Why ex Army Officers Make Great Recruiters & Sales People

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Why ex Army Officers Make Great Recruiters & Sales People

During my career I have been fortunate to have worked with ex army officers and NCO’S (non commissioned officers).  One of them was my manager and today I still rank him as the best manager I have ever had.  Others have been clients and candidates for roles I have been recruiting for.  All of them had exceptional leadership qualities, were people I admired and knew I could trust and rely on.  One of the best hedge fund sales managers would go out of his way to help me if I asked him to recommend someone for a role I was working on.

Recruiters and hiring managers use traditional job descriptions which are usually a list of things the person must have, such as 5 years experience, degree, language skills, knowledge of x, y, z and which is then followed by a list of personality traits (which are hard to measure as they are often very subjective) such as self starter, takes initiative, team player. Then the final part is a list of responsibilities and duties.  These are used to filter out people who don’t have the things on the list.  There are two problems that this creates and the first is that it does not define superior performance and since everyone wants to hire a superior performer this will not help you to do this.  Read more ...

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Is Skydiving scarier than joining a startup?

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Is Skydiving scarier than joining a startup?

We live in an amazing world and this is often best captured by photography.  This one photo alone says so many things like our ability to adapt and change, take calculated risks, our use of technology to experience the world in a multitude of different ways, the creative designs of the jumpsuits and all the safety devices built into the  equipment that the jumpers use.

Like the pioneers of skydiving the founders of startups have a lot in common and it is these founders that have the power to continue to create an amazing world for all of us.  Read more...

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Microsoft Was a Startup

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Microsoft Was a Startup

“I can’t do this “  he screamed and with that statement I witnessed the fastest resignation of anyone in my career. This was 1990 in Tokyo and I had joined a contingency recruitment firm about a month earlier, when across the isle in another cubicle a young American stood up and after only 15 minutes on the job decided to quit.  The company employed about 20 people at the time, each one was given a cubicle, a phone, a computer, 10 minutes training and was expected to make money very quickly or else you were fired.  Within the first few days it was obvious who was making money as they were the ones who had the biggest cubicles and sat by the window.  A few days later I discovered they also lived in the best apartments and drove the best cars.  Read more ....

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Stress, Success and the Startup

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Stress, Success and the Startup

Stress is caused by uncontrollability, unpredictability and novelty and when you are starting a new business you pretty much have all 3 from day 1. You cannot control whether you will get funding or predict with 100% accuracy that your idea will prove to be successful. The word stress is a bit too vague to be useful when understanding what is actually happening to us when we are stressed. When we experience stress we experience emotions and it’s these emotions that hold the answers to your problems. The most useful emotions will be the ones that you don’t want to experience, but if you don’t experience them and know how to respond to them, then your startup is doomed to failure.  Read more...

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The Superstars that underperformed

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The Superstars that underperformed

Why looking at a person’s track record will never be enough.

There is a certain logic to looking at someone’s track record and using that to predict success but it is a flawed logic and can lead to bad hiring. The following paragraph is a piece from an article on the Fin Alternatives website :

"The list of Goldman alumni who have faltered after going solo includes former prop. trading chief Pierre-Henri Flamand, prop. traders Daniele Benatoff and Ariel Roskis, former fuel trader Gilbert Saiz, former co-head of private financing for Europe Robert Sorrell and an entire team of prop. traders who went to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to launch KKR Equities Strategies in 2011 only to see it closed in June 2014"

http://www.finalternatives.com/node/28201

Now if you were to meet, even interview these former Goldman stars I am in no doubt you would find a highly intelligent and ambitious group who would also have good interpersonal skills.

So why did these and others like them with great track records and the backing of sophisticated investors fail to deliver the expected results?   Read me...

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Women, Discrimination, Diversity and Innovation

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Women, Discrimination, Diversity and Innovation

Woman

Discrimination against women in the workplace is no longer the problem it used to be but it has not been completely eliminated. Encouraging new research shows that there have been significant improvements.

A Gallup survey says that, with one exception, no matter how you slice up job satisfaction, American women are equal to or ahead of men. Fully fifty percent of women and 45 percent of men say they receive suitable recognition for their accomplishments.   Read more...

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                       How To Hire Innovative People

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How To Hire Innovative People

There are people who can identify a problem but do nothing about it and there are those who will immediately try to find a solution. There are authors who will tell you there is not enough innovation and there is Gijs van Wulfen who will offer some innovative ideas to inspire managers to change.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140915094943-206580-when-will-conservative-managers-support-innovation?trk=object-title

Building on Gijs ideas, managers could also increase the amount of innovation that they and their team generate by hiring more people who posses that skill already and here is a simple evidence based way to determine this in the interview.

All you need is just one question which you ask 3 times.   Read more...

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Why you will fail.

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Why you will fail.

Whether it’s your first or last job there are a lot of things to consider when making that all important decision about accepting or rejecting an offer of employment. However there are 3 things which are more important than anything else, even money. Even money?  Yes even money and don’t go giving me but what if they want to pay me a billion dollars scenario, because this is planet earth and rarely are we offered any form of employment where our compensation is several multiples of the going rate for the same work.

So what’s more important than money when it comes to evaluating the opportunity? Read more...

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If you have good table manners Bill Gates will hire you!

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If you have good table manners Bill Gates will hire you!

“I hear that when Bill Gates did his interviews, he would ask people to lunch and see how they eat and what they do.  To me that's more effective than questions.”

This is a direct quote from someone who had commented on the questions that 8 hiring experts ask candidates.  

Here is the link http://mashable.com/2014/01/10/hiring-experts-interview-questions/   

Now suppose that you were lucky enough to get through several rounds of interviews and you were asked to go to lunch with Bill or Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, James Caan, Alan Sugar, David Cameron, The Pope or the Head of the Church of Scientology how exactly should you behave in order to nail that Global Head of Marketing, Applications Developer, Campaign Strategy Advisor, iPod, iPad, iBall, iHead product specialist role?

What criteria would Bill be using to assess you at lunch?   Read me...

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What a stupid question.

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What a stupid question.

“That’s it, I’ve had enough, you can start looking for my replacement today” he said in a frustrated tone of voice as he slammed the phone down and stormed out of the conference room.  I could swear that I heard a sigh of relief from the CEO who was on the same conference call, even though he was in Tokyo and I was in Singapore.  I felt for certain that a big smile must have run across his face as we had already been planning to replace Steve, the APAC Regional Head of IT.  We had been on a conference call when the CEO, Brian told him to do something that Steve had argued against for weeks, when he finally lost it.  Steve was a technical guru, however his interpersonal skills were limited.  He was impatient, argumentative and while he knew a lot about artificial intelligence he knew very little about emotional intelligence.

Steve could easily have answered any of the following questions:   Read me...

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            The number 1 reason  no one wants to hire you!

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The number 1 reason no one wants to hire you!

"If you were a golf club, what number would you be?"  "A golf club?  Sorry?" said the very irritated, confused and unimpressed mid level executive to the Goldman Sachs Managing Director sitting opposite him.  "I can't understand why you would ask such a question in an interview"  He stood up and said I would like to leave now, reached across the table, shook the managing directors hand and left.  It gets worse!  He then went home and wrote a letter to the chairman of Goldman complaining at being asked such a question.  This is a true story told to me by a very accomplished Goldmans' executive who saw the funny side of it but who also acknowledged ten years ago what Google has recently stated there is no correlation between brain teaser type questions and hiring the best performers.

The number 1 reason no one will ever hire you is:   Read me...

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