Bring Your Whole Self to Lead

Insights

Bring Your Whole Self to Lead

Lauren Olson

Vice President of Growth Strategy

LinkedIn

By: Lauren Olson, VP Client Solutions – North Region

On Thursday, March 5th, I attended the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) AIM: A Women’s Leadership Conference. The event was jam-packed with influential women leaders covering topics from self-care to accountability to effective leadership. Between speakers, we had the opportunity to network with peers from across the state and support local women-owned businesses. There were so many takeaways from this conference that can be applied whether you’re a leader or strive to be one in the future.

Here are just a few of my personal favorites and highlights.

Anne Behrendt, CEO of Doran Company and powerhouse leader, kicked off the event with inspiring words about effective leadership. She stressed that this does not come through reading books about leadership but though learning from each experience, learning from yourself and others, and, in turn, doing great work. Anne then laid out three key characteristics of an effective leader:

  • Strategy: having a vision, a goal, and a plan; being thoughtful, intentional, and calculated.
  • Accountability: leading from a place of experience and knowledge, owning responsibility and consequences-good and bad.
  • Vulnerability: recognizing areas for growth and development; being a genuine, authentic person.

Knowing yourself was a theme that carried throughout the conference, and Anne did a great job of breaking that down into relatable context. Her message was simple but impactful, “In order to be a great leader, you need to first understand who you are and your natural strengths.” Be you. Be genuine. Show yourself. These were three soundbites that I made sure to jot down in my notebook. Anne encouraged us to be continuous learners and be willing to accept feedback. This is great advice for anyone, whether you have direct reports or are leading through expertise and/or inspiration, because regardless of role or level or experience, we can always learn more and get better.

I loved hearing Anne talk about the moment she realized that she was a natural-born leader. While she had always known growing up that she gravitated toward leadership opportunities, it was while working as a barista at Starbucks and being passed over for a “key holder” position, that she affirmed that she had the drive and passion to be a leader. The frustration and disappointment of being passed over for a promotion are feelings we can likely relate to.

The next panel of speakers, all business owners from a variety of industries, was equally inspiring. Angela Pritchard Spiteri of the Pritchard Company said something that struck me the most. “It doesn’t matter how you got your seat, it’s how you use it,” she said. In truth, there are a million routes a person can take to find their career path. Sometimes it’s through a great connection, mentorship, career matchmaking (like what we do at Avenica), or, like many, you’re among the thousands every day trying to compete and differentiate on a job board. Regardless of how you got there, own your leadership seat and know that your perspectives, insights, and talents are needed.

As the event continued, more and more inspiring women spoke about what leadership means to them and how to lead fulfilling lives. We often hear the word “balance” when referring to leading fulfilling lives in work and at home, but it was refreshing to hear, one by one, each speaker dismiss this term and commit to the reality that balance is not realistic. The idea that balance can exist between family and work is an outdated notion. For working mothers, specifically, the teeter-totter of prioritization is more closely a representation of day-to-day life. Companies that support this notion and norm create the most effective workplaces and leaders.

The next speaker, Stephanie Potter, owner of Holistic Life Coach, SMP, drilled down on self-care and why it is so crucial in today’s busy world of being constantly connected to our work life. We have laptops, work from our phones, and receive constant notifications and reminders. Being able to intentionally step away and practice some key steps to improve mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing are more important than ever. Stephanie asked the thought-provoking question, “What would it feel like to live your most fulfilling life?” Whether you are a college student or seasoned leader, we all have different priorities, motivations, and personal/professional goals. It’s about recognizing what motivates each of us and taking intentional actions to reach our goals. Knowing that overlooking our personal health and wellbeing—something many of do on a daily basis—can impact our performance and productivity, Stephanie encouraged us to incorporate movement into our day. This doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon tomorrow, but just get moving. Go for a walk, stand at your desk, do 10 push-ups between calls (shout out to Rhoda Olsen of Great Clips, Inc. for this – more on her later). The point is, every one of us can take small steps to improve and prioritize our health and overall wellbeing.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips, was one of the best speakers I have ever seen and heard. Her story and her leadership style spoke to me on so many levels. Rhoda’s stage presence and ability to drive key messages was impressive. She made us laugh, and as a result, we remembered her words. She said to remember that, “Every interaction counts.” Regardless of the stage you’re at in your career, whether  interviewing for your first entry-level position, on the front lines interacting with clients, or leading at the highest levels, bring your best self, your ‘A’ game and know that any interaction has the potential to change your career and life. One great client experience can lead to a referral can lead to a promotion; one great conversation can lead to an introduction can lead to a job offer; and one great teachable moment for one of your employees can lead to their higher productivity can lead to better business performance.

Beyond these examples were many more inspiring moments and stories. However, I will leave you with one final quote from my friend and dynamo leader, Emily Nicoll of CBRE. Emily spoke on the Caregivers panel and shared these words, “one category [of your life] impacts all categories.” As many of us know and have experienced, our home life impacts our work life and vice versa. Giving ourselves the opportunity and time to learn, grow, and prioritize our lives appropriately is increasingly important as we navigate and weave in and out of personal and professional obligations.

A huge shoutout to ACG AIM for organizing this impactful and inspiring event and to the leaders/speakers for bringing their perspectives and whole selves to the conference.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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Your Online Presence Could Help You Get a Job

It’s possible that you’ve managed to make it all this way in life without joining a single social media platform, but for the other almost 90% of you social media participants, ask yourself these questions: what would someone see if they searched for you online, and could what they find hurt your chances at getting a job?

It’s with hope that each candidate a company hires, not only can fulfill the duties of the position, but helps to further solidify their culture and fulfill their company mission. As such, you as a job seeker should assume you will be fully vetted to ensure you’re fit for the position and company. That absolutely means they’ll be Googling you and creeping on your social media. Assuming we’re all fully aware of the negative effects inappropriate language and photos can have, as well as, discriminatory comments about race, religion, gender, etc., let’s discuss how social media can actually help you in your job search efforts.

For most people, social media is far more than just a way to stay connected with friends and family. It’s an extension of your personal brand, and, because it’s your own curated content of thoughts, words, and photos, it reflects the way you want to be represented and seen. So why wouldn’t you make every effort to make yourself look good?

Google yourself

What pops up in association with your name will influence what people think about you. To know what others will see and get a comprehensive overview of your online presence, simply Google yourself. There’s content out there that you do have control over, so get started with identifying what you can clean up. Obviously if you’ve made a news headline or have a criminal record, you have little to no control over that content, but anything you’ve posted on and from your social media sites, you have ultimate control over. You can either set your social media profiles to private and continue to post freely, or you can remove the content directly from your personal accounts you wouldn’t want hiring managers and recruiters to see.

Add to your Google results by creating your own website or blog to publish stories, images, videos; becoming a contributor to an existing website or blog; and joining forums or discussion group. Add content to your social media that shows you engaging in good times with friends and family and with your community. Show your personality, lifestyle, hobbies, and interests in fun, positive ways so hiring decision makers get a sense of how you’ll fit into the company.

Move beyond building a network

If you haven’t already, get on LinkedIn. Keep your profile updated, search available opportunities in “jobs”, and build your network. But go beyond basic, get engaged and be an active participant. Build your professional brand by sharing articles that speak to the kind of professional you are and want to be, and show potential employers/peepers your unique perspective through professional, thoughtful commentary. Consider the content you share carefully and know that you will be judged—positively or negatively—on it. Just make sure it’s an accurate representation of the person and professional you truly are.

Now back to those of you who haven’t taken the plunge, what do you think your absence says to recruiters and hiring managers? For good or bad, it allows others to make and pass their own judgements. They could be positive impressions—this person prioritizes and values true interaction and connection and that’s why they’ve stayed away. But they could also be negative—this person is antisocial, has something to hide, or can’t go with the flow and has to go against the grain (could be seen as positive or negative). Obviously, you have to make the choice for yourself, but more and more, people are taking to online research before making hiring decisions. If you can control your own narrative and online reputation—for the most part—you should do so in a way that puts you in the best possible light.

These efforts can take time. If you’re still a college student, start now so you have a robust online presence by the time you’re ready to begin your job search. But it’s truly never too late. No matter where you are in your career, you should always monitor and make improvements. As with your resume, your online presence is like a living document that develops, evolves, and grows as you do.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

Related Articles

Employers Demand Too Much, and it Makes Hiring Harder with GB

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Employers Demand Too Much, and it Makes Hiring Harder

Avenica

LinkedIn

If you consistently struggle to find the right candidates for your company’s open positions, it could be because you’re looking for candidates who are so perfectly qualified and so perfectly experienced that they don’t actually exist. Like a “purple squirrel.”

Managing Director of University Ventures and author of A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College Ryan Craig recently addressed this topic in an article on Forbes.com. He’s an insightful commentator on the intersection between education, hiring, innovation, and technology. And in his latest piece, he’s hit on a big obstacle to hiring. Employers who are looking for purple squirrels by demanding too much from job seekers.

Overstuffed Job Descriptions

Over the past decade or two, job postings have begun to burst at the seams with the number of required skills, experience, and qualifications. Craig explains the problem succinctly: “Incorporating every conceivable qualification in job descriptions helps explain nearly 7 million unfilled jobs while tens of millions of talented and motivated workers—particularly new and recent graduates—struggle with underemployment.

One recent study found that 61% of full-time, entry-level job postings required 3+ years of experience. That same study calculated that the rate of required-experience inflation is rising by 2.8% every year. Extrapolate that over a few years, and you can see how job descriptions have become bloated and unwieldy.

Why Are Job Descriptions So Crammed?

  • The Influence of the Great Recession. A recent study showed that, during the Great Recession of 2007 – 2009, job postings saw an 18% increase in education requirements and a 25% in experience requirements. Why? Because unemployment rose and employers could afford to be demanding. But even after unemployment rates fell, employers kept cramming more stuff into their job postings. Another outcome: more and more jobs now require a college degree, even if they didn’t only a few years ago.
  • The Rise of Digital Job Postings. Online postings, for those with the resources, can be easy to manage. Which means employers can post novel-length job descriptions and keep them open for months while they wait (in vain) for the perfect candidates. However, most hiring managers don’t know how to effectively use job-posting sites, and don’t get us started on the AI and algorithms that can be discriminatory and/or auto-pass qualified candidates who aren’t using enough “key words.”
  • Lack of Ability to Measure Key Skills. Increasingly, employers are realizing that so-called “soft skills” really are essential skills—the kind of abilities that apply in any job. But they’re notoriously hard to measure. So the college degree has become a stand-in for those skills.
  • The Disappearance of Corporate Training. Over the past few decades, American corporations have undertaken a relentless effort to cut costs. One of the things on the chopping block? Training programs. A survey from a few years ago found that while 80% of entry-level hires expected their new employer to offer formal training, less than half of those companies did so.
  • Employer Inexperience. Particularly at small or midsized companies, the HR department (if there is one at all) may be staffed by people who don’t have much experience writing job descriptions. Even at large companies with robust HR functions, they may struggle to understand the technical and “soft” skills that are required for every role. When they don’t know what skills to feature, they throw them all in.
  • Employer Fears and Pressures. Many employers worry that if they don’t cast a wide net, they’ll never land the right candidate. So they include every possible skill. Others fall victim to groupthink – they get in a room with coworkers, dream up an impossible wish list, and then convince themselves the job requires every last skill. Others sink money into recruiting fees or other hiring costs and then figure that—to get their money’s worth—they’d better get absolutely everything from their candidate. And still others forget that their current best performers had to learn things on the job and weren’t perfect candidates when they were hired.

Big Consequences

Unfortunately, this is a big issue that impacts both sides of the hiring equation.

On the Employer Side…

  • Jobs are Harder to Fill. This is an obvious one. When you stuff your job postings with every possible requirement, you’re fishing in a much smaller pond.
  • Companies Pay More for Talent. A recent study by the Harvard Business School found that for many middle-skill jobs, there is no significant performance difference between workers who have college degrees and those who don’t. But degree holders can command a higher wage – so by demanding college degrees, even for roles where they’re not necessary, employers are forcing themselves to pay more. Similarly, by demanding ever higher amounts of skills—skills that fetch a higher wage—employers are costing themselves unnecessarily.
  • Higher Turnover. In that same Harvard study, researchers found that college graduates are more likely to leave a role where a degree isn’t really necessary.

On the Worker Side…

  • Getting Screened Out. Thousands of employers use software to screen job applications, looking for specific skills. And because the skills in job descriptions are inflated, there is a huge talent pool that is invisible to employers.
  • Pressure to Earn Expensive Credentials. As employer demands rise, workers feel they have no choice but to earn college degrees or obtain other pricey credentials and certifications—often taking on huge debts in the process.
  • 2018 study found that 43% of new college grads were underemployed in their first job—earning an average of $10,000 less than grads who find employment appropriate for their qualifications. And this wage gap compounds year after year—leaving many workers stuck in a rut of lower-paying, lower-prestige jobs.

There’s Gotta Be a Better Way…. Right?

Clearly, employers need help (a) figuring out what their jobs really require, and (b) finding candidates who may not have every skill right now, but who have big potential. In his Forbes article, Ryan Craig advises employers to engage with partners who combine skills training and staffing—training job seekers and placing them in roles on a probationary basis so that employers can “try before they buy.” (Avenica’s model is similar to this).

Ultimately, there won’t be one solution but many. Employers need to rediscover the value of employee training programs. AT&T is already doing this, committing more than $1 billion to retrain workers over the next several years. Employers need to rediscover the potential in their job candidates—hiring for the person, not the resume. And they need to re-examine the way they write job descriptions to focus on the skills and abilities that truly matter.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

Related Articles

Finding Talent in an Environment of Increasing Underemployment

Insights

Finding Talent in an Environment of Increasing Underemployment

Avenica

LinkedIn

Employment rates in the U.S. have risen every year since the Great Recession of 2008–2009. And today unemployment is at near-historic lows. While that’s great news for many job seekers, hiding behind those seemingly impressive numbers is a phenomenon that’s far less positive—one that impacts entry-level job seekers most of all.

It’s underemployment.

What is underemployment? Underemployment happens when someone is in a job for which they are overqualified/overeducated—typically a bachelor’s graduate in a role that doesn’t require a degree. It’s your local barista or bartender with a bachelor’s, and it’s the English literature major who decided against pursuing further education to become a college professor and is working in retail until they decide what to do when they “grow up.” It’s also a “foot-in-the-door” job, such as a journalism major working the mailroom or front desk of their local paper or a sports performance major folding towels at a health club. And it’s also when someone would prefer to work full time but can only secure part-time employment. There are many different skills that can come from someone who is considered underemployed; customer service, time-management, perseverance, and often managerial skills.

First-job underemployment has lasting effects

Where you start has a big impact on where you end up. A 2018 study found that 43% of new college grads were underemployed in their first job—earning an average of $10,000 less than grads who find employment appropriate for their qualifications. And this wage gap compounds year after year, affecting promotions along with salary increase schedules and amounts. Workers who are underemployed at the start of their careers are more likely to struggle, even decades later—stuck in a rut of lower-paying, lower-prestige jobs.

Underemployment obviously has negative consequences for individual workers, but there are big ripple effects as well. Underemployed workers will have less income overall, which means they may be less likely to pay off their student loans, buy a home, pay medical bills, or move out of their parents’ homes.

Finding talent in an environment of increasing underemployment

A certain amount of underemployment will always be with us. Some new grads take more time to find their career path. Others may choose careers that don’t fit their area of study. Still others may lack the motivation or interest in pursuing roles appropriate for their credentials.

Although researchers and experts differ on the exact numbers around underemployment, most agree that it’s growing. But why is that?

Multiple factors are at work. College enrollment has grown since 2000—meaning more new graduates are pursuing a finite pool of jobs. Previous generations of workers are holding onto their jobs longer, further reducing the number of higher-skill positions. The trend toward contract, gig, or part-time roles means many recent graduates find themselves with less than full-time work. And the skills required for today’s jobs are more complex and changing rapidly, so many graduates are leaving school without the skills and abilities needed to be successful in the roles available. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t suited for the work or position.

Finding the right candidate with the right motivation, determination, and personality to fit into a company’s culture is difficult enough without adding on all the skills that are required. The one thing you can teach in all of it are the technical “how to do the job” skills required of the position. Our philosophy and the advice we consistently give to our clients is to find the right candidate, train for the rest. It’s something we do every day; find high-potential talent, provide coaching and mentoring, and arm them with the training and technical skills needed to be successful in the positions our clients need. We know it’s far more difficult to train or teach someone on soft skills and people who don’t have the right determination and tenacity—no matter their skill set—are never going to be the right fit either.

The unemployment numbers can seem discouraging for those actively seeking entry-level talent, but high-potential recent grads who are motivated and willing to learn are everywhere—maybe even at your local coffee shop.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

Related Articles

3 Useful Things to Know About Hiring Gen Z’s and 4 Tips for Retaining Them

Insights

3 Useful Things to Know About Hiring Gen Z’s and 4 Tips for Retaining Them

Avenica

LinkedIn

Hiring entry-level talent has never been easy. In fact, 41% of employers say that entry-level positions are the most difficult to fill. One reason being that understanding the ever-changing incoming crop of young professionals and their shifting motivations has and will always be a challenge. And just when we finally start to understand the Millennial mindset, a new, even larger generation emerges to fill our entry-level roles and keep us on our toes. Generation Z is bringing a new perspective into the professional world that will undoubtedly shift the strategy for how leaders will manage their teams.

Gen Z is all about individuality
Even more than their Millennial predecessors, the Gen Z population enjoy being a unique asset to the team more than just a cog in a company. They seek uniqueness in their future employer, whether that be in office environment, mission, or culture. In terms of actual workload, Gen Z’ers may prefer more solo work and private spaces versus collaboration and teamwork.

Gen Z is more selective <
Gen Z job seekers place a large amount of importance on a company’s culture and mission, as they want a brand they can get behind and feel good about supporting through their own work. Because they see the company they work for as an extension of their own personal brand, Gen Z will quickly spot anything that doesn’t align with their values.

Gen Z thinks fast
According to Fast Company, Gen Z have “highly evolved eight-second filters” that allow them to sort through and assess information in order to form an opinion. That’s not a lot of time to work with. If you plan on hiring Gen Z employees, you’ll want to learn quickly how to get their attention and keep them engaged.

4 Tips for Retaining Gen Z Talent

  1. Develop clear and fast-moving career tracks
    1. Create distinct career tracks with clear direction on how to advance to each level
    2. Restructure promotion and incentive programs that give smaller, more incremental promotions and salary raises, giving more consistent positive reinforcement and closer goals that make it more enticing to stay
    3. Create professional development opportunities that help them advance in those career tracks and build other skills they need and want
    4. Create ways young employees can explore other career tracks without leaving the company. Gen Z’s along with their Millennial elders have a higher propensity for changing their minds and/or wanting different experiences, so consider ways that enable employees to make lateral moves, or create rotational programs that allow inexperienced professionals to get experience in a variety of business capacities and are then more prepared to choose a track.
  2. Provide benefits that allow flexibility
    1. Working remotely, flex schedules/hours
    2. Floating holidays–especially beneficial as the workforce becomes more and more diverse
    3. Restructure PTO that gives employees more autonomy and responsibility for their work
    4. Tuition reimbursement programs to increase retention and build leaders internally
  3. Create a strong company culture
    1. Company culture is one of the strongest recruiting and retention tools
    2. Go beyond the flashy tactics of having an on-site game room and fun company outings and bring more focus to the company’s mission
    3. Create and live/work by a set of core values that represents your company’s mission
    4. People will be more engaged and move beyond just being their role or position when they feel connected to the mission
  4. Challenge without overworking
    1. Boredom and stress are equally common as factors for driving young professionals out of a workplace.
    2. Allow involvement in bigger, higher-level projects and discussions to provide meaningful learning opportunities, and create goals that stretch their capabilities but are attainable.

The Gen Z workforce brings a new set of challenges, but they also bring new energy and ideas and are savvier when it comes to digital spaces and technology. Recruiting and retaining the right Gen Z employees will be essential in addressing the challenges of tomorrow and remaining relevant in an ever-changing market.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

Related Articles

Five Ways to Identify Future Leaders in Entry-Level Candidates

Insights

Five Ways to Identify Future Leaders in Entry-Level Candidates

Avenica

LinkedIn

Previously published on HR Daily Advisor.

How to identify leadership

Everyone knows a great leader when they see one. Yet, if you ask ten people to describe the characteristics of a strong leader, you’ll probably get ten different answers. True leadership is an evolutionary process where successes and occasional failures have helped develop leadership abilities in equal measure. No two leaders have the exact same background and experiences, but, quite often, great leaders are made up of the same qualities.

Leadership qualities can be hard to identify in job seekers, especially college graduates entering into the job market for the first time upon graduation. Without years of work experience, examples of leadership are often not as obvious on an entry-level resume.

How, then, would you know that a political science major, who was a performing cellist in college and whose only work experience is as a restaurant server, is a gifted leader? Obviously, it’s more than just asking, “are you a leader?” The key is identifying the skills that true leaders possess.

We’ve had more than twenty years to observe and study college graduates on the job hunt, and, based on thousands of interviews and monitoring their progress after hire, here are five attributes we believe most leaders have in abundance.

1. Leaders solve problems

Because they are high achievers who understand the value of a “well-oiled machine,” strong leaders look to find ways to improve systems, processes, and procedures. They are adept at analyzing problems, thinking critically, and offering solutions.

2. Leaders have a strong sense of initiative and urgency

Time is money. Leaders understand how to prioritize work, utilize resources, and deploy teams/people to efficiently and effectively complete projects. They often have an innate ability to recognize and seize opportunities, capitalizing on quick action and decision making.

3. Leaders listen and communicate effectively

Leaders speak from a place of understanding, authority, and direction. First, they are active listeners. They seek to understand, asking questions, accumulating information, and gaining insight. Leaders are direct, thorough and clear, leaving no room for misunderstandings or confusion on expectations. And perhaps most importantly, leaders are respectful and thoughtful in their communications.

4. Leaders have courage

Leaders know that you can easily lose ground, customers, market share, etc. if you aren’t always pushing to grow and progress. It’s about seizing opportunities and being able to foresee the outcomes of taking calculated risks. Yes, this comes from experience and having great business sense, but it’s also about making tough decisions, trying new things, and always learning from every situation.

5. Leaders motivate people

This one’s big. Everyone’s different and is motivated by different things. Leaders get this. They know the universal truths: set clear goals and expectations, create positive work environments, and foster teamwork and collaboration. But beyond that, great leaders know that whether it be professional development, leadership opportunities, competitions, or bonus pay, finding the right mix of motivators can drive productivity, reduce turnover, and increase employee engagement. All good things.

Consider each of these tenets when interviewing prospective hires. For the new grad with no professional work experience, look to real life experiences; ask open-ended questions that allow the candidate to cite real-life examples in each area where they have exhibited leadership behavior.

Surprisingly, you might learn about how a candidate identified a problem with long wait times at the restaurant he worked at during college and created a solution that both decreased wait-times and increased sales. Or, you might find out about the time a candidate rallied her basketball team to push through what looked to be a losing season to make it to their division playoffs through her ability to effectively motivate her team.

Leaders aren’t made in the classroom. Important innate skills are developed and honed through a series of life experiences unique to each individual. As a hiring manager, finding the diamond in the rough is challenging but rewarding work. The trick is knowing how to mine them and then giving them an opportunity to shine.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

Related Articles

The Millennial Turnover Problem

Having 56 million workers in the United States, millennials compose the largest generation in the American labor force. That’s right: 35% of American workers fall within the infamous generation that’s developed a less-than-favorable reputation for being notoriously fickle when it comes to their careers.

Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest truth behind that reputation. A recent study by Gallup concludes that 21%, or nearly a quarter of millennials have switched jobs within the past year. Keep in mind, this rate is three times higher than that of any other age bracket. Only 50% of surveyed millennials see themselves at their current employer one year from today, while 60% admit to being actively open to new opportunities.

Under pressure from mounting student loan debt and often not knowing where they fit in the workforce, millennials rush into jobs and eventually wind up dissatisfied. Research indicates that millennials are extremely disconnected from their careers, generally lacking passion for what they do. They show up, put in their hours, collect a check and then move on. As the average cost to replace an entry-level professional is $15,000, this costly phenomenon simultaneously prevents many millennials from the benefits and satisfaction of a successful career.

Our goal at Avenica is to place college graduates into the “right-fit” career-track; entry-level positions at companies offering strong professional growth and development opportunities. The result of this proven approach is better job satisfaction and lower turnover, and the results are compelling: at clients who have embraced its approach, Avenica placements have 2-year company retention rates that are double the average for entry-level hires in professional roles.

Unlike other platforms that depend on algorithms to match likely candidates to open positions, we use a behavioral-based interview process that is much more predictive of candidate success. This approach identifies the candidate’s transferable skills—a balance of cognitive and soft skills—as well as their interests and passions from a career perspective. Blending these insights enables us to understand the types of entry-level positions in which the candidate will be happy and succeed.

Candidates who are highly qualified for an entry-level position are often overlooked because they didn’t major in X, score Y on their SATs or complete Z number of industry internships. To avoid these simplistic screening methods, we look beyond the text on a resume, simultaneously working side-by-side with candidates and hiring managers to personally understand both sides and ensure the right fit for an open position. In the age of automation, we’re putting the “human” back into “human resources.”

We’ve found success in recognizing that when it comes to talent, a good retention strategy is equally as important as an attraction strategy. To date, we’ve successfully placed thousands of recent grads with gainful career opportunities in the United States. With offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and St. Louis, Avenica operates nationwide and serves a broad range of industries.

The job market may be daunting, but we’re up for the challenge of helping you kickstart your career.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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Hitting the Road: Should You Relocate for an Entry-Level Position?

Hitting the Road: How to Find Entry-Level Jobs That Will Relocate You

As an entry-level job seeker, you may be experiencing a case of wanderlust either in search of adventure or to get started on your career path. Quality entry-level career opportunities can be found nearly everywhere in this economy. And, yes, some regions of the country may be better than others for specific careers, but relocating—especially when it’s for a job—is a big commitment.

Companies invest a great deal of resources into hiring the right person, and it can be a time-intensive process to on-board and train new hires. That means employers want to know you’re in it for the long haul. If you’re planning to apply to positions in areas that would require you to relocate, you must communicate this enthusiastically during your interview.

It can be difficult to find entry-level jobs willing to relocate you, since it’s more common for more senior positions. That being said, do not get discouraged. If you’ve given relocating thorough consideration, here are some tips on how to find jobs that will relocate you.

Choose a city where you want to live

This may seem obvious, but we suggest you choose where you want to live before actually searching for or applying to jobs that will relocate you. It’s always good to know you’ll like the culture and vibe of a city before making it your home. It’s also great to have connections, like friends and/or family in the area who can show you around and introduce you to other people your age.

Once you have the area narrowed down, you can start applying. Use local job sites to begin your search. You can also reference job advertisements on local news websites. Another thing to consider when picking your new city is cost of living. If you’re able to find a job that will relocate you, they’ll sometimes offer relocation packages that assist with your new cost-of-living or they might offer higher pay if it’s an expensive city.

Use Your Network

If you’re wondering how to find an entry-level job that will relocate you, one major tip is to tap into your network. This could be people you knew in college, family friends, old coworkers who have moved, anyone you know who could help you make connections in your desired city.

This is also a great time to utilize sites like LinkedIn. You can find you have connections with people in your dream city that you never knew about. You can find people that went to your school, work in your desired field and more. It can’t hurt to send them a message and see if they know of any positions that are a good fit.

Be Flexible

Wherever you are when you’re applying for jobs, the power is really in the employers’ hands when it comes to deciding if you’re a good candidate, what their hiring timeline looks like, and whether it’s a job that will relocate you. Because of this, you must be flexible on the details mentioned above. Of course you’re excited to relocate. But the time will come when it’s a good fit for both you and the employer.

Entry-Level Jobs That Will Relocate You

Some fields are more likely to relocate qualified candidates because they require specialized skills or training that can be hard to find. If you’re a good fit for a job in these fields, an employer is not going to want to lose you. These types of jobs could include:

  • Jobs in healthcare
  • Technical support
  • Teaching
  • Researchers or data scientists
  • Mechanics

Remember, it can be hard to find entry-level jobs willing to relocate you, since it’s more common for more senior positions. That being said, do not get discouraged.

Choose Avenica to Help Find Entry-Level Jobs

At Avenica, we want to help you find the right job that matches your skills, and offers you a rewarding career in the location you desire.

Contact us today to learn more about services, or join our network and begin your search for the perfect career. No matter where you go, you’ll find opportunities to take your professional life in new, exciting directions.

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