May 22nd, 2013
How well do you read a job ad? That is a good question. And that is exactly what the online job-matching service, TheLadders, discovered. In its recent study using sophisticated eye-tracking technology, researchers identified how people read a job ad versus how they claim they read a job ad. The results are quite interesting:
“Despite job seekers self-reporting that they spend up to 10 minutes reviewing a job description to determine whether they are a fit, the results revealed that they devote only 10 percent of that time assessing an opportunity.”
It appears we may overestimate how much time we scrutinize a job ad. It carries over to our self-assessments in determining job-fit. Ah, yes—the human tendency to exaggerate! We know it well. Nevertheless, when faced with some hard cold facts, our self-assessments tend to become more accurate. For example, when job hunters are allowed to view anonymous collective data about their competition, they come back to reality:
“[when] job seekers [are given] an anonymous overview of who else applied for that same role, job seekers were significantly better at determining if they were a good ‘fit.’”
Focusing on your talent alone can lead to overconfidence. Understanding your talent against the larger backdrop of the talent field tempers your self-assessment, thereby helping you make more accurate job-fit determinations. This is an important task because too many recruiters and too many job hunters are frustrated as TheLadders CEO, Alex Douzet explains:
“There is so much finger-pointing in the job search, mostly by job seekers who think that overwhelmed recruiters and faulty application software are the factors behind them never hearing back. However, our eye-tracking study shows that job seekers simply need to take a better look in the mirror—and better understand their competition—before they even think of applying to that next job.”
If we would all take Douzet’s advice to heart, I suspect the recruitment process and the job-hunt process would both become a more palatable and useful experience for everyone.
May 21st, 2013
Contrary to popular opinion, bias itself is not inherently wrong. The definition of bias includes (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bias):
“an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially: a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment.”
For example, I happen to have a bias about the law of gravity. My inclination or outlook is (barring supernatural intervention) the law of gravity will hold consistently. Therefore, when I am in situations involving significant heights, I endeavor to be especially careful. I allow my instinct for self-preservation to have free reign. Moreover, I am still alive! My bias about the law of gravity happens to be a good bias. It works well for me.
On the other hand, bias becomes wrong when we move into that realm of, “unreasoned judgment.” We should reject this kind of bias. Challenging unreasoned judgments should be a daily task. We might encounter this kind of bias in other people and (dare I say it?) in ourselves.
As long as we are human, unreasoned judgment will plague us. We must recognize it when it happens, and take corrective action to mitigate that bias. Writing in The Atlantic, Nicole Allan summarizes two significant studies in bias (“Karen vs. Kevin” May 2013, p. 16):
“In an oft-cited experiment from 2006, students in two New York University classes read case studies about a tech entrepreneur who in some versions was named Heidi and in others, Howard. The students rated Heidi and Howard as equally competent, but liked Heidi less and didn’t want to work with her. . . . A 2000 study found that female musicians advanced 50 percent more often in orchestra auditions when their gender was masked.”
These sorts of social and professional inequities should never occur. The sad reality is they do occur. You and I have our work cut out for us. Yes, I know sometimes this is easier said than done. Nevertheless, we must never give up the noble fight.
May 17th, 2013
A study from the Kenan-Flagler Business School gives us extensive insight about millennials along with some analysis by Matt Miller, a Forbes contributor (“Why You Should Be Hiring Millennials [Infographic]” 7/3/12). The study summarizes three fundamentals to keeping your millennials engaged:
1—Flatter Them. Most millennials (80%) want recognition and feedback in real time as opposed to an annual performance review. Additionally, they enjoy frequent pulse checks. They genuinely want to know how they are performing and what they can do to improve. Meaningful compliments for work well done will go a long way with millennials.
2—Motivate Them. A combination of structured assignments, lots of feedback, and growth opportunities tend to motivate millennials. They also do better in environments that are comfortable, friendly, and inspire everyone to contribute. A good idea is to ask periodically, how can we make it more fun to come to work?
3—Collaborate With Them. Collaboration comes naturally for millennials. They understand how important teamwork is and they enjoy being contributors. Just ensure everyone is on the same page with business needs, boundaries, and deadlines.
By now, perhaps you would agree with me—millennial or not, these keys aid retention with any demographic group. Let’s put them into action!
May 16th, 2013
A study from the Kenan-Flagler Business School gives us extensive insight about millennials along with some analysis by Matt Miller, a Forbes contributor (“Why You Should Be Hiring Millennials [Infographic]” 7/3/12). From that study, we learn millennials are very confident about their marketability, even in our current economy. For example, 43% feel very confident to extremely confident they could find another job right now.
Now pay attention to this—70% plan to get a new job once the economy improves. Smart companies will capitalize on all the knowledge the Kenan-Flagler Business School study provides. Employee engagement is always important, but it seems especially critical with our millennials today.
Most companies do not want to experience a 70% turnover rate in an entire demographic segment within their workforce. Nevertheless, that could easily happen, and it will happen if companies do not successfully engage their millennials.
May 15th, 2013
A study from the Kenan-Flagler Business School gives us extensive insight about millennials along with some analysis by Matt Miller, a Forbes contributor (“Why You Should Be Hiring Millennials [Infographic]” 7/3/12). From that study, we learn millennials are extremely serious about the importance of entrepreneurship. For example, in addition to their main jobs, 35% of them have already started a side business. Moreover, who says you have to wait to have a regular job to start a side business? It turns out 30% of them started a business while still earning their college degrees.
I have blogged about colleges revamping their curricula to meet the growing demand for entrepreneurial education (“Colleges with an Entrepreneurship Kick,” blog.reliableinsights.com, 10/25/12). Millennials strongly endorse this new academic paradigm. The study shows 92% of 21- to 24-year-olds believe entrepreneurship education is vital in our new economy and job market.
Now I realize some might look at these statistics and dismiss it all as youthful idealism. I am sure some element of that unavoidably exists. Nevertheless, in my observations of and encounters with this latest crop of millennial entrepreneurs, I say, go for it! The old adage is true: Aim for the stars and you might hit the moon. But oh, won’t that be dandy?
The flip side of that is I am encouraged to know millennials recognize the value and the opportunity of entrepreneurship—so much so they believe incorporating it into our academic programs is vital. In that sense, they are realists. Let’s face it—every successful entrepreneur is one less unemployed person. In today’s economy, I think we will take that!
May 10th, 2013
A study from the Kenan-Flagler Business School gives us extensive insight about millennials along with some analysis by Matt Miller, a Forbes contributor (“Why You Should Be Hiring Millennials [Infographic]” 7/3/12). From that study, we learn millennials switch their attention among media devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and television 27 times each hour. For previous generations that number is 17. That represents an increase of more than 50%.
Are millennials just better multitaskers than their predecessors or are they moving faster but engaging less? Are they more focused or are they more distracted? What does this mean or what should it mean for our talent management?
I have read too much about multitasking to know it has its limits. Some insist it is a myth. I recognize for most of us, monitoring multiple activities simultaneously has some value and cannot be completely avoided. Nevertheless, I think we all know in our hearts and minds you cannot produce your very best output on something without a total focus on that specific something. Therefore, we must juggle—as intelligently as possible. Multitasking can accomplish some things, but not everything.
Millennials value their personal electronic devices because they value technology because they value social media because they value connection. Therefore, instead of fighting the flood, we need to surf the wave. You do not have to get distracted 27 times each hour (unless you want to do that).
As with every new generation, millennials do not do everything exactly as the prior ones. Nevertheless, if we are going to extract the full measure of millennial value, then we should all try to surf the wave. Hey, at least we will all be on the same wave.