Archive | June, 2007

Why is Profanity So Effective?

28 Jun

As I have shared with many of you, I am self-diagnosed ADD.  I do think it is actually a good trait for a recruiter to possess as many of my colleagues seem to share this condition.  Perhaps in lieu of medication it is therapeutic being able to unload my observation through this medium. 

In fact it gives me great pleasure to share this general rant.  I get a kick out of the conversations where some of you just go completely transparent with YOUR story.  "The people I work with are effing idiots – I hate this effing place" – These are my kind of people – as a recruiter I have grown to love the transparent negativity of high caliber people that although they have deep convictions about why they should leave their company – for some reason they have not done anything about it yet.

It’s as if they have so much pent up rage they are glad I called because they just needed to tell someone.  For that, I thank you.  I love it.

So back to profanity and why it is so effective.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to be berated with profanities.  "Eff you, Andy – don’t ever call me again you ahole!"  I don’t want to hear that.  I am talking about the use of profanity in the proper way. 

Here is my take:

People want to know where you stand – cussing clarifies.  People want to know how you feel – profanity is passionate.  Diversity in the workplace is integral in today’s corporate world – Terseness transcends, Damnit it does. 

I think conventional wisdom is that profanity shows the ignorance of the individual, a lack of vocabulary, a lack of thought – I say quite the contrary.  I think clarity trumps creativity and volatility is one up on vocabulary.

Look, profanity gets to the point.  You have my attention.  People want edgy, they want in your face, I think profanity ensures they listen.  It keeps them listening, it keeps them engaged in the presentation.  Can you imagine at the next shareholder’s meeting your CEO getting up and just going off on the good or bad results?  You would would leave there saying, "Damn, I can’t believe she said that.  She’s effing right, our business model does need reengineered" or "She’s effing right, we had a great year – we should be in awe of ourselves." 

Clearer messages delivered with brevity and shorter meetings all because of some calculated cussing.

Finally, I think F bombs and the like are therapeutic.  I recently just went off on a customer service rep that called me and I really just lost it. While I regretted being a little over the top – I felt good about it deep down.  In fact, rather than saying – "Sir, do not use that language with me" (repeatedly and in some nasal tone) – she actually paused and asked – "Why do you cuss so much?" – I actually said to her, "because it makes me feel good."  Point is she really didn’t mind and I think she was glad I felt better.  Now, that is customer service.

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No One Wants to Read That Resume Of Yours

18 Jun

Glanceable – is that a word? To paraphrase George Costanza, if you believe the lie you tell it must be a true statement. Perhaps if you use a word so many times it becomes one.

When asked what is important in a resume – I always say – make it glanceable. The hiring manager needs to be able to look at your resume and size you up quickly. How quick? Real quick – they have no time, they have ballgames, recitals, church activities, and a life just like you. You don’t know the attention span of the hiring manager but if they are like me I could easily nod off reviewing some of the resumes I have seen. I mean…seriously.

What does this mean to me, Andy? It means you need to read your resume critically. It means that form is more important than substance. It means bold, italics, bold italics, bullet points, sentence fragments – all that stuff works. If you are applying for a position as an English teacher – this would not be good advice – but enjoy your summer vacation should you land that job.

Your resume’s substance needs to be in the right format or you will not get in the door – and I want you in that door.

Review your resume with a critical eye.  Think – would you interview you?   Bust up paragraphs.  Implement the changes.  Ask your spouse, significant other or a trusted colleague to review your resume for glanceability(a derivative of glanceable).

Let Me Give You a Hand With That

7 Jun

I really struggled with even typing this up for fear of sounding incredibly hokey, way too basic, or condescending.  I guess since this is a fairly new blog though – the basics are a good place to start.

I write this not because I think it but because my employers talk about it way too often.  The receptionist in my office was even having this debate with her replacement last week.   We all encounter this frequently and make judgments from it as well.

I guess one of the things I have always liked about my job is I get all the feedback.  I hear both sides and am able to see the fit or a non-fit begin to take shape.  I take this feedback seriously so I can help you interview better the next time.  Again, what I am about to share is the basic stuff but it is of vital importance.  Any idea what this might be? 

Your appearance?  Kind of – but more important.  Bringing a few extra copies of your resume with you to an interview?  Good idea – this is still more important though.

It is your handshake.  I am telling you I have heard way too often about poor handshakes.  I am not kidding.  Again, I feel uncomfortable almost even talking about it.  You should know this already, right?  Somewhere between sitting up straight and chewing with your mouth closed – didn’t someone mix in a "you need a good firm handshake"?

I really don’t need to go any further but – I must  I mentioned that the receptionist in my office building and her replacement were discussing what makes a good handshake.  As I happened by, I joined the conversation and truly appreciated that 2 twenty somethings were engaging in this conversation.  So often I seem to think that the twenty somethings of today think it is ok to put their my space page link on their resume – complete with all those close up photos of their tats (tattoos), while Buckcherry’s song "Crazy B@!ch" provides accompaniment to your perusal of their private life.  Sorry back to task.

Let’s just say – at my 39 year old vantage point I was glad to see and hear these two ladies get it.  So how should you shake a hand of your potential boss and future co-workers?  Let’s analyze the components of a chemistry building, job getting, ideal interview handshake.

Firm but not too firm.  The pit between the thumb and the index finger need to meet and your fingertips need to slightly wrap the underside of their hand all while looking them in the eye.  Please practice now. 

Finally, no one is ever going to comment on what a tremendous handshake you possess but my will they comment on a bad one.  They do and will – please don’t let me hear that about you.  Now, sit up straight …or you will not get this job!   

Once You Leave – You Were Never Worth A Crap.

1 Jun

Once you decide to resign and subsequently leave, you are about to experience a career phenomenon like no other – the reality that although you invested many an hour implementing integral systems, driving projects through your company, playing golf with the big boss at his standard tee time, giving your all and doing whatever it takes – well, the reality is that you were never worth a crap.

Why do I note this? One, it’s true. In fact, I have experienced this on at least two occasions in my career – and in sharing this gem with many a client – others have validated that this is the absolute truth. The stories are endless.

Maybe you know someone like this. They were a good co-worker, they resigned, you were sorry to see them go, many were surpised by it, they had been recognized for their accomplishments, you even went out and got margaritas with them the Thursday before the Friday that was their last day. You heard HR shed crocodile tears over their pending departure, the boss made them a counteroffer – twice, and you along with many other employees were gonna miss them. The following week was different though.

You could feel it in the air – in the parking lot, the lobby, the cubicle quadrants, everywhere. The coffee bar, maybe you only have a coffee maker with cups that suck, was abuzz with negativity. It resembled a scene from the nightly news where political figures are burned in effigy – where those employees left behind are the crazed insurgence and the …well, you know who is getting roasted.

The other reason I share this is because if this happens it is actually good news. In fact, you want to be this person. Why? Companies have to cover the loss of good employees. Nothing is wrong with the environment, the culture complete with an outdated management style is fine, the company mission statement is lived out – right. They cannot explain the departure over top performers, so they announce their resignation, publicly say, “We wish (insert name here) well,” and pick them apart privately. Sure.

Please do not let my cynicism cause you to think that it is like this at every company. The rest of the story is this, when you resign if you do not fall into this category – maybe, just maybe…it is possible…possible that at this moment in time – you aren’t worth a crap. In this case, people will not talk about you when you leave – they are talking about you now though. Sorry.

Here’s to hoping that when you resign – you are a couple of weeks away from being a former employee that was never worth a crap. I will see you at the meetings.

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