Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
When Should You Take the Quiet Route?
You've probably read before about the key phrases that greatest leaders say every day.
But great leaders are also wise when it comes to the opposite strategy: Sometimes, the smartest thing to say is nothing at all.
I’m not referring here simply to the advice your mother might have given you about keeping your mouth shut if you don’t have anything nice to say. Instead, think of the big moments when people come close to achieving goals, accomplishing great things, or even just developing good relationships and encouraging people to like them more. Sometimes, a simple slip of the tongue can set them back and destroy all they've worked for.
It’s the same issue whether we’re talking about negotiations, investigations, or plain old conversations. So, in the interest of preventing us from wishing wistfully that our mouths had been on mute, here are 10 times when the sounds of silence are the best sounds of all.
1. When the other side in a negotiation starts debating against itself
Sometimes people get into a spiral of bad negotiating tactics. They wind up outsmarting themselves—perhaps making an offer and then rejecting their own offer because they think you won’t take it. Imagine a customer who opens a conversation by saying that he understands you can’t cut the price on your product before asking for some smaller concession—and then maybe even convincing himself that even that’s too much to ask for.
2. When you've asked a question
We all know these people, right? They ask questions but can’t wait for you to finish so they can offer their own viewpoint. Sometimes they don’t even bother waiting and instead try to hurry you along with verbal cues—“uh-huh, uh-huh, right, right, right...”
When they asked for advice, what they really meant was, “Let’s fast-forward to the part where I tell you what I think, instead.” Don’t be like them. To paraphrase baseball great Yogi Berra, you can observe a lot by watching, and you can also learn a lot by listening.
3. When the other side misunderstands (and you don’t have a duty to talk)
A lawyer once told me about selling a client’s company. To make a long story short (lawyers love that phrase), the negotiation went much more smoothly than she’d expected. Eventually, she realized this was because some whiz-kid MBA on the other side of the table had made a simple math error. That led him to overestimate vastly how much money the acquiring company would likely make after the deal was done.
The lawyer was overcome with apprehension, until she realized the right thing to say: nothing at all. That way, she wouldn't be breaching her duty not to misrepresent facts to the buyer, but she also wouldn't do anything to scuttle her client’s deal. The moral of the story is that you don’t always have an obligation to correct someone else’s mistakes.
4. When you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about
Silence is awkward. As a result, people often rush to fill it. I used to use this tendency to my advantage when I was a trial attorney taking depositions in civil cases. Sometimes, I’d ask a witness an open-ended question, and even though the witness’s tone of voice suggested he’d finished his answer, I’d just continue to wait expectantly, as if anybody with half a clue would understand he had to keep it coming. Sometimes, the witness would keep going and dig himself a bigger hole.
You never have to fill a silence, especially when you don’t have anything useful to fill it with. (In those cases, it’s true: Everything you say may well in fact be used against you.)
5. When you need someone else to get the credit
As President Harry S. Truman once said, you can accomplish just about anything if you don’t care who gets the credit. Sometimes, that means staying quiet just long enough for someone else to think of your solution and propose it as his or her own.
6. When you are bragging, as opposed to sharing
This one is among the scourges of social media. Go on Facebook, for example, and sometimes it seems as if everyone you know is eating well, taking amazing vacations, running marathons, and enjoying storybook relationships.
Is all of this about social sharing or social bragging? If you find you’re leaning toward the latter with the things you talk about, maybe it’s time to be quiet.
7. When your comment is more about you than the other person
Suppose your co-worker Sally is excited for her plans for the weekend. You catch yourself ready to tell her about a better place than what she’s planned or why she should take her trip on another weekend—maybe when the weather is better, when the traffic will be less hectic, or when she’ll have fewer competing commitments.
Aw, that’s really nice of you—as long as you’re sure your comments are truly intended to improve her experience or offer good advice. If there’s a chance you’re commenting out of jealousy or pride, however, maybe you’d be better off zipping it.
8. When you want someone else to grow
This is a similar point to when you want someone else to get the credit for a good idea. If you have a second grader in your family, chances are you could do her homework for her without much effort. But what would be the point? You want her to learn and grow, which means she has to be the one to come to the conclusions on her own.
The same thing is true in many other circumstances. Instead of leaping forward to answer a thoughtful question that you know the answer to, sometimes it makes sense to hold back and let others figure it out.
9. When you are clearly boring people
I admit it. I've got what’s called “the Irish gift of gab.” I enjoy telling stories. My wife laughs at how often I seem to wind up telling total strangers the story of how she and I met and got together. It’s a good one, though! You see, we’d gone to college together and dated for a while, but then broke up...
OK, I’ll hold off on it for now, and that’s the point. Most of us can tell when we’re holding court for an audience that simply couldn't care less. In that case, cut it short, wrap things up, and stop talking.
10. When you begin a speech
I love this example, and it’s something I first put into practice when arguing appeals in court.
Whenever I give a speech, I try to start out with a long, uncomfortable pause. Doing so puts the audience ill at ease for a moment and gets them rooting for you. They worry that you've lost your notes or that you’re about to keel over from a panic attack. That way, when you start talking, you’ll have at least a few of them on your side, happy that at least you haven’t made them witness an embarrassing meltdown (h/t, Winston Churchill).
See full article at: http://mashable.com/2014/06/05/staying-quiet-at-work/
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
What Should YOU Be Asking?
It's a query that can give an ill-prepared job seeker pause: So, do you have any questions for me?
Interviewers will judge you by your questions. Almost all employers wrap up job interviews by turning the tables and offering candidates an opportunity to showcase how well they understand the role, how interested they are in the opportunity and what plays to their passions points.
When the time comes to flip roles and grill your interviewer about the potential job, it can be tempting to ask pressing questions about salaries, hours and workload. But asking questions about vacation time, salary reviews and benefits might be red flags — and worst-case scenario, they might cost you the job.
When asking your interviewer questions regarding compensation or scheduling, there’s an imminent risk of being perceived as self-serving. Questions that are more focused on achieving results, helping the company grow and showing how well you've researched the role are the most wow-inducing. The goal is to end with a bang and leave a solid impression.
We asked managers what they actually want to hear candidates ask during an interview. Below are a few of their responses.
1. "How has [the company you're interviewing for]'s product impacted you directly?"
"This question shows that the candidate wants to work in a place where people are passionate about what they do. They don't want to come to work just to get a paycheck. They want to know how employees interact with the product and how it has personally impacted their lives."
— Ragini Parmar, hiring manager at Credit Karma.
2. "How would my role affect the business in the short-, medium- and long-term?"
"First, this question demonstrates that the candidate isn't just thinking about themselves, but rather where they fit into the strategy of the business as a whole. It switches the conversation from being about what the company can do for them to what they can do for the company."
–- Erin Patterson, talent acquisition at Moxie.
3. "Why did you join [your company]?" In other words, a very polite version of "Why should I want to work here?"
"Top candidates are generally interested in what the interviewer found so attractive about the company they now work with. When a candidate wants to know why I dropped everything to join Spoon, they're really getting a read on whether or not the opportunity is truly compelling.
This question specifically tells me that a candidate is thinking about the long-term future and isn't interested in just another job — a good indicator that they take their work seriously and will only move for the right opportunity. They likely want to know about the company's product story, current revenue, short- and long-term plans, culture and team in place.
If hiring managers aren't prepared with honest and persuasive reasons why they joined their current firm, top candidates can quickly lose interest and move on."
— Colin McIntosh business development at Spoon.net, a web-based computing platform.
4. "What gets you out of bed every day and excites you to come to work?"
"I love this question for two reasons. One, it’s a little bold. It’s personal in nature, and I’m not interested in hiring someone with whom I can’t connect on a personal level. But it also is a great way for a candidate to get a sense of what it’s like to work with us — what the office environment is like, what we’re passionate about, what our values are. Plus, implicit in the question is that they’re ready and willing to also get out of bed excited and ready to work."
— Joshua Dziabiak, co-founder and COO of The Zebra, a digital auto insurance agency.
5. "What are the biggest trouble-spots you’re hoping the person in this position can help you with?"
"So much of job interviewing is focused on what's great about the job, great about the candidate, etc. It's refreshing to be asked what pain-points the person we hire will have to be able to handle. But remember, if you ask this question, be prepared to offer a few potential solutions or ideas for the issues raised by your interviewer. It's a really interesting question, but job seekers need to be ready to think on their feet once they ask it!"
— Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, a telecommuting and flexible job site.
6. "What are your organization’s strengths and weaknesses compared to your competition?"
"Candidates are usually evaluating multiple firms and making their own comparisons to figure out which one is the best fit for them. This is a savvy question because the candidate is asking for an assessment and perspective on what makes Deloitte strong, while also trying to see how objective we can be about our own organization."
See full article at: http://mashable.com/2014/06/09/job-interview-questions/
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Should You Connect With the Hiring Manager on LinkedIn?
By Elliott Bell, May 19, 2014
We’ll get right to the point here. Should you connect with a hiring manager on LinkedIn before or after your interview? Nine times out of 10, the answer is a resounding no. Here’s why.
First, put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes for a second. He is interviewing not only you, but many others, trying to determine who will be the best person for the job and the company. Connecting over LinkedIn before a decision has been made can come off as both pushy and over-confident—like you’re certain that you'll be the one who’s working closely with the interviewer over all those other candidates.
Or, let’s imagine a scenario where you just left an interview and knocked it out of the park. You dressed perfectly for the environment, paid attention to the small details,answered every question with a thoughtful and articulate answer, and gave off both a professional and personal vibe. By every measure, you nailed it.
Still, at this point, sending a LinkedIn invite would be like nailing the dismount and landing in gymnastics, and then running up to give the judges a hug before they even gave you a score. A little much.
As one of my hiring manager friends puts it:
“There is nothing inherently wrong with it. But it just feels like they are putting the cart before the horse. I feel uncomfortable because we don’t really have a reason to connect. If I loved a candidate, it wouldn't stop me from hiring them, but if I was on the fence, it would sway me to go in another direction.”
So, what should you do instead? Write the perfect thank you note. It’s still the best way to follow up and let the interviewer know how much you want the job.
And if you really want to grow your network on LinkedIn, it’s okay to request a connection with your interviewer, just wait until after a decision has been made. But remember to always add a thoughtful and personalized message with your invitation. If you are offered the job, you can say something like, “I really look forward to working with you and helping the company grow.” If you’re not hired, you can still say something like, “I appreciated the opportunity to interview and would love to be considered for future positions if they come up. And it would be great to have you as a professional connection no matter where I end up. Hopefully our roads cross again in the future.”
See full article at: https://www.themuse.com/advice/should-you-connect-with-the-hiring-manager-on-linkedin