Hiring For Good? Creating Meaningful Career Solutions That Can Last

Choosing career solutions that are lasting takes strategy.

Choosing career solutions that are lasting takes strategy.

Most of us do not enter into a personal relationship planning for the breakup. Chances are in the professional sphere, most leaders on the hiring end do not sift through all the applications embarking on the Holy Grail search for a short-term employee. It’s costly to train and upload someone onto a team.

And as a position seeker, most of us are not trying to job hop our way into a blissful future. We want to stay put—even if for the foreseeable future. We want to join a team—and not get traded or jump ship as soon as possible. We want to belong. We want our career solutions to be lasting.

As a position seeker, most of us are not trying to job hop our way into a blissful future.

“Switching industries has a negative correlation with corporate success, which may speak to the importance of building relationships and experience within an industry,” writes Neil Irwin in the New York Times.

Yet,  a “new study of 459,000 onetime management consultants by the social network LinkedIn” shows that having different job titles may enhance your appeal, Irwin writes. “Experience in one additional functional area improved a person’s odds of becoming a senior executive as much as three years of extra experience. And working in four different functions had nearly the same impact as getting an M.B.A. from a top-five program.”

So what are best practices when hiring for good? And how will companies fill the pipeline (or channel) with enough women to meet the goals of gender parity by 2025?

“Attracting more women to apply for jobs in the first place is one of the suggestions the channel’s leading women have made in order to level out the gender split in the industry,” writes Hannah Breeze at Channel Web.

“But despite the industry talking the talk when it comes to hiring women, cybersecurity entrepreneur and author Jane Frankland said many recruiters are not walking the walk,” Breeze writes..

According to Frankland, “We hear an awful lot that there is a talent gap, in cybersecurity particularly. But I am calling the industry out on that because I know loads of women – and loads of people, full stop – who are trying to get into the industry. Some may be qualified but some have good, transferable skills. We do have women who are available and knocking on the door saying ‘let me in’ and they are not getting the jobs.” she said.

Everyone agrees that inclusive hiring practices and seeking out women for positions is the way to reach parity. Many companies make pledges and set goals to achieve these career solutions. Other outside organizations are pushing for parity with quotas and deadlines. The advertising industry is one arena where this is an active initiative.

Inclusive hiring practices and seeking out women for positions is the way to reach parity.

“General Mills Inc., one of the nation’s biggest advertisers, is pressuring ad agencies to hire more women and people of color by imposing a diversity benchmark as it reviews the firms that handle its $700 million in annual marketing,” according to the Star Tribune.

“Advertising is one of several industries, like high-tech and manufacturing, with significant gender and racial imbalances. In revealing its standard, General Mills executives said they want the people who create its advertising to be more reflective of the people who consume their products,” write Kristen Leigh Painter and Nicole Norfleet in the Star Tribune.

“Kat Gordon, founder of the 3% Conference, a national group seeking to raise the number of women in creative director positions at ad agencies, said the diversity quotas put agencies ‘on notice that when you go in to pitch new business this is another set of criteria that you are being evaluated on,’” according to Painter and Norfleet.

But once you agree on a goal of hiring more women, how can you find the best female candidate who will have synergy with your team? And will you achieve career solutions that suit all parties?

According to Christian Schappel writing in HRMorning, their client, RolePoint “combed through tons of research to find out what’s working today to find and hire the best of the best.” And here are the conclusions, Schappel writes.

  • Settle in for the long haul.The average time it takes to hire an employee in the U.S. has climbed from 12.6 days in 2010 to 23 days.

  • Focus on candidate needs. The number of highly rated applicants can increase by as much as 300 percent when the job description focuses on candidates’ needs — not just their skills and experience.

  • Be mobile-friendly. Roughly, 20 percent of job seekers would give up on an online application if they couldn’t finish it on a mobile device.

  • Encourage referrals. Employee referrals can make the best, most satisfied hires. But you’ve got to make the referral process easy, and find ways to spark participation through a rewards program.

  • Hire from within. Encourage inner-company mobility among your employees. The best people for the position may already be under your roof.

Other advice to make  hires that are long-lasting include having the idea of hiring always on your radar.

““You should always be interviewing so that when there is a sudden opening you’re not scrambling to fill that role. You need to have an understanding of the marketplace and who is out there. You need a pipeline of qualified candidates at all times. Otherwise companies will hire quickly to ensure the work gets done rather than methodically searching for and landing the highest-quality candidate. Hiring quickly only leads to more turnover, lost time and wasted training resources,” writes Tom Gimbel. founder & CEO of LaSalle Network, a national staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Chicago. In the Wall Street Journal.

These are great tips if you are in a leadership position on the hiring end, but what if you want to get hired at a different company, perhaps to settle in with a startup, foundation or enterprise to grow your career?

Jenny Blake, a former career coach at Google and co-founder of the company’s career development mentorship program, has many suggestions on what to do—and not to do, when looking at the big picture of your career and moving toward fruitful career solutions.

According to CNBC, “In her book, Pivot, Blake explains how launching little experiments can help people transition into a role they love. These small pivots could be taking on a different project at work, pitching a new idea to a client or starting a blog.

“A lot of people ask, ‘What if I make the wrong move? What if I make the wrong decision?'” she said. “But almost no one — in fact, no one — that I spoke with regretted their pivots. Even the [pivots] that didn’t seem to pan out from the outside taught people very valuable information for their next move after that.”

Irwin in NYT explains how you can diversify yourself to make you more appealing as a job candidate. “There are ways a young person can gain experience across functions that aren’t a matter of taking on different assignments within a big company. Marla Malcolm Beck embodies this other, more entrepreneurial path,” Irwin writes.

There are times when different paths and career solutions can end up with one sweet deal.

“Ms. Beck worked in consulting right out of college in the mid-1990s, then studied at Harvard Business School and worked briefly in private equity. But she found the work unfulfilling, and in 1999 started Blue Mercury as an online seller of beauty products. Soon after, as the dot-com boom turned bust, the company pivoted toward physical stores,” Irwin writes. “Ms. Beck built Blue Mercury into a 109-store chain. Macy’s acquired the company for $210 million last year, and she remains its chief executive.”

Brian Fetherstonhaugh, CEO and chairman of OgilvyOne Worldwide and author of The Long View: Career Strategies to Start Strong, Reach High, and Go Far, writes in Harvard Business review that at all stages of our careers, we are looking for meaningful labor.

One suggestion he makes in order to achieve that is to: “Grade your current work situation. Don’t depend on your gut or how you feel on a late Friday evening to evaluate your job satisfaction. Get objective by asking these four questions: Are you learning? Are you having impact? Are you having fun? And, finally, are you being fairly rewarded?”

Fetherstonhaugh adds, “Regarding the last one: Look at the full package of rewards, including salary, benefits, vacation, and workplace flexibility. Is it fair for what you are contributing to the organization? How does it compare to the going rate in the marketplace?”

Finally, he advises, do not take your career switches, applications or inquiries lightly. “A career is a long ride, and it’s more than just work: It’s a huge part of life. Take time to think strategically about your career journey. Only one person will be with you for the whole ride, and that’s you. Don’t just worry about it — take some action.”

About the Author

Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon www.micheleweldon.com