Cynopsis: Classified Advantage
Good morning. It's Tuesday, April 10, 2012, and this is your weekly issue of Cynopsis: Classified Advantage!
A LETTER FROM A HUMAN RESOURCES PROFESSIONAL
I was sitting in our break room when I heard people talk about the letter you published last week. When I went back to my office, I read it, and I completely understand it. And I am a Human Resources professional.
I feel for the person who wrote the letter, and in my job, I have heard the same kind of story many times before, some even worse. It's terrible.
I also understand that some HR professionals use unorthodox methods in their process. I cannot defend everyone in my profession, but then, who can? There will always be a few bad apples in every profession, and I will not defend those bad apples. I know some personally and I hate what they do. But most of the PR professionals are good, professional people, doing the best they can. While it might seem obvious, I think it will help if people knew more about what we do.
When a person comes in for a job, we know they are nervous, and many professionals try to ease the situation. I want to know everything I can about you in a very short time period. We don't need to know how you handle stress, because you are doing it right now, during the interview.
Some HR professionals ask what might seem like odd questions. Please understand, there is no exact science to our job, in fact, one might argue there is no science at all. There are many different schools of thought on how to reveal the real you. Some include lots of psychological testing, others, a simple conversation, and everything in between. But what it comes down to is a gut feeling that we can defend on paper.
What you might not know is that we agonize over who we pick for each and every position. We hear your stories, we feel your pain, and if it were possible, we would hire everyone that wanted a job. Obviously we cannot do that, we also cannot hire on who needs the job the most, though there are times we are tempted. We cannot do this because if you aren't a good fit for the position, not only is it your problem, but it becomes ours too.
How many poor fits do you think we can hire before we lose our job? Not even poor hires, but even average hires will get us fired. And when the economy has so few jobs to offer, there is even less positions for HR professionals. What department do you think gets decimated first when the economy is bad? When corporations are not hiring, there is a decreased need for HR professionals. Of course we have other responsibilities, but believe me, the HR department in most companies are considerably smaller now then they were just four years ago.
I'm not asking for anyone's pity, just an understanding. An understanding that we wrestle with our decisions everyday, we understand how devastating a "no" can be. And I guarantee you, that any HR professional who doesn't hire someone like the person who wrote in last week, feels horrible about it.
We've been taught to distant ourselves from the people we interview, we have to, to maintain our level of professionalism and sanity. When the economy is strong, it's easy to distant ourselves from the individuals and do our job consistent with our standards and past practices. But when the people we interview are in such dire straits, no matter what we were taught, every no weighs on us.
In our job, with every new hire, we are liked by one person, and often hated by everyone else who applied. During a strong economy, we are buoyed by the idea that even if you didn't get hired today, you'll have a good chance tomorrow. But now, we don't have that buffer, and in a job that can bring so much joy to an individual by saying yes, also brings agony for those to whom we say no. An agony, though not as deeply felt, we share.
I've since read a lot of the articles in this publication, and their overall advice is sound. Be prepared, be practiced and be professional.
I wish you all the best of luck.
Next Issue: Questions that will be asked
We are always on the look out for more Experts to advise our readers - if you're a headhunter, job coach, career advisor, etc., and may be interested in contributing to this edition from time to time, please contact me at email@example.com.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
"So why are you here?" is too often the opening salvo from someone you are having an exploratory interview or pitch meeting with. If this is just their need to assert seniority, then smile and award them the round. But if in fact you have gone into a meeting and
1. They don't know why you are there
2. You don't have some idea of why they've agreed to meet you and what they might need...
...then you should probably not be having that meeting yet.
Know what they want from the meeting.
Know what you want from the meeting.
Work at making it a dialog and not a monologue.
This last is the most important rule. Don't launch into a one-way pitch, be curious about their needs and be ready to respond to them constructively. You can get better traction if you've thought through in advance what might be their motivation for seeing you: are they doing it as a favor to your referrer? Do they hope that you can fix a particular problem? Or perhaps they think you have potential and they might want a piece of it in the future?
Have in mind a list of the questions you want answered. Asking smart questions will gain you respect and garner you valuable information. So why not start out by asking the direct question you want answered and taking it from there? Ideally you've teed that question up in the exchange that led to the meet, so the fact that you now have face-time indicates a reasonable chance you'll come away with something of value.
Here, to get you thinking, are some examples of things you might want:
1. To find out how you can be of help and help them accomplish their goal for meeting with you.
2. To learn who would be most likely to be able to connect you to the kind of work you want to do and to get a referral to that person.
3. To find out what keeps the person up at night so you can offer to alleviate this with your relevant services directly addressing his point of pain.
4. To find out if they know anyone at company x to whom you could be referred; and by the way do you know what is going on at company y?
5. To discover how they structure projects and what they look for when hiring, so you can craft your own tactics accordingly.
You should never have to wonder how to move one of these conversations forwards because you should have always prepared yourself to get the dialog going and to keep it moving the way you want it to go.
Michael Pollock is President of Pollock Spark (www.pollockspark.com). He is an Executive Coach and Consultant to Creative and Media professionals. He works with people in film, TV, journalism, advertising, design, marketing, music and the Internet, bringing them the experience, techniques and inspiration to take their businesses and careers to new levels of success.
What should I do if the interviewer brings up the upcoming election? Is there anything I can do except just speak in complete generalizations?
Assuming you are not interviewing to be a political operative, then avoid any political endorsement or statement. Don't waste time on meaningless generalizations; make every effort to get the conversation back to the job under consideration.
If you are in media for example then a non-partisan observation about the joys of political campaign budgets could be in order. Perhaps a discussion of what will replace that revenue when the campaign is over.
Get back on track as gracefully as you can. If the interviewer is aggressive about it, perhaps you could smile and say sweetly "My mother told me never to talk politics with strangers!" You probably don't want to work for them anyhow.
When asking people for help in getting a job, should you start with explaining your situation or why you would be great for that job?
Your value proposition, the story of why you would be the perfect candidate, is what is relevant to them so lead with that. I am not sure what you mean by "your situation".
If your situation is that you are currently engaged on an innovative project that beautifully demonstrates that you are the star that their contacts need then share that.
If you are considering telling them that you have been fired, your house is being repossessed and your partner is suing you for all you have left then bite your tongue and stick with a story that demonstrates why you are perfect for this opportunity.
Michael Pollock is President of Pollock Spark (www.pollockspark.com). He is an Executive Coach and Consultant to Creative and Media professionals.
Have a question for our experts? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Former ION Media Networks executive Lauren Gellert was appointed SVP/Original Production and Development at WE tv. Lauren will manage the development and production of original series that meets various network goals. Additionally, she will be the executive in charge of production for all WE tv originals and manage the network's relationship with outside production companies. Lauren is based in New York and reports to Kim Martin, President/GM, WE tv.
Katz Television Group announces three promotions: Artie Altman to EVP/Millennium Sales and Marketing to manage the division's daily operations for all stations and offices; Chris Jordan elevated to EVP/Continental Television Sales to oversee Continental TV's daily operations for all stations and offices; and Dave Bisceglia to EVP/Eagle Television Sales where he will supervise Eagle TV's daily operations for all stations and offices.
Deborah Bart takes on the newly-created marketing position of VP/Production with Syfy to manage all continuing production efforts in support of Syfy and Chiller. Based in New York, Deborah will report to Michael Engleman, EVP/Marketing and Global Brand Strategy.
CBS Television Stations, part of CBS Corporation has finalized the purchased of independent New York station WLNY-TV. The pairing of WLNY with WCBS-TV creates a duopoly for CBS in the #1 US media market. As a result, Betty Ellen Berlamino was appointed VP/Station Manager of WLNY. Previously, Betty was SVP/Director of Sales, CBS Television Stations since June 2011.
Madhvi Pahwa was tapped as Global Talent Director for media services agency Maxus. Based in Delhi, India, Madhvi currently is the Managing Partner for Learning and Culture at GroupM India. GroupM is the parent company for Maxus and its sister WPP media agencies, MEC, MediaCom and Mindshare.
Force Four Entertainment named Dana Johl as Head/Production and Deborah Wainwright as Head/Creative. Both Dana and Deborah supervise the company's slate of factual entertainment projects.
RLTV hired Maria Mager as Manager/Integrated Network Promotions where she will work with the marketing, programming, digital and traffic groups to integrate the network's messaging on-air and online. Before this appointment, Maria worked at the ABC affiliate WMAR in Baltimore as Director/Creative Services.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences renewed the contract of Alan Perris serving as COO through 2013. In his role, Alan will continue to manage the daily operations of the Academy and its Foundation in addition to overseeing staff and executives in charge of various departments.
Digital media company Outcast added Stephanie Dolgins as CMO and Cris Barrett as SVP/People. In her new position, Stephanie will manage the marketing and programming for the network. She joins from Jetsetter where she was head of marketing. Cris will be in charge of spurring Outcast's growth through the attraction and cultivation of top talent in the media industry. He joins from Clearwell Systems where he served as head of human resources.
Strategic media and marketing agency Media Storm tapped Lourdes Marquez as Director/Local Broadcast where she will supervise all local broadcast planning and media buying for the agency. Lourdes begins her new job effective immediately and will split her time between the agency's New York and S. Norwalk offices. Before this new appointment, Lourdes was with W Media Group as a Media Partner.
Bill Hickey advances to SVP/Engineering at Premiere Networks up from VP. Bill is in charge of all studio operations and administration in addition to supervising engineering and technical operations for the company's studio facilities nationwide in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago and Florida. Based in Los Angeles, Bill continues to report to Julie Talbott, President/Content and Affiliate Relations.
Former Deputy Features Editor/Television at the New York Daily News, Richard Huff joins CBS News as Executive Director/Communications. Richard begins his new position in May where he will head strategic communications and brand development across various platforms for 48 Hours Mystery, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS News Productions and CBS News Primetime Specials. Richard will further contribute efforts in support of all CBS News.
Gravitas Ventures, an independent VOD distribution company upped Melanie Miller to the newly-minted role as VP/Acquisitions. Melanie will manage a five-person acquisition team who will indentify 500 films per year to release on VOD to the world. Melanie reports to Michael Murphy, President.
Steve Young was hired by DISH Media Sales as GM/Midwest Advertising Sales. In his new position, Steve will manage the Chicago Market Ad Sales team while based in Chicago and will additionally oversee the Midwest territory. Steve reports to Adam Gaynor, Director/Advertising Sales.
Later -- John
John Cox for Cynopsis: Classified Advantage
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