Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Don’t Close the Doors on Opportunity

Instant gratification is certainly a great feeling. We do something right and we are immediately rewarded. However, not everything comes with a quick response. Let’s consider getting hired for a project. Back in the day it was simple, right…? You would get up Monday morning, usually around 7 a.m., have a cup of coffee, a slice of toast with jam, and maybe a couple of eggs with bacon. You’d open the front door and pick up your newspaper delivered just a couple hours earlier by the kid just down the street. For those of you who don’t know what a newspaper is…its news, weather, coupons and ads printed on paper, rolled up and held together with a rubber band. Newspapers were delivered to homes every morning before online news and digital ads were created.

Anyway, you would pick up the newspaper, head back to the kitchen, and continue enjoying your coffee while you sifted through the want-ads. There were pages and pages of job openings. You would find the job you liked, call the number listed, and drop by the business for an in-person interview. Yes, you could actually show up for an interview. Just walk into an office building, ask to speak with the manager and anyone passing by would point you in the right direction. You could walk back into the building unescorted, meet the hiring manager who would get up, say hello and ask “when can you start?” Yes, back in the day getting a job was...different then today.

Nowadays it’s digital for most jobs. You are usually required to send in your resume, interview with recruiters and then interview with the hiring manager. Then, if offered the job you get a contract and if successful you get offered a full time position. So what happens when a job doesn’t start until a few months out? Do you drop everything and move on to the next job opening? I would recommend that you submit your resume, go through the interview process and see what happens. However, don’t wait to hear back from the recruiter. What if you don’t get an offer when the time comes? Instead, get online, find another opportunity and see what else matches your skill sets. Whatever you do, don’t drop the application process simply because the start date is too far out. If you start telling recruiters that two months is too long to wait then you’re just closing doors on opportunity.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Will work for food

I was speaking with one of my colleagues earlier today about his transition to the next project. We were talking about the gap of time from one project to the next and discussing ideas of what he could do while he waits (In his situation it’s a three month gap before the next project begins). What amazed me was his position on waiting. He said “I want to work, I don’t want to sit idle”. He continued by adding “it doesn’t matter about the wage, that’s not what’s important, just get me on anything”.

His idea of keeping busy, didn’t sound like someone who’s addicted to work, but more of someone who prides himself on helping where he can. It’s a kind of wisdom that goes beyond the day to day grind. For me, it was a reminder that there are some things more important than money. Maybe its opportunity, maybe it’s a way to stay sharp, or maybe it’s a way to avoid boredom. In any case, I agree with his perspective. We all need to contribute to something and avoid getting caught up in the ‘what’s in it for me’ ideology.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Is Team Hiring Good for the Team?

Over the years I have observed several patterns in the hiring processes of different organizations. Sometimes managers will identify, hire and introduce a new member to the team. Other times managers will leave it up to the team to identify and hire their own team members. This raises questions as to whether or not one hiring process is more effective than another, if a combination of both would produce better results, or if other methods, such as assessments, should be considered.

There are several factors that should go into the hiring process. For example, depending on the job you could match skill sets, personality, or both. But what about all the research that could be used to support hiring the right person for the right job? Does the research transcend jobs, companies, and culture? Does a team’s interview process account for cultural influence and organizational fit? When your organization is hiring new members, are they hiring based on team intuition (perception)? Or are they hiring based on methods that are consistent and equal with every candidate?

Recruiting is a demanding and heavily invested field for many reasons; hiring the right talent requires significant research, time investment and an understanding of other factors like trends, organizational culture, the ability to analyze and apply statistics and of course an understanding and strict adherence to Equal Employment Opportunity. Although there are many variables that should be considered when hiring talent, let’s consider just a few of the factors that impact team success: Social Resilience, Self-determination, Influence, and team dynamics.

Social Resilience

Is social resilience being confused with social acceptance? Does someone get hired simply because they are perceived by a hiring team as socially acceptable? What happens if one of the hiring team members doesn’t like someone based on personal perception? Does the team lose out on an opportunity to recruit what could be the future MVP?

According to Cacioppo, Reis, and Zautra (2011) individuals tend to form a type of social resilience (social flexibility) based on their ability to perceive others, the ability to connect, communicate, and respond to emotions, trust, tolerance, and openness. Cacioppo et al. continues by noting that individuals who can promote social resilience are helpful in managing stressful situations; supporting the ability to ease a member’s feelings of isolation from the group which can help a team’s overall performance. Social flexibility is about having the ability to “connect, communicate, and respond” to all kinds of personalities. It’s the ability to express empathy at the right time, and for some cultures it’s the ability to show confidence or other necessary characteristics at the right time when empathy just won’t work.


The Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivational Scale (WEIMS) found that high levels of self-determination are positively correlated with job satisfaction and commitment; compared to low levels of self-determination which are correlated with work strain, deviant behavior and turnover (Tremblay, Blanchard, Taylor, Pelletier & Villeneuve, 2009). Since self-determination is difficult to measure or assess in an interview, would a team or manager interview account for these known motivational components? What type of questions could a team interview ask a candidate to identify whether or not the candidate will promote job satisfaction and commitment? If they could ask the questions, would the interviewer’s tone of voice, perceptual preference, and body language change the interpretation of the questions being asked during the interview?


The success of a team can often be based on the influence of an individual as they can strengthen or weaken a team’s bond (Tremblay, Blanchard, Taylor, Pelletier & Villeneuve, 2009). Park and Hinsz (2006) note that according to behavioral theory of motivation, individuals are motivated by what a team needs from them such as their abilities and the contributions that they bring to the team; Self-determination theory identified that individual behaviors are associated within groups as a form of personal gain or personal needs (Amiot & Sansfacon, 2011) and diverse teams are more dependent on others within the team as their dependency promotes more positive behaviors within the group (Dudley-Rowley, 2000). Can the interview of a manager identify whether or not a new member of a team will add value to the team by increasing the team’s abilities? Would this be a question for the team to answer and if so, how would the team measure and compare the results from one interviewee to the next? Also, if a team is hiring based on social acceptance, then are they missing the point of hiring someone who brings more value to the team because of their unique differences that they would add to the team?

Team Dynamics

Action-orientation plays a significant factor in team dynamics. Action oriented team members are more goal oriented, they have the ability to self-regulate negative moods, can manage group and social pressures, and reduce the negative impacts of stressful situations by minimizing negative influences on goal outcomes (Baumann & Kuhl, 2005; Baumann & Kuhl, 2002; Diaz, 2015, Ijzerman & Van Prooijen, 2008; Kazen, Baumann, & Kuhl, 2003; Rudman & Spencer, 2007). Since action orientation is an assessed quality, do managers and team members take this factor into account?


I would suggest that for many new hires, a combination of manager interview, team hiring and assessments should be considered. A manager can leverage and rely on the strengths of recruiters who understand the research and factors that support the selection of one candidate over another, empowering the manager to interview only those candidates who meet the requirements and any assessments that were incorporated. The team should also participate in the hiring process because when a team supports the selection process they are putting their signature and stamp of approval on accepting a new member into their team. This puts the team in the place of taking ownership. However, the manager needs to ensure that the team that is already in place is the right team that will evaluate each candidate based on the values that a new candidate would bring to the team and not just personal preference.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.