Career Planning Cycle- Take Corrective Action

Now that your Career Plan is in place and you are monitoring your results, you need to develop a strategy for making adjustments.

Review Strategy

As we look at each item, make note of those that are NOT where you want them to be. These are the things that will need to be adjusted.

It is very normal for things to change, so don’t be discouraged if there are a few items that are not working out like you had hoped. Adjustments are a normal part of the process. The good thing is that you are taking note of them and making a change.

If you are are not meeting the dates that you set up for each milestone, take some time to try and figure out why:

  • Do you need to give more time to each step?
  • Are you not focused on the project and need to be more productive?
  • Is this outcome no longer important to you and you need to re-examine your goals?

Also, as you reach each milestone and complete each step, is it getting you to the point in your career that you expected?

  • Have you changed where you are headed?
  • Did you miscalculate how things would happen?
  • Has an outside influence affected your outcome?

Remember, it is okay to make changes. What is not okay is to ignore the things that aren’t working and expect a good outcome. The smartest thing you can do is be aware and be flexible.

How often are you reviewing your progress and making changes?


Hiring Talent- Develop a Successful Interviewing Process

How do you conduct interviews that get results? By making sure you are asking the right questions and having a good process.

Interview Technique Selection
Have a good mix of objective and subjective questions. You want to learn about their abilities and work experience as well as their personality traits and interpersonal skills. Ask some challenging questions and have them back up their answers with specifics.

Interview Organization & Execution
Plan your questions ahead of time. Focus on the critical skills needed to do the job well. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the top three skills necessary. Also take into account the vital issues and challenges that exist at your company.

Feedback & Decision Making
Focus on the top three skill needs you identified before the interview. As you decide, make sure these things are driving your decisions. Remember the list of issues and challenges that are part of your organization. Make sure the candidates have the right characteristics to be successful within your company dynamic.

The Rest of the Process
No matter how great you feel about the candidate, you should always do your research. Check references, do a background check, look at their online profiles, etc. These extra steps are important and can save time and money later.

What is your interview process like? What is your favorite interview question.


Career Planning Cycle- Monitor Progress

Having an Action Plan is great- but you will run into trouble if you don’t monitor your progress. Not everything will go perfectly and you need to be able to adjust as you go.

Review Quarterly

You should review your plan quarterly and evaluate your progress, as well as the effectiveness of the actions you planned.

  • Are you reaching the milestones you set?
  • Are you on track with your due dates?
  • Was your timing too aggressive?
  • Have you had proper focus and effort?
  • Also, as you reach each milestone and complete each step, is it getting you to the point in your career that you expected?

Another good reason to examine your progress quarterly is you can make notes to use when Preparing Your Annual Review. The steps you are taking to further your career should be noted and mentioned at review time.

Are you monitoring your steps toward your goals?

Hiring Talent- Create Ideal Candidate Experience

As an employer, the impression you make in the interview can have a large impact on how that person feels about your company and your brand.

You should be striving to create the best candidate experience possible for every single candidate. That way, even the people you don’t hire will have a positive feeling about your organization- and they will probably tell someone else. Over time, this builds the reputation for your company as an employer.

Plan for a Great Experience
You should plan to give the candidates a good experience from the beginning. Examine the entire process and think about how it looks through the eyes of a candidate. Are you giving them enough information? Are you listening when they talk? Is the process a good give and take between both parties?

Collect the Information You Need
Give some thought to the interview questions you are asking. Are you getting information that will help you in making the final decision? Don’t just ask the cliche questions, ask things that are very specific to your organization and the position. Ask questions about personality and interpersonal skills as well as the technical skills needed.

Manage Candidate Expectations
Thank everyone for their interest, regardless of their qualifications. Explain what your search process will be like. Make sure you tell them when to expect a decision- and stick to it.

Communicate in a Timely Manner
If something comes up to change your timeline, give them a status update. No one likes to be kept hanging.

Close the Loop
Make sure you let everyone know when the position is filled and thank them for their interest. Tell the candidates that were close that you will keep them in mind for future positions. You may have future opportunities that they would be perfect for and you want them to think of you in a positive light.

What do you do to create a great experience for your candidates?

Career Planning Cycle- Develop an Action Plan

You now have all the pieces, you just need to put them together into an action plan. Look at the list you came up with from Determining Exposures. Take those items and decide when you can implement each part.

List Your Activities

Some things are on a structured timeline, such as going back to school. You know when you will go to class and how long it will take to get your degree. You can plan the rest of your schedule around school and plan farther into the future.

Other items are not as structured, such as learning to network or practicing making presentations. These are skills you need to figure out how to learn on your own.

Some steps may include:

  • Asking a friend who is good in that area for some advice or resources
  • Looking in local education brochures for workshops
  • Find organizations or associations that might allow you to practice these skills
  • Search online for books, webinars, articles, etc. There is so much to be found on the internet, you are sure to get more resources than you could ever read.

Make Your Plan

Decide what you’re going to do and when. Make a plan with milestones. Then get started! Be realistic with your goals and dates, but also set a pace to ensure you get there.

Do you have your plan mapped out for 2012?

Career Planning Cycle- Determine Exposures Needed

Now that you know where you are starting from (Determine Your Starting Point) and where you want to end up (Establish Goals), you can connect the dots in between. Examine your situation to figure out what you can get exposure in to help you move forward- make a list of all the types of education, training, practice that will benefit you.


What types of programs might be helpful?

  • Will you need a CPA or MBA?
  • Will you need cross-functional technical exposure (audit to tax, general to cost accounting, etc)?
  • Should you polish your presentation skills or join professional associations?
  • Do you need to work on business development or networking skills?

Talk to your boss or other higher level professionals and human resources to find out what steps might be right for you. You can also talk to someone who currently holds the title you desire. They might be able to tell you what skills would be useful in that position.

A recruiter can also help you with this step. They typically have seen many people move through the same levels and have an understanding of what employers want when looking to hire someone in specific positions.

Do you know what skills you need to work on for 2012?

What I learned about Interviewing from Dirty Harry

Is anyone else out there a Clint Eastwood fan? The Spaghetti Westerns are a bit too cliche for me, but Joe Kidd, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and all the Dirty Harry movies are not on cable TV enough for me. So what does that have to do with interviewing? Not much, really. But if you want to see a great example of basic behavioral interviewing, watch The Enforcer from 1976.

Early on there is a scene where Harry is on a 4 person panel interviewing candidates for detective inspector positions. Tyne Daly plays Kate Moore, a police records clerk trying to become an inspector. Harry asks her to tell the panel about her most important felony arrest. She has no example. Then he asks her to tell them about her most important misdemeanor arrest. Again, she has no example. So he gets in her grill about what right she has to interview for an inspector role when there are experienced beat cops with arrest experience who want the role.

Some now obvious, politically incorrect dialogue follows. Then, in true Hollywood fashion, she gets the job anyway. That is the difference from the real world. For us to get hired, we need real examples. Here’s how to prepare – have as many “War Stories” ready as possible.

What are war stories? These are your accomplishments and unique traits that show why you are the best person for the job. There are three parts to every good war story.

1. The problem you were faced with, the situation. Provide details on the situation and why it was a problem for your company.

2. Your solution. Here you want to explain what YOU did to solve the problem, step-by-step and in detail. You want the employer to envision you doing the same for them.

3. The results – these should be measurable, sustainable and a direct result of your solution.

Try to have a war story ready for every major aspect of the position you are interviewing for – technical skills, management skills, etc. If you are asked about an area you do not have a war story prepared for, use the three part approach to put one together. It is good to be able to think on the fly. After all, you don’t want Dirty Harry up in your grill!