May 21st, 2004
|01:50 am - The Monster book of Monsters (edited again)|
So we went to see Jeff Taylor (CEO and founder of monster.com) at his book signing. I was leafing through the book before the talk and had come to the conclusion it was pretty much common sense, useless fluff and this was going to be a total waste of my time, when he started talking.
By the end of the talk, I was ready to launch on a full-scale job search. He's a very good speaker. Lori said the conceited ass he is was peeping through by the end of the talk, which is unquestionably true, but there was a lot to like about him too. He was refreshingly honest. I got the feeling he'd give honest feedback when he rejected me for a job, you know.
First he talked about he used networking groups to promote the signings to mixed results, but largely the networking groups were more positive and responsive than the bookstore promotions. He could have turned that into a lead in to the important of networking groups, which he got into later, but he didn't. Instead he talked about the genesis of the book idea as part of 10th anniversary of monster, and how he spent 2.5 years working on the book and that it's intended to be a guide to monster & the new tools available on the internet & the importance of the attitude you bring with you to the interviews.
So here are some of the tips I took away from the talk.
- Have an answer to "Tell me about yourself"
- focus first few minutes on important things, that's what people will remember
- Get your skills out in the middle range of the interview
- Ask about person interviewing you & adjust questions to people
- be personable but focused. Don’t assume person knows resume. Don’t focus them on resume. Recap it.
- Know your resume
- If the interview has spiraled out of control, try to direct it.
- Keep adjusting your resume
- You control your own life. You are your own CEO. That means taking responsibility and driving through the agendas that are best for you.
- Focus on positive images.
- Show up. (be present)
- "Nobody should tell you how long you should take a shower"
- Remember your thoughts, write it down, actualize.
- "if you go to the party dance"
- "easy way out leads you back in"
- We hate rejection & avoid it, but some amount of rejection is inevitable. Treat job searching like a job and spend as much time looking as you would working
- Reinvent yourself. Don’t be stubborn.
- check often for new jobs. Have resume public
- If you change careers find a way to reweight your resume. Focus people on your new direction.
- Weight heavily the things you like best.
He said one of redeeming qualities is a "naive confidence" that allows him to believe in his ideas and his creative process. His other two personal favorite qualities about himself are his passion and his persistence.
He also said that when he interviews, he doesn't really get the resumes in advance. He has about 30 seconds to read it before the candidate walks through the door and he looks for: where the applicant went to college, where s/he lives & last or first employers name.
He also recommended that if you can, find out personal information about the hiring employers so you can emphasize common ground.
As far as monster is concerned, he talked about the specialty monster job sites not really workinq well. They are being folded back in to the big monster.
He pushed monster networking as a social network and a way to build contacts beyond just the "look at me resume! hire me, you bastards." and he said that monster's next big thing is to promote more localized job searching to replace the newspaper as the job search engine of choice for more than just high tech across the world.
Some of the other highlights were these recommendations.
You should take about 2 minutes every 2 years or so to negotiate salary.
You should always promote competent subordinates (Miles Vorkosigan would tell you the same.) He gave the example of the receptionist who should be moved to telesales w/in 2 years to promote personal growth and provide long term benefit to the company.
He also said "right down the center" (or pipe) three times in context like.
"He was talking about expanding job searches and that's right down the center of what monster.com is."
Anyway, it was pretty interesting and stimulating and stuff. I was impressed
So being as I was tired when I finished this, I forgot bring up the talking points we brought up amongst ourselves later:
We spent about 2 hours discussing the talk, job hunting, interviews, networking and other related topics post talk, which is very impressive. We shared anecdotes about what worked, what didn't, proving his points, and in some cases, not. Some of the highlights:
JT brought up points about social networking, but also about how looking for a job is a competition with you trying to get an edge over everyone. Jan brought up the point about how do you network with people who want the same job you do. And we discussed the myth that they might be better suited to the job, but the truth is, if you help them, whether they're better suited or not, if you're further along in the process, anything you tell them will help them position themselves better to be what the company looks for. It's impossible for the best man to shine in that case, your competition starts out with a natural advantage that you've handed them. And based on this idea, we discussed the point that he's all things to all people. He's an advocate for the company who pays him and the users who use monster to find a job. So on the one hand, he wants somebody, anybody to get hired so he can get paid. On the other hand, he wants you to get a job, so you can be happy, and he'd love for you to help someone else on the site get a job, which also gets him paid.
Hoppie liked his points about reading the resume, because he never has time to read a resume when he's interviewing people, and he doesn't have a set play list of questions, but knowing that a professional job dude, who's a CEO also doesn't read the entire resume made him feel better. He feels like he has some tools to come into the interview, glance quickly at the resume, and then ask key questions. We had a lot of conversation centering around how much resume reading was going on. Most of us know what's in our resume and can talk to specific points without hesitation, so that's good for us.
We also talked about some of the gotcha questions like "Tell me about yourself." and how to handle that. I've never been good with that particular question. Something about it just makes me freeze. Jan was saying that she likes to ask them to narrow the field of the question, but I don't really like that strategy. She does have an alternate strategy that I like better where she talks about how and why she changed fields. Now that's a strong answer. That's the kind of thing I need to work on for myself, just launch straight into how and why communication has always been a big thing for me, and how I want to reach out and build connections to people and increase understanding. How I myself always want to understand why things happen and what's going on and this natural curiosity has driven my desire to be a writer, to explain the unfathomable or insanely complex.
Edit once more: We also discussed the guy in front of me in line for the signing. He'd brought a resume and I said that I thought that was brilliant, Jan should have done that. My companions pointed out that give that JT had just been talking about timing being everything, he shouldn't have done it, it was the wrong place and time. I said that another key JT point was persistance and passion and this guy showed that. His mistake, we decided was a couple fold (it's easy for us, the uninvolved to point out what this hapless fellow could have done better.)
- He gave the resume to JT. - This is bad on the face of it because JT had just finished saying that he doesn't do day-to-day operations at monster anymore, and he'd made the point very clear earlier that his secretary handles all of his pre face-to-face operations. The better way to handle it would have been to say, "I'm an idea guy. I brought a resume. I'm going to give it to your secretary. I'd like to follow up with you later, what's the best way to contact you."
- JT told him to send his resume electronically. I don't know how he followed this up later, but he sorta ignored it at the time. I think the smarter way to handle would have been to say, "Thank you. I'll discuss the best way to do that with your secretary." and then chatted up the secretary to find out if he needed to do anything submitted the resume through monster to get it to JT or if email with a cover letter would have been a better way to get his ideas across.
- In his response, he tried to hook JT with a "I'm an idea guy, you can get something out of this too." which made him seem desperate and floundering to me. It was never clear to me that JT wants other people's ideas. Maybe he does, because he's a CEO and they're always looking for new ideas, but JT himself is an idea guy and most of the things he talked about in his speech were his ideas. Yes, it's his speech, so you'd expect him to talk about him, but, he went beyond that I think. There were allusions to ideas that might have been from others or him, but the ones he discussed passionately were all his and he told us how they germinated and how he developed them. This played back into what he told us about interviewing. Make connections and take what they tell you to determine how to approach them.
Maybe it's because I'm more comfortable with people who work for a living, but I would definitely have chatted up the secretary. Get her on your side, and you've got an in. On the plus side, secretaries tend to be high Ss and they want to help and support people generally.
In short (heh, heh, too late), not only did we get a a decent talk from Jeff Taylor, we also got valuable talk from ourselves, and that's networking in a nutshell.
Current Mood: tired
Current Music: Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They