I recently heard a stand-up comedian make a joke about dating. They compared the experiences that men have versus women when they go on a Tinder date. They joked that when a man gets ready for a blind date, his biggest worry is that it will be boring. He will have wasted an hour of his life, and perhaps some money.
When a woman prepares for a blind date, her biggest worry is a bit different. In her worst case scenario, she may be physically hurt during the date. Before going on the date, she makes sure to text her friends, to let them know where she is, in case she doesn’t return.
This stand-up routine is meant to be a joke, but it highlights how different an experience can feel when two parties perceive they have different levels of power. Job searching has a similar dynamic.
From the hiring manager’s perspective, a bad interview is a waste of an hour. They’re going to have to keep searching for candidates. It’s a letdown. All of these things are bad. But, think of the flip side of this coin. Think of the work that a job seeker has put into their search. Think of their risk level if something goes wrong.
They’ve put in a lot of time preparing for the interview. They’ve updated their resume and LinkedIn. Perhaps they’ve spent money hiring a professional to help them. They may have purchased a new suit, and spent money on a haircut.
Then, they sneak out of their stable full-time job to come to meet the hiring manager. They’ll make up a lie about being sick, because the company wants to meet them tomorrow and it’s too late to take a vacation day. They are trying to search in secret because if they’re caught searching, the company may view them as disloyal. And, in many states, companies can fire employees for no reason at all.
As a hiring manager, a bad interview is a waste of an hour. As a candidate, a bad interview can cost you your job and future earnings. It’s a huge risk!
Hiring managers, the job market is tight right now. You may be struggling to find the right talent for the job. It’s tough.
If you find yourself in this spot, put yourself in the shoes of the candidate. Consider their risk. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated. Respond to their emails in a timely and respectful way. Don’t have an attitude that they’re lucky to get your time. Look at it like a two-way street and realize they’re evaluating you too.
If you decide they’re not the right fit, continue to treat the person with respect. Let them know your decision in a considerate, human way. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated and you’ll find that your options for candidates will increase.
The number of companies reporting job search candidates ghosting them is on the rise. Ghosting is a term typically used in dating. It happens when you’ve been dating and one of the people stops responding to all communication with no reasons as to why. They may suddenly stop returning calls, texts, or emails. It’s as if they disappear.
In the past, companies did this to candidates without thinking about it. The job seeker would put in many hours for interviews and preparation. Then, the company would decide it wasn’t a good fit and would drop the candidate.
What goes around comes around it seems. Now that the job market is improving, candidates are dishing this same approach back at employers. Companies are reporting that job seekers are bailing on scheduled interviews. And, after accepting job offers, they aren’t showing up to their first day. Some companies are reporting that existing employees are quitting with no notice. They just don’t come back.
One NBC report estimated that 20 to 50 percent of job applicants and workers are ghosting their employers. So, what’s a company to do about this? The job market is tight, and companies still need to hire.
First and foremost, treat those you’re interviewing the way you’d want to be treated: with respect. Proactive job searching is hard. It’s an emotionally painful process. If you’ve ever been without a job, you know how it feels.
Be transparent. If you already have someone in mind to hire, don’t lead a candidate on needlessly. If you are putting the position on hold, tell them. If the candidate isn’t the right fit, let them know. And, if you aren’t sure when you plan to call them back, be honest.
Last, you’re building a relationship with everyone you interview. Just because they’re not a good fit for this job doesn’t mean they won’t be a fit for a job in the future. And, they may know someone who is a fit. If you work to build a relationship with each person, even if it’s just as a LinkedIn connection, you’ll increase the chances of being a company that people want to work for.
I speak to executives every day who are looking for a new job. They’re shocked at how long it can take. They can’t believe how hard the rejection can be. And, they are often completely unprepared for how out of control they feel through the process. It can be like driving a car that has no brakes.
If you’re a company that’s experiencing candidate ghosting, it’s time to look in the mirror. Are you the kind of place employees want to work? How do you treat the candidates you interview?
The cutthroat approach to business worked, when the market was tough for job seekers. But, now that job seekers are back in the driver’s seat, a new game plan is required to win the best talent.
I hear from job seekers every day. They’ve been searching for a new job for ages. When they finally land it, they have a concern that’s not about money. It’s their office setup.
For years, open style offices have been all the rage. Whether it’s shared cubicles or a big open room, companies are still hanging onto this concept. Many managers say the environment will foster collaboration and connection. The problem is, collaboration and connection don’t seem to be an issue with those who have offices.
In reality, companies are trying to save money on real estate. And, the employees are the ones who pay the price.
Study after study has confirmed that an open office environment reduces productivity. The BBC found that 70% of US companies are using open offices. Yet, they decrease productivity by at least 15%. In fact, studies show that open office environments also increase sick days at a company. These offices are costing the company valuable time and money.
Chances are, I’m preaching to the choir. I’ve never spoken to a single person who actually likes working in an open office. So, what’s the answer to this problem? If an open office is causing us to be less productive, less happy, and more sick, what can be done?
Companies could go back to the model of having offices with doors, but that’s the most expensive option. A cheaper strategy would be to switch back to tall cubicles that provide more privacy. But, this is also expensive as it can take up valuable real estate.
With these problems in mind, it seems like the ultimate compromise would be more remote worker jobs. In other words, allow employees to work from the comfort of their homes. I know, it sounds a little out there if it’s something you haven’t tried. It can take a little getting used to.
But, Harvard Business Review shared a study where employees were allowed to work from home. They were more productive, happier, and less likely to quit their jobs. And, the company saved $1,900 per employee on office furniture and space.
Remote work has been a trendy conversation topic for some time. A handful of companies are doing it. But, it would be great for companies to begin trying it in large volumes. When an entire department works remotely, one person isn’t left out. Everyone learns to work together in this way.
In addition, remote work would allow workers to redistribute themselves across the country to areas that were the best fit for them and their families. For example, someone working in Silicon Valley may want to relocate to a cheaper city that is closer to family. Vermont is currently offering remote workers a $10,000 incentive to relocate to their state.
Today, companies should revisit their office strategy. It would improve productivity, reduce costs, and give them a broader choice of excellent employees to pick from.
A good vacation can be one of the most relaxing things you can do for yourself. Whether you prefer the beach, camping, or grilling out in your backyard, down time is something we all need. Unfortunately, we’re not all getting this much needed time to relax. Can you relate?
In the United States, there’s no minimum vacation or holidays that companies are required to provide to workers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that 77% of employers offer paid vacation time. On average, employers give ten days of vacation after one year of employment. The number of vacation days grows based upon tenure. After twenty years, most employees receive twenty days of vacation. In addition to vacation, many companies offer holidays.
It’s interesting to compare our vacation to other places. In France, employees are granted a minimum of five weeks of vacation. In Australia, the minimum is four weeks. In Belgium, the minimum is twenty-four days. In Denmark, the minimum is five weeks. Now, it’s not to say that there aren’t other countries with smaller vacations. In some areas of Canada, the minimum is ten days, for example.
But, what are we really doing with our two weeks of vacation? You probably guessed it. In many cases, not much. I recently heard an interesting term, “vacation shaming.” It’s an all too familiar idea where employers place negative feelings and shame around the idea of taking time off.
This vacation shaming causes us to feel uncomfortable requesting time away. Despite receiving two weeks of vacation each year, many Americans are only taking about half of it, according to a survey conducted by Glassdoor.com.
Even if we are taking vacation time, many of us are staying plugged in. We answer emails, take phone calls, and sometimes attend meetings remotely. There’s a fear of getting into trouble and losing our job while we’re out.
For employees who do choose to take vacation, some companies set rules that limit the options available. For example, a company may have a policy that an employee may not take more than four or five consecutive days in a row. For those with an international destination in mind, this can really limit the options.
Being successful at work if often tied to being the best version of yourself that you can be. And, that requires you to take care of yourself. Vacation is a great place to start on this goal.
If you’re looking for a new job, do your best to learn about the company’s policy about taking vacation, both official and unofficial. Many online review sites can provide an employee perspective.
Then, don’t forget that vacation time is negotiable – just like salary. When you negotiate your offer letter, know that you can ask for additional time off.
In the long run, taking time for yourself is more important than any amount of vacation shaming. We all need a break sometimes.
Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to take your career to the next level? If so, you’re not alone. Many of the job seekers I speak to each day are struggling with similar feelings. They have not received the achievements they expected to get by now. Perhaps they’re coming up on an important birthday, such as thirty or forty or fifty. They haven’t received the awards they would have hoped, or the plum promotion they were counting on. They’re making less money than they had planned for.
Often, they see peers and friends who are making more, and are going up the corporate ladder faster. It can be upsetting, especially if the job seeker was a top performer in school, is a hard worker, and is intelligent.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Prasad Kaipa from San Francisco, California. Prasad is the author of the book From Smart To Wise. He focuses on helping professionals to “ignite the genius within” and to connect with their noble purpose.
This is quite a lot to digest. So, let’s focus on one piece of the discussion. One of the things that resonated with me was this idea. “What got us here won’t get us there.” Dr. Kaipa shared the concept that your situation changes over time. He tied this back to the idea of a core competence. Very often, we are promoted through our careers because we have a core strength or set of core strengths that we rely on. But, as we go up the ladder, a different skillset is needed for each role.
Dr. Kaipa explained, “In time, we need to develop a second capability. We need to be able to develop a second core strength. Now that we are in the current position, even though the current set of skills helped us to get here, now that you are a Vice President, you need to learn how to become a President.”
Dr. Kaipa continued, “The unfortunate part is, whenever we feel we are not reaching our potential, we use the same set of skills that got us here, harder and more often. We don’t really reexamine whether the strength that we have that has become our signature strength has become the nail in our foot. I think that kind of a pausing, reexamining, and getting reflection both internally and from other people is what gets us to where we want to go.”
This makes a lot of sense. When we feel like we are failing at something, it’s possible that we’ve outgrown our old toolkit. It’s possible that new strengths are needed. And, sometimes we don’t even know yet what those strengths may be.
If you are struggling to reach your full potential and would like to hear the full interview with Dr. Kaipa, you can find it on the Copeland Coaching Podcast, and download it for free on Apple Podcasts.