Category Archives: job search advice

How Millennials Adapt to Change Quickly

How Millennials Adapt to Change Quickly

Younger people are open to changes

Companies are not permitted to discriminate in hiring based on a candidate’s age, because such discrimination is illegal. And yet they do it every day. Why? Why are younger people considered more desirable in the workplace? The simple answers are that they require less compensation; they’re hungry because they need to accumulate wealth for future years; sometimes they’re more educated and have advanced degrees; and they can stick around longer before retiring. There are other reasons too, such as getting sick less often and having more stamina. But there’s one crucial thing that people don’t often talk about: that younger generations can adapt more easily to change and therefore can—and are willing to—learn new things. Invariably, when more-mature people joke about the fact that if they need to do just about anything technology related, they phone their children or even their grandchildren. Younger generations’ brains are wired to deal more readily with modern technology. And they don’t have to unlearn old technology.

Today’s work environment requires the ability to adapt quickly to market demands. New technology is ubiquitous and evolving fast. Learning new things and immediately becoming able to use them are modern-age requirements. Younger people more easily learn. Older people often resist and can’t.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,”

As the adage says, is true for people more advanced in age. Many don’t know how to use a smartphone or how to e-mail or how to navigate the Internet or how to shop online. And they’ve come to believe they’re too old to learn; they’ve given up on learning new things. Employers are fully aware of that phenomenon and consider the age of an applicant before making an offer.

Beginning with our birth and for many years after, learning new things is a necessity to survive and be part of modern society. As we get older, though, we reach a point when learning becomes optional. We no longer need to learn new things to survive. Some use the excuse that they can’t learn anymore because they’re old. It’s not true, of course, but it still gets used as an excuse. And some simply lack the motivation to expend the energy required to learn new things.

Older people should stress in job interviews that they have the desire to keep learning new things, and in fact they should give examples of new things they’ve learned recently and adopted as parts of their daily lives.

5 Steps to Outshine Your Competition in a Job Interview

5 Steps to Outshine Your Competition in a Job Interview

Photo credit to: racorn/123rf

An interview is a business transaction wherein the objective of the hiring manager (the person who has the authority to hire) is to make a selection among job candidates called in for interviews. A candidate has two challenges: first, to convince the hiring manager that he is the ideal candidate for the position, and second, to outshine the others (i.e., the competition for the job). Following are several suggestions.

First, prepare for the interview by working with a seasoned interview coach. An interview coach can practice with you certain mock-interviewing techniques, thereby helping you to not only answer difficult interview questions but also recognize traps and avoid saying the wrong things. As an interview coach, I need no less than five hours to get someone ready for the big test. If the result is to get the job, then the fee paid for such a service is merely a drop in the bucket.

Second, prepare your SARBs: situation/action/result/benefit. These are short vignettes about your experience, describing for the interviewer how you solved problems on the job and the results and benefits to employers. They are the tools you bring with you to the interview. If presented well, the examples will convince the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.

Third, research the company. Spend some time in the public library investigating as much as you can about the company. You cannot overdo this aspect of the job search, and neither should you underestimate the importance of showing the interviewer you understand–on either a macro- or microlevel–the issues the company faces.  Knowing details about the company improves the “cultural fit-factor”.

Fourth, use your personal connections via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to discover as much information as you can about the people you’re going to interview with. While doing that, attempt to find something in common with them. This is very important, because people are known to hire candidates with whom they can build a relationship even during the interview process.

And fifth and last but not less important, make sure the position you’re interviewing for aligns with your own needs and desires. Consider your skills and attributes and traits. Evaluate the organization’s work environment, the commute, the compensation, and the benefits. Pay attention to your gut feeling. If it feels good, make sure you clearly show your enthusiasm. This is what the hiring manager wants to “buy.”

 

How to Overcome Fear While In-transition

How to Overcome Fear While In-transition

Photo by Jamierodriguez37 at morgufile.com

During my work with job seekers or those contemplating a job/career change, I evaluate the amount of fear that drives—or paralyzes—my clients. To some extent, all of them exhibit fear originated by some threat—or so they perceive. For a person out of a job, that feeling is not only a perception but also, unfortunately, a reality. The normal human body has a built-in mechanism to protect itself from such an emotion by either confronting it or running away from it. It’s also known as the fight-or-flight response. In more-extreme situations, such fear leads to anxiety, but I’ll let a mental-health professional explain that one.

Conversely, a few clients indeed become energized by fear resulting from lack of employment. Their adrenaline levels rise sharply, and they’re ready to attack. They see opportunities coming out of this employment change, and nothing stops them from getting to their next assignment. They exhibit a go-getter mentality and thrive on even small incremental successes. However, the majority of those I see react to their unknown futures by clamming up and thus thinking they’re protecting themselves during this vulnerable stage of their life. I vividly remember my own situation during a transition. My entire attitude could have been described as, “The answer is no, so what’s your question?” It’s a shame that our emotions and our logic are not always congruent.

In working with people who at times seem paralyzed due to their new, jobless reality, I try to clearly understand what’s behind the obvious fact that they don’t have jobs. That understanding is typically complex and intertwined with other, tangled elements. For example, embarrassment vis-à-vis family and friends, or self-humiliation as a parent unable to financially support a child who wants and deserves a college education, or, perhaps, aggravation of an already bad spousal relationship due to the inability to contribute to basic family finances for an extended period. And the list can go on and on.

In such a situation, my solution is to attempt to provide clients with (1) job search tools, (2) exposure to and familiarity with the job search process, (3) ample amounts of mock interviewing that increase clients’ confidence, knowledge and experience, and above all, (4) listening as they talk about their pain, and (5) an understanding of all they’re going through. Another tactic that’s proved successful is helping clients learn to divert their attention to something positive. For example, clients can learn to network effectively in order to establish new relationships with people who may be able to help them and whom in turn they can help. Clients can also learn to discuss volunteering opportunities that not only could lead to a job but in the interim could help job seekers mingle with other people. And, more often than not, volunteers could hear again the words “Thanks for a job well done”—a sentiment that for a while has probably been absent from their lives.