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Career Skills, Training and Transitions

Posts Tagged ‘Relocation’

Will The Last One Out Please Turn Off The Lights?

Posted by jamesseetoo on February 28, 2011

While attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona I had the chance to observe an amazing amount of things that reinforce the idea that this is truly a global economy. We generally concentrate on local and national news because this has usually has the most personal impact on us but it’s amazing how global workplace decisions can have wide reaching effects on people not only in one locale or one country but across the globe.

Not to single any two companies out, but there was a major announcement by one of the world’s leading technology companies (they don’t make iPhones) about an alliance with one of the world’s leading mobile telephone makers (not BlackBerry).

At their keynote addresses, the CEO of one of the involved companies gave an impassioned if flawed sales pitch and the other CEO came out and touted the benefits to both companies. Okay, I get it – one company gets an outlet for its operating system and some distribution and the other company gets – well I guess – hmm, that’s a good question. Well, I guess it gets a lot of money to ditch its proprietary operating system. All good right?

Could be, but what about those people who were developing that operating system and other people in that organization who might be, in HR-speak, “affected”?

Now this is sadly not the only two companies making this decision or this type of decision. So what should you do even if you don’t know if you’re “affected”? Guess what, no matter what happens, you will be affected. Even if you still have a job your responsibilities will change and inevitably the company culture will change.

Do you run screaming out the door, get your resume on the job boards or hunker down and hope for the best?

Probably not. But you should start taking care of yourself and taking your career into your own hands. You should definitely be open to exploring new opportunities and be open to companies and locations you may not have previously considered. If the axe falls, believe me – you don’t want to be the one turning out the lights.

On the other hand, you should still make moves for the right reasons but really begin to examine the things that might have kept you in your company before it decided to change your world. A big obstacle has traditionally been location but having maximum flexibility will give you the best chance of not only surviving but thriving in troubled times.

Company loyalty? Hey, I’m loyal to my company, it’s a great company with great people and I’m sure yours might be too. But if you’re not going to be with that company – well in my mind loyalty is a two way street.

So no, you don’t have to be the first one out, but you should be prepared to explore all opportunities and have your CV/resume and LinkedIn Profile up to date. You might want to clean up your Facebook page – make sure nothing embarrassing shows up. Careful on those Tweets too! Yes, we recruiters do check sometimes.

And if you stay a bit longer, you might get a better severance package and that’s a big help but no substitute for being able to continue your career and support your family. What you don’t ever want is to be the last one out the door because the package is usually meager and all the good jobs were probably taken by your less qualified colleagues who were willing to make a move.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

PS – Okay, so now you’re networking and keeping your options open, great. The next step is to make sure that you get the offer and you’re the one who gets to say “no”.

If you’ve been reading my blog, I’ve given some hints on how to use these skills.  I’ve spent thousands of dollars and hours to learn these techniques and this is a primer on how to quickly, easily and naturally begin to use the kinds of tools and techniques I use on a daily basis to stand out in the crowd.

Just look up – I don’t make any money off this and offer it as a resource.

Now I’m sure there are times when you’ve just “clicked” with someone, maybe an interviewer and there were times that you just didn’t. Take the randomness out of your communications. After all, there are a lot of people with job skills but those who communicate with power will be those who get an offer.

This is the first product I’ve actively endorsed and it’s only for you if you’re ready to make the commitment to yourself to take control of your life and your career.  I’ll have more of a review of this new product by my friend and mentor, David Van Arrick next time but you can check it out in advance by looking up Stealth-hypnosis.

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So How Do They Make A Hiring Decision?

Posted by jamesseetoo on July 23, 2009

OK, you went through a bunch of interviews and they all seemed to go well.  Everyone was all smiles and the Hiring Manager says we’ll have an answer for you in a few days. And then a few weeks go by with no word.

You call and either the recruiter or the hiring manager says that there hasn’t been a decision made yet but that you’re a finalist.

And then a few more weeks go by.

So What’s going on?

Back in the day (well almost five years ago) when I was in retained search, I always used to wonder just how did our clients go about making hiring decisions. We would present candidates, really great ones – really. And we would write a profile explaining their strengths and weaknesses and show how they would be successful for our clients.

Naturally, we had candidates we thought were stronger than others but companies would often choose a candidate we thought were qualified but not the most qualified.

There never seemed to be a rational reason.

So when I went into Corporate Recruiting, one of the things I wanted to know was how does a company make a hiring decision.  And I did.  Guess what, there never seemed to be a rational reason. Hiring Managers and interviewers have pet peeves and sometimes conflicting agendas.  It often comes down to liking the person (please see my “It’s Not Who You Know” postings).  And that happens in any organization.

But there were structural issues that I had never known about and here are three that have a profound effect on hiring decisions.

1) Budget – usually new positions are worked into the budget during the budget planning process. But because a company adjusts its budget depending on quarterly results a position that’s opened in one quarter may be put on hold until the next quarter or later. Many times, a company won’t say if a position is on hold because the hiring manager believes he can get the position hired if he has “the right person”.  And companies never let people know that there’s a “hiring freeze” because it makes them look like they’re in trouble.

2) Group Decisions – many companies are “matrixed” organizations to a greater or lesser degree. When that happens there’s a drive to make hiring decisions on a consensus basis. So if you’re interviewing with fifteen or twenty people, that’s a sure sign that either the hiring manager or the company wants to make a consensus driven decision. Naturally one of two things happen in consensus decisions: Greatest Common Factor or Lowest Common Denominator and it’s usually Lowest Common Denominator – someone who is totally inoffensive that everyone can live with.

And there’s a reason why armies have commanding officers. It takes a long time to get consensus from a large group. Which is why forward thinking, talent based organizations will win the war for talent. These companies will also be on the lookout for great talent in these troubled times.

3) Companies don’t know what they want – usually they start out thinking they know what they want but as hiring managers see resumes and interview people the search often takes on a life of its own. Good hiring managers let this happen within bounds because they all want great people. But sometimes there’s too much choice and they fall victim to paralysis by analysis.

So how can you avoid these delays? Sometimes you can’t. Some companies are institutionally slow. But the best thing you can do is make sure that you identify the key decision makers when you interview. Obviously the Hiring Manager is one but you can also ask the interviewers about the company’s culture and find out who else is a key decision maker like HR and Internal Clients.

But the most important thing you can do is to make sure you stick to your guns and be yourself. You must continue to believe that you’re the right person for any job you’re interviewing for. Make sure that you get all the interviewers’ contact information and add them to your network and follow up with them quickly with individual emails.

Some people will tell you to send notes but that might take too long and you want to try to influence interviewers. Sometimes debrief sessions will take place a day or two later due to scheduling conflicts and you want to be fresh in their minds. Try to build a fan base among your interviewers. Sometimes when an organization is on the fence all it takes is one person championing you to move the decision in your direction.

And if a company takes too long, don’t despair. It might not be the right organization for you. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you were inside the organization rather than outside.

Please feel free to comment or send questions. Let me hear about your experiences.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

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They Got Good Stuff There

Posted by jamesseetoo on July 20, 2009

As I was coming off a quick trip to my hometown of New York City with a side trip to visit friends in Kent, Ohio, a few things struck me when comparing Southern California and these two very different places and wondering how they all got to be so much alike. Yes it’s true, good vibrations SoCal where people surf and sun, the Big Apple where people are running in and out of stores and subways and the small, college town surrounded by farms, a place where neighborhood kids will ring the front door to ask if their friends can come out to play (without armed guards or watchful nannies) are as much alike as they are different.

Now, for disclosure’s sake, I’m someone who has relocated for a job. I went from downtown Manhattan where I was born and raised to Southern California – never in my life even considering moving to California. But it was a really good job and I got to see how the other half lives. And it’s pretty good. In fact, it’s really good. People live well in Southern California. Of course you have to leave aside politics but that’s nothing to brag about in New York either. Actually, Ohio might be looking pretty good when it comes to running a state government.

So let’s talk about some of the differences and similarities in these locations.

First of all, they speak English – in Kent, I mean. We kind of speak it in New York but walking the streets you hear all kinds of languages and sometimes even English. And so in many ways, if you don’t speak a myriad of tongues, you might get along better in Kent but even though I moved out of New York over four years ago people still pretty much understand you when you speak English to them. What they say in return could be anyone’s guess. (Is it an insult if you don’t understand it?).

I think California has it’s own version of English – can you say “Awesome Dude”? I wonder if California Spanish has those catch phrases?

Second, the food is great in both places – Kent and New York. I’m still up in the air about Southern California but the ingredients are really fresh. Okay, you may do a little better on the obscure ethnic cuisines in New York but people in New York and California pay enormously more for fresh organic produce and meats and in Kent you can grow your own or go to one of the local farms for provisions if you don’t want to go to one of the supermarkets. You can even go to Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club in all three places.

So where am I going with this? What I’m trying to say is that no matter where you go in this great country of ours you’re going to be able to live really well if you let yourself. So when a job comes up in a place you’re not familiar with you owe it to yourself to be open to relocating. Now granted, family issues are very important and I would never try to convince you to move when it’s not in your best interest but if you look at the similarities as well as the differences between places you can certainly be happy. And since very few people work for the same company for their whole career, you can always move back to where you were.

And in some ways Kent and Southern California where I currently live have even closer lifestyles. You pretty much have to drive everywhere (not much public transportation) and there are Wal-Marts, big box stores and food chains all over with some very nice local stores thrown in. Of course, Ohio doesn’t have a mandatory motorcycle law so I can see a lot of California bikers being pretty envious of their fellow riders.

Naturally on the coast you have beaches but since I prefer a pool you’re pretty well taken care of no matter where you go and you won’t have to travel to see snow in the winter.

So you can really be happy wherever you choose to be happy. There really isn’t a lack of convenience since the internet and cable tv have brought the country closer together culturally. I mean, today I saw hummus and Greek yogurt in a New York supermarket that caters to a Latino/Asian customer base. Pretty much wherever you go you’ll have all the mod cons. While you might have compelling reasons to rule out a relocation, don’t let the fear of not being on one of the coasts stop you.

And if you’re in a place like Kent, Ohio, think of it all as a grand adventure. Sure it’s more expensive than what you’re used to and the pace and noise may not be to your liking but give it a try. You owe it to yourself to see what all the fuss is about.

But the most important thing is that people are nice out there, yes, even in New York. And so keep an open mind to relocating. As they say here in California – It’s All Good.

The late comedian Sam Kinnison used to talk about the famine in Ethiopia in his routine. He screamed, “they don’t need food, they need U-Hauls!” In other words, you sometimes have to be willing to go where the jobs are. Who knows, you might like it out there.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo


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