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Key To Winning Job Candidate’s Heart? Flexibility

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Austin, Texas to meet a number of folks who work at the job website Indeed.com. If you’ve looked for a job in the last ten years, there’s a good chance you’ve visited Indeed. In 2010, they passed Monster to become the highest trafficked job site in the United States. In May, a report from SilkRoad found that Indeed helps people get more jobs than all other sites combined. According to SilkRoad, the site delivered 72% of interviews and 65% of new hires in 2016. That’s powerful stuff.

I spoke with Paul Wolfe, Indeed’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources. I wanted to get his take on what job seekers are looking for in a future employer. Not only does Paul lead the charge on Indeed’s hiring, but he has insight into the hiring process at companies around the world.

As you might expect, one of the key things employees are looking for is flexibility. Since 2014, job searches including words related to flexible work arrangements (think ‘work from home’ jobs) has been on the rise globally. “Flexibility is a big thing,” said Paul. “With the advances of technology, you can do your job from any place really.”

Student debt is also on the minds of job seekers. 25% of students say that loan assistance is a high priority for them, while just 3% of employers are offering it. “In some cases, it takes twenty-one years just to pay off your four-year degree. You’re in a hole before you even start your career, which is tough.” For the companies that do offer this benefit, some structure it around specific performance goals similar to a bonus payout, while for other companies, it’s a fixed amount.

Paul is an advocate of unlimited paid time off too. I’ll admit – I find this concept a little hard to picture at first. Paul explained, “I want our employees to be happy. I want them to continue to nurture relationships outside of the company – with family and a significant other, friends, colleagues.” Paul says he wants his employees to take time off before they hit a wall. “As a HR leader, I know that when you hit the wall, productivity is not great. Your work product suffers. You have probably become a little disengaged at that point.”

Paul also observes other trends related to flexibility, such as expanded maternity and paternity care plans that offer longer leave periods.

Indeed’s employee tagline is, “We care about what you care about.” Ultimately, if a company wants to capture the hearts and minds of their employees, they need to find out what’s important to them. I speak with job seekers every day who would give up a portion of their paycheck in exchange for flexibility, respect, and fulfillment. It seems that Indeed is finding the same to be true within their organization.

For my entire interview with Paul Wolfe and to learn more about Indeed, watch for the upcoming podcast episode on iTunes.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

It’s really okay to say no.

Okay, this is going to sound strange. But, bear with me. After having coached hundreds of folks on their job searches, I’ve noticed a pattern. And, it’s not one I would have expected.

What’s one of our number one fears when it comes to job searching? It’s actually that we will get the job! That’s right. We are afraid of being offered a job.

Why in the world would that be the case? It’s a great question, and the answer to this important question could unlock a key to the job search.

First, let’s rewind a bit. Think back on how you got your current job. Then, think about how you got the job before and the job before that. If you’re like most people, you got most of your jobs through a networking contact. Someone happened to know who you were. They thought you might be a great fit, and they offered you a job. It was as simple as that.

This makes our deliberate job search so much more difficult. We have much less experience selecting what we want to do, and then going after it. We’ve typically just gone with the flow. If a friend thought we might be good at sales, we tried sales. If an uncle had an operations role available at his company, we gave it a shot.

Proactively and deliberately searching for a job takes on so much more responsibility for our own futures. So, why would we fear a job offer when we are clearly looking for a new job?

Well, if you’re like most people, you have taken most every (if not every) job you have ever been offered. When your friend or your uncle told you about a great opportunity, you went for it.

The thing is, when you aren’t quite sure what you want to be, you might be afraid of getting a job offer because it could mean taking a job that’s not right for you. We are afraid that we will be offered something because we assume that being offered a job means taking a job.

So, we sit and stir. We think and think about what we might want to be – one day. But, we are so paralyzed with fear about making the wrong choice that we make no choice.

But, what if – what if we decided that it would be okay to say no to a job offer that didn’t feel like the right fit? What if we decided that it wouldn’t be wasting the company’s time to go through the interview process, even if we didn’t take the job?

My guess is that we would be less paralyzed by fear. We would look at job searching more like a fact finding mission rather than a scary commitment. And, why not? The company would happily interview a candidate five times before walking away if there wasn’t a good fit. Why wouldn’t we as candidates be willing to do the same thing for ourselves?

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

134 | Getting Great References – Ray Bixler, Philadelphia, PA

Episode 134 is live! This week, we talk with Ray Bixler in Philadelphia, PA.

Ray is the CEO of SkillSurvey, an online reference checking firm that helps organizations recruit, hire, and retain talent. In addition, Ray has more than 20 years of human resource and career development experience.

On today’s episode, Ray shares his advice for identifying and getting great references. He shares the latest trend in reference checking technology. And, he also shares tips on how to avoid common mistakes we make as job seekers.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

To learn more about Ray and his company SkillSurvey, visit his website at www.skillsurvey.com.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!

Questioning Your Hiring Manager

Sometimes, getting a job is dependent more on what you ask than what you answer. Let me explain what I mean by this. We spend so much time preparing for how we will answer the hiring manager’s questions, yet very little time thinking about what we want to know.

I often compare job interviews to dating. And, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been on a first date where I hoped that the guy sitting across from me would propose. That would be crazy, right? But, somehow, we do it every day with job interviews. We show up just hoping to be picked. We forget to think about whether or not we actually like the company.

The place where this is especially problematic is with the questions we ask. Very often, during a job interview, the hiring manager will say, “Do you have any questions I can answer for you?” If we’ve been in an all-day interview, it’s not uncommon to have gotten all of our questions answered over the course of the day. We may respond with an honest, “No, thanks. I’ve already gotten all of my questions answered.”

This response seems reasonable. Unfortunately, many hiring managers don’t think so. It surprises me the number of hiring managers I’ve talked to who are stuck on this issue. When the job seeker doesn’t ask questions, the hiring manager doesn’t assume their questions were really answered. They assume the job seeker isn’t interested. That’s right – they think you don’t care about the job.

Well, we all know that isn’t true. You didn’t take off an entire day at work to interview for a job you don’t care about!

Let’s avoid this unnecessary hurdle of the job search process. Make a list of questions. Research questions online. Keep more questions on hand than you’ll need, with the expectation that you will only ask a few of them.

If you find that by some chance, the hiring manager does manage to answer all of your questions, don’t stop there. Think of more on the fly. I know this can sound daunting, but here is an example of a question that the hiring manager probably didn’t fill you in on already.

“Why did you choose to come work here, and what’s your favorite thing about the company?”

This is a good question, because it helps you to learn more about the hiring manager. It gets them talking about themselves. It helps you to learn more about the company. And, most likely, it will be a question the hiring manager didn’t answer before. As hiring manager’s, we tend to focus on asking the candidate questions – and on sharing information about the role. We are rarely talking about our own personal experiences.

Before your next interview, list everything you want to know. Decide whether the company is a fit for you, and avoid being the desperate candidate. It will help you get your questions answered, and will increase the chance of a job offer.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

133 | Surviving Unplanned Career Change – Michelle Hynes, Portland, Oregon

Episode 133 is live! This week, we talk with Michelle Hynes in Portland, Oregon.

Michelle is a coach and consultant with deep roots in mission-focused organizations. She has a passionate interest in how people navigate planned and unplanned change.  Michelle helps to ease transitions, nurture growth, and create supportive structures for teams.

On today’s episode, Michelle shares her tips on surviving unplanned career change, from reaching out to friends for help to job seeking to talking about what happened.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

To learn more about Michelle, visit her website at http://www.michellehynes.com/. Here are links to the additional resources Michelle mentions in the episode.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!

Don’t forget to say thank you

How many times have you heard the phrase “don’t forget to say thank you”? When we were children, adults reiterated this phrase over and over again. Yet, somehow, as adults, we are forgetting this simple lesson.

The Wall Street Journal recently cited a poll that found of employers surveyed, 75% complained that job applicants didn’t send thank you notes after an interview. In addition to the after interview thank you notes, I have seen this trend inside cover letters. We are increasingly leaving out the thank you at the bottom of our cover letters.

The crazy thing is, a thank you is essentially free to give. It doesn’t require going back to school or paying for some expensive certification. It’s a simple acknowledgement of someone’s time and consideration.

But, given that we all mean well, I have to think that this trend is not intentional. It has to be connected back to how busy we all are, and how blurry the lines have become about social rules. We focus on being the most qualified candidate rather than the easiest to get along with. Yet, we know that hiring managers are people too. And, their decisions are often based on the little things, like first impressions.

Given the importance and the simplicity of the thank you, here are a few guidelines.

First, include a thank you in your cover letter. For example, near the end, you could say, “Thank you for taking the time to review my request.” This thank you is important because the hiring manager is very possibly reviewing hundreds of applications.

Then, as you correspond with the hiring manager, the human resources representative, or anyone else from the company, be sure to close all communications with a thank you. “Thank you for your help” or a simple “thank you” at the end of emails works great.

In person, thank the hiring manager for inviting you to interview. Thank them for their time.

After the interview, do two things. First, send electronic thank you notes by email. These are short emails sent to each person you interviewed with – thanking them for meeting with you. This can be a great place to mention something specific that you discussed with the interviewer.

Then, follow up with a hand written thank you note to each person. I know it sounds old fashioned, but it works. And, it’s cheap. Include a personal message for each person, and drop in your business card. It helps to remind them about who you are.

Sending a thank you note and a thank you email after an interview may sound redundant. But, think of it this way. The hand written note is the most powerful one, but it may get lost or take a while. The e-mail is the sure fire way to ensure the hiring manager hears from you before they make a decision.

The best news is, with so few people sending thank you notes, this simple gesture will make you stand ahead of the pack.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.