Telling Your Story

As Malcom Gladwell claims in his book The Tipping Point, you become an expert at anything if you do it 10,000 hours. I’ve got that in spades when it comes to listening to people’s stories. Part of my role as both a coach and a professional in the staffing industry is engaging with people daily about their life experiences – I’ve become a regular lifestory-listener over the past 25 or so years, and it never ceases to be an enjoyable experience for me.

At the end of the day, all you have is your story – or the ones that people tell about you. And in my experience of hearing dozens and dozens of personal stories, I have come to learn that how you tell your story is just as important – if not more so – than the story itself.

I have noticed that most people share their story from a not so certain frame of mind. They might start by saying,

“I know my career hasn’t followed a specific path, but ….” or,

“I have been in this role for X-number of years, and I am not quite sure how to transition to that next role, or how to help my employer know that I have what it takes to do this job ….”

More importantly, I observe quite often that people get caught up in where they have been, or where they are now, versus what they actually want to move toward. They say, “I want to leave because ….” versus, “I want to go do that because ….”

The latter sounds much more positive doesn’t it?

What you want to move toward is so important to the art of telling your story. When you look at it from that perspective, you are not stuck in the past, but you have embraced both the present and where you want to go. Your past helps you to tell your story, but ask yourself how it can help you create your future.

Case in point: a powerful story has a positive thread.

If you find yourself saying, “I don’t want to be in this role anymore,” instead of asking, “Why not?” ask yourself, “Where do I want to go now?” Instead of asking, “Why did this have to happen to me?” ask yourself, “How can this lead me to even greater things?”

At the end of the day, I know that most want to share their story in a clear, concise, positive way, but just haven’t found the right combination of words, or how to tie their story to what they want to achieve. That is alright! You can always modify and start to tell your story better by really listening to yourself. Or better yet, through telling your story to others and getting their feedback. In so doing, you will only get better at telling your life story in a more powerful, effective way.

Help people get to know you better by practicing your story with them. Ask questions of yourself, be curious, and find your positive and purposeful “what do I want to move toward” story woven throughout. Ask yourself what you really want, and how your adversities can work on your behalf. You will find yourself becoming a better storyteller – no embellishment or non-truths necessary.

In conclusion, anyone can master the art of telling their personal story! Curiosity, asking questions, and simply listening are a large part in my own success in helping people do so, and sometimes it takes listening very carefully to your own words …

So what career / family / success story do you want to share that reflects the best part of you and where you want to go? If you get stuck, let me know!

I will be happy to listen.

Hiring the Right Candidate:Tips for Choosing the Right Person for the Position

After you’ve sifted through the dozens, hundreds or thousands of resumes and narrowed your list down to those who look great on paper, you have the task of interviewing the candidates and trying to decide which is the best for the position.

This is no simple task, after all, you may have dozens of potential candidates that will work out after the interview process and you have to choose the one. Some interviewers may fail the tests you’ve put forth in your mind, others may pass with flying colors. But what’s on those tests you’ve created? Which traits factor into the grade?

Personality Professionalism

Those you’re interviewing are likely nervous about the interview, even if they don’t show it. Nervousness can bring out some personality traits you may wish to see before you make the decision. It will show you how certain people handle the level of stress the interview brings, which may be an important factor in the position you’re hiring for. The person you’re interviewing should be able to maintain eye contact, answer your questions thoughtfully and stay on focus, even if they’re noticeably a little nervous.

Adaptable and Curious

Throughout your series of standard and well-thought-out questions you ask during the interview, listen to the answers while seeking out their adaptability — or at least how you feel they’ll adapt to the working environment at your company. The ideal candidate should be naturally curious, willing to learn new things — in fact, learning should be something they enjoy doing! The interviewer should present evidence of being adaptable to different team working environments and various work situations. Ideal candidates should offer enthusiasm for everything the position entails while offering positivity in general. Their personality should sign through their ability to adapt to different situations.

In the end …

The candidate you choose should be curious, adaptable, committed, enthusiastic and compatible. Their personality should mesh with the rest of the team while offering enthusiasm and positivity to the workplace. They will easily adapt to various working environments and are committed to the position and company. Hopefully, one interviewee will shine among the others, although it’s not always that simple. You may have more than a few that seem to shine, so be prepared to grade your interviewees.

You can set up a grading scale of sorts to help with this potential problem before you begin interviewing. Offer grades to each candidate based on a variety of traits, skills and experience. If you end up having a few ideal candidates, the grading scale can offer you that unobjective key you need.

Why Hiring Top Talent is Worth It

Companies often fear hiring top talent for fear of breaking their budget. Yet, when you hire the top talent in the field, you are likely to get better long-term results than if you hire a mediocre fit or the average applicant “that will work” for the position.

Here’s why you should spend money on top talent and what it can do for your company.

Top talent means top producers. This goes for any industry, not just sales. A person who is the best in their industry is likely a critical thinker. That means they’ll speak up when they see inefficient systems, money spent in areas where you can make cutbacks, and provide new ideas in how to handle business practices. This will save your company time, money, energy and resources—all of which will make up for the salary difference they require.

Top talent think long-term. These individuals won’t just be effective in their day-to-day, but they will also look ahead to see what needs to change in the future. They’ll use time and resources to project potential outcomes, pitfalls, and will provide solutions to make this happen. They won’t come to you with problems only, but both problems and possible solutions to go with them.

Great talent attracts more great talent. The top talent wants to work with other top producers: to collaborate with, to learn from, and to grow. When you have top talent in your office, other “top talent” individuals will begin knocking on your door as well. Your company will be seen as innovative, forward thinking, and most importantly, open and receptive to the people who are in the trenches every day figuring out how to make the company work better, produce more efficiently, and profit more.

Bring in the top talent and see what great shifts happen in your workplace.