This week I follow the threads of months of “News That You Can Use” posts to weave together career advice for taking interviews, dealing with unusual interview questions and situations, and how to handle not getting the job.
Photo: ORNELLA BINNI
Two recent examples come from the New York Times’s Corner Office series with columnist Adam Bryant. In their conversation, Don Mal, CEO of software firm Vena Solutions, tells Bryant that he asks candidates if they’d ever leave their families at Disneyland “to do something that was really important for the company.” This, Mal says, helps him understand applicants’ work ethic. Barstool CEO Erika Nardini shares that she texts candidates over the weekend to see how fast they respond. (Nardini tells Bryant that the acceptable response time, in her view, is within three hours.)
One plaintiffs, Kelly Ellis, alleged that she was assigned to a lower level than her similarly qualified male counterparts when she was hired as a software engineer on the Google Photos team in 2010. In the complaint, Ms. Ellis claimed she was brought in at a level typically given to new college graduates, despite her four years of engineering experience. She asked for a promotion after learning that she had equal or better qualifications than male engineers in a higher level, and after receiving “excellent performance reviews.” She said she was denied. According to the complaint, Ms. Ellis resigned from Google around July 2014 due to “the sexist culture.”
The claims from the other two plaintiffs, Holly Pease, who managed software engineers, and Kelli Wisuri, a salesperson, follow a similar pattern where they felt their initial positions did not match their qualifications, then found it hard to catch up to male employees and move up the ladder.
The contractor model offers companies lower costs, more flexibility and fewer management headaches. Workers get far less from the arrangement.
Outside workers usually aren’t surprised when they get no paid holidays, sick days, employee-sponsored health insurance, 401(k) plan or other perks routinely offered to traditional employees at the same companies.
What wounds more deeply are things taken for granted or barely considered at all by regular employees, outside workers often say. The work lives of contractors frequently feel like a series of tiny slights that reinforce their second-class status and bruise their self-worth. Even when contracting jobs are easy to get, they can vanish instantly, and turning contract assignments into a real career remains out of reach.
It’s a little worrisome. Leaving aside the privacy implications of kids telling an Internet-connected computer all kinds of things, we don’t know much about how this kind of interaction with artificial intelligence and automation will affect how children behave and what they think about computers. Will they become lazy because it’s so easy to ask Alexa and its peers to do and buy things? Or jerks because many of these interactions compel you to order the technology around? (Or both?)
Some of that may happen. It seems more likely, though, that as with many technologies before this, the utility of digital assistants will outweigh their drawbacks. Already they’re making an incredible amount of data and computer-aided capabilities available directly to children—even those not yet in kindergarten—for learning, playing, and communicating. With Alexa, kids can get answers to all kinds of questions (both serious and silly), hear stories, play games, control apps, and turn on the lights even if they can’t yet reach a wall switch. And this is just the beginning of the kiddie AI revolution.
From personal experience, once the novelty has warn off, kids don’t care about them. The article’s point about kids being frustrated because the digital assistant can’t hear them is spot on. Other than to turn on a light every once in a while, my son completely ignores Echos we have in the house.
Photo: Bench Accounting
“Initiatives like data center consolidation and adoption of cloud services – even though not completely successful – have set the table for leaner spending,” Bjorklund said.
The Trump administration will be helped as well by declines in the cost of IT. It will likely put modernization investments on hold “until they can figure out the way ahead,” Bjorklund said.
You need to assume that some of what you’re saying just isn’t going to get through. So go over your key points quickly yet frequently. Think of them as road signs that remind your audience where you’re heading: If you don’t check in every so often, they might get lost. You don’t have to repeat the message in the same exact way every time, but reinforcing your ideas is a must when so many other factors (both technological and human) are conspiring against you.
“What are the Immediate Projects You’d Like Me to Work on in the First 30, 60, and 90 days?”
With this one, you’ll get a sense of what types of tasks your new manager will want you to work on when you first start work. The key here is to keep digging until you’re clear on the first set of expectations for the role.
And as procurement organizations increasingly mass-customize how they deliver value to the business and the technology approaches and providers they use to deliver those new capabilities and associated outcomes, we believe that evaluative exercises need to be ever more tailored to an individual organization’s needs. For subscribers, Gartner is moving in this direction as well (which we applaud). But static reports that take six months to create and then are updated every two years with monolithic graphics run counter to this trend.
Photo: Lionello DelPiccolo
This report mentioned the threat of “data overload” specifically in the context of health care, stating that it will be a “challenge for providers.” This is because the overwhelming bulk of data will create new and excessive amounts of work for industries to contend with.
According to this report, the answer lies in customized alerts and filtering to help distinguish important data at any given time. It might work slightly differently, but the same principle could extend outward to other industries later on, with further devices connecting to the internet throughout the supply chain.
You Don’t Finish Your Homework
But, cautions Adrian J. Hopkins, a Muse career coach, this isn’t homework you can half-ass. It’s not enough to spew off a couple of “top-line company facts.” If you want the job and wish to avoid looking unprofessional in any way, shape, or form, you’re going to have to “go above and beyond a basic understanding of the company.” Let the interviewer know how you plan to grow with the company and get him thinking that he can’t “believe” he hadn’t the good fortune of meeting you sooner.
Let it all go
“Think of new goals, new expectations and new ways to achieve them,” he says.
If you don’t have one already, buy a paper shredder and start shredding the piles around you that are just taking up space. Scan the files that are truly needed.
“If you are realistic and hard on yourself, the ratio of what to shred to what to scan will be 10 to one,” Klosky says.
More than half of supply chain companies have so-called innovation centers to help test out new concepts. Of those, 20 percent have achieved a return on their investment, while half expect a payoff in the next two years.
Robots are also on the rise, even though less than a quarter of organizations currently use them in their work, researchers found.
Propelled by algorithms that allow them to accomplish more complex tasks, robots can help companies improve efficiency, cut costs, keep pace with competitors and limit errors, according to respondents.
Photo: Joshua Ness
Top performers are able to cut through the noise of minutiae by clearly identifying strategic goals for themselves, their careers or businesses, and breaking down those goals into achievable mini-tasks by the week, by the day, and even by the hour. This lets them chip away at a problem consistently over the long term.
In general, employers are looking for the best technical and cultural fit that their budgets will allow for. While these questions will all go through their minds, the questions they end up asking usually aren’t as direct.
Unlike nearly all other burger chains, whose franchisees have a pretty free hand, every Shake Shack is an expression of a single intelligence. As with the meat, it’s been necessary of Shake Shack to outsource its infrastructure, but its overboss, Randy Garutti, runs the chain from its hamburger Kremlin in New York, and when any store deviates from its standard, that store is more or less immediately chastened and corrected by nerve impulses traveling instantenously along its axons.