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Another Tactic To Quantify Your Cultural Fit and Soft Skills

June 6th, 2019

Yesterday I wrote How To Quantify Your Cultural Fit And Soft Skills. I shared a simple tactic that is just one piece of the puzzle to help people understand that you have certain soft, hard to measure skills.

Another way to quantify your soft skills and how well you might fit into my company or team is to write articles or posts. You can do this on LinkedIn easily. One the homepage of LinkedIn, simply click the Write an article link:

write-linkedin-article

This is super easy for anyone to do. We all have LinkedIn profiles…. your writing platform is just one click away. It’s free and couldn’t be easier. Plus, you might even get one or two people to read what you write :p (more on that below)

Another popular place to write and pontificate without setting up a blog is Medium. Here’s one of many examples:

jibberjobber-medium-soft-skills-articles

Medium is a very cool system that is free, allowing you to put up the same article you might have on LinkedIn (or on a personal blog). In fact, plenty of people have their own website for their brand, and then link to medium posts they have written.

Are you in leadership? I want to have a better understanding of the breadth and depth of your leadership skills. I can get only so much from interviews, and from a resume. If I find 10, or 100, of your articles about leadership, I can get great insight into your breadth and depth of leadership.

Same thing for communication, empathy, customer service, strategy, listening, etc.

Write articles that help me understand the breadth and depth of your thoughts in these areas, and I might think “her resume is okay, but wow, her articles really show that she has the experience and skills we need for this role, and I think we’ll really like her on this team!”

Of course, writing great articles doesn’t mean you are a great leader. Maybe you stink at it. But, I think a great article strategy could go a long way to communicate your proficiency in something that is hard to otherwise quantify.

Finally, what about this notion of no one reading your stuff?

My answer is: I don’t care.

Honestly. If no one reads your stuff, that’s okay. Because you have them there, waiting for the right person and the right time.

The right person is an influencer, or hiring manager, or someone on the panel interview. The right time is when you are in the hot seat, being evaluated.

Even if no one else has read your article, you wrote it for that person at that time. And that should be worth it.

Imagine if you had a dozen, or dozens, of these kinds of articles just waiting for that person at that time!

 

 

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How To Quantify Your Cultural Fit And Soft Skills

June 5th, 2019

I was recently chatting with a few people about the reality of quantifying how good you are at soft skills, professional development, and how you could somehow show you would be a good team and cultural fit.

Pluralsight has solved this problem for technical skills. They have what is called Skill IQ, which allows you to take an assessment and come out with a score of how proficient you are in a certain skill (such as programming, design, graphic arts, etc.). These skills are easier to assess than soft skills.  “How do you do this programming thing?” can have one, or a best, answer. However, “Are you a good listener” is…. too subjective.

Pluralsight-IQ

I had a friend who sent me his resume. A developer, he had a section of his programming languages, with a designation from “novice” to “expert” by each language. Skill IQ is a much better way of communicating how good you are at any particular thing because they are based on the assessment, and compared with other people who take the assessment. Not only are you getting your own score from the assessment, you can see how you compare to others. That is really cool, and much better than a self-assessment of “expert” or whatever.

Personally, I think you can come up with some good questions that can help you assess soft skills, but I haven’t put too much thought into how that would work. Maybe one day I will.

For now, I have a suggestion on how to help quantify your soft skills, your professional development, and your cultural fit. This is right in-line with my blog post from yesterday, on the two things you need to prove in the job interview process (one of them is the cultural/team fit).

First, go to YOUR profile in LinkedIn.

The easiest way to get there is to click on your picture, name, or title from the top-left of LinkedIn:

jibberjobber-edit-linkedin-profile

Then, scroll down until you see the “Add profile section” button.

This comes up pretty soon after you scroll down (sorry if this part gets outdated, LinkedIn changes things regularly):

jibberjobber-edit-linkedin-profile-add-profile-section

Then, lick on Accomplishments, then Courses.

When you click on Accomplishments, you get more options, including Courses. I have seen a lot of people add courses to their Profile… this is where they do it from. Note that if you click on “Courses” you can add ONE course. If you want to add any more you have to click on the PLUS icon. Or, just always click on the PLUS icon!

jibberjobber-linkedin-add-courses-profile

Then, add your course information.

I put the name of the Pluralsight course I created (I figure if I created it I can claim I watched it, right?). You would put the names of any courses you took anywhere… if you want access to my Pluralsight courses (I can get you a 30 day pass), just reach out to me (Jason@JibberJobber.com). I don’t know what the number means, so I’m just putting what course number it is for me (this one was my 31st course), and the third box is to associate that course with a particular job title from your Profile.

I put (Pluralsight) in the course name because I think that adds validity/credibility.

jibberjobber-linkedin-add-pluralsight-courses-profile

Then, Save.

The courses will show on your Profile, under Accomplishments, like this:

jibberjobber-pluralsight-courses-profile

As a hiring manager I’m not going to look at that and say “Oh, Jason took an innovation course. Now I know he is innovative.” Or, assume that I’m good at having difficult conversations, or that I’m a leader. I’m not going to assume any of those, but I will have a better understanding of what you are interested in, where you are looking to improve, etc.

When I was on Dr. Paul Jenkin’s podcast last week I spent time looking at his bookshelf. I do this when I go to people’s houses… I want to know what they read, what books they buy, and what interests them. This helps me know where their mind is, what they do and think about in their spare time.

This is similar. This is your “bookshelf” to give me a little more insight into you. It’s not a perfect assessment of your soft skills, and how you’ll fit into my team, but I think it can contribute to me having a better understanding of those things about you.

Plus, it’s free, and easy to do. In the time you scanned this blog post, you could have added three courses :p

Again, if you want a 30 day pass to Pluralsight, hit me up (Jason@JibberJobber.com).

 

 

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The Two Things You Need To Prove In The Job Interview Process

June 4th, 2019

Prove Job InterviewI’ve been interviewing job candidates since almost the beginning of my career. And, I’ve been in my fair share of interviews. I’ve come to realize that there really isn’t anything secretive about the process… sometimes they feel wonky, or weird. But there are just two things that you need to somehow get across in the entire process.

Note that “the entire process” includes every communication you have with people who are making the hiring decision, which includes your resume, LinkedIn profile, online social presence, etc.

The first things you need to prove is that you are technically competent.

Can you actually do the job? Most of the job seekers I talk to think they are the best fit for the job because they’ve gone through the job description and know they can do every bit of it really, really well. In my job last year at Bamboo I went through the job description and thought “I can do all of this (with one exception),” and “my heavens, no one should have this weird of a background or list of proficiencies!”  (The exception was a bullet point that was mistakenly copied over from another job description for a completely different role. The lesson there is that not all job descriptions are bullet-proof, and many of them would probably be about a C-)

Can you do the job? If so, how do you prove it?

Do you use stories? When I had this role before, I found that the processes were too limiting and my team wasn’t able to really contribute the way they should have. We worked on optimizing some processes and policies, which allowed my team to work much more efficiently, and get more work done. I was able to create those optimizations because I’ve worked in similar teams for years, and had an intimate understanding of what needed to happen.” Not a super story, but you get the point.

Do you use quantifications? One of the most important things you should have on your resume is a list of quantifications of how what you have done has made improvements. Did you raise scores at the school? Did you sell more widgets than anyone else? Did you open more offices, help more people, improve the satisfaction score? Where you working with hundreds of thousands of dollars, or millions, or billions? Put numbers on those things, and impress me. Give me something I can sink my teeth into.

Do you use testimonials? I find that allowing other people to talk about my proficiencies is sometimes more powerful than me “bragging” about them. You can ask for testimonials (you should do this!) and coach people on how to give one that has merit, and isn’t just a good-ol-boys-club-fluffy- statement. Or, you can say something like “People I have worked with would say” or “People who have hired me” or “People who have reported to me” and then some statement that, once again, makes your case in a meaningful way.

Perhaps you prove your proficiency in other ways, but those are the main three I can think of right now. Of course, the vehicles you use to do this could be varied, depending on your audience. Maybe you use a personal blog, or LinkedIn articles, or write on Medium, or speak at local events… the list goes on and on. But don’t use those vehicles without understanding WHAT and WHY.

One last point on this: if you asked me to coach you on this, I would suggest that this is a career management strategy, not just a job search strategy. In other words, this is a long-term strategy, not just something you do while you are in a job search.

The second thing to prove is that you will fit into the culture of the team and organization.

JibberJobber Team CultureI have interviewed people who, technically, would have been excellent hires. They would have done such a good job at the job. But, they were not cultural fits.

This comes down to how nice you are. What your emotional intelligence (EQ) is. How perceptive you are.

Look, I know that sometimes there are some very technical things that need to be done and it just doesn’t matter whether the person is good with people or not. Maybe you can isolate them, or by the very nature of the job, they will not be around people. But in today’s world that isn’t super practical. Team members want to enjoy who they work with. They don’t want to go to work with anxiety because of a conversation that might happen (I’ve been there).

Working with horrible people who are good at the technical part of their job is miserable.

How do you show that you are not a horrible jerk?

You could tell people how nice and great you are. But I know a narcissist who is excellent at convincing people about how nice and great they are. I’ve seen people, who were supposedly nice and great, hired, and became a cancer to the organization.

How do you help convince people that you really are cool?

Again, stories. These stories could be about pulling a team together, or working with difficult people, or how you have contributed to a team culture. “Tell me about a time when…” and relate it back to how you work with others, which can give me insight into how you will work with me, our team, and our customers.

Again, quantifications. Perhaps these quantifications have to do with helping employees stay in a company or on a team longer (which is a real issue), or bringing more people to your team (growth), or satisfaction scores. How can you quantify any part of your niceness and previous cultural fit?

Again, testimonials. Let others talk about and for you. This is how most LinkedIn Recommendations are… focusing more on your soft side and how great you are to work with. There is nothing wrong with asking people for specific testimonials and recommendations, but there is something wrong with not having any to show.

I’m not sure I can say which is more important: the ability to do the job, or the culture fit. I think it will depend on many factors, including what the pain points are the company has experienced. Maybe they had someone that was a jerk but good at what they did, and they are reeling from that pain. Or, they have a bunch of nice people who aren’t good at what they do, and they know they need to hire better for competency.

Your job, as a job seeker, is to someone prove both of the things above. Feel free to let me know how it goes!

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