Tag Archives: Job hunt

So why are weekly commutes so scary, again?

When job hunting you come across the oddest reasons for being turned down, one of the oddest is geographic proximity. If I look for a job in the London area, a likely scenario, what is the big deal with me doing a weekly commute? On my dime and time, might I add. As long as I’m in the office 8.30 Monday morning isn’t that all that counts?

Is is this purely a UK issue? It being an island and all?

I frankly don’t understand, which is why this BBC article is so strange for me. While we’re not all property tycoons living in South of France I still don’t see the big thing about weekly commutes.

On the contrary, I see it as a possibility to personal growth and professional development.

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20141118-the-worlds-longest-commutes

After careful consideration….

When job hunting, this is an automated message we’ve all received and we know that those words isn’t the beginning of a new and fruitful relationship. Fair enough and not that much of a problem; an organisation should recruit the person they believe can do the job.

No, what bothers me is the time lapsed between the application and this answer. Yesterday I submitted my CV to a large company for a Communications Director position. I immediately received a confirmation that they had received my application. And 32 minutes later I received this follow-up message:

Thank you for your recent application to XXXX.

After careful consideration we have decided not to progress with your application at this point in time as we have identified candidates that more closely match our requirements.

Please continue to review our current opportunities on the careers page of our website at xxx, to ensure consideration for future roles.

Thank you for the interest you’ve shown and may we wish you every success in your search for a new role.

Yours sincerely,

XXX Talent Acquisition

Really? My application was carefully considered for the whole of 32 minutes. And that during a time of day when not many are at the office. How careful can you be in 32 minutes? Personally, I not only find this behaviour unprofessional I also find it rude.

I understand we all play the Taleo guessing game and unless my CV doesn’t contain the correct key words it won’t show up. But I would advice the responsible managers to programme an automated timer to the answer and hold it for 24 hours. It would at least make you look minimally professional.

 

Networking yourself [to a new job]

I’m following this Coursera MOOC on “International Leadership and Organizational Behaviour”, #ILOB and I quite enjoy it. Although I don’t really know about the academic endeavour and value with these classes new learning is always positive.

Today’s lecture is about the Impact of Social Networks on Organizations and Groups, it speaks about different types of networks – strong vs. weak, closed vs. open etc. But I wonder, does it (= networking) work? And if you find yourself in a surrounding aka network and you’re the odd man out what good will a network be to you? In my own situation e.g. it is no secret that I’m looking for a new job and that I come with a good experience and competencies to execute in the jobs I apply for. Only I seem to exist in some Boy zone, that is Brussels public affairs in IT, and even if I turn over backwards I will never be male so I literally don’t fit in. This is not a criticism, it is stating facts of human nature, I believe that the correct academic term is Homophily, i.e. we bond easier with people whom are similar to ourselves. But with result is that unless we dare to go outside the famous box our network will look as ourselves. From a sheer business point of view that while a closed network like this will offer good ways to collaborate, higher trust etc., closed networks like these will also see lack of innovation, high redundancy in competencies and so on. Of course, I understand that there are two in any connection and I am entirely open to the fact that I’m the weak spot in any [future] relationship. Then the question is – what does that say about me? Maybe I haven’t invested enough in my network? Possibly. Like so much in our lives networks are earned, it could be that I haven’t earned my network. On the other hand none of “my” contacts have just landed in my lap.

I’ve always been a firm believer in “keeping shut and getting the work done” and that this will eventually pay off in more interesting jobs, tasks and better remuneration. Yes, I admit there are limits to my altruism and both the landlord and myself like the concept of paying the monthly bills in full, every month. An old-fashion concept I know, but one that I like because well, it works. But no, not so. Apparently I have to look at my wide network as a strategic asset. Dear me, these a people I’ve passed a good time with having coffee or so, but now they are suddenly an asset. I find it all a bit disconcerting, because while I don’t mind helping out as much as I can myself when someone asks for help I dislike the notion of being an asset. And if I dislike this it is easy to assume that so does my counterparts.

So while I understand that No Man is an Island I’m remain a bit uneasy of the concept of regarding my fellow human beings as assets. And to balance the giving and taking. Or am I maybe over thinking the art of networking?

“It’s nothing personal” – “Please don’t take it as a reflection of your competencies” ‑ so they say

When applying for jobs one must grow rhinoceros hide and learn to accept rejection after rejection. Of course I get disappointed when I get a no, I mean I applied for the job. At the same time, it goes without saying that in a hiring process the company should identify and hire the person they feel can do the job. Identifying the right candidate is after all the goal with any hiring exercise, no question about it. And in a hiring situation there are more concerns to take into account than I can being to understand.

However, the thing I find hardest to handle are the comments that comes with the rejections, the ones going along the line of “It’s nothing personal and please don’t take it as a reflection of your competencies.”

You know what? With the risk of sounding like Donna Corleone, this IS personal. We are talking about my competencies, my experiences. It is me, myself and I that is weighed and found too light. I am the one rejected, not the competition. Of course I accept the message. There is after all not much else to do.

Languages are a funny thing

Thing? Possibly the wrong noun, but I hope my trusted readers get what I mean.

In my life, where I at any given day interact in three languages and work in an environment where I hear 25, having some insights into the denomination of languages are something I take for granted. But when will one learn never to take anything for granted?

Today I applied for a job at a company that describes itself the following way:

Kronos is the global leader in delivering workforce management solutions in the cloud. Tens of thousands of organizations in more than 100 countries — including more than half of the Fortune 1000® — use Kronos to control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity. Learn more about Kronos’  industry-specific time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR and payroll, hiring, and labor analytics applications at www.kronos.com

Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works™.

Kronos is a privately held company and was founded in 1977. Headquartered in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Kronos employs more than 3,500 people worldwide.

So it is fair to say this company claims to have a certain international outlook. Well, at least this is what you think because in the ad, for an International Communication Manager, one of the requirements were: Fluency in a language other than English is a benefit (European or Chinese)

European?

Or is their take on the debate on a federal Europe?

On-line cross-cultural networking – tricky, difficult and delicate…

I have just applied to a great role with a fantastic company. On paper the role is “mine:” corporate communications dealing with Internet, Net Neutrality, Intellectual Property, and Telecommunications, copyright and regulatory issues. How cool isn’t that?

The position is in an US Company, but would be based in the Netherlands, and I have no direct contacts into this company, which I know of that is, hence the cross-cultural networking.

After submitting my application I saw that the hiring manager visited my LinkedIn profile and a couple of days later the same did two recruiters from the company in question. Cool, I thought and waited for the mail that never came. Then I read an article about the company which sparked my interest even more so I put some time into a letter further explaining my enthusiasm and trying my best to answer the basic question all future employers ask a possible hire: What added value would you have to the company?

And yes, I subsequently mailed this letter. It was during the weekend and since then – nothing.

Now what do I do? Start looking through my LI connections hoping someone might introduce me? Cry, swear, be disappointed and move on?

Recruiters – a Thank You letter to copy

Yep, I applied for a position with Levi Strauss & Co. and got a letter back. True, in reality, I am none the wiser if my background is what they are looking for, but at least they communicate in a nice way. It isn’t so difficult to write something kind to an eager applicant. Like they say in the end of the letter “We try to treat other like we like to be treated ourselves” so simple and so difficult. Finally, they acknowledge something that so many seem to forget – any applicant is also a customer and stakeholder.

While the style of writing might not suit all companies/organisations in all industries, the approach certainly does and I personally would love it if more could take heed. Or maybe this is standard and I have just been unlucky with the companies I have applied to.

We were in your situation once, wondering if our online application made it to the right folks at Levi Strauss & Co. – or ended up in a digital black hole, never to be seen again.

 Rest assured, this email means we received it. And we thank you for letting us know that you want to join our team.

 As you can imagine, we receive lots of applications and resumes every day, from applicants around the world. As a result, we’ve had to automate the process. For instance, if you reply to this email, no one will see it. Sorry.

Here’s what we promise, though. Our team of talent scouts will review your credentials. If your background and skills match the qualifications for one of our open positions, including any particular position you’ve applied for, we’ll contact you. If there’s not a current match, your resume remains in our database. And we regularly check that database against new open positions.

We love our fans – be they consumers or applicants like you. And we want to treat you the way we’d want to be treated.

Thank you,

Your Friends at Levi Strauss & Co.

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