4 Steps to Find and Use Transferable Skills

4 Steps to Find and Use Transferable Skills

 

Transferable Skills

A career is an ever-evolving process. In some cases, changes in industry direction can make your work obsolete. A surprising number of current jobs are in danger of fading outof existence in the coming decades. The last recession alone changed the job landscape in ways no one had predicted. 

Successful professionals know how to cultivate and use transferable skillsto thrive in a shifting economic landscape. Even if your occupation isn’t in danger, you’ll need them for moving up and/or finding a new path if you’re unhappy with your current one.  

Transferable skillsare qualities that can be carried from one job to another, even into different fields.  

For example, the ability to program in Java doesn’t help if you decide to move from software development into sales management. You can use your talents in leadership, negotiation, and communication to take the leap. If you do want to stay in software, but want to lead the team, those same abilities prove you can take on more responsibility. 

Taking the time to cultivate these skills pays dividends in any career. Figuring out what they are and how to use them is more straightforward than it may seem.

1. Start with your resume

Brush off or write up your resume. Take a look at the responsibilities you’ve listed and the skills involved. Identify which are specific to your current work and which can be carried over. Rank these by your strength in each. This is your transferable skill list.

2. Break down your future direction

Take a look at where you want to go next. This could be into a new field or a path in your current niche. Find some job descriptions for positions within these paths. Find out which have qualifications that intersect with your transferable skills. Those are your best bets in making a move.

3. Network

Reach out to people in those fields you know or can connect to (via LinkedIn or other platforms). Let them know what you’d like to do, what skills you plan on leveraging to do it, and ask their advice on making your move. Make sure you include consultants at recruiting firms, as they’re the experts in navigating careers in their specialty areas. This networking can bring in sound advice and even interviews.

4. Market yourself

Using the knowledge you’ve gained, post your resume, and update your LinkedIn profile with an emphasis on your goal. Make sure you highlight the transferable skills that will make you attractive to decision-makers in the field. Use any advice you get in your networking to make sure you’re highlighting what they’ll be most interested in seeing. 

Take the Next Step in Your Career 

Managing your career, and helping you take your next step, is what Millennium Search is all about. We can help develop your strategy and bring the opportunities that will move you forward. Contact our teamto see what we can do for you.  

Why Your Candidates Don’t Get Past The First Interview

Why Your Candidates Don’t Get Past The First Interview

past

Having trouble finding candidates who make it past the first interview? Most companies point towards the available talent as the cause for this issue, but that is not always the case. Hiring is difficult enough, so creating and troubleshooting your process is key. We’ve broken down some of the most common reasons advancement isn’t repeatedly made past the first interview.

Are You Getting The Right Candidates?

When potential candidates for your opening just don’t seem to make the cut, the first thing most companies identify as the problem is the source of the candidates. It is often the case that a company is simply not speaking with the right people for the position, but the real question is why. Common problems include leveraging the wrong channels to search for candidates and poor messaging of the position and company. It could also be the case that the offering presented by the company is insufficient to attract the caliber of talent needed for the job. Utilizing testing strategies in this area can help reveal issues if they exist at the candidate source.

Is Your Candidate Screening Process the Problem?

The hiring process can impede a company’s hiring efforts, beginning with the screening process. Hiring managers can make the wrong determinations based on applications, resumes and phone screenings. They can get boxed in to targeting a specific skill set or experience that they feel is crucial, and end up placing too much emphasis on a small factor while negating more important things. In the end, you could be getting the right people to apply only to have them turned down by ineffective screening and pipeline management. This will inevitably happen in many cases, but if the issue is systemic, it must be corrected.

Are Your Interviews Effective?

The interview, while a critical part of the hiring process, can be ineffective and inefficient. First, interviews are not necessarily a great way to measure how well suited a candidate is for the job; more often they simply measure how well they can interview. Hiring managers must look past the interview itself and get to the core of the candidate. Getting to the bottom of the candidate is no easy task, especially when the candidate and the interviewer do not see eye to eye. It can also be the case that hiring managers become overly critical in the search for perfection. Expectations during interviews can be too high, and can lead to a no pass rating across the board. And it can also be a problem when only a single person conducts the first interview round. Multiple opinions can uncover a better picture of candidates and solve many of these issues.

Is The Job Opening Clearly Defined?

Sometimes, the problem doesn’t rest with the candidates or the hiring process, but with the job itself. Ambiguity and a lack of clarity around the position and the work itself kills the hiring process. Hiring managers end up trying to match their candidate pool with needs that are undefined and work that is unknown. This would seem like something that should never happen, but many companies have this problem.  They know that they need talent to fill the void, but if the position is outside of the current team’s scope of knowledge, it can be difficult to define needs. The solution is to give details of the goals that this hire should be able to work towards rather than solely skill sets, parameters and accomplishments. A helpful way to improve this is by seeking the help of former founders, advisors and industry experts, as well as experienced recruiters.

As a recruiting firm for startups and technology companies, an integral part of our process is adjusting course based upon ongoing results. We strive to deliver the right candidates the first time, but there are scenarios where success is dependent upon our ability to adjust, examine the process and identify appropriate changes to our approach in order to deliver candidates that will not only advance beyond the first interview, but accept the offer. If your technology company is having trouble delivering on talent, speak with our team of experienced executive recruiters today.

Employment Tests for Startups: The Pros and Cons

Employment Tests for Startups: The Pros and Cons

test

Testing during the hiring process has become a prominent practice, both in and outside of the technology industry. Hiring tests range from evaluating aptitude, personality and character traits to determining strengths, weaknesses and skill sets. Years and years of research, testing and analysis have gone into seasoned evaluations like StrengthsFinder, Myers Briggs and DiSC assessments, giving employers a great set of tools to help in what is the most challenging part of growing a company. With that said, hiring tests do come with faults and limitations. Not all tests are well crafted, and not all situations call for them. We have taken our experience with companies using hiring tests, and whittled it down to the following pros and cons of hiring testing.

The Pros

Many of these tests are actually more valuable once a hire has been made. Some of the more useful ones can give managers and co-workers a better picture of how a new hire works and operates, what motivates them, and where their passions lie. And in this regard, these tests can be extremely valuable. After all, one of the more, if not the most, important criteria for hiring is cultural fit. Information from personality and character testing give managers and employees better information around assimilating new hires into an organization. Aside from this, there is some value that can be gleaned by using these before you make a hire.

When administered and utilized correctly, well crafted testing can also provide useful metrics to help evaluate candidates on various aspects and traits. Using uniform evaluations across your pool of talent potential gives employers a certain level of objectivity, which most interviewers (and recruiters) know can be very difficult to do. Well designed hiring tests are especially good at extracting information about candidates that can be difficult, if not impossible, to gather through interviews, references and resumes.

Using the information from hiring tests allows hiring managers to perform an analysis using defined metrics, rather than using comparisons of one candidate to another or personal opinions alone. This can help hiring managers avoid evaluating future candidates based on an initial or very likeable candidate, which can often allow for personal bias.

Using these evaluations during the hiring process is especially helpful when fielding a large volume of candidates. As long as managers have a clear understanding of the data, what it conveys and what it does not, hiring tests can be another tool in the arsenal to help them sift through a large volume of resume-qualified professionals.

The Cons

In our experience, one of hiring tests’ biggest weaknesses is the way in which employers use them. Hiring is a difficult process that requires a lot of time, money and energy, and the results of making the right or wrong hire can have a dramatic impact on your company. Hiring tests can be a very useful tool for hiring managers, but when relied upon too heavily, great candidates can get passed over and unqualified ones can get too much focus. Undoubtedly, some candidates are not the right person for the job, and tests can reflect that, but too many times great candidates have been passed over simply because of testing results.

Another downside of testing comes from the fact that, like everything else in the hiring process, they are controlled by individuals. A test is only as good as its administrator. Issues like administrator bias, unfollowed procedures, and other mistakes can skew the data, decreasing the reliability of the results and the test itself.

Tests can also create an uneven playing field among candidates. There is a clear disadvantage to candidates who have little or no experience taking these tests, and conversely an advantage to those that do.

The content and the analysis process of an evaluation can present issues. Questions themselves can create issues because of bias, as well as poor question and answer structure. The method of analysis can also be problematic. It comes down to whether or not your company uses an effective test with a valid and reliable track record. Along the same lines, some tests can undervalue certain aspects of candidates that you may find important and valuable, and can even mistakenly rate certain positive traits as negatives. The opposite can be true as well.

Using Evaluations In Your Process

When used properly, hiring tests can be an important step to identifying the right hires for your company. Here are some tips to getting the most out of them:

  • – Use them as another tool in your belt, but not as a gateway into your candidate pool.
  • – Before choosing any assessment to use, do your research. There is a great deal of literature online around the various tests on the market. Forums are another place to find information.
  • – Try searching for cheat sheets and test rubrics online to see what resources are available to candidates for these tests.
  • – If you want to take the research further, try administering your prospective hiring test to a few of your current employees. Get an idea of how the results compare to the reality of the successful hires you have in place.
  • – Once you have chosen the right test, ensure you have set procedures in place when deploying and administering them so as to get accurate data across all of your candidates.
  • – When administering them, make sure that directions are clear, simple and straightforward.
  • – Make sure that you have a clear understanding of what the results mean, as well as how the data is analyzed.
  • – Most important, make sure that you don’t rely too heavily on these tests when making hiring decisions.
  • – If you’re having difficulties incorporating a hiring evaluation into your process, seek the help of other founders, executive recruiting firms and company advisors to guide you.
Interviewing Technical Talent At A Startup When You Aren’t

Interviewing Technical Talent At A Startup When You Aren’t

inter

Technology companies need technical employees. No secrets there. But the earlier the stage of the company, the fewer employees there are, making each employee’s impact that much higher, especially your technical hires. And while many startups have the luxury of a technical founder, co-founder or early CTO, the ones that find themselves lacking in technical leadership, knowledge or background still need to secure top technical talent. So without this knowledge base, how does a non-technical team find, qualify and hire top technical talent?

Get Help Qualifying Technical Skills

Let’s face it – if you don’t know anything about it, you really aren’t in the best position to ask about it. And if you aren’t a technical professional, then trying to asses a technical person’s skill set is a futile effort. So what’s the solution? Find someone who can. Technical recruiters are a great resource for this. You can also find technical consultants and professionals in your area that would be willing to help. Your investors, advisors and mentors will all have resources to help you vet your candidates technically. They know the importance of hiring top talent, and will help you find the right resources to do so effectively. Even fellow entrepreneurs can be a resource. Despite the fierce market for top technical talent, the entrepreneurial community is by and large a very helpful and supportive environment; because those people have been there and know the value of the right help.

Interview Outside Their Technical Skills

Your candidate’s technical skills for the job are important, yes. Yet manager after manager will tell you that there are more important things to vet for. That’s where you come in. When interviewing candidates, determine their character. What motivates them? Sure, they have the skill sets you want, but would the person fit culturally within your organization? Would they lack chemistry with their co-workers? For early stage companies, deciding whether or not a candidate is startup material is a big step. How do they handle stress, pivots and tight deadlines? The list goes on and on. You may not be able to qualify them on their C++ skills or their NoSQL projects, but you can qualify them for other more valuable assets.

Use Multiple Interviews

Just because someone has the technical knowledge for the job does not mean they will fit with your company culture. The technical knowledge, execution, and personality of a candidate should all be considered. This is where multiple interviews and recruiters can help. A recruiter can narrow your search to only those applicants with the technical expertise. On the other hand, multiple interviews can allow your human resources team to narrow the list of applicants before your engineering team asks the technical questions. Both of these methods take advantage of a division of labor that results in your company finding the right candidate for both your culture and your technical needs.

Test Your Candidates

Even if a candidate looks good on paper, they may not work out. This is because they might have all the right answers for the interview, but they lack in execution. The best way to mitigate this risk is to hire new employees based upon a temporary assignment. Jason Fried of 37Signals has some good insights on testing employees on projects before making them a member of your team. “When we hire designers, we give them a one-week project to do for us and we pay them for their time.” (Big Think: The Importance of Hiring Late) This option allows you to ask some questions and consider how they fit with your team before bringing them in permanently.

While it is a challenge to ensure you have hired the right candidate, you can mitigate risk with each of these suggestions. Using a recruiter can help you focus in on the candidates with the technical expertise you need. Conducting multiple interviews can ensure a potential new hire will fit with your company culture. Asking your network for help should be an important step when qualifying. And vetting new talent through short-term projects can help you decide if they execute well within your organization. Doing all of these things will help you find great techies, even if you’re not technically inclined yourself.

Finding top technical talent is a tough game, never mind interviewing and successfully hiring them. If you are an early stage or growing technology startup or company, and are having trouble finding and qualifying the caliber of technical talent you need, Millennium Search is ready to help! Speak with us today about how our executive search firm helps top companies and their investors locate and secure top talent!

Startups: When Acquiring Top Talent, Speed is Everything

Startups: When Acquiring Top Talent, Speed is Everything

speed

It’s no secret that your tech startup has many critical hires to make. Without the right talent in place, your work remains unfinished, and your company is not moving forward. But because the job market in tech is so hot, demand for top performers is high and rising, especially from young companies. And with market conditions the way they are, the time it takes for companies to locate and acquire top talent continues to increase. Because of these conditions, startups must be prepared to move to secure the talent they need. Yet too often, startups fail to act quickly enough to hire effectively. Finding the right people for your needs is critical, but if you are lacking an efficient interview and hiring process, you may be hindering your own efforts and preventing your company’s growth. But fear not; there are many factors you can address to help shorten your hiring time.

Why Startups Take Too Long To Hire

Why might a tech startup employ a lengthy hiring process? Many companies begin hiring without a clear enough sense of their own needs, or conversely try to be too thorough when vetting potential hires. Another common reason results from expectations that are set too high, and the desire to hold out for better options. Because the hire is so critical, the vision of the perfect candidate creates an unrealistic comparison to real candidates. Hiring inefficiency also arises from issues of uncertainty and the second guessing of opinions and judgments on the part of the company. And for some startups, it simply comes from issues with budgetary constraints or the timing of the hire.

The Results of A Lengthy Hiring Process

All of the above are real issues that startups face, and should not be discounted as excuses in any way. Regardless, lengthy hiring tends to yield the same results, despite the reasoning. For starters, your company is most likely not your candidates’ only prospect. Failure to move quickly with candidates that meet your needs can result in a loss to competing companies. This holds especially true for candidates who are more active in their job search, but is not necessarily excluded from passive professionals. Elongated hiring time can also convey a perceived lack of interest, or may signal poor functionality or management within the organization. In either situation, the time, money and energy put towards hiring is wasted unnecessarily. Additional resources must be allocated to compensate, which means they must be taken away from other areas of your startup that require focus. And Ultimately, a failure to make your critical hires due to lengthy hiring means the work is left undone, and your startup’s progress is further hindered.

How to Help Decrease Your Hiring Time

There are several things that hiring startups can do to shorten their interview process with confidence. To start, realize that perfection does not exist. Searching for something unrealistic is a huge time suck, and will rarely, if ever, yield results. Second, establish what you actually need, and distinguish between your needs and wants for the hire. And focus on evaluating candidates based on what your needs are, rather than comparing to what may come along in the future. There is always the potential for a better fit to come along, but don’t let the potential for better in the future sway your judgement in evaluating potential hires today. And finally, trust your gut. Be assertive, and remember that you know what you need. Make judgments with confidence, and trust the opinions of other interviewers.

Startups: Don’t Take So Long!

Hiring is stressful, especially for a small company. It takes a great deal of energy, time and money. It takes those resources away from other areas that need focus. And its impact will be felt throughout the organization in more ways than one. It is also work that can make the greatest impact on your organization’s success. This is all the more reason to do it efficiently and effectively from the start. None of the above implies that you must make sacrifices on your core needs, nor should you discount the importance of cultural fit or experience. What it does imply is that when making critical hires, startups must be realistic, plan ahead, and act when needed. And for a startup, every hire is critical.

Kathy Gwozdz has been in the recruiting industry for over 15 years. She has a diverse background in Contingency, Corporate and Contract recruiting, working directly with candidates and clients at a high level. Her determination and zeal in finding the ideal person for the right opportunity makes her continuously successful in placing top talent.

How Many Chickens Would Fit in a School Bus? Interview Questions to Test Logic.

How Many Chickens Would Fit in a School Bus? Interview Questions to Test Logic.

logic

Logic and critical thinking are essential skills to any technical job. While employers can easily qualify candidates for experiences and skills, some may crave a more in-depth look at the candidates’ thought process.

There are a few types of interview questions which can help test a candidate’s logic and analysis skills. By using similar qualifiers, employers can assess confidence and intelligence level, how well and fast a candidate thinks and how he or she responds under pressure.

Case questions

Case questions pose a (usually absurd) question or problem and ask the candidate to come up with a solution. These questions are a great way for an interviewer to assess the logic and problem solving skills of a candidate. While there is usually a quantitative aspect to case questions, there might not be an attainable or correct answer. These questions don’t test expertise, knowledge or skills relating to a certain job or business, but rather analysis skills and the candidate’s thought process in solving a complex problem. Case questions may range from possible situations to absolutely ridiculous, and the latter seems to be the current trend.

Aside from testing candidates’ problem-solving methods, case questions can assess communication skills by encouraging the candidate to verbalize the thought process.

Examples of Case questions:

  • How many soccer balls would fit in this room?
  • How many bagels are currently being eaten in New York?
  • A man crashes his car into a hotel and loses his fortune. What happened?

Brain teasers

Brain teasers are a step up from just a basic (or not-so basic) math question. These questions may have a correct answer, but more importantly usually have several obviously incorrect answers. In addition to testing a candidate’s logic, these questions can assess the confidence of a logical strategy. By asking follow-up questions when the candidate answers, such as “are you sure?” or “do you think that’s the best answer?” you can garner whether or not the candidate is confident with the answer and how he or she responds under pressure. The candidate refusing to answer the question or answering with an “I don’t know” may be a red flag for the interviewer. A correct answer might not necessarily need to be given, and the client can still be assessed for confidence, knowing when to ask for help, and communication skills.

Again, these don’t have to be job specific, but be aware of the logic level the job requires. These types of questions might not be appropriate for non-technical jobs. They can range from fairly simple to quite complex, and may even require a whiteboard or pen and paper to solve.

Examples of Brainteasers:

  • You have a 5 oz. glass and a 3 oz glass. How do you measure one oz. of water?
  • In a meeting every person gave a handshake to every other person. In total there were 66 handshakes. How many people were in that meeting?
  • How many times a day do a clock’s hands overlap?

Hypothetical questions

These questions are similar to situational questions – you provide the candidate with an imaginary situation and ask how they would handle it. Similar to case questions, these should have an unexpected element in order to test judgment and logic. Again, you might not be looking for the correct answer (although a good answer is a plus); the point is to understand the candidate’s problem-solving process and receive a well-thought out answer, or at least an answer that makes sense. These questions may or may not contain job-specific elements.

One thing to pay attention to is how much the candidate expands on the question by asking more about the circumstances. If the situation is especially vague, follow-up questions from the candidate can show initiative and attention to detail. In addition to testing the candidate’s logic, hypothetical questions can also help evaluate creativity and innovation.

Examples of Hypothetical questions:

  • Create an evacuation plan for this city.
  • If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and dropped in a blender, how would you get out?
  • How would you handle the development of a new email app for people who are blind and/or deaf?

The benefit of asking these questions is not only to test IQ or logic, but rather to learn how the candidate analyzes situations and solves problems. The interviewer acquires an in-depth look at how the candidate thinks, especially when put on the spot. By incorporating these types of questions into a well-rounded series of interviews, employers and companies can have a better understanding of future-employees.

Interviewing for technical positions can be a challenge, but making sure you have a good pool of candidates can be an even bigger challenge. Check out Millennium Search’s Recruiting Process for more information on how we can help.

Real Time Web Analytics