How is your summer going so far?
Last week, Michael and I savored a Pat Metheny concert at the timeless Kennedy Center. We have seen him perform in many different cities for over 30 years—different cities and different lifetimes. His exuberance for jazz delights and surprises. His guitar jams astonish me.
Outings like this can help soothe the sting of the current economic turbulence and uncertainty in the marketing profession. The past six months of layoffs, hiring freezes, and balance sheet boosting moves (e.g., generative AI cost savings directives) add to the post-pandemic anxiety. They also leave many highly talented marketers hitting low career notes.
When searches drag on, or the process seems very foreign, your self-confidence can suffer. I hope to minimize that.
If that describes you—or you simply want to be more prepared in the event of a downturn—then read on.
Seasoned leaders need to know how companies find great candidates (like you!) in this new world of work. These trends and advice will show how you can adapt.
Three search strategies to watch include:
1. Automated video interviews.Companies such as Delta Airlines and Zappos expect some candidates to answer pre-loaded interview questions over video—without a human interviewer on the screen.
Some companies go further. They conduct Automated Video Interviews (AVI) with AI to make the hiring decision without human intervention! You can find an HBR story about this robo-trend here.
Entry-level jobseekers have a right to feel demoralized and confused under this scenario.
My advice is twofold: First, you have a right to decline an interview if a potential employer is using AVI, AI-led interviews for key positions!
Second, be prepared when AVI and AI-led interviews become de rigueur for more senior roles. Goldman Sachs’ senior strategist Ben Snider told CNBC last May that AI use cases and practices could boost corporate profits by 30% or more over the next 10 years. Every boardroom leader is asking for similar returns from multiple functions—including HR, marketing and sales. Do what you can NOW to improve your studio design.
Four years have nearly passed, and I still witness CMOs hosting meetings from bedrooms and tacky echo chambers with grainy laptop cameras. It’s painful.
Today, it can cost less than $1500 to equip your studio (no longer an office) with professional equipment. Ditch your cheap laptop cameras and microphones. Hybrid work is here to stay. Ping me to meet my superstar studio designer.
Roberta Matuson, a Marketing Growth Leaders top guest speaker, author of Evergreen Talent and career coach, agrees. “With or without AVI, your responses will eventually be reviewed by humans. That’s why it’s important to look your best, answer questions succinctly, and exude confidence.”
2. Personality profiles: precarious predictors. In Western culture, we are swimming in a sea of online surveys. While they may give us a lens into a person’s default leadership style, or how they operate under stress, they cannot predict the future. Yet some HR and marketing teams force new candidates to complete them and make their final choices from a report.
Constance Dierickx, a fellow 100 Coaches colleague and author of the just-released Meta-Leadership, shared that a recent CFO peer “has, on multiple occasions, been asked to complete various online assessments.” She experienced a highly transactional attitude and screening process. This recent example provides a fair warning to all employers: “If the employer or executive search firm is using invalid tools to understand who I am, I do not want the job.”
Wonder why some important positions posted on LinkedIn remain difficult to fill? You may have your answer.
My advice: Make good eye contact with the key hiring executive. Then ask specifically how your survey will be used: a data point, or hiring go/no go? Carefully watch their eyes, tone and body language when they respond. Then make the call regarding their survey request.
Here’s a bonus that a seasoned CMO friend in DC suggests. Ask to attend upcoming in- person sales, customer, or team offsite meetings to read the culture tea leaves. He dodged a career bullet this way when he flew to their headquarters for an executive leadership meeting. He discovered that more than two-thirds of the key employees belonged to the same religious cult.
You cannot make this up.
If that option is not available to you, ask how they make critical product launch, marketing, and sales decisions. Do they err on the side of data, blend data with wisdom, or fully go with their gut? Personally, I could not imagine working with a firm that operates in either extreme.
3. Sloppy skills slow success. As we enter the second half of 2023, organizations continue to struggle to find great talent through traditional outlets. These include executive recruiters and LinkedIn. According to a January 2023 HBR article covering 9 Trends that Will Shape Work in 2023 and Beyond, “organizations will need to become more comfortable assessing candidates solely on skills needed to perform in the role, rather than their credentials and prior experience…Organizations will remove formal education and experience requirements from job postings.”
Roberta Matuson finds that “AI helps screen out candidates whose resumes do not contain the exact skills and keywords. It’s important to optimize the skills portion of your resume.”
My advice: Set aside 20 minutes per week to a) design your dream day: where do you spend your time? With whom? What superpowers could you do for hours? b) make a list of your accomplishments with specific outcomes. Skip terms such as “support” and “helped.” c) look for patterns, and which skills rise to the surface. D) revise your resume and LinkedIn profile to include these key skills. Follow the tips from LinkedIn pros Kevin D. Turner (great checklist here) and Jessica Hernandez (tips and screenshot examples here).
One of my mentors, Alan Weiss, reminds us that “If you don’t toot your horn, there is no music.” While you enjoy some summer break time, do what it takes to lead your own band.
Nobody else commands an audience in the way you can.
Here are a few of my faves…
* Cultivating a healthy company starts with demonstrating healthy habits. They set the tone for your teams, stakeholders, and loved ones. Eric Kaufmann’s newest book, Leadership Breakdown, explains the dark side of ego myopia and criticism—and how it kills well intended companies. Eric joined me last week on The Mindful Marketer. Get your copy here.
* Sugar sneaks into the oddest summer foods. Dental decay, metabolic swings, and other maladies can be averted. I am getting better at managing my glycemic and blood sugar levels using allulose. It’s a natural sweetener and I love the texture in drinks and desserts. Here’s an organic option on Amazon.
* Wondering about crazy open water swimmers? That’s my main recreational jam! Check out the SwimTrek Greek Cyclades crew on YouTube. One of my favorite journeys ever! Yes, the striking cliffs made me breathless.
Disclaimer: My Amazon affiliate product recommendations are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Find what works for you.