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Attending Networking Events is a Career Investment

Attending Networking Events is a Career Investment

    As a Lifehacker, you must be attuned to the changing trends in the workplace. The uncertainties in the U.S economy put into question the idea of a “stable job”. You might be also more keen on pursuing portfolio careers or perhaps setting up a business in lieu of the traditional climb-the-corporate-ladder career path.

    The only way for you to cope with a changing workplace is for you to leave your desk and meet people who can help you attain whatever you want from your career – with or without the threat of recession.

    So, the best career investment that you can do now is to go to networking events. This will give you a chance to meet corporate executives and entrepreneurs who can give you job leads, serve as your mentors and/or become your business partners.

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    1. Be selective

    Some events are worth it, some are just useless, you need to choose the networking event which is aligned with your goal. Choose an event where you can find the experts in your field and/or where you have a higher chance of meeting your potential employers.

    Do your research first – surf the net for information about the event and ask your friends and colleagues for feedback on the networking events they have went to themselves.

    2. Have clear, well-defined goals

    List down what you want to get out of this networking event and then make your own schedule that will meet your goals.

    For instance, Rossana Llenado, founder of online tutorial company Ahead Interactive (AI), invests on attending networking events as this helps her in building her business. So despite her initial concerns on cost and spending time away from her four kids in Manila, Llenado left for California to attend the four-day convention of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in San Diego.

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    Llenado went to IABC conference and participated in the workshops and met up with business contacts in the U.S.. This is in line with her goal to put AI as one the world’s premier provider of online tutorial services. She came home, with a lot of ideas on how to expand AI’s reach and is now busy fine tuning her operations.

    3. Build relationships

    Instead of indiscriminately handing out and collecting business cards, use networking events to meet and establish long-term relationships with potential employers or business partners. Networking organizers advise that you focus on making “meaningful connections” with few people – those who have the right vibe and you’re comfortable working with.

    You also need to avoid being too aggressive, asking questions like “so do you have any job openings?” or “are you interested to buy my products?”

    This will turn off a lot of people – hard selling won’t sell here. Just be cool and discuss with them your common interests and goal. Exchange business cards and keep those contacts “warm” by sending e-mails or inviting them for coffee where you can discuss your proposal.

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    4. Pay it forward

    Go to the networking events with the mindset that you will bring value to the table – and not to pass around your resume and sell your products.

    Yes you can find job leads in networking events – but not on one go. You need to establish trust and confidence among the people that you meet in these events. When approaching someone, you need to consider how your skills and interests can help in solving his/her business problem.

    5. Treat networking as a career investment

    Going to these events is not cheap. You need to invest both time and money, and the cost gets higher if the event is being held overseas.

    You need to discern the difference between value and cost. If the $1,000 you spend going to networking events will bring you triple that amount either in terms of business revenues or career promotion, then the event will have paid for itself.

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    That said, if you’re broke or had to get a second mortgage just to attend the event then you better skip it, and save for it so you can go there in the future. Besides, a high price tag will not necessarily mean that is of high value – to you. Many people spend money to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos. It is a high value event for many people, but do you think going to Davos will help you attain your specific career goals?

    Whatever career path you want to pursue, everything in the end will boil down to having solid relationships with present and future colleagues and partners. While social networking sites may have helped in expanding your work and social circles, meeting people face to face will build trust and confidence that will pave the way to better opportunities.

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    Published on December 17, 2018

    15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

    15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

    The importance of asking great questions cannot be overstated. Great questions help you discover new things, diagnose existing problems, and explore how well solutions are working in your life or business. Whether you work with consultants, executives, or entry-level employees, you cannot skip questions.

    Now imagine running a company where sustainability and profitability depends on your ability to determine the brightest minds and skills in the industry in a single conversation:

    How do you know they’re the perfect fit for you? How do you assess their communication skills? How do you know they won’t cost your team in the long run?

    You know it already; ask great questions!

    The concept of asking questions isn’t new but there is a great chance that you’re not taking full advantage of it. A Harvard Business Review article refers to questioning as a powerful tool that unlocks value, fuels innovation and performance improvement.[1] As a hiring manager or recruiter, how to you get this information when you’re meeting a candidate for the first time?

    Ask great questions, of course.

    Without further ado, here are 15 interview questions to ask employees during an interview:

    1. “What are your career goals?”

    Another version of this question is “What types of problems do you see yourself solving in the future?”

    This question is almost never asked and when it is asked, most questions are geared towards knowing how long the employees intends to stay in the company.

    Instead of asking leading questions that would steer employees into declaring undying loyalty for the organization, ask what types of problems they hope to solve in the future.

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    This does two things:

    1. It reveals the skills and interest in your employees.
    2. It lets you know what types of candidates you are attracting in the first place.

    With this, you’re able to trend this data to improve how you market your job opening. And if employee retention is pertinent to you, you can use this information to improve the job function so that future employees can see their future selves in this role.

    2. “Why do you think you’re a great fit?”

    It is important to go beneath the surface to ask questions that make the candidates speak about themselves in their own words. However, a surprising benefit of asking this question is that you’re able to determine how well-versed a candidate really is with the company’s challenges and goals, in addition to their personal attributes.

    Instead of listing off accomplishments, an exceptional employee is able to help you see how these previous accomplishment can translate into helping your organization solve its current business problems.

    3. “What do you hope to learn from this role?”

    The answers to this question can reveal if there is a job-skill match and if a linear career progression is expected.

    As you listen carefully and mind these answers from candidates, you begin to see trends in responses that help you refine how you develop roles, responsibilities, how employees see themselves, and what they want their career to look like.

    4. “How do you deal with conflict between colleagues?”

    Almost every breakdown in relationship is caused by miscommunication or lack of effective interpersonal skills. But a solid indicator of how well a person communicates is how they manage interpersonal conflict.

    Conflict management skills is no longer something required only for corporations who wish to settle million-dollar lawsuits. It’s an essential skill that every worker ought to possess and can make or break an organization.

    Tip: Ask for a time when they didn’t get along with a co-worker and how they resolved the conflict.

    5. “How did you learn about this position?”

    Asking how they learned about the position reveals how the brand is perceived by the outside world. This way, you know if your current employees is your biggest source of referrals for qualified applicants.

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    This also lets you know how effective your current staffing processes are and which channels are worth the effort.

    6. “Why are you interested in this position?”

    Again, another seemingly basic question. But when you field applications from candidates who are transferring their skills from a different department or industry, you want to know why the change was made.

    What led to the aha moment? What was the internal struggle like for them? What stands out to them about this particular position? Very important.

    7. “What excites you the MOST about this position?”

    After establishing how passionate they are about this position, it’s not unusual that you would want to know what tasks and responsibilities excite them most. With this knowledge, not only are you aware of their sense of ownership, you help nurture these skills by encouraging and facilitating the discovery of hidden potential in your employees.

    For example, a hospital nurse might detest inserting intravenous catheters in patients but jump at the task of motivating colleagues and initiating stress-reduction activities on hospital units. An office employee might cringe at the thought of public speaking but excel at creating world-class presentations.

    While you can’t exempt your employee from every task in the role because they favor one thing over another, you are more aware of how rich your existing talent pool is in your organization and can utilize your talents effectively.

    8. “What do you consider your weakness?”

    Why should you ask a candidate what his or her weakness is when all you want is someone perfect?

    Admitting a weakness shouldn’t automatically disqualify a candidate. Rather, it reveals to you how self-aware the candidate is.

    Self-awareness is essential to personal and professional development, and this is sometimes a precursor to how self-directed a person is regarding their career goals.

    There are arguments about the need to abolish the weakness question from interviews because it reduces candidates’ accomplishments. I disagree.

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    Asking employees about weaknesses lets you understand your employees better so you can not only create a work environment that is smart, you’re able to design professional development programs that can strengthen these weaknesses.

    9. “What will you find challenging about this position?”

    Maybe you don’t want to ask the ”weakness question.” Maybe you’re more concerned about the capacity to perform in the current job rather than their job history.

    Still, you want to know if you have a creative problem solver and how they feel about potential problems when they arise. You also want to anticipate how your employees will adjust to their roles once they are successfully hired. Self-awareness about one’s ability and limits can be observed by asking this question during an interview.

    Note: This question should never be asked with a malicious intent. Exceptional employees come with flaws and this should be expected. They key is knowing whether the successful candidate is willing to be a problem solver.

    10. “What additional support will you need during your transition?”

    This is a very important question during the interview question because not only is the labor market diverse, the response to this question can be used to develop the orientation process and additional training materials.

    As a mentor to newer nurses, this is a question I repeat more than 50 percent of the time during the orientation period. The responses I get provide me with insights into what employees really consider as constraints so that I can make their transition as smooth as possible.

    11. “What qualities do you desire in a leader or manager?”

    Not everyone desires a manager who provides direction while giving you free rein to make your job your own. At the same time, some employees might prefer a manager who is detail-oriented and provides all the answers.

    Knowing this before a candidate is hired can prevent conflict arising from differences in communication or management styles.

    12. “What do you do if you don’t agree with your manager’s decisions?”

    Conflict not only happens between employees. According to a study of conflict in the Canadian workforce,[2] about 81 percent of people leave the organization as a result of conflict.

    The purpose of this question is to determine how adaptable an employee is to different communication styles, what they consider deal breakers, and how they model desired behavior when conflict arises.

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    The responses to this question allows you to manage expectations and an indication for leaders to continuously work on their communication and conflict management skills.

    13. “What would make this company an amazing place to work?”

    Maybe you can’t provide free lunches or paid hours of free time at work like bigger companies. But answers to this question can reveal a lot about what employees think is crucial to well-being.

    In a study of nearly 17,000 employees,[3] it was noted that an increase in stress level is directly correlated to workplace injury. While this interview won’t eradicate organizational constraints or stressors, feedback from candidates and employees on what makes a company a great place to work is the perfect place to start.

    14. “What other questions do you have for me?”

    Although this is a conversation to determine the best fit for your team, company, or organization, the interview goes both ways. Yes, you are also being scrutinized by your interviewee.

    The purpose of this question is to create space to answer the candidate’s questions about your organization. You also get to provide insight on processes, expectations, team culture, and information that isn’t readily available on the company website.

    15. “Tell me about yourself”

    If everything else seems too much, lead with this timeless question. You simply cannot go wrong here.

    Sometimes, the best answers come from open-ended queries. This is your best chance to know the candidate’s history, career accomplishments, and get a feel for their career goals all at the same time.

    It is less intrusive and leading with this question makes it easier to approach other questions––depending on how sensitive the position is.

    The Bottom Line

    Conversation is a two-way street. Good questions can give you great insights into the value an employee can bring to your company. But there is an art and science to asking questions.

    While you won’t become an expert right off the bat, these questions provide a good foundation to start from if you want to attract and retain top talent in your organization.

    More Resources About Job Interview

    Featured photo credit: Drew Beamer via unsplash.com

    Reference

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