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Interviewing Tips For The First-Time Manager

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Bigg Challenge
Adam just got promoted into his first management position. He has a position that needs to be filled. He would like some tips on interviewing so he makes a good hiring decision.

Bigg Advice – 4 Tips For Interviewers

#1 – Set the tone upfront.
Create an environment that will put your candidate at ease. Start off the interview by saying something like …

“I just want to chat with you today so we get to know each other better. I have some questions for you. But I also want to answer all your questions, so you know if this is the right job for you.”

#2 – Remain neutral throughout the interview.
Novice interviewers often make the mistake of making leading questions or statements. For example, let’s say you’re interviewing someone who tells you that he left his previous job because he couldn’t make it to work by 8 AM every day.

You should NOT respond, “That’s not a very good reason for leaving a job, is it?”

Because if you do, your candidate will edit his answers from that point on. You won’t uncover the real person.

Another thing you don’t want to do is sell the candidate on the job UNTIL you know you want to offer it to them. You want to explain, not sell, throughout most of the interview.

#3 – Find out what the candidate DID do rather than what the candidate WOULD do.
It’s easy to give hypothetical answers. But you’re not learning about the candidate’s ACTIONS; you’re learning about his or her INTENTIONS. It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions. It’s much harder to keep them.

#4 – Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
Ask a question. Listen attentively. Then follow-up. Keep drilling down to learn all you can about the real person underneath the candidate.

A sample portion of an interview
On the show, George played the role of an interviewer and Mary-Lynn played the part of the interviewee to illustrate some of these concepts.

George: Why are you thinking about leaving your current job?

Mary-Lynn: I’m looking for a more positive environment.

George: A more positive environment?

Mary-Lynn: Yeah, where people want to work together and help each other be more productive.

George: And that doesn’t happen where you work now?

Mary-Lynn: No, there’s a lot of office politicking there.

George: Could you give me an example of that?

Mary-Lynn: My boss has a few favorite people. They get all the cushy assignments. All the rest of us get the leftovers.

George:
So what have you done to try to resolve that?

At this point, Mary-Lynn may describe exactly what she did. Or maybe she didn’t do anything – leaving is her answer. Isn’t it good to know she solves problems by running from them?

She may say something more about her supervisor. As you inquire about other supervisors, you may find that she has never had a supervisor she liked. If you hire her, you’ll be the next supervisor she can’t work for!

Notice that George never commented, positively or negatively, about anything. And he kept following up to learn exactly what Mary-Lynn meant.

He asked four follow-up questions – that’s what it took to learn something significant about Mary-Lynn in this role playing exercise. That’s the way it works – you have to keep following up until you’re satisfied.

Thanks, Adam for sharing your bigg challenge with us. We wish you bigg success!

Are you facing a bigg challenge? E-mail it to us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com

Our bigg quote today is by an unknown author:

“If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs.”

So take the time to hire right so you don’t waste time on the wrong hire.

Next time, we’ll discuss some simple tips to get rid of clutter and save an hour a day. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

(Image by My Boy Dodger, CC 2.0)

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CYA: Does It Pay?

You’ve probably encountered people who never take responsibility for ANYTHING. That’s what sparked today’s blog –

Does it pay to shift the blame?

On the show, Mary-Lynn said that she believes it DOES pay.

She said she is not a blame-shifter herself, but she has worked with them. In her experience, they often get away with it. Sometimes they even get rewarded with promotions or a better job!

George retorted that it may work short-term, but it DOES NOT pay in the long run. He talked about a manager he had who never accepted responsibility. He knew that meant one of two things – either she wasn’t doing anything, or she was passing the buck. So he fired her.

It hurts morale when employees see people getting away with not accepting responsibility. George said he learned this lesson the hard way – after firing an employee, another employee asked why it took him so long!

As an employee, you don’t have many options when you’re working with a blame-shifter. However, there is one thing you can do – document, document, document. You don’t want to get blamed for THEIR mistakes.

However, as a leader, you can create a culture where it’s okay to accept blame. That’s important because your employees are often afraid of the consequences of owning up to their mistakes.

So focus on fixing the problem, not the blame.

To rephrase an old saying, “It’s amazing how much gets accomplished when no one cares who gets the blame.”

In our society today, we seem to do the opposite – we rush to find SOMEBODY to blame, rather than fixing the problem. Mary-Lynn said that’s why it pays to be a blame-shifter.

George said he remembered an employee who always blamed something or someone. George told him that he had a lot of potential. He wouldn’t get fired for making a mistake, but he was going to get fired if he didn’t start taking responsibility.

He became one of George’s top managers. That won’t work with all employees, but it will work with the ones you want to keep.

Admit your mistakes
Lead by example – when your employees see you admitting mistakes, they’ll feel safe doing the same.

Distribute the credit liberally and focus the blame conservatively. Give more credit to your team; accept more blame yourself. You’ll win the hearts and minds of your team when you do this.

How to get away with shifting the blame
George said that there was one way you might get away with always shifting the blame.

Be a moving target.

If you’re constantly moving from job to job, company to company, place to place, you might get away with it in the long run. But do you really want to live that life – always looking over your shoulder, always worrying that you’ll be found out?

Mary-Lynn responded that blame-shifters do move – and it’s usually UP – to a better job!

What do you think? Does CYA pay?

Our bigg quote today is by the great writer, Oscar Wilde.

“It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you place the blame.”

 
In the game of life, great teams experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat together, not as individuals.

Next time, we’ll discuss what you can learn from jugglers. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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How To Make $3 Billion A Year

By Bigg Success Staff
01-23-08

Success Story

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Unless you’re the Wall Street-type, you’ve probably never heard of John Paulson. You may be familiar with Henry Paulson, the United States Secretary of the Treasury. Well, they’re not related.

We’ll bet that you are familiar with the subprime mortgage mess. John knows it well. He manages his own hedge fund, which made huge bets in the subprime market last year.

In 2007, he made over $3 billion! Yes, we wrote that right. BILLION!

Gregory Zuckerman wrote an excellent article for The Wall Street Journal Online called Wall Street Trader Paulson Made Billions on Subprime. He does a fantastic job describing the details of how John made his billions. It’s definitely worth the read, particularly if you’re a serious investor.

Going against the grain
John bucked the herd mentality with his subprime bet. Most people in the business were still very upbeat about the market. John believed that he had a lot of upside potential with very little downside risk. It turns out he was right.

The biggest winners are often “contrarians”. But be careful – find ways to minimize your risk without sacrificing your reward too much.

The outsider’s perspective
John wasn’t an expert in the subprime market. They were all still highly optimistic. Because John was an outsider, he was able to see an opportunity that the insiders missed.

Usually it pays to have special insight into your market. However, sometimes 136 insiders know too much]. That’s when outsiders find opportunities because they’re looking at things with a fresh set of eyes.

Pay the price
John worked long and late, pouring over data to confirm his suspicions. He had a hunch – but he didn’t just play it. He continued looking at the evidence.

You have to pay the price if you want to make millions … or billions! Learn about the market. Look for inconsistencies. But then you have to … 

Go!
John had a bigg idea. It turns out that it was a $3 billion idea! But it’s not the idea that made him the money. He had the courage of his convictions. 130 He took action]!

This is one of the hardest parts of success. You have to put yourself out there. You have to take risk. You’ll never get anywhere until you 144 take a step].  

Persist
John placed his bet … and he lost money! His advisors 166 discouraged him from pressing on]. They reminded him that experienced traders were still very enthusiastic about the market. John didn’t listen – he invested more!

You will face obstacles on your path to success, just like John did. If you’re confident in your idea, you have to find a way to push on. It won’t always work out …. but, you never know, you might just make $3 billion!

The rest of the story
At times during this ride, John faced so much stress that he just had to get away from it all. He went on long runs. Find a way to relieve your stress so you can keep going. Get away from it all somehow.

John started his firm with $2 million under management. Now, from his success last year, new money has poured into his firm. He is now managing $28 billion, becoming one of the world’s largest fund firms. Everybody loves a winner!

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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(Image by mokra, CC 2.0)

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Abandon Ship!

Yesterday, we said that persistence is the single most important ingredient for your success. If you persist long enough, you’re sure to succeed! However, you have to be smart about it. With that in mind, here are four signs that it’s time to abandon ship!

Internal signs
#1 – It’s affecting your health.
Your health is more important than any career. You may be having anxiety attacks, experiencing constant stress, feeling burned out or fatigued. These are indications that it may be time for a change.

To succeed bigg, you’ll feel stressed from time-to-time. You need to push on, unless it’s affecting your health long-term. NOTHING is worth that. If your long-term health is being affected by what you’re doing, it’s time to abandon ship!

#2 – You’re bored beyond belief.
You’ve been there, done that. Every day feels like a week. It’s harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. You don’t look forward to work. You feel like you’re stagnating.

The first sign covers your physical health. Here we’re talking about your mental health. When you’re bored to tears, it’s time to abandon ship!

External signs
#3 – There’s no room for growth.
This is related to the second sign. However, in this case, it’s beyond your control. It may be that you’ve been promoted as far as you can go. Perhaps you can’t expect any significant increase in your income. Maybe your company is reaching maturity.

You’ve taken it as far as the circumstances will allow. If there’s little or no opportunity on the horizon, it’s time to abandon ship!

#4 – The trends are bad.
Change happens. It affects your industry – for good or bad. If it’s creating damage, ask yourself 

Is it a trend or is it a fad?

Fads are short term – they will come and go. Trends are long-term things that you can’t change. Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, said, “When management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”

We don’t doubt that you’re good. But even you can’t buck the trends. If it’s a fad, push on! If it’s a trend that’s devastating your industry, abandon ship!

Have you felt the need to abandon ship? Or maybe you’re considering it now?
Share your experience with us … leave a comment below!

But don’t just jump ship … prepare your life boat first.

Store up provisions.
Find ways to save some money – skip that latte or pack a lunch until you get settled. Set it aside to provide for you and your family.

Don’t forget your life jacket.
This is your support network. Talk to people who will encourage you, weigh in with ideas, and perhaps refer you to good opportunities.

Remember your compass.
Obviously, you need to know that you’re headed in the right direction. Check out these great resources for guidance:

123]    

127]   

Coping With Life Change    

165]    

Are You Going Through A Mid-Life (Career) Crisis  

135 Is It Time For You To Rock And Roll (Change Careers)]    

117 10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business]    

34]    

What Makes You Tick    

Finding The “Good” In Good-Bye    

108 How Do You Define Success]      

11 Visualizing The Life You Want (Part II)]    

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Take your oars.
You don’t want to just float, so grab your oars. These are things you can do to steer you in the right direction – like take a class or get a part-time job in a field you think might be interesting.

Bring your flare gun.
Prepare to market yourself – spruce up your resume and cover letter. Think creatively so you get the attention of the right people.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from George William Curtis.

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”

You are the captain of your own ship. Usually you will persist and stay with the course. But occasionally, the best thing you can do is to find a new ship and start your journey anew. Bon voyage!

Next time, we’ll answer a question for one of our newsletter subscribers. He wants some tips on wooing potential investors over dinner. We’ll talk about how to be dashing while dining!

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Jibber Jobber

By Bigg Success Staff
01-18-08

Leading-Edge Application

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If you are a job seeker, how easy is it to manage all of the information in your job search? It can be a time-consuming and stressful process. We have found a fantastic free tool that will make things a little bit easier for you.

The service is created by Jason Alba, author of I’m LinkedIn – Now What??? The inspiration for this organizational system came from his struggles with information management during his own job search.

It's called Jibber Jobber, and here's what it can help you keep track of:

  • Company research
  • Elevator pitches
  • Resumes submitted
  • Thankyou letters sent
  • Important contact information

Keep all of your compiled information in one convenient place!

In addition, you'll find links to websites, books, resources and guidance to help you with your job search.

Sign up for a free account and start organizing your Jibber Jobber today! 

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.