I think that this term, the most interesting thing that we learned about was the recruitment ads and how that process works. In analyzing the ads that we found and having a discussion on them, I think I learned a lot of interesting insights about what certain word choices in ads even mean, tone, overall structure, level of detail, etc. I thought that it was interesting that some ads feel very open ended and not very specific, rather relying on broad skills or soft skills, while other ads were very detailed and specific, making it clear that the company was looking for someone with a very particular skill set in mind. The ad and the way that it is written to has an interesting denotation as well, or perception. The ones that seemed less formal might be more fun, or a more modern company, while those that were very formal might be very rigid. I assumed that the more formal ones were higher paying jobs, until I looked closer at some of them and was able to discover that this was not actually the case. Some of the most casual ones (like for google or nike) actually felt like the most fun in terms of what the culture would be like, while Microsoft was kind of boring and straight forward. I think going forward, I can take these insights into both my job searching process and applying for positions as well as the role that I eventually want to be in in the future. I can use this information to look for jobs and get a sense of the culture and the room for growth, and I can apply it when I am in a leadership role and looking for my own particular employees that fit the culture that I have created or that I have found and am trying to support.
1. What am I good at?
I think I am good at empathy, and showing others that I care about them. I am also good at organizing things and keeping other people on track to achieve a common shared goal. Overall, I think I am most good at adapting to different situations based on need and being comfortable with different and new people and situations.
2. What do I value?
This questions was particularly difficult for me. What is most important to me is a good work ethic, and honesty. I think that in all aspects of my life, these are things that I try hard to remember and that I look for in the people that I work with, socialize with, and look up to as good examples. I also value relationships and family, and empathy.
3. How did I get here?
I got here through a lot of hard work. I had to study English for a long time, and work very hard, to get a scholarship to come here to study. I also had a great family that supported me, and a government willing to help me finance it. Part of what got me here is the belief that because I got this help, it is important that I help others in the same way and work to improve my family and community.
4. Where am I going?
Mostly where I am going is forward, not backward. I do not have definite plans yet, especially with all that is currently going on in the world. I may have to remain in my country for a year working before I am able to return to school. It might also be hard to get internships or jobs right now as well. All that I can do is continue to improve and work towards my goals.
I scored above 50 in extrovertism (52), friendliness (65), activity level (70), and assertiveness (73). These ratings did not surprise me overall, as I would say that this fairly accurately represents who I am and how I operate in the world. I rated only 18 for cheerfulness, and 26 for excitement seeking. These ratings were somewhat of a surprise, because it seems like a friendly person would be cheerful. I’m not quite sure how this was calculated, but it did make me curious. I am friendly and open, but not falsely cheerful, I think it would be fair to say. I also do not actively seek excitement, but I did wonder about my preference for structure and conventional order- does this impact my excitement seeking rating?
I think that it was interesting to see that I rated so low in cheerfulness- depending on the type of position that I was applying for, this might impact what my employer would think about my suitability for that position. I am enthusiastic, especially about the work that I am doing that I am engaged in; somehow, that did not translate on the assessment. The low excitement seeking rating may not be a factor against me if an employer is evaluating my weaknesses- some positions and work environments might benefit, or prefer, a steadfast type of employee.
I think that my assertiveness would be considered a great strength if I am in a position that assumes some leadership responsibility, as well as the activity level. These things are great qualities for a wide range of employees. However, if the employer is looking for a follower type position without leadership responsibility, this level of assertiveness might not be considered a strength but rather a weakness. Some employers would prefer that some positions “stay in their lane” so to speak, and stick to their actual positions rather than seeking to lead or guide work.
Friendliness as well can be considered either a strength or a weakness. It could be a strength in someone who will have to work with a wide variety of people, or forge relationships with coworkers or clients that are highly collaborative. However, it could be viewed as a weakness because some employers might be leery of hiring someone who might seem to be too friendly, chatty, or unfocused because of their inclinations to be social.
If I were this business owner, I would choose Jaime, because she would provide the consistency and reliability that I can base plans on. It is easier to forecast business needs and use of resources (people) if you have a good sense of what the regular, every day contributions of those people are. Avery might be good in a project manager type position, but the risk would be high. If there were competent people on the project who knew their roles and had clear expectations, they could mostly be relied upon to perform as expected. Avery could excel at the sudden issues, or overall picture, that doesn’t necessarily require consistency because it is not an everyday occurrence. Avery might also be a good artist, graphic designer, or writer, waiting for inspiration and achieving greatness, if she is able to wait until that inspiration hits. The types of jobs that Avery would be good at are about the flash, the show, and the big payoff, not the regular and everyday grind.In daily tasks and types of work that require consistency and reliability, however, Jaime would be much better. This would be the type of job without a great deal of authority, but a role that is an important part of team. If Jaime could consistently produce something that the team needs, the success of the team is secured and things would not be held up. Jaime would also be good at middle management jobs where regular, predictable oversight of employees and tasks are required. This would allow Jaime to build processes and procedures to help the team be successful, without reaching beyond the immediate potential or need. Jaime would be good at ensuring that everyday tasks and expected outcomes are met, not extraordinary things are accomplished or invented.
My personal brand is the image that I project: I am highly driven but also that I am self-reflective and take the time to think about how I need to improve, and this is reflected on my resume. I have a lot of experience in different things that give me a wide range of skills, and I try to make it clear that those experiences were specifically chosen to increase my skill in different areas such as communication, interpersonal communication, listening, marketing, attention to detail, etc. This is a strength that I have that is an important part of my brand. A weakness that I have is that I am so focused, I do not take a lot of time out for fun and relaxing. It has been suggested to me in the past that this might lead to burn out some day, if I do not start to take some time for myself. I do think that a lot of employers consider this, because they want healthy employees who will be able to manage the work life balance.
I think I would list the skills I have honed, and how it makes me a stronger perspective employee. Specifically, I think the ad would be most entertaining, and creative, if I were to create a youtube style video which reenacts the different jobs I have had and how I have overcome challenges by using the skills I have gained. Then, I would show myself to be a superhero figure. This figure would be a “great candidate” figure and when challenges are literally thrown at me, (balls, etc. to represent different situations that might disrupt someone in the workplace, like change of plans, shifting priorities, interpersonal conflict, etc.) I would show the issues bouncing off of me and having no impact. This would be a humorous ad but would also highlight why I am a strong candidate and why the past experiences that I have had have made me a good choice. The focus would be more on the “soft” skills that are so hard to show on a resume, and less on the “hard” skills that are easy to assess with tests, scenarios, etc. It’s also easy to understand no matter the culture or context, so it is easily used in different countries, like my own, and in different kinds of situations. It is also adaptable enough that it could work for many different fields as well.
The last job that I applied for was a sales job. I wanted to get some practice interacting with customers and working on my interpersonal skills. The job was for a salesperson in a store that sold higher end accessories and electronics. The job description stated that the person who was hired would be working directly with customers, arranging displays, and working on marketing. However, when I looked closer at the job description, there did seem to be some contradictions. There were listed as desired skills such as stockroom work, inventory, and shipping and receiving. I did still apply for the position, and was hired, but this contradiction did give me some hesitation.
When I actually started the job, I understood why those extra skills were listed. The company had a high turnover, so it was important that the salespeople could do all the tasks of the positions that worked at each location. This was so that they could fill in as needed and keep the operations running while they were short staffed. I did have to do some of these other skills, but I was able to do most of the job that I intended to apply for, and that I was hired to do, which was to sell products by interacting with customers and work on marketing and displays.
I think that most jobs I have looked at since have some of this cross functional purpose, as companies want to make sure that you are a good asset. Of course, I have in recent years mostly been looking at lower level positions where you are not specialized, so perhaps as I enter the job market after school this will be different.
This experience helped me to reflect on the lecture on personnel planning this week. I think the hiring manager did recognize that there was a high turnover issue, and he was conducting good forecasting to figure out what the personnel needs would be.
If I came across an article about my favorite company, revealing that they were accused of discrimination against individuals in a group that I associate with, I probably would feel uncomfortable continuing to patronize that organization, especially if it is the type of place that I have to go into. I would not want to expose my self to discrimination either, and I would not want to support an organization that has demonstrated that it does not respect people like me. However, there is a distinction between being accused of something and proving that you have done something, so before I would react to such a news story, I would try to get more information and would see how the company handles things.
This prompt reminds me of Starbucks, and the incidents in the media in the last year of discrimination against people of color. There was video proof of that, so it was clear that it did actually happen. But Starbucks admitted it had a problem, and took steps to fix it after publicly apologizing. Therefore, even though members of their company acted to discriminate against people, they acknowledged it and addressed the problem. I was reassured by this and continue to stop there for coffee sometimes.
I likely would not work for Starbucks, however, or a company in a similar position. I think that even if they acknowledge the issue and try to remedy it, it would be some time before the culture that allowed the behavior to change. This sort of behavior is deeper than a policy or mission statement- it speaks to the kind of people who work at the organization, and the type of culture that the company allows and supports.
I think that some organizations might choose to allocate more resources toward marketing or product design because it makes money faster- profit is a clearer indicator that the money was used in a productive way, and it has a quicker turn around as well. The pay off from more marketing or designing a better product is more immediate and easier to see. Using the same resources for improved employee recruitment and selection, however, doesn’t have that immediate payoff. It is harder, I think, to see it as something that will make money and help the company to make a profit. Additionally, it is a longer term planning aspect that some companies are not really in the mind set to do. Some think of the immediate needs without looking to the long term growth of a company, or long term goals. This may be because this is not the company culture, or the company may be be in a position to think that far ahead.
Some of the strengths of a company or organization deciding not to prioritize recruitment and selection in favor of another aspect of the business is that it allows them to work on building up areas that they are aware that they are weak in, or areas that need improvement or development. This might be in training existing employees, so that they are retained or work more efficiently. It may be in product design, because if the money is not spent on this now, employee recruitment next year may not happen if there is no money at all to fund it. Some of the weaknesses of an organization’s deciding to focus on other aspects of the organization rather than on recruitment or selection are that if you do continue to hire without allocating the appropriate resources and time, the bad hires will only cause more lost time and money, increasing employee satisfaction and continuing high turnover. It also keeps the problem ongoing, and pushes out the eventual turnaround once you do begin to invest more time, resources, etc. in recruiting and selecting the right people. Finally, it likely equates to continued lost individual and team productivity as employees are faced with inefficient hires who need training, mentoring, etc.
When I last applied for a job, the initial process was fairly simple. I applied online and answered a series of questions. A resume was uploaded, and a cover letter. Then, I received an email saying that I met the minimum qualifications and would be contacted for an interview. That is where things got odd. At the first interview, there were people on the panel who did not seem familiar with the job I was interviewing for. This caused them to ask questions that did not seem to be related. It gave me the impression that the organization was not organized. The second interview was even worse. It was obvious that the hiring manager was not quite sure what they were hiring the position to do, and that the person hired would be expected to make up their job as they went. To me, this raised red flags because you can’t meet or exceed expectations if those expectations are not set. This actually caused me to not take the job when it was offered. I think that applicants can tell if an employer does not quite know what they are hiring for, and this can be either a fun challenge or alarming. I myself like the assurance that the employer has a set purpose for the hire, and a plan.
As noted, I chose not to take the job because it did not seem like it would be a good fit. I imagined that I would not ultimately fit, or be well received, because it seemed like there was neither a good understanding of the job itself or what they wanted me to do for them. It seemed clear that they were just hiring and hoping for the best, as the introductory chapter of Who outlines. I imagined that they probably have a lot of bad hires and waste resources with high turnover. I would rather that the company invest in their brand and in planning how to use their resources effectively rather than just throwing bodies at the problem.