Jump Into 2018 With a Plan

December 15th, 2017

The new year is appearing around the bend, and every time the clock resets and the confetti rains down, we all get a chance to start over. It’s a time for new begins, a time to let go of our past mistakes and move forward with our hearts set on better decisions and a brighter future.

In the career management world, this tends to mean one of two things: Either you’re leaving your old job behind and searching for a new one, or you’re buckling down and redoubling your commitment to the job you have. Either you’re facing a transition and 2018 will bring you into a new workplace, or you’re looking for ways to reengage with your current role and bring new passion to your daily tasks.

In either case, the STAR goal-setting system can help. During the remaining days of this year, star putting together a plan based on the STAR acronym and you’ll cross the threshold into next year with your path laid and your ambitions blazing. Keep your goals:

Specific

Instead of setting countless ambiguous goals like “Become more proactive” or “Start Self-Promoting”, try shortening the list and keep each item concrete and specific. Instead of becoming “more proactive”, set your sites on the specific actions you plan to execute each day. Try: “Send out five resumes each day, 25 per week”, or “Contact three network connections by phone each week”. If your plan emphasizes engagement at your current job, try this: “Ask for feedback twice each week” or “Ask to be assigned to the Jones project”. General efforts toward self-promotion might include: “Send out three manuscripts each week to potential agents” or “Start a blog and post one entry per week.”

Trackable

Measure your progress toward your goals as you move through the year. And if this seems impossible, adjust your goals so you can attach numbers to your definition of success. If you’d like to make more sales, track your increased cold calls and presentations. If you’d like to land more interviews, start with your baseline (four per month, for example) and raise that number to five.

Achievable

Unattainable goals are a fast track to discouragement. No matter what you decide to do, break your large goals into milestones, and make sure each milestone isn’t so ambitious that it’s unrealistic. If one of your milestones feels like a stretch, break it down into two or three smaller ones.

Relevant

Keep every step of your path focused toward a realistic and meaningful vision of yourself and your career. Don’t get so bogged down in the details that you forget the larger picture and get lost along the way. For more guidance as you lay out your plan for 2018, contact the career management experts at PSU.

Hire Employees with the Highest ROI

December 1st, 2017

As you launch your staffing search, you’re looking for a candidate who knows what they need to know and has the right balance of interest and disinterest to thrive in the role at hand. A great employee will come with the proper education and a matching technical skill set. They’ll also have a personality that dovetails with the needs of the position; a solitary job will require an introverted candidate, for example. A socially forward-facing job will require a candidate with a deep well of social energy and a distaste for solitude and isolation. In addition to all of the nuts and bolts and boxes you’ll need to check, don’t lose sight of the big picture: you need a candidate who will generate returns for the company.

A truly winning profile attached to a great smile and a can-do attitude won’t amount to much if they require huge upfront training costs and then disappear in one year. A Steady Freddy who stays for ten years won’t bring high returns if they spend those years doing exactly what they’re told—nothing more—and surfs the internet for the remaining hours of the day. So in addition to checking off your must-haves, how can you make sure your candidate will be a high-growth investment? Here are a few signs to watch for.

They seem committed to this industry and career path.

Younger candidates rarely know for sure what they “want to do when they grow up.” At 22, this is not a realistic expectation, nor should it be. So when you find the rare candidate who truly knows that this is the perfect life-long career path for them—from now until retirement—scoop them up quickly. They’ll be invested in learning industry skills and seeing all sides of the field, rather than testing and asking if this is truly the field for them.

Check their reaction to the downsides.

During your interview, be clear and honest with your candidate about what most would consider the greatest challenges of the job. For example, make statements like: “You’ll rarely have a minute to yourself here”, or “We can’t afford to tolerate even minor mistakes” or “You’ll need to take apart and clean out the grease traps every single day, which some people find unpleasant”. Ask them how they feel about this challenge, and if their eyes genuinely light up, sign them on.

Check their work history and examine employment dates.

For the highest returns, look for candidates who tend to stick with roles for the long-term. If your candidate tends to drop jobs after less than three months because they don’t feel fulfilled, take a closer look.

For more on how to identify the “soft” skills that indicate team player and personality match, turn to the Cleveland County hiring experts at PSU.

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