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March 7, 2011
The Ins and Outs of Seeking and Starting a New Job
Even though companies are changing—and with them, the hiring practices that create company culture—there are a few personal behaviors that are always “out” and always “in,” both in your interview and as a newcomer to the company. Here are some “outs” and “ins” to remember, whether you’re seeking or starting a job this Monday.
The Interview Process
Out: Ego.“You should hire me because of what I’ve done and where I’ve worked.” That is the passive message many candidates project during interviews. Some candidates don’t even realize it, because the posture is so ingrained. Too many times we feel that we are who we are because of what we do. People talk about their resumes instead of saying, “I am here because I have always admired your company. I like what I see and I want to be a part of the success of this brand.” Cite the skills you bring and why you think you can help the company achieve their goals. Everyone wants to be wanted.
In: A Pleasant Attitude. I was at a conference a few years ago where the keynote speaker was Isadore Sharp, founder of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts chain. The Four Seasons is known for making guests feel completely at home and providing an exceptional level of service. Why? Telling us the details of their hiring practices, Sharp explained it all. He said that every time they open a new hotel, tens of thousands of individuals would apply for only a few hundred jobs. Amid those applications, his recruiters were all looking for one thing: a pleasant attitude. His belief is that skills can be taught, but you are either born with a helpful, pleasant attitude or not. I agree with him completely. When the competition is fierce, the attitude you project in an interview is more important than ever.
The First Day on the Job
Out: Monologue.The CEO monologue is no longer the only opinion in the room—there must be a constant conversation about the state of your industry in order to not only remain relevant, but with hopes of staying above the mean. The Internet has given companies the opportunity to reach consumers—and receive feedback—on more platforms than ever before, and it is powerful organizational tool for internal communications. The boss might be right, but she may also be repeating something she read on a random message board. Be open to new ideas, wherever they come from.
In: Dialogue.In modern companies, offices are literally opening up. While the corner office still has a window view, perhaps the CEO has joined the rest of the group, maybe even sitting next to an intern. Offices are downsizing and executives may all be sitting together at one table, or in rooms without cubicles. Breaking down the conversational walls allows for a constant flow of ideas that can be casually expressed rather than written down or emailed. This dynamic creates a democratic dialogue that will only better the whole company as it allows young newcomers to give their fresh perspective to senior executives, and senior executives to communicate their experience to newcomers. Be a part of the conversation from day one.

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A founding member of Martens & Heads!, Kate Benson brings more than 15 years of industry experience and executive search expertise. She focuses on senior-level placements within the lifestyle practice and specializes in general management, sales, marketing, human resources, and operations. Her clients include global iconic brands as well as entrepreneurial startups.

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