Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Recruiting Embraces Computer Dating Concepts

By Paul Binder
Associate Director, Graduate Career Services
I was fascinated by the BBC News China report:  “Can technology identify China’s top graduates?”

It covers what I consider another technological step eclipsing the traditional recruiting process. Key recruiting drivers have been to predict career success and Return on Investment (ROI) at a hiring firm.

Traditionally, as corporations were burdened by an increasing number of applications, resumes, and cover letters, steps were taken to make that process more efficient, even though optimal results could suffer.

An example was to limit the number of schools considered, regardless of potential better talent at other schools, for reasons like company executives attended those schools.

Then the applications, resumes, and cover letters were ranked and rationalized by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) essentially based on key words.

Common screens align position descriptions with skills and accomplishments, even though significant qualifications may be overlooked.

Now the actual interview is being potentially diminished in importance. “Big data” technology has been ratcheted up to analyze questions submitted online to determine behavioral and cultural fits with a firm. Advocates of this next stage in recruiting cite benefits including better candidates who would not have historically surfaced.

This probably means that candidates need to be more thoughtful and thorough in communicating their skills, interests, and values. It probably also means that in-person networking has never been more important.

Should candidates be exclusively screened by a computer? Should recruiting be a definite two-way process? Should I consider myself fortunate that I am retired?      

Paul Binder is the Associate Director of Graduate Career Services at the Kelley School of Business. Paul and his team meet and coach hundreds of students, alumni, and corporate partners on tried and true recruiting methods, interviewing tactics, and career management strategies, while staying in tune to how these areas are changing and evolving. Email Paul at pjbinder@indiana.edu.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

What makes a good ad?

Ryan Dullea, MBA'05, Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble

Ryan Dullea, MBA’05, has spent a decade managing brands at Procter & Gamble, including Cascade, Febreeze, Prilosec-OTC, and Pepto Bismol. He returned to campus last week to help a small group of Kelley undergraduates understand how to think strategically about advertising.

His bottom line: A good ad is one that both is creatively rewarding and builds the business. 

“If an ad isn’t creatively rewarding, it’s not going to stand out, it’s not going to be memorable, and it’s not going to achieve business objectives,” he told a class of M255 students. 

Advertising is the intersection of art and science. A good ad has soul—it reflects the essence of the brand and the benefit that’s being promised. Think of it like the human body: A good ad has a hand that reaches out and connects with consumers, a face that’s easily recognizable, a fingerprint that separates the brand from competition, and feet to carry it across mediums.

Soul: Is the ad on brand?


In advertising, Dullea says, everything begins with a robust understanding of your consumer. When you know what your brand stands for in the hearts and minds of your consumers, you're able to think about the benefit you can provide them with your product. A good ad communicates the benefit clearly.





Hand: Does it connect with consumers?


A good ad has a message that evokes a positive response to your brand in the heads and hearts of your prime prospect. In 2009, Dawn began airing spots that showed a baby duck, penguin and seal being washed in sudsy tubs. There is no voiceover, just the song “Wash Away” by Joe Purdy, and text stating that Dawn helped save thousands of animals caught in oil spills. The company also promised to donate $1 to wildlife groups each time a consumer bought a bottle of Dawn and visited a Web site. That campaign still stands today, taking the shape of a small documentary series (shown below), packaging, and more.





Face: Is your brand easily recognizable?


Apple, BMW, Nike: Their colors, shapes, and slogans are burned in our memories. Did you know that “Just Do It” has only ever been written, never spoken? That’s how Nike has been able to use the slogan for more than 30 years without retiring it. A good ad, over periods of time, makes your brand a part of your consumer’s vocabulary and habitual daily routine.



Fingerprint: Is the ad unique?


Let’s think about antacid commercials. What comes to mind? An office doing what is essentially the Macarena, inspired by five common stomach problems? Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea?

More than a decade later, many focus groups still recall when the Pepto Bismol dance was on the air, Dullea says. It's memorable and disruptive, in a market where other brands aren't having nearly as much fun.



Feet: Simple and transferable


Mobile is a part of the world we live in, and it will always be that way. People are spending more time on their phones and iPads than they’re watching TV. The point, Dullea says: A good ad grabs consumers with a simple message that’s consistent across all channels, not just the television. 

Pampers’ Discover the World campaign invited parents of newborns and babies in diapers to see the world through a child’s eyes. The idea communicated well on TV, but also in print and even an on-the-road playhouse with real-life obstacle courses designed to put adults at a child’s level. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Asking for help the right way

Kendell Brown
Associate Director of Professional Development in
Graduate Career Services
Working with alumni in career services, I talk with a lot of people at the start of their careers.

This is an exciting time for most; people are finally doing what they’ve been studying and training to do. However, despite all the time preparing, there will inevitably be moments when someone gets stuck. They’re analyzing unusual data and cannot calculate a key metric. Or they’ve come to a project crossroad and simply don’t know which path to pursue, or some other similarly befuddling scenario. What to do?

Any good employee is going to take some time to dig deep and figure things out on her own. And if she can get the issue resolved–great! But I guarantee that there are going to be those times when the good ol’ college try won’t work.

Consider this scenario: Bob needs to figure out what’s driving the East Coast volume decline and recommend a corrective plan of action by Friday. It’s Tuesday morning and Bob spent the entirety of Monday digging into the volume decline issue. Bob knows he can’t continue spinning his wheels, so he decides to get some help from his manager, Mary.

Asking for help at this juncture is both common and appropriate. So what’s the big deal?

Unfortunately, I’ve seen many situations when someone asked for help and came across as, at best, insecure, at worst, incompetent. So what’s a smart way for Bob to get the help he needs?

Here’s what Bob shouldn’t do:

Bob: Mary, do you have a few minutes?  I’m working on this volume decline issue and I’m stuck. So do you have any thoughts on what I should do?

Mary: Bob, this is a hectic week for me. I won’t have time to fully digest the issue until Thursday. How about you set up a meeting for Thursday afternoon?

Mary’s perception of Bob has just taken a nose dive. Bob’s brand is now:
- Lazy
- Overwhelmed
- Not up for the challenge

So what should Bob do instead?

Bob: Mary, do you have a few minutes?  I’m working on this volume decline issue and I’m stuck. I did some analysis and learned we haven’t devoted any resources to support volume growth on the East Coast. I’m basing this conclusion on a review of 1st and 2nd quarter promotions that we did on the West Coast that weren’t duplicated out East. I’m thinking of reviewing our budget to see if we could devote some funds to the East Coast.  But I wanted to get your thoughts prior to going too far along this path.

Now what’s Mary’s perception of Bob is:
- Resourceful
- A problem solver

So what accounts for the difference?  In the latter scenario, Bob did the following:

- Started with the facts he knew
- Explained his assessment
- Highlighted his rationale
- Got feedback and either buy-in or revised direction

So what’s the lesson? Asking for help can be an opportunity to show off your resourcefulness and impress those around you. Just be sure to do it the right way.

Kendell Brown is the Associate Director of Professional Development at the Kelley School of Business in Graduate Career Services. Kendell and her team meet and coach hundreds of students, alumni, and corporate partners on tried and true recruiting methods, interviewing tactics, and career management strategies, while staying in tune to how these areas are changing and evolving. Email Kendell at kendbrow@indiana.edu

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Not in Your Dream Job? Write Your Own Unique Job Posting

By Nicolette Johnson
Associate Director of Graduate Career Services
I’m an “idea” person who frequently thinks about ideals - those perfect situations where optimism and imagination reign supreme. And for me, being idealistic provides the perfect landscape for dreaming big about my career.

One of the best ways I envision the type of work that I want to do is to create my own unique job posting, which helps me to clearly articulate what my ideal role is, so that I can go after it.

Whether you are starting a new career, searching for a new position, or feel like where you are now is not exactly where you want to be, I suggest that you create your own job posting.

To get started, find a quiet place, perhaps with your favorite beverage --- whether it’s a cup ‘o joe, a glass of wine, or whatever works for you. You’ll need to get into a mental space where ideas flow and inhibitions are low.

Then, write your unique job posting, focusing on your ideal position. The key here is “ideal,” not “what they’ll hire me for.” Life is short. Go for the big one. No regrets.

Break your job posting down into four sections:

Title


Every job posting has a title, a small assemblage of words that quickly gives a glimpse of what the position is all about. Organizations use a variety of titles, from traditional ones that signify status or hierarchy to titles that give little indication of where the person fits within the organization.

Pick a title that sums up your ideal role. Feel free to be creative here. This is your title. Chief Merrymaker? Big Brand Builder? Don’t hold back. Go with it.

Responsibilities


In this portion of the job posting, outline what type of day-to-day work you want to do. What does the work look like? (Think about what you like to do and what you don’t like doing to help you refine your duties.) How much time do you want to spend within each area of responsibility? Do you lead people? If so, how many? Does the position naturally set you up for promotion into another position? If so, which position? Is travel required?

Work Environment


Picture yourself in your ideal work environment. What does your ideal workplace look like? Are you in an energetic environment or a quiet one? Is it collaborative or independent? Do you work from home? What types of co-workers do you interact with? Do you own your own business? Are you in the field or at corporate headquarters?

Qualifications


After you have determined what your ideal job looks like, outline what qualifications you’ll need to obtain the position. What level of education is expected? How much work experience is necessary? What special skills and knowledge are important?

By completing this section, you’ll have a clear idea of what skills you already have as well as some additional skills you’ll want to build to be best positioned for the career of your dreams.

After you complete your posting, read it. Does it bring a smile to your face? A sense of contentment and peace? If not, you haven’t quite created your ideal job description. Take another stab at it. Your ideal job posting should get you excited and bring a warm sense of “aha.”

Now it’s time to take action. Plot your plan to find or create the job that fits your posting. How closely your future work life mirrors the posting will determine your satisfaction level, and more importantly, how close you are to your calling.

Nicolette Johnson is the Associate Director of Graduate Career Services at the Kelley School of Business. Nicolette and her team meet and coach hundreds of students, alumni, and corporate partners on tried and true recruiting methods, interviewing tactics, and career management strategies, while staying in tune to how these areas are changing and evolving. Email Nicolette at nimjohn@indiana.edu.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Balancing Act: Three Steps to Find Balance with your Job Search

Christina Schmidt
Associate Director, Graduate Career Services
for the Business Marketing Academy
Most every day is a balancing act for full-time MBA students, between going to classes and finding an internship (as a first year) or a full-time job (as a second year). Each student has a list of things to do, places to be, and people to meet, both for school and the job search.

Here's a simple, three-step strategy to figure out the right things to do in order to achieve success in your job search, and simply have a life outside of the search.

Develop a job search plan and prioritize your week


Take the time to discover what works for you. Think about what you learned from your past career or undergraduate studies about time management—what worked and what did not work? Be willing to ask your classmates and career coach how they manage time, in order to develop a plan that will work for you.

Ask yourself: What is your objective or priority for this week with regards to school and your job search? Where will your plan lead you in the job search process this week if you have a solid day-to-day plan for the week? The most important aspect of balance here is what you can reasonably achieve in your week for your job search versus what needs to be done in school.


Set goals for both school and your job search


Put everything in two piles: school/social activities and job search activities.

School and social activities might include classes, clubs, homework, studying, social events, family events, and projects or team obligations.

Job search priorities might include some combination of networking, LinkedIn or alumni connections, career coach or peer coach meetings, informational interviews, and site interviews.

We all need balance in our lives so planning and prioritizing what needs to be done first from each of these piles makes reaching the goal easier. Pay attention to the minor details and use your time wisely.


Work Your Plan


Once you have a job search plan and you have prioritized that plan, work it!  Be flexible and understand that plans may change. But remember that if you take 10-20 minutes each day to develop your LinkedIn contacts or you do one informational interview per day with someone from your top company, you are working your plan.

Ask for help from your career coach, your classmates, your significant other, your family, your peer coach–we all want you to succeed. It may not be easy at first, but you will get better at balancing everything over time and it will be worthwhile in the end!


Christina Schmidt is the Associate Director of Graduate Career Services at the Kelley School of Business. Christina and her team meet and coach hundreds of students, alumni, and corporate partners on tried and true recruiting methods, interviewing tactics, and career management strategies, while staying in tune to how these areas are changing and evolving. Email Christina at schmchri@indiana.edu.

Monday, February 23, 2015

3 Things to Consider When Seeking a Mentor

By Nicolette Johnson
Associate Director of
Graduate Career Services
By Nicolette Johnson

If you're starting your journey into a new career or joining a new organization, you’ll likely think about finding a mentor. Here are three things to consider in your search:

1. Don’t rush. 


Stop and take a breath. Mentors can offer helpful advice and career know-how, but there’s no need to rush to find a mentor. Instead, seek advice from a variety of people and let those mentoring relationships grow on their own.

Taking it slow will also give you time to understand the organization and who the best potential mentor matches may be. Then, once you’ve found someone you admire and connect with, you can, as necessary, build the relationship into a more formal mentoring relationship.


2. Know the difference between a mentor and a sponsor.  


A mentor gives you career advice, shares lessons they've learned, provides feedback, and serves as a sounding board for your ideas. A sponsor is often a high level person who champions you and helps open doors for you. Ideally, you want both.

During my career, I’ve had mentors who gave great advice, and I've had sponsors from whom I got little advice and in some cases didn’t know very well. They gave me visibility, like inviting me on the corporate jet to get to know other executives, and ultimately they helped me get promotions.

Like mentoring, sponsorship can grow organically, too. To catch the eye of a sponsor, be sure to perform well, take on visible assignments (and yes—sometimes the ones no one else wants), and align yourself with people who both like you and have a sponsor’s ear.


3. Be sure to offer something. 


Like any relationship, you will need to provide some give and take. Be sure that you provide those with whom you have mentoring or sponsoring relationships with something of value.

You can give them useful information, articles, or even ground-level word-on-the-street insight.

Most importantly, make sure you perform well. The last thing a sponsor or mentor wants is to endorse you and you perform badly. He or she will view that as a bad reflection on them, likely distancing themselves from you, at best, as a result.

Nicolette Johnson is the Associate Director of Graduate Career Services at the Kelley School of Business. Nicolette and her team meet and coach hundreds of students, alumni, and corporate partners on tried and true recruiting methods, interviewing tactics, and career management strategies, while staying in tune to how these areas are changing and evolving. Email Nicolette at nimjohn@indiana.edu.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Show employers some love: Emphasize what you will give, not what you will get

By Suzanne Stuebe, Associate Director of
Graduate Career Services
Any employer will want to understand how you meet the company’s needs before taking you into consideration. To quote former President Kennedy: Ask not what an employer can do for you—ask what you can do for an employer.

The things employers really want to know about you are:

Why do you want this job?  Do you understand the company and its purpose?  Are you excited about the mission?


Research the company, write down your thoughts, and rehearse them as part of your script. Think of at least two or three reasons this job is a good match for your skills, strengths, experience and background. What can you bring to the company?

Your answer should reflect that you have thought about what you want and have researched the company. The employer does not care if you want to advance your career, make money, or get better benefits. Do not make the answer all about you. They want to know what you are going to do for them. Let them know you are the solution to their problem. Focus on explaining how your skills and abilities will do the best job of making their work lives easier.

Why are you qualified to do the job?  Do you have the necessary hard skills for the position?  Do you have the key soft skills, such as the ability to work well in teams?  


Carefully analyze the job posting to analyze what competencies are required for the position. Make sure you have stories and examples that demonstrate how you have shown these kinds of actions in your current or past roles. Be prepared with plenty of examples that can convince any interviewer that you have "the right stuff."

Are you the right “fit”?


As you prepare for your interview, think about what kinds of qualities and personalities are right for the job. Different jobs require different behavior patterns. Fit is a subjective measure that takes into account your abilities, as well as innate qualities such as sense of humor, capacity to learn quickly, maturity, and confidence.  It's a combination of how the interviewer feels about you and whether you seem like someone who will fit in well and complement the rest of the team.

Suzanne Stuebe is the Associate Director of Graduate Career Services at the Kelley School of Business. Suzanne and her team meet and coach hundreds of students, alumni, and corporate partners on tried and true recruiting methods, interviewing tactics, and career management strategies, while staying in tune to how these areas are changing and evolving. Email Suzanne at smstuebe@indiana.edu.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How to help a classmate with their off-campus job search

Kendell Brown
Associate Director of Professional
Development in Graduate Career Services
You are thrilled you got the offer you’d been gunning for, but you look around and see a friend frustrated because she missed out on not just her top choice, but also her B-tier and C-tier options.

She has to start the dreaded off campus search.

How can you help?

It’s acceptable to do some commiserating, but that really doesn’t help your friend land something. Here are some ideas that will really help.

Regular check ins: As you know, looking for a job can be exhausting. The reality is that it’s not any easier when the search moves off campus. One of the best things you can do is regularly check in with a friend and see how things are going. It will show your friend that you care, but even more importantly, it will work to ensure that the off-campus search is maintaining momentum. The jobs are out there, but they don’t come knocking on anyone’s door. Weekly chats with your classmate will remind her that she needs to keep this a priority.

Help your friend define what she wants: Sometimes when someone starts doing an off campus search, target companies and contacts may not be that familiar with MBA’s and what we mean when we say "financial analyst," "marketing strategy," etc.  All the person at the other end of the email/phone call hears is “I want a high paying job doing blah, blah, blah." Help a friend think through what they really want to do and then help them come up with a concise way to say it.  “I’m looking for a strategic assignment that allows me to work with divisional and/or corporate leadership to identify, analyze and execute key growth initiatives designed to drive value for an organization.”

Monday, January 26, 2015

Shaking it out: An interview with the freshmen who won the National Diversity Case Competition



Earlier this month, we welcomed 140 students from 35 schools to the Kelley campus to compete in the fourth annual National Diversity Case Competition. The energy in our building was hard to describe.

As faculty liaison Mikel Tiller recently put it: "These bright, energetic young minds, bringing their own unique perspectives to bear, are a huge source of energy and direction for us. How can anyone ever learn anything by embracing sameness?"

We're proud of our all-freshman team, Vineyard Consultants, for taking 1st place. They were up against upperclassmen in teams from Yale, Berkeley, NYU, and Wharton, and they didn't take that lightly. They spent time building their case over winter break, and just before presenting they went into an empty room and danced out their nervous energy.

In the case, Vineyard Consultants were asked to identify a fashion-forward brand that Target should partner with to target Hispanic shoppers. They landed on a brand partnership with Julia y Renata, a growing Mexican designer brand that is well-known in Mexico, Spain, and parts of Latin America.

Vineyard Consultants are:
  • Maya Caine, Information Systems and Business Analytics major, French minor
  • Mica Caine, Information Systems and Security Informatics major, French minor
  • Thomas Dougherty, Economic Consulting and International Business major, Chinese minor
  • Keiondre Goodwin, Economic Consulting and International Business major, Chinese minor

Three team members sat down to reflect on the NDCC, their first case competition and certainly not their last.

Why it's important to stay in touch with the people you turned down (and how to do it effectively)

Mike Schmeckebier
Associate Director,
Graduate Career Services
When a job search ends, I always love getting the phone call that the person has not only received a job offer but that they’ve received multiple job offers.

I can only think of a few things that make you feel better than knowing more than one organization wants you and your talents on their team. After I share words of congratulations, give high fives, and we talk through deciding which offer to accept, I always end with a surprising question:

How are you going to stay in touch with the people you turn down?

When I’m on the phone with a client, the dialogue after that question usually goes something like this:

Client: silence

Me: Hello, hello, are you still there?

What do I mean by staying in touch with the people you turn down? 


And why would they want to stay in touch with you? You’re turning them down, after all, and that step is hard enough.

Keeping in touch with the people you turned down isn’t as crazy as it sounds. An interview process that leads to an offer is intensive. You share a lot with the people who interview you. Chances are high that good relationships were formed.

These people liked you enough that they were willing to make you a colleague, which means they probably like you enough to stay in touch.

Employers understand the hiring process. They understand that you can only work at one place. They understand you are making the best decision for you. If they’re upset about anything, they are disappointed they didn’t get you.

Some of those people might leave that company for a new position. You can figure out all the reasons why that might be good for you. They wanted to hire you now, so chances are very good that they will want to hire you again in the future.

All of this is under the assumption you turned down the offer in a professional way. If you fail to do that, then all bets are off.

So, how do you stay in touch with an employer you turned down? 


My best advice after you professionally and properly turn down the job offer is to do the following:

1. Connect on LinkedIn with every person you formed a relationship with during the interview process, if you haven’t already done it.

2. Once you do that, send them another brief note expressing gratitude and wishing good luck.
Let things lie for 5-6 months and enjoy your new job.

3. After about six months, identify a couple key people from the interview process and send them a note with an update on how things are going for you and asking how they are.

4. Once you get past the one year mark in the new job, and if you live or work in the same area as those job offers, invite those same people out for lunch, coffee, or a drink just to catch up. Do this once or twice a month, individually, until you’ve hit everybody. If you don’t live in the same area, make it a phone call or email exchange instead.

5. Once you complete that cycle, those people are officially in your network and you should treat them accordingly going forward.

Too often we leave out this vital pocket of people to add into our network. Take the time to do it, because turning down an offer might one day turn up a job.