Tag Archive: Team player


How many graduating university/college seniors in communications disciplines (i.e., public relations, marketing, investor relations, public affairs etc.) will utter the  worn-out cliché to hiring managers in the coming weeks and months: “I really work well with people”?

Gag!workwell

What precisely is the return-on-investment (ROI) for someone who allegedly works well with people?

How does one measure how effectively a candidate interacts with other humans?

Come to think of it if one was pursuing a career in anything and everything communications, wouldn’t working well with people be a given?

Tell me something – anything – that I don’t already know.

There are precisely 1.490 billion results when one Google’s, “I Really Work Well With People.” Surprised there are so few web instances devoted to this NOT thinking outside of the box phrase.

Almost DailyBrett will declare now, and will say it forever:

Telling a hiring manager you work well with people: 1.) Makes the hiring manager roll her or his eyes; 2.) Brings into question whether you have any creativity; 3.) Does not differentiate you from your tenacious competition for the legal tender; and 4.) Makes one wonder whether your brain has flat-lined.workwell1

Strong opinion to follow.

Tell Me/Us About Yourself?

At this point in the interview process, the hiring manager is transitioning from the requisite small talk to getting serious.

The above question, which surely will follow with “Why do you want to work for us?” is more than an ice-breaker. It is an opportunity for a candidate to systematically demonstrate ROI based upon experience, results, digital and analog skill sets and education.

Think of it this way: A dollar is a friend (same applies for pounds, euros, yen …).

An agency, corporation, non-profit, governmental agency has to spend a certain amount “friends” in the form of income statement SG&A salary, benefits, time-off and maybe even stock options to hire you as opposed to someone else or no one at all.

Why should they make this investment in your particular personality, talents and skills? Aren’t your type a dime a dozen?

Instead of the throw-away line about working well with people, how about talking about how you collaborate in teams and what you and your teammates accomplished? Everything should be first-person plural: We, Us and Our.

Teaching digitally oriented public relations, advertising, integrated marketing communications (IMC), blogging/social media, corporate communications and investor relations now at Central Washington University and before at the University of Oregon, our students were always required to work together as teams to reach assigned goals for their clients.

This experiential learning approach does not require each student to love or be loved by their teammates, which is asking too much. Instead, a hands-on collaborator needs to respect and be respected, which is the essence of being a good team player.

Instead of tired verbal Pablum, how about demonstrating with concrete examples how you teamed/collaborated with others to cure cancer, climb Mt. Everest, achieve world peace and break political gridlock in Washington, D.C.?

The candidate with real-time results, which can be quantified and verified, and who didn’t take all the credit but collaborated effectively with others, has a better chance – a much better opportunity – of being hired.

The Stark Difference Between Anxious and Interested

Let’s be generous for a second:

In most cases, the candidate who feels compelled to blurt out how well he or she works well with people (or others … a distinction without a difference) runs the real risk of coming across as hungry and anxious.workwell2

Hiring managers are not welfare agencies. They are not there to feed the hungry or heal the sick. They are there to recruit the best and the brightest to solve problems and perform miracles.

Some candidates feel compelled to incorporate “objectives” right at the top of their resumes, declaring they are seeking a position in a given field.

Well, duh!

Didn’t you already make that point in your cover letter?

The smart applicants start with a “profile,” detailing their individual value, accomplishments and what she or he is bringing to the party. These wise contenders immediately demonstrate through concrete examples their ROI.

They also speak in the language of the company, the agency, the non-profit, and the public sector agency.

Instead of “you know,” “you guys,” “me and my team,’ and Almost DailyBrett’s favorite, “stuff,” the prepared applicant talks about driving the top and bottom lines, fiduciary and corporate social responsibility, and enhancing SEO and SEM.

In short, they speak the language and signal it will not take long to become totally fluent in whatever serves as the Raison d’ etat for the entity doing the hiring.

Yes, the wise candidate understands very clearly how the hiring manager’s company makes money, which even applies to non-profits.

As you will note, this is not the first time your author has written about this subject. Just like cock roaches this offending phrase instead of going away is actually multiplying.

It’s time … not it’s past time … deep-six this horrific, “I really work well with people,” before another hiring manager has to excuse herself or himself from the table.

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=I+Really+Work+Well+with+People

https://www.livecareer.com/interview-questions/how-well-you-work-people-you-prefer-working-alone

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interview-you/qt/working-with-people.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/11/15/the-20-people-skills-you-need-to-succeed-at-work/#74d85a6264b5

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/online-college-not-good-enough-for-pr/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/i-really-work-well-with-people/

 

 

 

Mumsy always proclaimed: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

As a parent and based upon my own childhood experiences, I know that youngsters with strong points of view often draw negative responses not so much for what they are espousing, but for the obnoxious manner in which they are offering their opinions. The same even applies for those humbly or not-so-humbly applying to become the leader of the free world.

Does this suggest that philosophy doesn’t matter? Is command of details and facts still necessary for leadership? Does this mean that gaffes are irrelevant? The answers are, no, yes and no.

Obama And Romney Square Off In First Presidential Debate In Denver

Philosophical consistency directly applies to satisfying one’s political base and more importantly for enthusiastic GOTV (Get Out the Vote) campaigns. This electoral season is a GOTV year on steroids with very few truly undecided at this late date.

Having command of one’s facts and understanding wonkish details equate to essential gravitas. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin failed this test four years ago, and most likely will never be taken seriously as a legitimate presidential contender.

Staying away from a major blooper, not just a mere malapropos (e.g., “You didn’t build this,” and “Binders full of women”), can be political curtains even for an incumbent president.

Gerald Ford’s nationally televised brain fart in his 1976 debate against Jimmy Carter was most likely fatal to his chances: “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration.” And given a chance to recant, he doubled down on his stunner: “I don’t believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union.”

Absent not satisfying partisans demanding philosophical fidelity, candidates failing to demonstrate gravitas or uttering embarrassing gaffes, the commanding factor for winning in the courtroom of public opinion comes down to look and feel. How do you present your case, and is the public comfortable with the prospect of watching you night-after-night on television for the next four years?

Consider those who failed when it comes to style points during the past few decades. Are you dispassionate (e.g., Obama in debate #1); do you utter exacerbated sighs (e.g., Gore in 2000) do you mockingly laugh at your opponent (e.g., Biden in this year’s VP debate) or do you have Lazy Shave dripping off your face (e.g., Nixon in 1960).  Sighs matter.

Writing how the debates really matter this year, former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan wrote: “…In the days afterward … Mr. Biden seemed to slip, because the national conversation didn’t move off his antics—the chuckles, the grimaces, the theatrical strangeness of it all. A draw, or a victory, began to seem like a loss.”

Conversely, a presidential John F. Kennedy displayed youthful vigor, a plan for the future in his critical debate against a more experienced Richard Nixon. Presence and poise mattered. Twenty years later, there were legitimate concerns about Ronald Reagan’s intelligence and whether he could be trusted with his finger on the nuclear trigger. In his one-and-only debate against President Jimmy Carter (“There you go again…”) he answered these doubts and issued an indictment against a weak incumbent, rhetorically asking whether the majority of the public was better off than it was four years earlier.

Heading into tomorrow’s night’s final debate on foreign policy, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are locked in a statistical (e.g., Real Clear Politics) tie. The partisans have fully bought into their champions. Barring an off-night, a line for the ages or a major gaffe, tomorrow’s nights debate really boils down to temperament and presentation. Yes, the outcome revolves around not so much to what is said, but how it is said.

And the split screen can mean as much, if not more, than the primary screen. The camera is everywhere and as Dan Rather once said, “The camera never blinks.” How does a candidate visibly react to less-than-pleasant (and often inaccurate) commentary about his positions, policies and programs? Is the candidate confident in the face of withering criticisms or arrogant, pouting, smirking and/or condescending?

Likeability matters.

The same applies to any job seeker in these difficult times. Can you accept criticism? Do you display confidence as opposed to cockiness? Are you bringing your “A” game? Are you fully prepared? Do you really want to be on the stage? Are you the consummate team player?

The last question pertains to “fit.” In an economy with 23 million unemployed, underemployed or simply giving up the hunt for a job, personal intangibles can be the difference between being hired or being the first runner-up (first loser). It can be the decider between promotion or demotion. Or it can be the difference between being employed or let go.

And how you deport yourself, particularly in an advocacy role? It’s okay to be offensive, just as long as you are not “offensive.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444734804578065023315500416.html

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/28/opinion/brazile-debates-overrated/index.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/general_election_romney_vs_obama-1171.html

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