Why did you join the company?
Mark Phillips, who runs a top office for Sanford Rose Associates, one of the largest recruiting networks in the U.S. had a simple question that could be quite complicated. If the interviewer tells you it was because of vacation days or benefits, chances are good that there isn’t all that much below the surface. If, however, they tell you about the creativity or integrity of the brand, you know you’re potentially going to work for a winner.
How does this role further your company’s mission?
Kelly Lavin, chief talent officer for newly launched Canvas, the first text-based interviewing platform suggests you ask this because “While job duties and company culture are important to understand, determining why a company and role exists is just as, if not more, important.” It will also allow you to better understand if you “align with the company’s mission and will feel a sense of purpose in your new role.”
Tell me about your most successful employees. What do they do differently?
Believe it or not, this one is almost a trick question for potential employers Lavin says. “The answer to this question will help a candidate understand how a company defines success and what specific behaviors can lead to that success.” In one fell swoop you’ll find out what success means to this company and how you can better achieve it.
What do you expect someone in this position to accomplish in the first 60-90 days?
University of Richmond Career Advisor Anna Young says, “Great candidates hit the ground running, find out how you will be expected to jump in and start contributing to the organization from day one.” And in case you’re wondering, it’s fine to modify the question for an internship and ask about expectations for the first few weeks.
What, if anything, in my background gives you pause?
Roberta Matuson, President of Matuson Consulting, says this is pretty much the one must ask question job seekers should ask in an interview. She says “By asking this question, you’ll be able to overcome any objections the interviewer might have before you leave the room.” And if you’re smart, you can find a way to combat any preconceived notions by addressing them in a follow up note.
What is the turnover in your company, in the executive suite and in the department, I am interviewing for?
Dave Arnold President at Arnold Partners says as a leading independent CFO search consultant for technology companies, he’s had 100’s of people go out to interview with clients, and he thinks that’s a question worth asking. While people no longer expect to stay at any given job for decades or more, it’s nice to know how long you can expect to stick around if given the opportunity. If the interviewer grows uncomfortable or shares the fact that turnaround at their company is higher than Dancing with the Stars, you might want to think twice before accepting the position.
What are the opportunities for growth and advancement?
Young says, “This can help you to understand the structure of the organization and if there are opportunities to move up and advance your career.” It’s also a great way of finding out about different ways to progress or move into different roles “Also, it could help you to learn if they offered continued training or professional development for employees.”
If you had a chance to interview for your company again (knowing what you know now), what questions would you ask next time?
Ashley White, executive director for Human Resources for APQC, a member-based non-profit that produces benchmarking and best practice research suggested this toughie.
This one is slightly sneaky because it also allows you to surreptitiously monitor the interviewer’s hidden signals. Do they suddenly look uncomfortable before spouting the company line? Do they greet this with a giant grin? You might have more answers to this question by what they don’t say, than even by what they do share.
What haven’t I asked that most candidates ask?
Phillips also suggested asking this question, which sets you apart immediately. On the one hand, you’re lumping all the other applicants together and showing a level of confidence; on the other hand, you’re gaining insight into your potential competitors: they asked this, but it never even occurred to me.
One last thing: so that you don’t spend the coming days or weeks on pins and needles, it’s always a good idea to ask this next question.
What are the next steps in this process?
Young says, “If they haven’t already shared this information, it’s important to ask about their timeline so you’re aware of when you could be notified of a second interview, or a potential offer.”
What to ask yourself
Shannon Breuer, President at Wiley Group was once one of 800 laid off at her former job, Shannon now draws on her own personal experience to provide clients with career coaching and transition services. She offers a list of questions you should ask yourself before an interview, and if needed – you can flip them and ask the interviewer.
What level of work-life balance do you wish to enjoy?
How casual do you like to dress?
Is your ideal employer an up-and-coming small business, or a century-old corporation with time-tested values and a clear path for future promotions?
Do you like the management style of the leadership team?
What are the company initiatives you can stand behind?
What to do if you get a windfall
NOVEMBER 8, 2018
Here are some ideas for what you should do if and when you get a windfall of money. I know it’s tempting, but don’t spend this money as soon as you get it!
So you’ve come into a bit of cash, congratulations! First thing’s first, what’s a windfall? A windfall is when you received an unexpected, potentially large, sum of money. This could be an inheritance, a gift, a refund (tax, student loan), etc. Basically, it’s an amount of money that you weren’t relying on. This is an exciting moment, but it’s also a good time to take a step back before making any decisions.
Here are some ideas for what you should do if and when you get a windfall.
Don’t Spend It Right Away
I know it’s tempting, but don’t spend this money as soon as you get it! If you spend it without being thoughtful, you know you’ll regret it later. If you know that money burns a hole in your pocket, move the money out of your checking account. Put the money into a savings account that is separate from your checking, or give the check to someone you trust to hold onto.
Prioritize Your Goals
This is a great time to get some perspective on your financial situation. Figure out which goals you want (or must) attack first. It could be paying down debt, building up savings, or investing in something you’ve been putting off. Whatever the goals are, you should identify them individually and then prioritize them. It helps to write out your goals clearly so you know where you stand.
Get Clear on Your Debts
This is an amazing opportunity to start making progress on any debt you have. The first step here is to figure out exactly how much you owe and to whom. If you aren’t sure – perhaps you have been avoiding your debt – a good start is to pull your credit report. You can do this for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. You’ll see any debts that have been sent to collections, any tax liens, and any late payments on credit cards or loans. This probably won’t feel very good, but it’s necessary. If you see any debts listed that you don’t recognize, you should do some digging to see if they are on your report in error. Whatever you do recognize, come up with a plan to pay it off.
Beef Up Your Emergency Fund
Saving for emergencies doesn’t feel very fun, but it’s an incredibly important step to take. It will protect you if something unexpected happens, like losing your job or getting sick. If you don’t have debt, or you have money leftover after paying off your debt, you should use your windfall to beef up your emergency savings account.
Put 10% Aside for Fun
Putting all your money towards responsible goals is great, but it often doesn’t feel very fun or exciting. That’s why it’s a good idea to set ten percent of that windfall aside just for you. When you make room for indulgence, it’s easier to be responsible with most of the money. Plus, you get the instant gratification that is so compelling. Put the money towards something you’ve been really wanted to do or have, but that you haven’t been able to afford.
This is the brainpickings.org weekly digest by Maria Popova. If you missed last week’s edition — naturalist Sy Montgomery on what 13 animals taught her about how to be a good creature, Simone Weil on truth, justice, and saving thought from opinion — you can catch up right here. And if you’re enjoying this newsletter, please consider supporting my labor of love with a donation – each month, I spend hundreds of hours and tremendous resources on it, and every little bit of support helps enormously. If you already donate: THANK YOU.
Margaret Fuller on What Makes a Great Leader: Timeless Political Wisdom from the Founding Mother of American Feminism
At six, Margaret Fuller (May 23, 1810–July 19, 1850) was reading in Latin. At twelve, she was conversing with her father in philosophy and pure mathematics. By fifteen, she had mastered French, Italian, and Greek, and was reading two or three lectures in philosophy every morning for mental discipline. In her short life, Fuller — one of the central figures in my book Figuring, and the person whom Emerson considered his greatest influence — would go on to write the foundational treatise of the women’s emancipation movement, author the most trusted literary and art criticism in America, work as the first female editor for a major New York newspaper and the only woman in the newsroom, advocate for prison reform and African American voting rights, and become America’s first foreign war correspondent, trekking through war-torn Rome while seven months pregnant. In her advocacy for African American, Native American, and women’s rights, Fuller would ardently espouse the simple, difficult truth that “while any one is base, none can be entirely free and noble.” All of this she would accomplish while bedeviled by debilitating chronic pain at the base of her neck — the result of a congenital spinal deformity that made it difficult to tilt her head down in order to write and was often accompanied by acute depression.
In her thirty-third year, in the midst of heartbreak, Fuller left her native New England to journey westward into the largely unfathomed frontiers of the country. She returned home transformed, awakened to new social, political, and existential realities. Eager to supplement her observations with historical research, she persuaded the Harvard library to grant her access to its book collection — the largest in the nation. No woman had previously been admitted for more than a tour. She then set about relaying her impressions and insights, ranging from a stunning portrait of Niagara Falls to a poignant account of the fate of the displaced Native American tribes with whom she sympathized and spent time. This became Fuller’s first book, Summer on the Lakes — part travelogue, part anthropological study, and part political treatise.
At the heart of the book — which greatly inspired the astronomer Maria Mitchell, anther key figure in Figuring — was the search for truth of a higher order. Punctuating Fuller’s lyrical prose are sentiments worn all the truer by time. In a passage that should be emblazoned on every voting ballot (and composed before what Ursula K. Le Guin wryly termed “the invention of women,” when every woman was “man”), Fuller observes:
This country… needs… no thin Idealist, no coarse Realist, but a man whose eye reads the heavens, while his feet step firmly on the ground, and his hands are strong and dexterous for the use of human implements… a man of universal sympathies, but self-possessed; a man who knows the region of emotion, though he is not its slave; a man to whom this world is no mere spectacle or fleeting shadow, but a great, solemn game, to be played with good heed, for its stakes are of eternal value, yet who, if his play be true, heeds not what he loses by the falsehood of others; a man who hives from the past, yet knows that its honey can but moderately avail him; whose comprehensive eye scans the present, neither infatuated by its golden lures, nor chilled by its many ventures; who possesses prescience, the gift which discerns tomorrow — when there is such a man for America, the thought which urges her on will be expressed.
Stories you shouldn’t miss
We all know the uber cool and successful entrepreneur Vijay Shekhar Sharma. But who is the man behind the success of Paytm? At TechSparks 2018, VSS fielded a host of questions, including a few googlies. Long story short – he came, he spoke and he conquered. On the sidelines, I spoke to him about the lesser asked questions. Here are three things that you didn’t know about Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the man behind the entrepreneur.
Last week we saw how Harley Davidson built a successful business model of making money out of rebellious customers. That was building block number six. This week let’s explore whether there is any merit in partnering with people and organisations to build the most cost-efficient and profitable business.
Did you know that working hard is not enough? You need to work deeply too, which means working without distractions and pushing your cognitive capabilities to their limit. How can you train yourself to do some ‘deep work’? Here are some ways to improve your skills and work the right way.
Mohammad Kaif, star fielder and cricket wiz, will always be a legend in his own right. The 37-year-old cricketer, who recently retired from all forms of competitive cricket, will now take on new ventures, but his passion for cricket will never wane. So what is he going to do post-retirement, what are his thoughts on women entering into the T-20 arena, and what are his thoughts on fitness?
What are the top food stops around the world? From the extravagant to the deceptively simple, when it comes to food, the world holds endless possibilities to tickle your taste buds. If you are planning a trip this festive season, skip the tourist spots and head to some popular foodie destinations. Here are our recommendations!
“Happiness lies in learning something new every day.” Tejaswini Gopalaswamy is the co-founder at Unventured Expeditions, an experiential travel company offering Bike, Hike and Dive tours in India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and South East Asia. Her company won the Outlook Traveller Award for the Best Adventure Tour Operator in India. Here are her answers to our Proust questionnaire.
Did you know…
… that today, besides being Veteran’s Day in the U.S., is Mayflower Compact Day? On this day in 1620, The Mayflower Compact was signed by the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower ship. It would provide the basis for all governments of the American colonies.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“The way to find a needle in a haystack is to sit down.”
— Beryl Markham
The day the air turns white and gray, a golden haired man shall bring the dawn of evil.
When the moment comes that the red lady reveals her true self, a refusal shall bring an end to our suffering and the return of dragons.
Once animals rain from the sky, a betrayal shall bring forth a rise of a new god and the rise of two empires.
There comes a day when rivers run salty, a random act of kindness shall usher forth an end to our suffering and a world of darkness.
It’s impossible to lose if you never give up.
You just can’t beat the person who never gives up. (Babe Ruth)
Desire is the seed from which all achievements are harvested.
The starting point of all achievement is desire. (Napoleon Hill)
In a few days my BFFFs and readers would have given me 100000 views. I’m waiting for that day to express my gratitude.
I intend to publish some interviews of people I know, friends both successful and the struggling
The 1st will be of one of the Top Podcaster and TV show producer from USA who kindly calls me a Dear friend.
Watch this space. Cheers Live 🙏👌♥️♥️♥️
This all-female firm of bouncers is raising the bar in Pune
Download the TOI app now:
WORDS AT WORK
5 best phrases for constructive feedback
NOVEMBER 1, 2018
One way of presenting constructive feedback, the sandwich method, requires a manager to put the advice between two compliments.
One of the most important, and yet, most challenging role of being a manager is providing feedback to employees. Providing the necessary critical assessment to ensure their juniors are continuously improving and being challenged is not only required during annual reviews, but in real-time. Every boss man and boss lady has their own delegation style, but perfecting the fine art of respectfully and effectively managing others with spoken word takes practice. And for many, the courage to potentially ruffle feathers.
As workplace expert, Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D., explains managers sometimes struggle to deliver pinpoint and articulate areas of improvement, for fear it can upset their employee, cause them to grow resentful, or even less productive. “To avoid this reaction, delivery method is incredibly important. The employee needs to feel valued, respected, and capable. The feedback will help the employee to accomplish required goals more efficiently, creating a win-win for everyone,” she explains.
“I see where you’re going with this … ”
After giving your next-in-line a project you felt they were ready for, they started off in the right direction, but ended up missing a turn, and now they’re feeling a little lost. Business coach Christine Agro suggests this phrase as a starting point, since it acknowledges that while there was work done and it isn’t necessarily accurate, the employee isn’t in trouble. Instead, they just need you to redirect them. From here, you can allow them to explain their approach, then you can explain how to realign with the core goals. Then together, create a better and targeted roadmap to success.
“Here’s what I need you to improve.”
There are times to use colorful, encouraging language and boost the ego of an entry-level professional, and then there are times when cutting to the chase is more impactful. Hakim says when providing guidance to a younger employee, laying out their strengths and weakness in black and white can make your expectations easier to understand.
“It’s okay to be direct by saying ‘Here’s what you’re doing correctly.’ and ‘Here’s where you need to improve,’ ” she explains. “Good employees want to improve. Clear and direct messaging is critical and, often, well-received.”
When they have an outline of could use improvement and what is going well, they are better prepared to not only take proactive steps to grow, but they will feel more comfortable asking you questions since you provided easy-to-understand feedback in a calm, kind and professional manner.
“We are off to a great start.”
Even with deadlines set, designs in motion and a continuous stream of emails, your project is already falling behind. Your employee was meant to be at the helm of the deliverables and you may be frustrated with their performance, but it is important to recognize it is not a one-man or one-woman show to get a job done.
This is why career expert Jill Tipograph stresses the power of the word ‘we.’ Regardless if you were at fault or not, making yourself part of the group creates trust and camaraderie.
“You are not trying to sugar coat actual feedback, but demonstrate that everyone can learn from any error and that there is a supportive structure for the individual,” she explains. “Use the ‘we’ because as a team you are in it together, owning the final outcomes collectively.
“This is really creative. Let’s look if we can fine tune your approach.”
When you discuss productivity hacks with your peers, chances are high you will all reveal a different tactic. The same way goes for email organization. Or your philosophy toward the length of meetings — and the frequency of them. One of the difficult parts of becoming an empathetic leader is understanding your employees will not always approach a task the same way you would. Giving feedback here can be tricky, but if their methodology is getting a project off track, discuss the issue with an open mind. As Argo says, your main objective is ensuring work is completed, not changing the style of someone else’s genius.
“Acknowledging their initiative helps an employee see that you value their effort and by taking what they have done, and then reviewing against goals and criteria helps a manager better focus and direct the employee,” she explains.
“You’re great at this. This needs work. But this is amazing.”
Ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly … and manager and managee. Sure, it is tried but it’s true for a reason: the sandwich method works. As the name suggests, this way of presenting constructive feedback requires a manager to put the advice between two compliments. Hakim says this can be a way of softening your advice, especially for a member of your team that could take any criticism harshly or sensitively.
Before you make up a compliment that doesn’t actually pertain to the hours they’ve spent trying to meet your goals, Hakim urges managers to think of two sincere, genuine positives about their performance. Even if they are missing the mark currently, employees aren’t oblivious, and they will be able to tell if you’re making something up on the fly. After you’ve served them the sandwich, make sure to offer your availability to help them progress to the next level.