Skilled labor jobs are in demand, worth considering

Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2015 3:00 am

High-tech industries such as aerospace retrofit companies are needing skilled craftsmen to do work with precision equipment. There is a short supply of those craftsmen in the Triad. What a great opportunity for a professional that is having trouble finding good paying work in their field.

A few community college courses could qualify you for one of these positions. Now is a good time to readjust our mental lens on what we are willing to do for a living.

So, what would hold back a degreed person from taking advantage of such an opportunity? Pay too low? Work too hard? Not enough prestige?

Rethink this opportunity. The pay is not bad and the work is low stress. Steady pay and low stress could be of more value to the family than a higher paying job with more prestige and inherent stress. No need for an ego trip when the needs of the family require mom and dad to be home more and in a pleasant mood when they are together.

Besides, if more parents would realize the value in encouraging and providing their children skills training in addition to liberal arts learning, kids would likely be more stable and secure in their employment opportunities. This makes for solid parenting and good citizenry.

Booker T. Washington saw the value in a balanced education over 100 years ago. He said, “The individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of his race.” His students at Tuskegee Institute had to learn a trade in addition to getting a liberal arts education.

With only “book learning” to sustain us, we are at the whims of moods and trends in programs and theoretical experiments.

Skills in producing things provide the necessities of life, which remain whenever fads and trends in entertainment fade away. There comes the security in having a noble and marketable skill which provides needed services for mankind.

So, regardless of the liberal education we possess, it is seldom too late to learn a “manual” skill which could provide physical provision and mental purpose for the remainder of our working years.

Pride in position and job title could be robbing us of rewarding job opportunities.

The pursuit of secondary education in America has eroded some family and moral fiber that will be difficult, if not impossible, to repair. A college education is now becoming an expense that often cannot be repaid with eroding wage scales.

Maybe, it’s time to appreciate the dignity and “dough” that comes from getting dirty hands and nails on the job. Maybe we should go back 100 years and revisit the wisdom expounded by the first President of Tuskegee University in Alabama.

We’ve tried it the other way and we are 100 years older and “deeper in debt.” More people are educated now and less seem to be happy with life and living comfortably. We must have left something behind. It might have been our character and soul as a country.

Glenn Wise is owner of Right Hire Solutions, which provides prescreening and outplacement programs for companies in the Triad. The Job Search University is offered for unemployed professionals. Contact Wise at (336) 509-5606 or careerfocussolutions.com.

Survey: Fit and character trump skills

Posted: Sunday, January 25, 2015 3:00 am

The basic skills to do a specific task or job are necessary to get a job. However, companies in the Triad are saying that they value character and work culture fit more than skill power when hiring new employees.

Company survey crews from Triad Job Search Network asked companies what qualities they look for in new hires. The smaller and newer companies strongly emphasize that a candidate for hire must fit well with their culture. They have strong training programs to provide the skills needed to do the job thereby obviating the need for a perfect skills match for a position.

This change in criteria for hiring is a recognition of two things. First, societal norms are accepting faulty behavior patterns in the average adult. Workplace studies are showing that lying, cheating and using company time for personal work are becoming more common place. Secondly, great harm can be done by a disgruntled employee that does not fit well with their associates or the company’s mission.

Efforts put forth by employers to determine proper fit is at least double that put forth in previous decades. Multiple and panel interviews plus psychological tests are a few of the expensive tools used by companies to ensure proper fit.

Some companies will hire a pre-screening company to put the candidates through a simulated work environment to observe their conduct under simulated or stressful performance conditions.

The popularity of hiring on a temp-to-permanent basis is another indicator of how important employee fit is to a company’s success.

Large companies have a practice of hiring large quantities of recent college graduates and watching them perform under their training and assessment program. The best performers are retained.

This growing trend should encourage job seekers because they benefit from a good fit with a company’s style and culture. Everyone wins.

The savvy job seeker should conduct their job search with the fit factor in the forefront. They should be aggressive in doing pre-fit analyses on companies and target those good-fit companies for getting insider contacts for the inside jobs.

The standard pre-fit analysis involves a self assessment and a company assessment to see where there is a match between company culture and individual preferences.

Then, when the job interview comes, the seeker will be armed with facts from their fit analysis. These facts, as expressed in the interview, will be stand-out evidence of the candidate’s thorough professionalism. Few job seekers will have the fore-sight to conduct a pre-fit analysis.

Glenn Wise is owner of Right Hire Solutions, which provides prescreening and outplacement programs for companies in the Triad. The Job Search University is offered for unemployed professionals. Contact Wise at (336) 509-5606 or careerfocussolutions.com.

Fit, friends equal job satisfaction

Posted: Sunday, November 30, 2014 3:00 am

If you are a good fit for your job and company, you will have job satisfaction. And, if you have a network of “work friends” in a bank of companies where you could fit, you will have job security. These truths are not new, but they need more publicity in today’s depressed job market.

Companies spend heavily on finding employees that fit them and their needs. There is a high cost of maintaining dissatisfied employees on the payroll. So, they try hard to determine the fit of a candidate before offering them a job.

A favorite tool used by companies is to ask their current employees for a recommendation when a position opens up. They trust that an existing employee will recommend a friend or acquaintance only if they are a good fit with the company and it’s needs.

A job seeker benefits as much from being a good fit as the company. Job satisfaction is a result from being in a place where the company’s mission and management style fit the seeker’s makeup. Therefore, the seeker should do as much pre-fit analysis as possible before applying for a position at a certain company.

A great way to determine “company fit” is to have short talks with current workers about their work experiences. These one-on-one discussions set the stage for further dialogue if the company qualifies as a select company for potential work. If handled properly, short informational interviews will turn an insider contact into an insider friend who provides leads on inside jobs before they are put on the streets.

A job seeker with a bank of insider friends inside ten or more “fit”companies can anticipate leads for inside jobs in a short period of time. That is because the job seeker will have 30 “insider friends” engaged, at an average of three per company, to provide leads on inside jobs.

So, the formula for job satisfaction and job security is to determine a seeker’s work place preferences from which companies are targeted for fit analysis and insider friends established for job notification and referral.

Job security cannot be guaranteed in any company, but having a bank of insider friends provides a large parachute to take the sting out of being let go from any job. And, having a pre-packed parachute in place while employed takes job-loss anxiety out of the picture. This opens the door to greater work enjoyment and productivity.

Any worker who shows the initiative to develop a strong network of contacts in their industry will stand out in a positive way from average workers. Most companies will see this person as a positive asset to their organization who brings courage, ingenuity and a strong work ethic to the table.

Glenn Wise is Senior Coach at Career Focus Workshops, which teach innovative ways to penetrate the “hidden” job market. Call (336) 298-1152 or email glennwise@careerfocusworkshops.com.

'Pleasure interviews' can yield great results

Published: Sunday, October 26, 2014

I accompanied David on Pleasure (practice) Interviews to randomly picked stores in the Friendly Avenue Shopping Center a few weeks ago. These interviews are part of the homework assignments at the Triad Job Search Network to give job seekers practice in talking to strangers. This helps them overcome their shyness in talking to strangers on the job and build confidence in the interviewing process.

The objective this day was to get three store managers to talk to David for a few minutes as part of a short job-interest survey and then get to interview at least one of their subordinates. This whole process is in preparation for doing Research Visits inside targeted companies to evaluate their fit for future employment.

David had already witnessed a rejection by one store worker the week before when another job seeker tried to get an interview. Getting three successful visits seemed doubtful.

The first store was a major telecommunications company outlet. At first the manager was busy, but he asked for us to wait until he had a few minutes. When he got free, he gave a very good interview and then suggested we talk to one of his service agents when he finished with his current client. This gentleman was very obliging and helpful and walked with us to the door after the interview.

David’s confidence grew with each successful interview.

Then we walked down the street and into a child’s clothing store where we were both a little out of place with all the moms there. Here again, the manager was very cordial and one of the clerks also participated in the practice interview. There were no jobs in these establishments, but the employees were willing and able to give their personal experiences and opinions on working at their job.

After approaching smaller establishments, I challenged David to try a large department store that was staring us in the face only yards away. The odds of getting three successes in a row were not good. So, I said, do you want to try it? “Sure, let’s go for it.” His successes with the smaller ones gave him the courage to go for a big one. But, the success chain was in jeopardy.

David led the way into this large, busy store and saw that the manager’s office was on the second floor. He asked a sales lady if we could speak to the manager with a few questions related to job experiences. She took the Triad Job Search Network business card from him and called for the manager.

The manager came soon and agreed to talk for a few minutes but warned that a floor call could interrupt the process. After the short interview, she agreed for us to talk to a gentleman who was working in the mattress and bedding department nearby.

We approached the gentleman and asked if we could ask him a few questions to help David in his job search process. He said yes and apologized for his slight accent and ability to speak clearly at the moment. For the next few minutes, David and I heard from a gentleman who had recently left his home in Syria where so much turmoil is occurring.

Georges came back to the U.S. with his family after selling his business back home. He had worked for this company in New Jersey years before, so when he came back to the States he was hired right away by the same company, which he loves. He couldn’t say enough good things about the company.

Georges obviously loves people and wanted to help David with his assignment. When we were finished, he gave us the two last pieces of candy he kept for his customers.

On this day, we saw mankind at its finest and so many people wanting to help their fellow man. And, what a way to finish a challenging assignment with Georges from Syria coming to America to be here at the right time to make our day pleasantly successful.

This was the fourth store in a row for David to be successful in talking to a store manager and an employee without a single rejection. His faith in mankind and personal confidence are now four stories higher.

Glenn Wise is Senior Coach at Career Focus Workshops, which teach innovative ways to penetrate the “hidden” job market. Call (336) 298-1152 or email glennwise@careerfocusworkshops.com

Get to work getting work

Published: Sunday, September 28, 2014

The average job seeker spends only five hours per week in gainful job search. It’s because they have a defensive, hunker-down strategy for getting a job. After putting together a good resume and mailing it to all the companies that have posted jobs on the internet and in the newspapers, there is little else to do each day except scan the internet and read the papers to see what has changed since the previous day. That takes only a few minutes. Then it becomes a “wait for the phone to ring” situation.

In the meantime, the seeker constantly reads about job search techniques in hopes of discovering the magic bullet for getting a job without having to struggle too much for it. There is endless advice for the seeker on the internet and at job support groups, but with no action on the advice, the seeker just sits and soaks up the advice. That is not job search, it is just job search school.

In job search school, the seeker is told to network to get a job. But, in a few weeks, everyone they know has gotten the word that they are looking for a job.

So, they go into a very inactive mode, not knowing what else to do and afraid to do any cold calling for research visits to companies they have targeted as good places to work.

The shock of losing a job soon takes a serious toll on confidence and desire to go out into that “cold cruel world.” So, getting busy in active job search is critical to good morale and preparation for the next job.

The job search is always known to take a full 40 hours a week to get a good job. So, a decision to go from five hours to 25 hours is a vital step toward a successful search.

Here are some basics in becoming active. First, overcome the fear of doing Informational Interviews or Research Visits by doing Pleasure Interviews

at places you shop or do recreation; where there is no threat of messing up a real job interview. Do at least five of these to get ready for Informational Interviews (at any company) or Research Visits (at targeted companies).

The mechanics of doing good Pleasure, Informational and Employment Interviews are outlined in Richard Bolles’ book, “What Color Is Your Parachute?”

It is referred to as the P.I.E. method for conducting effective interviews.

Secondly, select five companies to do Research Visits where you would potentially like to get employment.

Thirdly, get another unemployed friend to be your “foxhole buddy” to go with you on Research Visits for

encouragement and critique. They can go on Pleasure Interviews with you also.

Next, contact someone who works at the company to talk to you and your buddy about what it is like to work at the company. Make it clear that you will not be asking for a job during the Research Visit.

Fifth, keep records of contacts and information received during the visits and send Thank You notes to all who helped in making the research visits possible.

Repeat this process every week until all five companies have been visited and then start over with five new companies until you have visited at least 15 companies. The more companies visited with contacts developed inside, the greater the odds of getting an insider-only position.

A constructive day of job search should consist of: one hour for selecting companies to research with contacts inside, one hour for making phone calls, two hours for visiting a company, and one hour for writing a report on the visit and sending Thank You notes.

These 25 hours of work each week will solidify the job search and help build a base of insider contacts that will yield the fruit of leads to jobs that never hit the streets. It is a major morale builder and will make employment interviews seem like a walk in the park.

Glenn Wise is Senior Coach at Career Focus Workshops, which teach innovative ways to penetrate the “hidden” job market. Call (336) 298-1152 or email glennwise@careerfocusworkshops.com

Need help finding your parachute?

Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nineteen years ago, I sat under the tutelage of the master in life/career planning, Richard Nelson Bolles. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, he “is the most recognized job-hunting authority on the planet.”

His famous book, “What Color Is Your Parachute?,” has been published in 41 updated versions since 1970; the 2015 version is already out on Amazon. Ten million copies have been sold.

This is the job hunting bible which provides the best advice on job search and promotes the Creative Search Strategy, which I often refer to as The Wise Way, to search for work in America today. Bolles covers the entire gamut of search for jobs in both the public and private domains. The private domain is where most of the jobs are found today.

The strange title comes from a recognition of the need for a safety net or device to let a worker down gently when they have been laid off from their job. As an Episcopal priest, Bolles saw so many people “bailing out of the ministry” that he likened it to a need for a parachute. He got his start in this field helping pastors and priests find work after leaving the ministry.

In my 20 years of work with the unemployed professional I have discovered one indisputable fact — the loss of a job ranks very high on the stress curve, up there with divorce or death of a loved one. That stress destroys the confidence and energy required to find another position.

The remedy for that is to pack your job-search parachute before you are let go so that the fall will be controlled and self-directed. The color of the parachute is the direction you are headed with your search based upon a full self assessment as to what your natural talents are for solving business problems. Dick developed an outstanding tool to determine those transferable skills.

Employers hire us to solve problems. In that transferable skills are “portable” to any field or job category, they can open the door to many work opportunities in many different companies in the Triad.

Then, with work place preferences identified in the “Flower Exercise,” a career planner can select those companies and positions that fit the seeker’s special work environment needs. By understanding which work “soil” a seeker needs to survive and thrive, that type of “soil” can then be located by external and internal research of targeted companies.

There is a chapter on salary negotiation which outlines the proper time to discuss compensation. With this strategy in mind, one can expect to gain several percentage points in starting salary. In that the starting salary is the basis for all future raises, each point increase raises the multiplier each year. Therefore, good salary negotiation could yield great dividends in years ahead.

Time spent in applying the “Parachute” principles will be well spent. Many professionals have been given a copy of this book during their career, but never got around to reading or implementing it’s principles.

It you wish to join a “Parachute” implementation Job Club, visit Triad Job Search Network each Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Covenant United Methodist Church at 1526 Skeet Club Road in High Point. Visit the website at www.tjsn.net for more information or call the number below.

Glenn Wise is Senior Coach at Career Focus Workshops, which teach how to find “hidden” jobs. Email glennwise@careerfocusworkshops.com or call (336) 298-1152. 

Look for good in people, companies; leave the door open

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 3:00 am

Most people in the workforce in America naturally want to help others who are in need. They are happy to give a hand when they can.

Most companies are in business to provide a need and serve their customers to the best of their ability. That is the way they stay in business in a free-market society. They are in the people-pleasing business or they go out of business.

It is a mistake if the job seeker has the wrong attitude about companies and people and focus’s only on the sob stories about selfish people and companies. We need to remember that Americans are the most generous people in the world when it comes to helping people and countries in need.

Therefore, when looking for good places to work, be bold in asking for information about a company’s operational culture. They should be pleased that you are showing interest in them for potential future employment.

Job seekers who venture out and ask for that help are generally surprised, at first, that working people will actually give them a few minutes of their time to discuss what it is like to work at their current position. One seeker, David Hammer, became so happy with the responses he got from employees about his work strategy, that he hated to land a job and quit networking. His networking landed him several part-time positions that became a base for starting his own company.

So, when we look for good things in connecting with nice people that want to help a job seeker with advice, not a job, then we are very pleasantly surprised at how much goodness is available in company workers. And, when we see that companies are in business to help people every day, then we should expect a general warmness toward providing help in the job search. We should not be expecting a job from a company unless one is open, however, quite often a position is created for a strong talent who fits well with the company’s culture.

It is wise to not judge a book by it’s cover when judging whether you will be greeted warmly when approaching a company or it’s employees. While others may have had a negative experience when approaching a certain company, it does not mean you will have the same experience. Your approach might be more positive and pleasing to the eye and ear when you approach them, compared to one who went in expecting a hostile reception.

Attitudes are contagious! Always approach a company or individual with the expectation of a warm cordial encounter. It is much better to expect positive results from the meeting than fearing a rejection.

Give off an aura of trust and comfort. That will set the tone for the meeting.

And, lastly, remember that the true facts about the helpful nature of workers do not warrant fear and trepidation when seeking help in the job search. The great majority of companies and workers inside are eager to help others. Walk tall, keep an open face and show how much you want to be a part of that team should there be a good fit. Accept no’s graciously and express sincere understanding as to why your requests could not be accommodated at this time.

Always leave the door open for another opportunity to make the connection happen.

Glenn Wise is Senior Coach at Career Focus Workshops, which teach innovative ways to penetrate the “hidden” job market. Call (336) 298-1152 or email glennwise@careerfocusworkshops.com

Over 50? You provide the greatest employment value

Published: Sunday, June 22, 2014

Being between jobs or careers is an excellent time to assess where you are in life and what your needs are compared to what the job market can offer. In addition, one must determine what are the needs of the market compared to what you have to offer.

A person’s needs change with time. Each decade in a person’s life brings on a different set of needs. Each decade also provides a person with more that they can offer for sale in the job market place.

The accompanying table is an illustration of the changing needs a person has with respect to what a company can offer in the areas of financial and job satisfaction rewards. In addition, the table presents the offerings a person can market to satisfy a company’s needs in the areas of problem solving skills and emotional maturity. The needs and offerings of an individual change with time and are shown in relative strength in the seven decades of a worker’s life.

Relatively speaking, the strongest period of need for an individual is in their 30s and 40s. Whereas, the greatest strength of offerings for an individual is in their 30s and 50s for problem solving and in their 70s for maturity and wisdom. The 60s offer a strong package of problem solving skills with a heavy dose of maturity.

The 40s are the most needful period for the worker in financial and position ambition. Yet, in their 50s a worker can offer great benefits for companies while in a lower state of personal need. Therefore companies can often get the best bargain with more skills and maturity for less money by hiring a person in their 50s over a younger person.

So, older workers need not belabor the fact that they are mature, experienced workers. They would do well to market themselves properly to the right market; not in the younger worker’s market. They must be willing to be patient and network themselves into interviews with people who will appreciate them for who they are and what they have to offer.

While we see age as a type of handicap in job search, Richard Bolles, of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” said, “Regardless of your handicap, there are those who will not hire you because of it and those who will hire you because of it.”

Glenn Wise is Senior Coach at Career Focus Workshops, which teach innovative ways to penetrate the “hidden” job market. Call (336) 298-1152 or email glennwise@careerfocusworkshops.com

Posers perform poorly; present skills wisely

Posted: Sunday, May 25, 2014 3:00 am

Surfers call novices “posers.” They spot them by their shiny clean surf boards, pale tans and new wet suits. These “posers” will normally paddle to shore when the surf gets rough for fear of being hurt or drowned by a monster wave. The proven surfer, on the other hand, looks for and chases the highest wave for the thrill of “shootin’ the curl.” Long hours on the board and their motto of “No Fear” provides the metal to get the job done.

Companies try hard to screen out the “Posers” or “Wannabes” during the interview process. While they depend upon the resume and interview to determine the “sea worthiness” and fit of a new hire, the process often falls short. That is primarily because the truth about the candidate is often misstated on the resume. And, job seekers develop interviewing techniques to cover up character flaws.

Once hired, those flaws and lack of skills for the work tasks will surface when a crisis or complex task faces the new employee. Then, more lies and head fakes will have to be used to cover up the “lies” used to get the job. The situation normally goes rapidly downhill and the “poser” will likely be back on the streets in a short time. It’s a loss for both the job seeker and the company. This scenario is not new and it continues to plague companies.

For this reason, most companies try to hire only those who have someone inside the organization to vouch for their character and work ethic. And, where possible, they had rather talk to potential candidates that are not under pressure to overly impress the interviewer. In addition, the hiring manager can learn much more about the true fabric of a person in an informal interview setting than in a formal one.

Getting such an interview with the hiring manager is best accomplished by using the insider approach or “Wise Way” job strategy. This way develops “work friends” inside companies selected for work opportunities. Those “work friends” get to know something about the character and work ethic of a Wise Way job seeker through short meetings arranged by the seeker to learn about the company from an insider’s perspective. The manner in which the seeker arranges for, and conducts, those meetings is a measure of their credibility and discipline in staying on task during the process.

While “posers” can manipulate the average formal interview, they are seldom able to keep up the charade during dozens of informal research visits. In addition, they typically lose their desire to force-fit themselves into an organization because this strategy discourages it. The Wise Way Strategy includes a thorough self assessment of the seeker’s transferable skills and work place preferences. This provides them the confidence that they can get a good job in a good company without having to pretend to be something that they are not.

The Wise Way is a win-win for the job seeker and their future employer. A good fit in an employee is a pleasurable and productive experience for all concerned.

Therefore, companies need to be very open to allowing potential future employees inside for short research visits with their employees. They should not build an impenetrable wall with alligator-filled moats to keep company “fans” away.

And, job seekers should always be forthright and honest about their abilities on the resume and during an interview. Otherwise, it never finishes well when the waves come crashing down on the job.

Glenn Wise is Senior Coach at Career Focus Workshops, which teach innovative ways to penetrate the “hidden” job market. Call (336) 298-1152 or email glennwise@careerfocusworkshops.com