You’re New to the Job

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

When you transfer to a new division or start a job with a new employer, it’s natural to want to demonstrate mastery of your position from day one.

“You were hired to hit the ground running,” says Nora Klaver, a human resources consultant and author of Mayday: Asking for Help in Time of Need. “But you know that’s probably impossible, and you don’t want to look foolish.” The
harsh reality of being new on the job in the 2000s: Many bosses make the irrational assumption that by merely breathing the air of the cubicle farm, you’ll absorb all the information you need.

Against that daunting background, how can you meet the challenge of getting the help that’s required to get up to speed on a new job? Approach the task the way a journalist would get the story — by asking the five W’s.


If your company has effective training and orientation programs, why do you have to ask for further help? “The only way to become a savvy journalist or to succeed at your hedge-fund firm is to ask a lot of questions,” says Hannah Seligson, author of New Girl on the Job: Advice from the Trenches.

You also must demonstrate the rationale for your inquiries to the people whose time you take up. Your attitude and presentation are key; you must project confidence that your requests for information and guidance are reasonable and

Do ask about training, documentation and other resources you can use to educate yourself without taking up people’s time.


You can demonstrate your respect for other people’s time by being careful about what you ask. “When you ask, you want to be very specific and share what you already know,” says Barb Krantz Taylor, a consultant and psychologist with
Bailey Consulting Group in Minneapolis.

But don’t confine your queries to the procedural; seek out what makes your new workplace tick. Says Seligson: “Ask a peer, ‘What are some things that you wish you’d known before you started working here?’ Try to get at the subtle
culture issues. Is this an email culture or an IM culture?”


You will quickly build a reputation as a thoughtful worker if you carefully consider who in your organization is best suited to answer your questions and otherwise render aid. “Create your own map of who does what in your organization,” a sort of annotated version of the standard org chart, says Klaver.

You’ll also need help in your initial efforts to jump-start your information-collection system. A key tactic is to pose this meta-question to your boss or other ranking manager: “Who else could I go to with this sort of question (so that I don’t have to take up your time)?”

Where (and How)?

Just as important as asking the right questions of the right person is choosing the optimal communications medium for your inquiries.

“Ask your coworkers and boss what typically goes out on email; you just want to know what the norms are,” says Taylor. She adds that email is never the most effective medium when a dialog is required.

When you ask a question of a superior, let them know that you’ll be happy to take their response in whatever form is easiest for them. If they choose to answer your detailed email with a brain dump to your voicemail, just be grateful
for the information.


One way to alienate coworkers and superiors from the get-go is to ask too many questions too soon, before you need the answers and can absorb them.

Of course, you’ll still have plenty of legitimate questions in the early going, and that’s a good thing. “Ask early and often,” says Klaver. “If you ask often, people will see you as curious.”

As you move past the first stage of your tenure in a new position, consider giving back to your company’s next generation of newbies by volunteering to put together documentation of key information for new hires, whether it’s a company
glossary, a guidebook or an intranet page that indexes internal resources.

Finally, if you ever get discouraged by any friction you create by asking for help, look at the big picture. “You have to remember that you’re asking questions not just for yourself, but to advance the goals of the organization,” says Klaver. “So you can be as forceful as you need to be.”

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Categories: Human Resources (HR)

Top Ten Signs You Shouldn’t Leave Your Current Job

September 20, 2011 2 comments

Unsure whether you should keep your job or seek greener pastures? Instead of looking for what’s wrong in your current position, watch for these 10 signs that could tell you you’re fine right where you are.

1. You’re Happy

We’re not talking mere complacency here, but genuine happiness. If you’re happy, you’re going to be more productive, and that will impact the company’s (and your own) bottom line.

2. You’re Learning

You can race up the corporate ladder with agility, but if you don’t learn anything on the way, you won’t enjoy a lengthy stay. Anything you learn is another bullet on your resume.

3. The Company Is Hiring

This is not the hiring you saw in the ‘90s, but rather the new and improved smart hiring that will help your company get to the next level. You want to see your employer putting new employees into positions that directly support the company’s goals.

4. The Company Listens to Its Workers

Employees are often a company’s most valuable asset. If processes don’t work or morale is low, the workers are the ones to know. But remember: Decisions are based on the big picture, which may include some facts every employee cannot be
privy to.

5. The Company Has a Plan

Does your employer have a mission and clear goals? Is there a plan for reaching those goals? Clarity is important for every worker, and it’s even more important for the larger business.

6. The Company Fixes Its Problems

Everyone makes mistakes, and true virtue lies in how they’re corrected. If your company actively tries to mend itself, then you know it’s getting ready for the long haul.

7. The Company Promotes from Within

This goes back to employees being a company’s biggest asset. Does your company reward its workers and promote accordingly? That shows the company is willing to invest in you, and your investment in the company could have a payoff.

8. The Company Is Open About Its Financials

If your company shares only its successes, beware. But if your employer shares information around profits and loss, it’s inviting you to be a partner and is empowering you with the information you need to help.

9. Your Accomplishments and Contributions Are Noticed and Valued

Do you get credit for the work you do? No one should be taken for granted. If your employer notes your accomplishments, you’re more likely to move up or be able to take on more challenging projects.

10. You Look Forward to Monday

Everyone enjoys a day off, but do you look forward to returning to work? Whether it’s your job, your colleagues or the office culture, if there’s something that stops you from dreading Mondays, you’ve struck career gold.

Improve Your Situation

If you realize your current employer and position are not right for you, you need to take some action. Start with these four steps:

1. What’s Wrong?

Are you unhappy with your current job, or are you concerned for your company’s future? You need to determine the current problem before you can find a solution.

2. Assessments

Introspection can only lead to more clarity where your career is concerned. Look into taking career assessments to discover where your interests and aptitudes meet, and determine what type of workplace culture would be best for

3. Update Your Resume

Even if you’re completely content in your current position, you should always keep your resume updated. You never know what might happen next, even at a thriving company.

4. Network

Talking to people is one of the best ways to learn about job openings or even a new field you had never considered for yourself. Don’t just join professional organizations, but be an active member. You need to put yourself out there and take some risks to find the job that’s right for you.

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Categories: Human Resources (HR)