#5 of 5 Tough Interview Questions – “How have you resolved an interpersonal conflict in the workplace?”

#5 of 5 Tough Interview Questions – “How have you resolved an interpersonal conflict in the workplace?”

A five-part series of really tough interview questions… and how to respond!!

5 tough eThus far we have addressed these questions:

#1 – “Why have you changed jobs so many times?”

#2 – “Why should we hire you?”

#3 – “Tell me about yourself.”

Last week’s essay covered question #4 “What salary are you looking for?”.

You need to know and understand that interviewing for a new job is a “single-elimination” process! Get it right and you usually move on to the next step in the job-seeking process with that organization. If you don’t do well…it’s then time to start over elsewhere.

The job-seeking process requires the need to prepare for interviewing – you really do need to be ready to answer all the questions that will come your way…. especially the tough ones… the ones where a bad answer will end your opportunities with that potential employer.

Let’s look at the fifth and final of the five toughest interview questions:

“How have you resolved an interpersonal conflict in the workplace?”

Why is this a tough question? Because you need to first tell the story as to why you had such a conflict….and then tell the story of how your arrived at a winning solution.

As you prepare your answer, keep in mind the objectives of the interviewer; it is to learn from your answers:

  1. How well do you get along with people such as co-workers, a difficult customer or vendor, your boss?
  2. How well do you handle stress?
  3. Are you able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective?

The conflict may have come about because a co-worker wasn’t doing their fair share …and it reflected poorly on you and the department.

The conflict may have come about when you were hired and one of your reports felt they should have promoted to your job.

It may have been because of conflicting priorities between you and a co-worker.

However it came about there are some important rules to follow when answering this kind of question.

  1. Describe – briefly – the situation: “We were developing a new website for one of our divisions and I was in charge of the project. I assigned different graphic and writing pieces to others along with deadlines when I needed first drafts.”
  2. Describe what the conflict was: “The person responsible to get the graphic layout options ready to present missed the deadline by a full day. Furthermore when I asked about it, this person came unglued – almost yelling at me in the open office layout we have that I had no idea how hard the task was and how busy he was with other responsibilities.
  3. Discuss what you did: “I said hold on Barry… let’s not let this become a fistfight.”  I said this with a big smile to disarm his temper. I then said “Let’s go offline on this so we let others get back to work.” We went to a more private location – one of our conference rooms. I then said, “Barry – why didn’t you come to me and let me know you were up against a wall of conflicting priorities? A day or two isn’t a deal breaker, especially when I know about it ahead of time. When do you think you will have it ready for review?” He responded , “Sorry I got a little reactive there – I can have it by tomorrow afternoon.” I said, “Great – and in the future be sure to let me know in advance if you are running out of time so I can either adjust or change the priority of things”.

Then comment to the interviewer, “I understand that conflict is part of life and the workplace. The key thing is don’t let it become personal and don’t let it get out of hand.”

If the follow-up question is “How do you handle stress?” a good response might be:

“I try to think ahead and plan ahead so that there are no surprises… it is often the surprises that lead to stress. Surprises are for birthdays not the workplace! But still stress can sometimes occur. I take a deep breath… maybe standup for a minute… and then put the situation into perspective:

  • How serious is the issue; does it require an immediate resolution or not.
  • What was the triggering action or event that brought it on?…and how do I turn it off?”

If you are a supervisor and two or more of your reports are in conflict  and you need to resolve it, then a different course of action is called for…and you may use an example of this type of conflict resolution to answer the question.

Let’s go back to the three step process:

  1. Describe – briefly – the situation: “One of my departments consists of a sales team and also people internally that ship out product based on what the sales team generates.”
  2. Describe what the conflict was: “Two of my reports were having an ongoing feud. One was in sales and the other fulfillment. The sales person – Susan – wanted to know why the orders they got weren’t taken care of quicker; they had a complaint of sorts from a customer. Meanwhile the fulfillment person – Bill – was also handling a big influx or orders from another department. It was getting nasty.”
  3. Discuss what you did: I called them together in a neutral location – one of our conference rooms. I said, “Susan – Bill – you are both very valuable to achieving our mission and we need to find a resolution to  your differences. Susan – please tell me what you think Bill is upset about and what his concerns are. Put yourself in Bill’s shoes. Bill – we will both just listen – no comments.” After Susan was done I said, “Bill – your turn. Tell me what you think Susan’s concerns are and why she is upset. Susan – same rules – we just listen.” This almost always defuses the situation and each party begins to understand the other’s issues.

We took it from there and developed a course of communications that enables Susan to ask about an order without being critical of Bill and letting him know of high priority orders….and Bill letting Susan know in advance that a shipment might be delayed a day or two.

In summary, as you prepare to interview and prepare your responses to questions think through from your experience what conflict you can talk about in a manner that illustrates your skills in this area.

OK… you now know how to answer “How have you resolved an interpersonal conflict in the workplace?”

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4 Barriers to Getting That Job Offer!

The Shocking Truth About Your Image

Four bizarre reasons customers may not like you (or people may not hire you!)

By Jeff Mowatt

I came across an interesting article that address some of the issues that get in the way of interviewing well and ultimately getting a job offer. The four principles Jeff mentions:

  1. You look different than expected (dress for success when interviewing)
  2. You’re hard to understand (verbal skills aren’t good)
  3. You exaggerate (don’t puff your experience or fib on your resume)
  4. You’re indiscreet (don’t ever bad mouth a past boss or employer)

….all apply to the job seeking process. I found the article a refreshing reminder of the barriers to success and getting job offers. With that said… read on! I have added a comment or two and put them in italics to distinguish them from Jeff’s original article. Many thanks to Jeff for letting me share this with you!

Jeff Mowatt

Jeff Mowatt

Whether it’s fair or not, we are often judged on first impressions. This harsh reality is nowhere better seen than in today’s ultra-fast business world where customers size-you-up in a nano-second based on your personal image. Since their impression of you will determine whether or not they want to do business with you (or interview you… or hire you), the impact on your career and on your organization’s bottom line can be staggering.

Ironically, when corporations bring me in to speak at conventions on how to boost customer retention, I often find that there’s been little or no professional training for employees about personal image. Since it’s often awkward to confront employees on these sensitive issues, you need some ammunition to make the task easier. Here are 4 image-related reasons that customers may not like you or your employees. Incidentally, customers will never tell you these reasons to your face — they’ll simply do business elsewhere.

1. You look different than expected.

Customers prefer conducting business with individuals who meet their visual expectations. So if you want to keep customers, dress in a manner that customers expect. A plumber dressed in an Armani suite makes the client uncomfortable. An alderman in khaki shorts would shock the council members of City Hall. A waitress with too much makeup, sporting tattoos and body piercing would likely put off a patron in an upscale restaurant. On the other hand, a bar tender in a conservative suit and tie may appall a customer in an alternative nightclub.

“But that’s not fair!” decry so many employees at the thought of being told what to wear. Again, first impressions may not be fair, but they are the realities of the business world. You hire employees to take care of customers — not for the sake of expressing their sartorial individuality. They can do that on their own time. Your job as a business owner or manager is to create an environment, including staff wardrobe, where your customers feel comfortable.

The most effective way to convey this message to employees is to have a written dress code. When writing your code, it’s best to check with an attorney for the laws that apply in your jurisdiction. The great thing about a dress code is it often weeds out would-be applicants who wouldn’t feel comfortable in that environment. That’s better for everone.

2. You’re hard to understand.

Customers don’t want to strain themselves to understand front line staff. If you or other employees don’t speak the local language clearly, then customers will generally go to your competitors where they won’t have to work so hard to communicate — or to spend their money. This is doubly important when speaking on the telephone, where customers don’t have the benefit of non-verbal communication to help them interpret what’s being said.

This concept has nothing to do with discrimination based on ethnic differences or nationality. It has to do with basic communication skills that are essential to do the job. If it’s a question of improving your knowledge of the local language, then take courses until you’re fluent and easy to understand- not just enough to get by. (If English is not your first language – enunciate very carefully and practice your verbal skills.)

3. You exaggerate.

Don’t exaggerate to tell customers what they want to hear. If a task will take 15 minutes to complete, don’t say, “It’ll only be 5 or ten minutes.” This is called lying. Customers hate that. Organizations that stay in business over the long term, adhere to the age-old adage, under promise and over deliver. ‘Nuff said.

4. You’re indiscreet.

‘Indiscreet’ describes the cashier at a self-serve gas station who chatted with his friends while I entered to pay. He barely stopped his conversation with his buddies to take my money. I felt like I was crashing a private party. I never went back.

While this obvious display of rudeness is relatively rare, a much more common example is when employees converse amongst themselves in front of the customer. Numerous times I’ve been on airplanes when the flight attendants, while rolling food carts down the aisles, are so engaged in their personal conversations that they barely stop long enough to take the dinner orders. Meanwhile every passenger has to listen to their private conversations, whether they want to or not.

To top-off the indiscretion list, far too many employees inadvertently tell customers more than they want to hear. For example, when a customer asks a front line employee, “How are you?”, they really don’t want to hear complaints. It’s just a greeting. Yet some employees take this as an excuse to complain with, “Oh, I’m 60-40″, or as a security guard once told me, “I’m vertical.” (Yikes)! Some employees respond with, “I’ll be great when my break starts.” In other words, the employee will be happy as soon as he or she can get away from their job and us — the customers. All of these indiscretions make customers wish they were dealing with professionals. (By careful of what you say and where you say it. I have heard far too many things I should have NEVER heard in elevators and from the next table over at lunch!)

There is hope.

Awareness of these problems is half the battle. A lot of employees simply don’t realize they’re committing these offenses. Another part of the solution is training. Bringing in a professional trainer to address the employees as a group provides the advantage of third party objectivity, in a fun non-threatening manner. One thing is clear though, if you do nothing about these issues, your business will continue to suffer without anyone else telling you why.

Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, award-winning speaker, and bestselling author. For more tips, training tools or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team visit www.JeffMowatt.com.

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A Proven Plan to Uncover the Hidden and Unpublished Job Market! Part 1 of 2

Job-Seeking Strategy – Uncovering the Hidden and Unpublished Job Market….another way to find a job!

What is the “Hidden and Unpublished Job Market”?

hidden-job-market-970x451The term “Hidden Job Market” refers to job openings that exist or will in the very near future, but that are not available to the general job-seeking public; they are not being advertised, are not on the internet job boards and are not listed with staffing services. They may or may not be listed on the employer’s website.

This is a lengthy post so I will divide it into two sections. This post will discuss:

How do you get your foot in the door for these “hidden” jobs?

  • Timing – Due to the nature of most of the hidden jobs… timing is critical. Which means you need to be ready at a moment’s notice to respond. LinkedIn and Facebook profiles have to be current and in good shape. Resume and cover letter both need to be up to date as well as ready to send. Interview question responses need to be completed and ready to be reviewed in the event that a telephone interview is in the cards very quickly after initiating action.
  •  Check your sources frequently – perhaps every day – job boards, websites of targeted employers with available job listings, classified ads, etc. When a hidden job becomes “unhidden” you want to know about it and be ready to act that day – not a week later. Ben Franklin had it right when he talked of early birds and worms!
  • Networking – As noted in the title of the great networking book by Harvey Mackay Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty – you build your network before you need it. If your network is skimpy, however, use what you have and get to work to build it to a far more robust level. We will cover how to put your existing network to work for you to unearth the hidden job market, but you should make building your network a priority. My advice to you is to buy – and read – Harvey’s book!
  • Have and execute a self-marketing plan – The most pro-active way to unearth those hidden jobs… as well as those that are not hidden, but you have just not found them yet.

Self-Marketing Plan:

This self-marketing plan involves you making lots of phone calls and following a carefully worded script (see notes accompanying each aspect of the call):

“Bill – Harry Smith here. How have you been??…it has been a while since we talked.”

Hopefully it will not have been so long that Bill hasn’t a clue who you are!! Networks and contacts are like tuna salad – the fresher the better. If it has been awhile… or the person is just a business card you collected at a meeting a year ago, you should add:

“Bill – you may not remember, but we met at the XYZ meeting/conference/reception/whatever last year in (city). I enjoyed our brief conversation then…and I was impressed. I kept your business card knowing that I would want to touch base with you in the future… like now when I need some advice!”

“Say Bill – I have a favor to ask… nothing heavy mind you.. but important to me. I am in the process of changing jobs and I really need a critical eye to take a look at my resume. I respect your judgment and know I can count on you to tell me like it is.”

Note what you have done: (a.) you have paid Bill a compliment. We all like getting a compliment, and (b.) you did not ask Bill for a job or if he had an opening. You never want to ask that question… it puts people on the spot, makes them uncomfortable and puts them in a position to usually say “no”… and people don’t like to do that, especially to a friend or acquaintance.

“May I email my resume to you and then get some feedback in a few days?”

You asked Bill to do something that is both very easy and will take very little time….so virtually all asked will say “yes”.

“Great!!”

“I will also include my target list of possible employers…and it would be most helpful if you knew anyone at those firms…getting my resume in front of a decision maker is my objective… I can get that feedback at the same time I get your read on my resume.”

Bill has already said “yes” once… he is not going to say no to this add-on request, although it is a bit more time-consuming. The target list has been compiled through your knowledge of the area’s finest employers, newspaper articles regard those firms that are expanding, those firms posting jobs that are of interest. Limit listings to 15-20; one page only.

“Bill… I can’t thank you enough. I really appreciate your input. I am working on my schedule… and I need to be near your office in the next few days. Can I swing by your office and take a few minutes of your time to get your feedback?? What day and time will work for you… I am at your disposal.”

How well Bill knows you will determine how successful you are in getting a personal meeting. If you can hit 50% on these, you are doing great. Why do you want a personal meeting rather than a telephone conversation? You will have Bill’s full and uninterrupted attention and an opportunity to impress Bill with your demeanor and personality. Refresh Bill’s memory of how sharp and personable you are. All harder to do over the phone.

(If Bill can’t grant a personal meeting)

“Hey …no problem… I will give you a call in a few days or so to get your feedback. Thanks again… you will have my resume and target list within the hour… let me confirm your email address.”

You want an agreement that Bill will take your call and give you the input you want on your resume as well as the details regarding who Bill knows on your target list. You have also confirmed Bill’s email address. Send him your resume and your target list as email attachments (done in MSWord of course) along with the following email:

Bill – thanks so much for taking my call today. I am excited about the challenges of a new position and I really appreciate your candid review of my resume – does it flow?? – is it clear as to my achievements?? Any and all comments will be appreciated. I have also attached a target list of employers I am interested in…. and it would be most helpful if you have any contacts at any of them that can get me past the gatekeepers in HR. And of course… let me know who else you think I should be talking to.

Thanks again… and I will give you a call in a few days.

Regards,

Harry Smith

The operative words in this email are resume review and who do you know.  In order to review your resume, Bill has to read it. First mission accomplished – you have a potential employer (depending on where Bill is located and what his business is) reading your resume… and you have a “sphere of influence” reading your resume.

What is a “sphere of influence”? It is a person whose position and achievements make them a valuable contact in and of themselves… AND… because of who they know and who is in their network.

People talk with people of all walks of life, but particularly with peers… spheres of influence talk to other spheres of influence. You make this kind of call to enough spheres of influence… and sooner or later you are going to hit one who either has a job opening – hidden or not… and/or knows someone who is in a hiring mode.

But – Bill’s job is not to find you a job. Bill is busy (or else he wouldn’t be a good sphere of influence!!) You need to follow up! If you can get the personal face time with Bill – great. If not, make this call 3 – 4 days after you emailed your info to Bill:

“Bill – Harry Smith here… is this a good time to talk?

Just following up on our recent conversation and the email I sent you. What are your thoughts on my resume?”

At this point – don’t talk any more. You want – gently – to make Bill talk to you about your resume. Depending on how certain you are regarding the content of your resume, you really want Bill’s comments. Listen intently… make notes… and recognize that he may have some good input to fine tune your resume. If you get a blanket “looks good”, ask a few questions such as:

“Bill – if you were to make one recommendation to improve my resume, what would it be?”

“Does it flow smoothly, or are there are areas that are confusing?”

DO NOT be defensive or argumentative about any comments Bill makes!!

“Thanks… that was really helpful.”

“As to my target list.. let’s see … there are about 20 firms listed on it… do you have any contacts at any of those I can leverage to see if they have an opportunity where I can make a contribution?”

Make sure your list is no longer than 15 – 20 firms…any more than one sheet of paper becomes an imposition. If Bill says “Yes, I do… at XYZ”, ask for the info.

OK… back to your request of Bill. If Bill offers to make a call on your behalf, you have a decision to make.

If Bill is not a close friend, decline his offer by saying:

“Bill – I appreciate the offer… but let me make the call, mentioning that you referred me. It will help me get a feel for the organization. I will let you know how the call goes, and I may ask you to make a follow up call or email.”

Why don’t you want Bill to make the call? Because you can never be sure that he did make the call!!…it is not a priority for Bill… it can fall by the wayside…and you sure can’t call him back to ask him if he made the call!!

On the other hand if you and he are very, very close… and you have no doubt he will make the call, then you will say:

“Great.. who will you be calling so I can follow-up a few days after your call? How about if I make the follow-up call in a week?”

“One last question Bill. Can you think of any other people or organizations I need to contact… is there someplace I have overlooked that comes to mind?”

This is one last effort to get any additional leads from Bill.

OK… Bill, I really appreciate your help.. .it has been most valuable. Thanks again…and I will keep you posted as to my progress. If something comes to mind… just give me a shout or send me an email. It would be greatly appreciated.

#####

In OK…now you know a proven process to unearth hidden and unpublished jobs. In part 2 of this topic next week, I will discuss to whom you make these calls and some modifications depending on who you are calling.

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For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

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How to Answer the Interview Question “What is Your Biggest Weakness?”

How to Answer the Interview Question “What is Your Biggest Weakness?”

This question is a standard interview question…and like every interview question… you need to be prepared to answer it.

Interviewing cWhile not a trick question ….it does give you a chance to torpedo what has otherwise been a good interview.

First – let’s examine what the interviewer is looking for. He or she knows no one is perfect and they are looking for someone who can admit that that they have made mistakes or are not without flaws. The interviewer is looking to see if you “know thine own self”…if you truthfully know those areas where special effort  is called for to address your weaknesses.

If you give an answer like “I really don’t have any I can think of” you come across as either conceited or naïve.

You have them… we all do. Think them through and what you do to address them or compensate for them.

Keep your answers in the professional realm; personal issues should not be raised. The fact that your home is messy or that you hate the traffic you endure to get to work has no place in a job interview discussion about weaknesses. Remember – the interviewer is trying to find out during the interview what they will know for sure about you after ninety days on the job!

Be sure the weakness you identify is one that has been resolved or where you have put into place mechanisms to address it and keep it in the background.

For example – “I used to be too much of a perfectionist – both in my own written work and of those that reported to me. I realized that the important thing is to get the work done error-free and on time or earlier. You can write and re-write until the cows come home – but the important thing is to proof once or twice and if it says what it is supposed to say – great.. shut it down and move on.”

Or – “I used to get upset about co-worker being five minutes late coming to work…after all – I am on time! Then it dawned on me that my co-workers were doing great work…the work got done ….and they weren’t coming in thirty minutes late…just five or ten and they made it up time-wise by often working through lunch. I was taking it personally that they came in late…and in retrospect – that is silly.”

Be sure the “weakness” you are going to disclose is not one that is injurious to the kind of job you are applying for. An accountant who says a weakness is “their obsession with detail” is not helping their cause – accountants need to be very concerned about detail! Rather state the weakness as “I used to check my work over and over to be sure it was perfect. I found out that once I double-checked the foot and cross-foot and carefully scanned the final work product I never made any changes. So I just check carefully and then move on to the next task at hand.”

A side advantage to preparing for this question is that it does give you a chance to examine yourself and re-examine what you have done in the past to address the issue and whether it is truly working or not. If not – here is a chance to further refine what you can do to address the shortcoming or weakness!

Remember – the job interview is “The Bridge Between You and Your Next Job”… you need to be prepared to answer every possible question – it is a critical step to getting a job offer! Some of the questions are easy – this one isn’t – prepare for it!!

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Nervous at Job Interviews? Here are Some Tips to Staying Calm and Collected During Job Interviews!

Nervous at Job Interviews? Here are Some Tips to Staying Calm and Collected During Job Interviews!

Interviewing can be stressful, especially if you have just started a round of it. Much hinges on how well you do… each interview is usually a “single elimination process” (do poorly and you are eliminated from consideration).

Some interviewers are better than others making you feel welcome…and some are downright brusque!

Hellmans Mayo LidFollow what I call “The Hellman’s Principle” when Interviewing! Mirror what used to be printed on the jar lid of Hellman’s Mayonnaise – “Keep Cool But Do Not Freeze”! (Today it says “Refrigerate After Opening Do Not Freeze” on the label – not the lid).

Follow the following 4 tips to minimize or eliminate the interview jitters:

Tip #1 – Preparation – The first “must” to staying cool and calm during an interview is Preparation. No substitute for it. Anticipate every question you will be asked, draft and re-draft until you have a perfect answer committed to paper…and then repeat it in rehearsal until you can just let it roll off your tongue. If possible, have someone ask the questions and you answer them, referring to your notes if needed – this kind of practice will result you in being able to do so without those notes.

Tip #2 – Be on time… and be at the right place – Nothing can cause you to be more frazzled  than running late stuck in traffic unless you are  late AND you can’t find the address of where you are supposed to be. Many office locations are hard to find: suburban office parks with building numbers you can’t easily see;  confusing street signs; GPS mapping software out of date, etc. If ANY doubt as to where to go and how long it will take to get thee (in traffic!) – do a dry run. And have you POC’s tele number in the phone with you to use to call if in fact you are running late (but don’t be!). Remember – on time is 10 minutes (or more!)  early!

Tip #3 – Dress and groom for success – Your discomfort level will be greatly increased  if you are significantly “under-dressed”. You don’t want to be “a pair of brown shoes in a room full of tuxedos”!. You can’t go wrong with dressing like you are headed to church or to a funeral. Subdued and business-like (not the latest fashions for sure!) is the byword.

Tip #4 – Get your mental game together. Think “I am well rested, I know where I am going and I will be there at least 10 minutes early. I have prepared to answer questions – I have rehearsed them and know them cold. I am dressed for success. There is no reason I won’t do well. I  may not get the job, but I will be a viable candidate for the job. This is not my only opportunity. I am gonna knock ‘em dead.”

Getting job offers entails interviewing… and you gotta be good at it to make the cut. Being your natural self and self-confident will help you master the interview process!

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Successful Delegation Requires a Process

Career success and job success is a function of your skills and abilities. If you are – or ever will be – in a supervisory job… in charge of a project…or chairing a committee… delegation skills are critical to success. Someday getting the job offer you want might hinge upon your ability to answer successfully  the interview question “Tell me about how you delegate – how do you go about it?”! Interview preparation is job search tip #1!

Delegation is universally understood to be necessary to the success of any organizational unit. For delegation to be successful,  however, it must be structured –  a process must be determined and then followed.

To delegate successfully follow these guidelines from MindTools:

1. Articulate clearly the desired outcome. Specify the results that will make the effort a success. Include any “stakeholders” in the discussions leading to the definition of success for the effort. Provide initial timelines and deadlines.

2. Identify the degree of authority and accountability of each person involved.

3. Define who and when are the people involved to:

a. Develop a plan and ask for approval?…or

b. Develop a plan and proceed to implement, reporting status/results on what frequency?

4. Be sure authority and responsibility are in sync; if someone has the authority to act in a particular aspect of the project – he or she is also responsible for the results.

5. Delegate as far down in the organization as possible; the people closest to the action are in the best position to know what will work and what won’t.

6. Make answering procedural questions and clarifying issues a priority of all. You don’t want the process to come to a halt because someone can’t get an answer to a procedural question.

7. Don’t permit “upward delegation” to take place; where someone shifts responsibility upward or to you. When someone comes to see you with a problem  – picture the issue  as a monkey on his/her back. Don’t let that monkey jump on your desk, and then you are left with the monkey (the problem or issue)! Don’t answer such questions – ask questions instead as to possible approaches/solutions until they arrive at one you would agree with….then just nod approval!

8. Focus on results – not procedure, so long as procedures don’t exceed pre-determined parameters (cost, not a violation of any law, etc.). How you would do it is not necessarily the best way – if the right people are in the mix, the “how” should not be an issue.

9. Every now and then – there will be a glitch. That is, “the cow will get in the ditch”. This can be a great learning exercise – instruct whomever of the three-step process:

a. Get the cow out of the ditch.

b. Find out how the cow got into the ditch

c. Develop and implement procedures so it can’t happen again!

10. Have periodic meetings to discuss progress, stressing the objectives and what the desired results will have in terms of payoff for the organization and the team members. Review timelines and deadlines. Be sure to give recognition when earned. Document progress and distribute to all involved.

Successful delegation can only be achieved by understanding that it is a process that needs to be put into place and then followed religiously.

For further reading on the subject – go to http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_98.htm

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Internships – How to Find Them and How to Get One

How to find an internship is a subject of great interest to students; internships  are a great path to getting a job offer!

Internships can result in you gaining great experience as well as being a stepping stone to your first post-college job!

internship-1How do you find them? They are rarely advertised because organizations don’t need to…..employers that offer internships – paid and unpaid – are often swamped with correspondence from students seeking to work for the summer as well as referrals from friends and family.

Many colleges and universities build internships  into their curriculum and that might be a consideration when you are choosing where to go to school … or where to transfer.

What we are going to focus on here is unearthing internships that are not part of a school’s program.

There are several ways to unearth internships…and then be considered for them.

1. Ask fellow students where they and their friends have worked as interns in the past. Ask them to ask their parents where internship opportunities might be found. Ask your school guidance counselor. Have your parents ask their friends and peers the same question.

In other words, mine friends and family for leads.

2. Make a bunch of telephone calls. Call organizations in your general area of interest… with a prepared script. If you are studying accounting with an eye to be an accountant your script might be:

Hello. My name is Robb Mulberger and I am studying accounting at American University. When I graduate I will be looking for a job as a staff accountant. In the meantime I am searching for internships where I can both learn as well as contribute. Does your firm have internships?

If “Yes” then proceed to see how you would apply.

If “No” then thank them, ask if they have any leads for you and proceed to make more calls.

If you make enough calls, you WILL unearth an internship opportunity!

Paid vs Unpaid? – unless the finances absolutely don’t permit it… an unpaid internship that is meaningful is better than any of the standard summer jobs (lifeguard, camp counselor, waiter, etc.). It is much more impressive on your resume, can be a great learning experience and can often lead to getting a job offer upon graduation.

When do you begin the process of seeking an internship. Summer ones are usually locked up by Christmas… so start the process in the fall for the following summer.

For more info regarding internnships check out this University of Iowa post.

Note – when you do land an internship, you are entering the adult world. Dress for it and act accordingly!

Good luck!

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For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

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Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

Getting a Job Offer – Avoiding a LinkedIn Pitfall!

Getting a Job Offer – Avoiding a LinkedIn Pitfall!

Let’s talk about LinkedIn photos.  For starters, make sure you have one.  When you reach out to a prospective employer,  they are going to do a Google search on your name and iterations of it; e.g. – Robert Mulberger AND Robb Mulberger AND Bob Mulberger. Your social media profiles speak as to who you are. Look at your LinkedIn  profile.  If you don’t have a picture the employer may feel like you have something to hide.  You don’t, so don’t make prospective employers feel that way. 

Any old photo won’t work.  Make sure you have a good professional picture that wasn’t from a wedding, and where you aren’t cropping out your significant other.  I hope it goes without saying that your significant other shouldn’t be in the picture.  Nor should your dog.  Or your cat.  Or an alcoholic beverage.  And no “selfies”! friendly eye contactMake sure it’s a professional picture. Friendly warm smile. Here is an example of a good picture/smile…as well as one that doesn’t tripangry eye contact the “he looks like a nice guy” meter!

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words and you don’t want yours to cost you thousands of dollars by ruling you out of a possible job offer!

 Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

 For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

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Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

Interviewing Preparation – Critical to Getting a Job Offer

Interviewing Preparation – Critical to Getting a Job Offer

Yes – getting a job offer is indeed is a competitive affair.

Just as your organization, division, department, etc. has goals and objectives…. you should too have a personal development plan.

If an interviewer asks “what have your learned this past year that makes you a good hire for us?… last three years”?…you need to have a good answer. And “good” translates to something or things specific, and measurable. Let’s face it – interviewing well is an important step to getting a job offer!

Management expert and author Tom Peters of “In Search of Excellence” fame (a great book by the way –  a must read in my opinion) offers a short laundry list of questions and statements to address so as to create and implement a personal development plan.

  1. I am really good at (list one – three things here). By this time next year I can add (one – two things here).
  2. The most valuable things I have learned in the past six months are (list one – three things… they can be skills learned, information gained or things you learned about yourself to make you a better person and/or a more productive employee).
  3. I am going to (be more active in an organization –  spend more time in the gym – lose “x” pounds – read “x” book that has been sitting on my bedside table for a year or more – etc.). Detail here a favorable action you are going to take.
  4. I am going to reach out to renew my  contact with (one – three names); see if I can’t set up a lunch or coffee with each of them.
  5. I will mark my calendar to do this exercise again in six months.

As you compile things from Q 1& 2 above… find a way to include them in a revised resume as well as update your LinkedIn, etc. profiles so that they and your resume are in sync.

Getting a job offer is a competitive process… do your thinking and preparation to be able to give a great answer to the question “what have your learned this past year that makes you a good hire for us?… last three years”?

You can find much more information about interview preparation in Chapter 8 (Interviewing – The Bridge Between you and Your Next Job) of The Ultimate Job-Seeker’s Guide.

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in Washington, DC – visit the NRI website – many jobs are listed there – and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

follow me on twitter   My LinkedIn profile  

Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved