Posts Tagged talenttalks

Talent Topic Compilation 2013 Edition

It’s that time again to bid farewell to another year. Before we race in to the new year, here’s a rear view look at 25 of the talent topics touched upon in 2013. Please feel free to provide feedback and share your favorites with those in your network who might benefit. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!

2013

2013

Wishing all good luck in the new year – praying mantis — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/may-2013-bring-mantis-like-mindfulness/

 Some of the worst job search advice EVER — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/follow-this-advice-to-knock-yourself-out-of-consideration-for-a-job/

Hidden reality of hidden jobs — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/are-the-jobs-hiding-from-you/

Job searching can be a crappy process, don’t make it worse — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/how-to-instantly-put-your-job-search-in-the-crapper/

Not all diversity looks like demographic diversity – http://www.ere.net/2013/01/22/talent-diversity-isnt-just-about-demographic-data/

Greatest job seeker gripes (about recruiters) — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/follow-up-flubs-fiascoes-and-failures-that-frustrate-candidates

Learning how stuff works is YOUR job — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/does-this-thing-come-with-an-instruction-manual

Not all unlucky numbers are bad — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/pondering-significance-circumstance-3-13-13/

Can you train a monkey to do your job?

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/recap-of-this-week-s-rbc-lessons-don-t-monkey-around-with-lies

Maybe it’s April Fool’s Day everyday for job candidates — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/fooling-around-with-candidates-everyday

Who decided that 80% of jobs are not posted? — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/who-is-hiding-all-of-the-jobs

What happens when clueless people become recruiters? — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/sucky-slacker-sourcing-strategies

Companies say they want to hire for certain traits, yet end up selecting something else —  http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/hypocrisy-in-hiring

Overly restrictive job requirements — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/is-there-any-responsibility-to-educate-or-enlighten-your-hiring

Recruiters that are crazy, lazy, or both — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/these-recruiters-must-be-crazy-to-be-so-lazy

Job search version of 20 questions — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/20-questions-for-your-job-search/

Age old issue of old age (and discrimination) — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/admit-it-the-big-o-stimulates-quite-a-reaction

Shedding light on the stigma of job hopping — http://wthomsonjr.com/guest-blog–kelly-blokdijk/maybe-you-should-withhold-that-job-hopper-judgment/

#1 reason for resume rejection — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/20-questions-for-your-job-search-2/

Opposite of good employer branding — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-cement-your-reputation-as-a-dorkola-recruiter

No need to settle for terrible HR — http://www.tlnt.com/2013/09/04/why-do-we-settle-for-low-information-human-resources/

Is it necessary information or an interview question? — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/are-you-sure-you-need-the-answer-to-that-question

We all know what they say about assumptions — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/stop-showing-candidates-your-a-s-s-umptions

Everyone believes they know how to pick the best person for the job

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/the-best-person-for-the-job

Caring enough to cook up creative content — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/refried-beans-and-recruiting-blogs

 Talent Topic Compilation Edition 2013 Articles by Kelly Blokdijk http://linkedin.com/in/kellyblokdijkattalenttalks

Kelly Blokdijk on Twitter @TalentTalks

Publication sources include:

TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/

Recruiting Blogs Dot Com http://recruitingblogs.com

TLNT Dot Com http://tlnt.com

Electronic Recruiting Exchange – ERE Dot Net http://www.ere.net

Bulls Eye Recruiting via http://wthomsonjr.com/

Comments (1)

How to Instantly Put Your Job Search in the Crapper

Some consider a resume and/or cover letter the most important professional documents to represent a person’s overall level of competence and credibility when pursuing employment opportunities. In fact for most US employers resumes/cover letters are the standard preliminary evaluation tools.

Therefore, I’m constantly astonished that so many people routinely submit error-ridden correspondence when the stakes are so high. Having to sort through stacks of lousy resumes is one of the most common recruiter complaints. The high-volume of applications and applicant tracking system black-hole syndrome does factor in to response rate, but doesn’t deserve anywhere the amount of blame as bad resumes. 

Image

Perhaps it seems unfair that people are being assessed by how they appear on paper (or on a screen), but that is why they say you only have one chance to make a great first impression. Some of the same sloppiness found on resumes and cover letters can be spotted on LinkedIn profiles as well. It puzzles me that so many career marketing messages reflect a lax attitude about attention to detail and obvious willingness to overlook easily preventable mistakes.

Effective and accurate communication skills tends to be one of the most universally expected qualifications across all types and levels of jobs. I realize that there are situations where that may not be the primary focus of a person’s job. However, those tend to be in categories where resumes and cover letters are not expected and applicants simply complete employment applications instead. Either way, it is still preferable regardless of document type, to receive content minus glaring errors such as typos, misspelled words, poor grammar, incorrect word usage, inconsistent formatting, unattractive fonts and so on…

No one expects the average person to be an expert profile, resume or cover letter writer, but most people in the hiring process do expect basic demonstration of written communication proficiency. Even if those fundamental literacy and quality assurance aspects are not critical for the initial position in question, I have seen plenty of people passed over for promotions and career advancement due to communication challenges. 

Anyone applying for jobs and not getting responses really should take an objective look at how their information is coming across to prospective employers. Make sure you are not flushing your reputation down the toilet by distributing information that makes the reader say: “this stinks!”

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling, customized communication materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

 

Comments (2)

Are the jobs hiding from you?

People often tell me they’ve heard they need to avoid job boards and focus on the hidden job market instead. That comes up in conversation because they have no idea what that advice means or how to interpret it for their specific situation.

Frankly, that may be the best or worst way for them to conduct a job search and they may not realize how to tell the difference. The fact of the matter is there is not and has never been a one-size-fits-all job search approach. Nor is it wise to exclude or include possible resources based on someone else’s opinion without them or the job seeker understanding what is entailed in the bigger picture.

search image

Statistics vary about source of hire. Some may suggest that up to 80% of employers use job boards to fill jobs. Others may reflect that up to 80% of positions are filled through relationship based methods such as referrals, references and recommendations. Based on those seemingly conflicting or at least confusing concepts, how is a job seeker in the current market supposed to spend their time?

Let me simplify this the best way I can… The main reason job boards have become under-appreciated isn’t because there is a flaw in the job board platform itself. The issue is with the users of the job boards.

Way back when job boards became common place, the “apply now” button enabled practically anyone, anywhere, at any time, to apply for any job. That in turn created too much volume for any employer to manage. Since then, a dramatic downturn in the economy flooded the market with even more users of the job boards.

Concurrently, to manage this volume of applications, employers started integrating their external job board postings with their internal applicant tracking systems. These were to filter the data and sort out the unqualified applicants. The problem that occurred then was applicants tried to game the system by keyword loading and other “tricks” so they would still show up in searches no matter what.

Overall the quality of applicants diminished. Meanwhile compounding the user-error predicament, the hiring side failed to upgrade their process to deter unqualified people from applying or add methods to attract the right type of applicant. Even if someone was qualified, the likelihood of them being identified under all of the clutter was minimal. The response to apply ratio was dismal.

The next thing you know, the only people applying for jobs are the unqualified people. That discouraged employers from using job boards and took things “under-ground”, if you will. No one on either side was satisfied with the return on investment.

While job boards remain a solid point of reference for taking the pulse of hiring trends, the kinks still haven’t been completely worked out. That said, I encourage anyone looking for a job to integrate any and all relevant job boards into their search strategy. In a competitive market, it would be foolish to discount one of the primary tools employers use to advertise opportunities and to identify talent.

Regardless of how, when or where a person becomes aware of a possible opportunity, it is critical to remain in contact with an extended network of business connections that understand your value in the employment market. In the event someone you know learns of a confidential search, you want them to keep you top of mind. You need to be known for what you have to offer in advance, that way when internal discussions start happening, people automatically think of you.

Alternatively, if a position is already publicly communicated, you need to do some research and investigating to reveal who is involved with the sourcing, screening and selection process. While having direct contact with the ultimate decision maker is ideal, don’t discount others who may be less prestigious, yet still influential in getting you closer to the front of the line.

Regardless, you need to be prepared to position yourself effectively through your professional marketing strategies and materials online, on paper and in person. No matter what form your tangible presence takes (value proposition, business bio, resume, professional profile or networking correspondence), it must convey deep understanding of the business needs through a concise and targeted message. Your communications must immediately demonstrate an obvious match for the desired role to anyone who “finds” you.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling, customized communication materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

Comments (1)

Follow this advice to knock yourself out of consideration for a job

While a best-selling author with a history of 35 years in career management is clearly not an easy target for critique, I feel I must call out the obvious negative reaction this blog’s advice could bring if followed. From what I gather, the intent of this information is to aid experienced job applicants  in addressing presumed ageist perceptions or alleged age-bias in interviews.

However, it appears to be coming from a very misguided and perhaps out-of-touch with a real life recruiting and selection mentality of our modern, global, diversity-centered world of work. Have a look: http://blog.knockemdead.com/2013/01/age-discriminationhow-to-fight-age-bias.html

Of course any and all of us will readily acknowledge the unfortunate existence of biased and exclusionary hiring practices that still persist despite the dominance of a more evolved population in the workforce. Aside from isolated anecdotal incidents, most of can only speculate and guess about the extent to which discriminatory decision making is taking place on any scale.

I personally find focus on assumptive accusations of this happening to be overblown and exaggerated. The reason I say that is I believe (and have plenty of objective external evidence to support) that most companies strive to attract and retain top talent regardless of any demographic factors related to discrimination that get publicized by the media and perpetuated by the general public.

As I read through these recommendations, I recoiled in horror at how obnoxious a candidate would sound if they actually expressed the sentiments suggested here. The first thing that stands out is the setting for these recommendations is at the end of a face-to-face interview. Or, if you read to the end of the article, the author recommends interspersing these golden gems throughout the interview conversation.

Image

IMAGE SOURCE: 

An initial problem I see with this is approach is: why after passing through a resume review, initial phone screen or other preliminary candidate evaluation and eventually making it to the in-person interview phase with a hiring manager, would the candidate assume the company or its representatives has any intention of discriminating against said candidate? Talk about having a chip on your shoulder!

The next problem that stands out is the unfortunate choice of vocabulary the candidate is advised to use to point out their age, seasoning, years of experience and other non job-related characteristics. If the goal is to emphasize one’s exceptional qualifications, relevant achievements and drive for successful job performance, why in the world is the author suggesting the candidate call attention to anything distracting or detracting from that message?

Under no circumstances can I imagine it being well-received for a candidate to announce: “I just turned ___ (years old).”  When I saw this it made me think of a toddler holding up the number of fingers equivalent to their age, not a business person I would want to hire – for ANY job!

A remark along the lines of: “That gives me ___ years experience in the profession and ___ years experience doing exactly what needs to be done in the job”  is more likely to come off as condescending and arrogant than confident and accomplished.

If you tell me you have ___ years experience tying your shoes does that make you more qualified than anyone that has 1, 2, 5, 20 fewer years doing the same? No. It just makes you sound pompous, clueless and set in your ways of doing whatever task for however long – most likely the same exact way for that entire duration of time without any examples of incentive to keep improving.

Moving along after a few additional reinforcements of the above, the candidate is told to say: “hire another thirty-something and you know that she will constantly be haggling for promotions and possibly your job, and will probably be gone in four years… even if I retired at 65 you’d still have me ___ times as long as someone younger.” The extreme wrongness of this entire concept shouldn’t need any further explanation or interpretation.  Holy inappropriate comment, Batman!

It continues full speed downhill from that atrocious abomination with: “Experience has given me the maturity and understanding to know that when I do my job well, I make my boss’s job easier. Most younger candidates don’t know this…” Curious, at what point does one arrive at this mature, experienced conclusive understanding? Sixteen, 23, 38, 57…?

Finally, let’s drag out a few more wisdom filled clichés, shall we?: “I will bring balance to the team, if all your customers/clients are in their twenties, most will be reassured by my maturity, plus I naturally resonate with older customers because of the experience and maturity I offer.” Apparently, maturity is the magic mojo for all customer needs! Who knew?

Whether I was interviewing this person as a recruiter, HR person, hiring manager or innocent bystander, I can assure you I would be anything but reassured or feeling resonated with after hearing any proclamations of this sort. Not only would person fail at impressing me as a candidate, they would succeed at insulting and offending every possible category of coworker or customer they may encounter.

For someone to take the tactic of positioning him/herself as superior to other candidates by reinforcing the age-based depictions they claim to be avoiding is pathetic and frankly could be construed as that person harboring their own discriminatory attitudes. Not a good strategy and not a way to influence a hiring decision in your favor.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, compelling, customized communication materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

Comments (3)

May 2013 bring mantis-like mindfulness

It’s been a rough few years for many people in my life. I’m hoping 2013 brings much needed luck to all of us. 

As I was coming back into the house from the backyard today, I spotted this praying mantis at the base of my patio door. I’ve never seen one in person before and wasn’t even sure what it was. There were a few dead leaves and dried twigs in the area, so it almost blended right in.

Image

Along with the ability to camouflage itself into the surroundings, in some cultures praying mantis are believed to be a sign of good fortune. While I’m not a superstitious person and don’t pay much attention signs or symbolism, I found the following article rather comforting for these troubling times.

http://www.whats-your-sign.com/animal-symbolism-mantis.html

Praying Mantis Meanings in the Realms of Animal Symbolism

 

The mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives. Usually the mantis makes an appearance when we’ve flooded our lives with so much business, activity, or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us because of the external din we’ve created.

 

After observing this creature for any length of time you can see why the symbolism of the praying mantis deals with stillness and patience. The mantis takes her time, and lives her life at her own silent pace.

 

A quick-list of praying mantis symbolism:

  • Stillness
  • Awareness
  • Creativity
  • Patience
  • Mindful
  • Calm
  • Balance
  • Intuition

These traits have lead the mantis to be a symbol of meditation and contemplation. In fact, in China, the mantis has long been honored for her mindful movements.

 

The mantis never makes a move unless she is 100% positive it is the right thing for her to do. This is a message to us to contemplate and be sure our minds and souls all agree together about the choices we are making in our lives.

 

Overwhelmingly in most cultures the mantis is a symbol of stillness. As such, she is an ambassador from the animal kingdom giving testimony to the benefits of meditation, and calming our minds.

 

An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quite and reach a place of calm. It may also a sign for you to be more mindful of the choices you are making and confirm that these choices are congruent.

 

Wishing you much peace and prosperity in 2013. 

~ Kelly Blokdijk

@TalentTalks 

Comments (3)

Talent Topic Compilation 2012 Edition

Perhaps like me you struggle to keep up with the mass quantities of information that flows your way each day. Here, I’ve compiled many of the job search, career management, employment market, recruiting and networking articles I’ve posted throughout the year.

The header before the link gives a general idea of the content and the blurb below the link shows an excerpt from the article itself. Please do share feedback by commenting directly on the source site or via private message back to me.

Image

Career strength takes continuous conditioning

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/armed-with-career-strengthening-strategies/

 Professionals must stay vigilant in conditioning themselves for the future. Just like our muscles get soft from lack of use, our knowledge, skills and abilities can quickly become obsolete if we don’t take action to step up our learning regimen.

 

The difference between bad and badass brands

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/how-to-build-a-bad-brand/

True experts, geniuses or brilliant innovators don’t go around telling everyone that’s what they are, because they don’t need to. It just shows.

 

Is your message making people tune in or get turned off?

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/does-your-song-make-people-turn-up-the-volume-or-change-the-station-2/

People constantly ask me how they can be found, how they can stand out and how they can drive action in the midst of immense competition. There are plenty of techniques that can improve the chances of those things happening, but none of that matters if when found you stand out for the wrong reasons making people think you need to change your tune.

 

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/awkward-placement-approach

As you will notice, this was a generic message sent to my email but not addressed to me by name – probably because I was only one of the thousand or so recipients.

 

Special K for your career

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/karing-enough-about-your-kareer-prospects-should-konvince-you-to

Wow, here’s another doozy … hopefully an extremely isolated incident, but apparently some poor schmuck actually lost out on a job opportunity because another candidate had a higher Klout score.  

 

Face-to-face with jobs on Facebook

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/what-about-all-of-the-job-finding-on-facebook

We’ve all seen the various social media articles, career blogs and Generation Y experts that repeatedly promote Facebook as a source of hire, venue for job searching and place to interface with employers. 

 

Everyone’s blogging and you should too

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/everyone-on-the-planet-should-have-a-blog

Ironically, I don’t recall ever encountering anyone that said, “What the world needs is more blogs.” Frankly, based on the underwhelming quality of many blogs, the opposite is more likely to be expressed.

 

Why you shouldn’t spam a prospective employer

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/special-delivery-who-ordered-the-spam

Now just sit back and wait for the job offers to flood in…

 

Career lessons from the Brady Bunch

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/job-searching-with-jan-brady-syndrome/

Embrace and enjoy what makes YOU, you! 

 

Oh no, not another boring resume!

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/5-5-million-boring-resumes-is-yours-one-of-them/

Aside from the obvious deal-breakers such as dreadful grammar, typos, spelling mistakes, improper word usage, incorrect verb tense, random capitalization and inconsistent fonts and formatting, there are plenty of other ways that people fail to make a positive first impression.

 

How to make it easier for your network to help with your job search

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/does-your-resume-overwhelm-your-networking-connections-with-tmi/

Much of the content typically included on a traditional resume used to apply for jobs, could potentially distract a professional or personal networking contact from truly understanding the core job search elements that a job seeker needs to share.

 

Crazy and lazy recruiters

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/turds-on-my-freshly-washed-windshield-and-similar-annoyances

One of my contacts shared this vent with me. Thought it pretty much sums up some of the lazy, sloppy, clueless types that somehow found their way into the recruiting realm.

 

Thoughts about thought-leaders

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/purposely-pretentious-professionals/

As I’ve written many times before, I find it alarming that an abundance of outdated, ineffective and inaccurate information is being peddled to those in major need of real help with their employment or unemployment situations.

 

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

Comments (1)

Purposely Pretentious Professionals

As a “what you see is what you get” kind of gal that communicates in a plain and direct “tell it like it is” or “call it like I see it” style, the opinions I’m about to share may not appeal to those with different sensibilities. For that reason, the following serves as a disclaimer should you continue reading: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss

In what resembles an OCD pattern, my brain seems to have a ravenous appetite compelling me to consume an inordinate amount of business related and current events content on a constant basis. Others play sports, video games or engage is assorted hobbies to chill out, but that stuff doesn’t appeal to me at all. Being a non-athletic, non-competitive type and a gigantic geek, reading for enjoyment and to stay informed about the world around me is how I tend to spend any free moments. I seek out sources of new data and diverse views on assorted topics pertaining to my profession as well as plenty of other entirely unrelated topics.

Periodically, I encounter articles by various individuals that some refer to as thought-leaders. I have no issues with these folks per se, but strong individualistic tendencies prevent me from gushing all over them like a hysterical teeny-bopper at their favorite pop star’s concert. It’s rare to discover something that isn’t derivative of an existing perspective or a just a more clever arrangement of vocabulary to describe a familiar theme.

Lately, much of the published material I read is not particularly noteworthy, interesting or informative. There has been a dramatic shift away from quality to quantity, frequency and immediacy. Certain people or publications seem to have become obsessed with remaining omnipresent as if activity and visibility somehow equates to relevance and validity. Nope, this would a case for less is more if there if ever was one…

Actually, that is what deters me from writing more often. Just because I’m continuously observing, absorbing and reflecting doesn’t mean my thoughts need to transfer from my noggin to my keyboard. To me, writing means sharing my unique point of view and independent opinions with the full expectation and acceptance that others may reject the drumbeat I march to. With that in mind, please ponder a few poignant words from Kurt Cobain: “I’d rather be hated for what I am than loved for what I am not.”

The fact that most members of our society seem to have an insatiable craving for the ideas, ideology and intellect that others possess rather than thinking for themselves is rather disturbing. It is incredibly common for citizens to vote politicians into office based on talk show hosts’, actors’, athletes or musicians’ endorsements rather than learning what they need to know to make an informed decision on their own.

Another area I notice people blindly following their chosen expert’s advice in is the area of career guidance. For unknown reasons, people willingly display a complete lack of critical thinking ability or common sense when it comes to who or what they elect to pay attention to in this category. As I’ve written many times before, I find it alarming that an abundance of outdated, ineffective and inaccurate information is being peddled to those in major need of real help with their employment or unemployment situations.

If a dentist claimed to be a plastic surgeon and botched an operation, it would be called malpractice. In the career expert world there is no recourse for such blatant incompetence, and sadly the victims don’t realize the damage until it’s too late. There is no barrier to entry so anyone – bank teller, bikini waxer, chemical engineer, dog-walker – can wake up one day and decide to proclaim guru status on any career oriented subject matter they choose.

Essentially, all they need to do is fake it until they make it – meaning find enough naïve, gullible, lost and confused people to be their audience and voila! instant faux credibility. They proceed to impart their pretend wisdom on anyone willing to buy the shtick and spiel they spew. After all, according to their scripted, sleazy elevator pitch, they are, have or know THE solution.

One of the concepts I’ve seen floating around over the years is the phrase “networking with a purpose.” The first point about why this troubles me is that it seems to imply that simply living your life, meeting new people in everyday settings, social activities and any other interpersonal interactions is considered inadequate. Ironically, some people I know quite well with extremely rich personal and professional networks, never as much as utter the word networking and would scoff at the suggestion that they intentionally go somewhere or do something for the sake of networking with a purpose.

The next part of this networking methodology that I find objectionable is that it reeks of social climbing and all of the other distasteful status seeking behavior and self-serving motives that, aside from the reality TV crowd, others typically frown upon. I’ve attended events where people literally walk around scanning name tags on shoulders and lapels, presumably to identify those worthy of striking up a conversation with. They make no attempts to be subtle about it either. Apparently, they are so purposeful that they know it when they see it and don’t need to waste time chatting up the little people with the wrong name or occupation on their badge.

Based on several of pieces of advice I’ve seen and heard dispensed, the goal is to attend networking events with predetermined power targets in mind. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to only speak with important, influential and interesting people when out in public. Don’t be distracted by the insignificant people in your midst, as they clearly lack any ability to add value. To me, this practice represents an exaggerated interpretation of Zig Ziglar’s expression: “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce, If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

Even more pathetic is the obnoxious habit that many of these purpose-driven networkers display – that being the premature and presumptuous “how may I help you?” offer. Unless Scotty just beamed me up to the Nordstrom shoe department, I will be annoyed, insulted and offended by such a preposterous question from a complete stranger. Either you are delusional enough to think such a query doesn’t seem phony, or you believe you are a super hero on a quest to assist everyone you meet, or you think I appear needy and helpless – none of which engender a favorable impression.

Unless you have Meryl Streep’s acting chops, please realize that you aren’t fooling anyone with your silly, inauthentic or disingenuous lines. I have and will readily express that sentiment too – trust me. Eyes pop and jaws drop right then and there when the level of insincerity and absurdity of this elitist attitude is called out. I understand these poor souls are merely following the direction their favorite thought-leader passed along, but some random business card passer-outer trying to impersonate Mother Teresa with a pretentious “pay-it-forward” and “give-back” mentality is beyond awkward for me and makes the would-be helper look socially inept.

Wouldn’t you rather risk being forgotten for being the dude or dudette making natural small talk about the weather or latest blockbuster movie than remembered for resembling the word of the day on urban dictionary? If so, please heed Ice Cube’s recommendation to: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

Comments (1)

Older Posts »
%d bloggers like this: