First Impressions; The Good, The Bad, The CREEPY

Image from Bachelor Site    The new Bachelor’s series on ABC premiered this evening! Sean Lowe is our “newest” recycled bachelor. The first episode is ritually dedicated to the uncomfortable, odd and showy meet and greet session. There are some great takeaways for job seekers and candidates about making first impressions in this episode. First impressions are so important when meeting new people and especially when interviewing for a job. Here’s what we can learn from the GOOD, the BAD and the CREEPY Bachelor contestants.

Starting with the creepy candidates, oops I mean contestants. One of them wore a wedding gown, she hummed wedding music and then requested a kiss, “kiss the bride”.  Creepy contestants take extreme to a new level, to a level of pure uncomfortable creepiness. Unfortunately for them, they come across as needy, unraveled, and even pathetic. Job candidates cannot afford to take this uncomfortable risk in this job market. By all means if you’re genuinely a creepy person, than creep on, but for the rest of us its best to avoid being identified as the creepy candidate because chances are you will miss out on a great opportunity. Here’s the thing recruiters find in creepy candidates a pattern of potentially concerning behavior. As the episode continued all the contestants that presented creepiness in the first impression continued to exude more concerning and creepy behavior as the evening progressed. So in a nutshell, creepiness is often times foreshadowing and is not a trait employers are interested in pursuing. 

Bad candidates, surprisingly not as terrible as the creepy, but not as good as the good! Bad candidates will come across as inexperienced, lacking knowledge, unprepared and just overall bad! Another contestant attempted several fancy gymnastics moves from the limo to Sean’s feet however, she ended up falling on her butt after the 3rd move. She made a fool of her self. She was so embarrassed that she continued to apologize and talk about what just happened. She completely missed the opportunity to introduce herself and make a genuine connection. Employers are seeking candidates that have their act together, understand their business needs and more often than not present themselves in a professional way. Employers want someone they can trust and rely on! 

Finally the GOOD! Being a good candidate is the goal. The job market is bustling with qualified and competitive candidates and is not the time to fool around with uncertain trickery. Making a solid first impression is crucial to your success. There were several good contestants tonight and here is what they had in common; confidence, security, genuineness and enthusiasm.

Key takeaways:

  • Be confident and secure in your knowledge, skills and abilities.
  • Be prepared; review your employment history, know the employer and practice for your greeting and interview.
  • Be genuine in making a sincere connection with the interviewer. 
  • Your enthusiasm will come naturally when you present your true self.
  • AND MOST IMPORTANTLY don’t be the creepy! BUT if you must be the creepy than make it good so all the recruiters can have a great laugh:)

That Funky Stuff! Writers Block

Oh that funky stuff! What I’m talking about is that “funk stage” we all seem to experience at some point in our lives; whether it be personal or work. I seem to have a funky ebb and flow, not like I’m manic, it just occurs with the natural progression of life and career . My funk seems to have a big impact on my ability to write, thus causing a writer’s block situation. There are certain times when I experience that FUNK and need to regain my focus. This is what I did to get back on track!

First, I stopped putting pressure on myself to start blogging again. Originally I planned to start blogging again once school commenced but that didn’t happen. Then as each day passed I kept thinking about my “NEED” to write. Thoughts like “It’s your personal brand. Your ruining your reputation by not fulfilling the guidelines of writing 2-3 times a week!” But thank I had a wake up call! I said to myself “Hey I write because I enjoy it. It is not a MUST do on my list of chores.” Once I said this aloud I realized it was okay to let it go! Let go of the timeframe. I took time to chill out and enjoy the holiday season with my family.

After the holidays I was hopping my funk would lift and I would immediately want to write. I drafted a couple of pieces but really wasn’t feeling the flow. So I stopped. By the way my technology problem was fixed (ie my iPhone was fixed as a Christmas gift to me) so the convenience of reading my favorite HR blogs was regained. After a couple of days of reading and sharing information I began to feel the zest, passion and positive energy slowly creep back into my life. It was a refreshing feeling!

Finally, I started to move my focus away from the things I cannot control. My truth is that there are many realities of this world both our personal and professional that can be negative. Focusing time, thoughts and energies on these realities is frankly a real bummer and a total waste of time. So I stopped. After allowing some time to pass I felt 100% again! I felt my passion to write emerge.

So just to sum it up, get out of that funky stage by:

  1. Eliminate Pressure to Produce Results
  2. Read industry trends and current events
  3. Free your mind from the elements of this world you cannot control
  4. Write:) 
  • And really at any point you may need to just STOP yourself and step back. Reflection can be rejuvenating. 

Happy Writing!!!

Stamp Tramp!

Tonight I caught an episode of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother and boy I’m glad I did because it was not only hilarious but totally related to an HR topic, employee referrals! But before we go further I must clarify the STAMP TRAMP is not to be confused with the infamous TRAMP STAMP, totally different meanings! The stamp tramp is a person that gives their “stamp” of approval on almost anything, thus losing the value of their approval. Others begin to question the stamp tramps standards for recommending products, services, friends etc when their recommendations are less than stellar. (Check out a clip from Stamp Tramp, here.)

In this episode Marshall runs into an acquaintance and fellow practicing lawyer who appears down on his luck. Marshall decides to help him out by scoring him an interview with his boss. Long story short his acquaintance blows the interview and royally offenses Marshall’s boss. As a result of this poor employee referral Marshall’s boss pulls him off a major case. His boss lost trust in Marshall’s judgement. Marshall had to do a lot to rebuild that trust and value in his recommendations. Building trust and a good reputation can take a great deal of time and effort. It’s important to be considerate of your reputation when referring a friend or family member to a position at your company.

How can you avoid a stamp tramp situation? 

Treat the person you are referring as an extension of yourself. How will they represent your brand?

Pretend it’s your company. Would you hire this person?

If you have any concerns or doubts about referring a friend, family member or acquaintance dig deeper. Are your concerns valid? If they are you may not want to refer that person.

Depending on the role you hold at work you may “have” to refer certain people. In that case be honest with the hiring authority. If you don’t know that persons’ work history or work ethic let the company know and they can decide whether your referral is a good fit. You’ve done your part!

Lastly, if you do refer someone who is “bad hire” don’t beat yourself up about it. Just learn from your mistakes and don’t turn into a stamp tramp! Stamping your approval on everything will make your stamps meaningless. To keep your value and weight with employee referrals, in addition to the advice above, you may want to give the people who ask you for a referral a mini interview. If they pass refer them, if they don’t….tell them to take a hike! Just kidding, find a kinder way to break the news.

All you need are these 3 steps to change your life!

Self-improvement and personal development and growth are a constant in my mind. I seek self-improvement literature in all forms of media. While, I appreciate this content and often times learn from it and grow I struggle with the presentation of these articles and sources. I’ve come to dislike the consistent underlying negative message that communicated. The message “you’re not good enough as you are.” I understand their are circumstances where humans need to change. I’m not talking about those sensitive topics, I’m addressing the “surface level”, quick fix topics in the self-improvement world.

Looking around my room I see some of the headlines on the popular magazines I subscribe to, here are the messages I see “Fight flab and win”, “10 tips to happiness”, “5 ways to get co-workers to like you etcetera”, you get the idea.  These messages tell me “Bonnie, you’re not good enough. You must change your life, and the only way you achieve this is by reading this article, buying this book, attending this conference, attending this workshop, signing up for this 8-weeks class.” Again, you get the point. Yes, I know much is this marketing, and attention getting methods to increases sales, etc. However, I have to wonder if there is a positive way to communicate self-improvement materials? For example, “You are so awesome. Here is some advice to the next level, awesomeness.” (Ok, you can tell I wouldn’t have cut it in marketing and PR:)

Don’t get me wrong I truly enjoy reading self-improvement materials. Learning, growing and being enlighten is all part of this beautiful journey. Enhancements are great, but I also love me for me. I don’t want to change the core of me.

We hold the power to reset our minds before engaging in the journey of self-improvement to self-enhancement. This will enable us the ability to value and appreciate ourselves just the way we are, and we won’t loose sight of our core being. Lets compare ourselves to cars, not just any car but lets say…I don’t know um…an Aston Martin. You are top of the line, best quality money can buy; anything additional is purely an enhancement!

Before you pick that next self-improvement literature or attend the next conference say to yourself I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and doggone it people like me. ~Stuart Smalley

This is my journey of self-enhancement! 

This is Your Voice- Personal Branding

If you read my post This is Your Voice Battle Rounds – Interviewing, you can tell I’m an avid “The Voice” viewer. I love watching The Voice for couple reasons. First, I enjoy watching and listening to music! Second, I enjoy the human relations aspect of the show. Watching the artists journey, development and behaviors that relate to the human resources field. My last and most important reason for tuning in is the fact Blake Shelton and Adam Levine are hotties! LOL! There is a strong commonality from the coaches response throughout the season about “knowing who you are as an artist”.  There is great similarity between musicians knowing the music in their souls, and people in the business world knowing their unique talents. The way we can differentiate ourselves from the rest of the bunch is through personal branding.

Personal branding is a process when people create a brand and image for themselves, much like the way companies and celebrities brand. While watching the artists perform I can feel when the artist is 100% comfortable with who they are and what type of music they represent. Their confidence allows for their real, raw, unique selves to power past the lyrics and melody of the song and deep into the ears, mind and hearts of the audience. When an musician knows who they are is when they are a true artist. Their singing is more than just a song, their performance evokes real, connecting emotion in the audience and in that moment, that artist is rocking their personal brand! In the business world, when someone knows and embraces their true selves is the moment they really shine. Everyones path to personal branding is different. Some people are born knowing their brand, some people discover their brand through another passion or pursuit and some grow their brand slowly and steadily while they are discovering the wonders of the world. Here are some thought provoking questions if you want assistance in rocking your personal brand.

  • If you were to die tomorrow what would people say about you?
  • Recall a time when you were so passionate about something that all you could do was focus on that one thing. What was that thing, event or discovery? What did you learn about yourself?
  • If there were no boundaries, no fears, no end of the road where would you go? (Figuratively….Or literally I suppose!)
  • Listen to your heart. What is it telling you?
  • If you did not care what people thought you’d……..
  • What ignites your internal fire?
  • Think back to 5 year old you. In your “fresh” eyes describe yourself.

Sometimes knowing who you are takes time, reflection and discovery. Once you know your true self, your personal brand will practically create itself. People are drawn to others that convey a strong message. Their message, their brand is powered by unique knowledge, skill or expertise and self confidence. Everyone has something special to offer the world, its just a matter of taking the time to uncover the real you. Only YOU can do YOU best! So go on and rock your personal brand! Be YOU and people will LOVE it! And if they don’t, that’s ok because you know who you are!

The image is The Voice contestant Melanie Martinez, who is re-defining the boundaries of personal branding. She has touched the lives of thousand with her unique perception of the world, and amazing self-confidence and incredibility special and brilliant voice.