As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine Q3 2016 Issue
IN JOB SEARCHES AS IN WORK, CONSISTENCY IS A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
I often hear job-seekers say things like: “I’ll probably slow down now because with the holidays coming, it’s going to be slow.” Or: “Nothing much is going to happen now that it’s summer so I’ll probably be more active again in September.” While I understand the mind-set (who can argue with that logic, right?) the seeker of the next step in his/her career must be present and active to be noticed. You’ll be much more in the driver’s seat and have a competitive advantage if you stay consistent, even during “slow periods.”
But let’s examine this “nothing’s going to happen” concept. Are things really “slow”? Doesn’t this idea imply the feeling that there will be nothing coming up because the executive team isn’t focused on continuing quickly with their strategic hires?
Yes, things slow down in December because of the holidays. And yes, things slow down in July because of vacations. And yes, things slow down during the first quarter because people are unwilling to leave their present employers before collecting their bonuses. But do things really slow down to the point where there is no hiring? While I understand that the general idea is valid because the process is slower, what I’ve found is that the hiring continues. Companies are planning for the New Year and would like to hire someone to hit the ground running in January. Companies are still hiring in July because the need is still there. And yes, companies are paying sign-on bonuses to people to make up for what the new employee is walking away from, if they really need that new person to start.
In a competitive job search, the best time to pursue a new position is when your competitors are all taking it slow— because of the holidays or summer, because they are waiting to collect their bonuses, or because of whatever reason they may have. Now is the time to go harder with the search because you are at a competitive advantage by not being hindered by the mind-set that things slow down to a halt.
So, send that note, invite that person for coffee, have that dinner, network, and stay in touch with people even during those “slow periods.” You just might find yourself with an opportunity you never would have known about. That’s how you’ll discover your competitive advantage.
As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine 2015 Q3 Issue
Recent trends have shown that C-suite executives increasingly recruit talent from industries outside their own. Executives often find that people from varying sectors can have an excellent handle on best practices, more so than those with deep experience in a single field. One example is the former CEO of Louis Vuitton who, according to the Harvard Business Review, hired executives from Toyota to improve supply chain management and IT integration. Thanks to input from experts outside of the luxury-brand field, today Louis Vuitton is ahead of most of its competitors in sharing with suppliers real-time information about customer demand.
Career mobility often helps transfer best practices across different sectors and products. A skill set that at first glance may seem irrelevant to a particular field, may actually help inject new life into a management or design team. For example, an executive formerly with Apple, a company known as much for its design and style as its technology, may have excellent ideas for the development of high-tech clothing or jewelry lines, or to run a luxury watch brand that looks to meet precise performance benchmarks. The possibilities for this type of cross-pollination are endless once C-suite executives expand their views of what comprises a valuable skill set.
As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine 2015 Q3 Issue
Can companies achieve the perfect workforce by analyzing the psyche of prospective employees? The big-data companies designing these tests say yes, and more and more employers are inclined to agree. Everyone from the Chili’s restaurant chain to the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, administers personality tests to prospective and current employees looking for the correlation between people’s answers and their job success rate.
Relying on equal parts psychological assessment, New Age questioning, and mathematical algorithms, this fast-growing $2 billion industry purports to define and measure the behavioral, cognitive, and cultural traits that make up a successful employee.
But can these tests really predict job performance? Like the I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient) and E.Q. (Emotional Quotient) assessments, the X.Q. test is supposed to match the best people to the jobs at which they will most excel. However, algorithms cannot always account for the human factor. People have the capacity to learn and take on new skill sets, even becoming extremely successful doing jobs that go against personality type. (Case in point: We are all charging our iPhones right now thanks to Nikola Tesla, the ultimate loner and recluse. How would Tesla have fared on an X.Q. test?) Until the effectiveness of “people analytics” passes the test of time, a good vetting of the resume and face-to-face interview may still be the best ways to find successful employees.