Latest Video: Top Ways to Manage Difficult Employees
When I started my company, for the first few years I worked alone. I was used to a daily rhythm in which I would wake up early and sit in front of the computer in relative quiet and began to take pride in my self-reliant, autonomous nature.
Then, it came time to hire someone else. I began reading management book after management book prepping for the impending employee I was going to hire.
I was lucky enough to hire a great Managing Director Alison Ringo, but after that recruiting from an apartment did not exactly attract top talent and my management style combined with inexperience could not adapt to the mentality of these individuals.
I’ve always wanted to be successful and was taught at a young age to work tenaciously to pursue your dreams. While it took a few variables for me to get better management including improving myself, here are the 3 best management tips I can give to either an entrepreneur recruiting and having to manage his or her first employee or even for a first time manager in a smaller, more entrepreneurial company.
1. The Employees’ Dream(s) May Be Different – management is going to be difficult for those who don’t learn to adapt to “troublesome” employees (those who are not on board with your vision 100%).
When I hired individuals that fit this description, they would get under my skin and drive me up a wall. I could not put myself in their shoes and their thought process became more and more foreign to me which created a disdain on both sides.
The more I tried to change these employees, the worse the situation would get. Then, a remedy came in the form of a change in mentality and perspective on my end.
I knew that I could not get better employees, therefore I looked at these individuals as means to the employees that I wanted, I gave them less important, though necessary tasks that needed to be done and I shouldered any and all workload that had to directly deal with obtaining income.
2. Learn to Interview – when I recruited my second and so-on employees, I would have to oversell the job as I was working from an apartment and had to convince people that I was a real company.
The problem was that I was selling, but not asking. Though I would never admit it, I was hesitant to ask because I felt that they would walk. Besides Alison, my Managing Director, every single one turned out to have somewhat of a grey story.
This was a story that I could have figured out had I approached asking some questions in an unassuming way, however since it took 50 phone calls to get one person to interview, I was just more than happy to have a body around me as I thought that I could mold and change.
It soon became evident that molding is possible, but changing is not. Had I learned to interview years ago, my company would be 2x the size and revenue intake it is today.
3. Interns and Free Labor Cost More Money – before I could afford employees, I had interns because they were cheap and you could get more intelligent people this way as opposed to hiring full-time employees as nobody from NYU or Columbia was going to pass up working for Goldman Sachs to work out of an apartment.
I am a very good salesman, but I could not brainwash these people to come to KAS. Therefore, I thought it would be a great idea to hire interns until the first Friday came around and it became evident that these kids did the same as I did in college which was go out until 3 in the morning every Thursday.
The productivity and responsibility level of these individuals ended up costing me an abundance of time…time I could have been making money to hire full-time employees who were going to show up.
If I was in something really sexy to these kids like marketing (I didn’t know what I know now – not a fraction on the topic nor did I have the recognition years ago), fashion or was a start-up hedge fund, that would be a different story.
It was at this time that I figured out that to get good employees as an organization, I would have to take an industry once thought of as drab and full of shady people into something meaningful and I set out to do just that.
It’s simple – if you work for a good company, you’re going to be worth more on the market than those who gain employment with “so-so” firms. This is not to mention that you will learn a tremendous more working under intelligent, engaging and dedicated individuals.
Though, if you’re a younger job seeker, your perception is inevitably going to be skewed when it comes to deciphering a good company from that of an average firm. This is mainly because every company out there tells the interviewee how great they are even when the sky is not the limit.
Simply because a company is large doesn’t translate into good. Likewise, a small company doesn’t necessarily translate into entrepreneurial. Each firm needs to be looked at individually and, as an interviewee here are three things to assess.
1. Organization and Processes – The best companies are highly organized and have definitive job descriptions laid out for their employees. As a job seeker, stay away from very grey areas and disorganized companies.
Despite what they may claim, their processes will inevitably tell the truth. For an employee to grow, there must be growth potential. For there to be growth potential, revenue spikes must exist and for increased cash flow to happen and continue, the company needs to be organized.
2. Marketing – When you’re going to go for the job after this one, any effective hiring manager is going to look at the website and do some research on the firm that you last worked for.
Prior to taking this job, think of it from that person’s perspective. Would the next company want to hire you after working at this job? Image may not be everything, but to future employers you can bet that it’s something.
If the company is off the map, the typical advice I would have is to stay away.
3. People and Atmosphere – You’re only as good as the people whom you associate with and those people are going to be your co-workers regardless of how much or little influence you may think they will have on you.
If you think that the people don’t care about their career, you’re probably correct and if you think that they will drag you down with them, you’re definitely on point. Surround yourself with capable individuals who are energetic and appear to be happy.
If you have any doubts regarding this, stay away from the position. A good company begins with its people and appreciates them. Use your intuition.
Latest Video: The Best Tips for Managing Difficult Employees
4 Candidates That Employers Don’t Want to Hire
Employers seem to share many of the same broad preferences during the hiring process, regardless of job title and regardless of industry. The job seekers who display certain traits or behaviors like those below, despite having great backgrounds and skill sets, are almost guaranteed to lose the job.
If you find yourself described below and also notice you’re losing opportunities, keeping an eye out for these bad interview habits should turn your luck right around upon going for the job that you want and deserve. Here they are:
1. Acting Overeager – It’s not when the candidates respond to the initial hiring inquiry or when they follow-up with a thank you after an email, it is how they do so. Some candidates make the mistake of overzealously driving home how much they like the company or the interviewer, making them appear desperate.
We all want what we can’t have and tend to shy away from what we can have way too easily. Therefore, one or two sentences regarding the above should do it. Any more and you risk sounding overly needy and thus risk losing the job.
2. Coming Across As Disinterested – There is a polar opposite of overeagerness and it is affecting a complete lack of interest. Not writing a thank you note or not displaying interest in the company, nor recognizing that the interviewer took their time to speak with you, telegraphs the message that you couldn’t care less.
Many job seekers try to bust out high school hard to get tactics. In a job search, however, a blasé attitude makes you come across as high maintenance and also makes the interviewer concerned as to how many companies you may be interviewing with.
3. Showing You Can’t Listen – Many job seekers arrive at an interview overly prepped for the meeting to the point where their overeagerness to hit certain talking points totally bypasses what the interviewer has to say and actually wants to hear.
Interviewing success comes from practice and listening. If you go into an interview with a script, you are going to come out with a disappointment. Make sure that you play off of what the interviewer has to say or the meeting is going to end up awkward and in the favor of the other job seekers going for the position.
Interviewing is about concepts and communication, not memorization.
4. Lacking Industry Knowledge – The moment a job seeker shrugs his or her shoulders is the same minute they begin to lose the interviewer’s interest. Despite the broad possible you may have down, if you’re unable to answer the more specific industry related inquiries, you become a candidate who goes into the “maybe” pile only to get the offer if another candidate(s) who does know the industry passes on the position.
If you’re going to take the time to interview, you might as well take the time to research the industry.
How and When to Ask for a Promotion
One universal thing that nearly every employee wants regardless of age, sex or industry is a promotion and more responsibility. This desire spans all levels as in larger companies, 4 or 5 successors will work vigorous hours for years to simply compete against one another to be considered when the CEO steps down.
Promotions often raise tension between co-workers and can lead to a work environment that can become highly undesirable for many…that is except the ones that know how and when to ask for a promotion.
Laying the Groundwork
The worst way to ask for a promotion is in an impulsive manner. When I say impulsive, this means walking into the bosses’ office (or even setting an appointment a day or two in advance) and putting the individual on the spot.
People respond differently under pressure and may make a decision that is not in your favor, thus ruining your chances.
If you want to ask for a promotion the right way, the groundwork prior to asking must be put into place at least 100 days in advance. Within those 100 days, you must begin doing the following:
1. Staying later at the office – begin by putting in an extra hour or so then gradually increase the extra time to even two hours. At first, don’t overwhelm yourself as the drastic change in behavior will fatigue you and make your boss suspicious.
2. Staying out of corporate politics – the majority of the employees who get ahead are those who are not involved in the day to day politics of the company; instead, most executives figured out a way to rise above it. Keep quiet about your intentions to everyone (even friends at the office) and stay out of any gossip.
Remember, those are the people that you may be hired to manage. Show a subtle disconnect and don’t be overly “buddy-buddy” with the group.
3. Not showing that you want a promotion – there is nothing that looks worse when an employer thinks that an employee is taking certain actions to put them in the hot seat. Let things go gradually and fall into place.
If a boss clearly knows what you want, you probably won’t get it.
When to Ask
After the 100+ days, depending on your relationship with your boss, either email or set a time to speak with him or her about future jobs with the company. Since you have shown a consistent increase in your output throughout the past months, this should be anticipated by the individual (if they’re good and you’re doing the right things) and it will be more of a back and forth conversation rather than an employee making demands on an employer.
What to Say
Nobody can tell you exactly what to say because each company and employer / employee relationship is different. However if you ask for a promotion and don’t get it, the company is more likely to give you a raise as a show of appreciation for your efforts as well as to mitigate the risks of losing you.
Don’t ever hint to the fact that you need the raise now. Rather speak in future tense so the individual doesn’t seem like he or she has to make an important decision at that moment. When faced to do so, bosses tend to get very agitated and some even fire the employees.
Moreover, don’t turn it into a power trip where for the brief moment, you are in charge and are the boss. Rather, maintain a subordinate level and make the boss believe that he or she is still running the show.
Ken Sundheim is CEO of KAS Placement sales and marketing executive recruitment, a staffing agency that Ken founded in 2005. His articles have been published or syndicated in NYTimes, AOL, USA Today, Forbes and many more.
Social Media for Jobs: Twitter vs. Facebook vs. LinkedIn
Twitter for Job Search
When Twitter was launched in the summer of 2006, career gurus has already been wondering about how job seekers could leverage social media sites in their searches. With Facebook (February 2004 launch) starting to edge away from only personal connections at that time, and a growing focus on the usability of LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD), which had made its debut in May 2003, the debate on social media in job search picked up speed with the advent of Twitter, and hasn’t slowed down since.
While LinkedIn is still a little stronger, the “pro” arguments for using Twitter in a successful job search have been highly speculative and mostly false. When trying to marry Twitter and job search success, career advice professionals still hand out very broad, common sense tips such as having a good picture and gaining a lot of followers.
However, being highly active on Twitter has hurt some job seekers. Employers assume that the more followers a potential applicant has, the more they are out of price range regarding salary.
Our recruiting firm has had to explain that this is not the case over and over again to our clients. Another factor that dilutes Twitter’s ability to impress is that Twitter followers are highly difficult to convert into sales leads.
This is primarily due to only being able to Tweet one or two sentences at a time and competing with the other 200 million Tweets per day – a number that makes LinkedIn appear to be a significantly better use of time.
Facebook for Job Search
Companies that have been selling directly to consumer have been trying to push their Facebook pages from just about every angle possible since Facebook started allowing ads and company pages. Of course, this is not to attract the potential job seeker, rather it is to gather pinpoint buying trends on the target market that can’t be found anywhere else.
Once Facebook essentially cornered the social networking arena, writers began to discuss how job seekers were losing potential poor interviewing opportunities because they had tasteless photos on their cover page, which was relatively common sense, but brought in readers.
The reality of the matter is that by the time these articles came out, a lot of Facebook members already had stricter privacy settings and, even if they lost a job opportunity because they were drinking a beer in the picture, it didn’t end up in career disaster as some claimed.
Maybe 1% of the clients at our staffing agency have ever brought up concerns regarding this, and were fine when pictures were changed. Overall, Facebook correlation with job search success or failure is highly exaggerated and the site is not geared towards finding a job, nor does it seem like a push that they are going to heavily make in the near future. The “BeKnown” collaboration with Monster hasn’t gotten off to a rollicking start.
LinkedIn for Job Search
If used properly and creatively, LinkedIn is a highly effective tool for job search and employment related information, as the social media site lives off a target market of business professionals.
While many use generic, outdated and ineffective methods to get the attention of hiring managers and headhunters interviewing, the ones who are using the site for research prior to contact still fare well.
Moreover, while many employers have given up on Facebook, they still strive to have a strong presence on the business social media site which leads to heavy advertising of open jobs. This combined with recruiters combing LinkedIn databases provides the job seeker with a well rounded search.
Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement sales recruiting and marketing staffing, an executive search firm that Ken started at age 25 from a studio apartment after being fired from a corporate position. Since that time the staffing agency has been mentioned throughout major media for its ability to differentiate itself from other headhunting firms.
7 Most Detrimental Resume Mistakes
The Managing Director of KAS Placement, Alison Ringo and her team looks over roughly 100 different resumes per day which is more than many publicly traded companies.
However, unlike most of these firms, I had the team of recruiters at KAS Placement compile a list of the 10 most detrimental resume mistakes that job seekers make when both applying to recruiters and directly to the hiring company.
Though some of these mistakes may appear quite sophomoric, about 20% of all resumes submitted into our staffing agency possess one of the 10 discussed resume flaws. While nobody can change the past, ensure that you have the following taken care of moving forward and it should ensure a brighter future.
1. Copying and Pasting Job Descriptions – many resume writers get attached to a single phrase or very similar variation of and decide to spread it through the entire document, thus making the resume seem more robust and well-thought out.
However, this carries the opposite effect and what appears comprehensive to the resume writer, seems lazy and thoughtless of the count of the resume reader. Any HR manager who is interviewing for an important position is going to immediately look for these shortcuts because it is a tell-tale sign of that potential employee cutting corners in the future.
Remedy – alter your wording more using more adjectives, varied descriptions, and if need be, keep your resume shorter. Redundancy prevents dozens of job seekers who apply into our recruiting firm from getting to the our clients daily.
2. Overly Vague – when writing a resume, brainstorm all the important questions that a hiring manager may have about your position using a “Who” “What” “Where” “When” and “Why” model.
If you don’t feel that you are an exact fit for a position, don’t dumb down your resume using phrases such as “managed others,” instead of “lead team of 4 sales representatives (2inside) covering the Southeast region.”
Being vague does not get you into an interview, rather it prevents you from getting there in the first place.
Remedy – if you don’t have all the qualifications for a job and want to avoid an awkward interview, be upfront about the mismatches on your resume compared to that of the hiring company’s job description and briefly describe how you can fill these gaps better than those who may be half way there. 7 Detrimental Resume Mistakes Continued.