Job seekers often underprepare for the interview. Understandably, it can be difficult to prepare answers for the millions of different questions they might be asked by an HR professional or potential boss. And that’s probably why the answers to my favorite interview question vary so greatly.
The Interview Question Candidates Get Wrong
My favorite interview question is this: If you had a blank canvas and could paint your ideal job, what would it be?
I guess it’s kind of quirky, and perhaps that’s why I get quirky answers. When I’ve been in a position to hire people and I’ve asked this question, the candidates never described the position they were interviewing for. It didn’t matter what position it was or how experienced the candidate was. They never described the job duties outlined in the job description for the position they were interviewing for.
Why It is OK to Get It Wrong
Our true selves don’t want to work where we are every day; very few people are doing what they’d be doing if they didn’t have obligations such as family and mortgage payments due each month. I understand that as the person in a position to hire you. Although it would seem that the “right” answer would be the position that the candidate is applying for, I see a lot of value in the other answers I have heard in response to the question, “If you had a blank canvas and could
paint your ideal job, what would it be?”
The responses I’ve gotten have detailed positions in other industries, the candidate’s interest in creating their own company, and even a desire to work at a restaurant on the beach in the Bahamas. These answers might surprise and disappoint a less experienced interviewer, but I know that these answers reveal more than they seem to. These answers, though they seem random, show how a candidate thinks, whether or not they’re innovative, and what their values are.
As an HR professional, I’m most interested in hiring authentic people, and when candidates give unfiltered answers to my questions, especially the blank canvas one, I get a good look at who they really are and that helps me figure out how well they’ll fit into the company I’m hiring for.
About the Author: Kimberly S. Reed, CDP, Corporatepreneur™, Managing Partner and CEO, Reed Development Group, LLC (RDG), has earned a reputation as one of the most dynamic speakers and trainers. Reed ignites audiences internationally on topics ranging from entrepreneurial leadership, leadership, professional and personal development, diversity & inclusion, personal resiliency and presentation skills. For nearly fifteen years Reed has helped executives and professionals develop a “Y.E.S.” (You, Empower, Self) mentality. After over a decade as a diversity and inclusion strategist for some of the largest companies in the world including PwC, Campbell Soup Company, Merrill Lynch and Deloitte, Reed had the ability to develop innovative solutions to identifying, attracting , retaining and developing top diverse talent. Reed has acquired key skills that have enabled her to position organizations and business units to increase recruitment, retention, deployment and the management of talent for Women and People of Color in record growth.
One of the many effects of our improving economy is a noticeable uptick in workers changing jobs. As recession-era fears subside, employees become more confident in their ability to find better opportunities. Whether they are seeking higher pay, more robust benefits packages that meet their personal needs, or intangibles such as feeling appreciated, many workers will be moving on in 2014. For those with thoughts of making a change, and even for those with no immediate plans to leave their jobs, now is a great time to take a career inventory incorporating the following guidelines:
Don’t Quit Networking Once You Get a Job: People are usually vigilant about networking when looking for a job but stop once they’re hired. Your long term career success is dependent on your ability to continue to build strong business connections as well as nurture current relationships.
Put More Focus on Benefits: When looking for a job, weighing the options is about much more than base pay. The role, manager and compensation are all important factors in deciding whether to join a company, but benefit programs (such as work-hour flexibility, health and wellness programs and family leave policies) and company culture are critical factors as well. More than ever, the gap between work and home-life is closing, and working for a company that understands that can save you a lot of stress and money.
Be the Driver of Your Own Destiny: Too many people depend on their manager or boss to set the tone for their career path. Your career success is dependent on being the driver of your own destiny. Be proactive in the assignments and responsibilities you take on. Talk to your manager/boss about what you want and where you see your career path going with the company.
Keep Social Media Profiles Professional: The lines between personal and professional are more blurred than ever before. Even if you have a personal profile page on Facebook or Twitter that you intend for your friends’ eyes only, keep it professional. Never post something that you wouldn’t want your boss or prospective employer to see. In today’s digital age it’s easy for employers and prospective employers to find you online.
Keep Your Skills Sharp: No matter what industry you are in, it’s important to keep building on your skill set. It’s not enough to graduate from college and call it a day. Education is an ongoing process and it is important to stay sharp and keep up with the latest industry trends if you want to be a key player at your company.
Create a Five Year Plan: When you started out in your career you likely had a five year plan. It’s important to keep this plan alive! Update it every year. Re-evaluate what you wanted to achieve last year, where you are now and how you would like to see the next five years go. It’s a lot easier to make career decisions when you have a solid plan laid out.
By following these tips, you will be in a much better position to meet your career goals, whether they be an immediate job change, a future move, or even a promotion within your current place of employment. Just remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and those willing to consistently put in the work are more likely to come out ahead.
About the Author: A previous guest writer for Women of HR, Chris has more than 15 years of experience in HR technology. In his role as VP of Global Workplace Solutions, Chris oversees Care.com’s suite of services offered to institutional and corporate clients, their employees and families. Under his leadership, the program has grown to serve 150 organizations representing more than 600,000 employees. A father of three small children, Chris also knows first-hand the challenges working parents face. An in-demand expert on work-life integration, he has been featured in The New York Times, Real Simple, CIO, Yahoo! Small Business and Employee Benefit News.
Politics can make or break your career. If you are working really hard and want to get ahead, you certainly don’t want to be passed over or pushed aside, right? Well then, let this be a wake-up call for you. You need to get “real” when it comes to how you fit into the current culture of your organization. You need to take a good hard look at whether or not you have the political savvy to thrive in such an environment.
The reality is that you cannot afford to ignore the politics if you have any aspirations for advancement. Yes, hard work is important. Yes, performance is important. That being said, once you reach a certain level of technical competence, politics is what makes the difference for your career success. This is especially important for women to understand. To our detriment, we continue to avoid workplace politics and set ourselves up to being blindsided and passed over for promotions.
Every organization has unique political dynamics. You have to be willing and capable of adapting in order to not only get ahead, but stay ahead.
So, how do you become politically savvy? You need to observe, listen, and ask questions.
Who is getting promoted and why?
With whom do they have relationships?
How are people rewarded in your organization?
What did they do to get noticed?
What types of behaviors are not rewarded?
Who can be your champion?
Who seems to be in “favor” and why?
Are there certain people who have access to the leadership team?
The willingness to accept the importance of workplace politics for your career advancement opens the door for you to learn how best to navigate the political landscape. It prepares you to learn the political skill necessary to thrive in your organization.
Here are the five things you must do to master the political realities of the workplace:
- Self-promote. You need to identify your value proposition; the unique way you do the work that contributes to successful business outcomes. This is the foundation of savvy self-promotion. Knowing your contribution to the business helps you to build relationships of trust and influence by aligning your value proposition with what others want and need.
- Observe the work environment. You need to develop keen observation skills to see beyond the organizational chart and identify who really has the power and influence.
- Build a strategic network. An expansive and strong network helps you to do your job better and also avoid blindsides. Relationships with influencers helps position you for success. Build and nurture relationships with people who can have a positive impact on your career.
- Find a sponsor. This is the fastest and most efficient way to navigate the politics and get to the top of your organization. A sponsor will protect you and promote you within the organization.
- Hire a coach. A coach helps you to understand your unique value proposition and shows you how to promote and position yourself across the organization with a sound strategic plan.
You must ask yourself where you would be today if you were more savvy and tuned into the way decisions are made in your company.
And most importantly, what is possible for you in the future if you are willing to learn how to effectively navigate the realities of the workplace?
About the Author: Bonnie Marcus is an executive coach, international speaker, writer and award-winning entrepreneur. Marcus runs the online platform “Women’s Success Coaching,” which Forbes listed as one of the top 100 websites for women three years in a row, and is the long-time host of the CBS syndicated radio show “GPS Your Career: A Woman’s Guide to Success.” A regular Forbes contributor, Marcus has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CIO Magazine, Diversity MBA and WomenEntrepreneur. For more information visit www.womensuccesscoaching.com
In How Dorothy Got Her Groove Back, Dorothy Douglass talks about the things she did to help her re-find her love for her job and to improve her attitude at work. Dorothy was really lucky and the tips she shares are great but…what if you still can’t get back into the swing of things?
For example, do you want to stay in the HR field or do you want to take on a new challenge? Maybe the key is switching from an interpersonal oriented area of HR like Training to one that’s more task focused like working in Benefits and Compensation. If you do decide to “jump ship”, many HR professionals have used their skills to move into careers in political, administration and even financial fields.
Of course, if you do decide to go into a complementary field, you’re probably going to have to “go back to school” unless you want to start at the very bottom of your brand new field.
Consider Jamie. Jamie got her Bachelor’s Degree in HR and, right after graduation, was hired on in the benefits department of a local small business. After a few years she realized that while she loved the numbers part of her job, she didn’t like the company’s structure. She wanted more independence and to work more directly with people, so she decided to go into Financial Planning. More specifically, she decided to go into Investment Planning (there’s a fine line between the two).
This couldn’t happen overnight—especially since Jamie didn’t want to have to start out in an entry level cubicle making a fraction of what she’d earned after rising in the ranks of HR. So, she did what many would have to do: she decided to get certified in investment planning. This involved taking Cima courses and becoming a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) prior to changing jobs.
For Jamie, this was difficult but not impossible. She has a supportive husband and her kids are older and completely capable of taking care of themselves. She could study at the table for her exams while they studied for their SAT and ACT exams. Not everybody is able to do this. Some have little ones who demand their attention. Some are already having trouble maintaining your work-life balance and adding anything else to it would throw a precarious situation into chaos. If this sounds familiar, here are a few things that to think about:
1. If you cannot handle working full time and going to school to earn whatever degrees/certifications you need for your new field, consider instead seeking financial aid and using that to supplement your income until you can find employment in your new field. Yes, student loans are nobody’s idea of a good time, but if it helps you keep your sanity, it’s worth it.
2. Talk to your family about what you want to do. Don’t just blindside them with your decision. You might be surprised at how willing to help they are. Maybe your sister can watch your kids a few evenings a week. Maybe your spouse can take over carpool in the mornings. The more time you spend talking and planning, the easier on everybody it will be.
3. Talk to your boss. Your boss probably already knows that you aren’t happy and perhaps he or she will be sympathetic. Ask about cutting back on your hours and bringing in someone to train under you so that they won’t be left in the lurch when you are finally able to give your notice.
Have you successfully switched careers into or out of HR? How did you make it work?
About the Author: Sam Peters is an avid blogger and career whiz, and a previous guest writer for Women of HR. Originally from the mid-west, she now resides in sunny San Diego. When not writing you can usually find her with a good book and her puppy, Kona.
Being a successful manager or high-ranking executive within a position dominated by men involves much more than being able to generate profits. While success is frequently measured in dollars and cents, profit and loss, or income and expenses, those statistics are only part of the total package that equals successful management and it seems that women need to work twice as hard.
Successful management consists of a set of core values that are essential for women to succeed:
- Knowledge: Knowledge is not limited to that which was learned in college, it also consists of having a broad industry-specific knowledge base in which a person is involved. It includes a detailed understanding of management skills and abilities that are conducive to getting desired results. Taking it upon yourself to learn as much as you can go a long way.
- Versatility and Adaptability: Successful women leaders cannot be rigid in their business outlook, because of the ever-changing landscape in which they work. Not only do businesses need change frequently, but there are also changes to applicable laws and regulations, relationships with suppliers and vendors, and modifications to the company’s organizational structure. Being flexible and able to adapt to anticipated and unexpected changes is essential and causes others to take notice.
- Effective Communication Skills: It is impossible to manage a business if you lack a strong ability to communicate effectively. Managers and executives must communicate frequently with a variety of individuals, and they have to be able to express clearly their opinions, instructions, and objectives. Effective communication also includes the ability to dictate those things to people in a positive way that creates a desire in others to carry out directives, share opinions, and fulfill business goals. This is one of the harder things to learn, so mastering it will give you a competitive edge.
- Leadership Ability: In nautical terminology, a captain is expected to go down with the ship when it sinks, but the captain is also at the helm of that ship when it is forging ahead into uncharted waters. This analogy also applies to members of management, who should possess leadership qualities that inspire and motivate others to follow where they lead. A good leader is one who seems to attract effortlessly a following of loyal staff members who admire, respect, and look up to that leader as a positive, influential role model.
- Commitment: Being committed to the success or failure of a company is a quality that many employees and supervisors possess, but successful leaders are also committed to the success or failure of every member of their team. Commitment includes being able to “see” desired goals and objectives being met in the future and motivating employees and other managers to move continually forward and focus on attaining those goals for the good of the company.
Successful management also includes other qualities that could be viewed as being equally important, but these five core values are those which should be fundamental, especially for women. Without these values, it truly is impossible to manage successfully and having just one or two is not good enough. To be a truly successful woman in management you must stand out. Going above and beyond, and showing everyone that you have what it takes to be a successful leader in not only your business or company but in your industry.
About the Author: Dee Fletcher is a freelance and ghost writer. See also enjoys guest blogging, and does it as often as she can to build her online presence. She has previously been a guest writer for Women of HR. Dee writes mostly about current trends or events relating to business and technology, but will occasionally write about various industries as well. She works from her home in Southern California and loves to visit the beach as often as she can.
I have always known that over the course of my career I’d be faced with adversity at timesbecause I am a female, but I had never truly considered the fact that my age – or lack thereof – would also be a significant variable in the calculation of my credibility as an Executive Recruiter. Perhaps it was my naivety or the simple fact that I’d always been treated as an equal by my colleagues, no matter the reason I was late to the realization that not everyone considered me a viable source in the industry in spite of my professional accomplishments.
In my career, I’ve placed some of the best talent into leadership seats in Fortune 500 companies, consultedgrowing organizations on how to attract the right candidate to fit their specific needs for a niche role, and have even successfully forged a partnership with a major university. Yet, I have grown accustomed to hesitant reactions and skeptical glances I receive in some moments when I interact face-to-face with other professionals.
At first, I was caught off-guard by the skepticism in my abilities because of my age that I was so often met with; however, I began to utilize the doubt, leveraging that into a platform to challenge myself. I decided that the simplicity of pure results was the best antidote. I readily and excitedly accept every difficult assignment that comes across my desk. I aim to tackle it with a sense of urgency and enthusiasm that I might not otherwise have if I didn’t feel I had something to prove. I look to go above and beyond to educate myself and gain additional experience in in the areas that I feel most green in and I actively seek out guidance from mentors that I respect and trust, acting as a sponge to learn everything that I possibly can from them.
It didn’t take me long to realize that being the underdog around the conference table was actually a blessing in disguise. It has forced me outside of my comfort zone on so many occasions, giving me the opportunity to pleasantly surprise myself and those I have worked with. It has been the catalyst for a level of performance that has reinforced my confidence in myself and has led to respect from those who might have not have given me a second thought otherwise. While I realize there will always be the nonbelievers, I have grown determined to actively combat the idea that you can’t be both young AND an expert in your field.
As both a woman and a member of the Gen-Y cohort, I am certain I have not seen my last uphill battle in corporate America. Nevertheless, I am confident that my outlook and my ability to harness that energy into something constructive will serve me well in future endeavors. The bottom line, I’ve realized, is this: there is absolutely a sense of credibility that accompanies tenure in a resume (which I am working toward every day) and while nothing can replace that type of experience, a relentless desire for success and an uncompromising work ethic can serve as a healthy supplement for it in the meantime. There’s no question that I have a lot to learn, but it doesn’t detract from what I have to offer today.
About the Author: Kelsey Chalifoux is a Search Associate at Webber Kerr Associates, regionally in New York. Before joining Webber Kerr, Kelsey worked in an RPO environment, focusing on the hiring and retention of outside sales representatives for a Fortune 500 organization. Currently, she is responsible for managing the end-to-end hiring process for high profile client positions and leadership additions including the industry sectors: Retail & Consumer Goods, Business Services, Hospitality and Oil & Energy.
Society has gotten to the point where it is more interesting to find that a person does not use some sort of social media platform, than one that uses a platform daily. This deeply personal display of information, however, often finds its way into a workplace environment, and not always in a positive way.
There are numerous ways that Human Resources departments can use social media. For example, businesses have successfully utilized the content for team building, training, communication, work delegation, research and blogging. However, there are 3 fundamental areas that social networking sites could positively affect.
- Communication: Clear communication between Human Resources and employees is critical for the health of a company. Through social media, it is much easier than ever before. Using these networks as a tool, Human Resources departments can easily communicate a message to everyone in the company, regardless of their location. A tweet or a status update can quickly convey a short message to hundreds in an instant.
- Employee feedback: Long ago, Human Resources departments relied on suggestion boxes or private meetings for employee suggestions and concerns. Now, using social networks or online forums, employees can voice their opinions and have open discussions.
- Recruiting: Human Resources departments know that today’s job seekers are online. Recruiting departments now use social media to market their company and talk directly to potential employees. Many Human Resources departments also use social media when conducting background checks on applicants, looking for additional information not provided in a traditional resume.
But what exactly can each social platform do for Human Resources? Let’s look at the 3 main networks.
The social media giant has literally millions of users from all over the world, making it a handy tool for Human Resources personnel. Since Facebook is so popular, the chances of an applicant having an active profile are high. It is a great place to start additional research on a potential hire.
The professional social network, LinkedIn is perfect for recruiters looking for qualified applicants. With an active job board, it is also a good place to post a job ad that will be seen by the right people.
Twitter has an excellent search feature which allows Human Resources departments to look for potential employees by searching relevant hashtags and keywords. Like Facebook, Twitter is also a good screening tool for looking up applicants.
The way Human Resources departments run themselves have evolved as the use of social media has become crucial. And they continue to evolve. Here are a couple of issues that Human Resources need to keep an eye on and be ready for.
Employees using their own devices
Before the widespread popularity of smart phones, companies used to provide handheld devices for their employees. Today, Human Resources departments need to understand that they can’t control the communication channels of their employees, and prepare accordingly.
Since social media changes so frequently, some states are making efforts to regulate what employers can and cannot access on applicant’s social media profiles. Currently, 6 states have passed laws that prohibit employers from obtaining information on applicants via social media. While these laws haven’t hit the majority of states, it’s definitely something that could happen and businesses should watch the legal and regulatory developments.
Social media has become increasingly accepted in the business world. Once mainly used for marketing and advertising, social media networks now serve a purpose for Human Resources departments as well. It can be used to make companies run more efficiently, as a hiring and job search tool. Smart HR departments are now using social media to their advantage and keeping an eye on the constant changes that could help or hinder their efforts.
About the Author: Today’s guest contributor for WomenOfHr.com is Mark W. Kirkpatrick, an enthusiastic writer and infographic designer who focuses primarily on public relations, tech and the business globalization. You can also find more of his writing at 1800-Number.com, which covers all things related to business communications.
I work with HR business owners on a daily basis, and when it comes to confidence issues, there’s something that I notice time and time again. If an entrepreneur is struggling to realise their potential because of their doubt about their own abilities, then most of the time, they also happen to be women. The causes and background behind this are different ballgames altogether, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.
I’m here instead to tell you what you can do if this applies to you in your own HR business. Because if you want to grow the business that you really deserve, and bring in the cash that you want, you need to overcome your confidence issues and really ramp things up to the next level. These are my tried and tested techniques for struggling entrepreneurs who need to raise their game.
Focus on your big vision
Some of us are natural born entrepreneurs, destined to take the reins and do our own things from the offset. For many more of us though, self-employment was something that kind of happened as a result of circumstances. So maybe you started your HR business after you got made redundant, or maybe you started a family and realised that you needed some extra flexibility, or perhaps you just reached the stage in the corporate world where enough was enough, and you needed to get out there and create your own future rather than someone else’s.
That’s fine, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve big success in your business, but it often does mean that you get your head down and soldier on, without ever stopping to think about what you REALLY want out of your business. Do you want to make 6 figures, 7 figures, or beyond? Do you want a better work-life balance? Whatever it is, you’ll only get there if you know what your big ambitions are, get them really clear in your mind, and set the intention that you’ll make it happen. The magic occurs when you’ve got an unwavering big vision, you recognise it, and you work out the steps that it’ll take to get you there.
Do whatever it takes to keep these big goals in mind and propel yourself forward. Create a vision board in your office, make a virtual board using Pinterest, commit your ambitions to paper, make sure that your family understands what it is that you’re working towards. Some of these things might seem a little ‘woo-woo’, especially for seasoned business professionals, but trust me – action in these areas helped me to make huge progress in my business.
Eliminate your blocks
Success and money are difficult subjects, and your attitude towards them has been formed over the course of your whole life. The things your parents taught you about work and spending, the very first job that you had, that time you were unfairly missed out of a promotion exercise – all of things build up to create your own views on your abilities as a business owner, and whether or not you consciously realise it, have a bearing on how you perform.
Are you undervaluing your services, and hugely over-delivering to clients who don’t value your work? Are you letting your prospects haggle you down, even though you know that you should be charging a premium for the type of expertise that you offer? All of things are indicators that your relationship with success and money needs some work.
Once you recognise and acknowledge these barriers that hold you back, it’s much easier to break them down. In my experience, men typically have a much less emotional relationship with money in their businesses than women do. If you want to overcome the issues that are holding you back, it’s vital that you take the time to unearth them, then work on creating a new personal belief system that creates success rather than stalling you.
Recognise your expertise – and market yourself as the expert
Take a second to think about your expertise as an HR professional. I dare bet that you’ve got masses of qualifications, real experience out there in the trenches, and you could provide masses of anecdotal evidence right off the top of your head about how you’ve transformed businesses with your skills. Regardless of what your confidence sometimes tell you, you know in your heart of hearts that you’re fabulous at what you do.
So why doesn’t the world know about it? When you effectively market your business, you carve out your own niche as the go-to HR professional for what it is that you offer. What happens next is two-pronged. Firstly, your business grows. When you’re the expert, you attract clients who are a great fit for you and truly value your skills. And, importantly, your confidence soars. Getting to grips with marketing is one of the best things you can ever do for your business – because after all, if clients aren’t banging down your door to work with you, you won’t have the successful business that you’ve been dreaming about.
Marketing might be out of the realms of your current skill set, and that’s why you need to take active steps to understanding what you need to do to make more cash and ramp things up a level. Read all you can, seek out a marketing coach that understands your industry, and most importantly, take action. Your business could be an entirely different entity by next year if you make positive steps in this area.
About the Author: Ruth Hinds is the founder of HR Consultants Marketing School, and helps HR business owners to make more money and attract clients who are a great fit. A former HR professional herself, she’s worked in senior HR management roles and has an MSc in HRM. For the past two years, she’s worked closely with HR business owners just like you to help them reach the next level. Check out her free guide to attracting all the right clients to your HR business.
“Don’t just stand for the success of other women – insist on it.” - Gail Blanke, President and CEO, Lifedesigns
Maybe being a man writing this undermines all credibility. My career has been all about embracing the importance and value of a diverse workplace. Having a silent or marginalized voice isn’t easy. Being an ignored or disrespected voice is soul crushingly depressing. I’ve long been having this conversation with my female colleagues about the importance breaking the silence and finding my voice.
Let’s not kid ourselves though, there’s still knuckledraggers wandering the workplace halls. The staff room at times is more like a locker room. You need hipwaders every time you pass the watercooler, because there’s so much BS and testosterone fueled bravado surrounding it.
There are talkers in your midst. They’re also getting ahead by only talking a good game. It’s time to rise above the bad smell, of less pay, less recognition, and lesser titles. You’re educated, you’re smart, you have skills, and you work harder than most. You’ve got game. Communicating a great game will raise the bar in your workplace.
Improving your verbal and non-verbal communication skills will get you noticed, will help get you ahead, and make for a better workplace. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Being overly apologetic is undermining. It’s not your fault the network is down, or the caterer messed up the the lunch order. Working late to meet a deadline, don’t apologize for asking your team to join you.
- Your behavior shapes the universe. Your competence and confidence always need to be on display. Showing courage and conviction will inspire and mobilize others to take action. Turning your words into action will get you noticed. Remember the fine line between arrogance and confidence. Speak directly with authoritative tone. Being loud, condescending, or defensive won’t carry the day.
- Do not talk down your achievements or undervalue them when working in a successful group and alongside men. Teamwork matters. Undervaluing yourself in group situations, in front of co-workers or employers, will hold you back. Take the credit and recognition you’re due. Kudos aren’t just a man’s domain.
- Of course there’s merit in wanting to be helpful, and having the get things done attitude to achieve your teams goals. Remember the delicate balance between taking on meaningful tasks versus the busy grunt work nobody else wants to do. You want to be a meaningful and effective contributor. Communicate with the boss about projects that excite you. Let them know what you’d like to work on.
- Ideas are essentially gender neutral. Work at generating good ideas, communicating the value of those ideas, as well as helping others articulate their ideas.
- If direct and open feedback is constructive, don’t personalize or internalize it. Be direct and open in receiving it. Take action on it.
- Be authentic. Know and respect what you are about, and true to your beliefs. You’re more than just what’s on your resume.
- Focus on your own growth and contribute to the growth of the people supporting you.
A truly diverse workplace embraces different voices, with different perspectives. By making your voice is heard and your presence known, you’ll be making a difference.
“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypant
About the Author: As VP of Marketing, Bimal Parmar manages the global marketing strategy and execution at Celayix. With over 20 years industry experience, Bimal is responsible for making sure the world learns about the benefits of Celayix’s solutions that include: advanced employee scheduling, time and attendance, employee communication as well as integration modules for payroll and billing. Before joining Celayix, Bimal was Vice President of Marketing at Faronics, a leading provider of IT solutions for the Education vertical where he helped grow revenue over 50% and launched exciting new solutions. Prior to that Bimal held senior marketing and product roles at technology companies such as Business Objects and McAfee Security where he gained significant international experience working with global companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Sony, HP, Orange, Telefonica and Ricoh.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Lois P. Frankel is the President of Corporate Coaching International , an executive coach, speaker, and best-selling author. She has just released an updated and revised 10th anniversary edition of her book Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers. In it she reveals a distinctive set of behaviors that women learn in girlhood that ultimately sabotage them as adults and discusses how to eliminate those behaviors. Today, she has shared her Top 10 tips with us. Some you may agree with, some you may not. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Top 10 Tips For Claiming the Corner Office
1. Body Art: Don’t get a tattoo or an unusual body piercing if you’d had even one drink, toke, or snort. You’ll be likely to regret it. Similarly, don’t be goaded into getting one by your sorority sisters, girlfriends, or someone you’re dating who thinks they’re hot.
2. Communication: Resist the urge that screams incomplete when you don’t say everything that’s on your mind. Women, fearing they haven’t explained well enough, can use about twice as many words per day than men (and then wonder why they’re not listened to). We think when we talk more, we make a better case – when in fact the opposite is true. This is a case where less is more.
3. Inappropriate Use of Social Media: Once you post something on the internet, getting it off is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. You have no control over where it goes. Play it safe. Put nothing on the internet that could cause someone to doubt your values, your brand, or your reputation.
4. Giving Away Your Ideas: Get in the habit of asking a question after expressing an idea or making a proposal. Something like, “Are there any objections to immediately getting to work on this?” is ideal. This increases the likelihood of acknowledgement and discussion.
5. Feeding Others: Unless your name is Betty Crocker, don’t bring food to work or have it sitting on your desk. It softens the impression others have of you. Of course if it needs softening because you’re a tough broad, it could be a good strategy!
6. Skipping Meetings: If you think meetings are just a big waste of time, think again. They’re called “meet-ings” not “work-ings.” Even when a meeting seems unproductive, it provides you with the opportunity to market you brand, get information, and be on the radar screens of those who making decisions about your career.
7. Being a Doormat: Pablo Picasso said, “There are only two types of women – goddesses and doormats.” Avoid being the latter by learning to manage expectations about what you can and can’t realistically do (take a negotiations class if you have to), asking for what you want or need rather than waiting to be given it, and trusting your instincts. If you think you’re being taken advantage of or abused, you likely are.
8. Protecting Jerks: Women are like jerk flypaper. Not only do we attract them more than men do, we tolerate them longer than we should. Consciously distance yourself from jerks (and jerks can be men or women) so that you’re not found guilty by association, when you get blamed for the actions of a jerk re-direct the blame to where it belongs, and when the jerk is your boss it’s time to look for another job. You won’t change a jerk, so protect yourself.
9. Making Miracles: Miracle workers get canonized not recognized. In every organization there’s a baseline for hard work that everyone is expected to toe. If you consistently work beyond the baseline you’ll be seen as a worker-bee and just be given more work to do. Learn to not only do your job well, but also be strategic in how it gets done so that you’re seen as more than just a worker-bee. Use all the extra “free” time on your hands to build relationships that will serve you throughout your career.
10. Branding: We are all brands in the workplace. It’s what distinguishes you from everyone else. Write down 3 – 5 words you want people to use to describe you. Then identify the behaviors in which you must engage for others to actually see those traits. When you act in concert with your brand, people will come to trust you.