Unpopular opinions and uncomfortable truths—workplace edition

  1. Other than you, no one cares what your goals and aspirations are. Don’t highlight these in an interview. Instead, focus on the business problem the hiring company has and how you can help solve those.
  2. Always have someone other than you proofread your written work. Always. It is very challenging to catch all errors in your own writing. Because poor grammar, spelling, and typos reflect poorly on you, run reports, presentations, resumes, and cover letters past another set of eyeballs.
  3. The open workspace. People hate it. It is a productivity killer. It must go away.
  4. If you are the organizer of a meeting, it is up to you to create an agenda for that meeting. Include the agenda in the meeting invitation. Meetings sans agendas run over time and go off on tangents; everyone will dread your meeting invites.
  5. Stacked ranking is a stupid way to conduct performance management. This is the scenario in which most people rank at a 3, and to rank at the top, you need to be adept at turning water into wine, parting seas, or other feats of biblical proportion. Having a team of 4’s is possible. But even better, do away with the 1-5 scale, and stop wasting time trying to fit people into neat little boxes.
  6. You’re having way too many meetings, conference calls, and WebEx’s. Trust me.
  7. Being affable and personable at work is just as important as being competent at doing your job. Don’t be a jerk.
  8. When you are finished preparing your slides for your presentation, go through and delete half of the slides. You don’t need them. You probably don’t need any at all. You’re using way too many, and you’re boring your audience.
  9. Nickel and diming of your employees, such requiring them to justify the “business reason” for a Staples purchase, really irritates them. Big time.
  10. Managers, stop watching the clock and doing bed checks. You’ve hired professional adults. Manage the work, not the time.
  11. You cannot rely on your manager or your employer to create a career path for you. You need to be in charge of that one yourself.
  12. Yes, you should go to happy hours, group dinners, and cocktail parties. You don’t need to show up at everyone, but you do need to show up somewhat regularly.
  13. Interviewers: Most of you are horrible at this. Your company needs to invest in some training. It will benefit everyone.
  14. In spite of LinkedIn, Snap Chat, Instagram, and Twitter, YES, you still need to have a resume.
  15. Do not resign from your position via text message.

Hiring managers: Stop asking candidates what they are currently earning. Not only is it none of your business, it’s a poor strategy to base a new hire’s compensation off of what someone else was paying them.

Interviewees: Arrive promptly for your interview and be sure you’ve done some research on the company before you get there. At minimum, understand what the company’s products/services are, and which markets they serve.

Everyone hates behavioral interviewing. Both sides of the desk.

Yes, we are judging you. Your clients, your boss, your team, your vendors. We are all judging you. Present yourself as a professional, be polite and easy to work with, and we will help you succeed.

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