There are things in our control and out of our control.
Sometimes distinguishing these helps us handle tough things. Sometimes it doesn’t and tough things are just tough anyway.
Here are the 3 stages of handling tough things.
Being aware that there is a problem is part of it. Being aware of the entirety of the problem is the rest of it. What are the consequences? What is the full breadth of the problem? Once you see the whole thing, we can move forward.
This might be the most psychologically difficult one. For the most difficult problems, not accepting that this is now part of your story and part of your life could seriously hinder your ability to recover.
At this point, there’s no choice involved. You’re either going to say “yes, this happened and it’s now part of me” or you can try another workaround.
Only after you are aware of the full problem and you accept that it is part of your journey, can you fully take whole-hearted action.
And that’s exactly what you need to do. This is where you can assess if you can repair, mitigate, or bounce back. You might only be able to do one of those.
2 Minute Action:
The first, smallest step might not be the repair, mitigation or resilience. The first, smallest step might be compiling all of your resources.
If you’re still in shock, you may want to talk through what happened with a trusted advisor until you can think straight again.
If you’re overwhelmed and don’t know what to do next, you might start googling “what to do when x happens.” This might not give you the answer, but it might help you reboot your creative juices again.
If you know what to do, you might call an accountabilibuddy to keep you on track and accountable to your solution.
All of these things can happen in 2 minutes.
You know, marathons start with just a few steps (and all that).
I’ve been asked a few times more than usual, lately, about what employers are looking for in a candidate.
I’ve had some friends reach out about specific jobs for which they were interviewing, but I was also just on a panel with Denver Public Schools talking to some of their awesome teachers.
They wanted to talk about what their graduates should know before they hit the workforce.
I definitely was the youngest panelist there.
I definitely didn’t agree with everyone.
I definitely didn’t want to talk about MS Office Suite the whole time.
So, I told them my own rules for hiring.
Hiring Characteristics I’ve Hired For:
Aptitude asks: can you do the work?
This isn’t about skill set, this is about the capacity you have to learn and run with the skill set.
Attitude asks, when faced with a challenge, does this candidate complain, sink into a hole, and do their job reluctantly? Or does this candidate see the challenge as an opportunity to grow, develop a new skill, or survive a new experience? In it’s most basic sense, attitude asks “does this person add or subtract energy from the team?”
This is a hard one. For some reason, people think that culture is the ping-pong table, the Keurig, the snacks in the office kitchen, the 401(k) with employer match, or the nerf guns. These are perks, not culture.
Culture asks “how will you treat each other when the work gets hard?”
Culture is about treating others with respect, treating your office environment with respect, and thinking about the greater good of the company.
This is different from aptitude. This is literally “does this candidate know what to do when we hire them?” For many jobs, this might not be relevant. For some, it might be absolutely critical.
If you’re hiring a neurosurgeon, you’re going to hire someone who knows what the hell they’re doing–not someone who can learn on the job. If you’re hiring a construction worker, they just need to be trainable.
My final rule on hiring . . .
It’s really, really hard to accurately gauge someone’s candidacy in an interview.
Some people interview really well and then don’t deliver.
Some people interview really poorly but that skill might not be relevant for the position you’re hiring.
So, if someone has what I think I need, on the surface, it’s time to set up a small project.
“You can’t work for me until you’ve worked for me.”
– Seth Godin
I find a small, low-risk, low-budget project that will test the skills/attitude/aptitude/cultural fit or whatever I’m looking for.
I might also just pick a short time period, like 30 – 90 days, where we have a “trial run.”
Either of these options gives me a real-world project that will help me see the candidate’s actual work.
Employers are taking a risk when they hire someone. If they bring you on immediately as a W2 employee, they are accepting liabilities like unemployment and onboarding costs. Employers are incentivized to choose wisely.
It’s better for you and for them if you both take your time and find the right fit.
It’s not a formula, it’s some combination of these things.
Most companies/agencies/etc. are hiring for some combination of the 4 characteristics I listed above; aptitude, attitude, cultural fit, skillset.
It’s up to the company and industry to communicate what ratio these fall in. This should be evident by auditing your values and mapping them to the company’s values.
A scrappy startup is not going to have the same values and needs as a children’s hospital.
If all of these things are at least directionally aligned, and you’re able to, toss a trial run on top for best results.
There’s also a way around this process.
It’s a lot less work and most of the time it even works better.
It’s called a referral.
If someone did a great job for me, it’s really likely that they have friends who would do a great job, too.
2 Minute Action:
Even if you’re not hiring or looking to be hired, take 2 minutes to outline your values.
Here’s a quick and easy exercise:
Let’s make up a point system.
You have 10 points.
You now have to allocate them in the 4 categories mentioned above (aptitude, attitude, cultural fit, skillset).
How would you assign them?
That will tell you what you value which might help you in hiring or aligning with another organization’s values.