Friday, December 26, 2008
For example, when local, state and federal budgets get cut, one of the first things to go are dollars to economic development centers (EDCs). Helping small businesses isn't as sexy for politicians as providing money to individuals in need. But EDCs need government funding because the small businesses they serve are not in a position to pay market prices for the expertise offered at these valuable institutions.
Since effective EDCs (and if they are not effective they should not receive any funds, not even "feel good" funds) result in healthy, profitable businesses, EDCs are one of the few entities that receive funds from the government that actually make money for the government. Profitable businesses pay taxes. Profitable businesses hire employees, who pay taxes. Better yet, the majority of EDCs deal with businesses in economically challenged areas. This means that in addition to the government getting tax revenue from the workers, they are often moving someone from welfare to work, which also saves the government money. But does the government look at the big picture when it cuts funding to EDCs? Do the other recipients of government funds understand that by lobbying to get their agency funded over EDCs that less of them will be funded than if the EDC gets funded?
The answer to both questions is no. Economic development is usually the first area to go during budget crises. That is a shame. That is wrong. Effective EDCs are profit centers, not cost centers for local governments,
Even when there is money for EDCs after budget cuts, the criteria for the leftover scraps is political and relationship based, not profit based. Governments need to measure the revenues being generated by the work being done at EDCs; hold EDCs accountable for adding to the revenue base; and fund accordingly. This would change how the government does its business. EDCs would move away from "funding" and into their own category, "government investing". Governments would have a business relationship with EDCs, who would be expected to be a profit center, not a drain on taxpayer's funds.
What does this have to do with workplace training? Nothing directly. However, just like with economic development, where the long running business model doesn't work, and government must make changes to benefit itself; workplace training finds itself in a similar position.
The difference here is that corporations find themselves in the government role, and relying on education institutions, and using the education model to develop new employees is the long running business model that just does not work.
The goal of high schools and colleges are to educate, not create the perfect employee. The method used to assess the effectiveness of the education is to ensure a baseline of knowledge has been laid for the students, not that the students can utilize the knowledge in the real world. For example, I wasn't the only person to pass statistics who worked at Bankcard Customer Service at Citibank. Why did it take me to move the forecasting model from the unreliable "same as last year" plus a set percent, to a multiple regression analysis that correlated call volume to the season plus ongoing Citibank programs plus ongoing marketing campaigns plus economic trends. The forecasting model I developed allowed for "what if" logic, and was a better tool to ensure the Phone Center was properly staffed.
In addition, education is for the individual. Workplace training is primarily for the business community, and secondarily for the individual. That model doesn't work in schools, and is even tough for Job Centers where the goal is usually to help individuals as much as they can rather than to set a standard of workplace competency required to be an effective employee. If an individual doesn't meet the set standard, Job Center Staff doesn't (can't?) communicate to employers that that individual is not an ideal job candidate.
So relying on schools to get new employees ready for work is just plain silly. And even the schools (and the vast majority of programs) that teach work readiness use the education approach (assessment testing based) which is ineffective for soft skills workplace training. After all, businesses don't want someone who can answer a question about getting to work on time correctly on a test; they want an employee who will always get to work on time. The goal of soft skill workplace training, therefore, is to change attitudes and modify behaviors, not to just impart raw knowledge.
With the current model in place for workplace training is it any wonder that high turnover with its associated high cost is experienced by all businesses?
So, what do I recommend? I believe the time has come for "Workplace Universities", that are sponsored, in part, by the Corporate World, and in part by the participants. The main client is the business community; the secondary clients are the participants. I have the curriculum, I have the program structure, I have the benefits for the Corporate Sponsors (including first crack at the best graduates, i.e. the chance to add individuals who will become their best workers), I have an incentive program mapped out so the top graduates stay with the Corporate Sponsor that hires them for at least three years, and much more. My program is a unique mix of classroom, workplace observation and role play. The program lasts six months. The students can be high school graduates, junior college graduates, and even college graduates that did not have a major that makes them attractive hires.
For those of you unfamiliar with my accomplishments and workplace training philosophies I will briefly mention that I created a work readiness certification program called the best in the U.S. in 2003 by the National Skills Standard Board, and that I improved upon that program throughout the years with the biggest improvement being the addition of my book, "How To Get, Keep and Be Well Paid in a Job" (book web site). The goal of my book is to change attitudes and modify behaviors so workers will implement what they learn. You can read more about my work readiness training philosophy in previous posts, including, "There is a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Teach Work Readiness." For additional information, visit my web site is www.dtrconsulting.biz.
What is the next step? If your company is interested in becoming involved with my first "Workplace University" (I am looking for five corporate sponsors), and would like more information, send me an email (JayGoldberg@DTRConsulting.BIZ) and be sure to write "corporate university" in the subject line to ensure your email is not deleted as junk mail, or call 561-842-9942, leave a message, and I will get back to you.
Thanks, and catch you in my next post.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The topics of the webinars will range from work readiness to customer service to sales skills to supervisor skills to entrepreneurship. DTR Inc.’s CEO, Jay Goldberg created a work readiness training program called the best in the country by the National Skills Standard Board, is the author of the book, “How to Get Keep and Be Well Paid in a Job”, is a former Service Director for Citibank, and, in conjunction with staff at the Palm Beach County Resource Center, developed what has been called a “revolutionary” entrepreneurship training program.
The intended audience for the free preview is human resource, training and management personnel who would like to sample DTR Inc.’s product offering to determine if they want to sign up their employees for future events. Business owners are also welcomed since entrepreneurship courses will be available in December.
With training budgets and staff being cut, it may be up to individuals to improve their value to their employers on their own. Therefore, individuals can also request a ticket to the free preview since the pay-per-view webinars are priced so that individuals looking to improve their value to their employer by taking work readiness or supervisor development courses can afford to attend them.
In my previous blog I wrote why live events are much more effective than pre-recorded events. If you have not done so yet, please read that blog.
The success of my training webinars will be based on the positive impact seen in the workplace. Therefore, the webinars are designed with that goal in mind. The vast majority of other workplace training programs measure success by how well the participants do on assessment tests, and are structured accordingly. However, doing well on an assessment test does not mean that workplace attitudes and behaviors were changed. In fact, many workers will answer the assessment questions by thinking, “What would my boss want”, not, “What do I think is the correct answer”.
That’s all for now, hope to see you in the free preview.
Friday, October 31, 2008
While there will always be a place for “hard skills” training, even if it takes the form of on the job training, the days of “soft skills” training in large and small companies alike, are growing short.
Based on my experience, training from videos and pre-recorded material on-line doesn’t work very well. When individuals know they can watch again, when there is nothing live going on that requires immediate attention, when there is no interaction between instructor and participant, there is a tremendous amount of inattentiveness on the part of the individuals watching the training.
I know what some of you are saying, “That’s why we have the participants take a test after they watch the training, to ensure that they pay attention.”
Well, if you read my previous blog, “THERE IS A RIGHT WAY AND A WRONG WAY TO TEACH WORK READINESS”, you already know that basing the success of “soft skills” training on the results of assessments tests is a mistake. The goal of “soft skill” training is not to provide knowledge; it is to have the participants practice good work readiness behaviors and improve their job performance after they complete the training. The key to getting someone to improve/change is for them to understand why a behavior is important to their employer. Often that fact is driven home by using real life analogies. That is the approach I took in my work readiness book, “How to Get, Keep and Be Well Paid in a Job”. Click here to find out more about my book which received a five-star review from the Midwest Book Review.
Therefore, I will go so far as to say, err write, requiring that the viewers of a video training session take an assessment test often results in the most important parts of the video training being ignored by the viewers. Having an assessment test after the video for “soft skills” training only ensures that viewers concentrate on the facts and take good notes so they can pass the test. Instead you want them to be paying attention to the entire lecture so that they come away understanding not only the facts, but why those skills/behaviors are important, so that the training can result in positive changes in your workplace.
So if taped/pre-recorded training sessions do not work, and training staff and budgets are shrinking what is the answer?
Live webinars are an excellent solution. In live webinars, viewers must pay attention the whole time or they will miss information. There is no fallback to rewind or replay the taped session. In addition, with a real-time chat room, and live polling questions with instantaneous results, the audience can be kept involved. In fact, when used right, the polling questions serve as feedback for the instructor to know when to stay with a topic that the group is not grasping a little longer. A good instructor does this all the time in live, in-person, classrooms. This can not be done, obviously, in taped and pre-recorded training media.
Finally, another trend that could arise, especially out of a poor economy, is that “soft skill” training falls on the shoulders of individuals, to improve their value, rather than on businesses, that are struggling to keep costs low. In these cases, live webinar training is very assessable, and affordable to individuals. Taking live workplace, self-improvement webinars, will not only improve a worker’s performance, but the initiative will impress the boss; whether yours, or someone with whom you are interviewing to get a job.
Towards that end, I am in the process of changing how I deliver my training programs. I have invested in a webinar product, and will be rolling out a series of affordable webinar training sessions in late November, or early December. Check back here for more information in a couple of weeks.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This blog contains original material plus a quote from Jay Goldberg’s book, HOW TO GET, KEEP AND BE WELL PAID IN A JOB (click here to go to the book’s web site), a book that just received a 5 star (out of 5 stars) review from the Midwest Book Review.
Employee handbooks are important business documents. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not have them, and many large businesses have them, but they are not as effective as they should be.
Traditional employee handbooks contain workplace and personnel policies ranging from policies on sexual harassment, discrimination, and conflict resolution, to employee benefits, compensation and workplace safety.
One of the reasons for having an employee handbook is to protect the company against law suits. Employees acting inappropriately can lead to legal disputes. So can employees who are confused regarding company policies, particularly as it applies to raises, promotions, compensation and benefits. Having a clearly written and well thought out employee handbook can protect the company. In legal conflicts, employee handbooks are often viewed as contractual obligations. And if you are familiar with any of the daytime courtroom shows you’ll know that written contracts are much better than oral contracts, which is what you basically have if you do not have a formal employee handbook.
Obviously, the employee handbook is a major communication tool between the company and its employees. With more and more business owners and managers complaining about the lack of work readiness skills in their employees in focus groups throughout the country, the “new” expanded employee handbook becomes the ideal vehicle for a company to define its work readiness workplace expectations (which also makes it part of the “contract”).
The most effective way to teach work readiness is to not just state expected behaviors and skills, but to explain why those behaviors and skills are important in the workplace, and to clearly define what they are. This means that traditional Dragnet (“just the facts, ma’am”) employee handbooks need to evolve into more of a document that will not only state the facts, but change attitudes and educate employees (and be even clearer to judges during legal disputes).
For example, instead of just stating the number of sick days employees are entitled too, an explanation of what sick days are is needed. Below is a quote from my book:
“Please be aware that in trying to be fair to employees many companies allow a generous amount of sick days. Often the longer you work for a company, the more sick days you earn.
Sick days are not vacation days or even personal days. They are an insurance policy the company provides to its employees. They are to be used only when an employee is sick. Since sick days are an unplanned absence, when used there is a negative impact on the workplace. If all employees used all their sick days a company would have no choice but to reduce sick days for everyone. Think how high your car insurance would be if every driver except you had two accidents a year. Insurance companies cannot pay out money it does not have. They cannot survive if they pay out more money than they take in. No business could. In this case everyone’s car insurance rates would go up (including yours) to an amount where the insurance company was taking in more money than it was paying out.”
A truncated and modified version of the sentiment in this quote needs to appear in the employee handbook in the section dealing with sick days. In addition to educating employees on the real purpose of sick days, it would also help the company if it needed to fire an employee who abused his/her sick days.
I strongly believe the “new” expanded employee handbook needs to be a combination of the traditional employee handbook and work readiness topics like the ones contained in my book. To see the topics covered in my book, review its table of contents on the book’s web site.
If you would like me to review, append, modify or create an employee handbook for your company, my contact information (and information about my company) is available at my web site, www.DTRConsulting.BIZ.
On a different topic, I was just nominated and accepted a position on the Children's International Obesity Foundation's (CIOF) Board of Advisors. The CIOF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that does good work in the area of childhood obesity. Please visit the site by clicking on the CIOF image on the right-hand side of your screen and if you like their work, and the information they provide, make a tax deductible donation. Even small donations help. Thank you.
Catch you in my next blog.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
In my last blog I outlined the existing way that most venues are teaching work readiness; why those methods do more harm than good; and what the correct way to effectively teach work readiness is. If you have not read that blog (THERE IS A RIGHT WAY AND A WRONG WAY TO TEACH WORK READINESS) please do so before continuing to read this posting.
This write-up assumes that the previous blog was read.When I outlined my philosophy on the ideal work readiness training program, I purposely left out point #9 which deals with the proper venue for implementing a competency-based work readiness training program. Point #9 is detailed below:
work readiness training
(9) The program must be offered in a controlled, stand-alone environment where outside forces and pressures cannot have an impact on the participants’ ability to complete all competencies. There cannot be a “higher authority” (a parent, a supervisor, a principal, a guidance counselor, a dean, another instructor, etc.) who can provide a reason or excuse for the participant to fail, postpone, reschedule, or not participate in a competency. If this environment exists, the program is teaching “loopholes” to the participants, especially to those who work the system or fabricate excuses.
work readiness school
Therefore, a stand alone
work readiness program
WHAT ABOUT WORK READINESS IN HIGH SCHOOLS?
work readiness consultant
Obviously, point #9 above excludes implementing my ideal work readiness program in high schools, and even possibly in some colleges. There are many reasons why that is so, however, the main two are that it is difficult to have the business community the priority and main client over the student in a program funded by the government, and that students at that age are not in control of their lives so there will be “work arounds” regarding the demonstrated competencies which builds loopholes into the process and makes the “certification” unreliable to the business community.
work readiness book
Therefore, as much as I dislike assessment-based programs for work readiness, that is the method that has to be used in high schools. Demonstrated competencies will be too unreliable, hence doing more harm than good as the business community relies on those demonstrated skills.
However, the way most states have positioned work readiness programs in schools within their assessment-based programs, is ineffective. While testing for grades is important, the emphasis still needs to be on the curriculum, not a certification test.
The age and experiences of the students must be taken into account when teaching work readiness in the high school. My book, HOW TO GET, KEEP AND BE WELL PAID IN A JOB (website for book) with associated lesson plans, exercises, role plays, and yes assessments is the best way to teach work readiness in high school. The book covers why specific workplace skills and behaviors are important to employers and uses real life examples that the students can relate to, to make key points (for example, music downloads are discussed in the chapter on ethics). The goal of my program is to educate the class on how and why workplaces operate as they do, even more than educating the class on what the correct behaviors and skills are. The program is also engaging as it encourages debating on workplace skills and behaviors through interesting case studies. Contact me (voicemail: 561-842-9942 or email JayGoldberg@DTRConsulting.BIZ) if you want to implement my program at your school.
WHAT ABOUT MIDDLE SCHOOL?
I believe one of the keys to solving the workplace crisis lies in laying a foundation of proper workplace ethics in middle school students. However, here the goal is just that, laying a foundation. I have a concept paper written on an innovative way to accomplish this. It does not involve books, and does not involve lesson plans. What is holding me back from pursuing this is that I want the product distributed free to all middle schools. This means that my best partner for this endeavor is a foundation that is concerned with work readiness, education, or youth at risk. Another potential partner is a state (or the federal) government. If any such individual reads this blog and would like to discuss this further please contact me (see above). This idea is revolutionary, will work, and is the perfect learning vehicle for middle school students. In fact, I can see this information delivery system being expanded into subjects beyond work readiness.
Monday, July 14, 2008
When I was hired to develop a work readiness curriculum in 2002 there were already a number of established work readiness training programs. With employers complaining very loudly about the lack of job skills and poor workplace behaviors by their employees in focus groups throughout the country, I knew I had to develop more than a curriculum; I needed to create a new way to deliver work readiness training.
First, let’s look at traditional programs.
Practically all work readiness training programs follow program models used in education. That means that they are assessment based. FCAT, SAT, certification exams, etc. determine success.
In fact, assessment tests have become so important that schools not only teach students knowledge, but teach students how to take tests. They must. After all, funding is often tied to their students’ performances on tests such as the FCAT. Certainly many high school juniors and seniors enroll in courses to help them learn how to improve their SAT scores. And this is not just the case with kids. How many construction management schools, real estate schools, and even schools to help with the BAR exam for attorneys are out there? Theses schools teach their students how to take and pass tests.
What does this mean? It means that if a student truly knows only 55% of the required knowledge but can reduce the other questions to a possible 1 in 3 choice, the laws of probability conclude that the student’s expected result on the test is 70%.
Even worse, if a student truly knows only 60% of the required knowledge but can reduce the other questions to a possible 1 in 2 choice, the laws of probability conclude that the student’s expected result on the test is 80%. That means a student whose knowledge base is an “F” (60% was failing grade when I went to school), appears to be a “B” student.
While educators cling to the argument that assessment tests are good indicators of knowledge, no one can make that case when dealing with job skills and behaviors.
As an example let’s use the following question:
If you wake up in the morning and your car will not start, you should:
A. Have made prior arrangements with a coworker who lives in your neighborhood to serve as an emergency ride to work.
Whether because of actual knowledge or eliminating answers like, “take as many days off of work as you need to get your car fixed”, someone answering this question correctly does not mean that that is the behavior he/she will follow if this situation actually happened to him/her. Work readiness training is NOT about answering questions correctly. It’s about doing the right thing in the workplace. That is accomplished through a curriculum that not only teaches what is expected in the workplace, but why that skill/behavior is important in the workplace, and uses real life examples that everyone can relate to outside of the workplace to illustrate key points. In work readiness training, it is the journey (curriculum) that is the key, not the final destination (assessment test). This is because success is measured in the attitudes changed and instilled in participants, not on how much work readiness knowledge they possess.
While this may be obvious to you and me, it isn’t obvious to the powers that be. For example, instead of investing in a structured program that would produce high-quality employees that employers could rely on, states either independently or in groups have decided to spend funds on generating work readiness credentials through assessment testing. They appear to care more about formulating the perfect question, than the perfect learning tool. Just check out multi-state programs like the one at workreadiness.com or single state programs like the one at floridareadytowork.com to see how way off track states are regarding developing people who are truly ready to work. Their work readiness certification tests are at best an indicator for possible success and at worst a false hope for the business community that hires the “credentialed graduates.”
I have been developing and fine-tuning my work readiness training program and philosophy since 2002. Below is a list of the key components of what I know is the correct way to implement a work readiness training program.
(1) A set curriculum that not only teaches what is expected, but why that skill/behavior is important in the workplace, and uses real life examples that everyone can relate to outside of the workplace to illustrate key points. By clearly defining important workplace skills and behaviors, and informing participants why those skills and behaviors are important to employers, the program sets a baseline of understanding and changes attitudes and behaviors. A set curriculum is also important so that employers that are hiring the graduates can see exactly what is covered in the program, and can rely on graduates no matter what venue they attend.
(2) The key assessments are not tests, but demonstrated competencies. For example, a participant demonstrates the ability to not be tardy by never being late to class, never extending breaks, and always returning on time from lunch, not by answering a question like, “When is it okay to be late to work?” In addition, case studies, role plays and in-class exercises are used to verify participants’ competency in various job skills and workplace behaviors.
(3) Once demonstrated competencies are established, participants must pass all of them to obtain certification. While 90% sounds like a high score, it gives the wrong impression to the participants. It “says” it is okay to do most of these required behaviors and skills. It also gives the impression that in performing these skills and behaviors they are going “above and beyond.” For example, the person that passed 90% will feel he/she is “better” than the person who scored “80%”, instead of feeling that he/she is coming up short and needs to improve. All of these competencies are expected to be part of an employee’s basic skill set by employers.
(4) The competency statements must be very well defined. There should be no leeway given to individual instructors in scoring pass/fail on competencies.
(5) The classroom should be run like a place of business. An “employee handbook” should be given out on day one outlining company policies and workplace comportment and the participants should be held accountable immediately. The instructor is the boss, and the participants are co-workers, not classmates or friends. Since different bosses have different management styles, and the workplace is constantly changing, having different instructors for different topics can add value to the program by forcing the participants to deal with change.
(6) The main clients for the program are NOT the participants. It is the business community. Therefore, the instructors’ main goal is to develop and ultimately screen prospective employees for employers. This is very different from typical classroom and
While some programs may claim that the business community is the main client, it is not the program administrators who are making the claim that is the key to that philosophy; it is the instructors who embrace that role in class who are the keys. If an instructor allows participants to slide through who have not truly demonstrated all competencies as depicted exactly in the competency statements, then the program no longer has the business community as its main client.
(7) This is why instructor training, on the curriculum and the program philosophy is critical to the success of a work readiness program.
(8) As you can see my program philosophy is very intricate and everything must work in concert to ensure optimal success. Therefore, in addition to instructor training, there must be instructor audits. One such audit is a final “certification test”. However, unlike education programs, the certification test for this program is primarily an audit on instructors, not the key item in awarding a work readiness certificate to program participants. In fact, only participants that pass all demonstrated competencies should be allowed to take the test. As such, a very high percentage of participants that take the simple “certification test” should pass it. If an instructor has a significant number that fail; that is an indication that that instructor needs re-training or is passing participants that are truly not demonstrating competency.
In April of this year I had a book published by Outskirts Press. The book is called, How to Get, Keep, and Be Well Paid in a Job (click here for the book’s web site).
My intent in writing this book was to provide readers with information vital to helping them get, keep and make good money in their jobs. However, knowing what to do is not enough. This book covers why workplaces operate as they do, and uses real-life comparisons outside of the workplace that everyone can relate to, in order to help illustrate key points (e.g. my chapter on interviewing is called, “The First Date” and compares the job interview process with dating).
Simply put, this book is a work readiness/job skills guide which is an enlightening and attitude-changing read. After reading this book, the reader will understand how workplaces operate, why specific behaviors and skills are important to employers, and have a road map to forge a career rather than just hold a job. Best of all, this book accomplishes all this using a writing style that is light-hearted, fun, and easy-to-read, rather than a typical straight-forward, hard-to-get through textbook.
If you have a work readiness program, or want to develop one, I highly recommend you click on the link above and check out my book. It is the perfect book for both teachers of work readiness and students learning work readiness.
MY HISTORY IN WORK READINESS
As I mentioned previously, in 2002 I was hired to develop a work readiness curriculum that I grew into a work readiness program.
The program I developed was called the best work readiness program in the Country by the National Skills Standard Board at a presentation of the Program in
The results from my initial client far exceeded those of other work readiness programs. Employers lined up to hire the graduates and found that over 85% of the graduates remained employed six months later, and over 30% received promotions.
Initially I trained all instructors and I audited the program. Over time, my instructor training program has been modified greatly to emphasis my new, formal program philosophy. Existing venues do not have this new instructor training process, and to my knowledge, never fully implemented my instructor audits. The primary reason for me not being on hand to implement program and curriculum changes was because of deep budget cuts in the Workforce Development Board System. Therefore, I was not able to be retained as the program spread to Job Centers throughout the Country including
While venues using my curriculum and portions of my program are better than most other programs (if not all), they are still not optimal since I have gained more insight and have modified the program structure, curriculum and philosophy significantly over time.
Please contact me at JayGoldberg@DTRConsulting.BIZ (write work readiness program in the subject line to ensure your email is not discarded as junk mail) or leave a message for me at 561-842-9942 and I will return your call if you want me to review your work readiness program, transform your work readiness program into a program using my philosophy, want me to create a custom work readiness (or any other) training program, or if you want to use my standard work readiness program.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
This posting includes excerpts from my book, HOW TO GET, KEEP AND BE WELL PAID IN A JOB (click here to go to the book’s web site) and some original, new, fresh content; like this intro sentence.
The initial chapter in my book is “The First Date” and is about the interview process.
“When you finally get a date with the woman or man who you have had your eye on for awhile, you know two things about your initial date. First, you are going to be on your best behavior. Second, you are going to be, at least, a little nervous.
Your date is going to listen to what you say (and what you do not say), observe your behavior, and make a decision on whether or not he/she will be going on a second date with you. The job interview process is no different. Your potential employer is going to do the same things, only money is waiting for you, not a second date.”
While I will not post the full content, I will briefly list three of the tips from this chapter of my book.
1. Know all you can about the Company before going on the interview
“Think first date. If all you know about the person you have been waiting to date is that he/she looks fine, your first date has a better chance of being a disaster than if you know that person’s interests. While there is a mutual attraction, you may have nothing in common and may have a lot of awkward silence. In the same vein, if all you know about the job for which you are interviewing is the pay scale, the same thing can occur. You may not be able to successfully inform the interviewer how your skills, knowledge, and background fit into that particular job and company. Therefore, before going on your interview know everything you can about your potential employer.”
One way to find out about the company you are interviewing with is to go online and find the company’s website. Look at the site to become familiar with the products and services the company sells. Also look for a page that informs visitors about the company and, possibly, a page listing recent company press releases.
2. Rehearse your answers to interview questions
“Before asking the person you want to date out, many of us practice what we are going to say before picking up the phone or talking to that individual in person. Some are even “George Costanza-esque” and have a pre-determined list of topics to talk about prior to picking up the phone. Likewise, when people have to perform in public, they practice before the big event. Whether it’s a play, a political speech, testimony in a trial, a business presentation, etc.; the presenter practices before the big event to ensure success. A job interview is no different.”
I will go a step further here than I do in my initial chapter. While practicing questions and answers is helpful, it is most useful on the setup or initial question (in Zig Zigler’s sales process these are called “open door” questions). To hit a home run on the follow up questions (or Zig Zigler’s “closed door” questions), you need to understand the job functions for the position you are interviewing for, and you need to understand what behaviors and skills employers’ value. That is why I recommend that job prospectors read my whole book (or any book on work readiness skills and behaviors) before going on an interview, not just my initial chapter on interviewing. This provides the background to do well on both the initial questions and follow-up questions.
Let’s say (or in this case, let’s write) that you are interviewing for a job as a Help Desk Phone Rep and are asked, “What are your strengths?” You have practiced an answer to this specific question, have a great answer and deliver it like a pro. Then you are asked, the all annoying, sometimes unpredictable “closed door” follow-up question, “Wow, you certainly have a lot of strengths (sarcasm implied to throw you off guard), give me an example where your strengths came into play in your last job.” Here is where knowing what is important to employers and what is important to the specific job for which you are interviewing comes into play. Showing up to work on time, all the time is very important to employers, and vital to Help Desks (and
3. Bring all questions back to the job, even ones that appear to have nothing to do with the job.
Beware of “the interviewer who tries to bond with you by uncovering interests he/she has in common with you, and moving the interview away from the traditional question and answer towards a more conversational approach. By making the interview more informal, the interviewer is hoping that you, the interviewee, will provide a more in-depth and personal window into who you are. Be very careful. There is a good chance that the interviewer really isn’t into slasher movies, heavy metal music, and shoot-em-up video games. The interviewer just indicates that he/she has that in common with you so you will reveal more about yourself than you would otherwise. When you come back from an interview thinking that you and the interviewer really clicked (in areas other than the job), more often than not you opened up too much and you will not be getting the job. The interviewer is looking for an employee, not a best friend.”
For example, if I’m asked, “What is your favorite book?” I would not say one of the many Stephen King books I love because it has nothing to do with the job and the interviewer could be concerned that I read horror novels. Instead I would say, Dune by Frank Herbert because among other things, Dune is a novel about economics and I found that subplot in the book very interesting.
That’s all for now, catch you in my next post.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I am a former Vice President for Citibank where I was a Service Director. At Citibank, I hired, trained and managed numerous employees. For the last 14 years I have been CEO of DTR Inc., a Business Consulting Firm in South Florida. At DTR, I developed the strategy, curriculum, lesson plans, competency statements and teacher training procedures for a work readiness training program called the best work readiness certification program in the country by the National Skills Standard Board in 2003. More information about my company can be found at www.dtrconsulting.biz.
In April of this year (2008), my book, How to Get, Keep and Be Well Paid in a Job was published by Outskirts Press. This book was written to be an enjoyable, enlightening, attitude-changing read. In addition to stating the behaviors and skills valued by employers, the book explains why those skills and behaviors are important to employers and uses real-life analogies to help illustrate key points.
This book is ideal for parents to purchase for their kids as they are first entering the workforce; for employers to purchase as a training guide to communicate to their employees what they need to do to become valuable employees and grow within their company; for individuals who find themselves continually passed over for promotions or who continually move from job to job without significant increases in pay; for schools that want to teach work readiness (also is being used in ESOL programs); for Job Centers to have as a reference book that their clients can read; and for anybody who wants to truly understand why specific behaviors and skills are valuable to employers so they can manage a career rather than just get paid to perform a job.
More information about my book can be found at www.outskirtspress.com/Goldberg.
I also work part time with the Palm Beach County Resource Center (PBCRC), an economic development 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Corporation. At the PBCRC, I was instrumental in developing a revolutionary entrepreneurship training program with a structure unlike any other entrepreneurship training program in the country. More information about the PBCRC's entrepreneurship training program can be found at www.SEEKexcellence.BIZ.
My future blogs will cover the following topics:
- What makes effective training programs
- The difference between education and training
- Tips for individuals looking for jobs
- Tips for individuals to keep and grow in their jobs
- Tips for supervisors
- Tips for business owners
- Tips for individuals looking to start new businesses
FYI, the Table of Content for my book follows:
The First Date
Includes: Know all you can about the company before going on the interview; rehearse your answers to interview questions; stay focused (bring all questions back to the job/company), interview tips; nonverbal communication; know yourself (strengths, weaknesses, life/career goals); the job application; resume
They Like Me, They Really Like Me
(Preparing for First Day of Work)
Includes: When do I report; where do I report; to whom do I report; what should I wear; is there anything I can do to prepare
Am I Really in the NFL?
Includes: Why employees need the company they work for to be profitable
Now That I’m On the Team, What Are the Team Rules?
Includes: Benefits; company policies, compensation, workplace rules
Take a Stand, Is It Abigail or Flagg?
Includes: The case of Don Imus; music downloads; work scenario #1; work scenario #2; work scenario #3; stealing from an employer is not only stealing money
Mr. Rogers Was Right! Be a Good Neighbor
Includes: Absenteeism; use of sick days; tardiness; grooming; be responsible; safety; mannerisms and habits; positive attitude; positive self-image
What Are the Special Codes for This Game Called Work
Includes: Active listening; following instructions/directions; managing your time wisely; completing tasks accurately and efficiently; creative thinking/problem-solving skills; telephone technique; communication skills
Be Nice to These People; They Helped You Buy Your Car!
Includes: Customer focus; service delivery; service measurements; phone center; barriers to communication; service attitude; customer service skills;; choosing words; classifying customer statements; overcoming objections; managing customers
Check Your Baggage at the Door
(Personal Life vs. Work Life)
Includes: Reason for working; objectionable behaviors; harassment; discrimination; drug/alcohol abuse; violence; a plan of action
To Date or Not to Date, That is the Question
(Social Life at Work)
Includes: Dating in the workplace; your employment relationship; lifestyle compromises; lifestyle choices; take control of your life
These People Are Nuts!
(How to Get Along With Co-workers)
Includes: Blueprint for getting along with co-workers; importance of teamwork; working with the Team Leader; how to be a good team member; value of diversity in the workplace
Congruent Theory of Work: Good For Boss = Good For Me
(Working With Supervisors)
Includes: Supervisor responsibilities; meeting supervisor’s expectations; communicating with supervisors; understanding expectations; performance appraisals; raises and promotions; role reversal
I Am a Stock
(Improve Your Skills)
Includes: Learning strategies
What I Learned in School Is Wrong For My Job, Huh?
(Reading, Writing and Arithmetic)
Includes: Reading; writing; arithmetic
Avoiding the Messy Divorce
(How to Leave a Job)
Includes: Proper way to leave a job, why it is important to leave on good terms
I already have some ideas for my next post. I hope I peaked your interest so that you'll give it a read.
I have an alternative version of this blog at jobing.com