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10 Simple Tips to Remember As You Prepare For Your Interview

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer's foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as you try to calm yourself down and relax.

These are our 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

Keep your dress professional

Seems pretty basic, but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the drycleaners. Pick your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • clean and crisp
  • a suit for men
  • a skirt and blouse, or basic business dress for ladies  
  • No sundresses or shorts

This is an interview not a date - don't overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry. Gentlemen, do you shirt buttons up, and no gold chains hanging out. Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

No Perfume or Cologne 

Have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary. Why? A lot of companies/businesses are "no scent" zones. Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne. They’ll reschedule if you are lucky!


How do you get to the Interview

Google it, and do a test run if you aren't sure. If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby. 9am and 5pm interviews mean rush hour. Be prepared for it to take 30 minutes longer to get there. Check the weather - rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. Be prepared!

Never be late for the Interview

It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.

And yes, there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them. "The dog ate the directions" won't work in the business world. And you'd better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

Be polite to everyone

That older lady in the elevator might be "mom" going to visit her son the interviewer. You don't want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator. The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers. Be polite to everyone all the time. It is a good road to travel down.

Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer's name

We live in a very multicultural country, let's try our best to pronounce names properly. Ask the recruiter or phone the company. Write it down phonetically and practice.

Keep your right hand free

Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview. Move your portfolio, purse, or extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office.

Just before you get to the Interview

Turn off your phone and tablet.

Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

It starts as soon as you enter the room. Smile, firm handshake, and speak clearly. Relax and take part in the conversation.

Tell me about yourself

This question is totally about relaxing you. Take your elevator pitch and expand it "a bit". The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones version. Keep it professional.


Don't let a little thing muck up your interview. Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process. Remember they liked your resume - you look good on paper - now is the time to shine in person.

Good luck job hunting!


How to Survive a Video Interview

To think that 20 years ago every interview was set up as a F2F (face to face). That's right you went into the office, dressed to the nines - suit, skirt/dress, shined shoes all freshly scrubbed. There weren't any telephone interviews. Skype wasn't even invented. And now we have video interviews.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION.  HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A VIDEO INTERVIEW?

Check your Equipment

You don't want your battery to run out before your interview is over so make sure everything is running smoothly. Clean the lens on your camera, nothing worse than a fingerprint showing up in the middle of your face. Practice with a friend so you can find the appropriate volume for a normal speaking voice. You don't want to have to yell and you don't want to miss the question because you can't hear the interviewer properly.

Where are you going to set up your Interview?

Find an area that is quiet from distractions. You don't want to hear the dog barking as people walk down your street. Make sure the area is clean and clutter free. If you are doing it in your bedroom you don't want the Sports Illustrated Bathing Suit calendar showing up in the picture. Empty or full beer bottles on your counter won't set a very good example.

Dress like you were meeting in Person

Dressing professionally makes you feel more in control and self-confident. So put your dress or suit and tie on, make-up, hair, shave. All the things you would do if you were heading to the office to meet the interviewer. Try not to wear white as it can look very bright through a camera, also busy patterns can be distracting.

Camera

Have your camera set up at a level so you are looking up just a little bit. This will emphasize your face more than your body and will make you look a little slimmer. It also helps to stop the camera from looking up your nose if you do a bit of a stretch. REMEMBER - don't look down or the interviewers will be looking at the top of your head. Look directly at the camera, maintain eye contact and smile.

 

Cheat Notes

Yes you can use cheat notes, perfect for writing down your interview questions, but remember that rustling paper can be picked up by the microphone and is very distracting. You also don't want your eyes roving around the room or looking down, leaving the interviewer looking at the top of your head.

Truthfully it isn't that much different than a F2F.

  • Be prepared - practice those interview questions and research the company.
  • Sit up tall and don't wiggle around too much.
  • Relax and speak clearly.
  • Remember to thank everyone for their time.

 

Don't treat a video interview lightly. You have to have the qualifications and you have to be able to sell yourself. All you are doing is using a different venue. So, Take 1 and wow them the first time.

 

Good luck job hunting!


Your Resume Checklist

 

Before you submit that resume, have a 2nd and a 3rd look. Once you send it there is no way to get it back, so proofread, proofread, proofread! Verify everything you need is mentioned in the resume. Below are some do's and don'ts to help you with your resume submission.

  • Your name (first and last) is bolded on the first page, followed by contact information (town/city, country, phone, email, LinkedIn) in a smaller font. On subsequent pages include your name, email and phone number in a smaller font at the top of the resume.
  • Do not include personal information like: marital status, children, father's name (yes I have seen it on resumes), passport number or SIN number.
  • How long is your Professional Profile? Keep it to 1 paragraph, 5 to 6 sentences and possibly a couple of bullets. Make sure they highlight the skills you have that match the job you are applying for. A 1-page profile will lose the interest of the recruiter after about the 5th line. Keep it short and concise.
  • Is your Education listed with the highest degree on the top, followed by certifications and training in reverse chronological order?
  • If you are applying for a technical position. This is a good spot to list your most current technologies. Needless to say if there are specific technical skills in the job ad and you have them, then put them in here so they will stand out.
  • The next section should be your Professional Experience. Again, the jobs should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the most current position first.
  • Do your achievements start with action words: Develop, Create, Built, Performed, Managed, Coordinated, etc. Here is a webpage with 100's of action words: http://jobmob.co.il/blog/positive-resume-action-verbs/ or just type "List of Action Words" in Google.
  • NEVER NEVER NEVER start a sentence with "I" or "your name". "John created a test plan and test cases" or "I created a test plan and test cases" should become: Created a test plan and test cases.
  • Put your keywords from the job ad in your achievements as often as you can. If the job is looking for someone who has worked on an "on-line banking system" then say so. Created detailed test plans for the CIBC On-line Banking System using Mercury Tools.
  • Tell them how much you enjoyed the interview and that you are looking forward to their call.
  • If you notice that it is taking you a long time to read your resume, then it is probably too long, cut it down to 2 or 3 pages. You can always put in a line that says: Detailed job information from 1999 and back is available upon request.
  • Hobbies - not needed on the resume. This is a question that may come up at the interview to get the conversation going. Be careful what you tell them. Reading, Golf, Skiing, etc are probably good topics of conversation. Telling your interviewer that you like to go to the casino every Saturday night might set off some warning bells for him/her.
  • References - don't go on the resume, in fact don't even put in the line "references available upon request", that's a known.
  • Take out the graphics, logos, graphs, pictures.
  • Don't include a letter from your mother, yes it has happened.
  • Don't lie on your resume, this is a legal document.
  • Have someone proofread it, have them read the job ad as well. You want to make sure your points address the job description.

Resumes can be adapted to different jobs/positions that you are applying for. But remember to always tell the truth!


What should you do after your Interview?

 

Interviews come in many shapes and forms. The telephone interview, the video interview, the first interview, progressing hopefully to the 2nd, 3rd and job offer stage. There are things you can do to help you through each stage and give you an advantage when you get the call for the next interview. As you leave the interview, smile, shake hands, ask for business cards, make sure to ask the always important question of "When do you expect to make a decision?" and then head over for a coffee to help settle those interview jitters. Don't just bask in the warmth of your favourite coffee (go ahead add extra sugar and cream) get out your phone, tablet or good old fashioned note book and start making notes about the interview.

WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE INTERVIEW?

  • How long did it last? First interviews should last between 30 minutes and an hour.
  • Were you relaxed? Did something happen that flustered you? It could just be a little thing, maybe you had your hard copy of your resume in your right hand which made it awkward to shake hands. Great next time you'll know to keep your right hand free. Were you running a little late? Nothing worse than running into your interview without a chance to catch your breath or take a minute to pat down your subway blown hair or check your teeth for broccoli.
  • Did your elevator pitch work? Was it too short, no personality, did you talk too fast. These are all things you can correct for the next step.

DID YOU PROVE YOU ARE QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB?

  • Did you do well on the technical and job description related questions? Write down the questions you can remember. Grade them – which ones need improvement, which ones you could expand on and how you could improve your answers for the next interview. Highlight your strong points and make sure to mention them in the “Thank you Note”.

DID YOU DAZZLE THEM WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE COMPANY?

  • You already have your questions written down that you asked them about the job and the company (RIGHT). Again, grade them, which ones impressed the interviewers, which ones were not answered to your satisfaction (ie future growth, training, etc).
  • Do you need to do more research on the company, especially on their plans for the future and where their growth is?

WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging. There is nothing wrong with either side. It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

  • After you have analyzed how the interview went go home and write a professional but personal thank you note.
  • Thank you for their time.
  • Expand on why you are a good fit for this position and the company. Be specific, don’t just generalize. “My background in leading and mentoring a team of 7 developers while at … will …..”
  • Tell them how much you enjoyed the interview and that you are looking forward to their call.

CONNECT/NETWORK

  • Should you connect on LinkedIn? Check them out for sure, if they have 500+ connections then go ahead and request a connection. If they only have a few connections then wait until you get the job. Should you connect on LinkedIn? Check them out for sure, if they have 500+ connections then go ahead and request a connection. If they only have a few connections then wait until you get the job.
  • Definitely follow their company accounts, ie Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Stay away from their personal accounts.

ARE YOU WORKING WITH A RECRUITER?

  • Call them after you finish your notes. Let them know what you thought of the interview and whether you want to pursue the job. Most recruiters have a good rapport with their clients and are able to get a good idea of how you did in the interview. What they liked about you and what you need to improve. These insights will help you in future interviews.

Every job interview is a learning experience. Be critical, be positive. Don't wing it. At the end of the interview, you need to decide do you want the job or not. Is this a company I want to work for, is it the environment I want to spend 5 days a week working in. Your notes and your analysis will help you make educated decisions in finding and attaining the right position for you.


8 Questions to Ask Yourself when Changing Careers

It is important to assess or clarify exactly what you are looking for short term and also where you want to be long term.  Remember when changing your career it also affects your family life and your social life.  Here are 8 questions to help you analyze your next career change:

  • What is your objective
  • What type of organization
  • Supervisory or not
  • Salary
  • Type of employment
  • Location
  • New technologies
  • You and/or your family

1. WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE?

  • Are you looking to gain new skills?
  • Do you want to move into a leadership position?
  • What technologies do you like working with the most?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years and what will help you get there?

2. WHAT TYPE OF ORGANIZATION?

  • Is there a specific industry you are interested in, ie finance, manufacturing, health, government?
  • Would you be interested in a large national/international company where there is room for transfers to other locations?
  • How about a start-up?  Do you have the skills that could take a start-up to the next level? Or just like the excitement of new and innovative environments?
  • Do you like bureaucracy or are you more comfortable in a family environment?

3. SUPERVISOR OR NOT?

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging.  There is nothing wrong with either side.  It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

  • Do you like a challenging puzzle? If you like getting involved in a puzzle then supervising might not be for you.
  • Supervising means making time for people and their problems and idiosyncrasies.
  • You have to be tough and soft and fair.

4. HOW IMPORTANT IS SALARY?

  • Is money the most important thing in your life right now?  No shame in admitting this.  Money makes the world go round and helps you buy a house, go on a vacation, or pay off a loan.
  • Is learning a new skill more important than the salary?
  • Is this a good time to add extra experience and education to your resume and not worry as much about the salary?  Sometimes a long term career path means not necessarily going for the big pay cheque.

5. CONTRACT OR PERMANENT?

  • Do you like the security of a permanent position?  These can include scheduled raises, health benefits, vacation time, possibility for advancement.  Your job may be like your family.

OR

  • Are you more comfortable being a contractor and being your own boss.  Like having control of your salary and where the write-offs go.  The larger salary compensates for time off between jobs.  Do you like the idea of being able to take a summer off or travel for 4 months?  Do you find that new people, new systems, new companies enhance your work experience or do they stress you?

6. LOCATION – TO COMMUTE OR NOT?

Commuting is a big deal breaker on my list.

  • Do you like to drive?
  • Are you and the company close to public transportation?
  • How about the expense of car, parking, public transportation?
  • How long does the commute take?  Are you going to be happy with needing an extra 2 hours for transportation?
  • Don't forget to think about those long Canadian winters when you factor in commuting.

7. comfortable with NEW AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES?

Are you comfortable with the technologies you are using or do you want to train with the new technologies on the marketplace?

  • Keep up to date on new/emerging technologies and what companies/systems are using them.
  • What’s hot, what’s not?  COBOL, Java, Hadoop.  What companies offer training in the new technologies?
  • Read industry publications to keep up to date on emerging technologies.
  • Do you need to go back to school or take a course/certificate?

8. what about YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?

Times change and so do you.  Just graduated, no family ties – then long hours and travelling with your job are great.  Add a family into the scenario or have an older parent you need to help with.  Your needs change and so do theirs.

  • There is nothing more fun than coaching one of your kids at yours/their favourite sport.  Will the new job provide the opportunity to get home early enough for that?
  • Does the new company have a day care centre?
  • Health Benefits can make a huge difference in your life style.
  • Older parents, spouse’s career, are you at an age when you would like a little more time off.  These are all factors that you have to analyze when you are looking for a new position.

WHAT FACTOR IS THE DEAL BREAKER FOR YOU?

Everyone has different needs.  As you grow in your career your needs will change.  It’s important to analyze each factor for each time in your life.  Be honest!!  Changing careers and companies is a hard decision and not something you want to regret.
Start with these 8 questions and analyze each one.  


10 Simple Tips Prepare for Your Interview

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer's foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as your try to calm yourself down and relax.

Here are our 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

1. Keep your dress professional

Seems pretty basic but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the cleaners.   Look your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • Clean and crisp
  • A suit for the guys and a skirt and blouse or basic business dress for the gals - no sundresses or shorts. This is an interview not a date - don't overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry.
  • Guys shirt buttons done up, no gold chains hanging out.
  • Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

2. No Perfume or Cologne

  • Have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary, why? A lot of companies/businesses are "no scent" zones. 
  • Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne? 

3. How do you get to the Interview?

  • Google it, do a test run if you aren't sure.
  • If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby.
  • 9 am and 5 pm interviews mean rush hour.  Be prepared for it taking 30 minutes longer to get there
  • Check the weather - rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. 

4. Never be late for the Interview

  • It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.
  • Yes, there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them.  "The dog ate the directions" won't work in the business world.
  • Yes, you'd better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

5. Be Polite to everyone

  • That older lady in the elevator might be "mom" going to visit her son the interviewer.  You don't want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator.
  • The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers.
  • Be polite to everyone all the time.  It is a good road to travel down.

6. Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer's name

  • We live in a very multicultural country, let's try our best to pronounce names properly.
    Ask the recruiter or phone the company
    Write it down phonetically and practice

7. Keep your right hand free

  • Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview
  • Move your portfolio, purse, extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office

8. Just before you get to the Interview

  • Turn off your phone and tablet.

9. Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

  • It starts as soon as you enter the room.
  • Smile, firm handshake, speak clearly
  • Relax and take part in the conversation

10. Tell me about yourself

  • This question is totally about relaxing you. 
  • Take your elevator pitch and expand it "a bit".  The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones.
  • Keep it professional.

Don't let a little thing mess up your interview.  Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process.  Remember they liked your resume - you look good on paper - now is the time to shine in person.

Good luck job hunting!


How to answer

Companies are always interested in why you are looking for a new job. Depending on the answer they can get a good feel for you as a person and whether they want you working for their company.

  • Do you like to change jobs? bad attitude
  • Are you looking for advancement? good attitude
  • Are you trying to increase your knowledge? good attitude
  • Did you have an issue with your boss/co-workers? bad attitude

Positive, positive, positive - yes always try and keep your answers positive. Below are some guidelines that you can expand on by bringing the job opening and your skill set/goals into the answer.

  • I had reached the top of my level in my previous position and am looking to expand my knowledge. This position and your company will offer me the opportunity to do that.
  • The last company I worked for was very small and I felt it was time to move into a large corporate office to increase my challenges.
  • My last position was a wonderful place to work for right out of school, and now I would like to move my career into a new path.
  • My family life has changed and I am looking to work closer to home. Your company is closer to my home and still offers me the challenges and opportunities I need in my position. I am very excited about being able to utilize some new skills and polish up some old ones.
  • A friend sent me your job posting and the position sounded right up my alley. After researching your company I feel like I would be an ideal match for this position.
  • It is very important for me to be challenged in my position and it was time for a change. Your company is using a system I am looking to increase my knowledge of.
  • My last company went through a down turn and I realized that my position was being downsized. This has given me the opportunity to look for new challenges and after researching a number of companies, I feel that my entrepreneurial nature will fit in very nicely with your company...

It never pays to be negative. The last thing you want to do is sound whinny. You also don't know if there is a relationship between the position you are leaving and the one you are interviewing for.

  • I couldn't work for my boss anymore
  • My co-workers were impossible to get along with
  • They were always advancing their children

So remember:

  • Be positive
  • Answer the question
  • Follow it up with promoting your skill set
  • And finally why the new company is so much better suited to you

Yesssss!!! You’ve designed your Resume and your Cover Letter..Kudos!!! But wait… there are ways to continuously improve your Resume.

In Part 7 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, we discuss some Do’s and Don’ts while and after you have written your resume


In Part 6 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Jim Carlson discusses the much pondered and puzzled “Cover Letter”, the partner to your Resume..

Everyone has their version on the Cover Letter, a place to showcase who you, as a person, really are.

It gives the reader a little more insight and is a chance to get the reader interested in you further.

Listen on further to see how you can take your Resume up a notch.

Download the Cover Letter Example


In Part 5 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana talks about how you could present your “Work Experience”.

Don’t we all love stories, even when we have grown up?

Why not make your Resume a storyline of your projects, your experiences and a lot more!

Listen on further to see how you can take your Resume up a notch.

Download the CV Example

Download the CV Sample

In Part 4 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana continues her discussion on the Experience Section of the Resume.

The experience section should give a lot more insight into your work history in terms of company, industry, size of the company, your job and further details.

If your experience has been off-shore, make sure to mention some additional details so as to give the reader a comparative analysis.

Listen on further to see how you can take your Resume up a notch.

Download the CV Sample

In Part 3 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana talks about the most important part of the Resume - “The Work Experience”

Starting with the basics, Archana discusses some important things to keep in mind while framing your Resume.

Download the CV Example


In Part 2 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana talks about the next part of the Resume - “Education, Certifications & Technologies”

You have graduated from the best university, have the certifications for the latest technologies and have worked with some really cool technologies, but what happens if it is not presented well?  No one reads it..

Watch this video and learn how you can make your resume attractive…

Download the CV Example



Kicking off the 7 Steps to a Great Resume video series, Archana Ravinder, a Senior Recruiter with Planet4iT is going to walk us through the different sections of the quintessential marketing document, the Resume and how to make it stand out.

Download the CV Example



Jim Carlson, President for Planet4iT, brings to you a series of talks; our motto being “Recruit, Train and Retain”.

Planet4iT has been in business for 20 years and has seen the evolution of the industry from “Candidate Recruitment” to a “Career Building” Industry from many different angles.

But one thing has remained the same…

The Resume…

The Resume, a carefully crafted document does 3 things:

  1. Express who you are
  2. During an interview, lets you describe that to the interviewee
  3. Makes you feel great about yourself!!!

And this comes together as positiveness, which reflects in the interview.

Our first series is about this first step towards your next great career move..


Looking for a new opportunity? Looking for a new challenge? The right candidate for the right job? 

Stop! Think, Decide!

Seek help from the professionals at Planet4iT and Planet4Digital... Follow our 7 Step Video Series on Building a Great Resume! Stay tuned for Part 1.


  Why are Law Firms Hiring Project Managers?
Lawyers plan, execute matters against scope, have deadlines, manage budgets, manage teams, manage stakeholders, remove obstacles, ensure efficient communication between clients and internal groups, and review the matter at the end to determine lessons learned before closing cases.
Sounds familiar? 

These are all project management tasks performed by lawyers on a daily bases. Nevertheless, a project that is titled a legal matter is still a project.

The Dilemma
Although Lawyers perform project management tasks, it does not make them accomplished Project Managers. Lawyers are subject matter experts. They specialize in a specific type of law, e.g. labour, criminal, corporate, property etc. Lawyers perceive any other work to be a distraction to their business. Lawyers also manage case files by doing the proverbial deep dive looking for the small letter of the law that will give them an upper hand in the legal case. They seldom look at the big picture to understand the external risk factors or have an appreciation for keeping all the stakeholders and clients informed about process and cost.

The Solution

Hire a dedicated Project Manager to work side-by-side with a lawyer! The Project Manager can focus on the processes associated with a legal case or matter. The lawyer is unhindered to focus on the legal work only. No distractions. Project Managers are natural leaders that enjoy working at the process level, and lawyers are book smart savvy academics that work with theory and stay at the policy level.

  1. There are various benefits linked with hiring a dedicated PM, including;
    Being Cost Effective – By assigning PMs to run legal processes, the legal firm is releasing lawyers to do other core legal work. Clients benefit because they are charged the lower PM rate as opposed to the higher lawyer rate for non-legal work. Lawyers are unrestricted to increase billing hours for core legal work.
  2. Separation of Duties – since PMs are not schooled lawyers, there is a clear distinction between duties. The lawyer does the legal work, and the PM does the planning, and process work.
  3. Leadership Skills – The law firm attains another leader in an organization that is a divided between lawyers and administrative staff. Legal cases are managed as projects with clear expectations, dates, and cost.
  4. Client Satisfaction Leads to Repeat Business – Clients are managed as stakeholders and are informed promptly about budgets and timeline changes. Project management is after all 90% communication. The Project Manager monitors the case, communicate more readily with the client and make sure expectations are clear and don’t suffer from too much legal jargon.
  5. Help with Technology – Lawyers live in a world where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data are growing exponentially. AI has already assisted lawyers to work more efficiently, providing legal research through automated hunts of case law and statutes, proofreading, error correction, finding missing information, document formatting and correcting inconsistent linguistic use. Data mining, pattern recognition, and matching can be applied for many purposes, including digital forensics, fraud and insider trading investigations.  With the assistance of a technical savvy PM, it helps the lawyer process information that at a manual level would be unworkable. With DNA matching, historic cold case crimes can be resolved, not to mention the impact of present-day techniques of validating evidence.
  6. Certified Professional – In addition to the PMP certification, the PM working at a legal firm, can obtain the Legal Project Professional™ (LPP) certification that recognizes a person with practitioner expertise about Legal Project Management and can lead legal matters as a legal Project Manager.
  7. The Competitors are Hiring PMs – Large Legal firms are hiring PMs. A Washington DC firm, Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, which focuses primarily on corporate and business law, recently brought on Ms. Deanna Burke, PMP as its first COO. Deanna has over 15 years of experience in IT project management, primarily in the aviation industry, where she led initiatives such as implementing air traffic management solutions.

The Opportunity
Hiring PMs to work with Lawyers is a win-win for Law firms. Lawyers are free to do legal work, and PMs has a new industry to influence and optimize the industry.
Go out there, my fellow colleagues. Opportunity knocks for you to sell your capabilities! It will be nice indeed to be on the same side of a Lawyer

Written in collaboration between Jim Carlson and a Consultant Program Principle


Can Emotional Intelligence (EI) be the New Benchmark for Hiring the Best PMs?
About one year ago, I read this truly thought-provoking research paper1 that raised a noteworthy question – can we increase hiring success using Emotional Intelligence to place the right PMs on the right projects?  

Background

We have all been there!We interview a remarkable candidate that has all the correct answers, qualifications, experience, and knowledge to be successful in his or her new PM Job. Nevertheless, for some unknown reason, the wonderful candidate is not a good fit, the troops are in an uproar, the client complains, and you have to find a replacement candidate quickly to mend the relationship fences. What gives? Why did this flawless candidate not succeed in his/her new role? How did you drop the ball? What is the secret sauce of hiring the right candidate for this innovative transformation project?

Is There a Better Way?

The feedback you received from your client is that your candidate wasn’t a good fit culturally for the organization. What it means is that the organization or project functions differently than the candidate. When the organization wants to go faster he/she wants to go slower, when they are strategic, he/she is tactical etc. Can we say “soft skills” quagmire?

According to J. Rodney Turner, PhD. and Ralf Müller, the authors of “Choosing Appropriate Project Managers”1, a PMs EI including Emotional (EQ), Managerial (MQ), and Intellectual (IQ) are all contributors to project success. Turner and Müller also advocate that EQ has a more significant impact on project management success than MQ, and IQ with some leadership competencies within EQ being more important to others depending on the type of project. Turner and Müller conducted semi-structured interviews and used a web-based questionnaire with over four hundred usable responses. The research that was published by the Project Management Institute, Inc. in 20061 supports the hypothesis that a PM’s leadership style and EI competencies contribute to project success, and the type of projects he/she will be successful at delivering for the organization.  

What the Research Tells Us

Emotional Intelligence (EQ), was the most prevalent for successful project outcomes. PMs must be emotionally intelligent to be successful. It makes it imperative that a hiring manager identifies the leadership competencies when recruiting PM candidates. 
Based on this PM leadership competencies the most successful PMs are motivated achievers, critical thinkers that are self-aware with strong resource skills. 

Key Data Points

IT and Renewal PMs have identical EI profiles, and PMs managing Repositioning and Organizational Change projects have similar leadership competencies
High-performing, high complexity projects or programs will require a PM with high ratings on all leadership competencies (EQ, MQ and IQ)
PM in high-performing, mandatory (Compliance) projects show strong competencies in critical thinking (IQ), conscientiousness (EQ), influence (EQ), and managing resources (MQ)
Repositioning projects require strong EQ, as well as empowering (MQ), managing resources (MQ), and critical thinking (IQ)

5 Changes to Incorporate into Your Hiring Process

1. Recognize the types of projects that your client undertakes, and the appropriate leadership styles for every kind of project
2. Identify the leadership styles of your PM resource pool (use a Leadership Dimensions Questionnaire (LDQ) tool that measures EI accurately)
3. Further, develop the specific leadership skills that are in high demand based on your client’s market
4. Maintain PM profile centrally and choose appropriate PMs when placing candidates
5. Celebrate the PMs and their contributions to your success

In Conclusion

Turner and Müller are not saying that all PMs will fail unless they have the right leadership style and EI competencies. What they are saying is that performance will be impaired on specific project types if the PM doesn’t have the appropriate leadership style and competencies. As a PM’s career develops, he/she must look to enhance his or her leadership style. If the PM specializes in one type of project, it makes sense to acquire the appropriate leadership style and EI competencies. As the PM progresses from low to high complexity projects, he/she will have to enhance his or her leadership competencies, especially developing emotional dimensions. 

1. Based on the Research Paper By: 
J. Rodney Turner, PhD. and Ralf Müller, DBA, 2006, Choosing Appropriate Project Managers, Matching their Leadership Style to the Type of Project. 
Published and Available for Purchase on www.pmi.org

Written in collaboration between Jim Carlson and a Consultant Program Principle.


 



If Agile is a Silver Bullet, We Are Hunting With Crossbows

The dictionary defines a “Silver Bullet” as a bullet made of silver, used in fiction as a supposedly magical method of killing werewolves. The modernized version describes it as a simple and seemingly magical solution to a complicated problem. Executives use “Silver Bullets” to protect themselves from downsizing, outsourcing, and early retirement.

Some people are plugging Agile as the present day Silver Bullet.

In response, I simply say – HALT!

Agile is an adjective and not a noun. Agile provides the ability to adapt quickly to a changing environment without material impact to time and the effort to the team. Agile is about applying common sense principles; reducing inefficiencies, increasing quality, and continuously looking for ways to improve throughput. Agile is a radical counter-cultural change in the process – a paradigm shift.

Pure agile contains all the above, but to determine if Agile is genuinely the magical solution to our complicated problems, we need to debunk a few common myths first.

Common Myths about Agile:

1.    Agile is a project management technique – false

2.    Agile is Scrum – false

3.    Agile is a one-size-fits-all solution – false

4.    Agile is going to solve all of our complicated problems – (sadly) false

1. Agile is not a project management technique

Agile is not a project management methodology as some may advocate. Project management methodologies or techniques drive a plan using repeatable disciplinary processes. Conversely, Agile is about interdisciplinary autonomous teams aligning to a corporation’s objectives and trying different approaches and outcomes to advance innovation. Agile is flexible and principle-based, rather than prescriptive.

2. Agile is not Scrum

Scrum is one of many methods of software development. Agile is much bigger than Scrum and not limited to software development only. Agile principles are scalable to most industries and functions, including operations, marketing, R&D, and Legal. Scum might be used to get Agile out of the gate, but it is not substitutable. It is saying C++ and coding are interchangeable.

3. Agile is not a one-fits-all solution

Organizations are all different and unique. Each company has their own unique culture, inadequacies, working styles, and preferences. Trying to create a one-fits-all “Agile” solution, is not necessarily wrong, but it takes away from the real essence of Agile. Agile is about reducing inefficiencies, increasing quality, and continually looking for ways to improve throughput. It is not about speeding up code delivery to the point where quality capitulates.

4. Agile is not going to solve all our complicated problems

Agile is not a magic formula that will fix all our complicated issues, it has, however, common sense principles that will fix some of our problems. You might be following all the Agile principles religiously, but it is one thing to want to do the right thing, it is altogether another thing to “actually” do it. There will always be procrastinators, office politics, and career aspirations that get in the way of pure agile. What makes agile transformation so tricky is that it goes against our natural behaviors - to control and limit change and uncertainty. At the end of the day, and to be truly successful, our way of thinking (our culture) needs to change before Agile fixes problems.

In summary

Agile is not a silver bullet!

Agile is about applying common sense principles; reducing inefficiencies, increasing quality, and continuously looking for ways to improve throughput. Start slowly, educate the organization, use Agile to go Agile, and most importantly - allow room for failure and constant refinement. Nevertheless, I hope you find your transition to Agile both stimulating and gratifying.

Written in collaboration between Jim Carlson and a Consultant Program Principle.



It’s All About Build

 

A noted Enterprise Architect and I were chatting over a coffee one day a short while ago about next- generation Enterprise software. The enterprise that employs him needs a global offering. The software Vendors were asked to meet 2022 needs for this strategic recruit, train and retain initiative. The project is fully funded by the top Executives. My friend was reflecting that the short listed Vendors who can offer ‘off the shelf’ ERP software were only able to meet 1st Quarter 2018 enterprise needs. The build solution seems to be the viable alternative at this time.  Our reflection was that this project is only the tip of the iceberg on what Corporations and companies are now facing if they are to survive.

Current fad is to use expressions in the likes of incorporating AI based behaviours; IOT; Cyber currencies and crypt based attestations; Data science and analytics; Cloud; collaborative source development; and voice activated activities. These have real meaning when a business entity is looking to build.

At the end of 2017, the top tech jobs noted by Industry experts are: Machine Learning Engineers; Data Scientists; Customer Success Managers; Big Data Developers; Full Stack Engineers; Unity Developers; and Full Stack Developers to name a few in the top quadrant. Shortages for each of these positions start at 10:1 for the machine learning folks to 4.5:1 for the full stack developers.

The pace of job change is nothing like I have ever seen in my 30 years as a career manager. However, from a job advice perspective, I want my professionals to get on these projects now or invest in education immediately to join a project this 2018 calendar year. No one can aptly predict the journey to 2022 and beyond, but many of the world’s great Seers have already stated in multiple publications what business and consumerism will look like.

Your mission, is to get yourself on one of these projects immediately. Taking on any maintenance and enhancement (read Legacy) role may be career limiting if you are not a ‘Boomer’. If you current Employer is staying the course in 2018, they will be in peril by 3rd Quarter 2019 or sooner! Technology companies are building, buying and introducing immediate Gen technology across multiple channels. Ideally one wants to be involved in the application and integration of these technologies and products.

The Build era is where I come from. The Boomer philosophy in those days was anything was possible. Great new companies rose and stalwarts fell. Leaders were identified and careers made. It was easy to reminisce over coffee with my fellow Boomer colleague on the good old days. However, what got our brains burning is the opportunity to forge a phenomenal career in today’s environment. The pace of change is very fast. Just by recognizing this gets you well positioned. The next step is to join a software or infrastructure build project, company or alternative initiative now. To borrow a corny expression: embrace the change and get on with it.