Category: Pre-employment assessment

images-8The unreliable economy and the changes in the job market have certainly impacted the hiring the process negatively. There are now more applicants applying for the same position and applicants are expanding their search to larger geographical distances. Needless to say, the hiring organizations are becoming more selective because they know there many more applicants available to them. The smart applicant has to not only spend the proper time to brush up their resume and cover letter, revamp their social media reach, and prepare for the interview, but they have to prepare for the 2nd, third and possibly fourth interview.

The first interview, is now mostly done by phone as a screening process. In order to save the recruiter time and effort. The good news is, if you make it past the first interview, it will probably mean you will be interviewing with the hiring manager who has better insight about the role for which you’re being considered. We are taught oftentimes that impression making is all about listening, but as someone that has been involved in the HR arena for over 15 years, I always advocate for two way interviewing. Just because the market is not as upward as we want it to be, we don’t have to settle. An individual who is asking the right questions during the interview can make a well-informed choice if and when they receive the job offer and if they don’t receive the offer, at least they know parts of the job that didn’t fit well within their schema of the right job. Job-hunting is an emotionally challenging task and we can’t possibly receive all yes’s. To stay feeling emotionally positive, and cognitively ready and up for the challenge it’s best to be in the pilot seat than the passenger. If you ask more questions now, rather than later, then the hiring manager will not wonder where your heart and intentions are and whether you were even paying attention.

Finding the ins and outs of the company and the job, doesn’t have to come after six months into the job. There are a lot of questions that can quickly get at the heart of the “True Side” of the job rather than what is portrayed as the “Perfect Side” .

Leader vs. Follower Role

Emotionally intelligent applicants know who they are; their personality, their work style and communication style. Before even applying to the position, the applicant would need to know that the position they are applying to is within the ream of their knowledge skills and abilities. Experience doesn’t necessarily guarantee ability, neither does education and training. Our genetic make-up generally defines our personality and knowing that make-up is very insightful in all aspects of life in dealing with others, but especially in career planning. If you’re interviewing for a leadership position, it is crucial to know you that, that interests you. Plenty of individuals are in follower positions and have less of a headache and more flexibility and their income is not necessarily capped either. On the other hand, a position could be posed as a leadership position, but once on-board, there is not a lot of latitude. If you enjoy and are good at understanding and withstanding subordinates and delegate work to them, you would want to ask that. Asking the right question regarding this in the 2nd interview will lead the hiring manager to explain where you stand in the company’s hierarchy as well as specifc decision-making capabilities of the role.


Norms, Expectations and Performance

The culture of an organization speaks volumes to how the everyday gets done. Walking in to an interview, the applicant needs to have already done their homework as to what type of culture the organization has. The 2nd interview will allow the applicant to ask questions pertaining to communication guidelines, work product reviews, valued actions, and rewarded behaviors. There are two sides to a job, the social aspects and hard skills. I always advocate that if the player doesn’t learn the rules governing the game early on, they are just throwing darts in the dark, hoping it will hit the board. The game is half branding, and reputation building, and half performance as generally defined by fulfilling the job description. All companies want their employees to meet their performance expectations. Its important to ask the hiring manager to explain to you through scenarios, “right” and “wrong” behaviors. Something as simple as resources (staff, copier, paper and ink) can cause conflict. Can you imagine miscommunications? Discussing scenarios and finding out how they are perceived or timelines are played, will not only speak to performance appraisals but also to the underlying rules that govern everyday actions before and after the reviews.

Career Path

I am always amazed to find out how many individuals fall in to the trap of taking a job that pays higher over a job that pays a little less but has a clearly defined path for growth. During the 2nd job interview, it is wise for the applicant to ask about the training and advancement process. Finding out what your role is and what the company’s role is, is very important. The employee contract is very employee driven now and if an applicant wants to succeed, he or she must clearly know what the unspoken rules of that contract are. A position may be on a basic tier level, meaning within a number of years or experiences the next position would be within access to the applicant. On the other hand, the position could be on a partnership track, meaning, a certain group would need to provide a positive evaluation for the individual to go up the ladder. So on and so forth. Asking that the hiring manager to simply provide examples of career advanacement within the company would be a great way to learn the process.

Network Building Opportunities

Social media has amazingly taken over the work culture. Employers not only use social media to make hiring decisions now, but also look at your network to see contacts that you will potentially bring with you. Furthermore, who you’ll be working with is just as important as what you will be working on. It is very typical for managers to invite you to take a tour of the office and meet some of the people with whom you’ll be working. Although this may be a good opener, it will not shed any light on the dynamics you may be walking into. Finding out names and doing a background search on the individuals would be a lot more useful. Again social media is great for that. You can also ask how the organization incorporates team work, how teams are formed, who and what determines which teams get what projects and how is the team evaluated. Knowing how messages are transmitted in an organization speaks volumes to how you will spend your day. The people you work with, ultimately become your second family. The difference is you have a chance at picking your second family.


All and all, finding the right position means whether there is a good fit within you and the organization. This goes far beyond pay, titles and perks. It means value alignment, and introspective knowledge about your individual goals, strengths and challenges as well as your cause. Your work is one of the various areas of your life and if the fit is right it will compliment the other aspects of your life. If it’s the wrong fit, it will take away from the other areas.

Jumping_Salmon_PD_credit-Jerome_CharaouiIt’s summer and the glowing sun outside coupled with the ocean breeze remind me of renewal and introspection. Are you with me?

New eating habits, a good workout regimen, and new favorite restaurant. New career may be? Many individuals I come in to contact with contemplate their career. They are satisfied with their existing role, and they are successful, their organization is successful and they have a sturdy title, relatively large staff and job security. Yet may be that’s the problem. Too much satisfaction is the enemy of innovation and growth. They tell me they have an aching within that desires change. They don’t feel challenged anymore. That feeling of confidence is making them feel almost bored. They yearn for excitement, intimidation and that adrenalin rush of sink or swim.


I tell them, your instincts are telling you its time to swim, so swim. To them and to you, who are even considering the possibility of a career change, or position change for that matter, I offer the following:


  1. Are you ready to hit the waves?

Start by weighing the risks. Know that there always will be that. Family, your identity, and financial responsibilities will always be there, but so will fear. The fear of change and the fear of the unknown. At some point you would have to push away the fear and swim with the waves. Once you accept that reality, your mind and heart will unite and you will be ready to make the proper recourse to weight the real costs and benefits for your decision, without the common denominator of fear.


  1. Go for the plunge!

At some point the weighting would need to stop. The decision must be made. Plan your course with plan B’s along the way and start what will undoubtedly feel like an uphill or upstream swim.


  1. Enroll an Audience and Cheerleaders

You ‘re going to need all the emotional support you can get. Set yourself up to be around supportive, calm and clear people. Your network will help you get the position you want, but your support system is the one that will get you through this phase of the game. The AA mentality applies here. The buddy system is meant to create accountability. When you share what you are doing with an invested person, you are more likely to persevere. We all like to achieve and part of achievement is the reinforcements we get along the way. Stay on course and celebrate small wins.


  1. Assess the Course and foresee Obstacles

Get a clear assessment of your knowledge, skills, abilities and network. It doesn’t mean you can’t expand on them, but you want to be realistic in setting your goals. Many people assume that because they like a type of job, they have to bend backwards to fit themselves within its walls. Think about industry, and organization type, the everyday nuances, and the type of people you want to be working with, the key players and whom you are already connected to. When I do career assessments with my clients, we do a lot of work together. It is deep. Often times, they themselves are shocked at how far they were from their vision, by the time we complete and interpret all the quantitative and qualitative data. The research is imperative. Let me say that again: the research is imperative. The reality is we are all born with certain traits that make us who we are, are family and upbringing solidify them as well. So I always recommend going after something you know you are good and knowledgeable at, rather than going after something you think you like. The other neat thing is that we get attracted to people whom we can relate to, so your network of people will serve you better being that you have built them through “connections” rather than ambiguity. At least that’s the network that we need to be making. Not random and without follow-up. Challenge is good, complication not so much.


  1. Get on the Diving Board and Jump. I like the analogy of the diving board because when you get on a diving board, it means three things: 1. You are making the conscious effort to jump and you know it’s going to be a high jump, 2. You are letting the world know you are jumping, and 3. When you are up in the air, there is no way going back. When you started this journey, you had internal conversations about it. May be you discussed it with a significant other, a colleague or a family member. But your paradigm is still the same. You are in comfort zone. You get the paycheck and the boss still assumes you will be at the next monthly meeting. If you stop here, you don’t have to fear. You are not committed to anything. You didn’t loose anything, but you also didn’t gain anything. Half the battle is the mental decision, but the other half is get on that diving board. You have to make the decision irrevocable.   Our brains are trained to form habits. We are creatures of repetition. So unless the walls of the maze are reset, our brains will command us to repeat the past and to not rock the boat. Pull the anchor and let the ship sail where it needs to and don’t look back.


Fear is a defense mechanism to protect us in life. But it’s also there to motivate us and propel us forward. I am not saying live life in fear. But I am saying don’t expect fear to ever disappear. It’s through fear that your interests get peaked and you search for that truth and possibility. Fight fear and it will haunt you, look at it in the eye and it will guide you. Life is a raft, not a ship. Life of Pi was the perfect demonstration of that.   Ships have navigation system, propellers, and radars. Your career is one aspect of your life, and just like any other, demands determination, patience and exploration. There are no guarantees, you have to do your due diligence, and take a leap of faith. Let the waves take you where they may.

The value of good leaders within a company is sometimes underestimated. Leaders bring efforts together, magnify skills and improve the bottom-line.

Here’s Why You Should Value Your Leaders:

1) They build morale
2) They inspire confidence
3) They establish a strong image
4) They emphasize company mission
5) They are vested in everyone’s success
6) They innovate
7) They align goals
8) They bring success

Here’s How You Hire Great Leaders:


There is always room for growth and that is a good thing. Henry Ford said “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” He was right. Leaders are everywhere, they just have to be found and nurtured.



This Blog has been featured by the West Orange Chamber of Commerce. Sources such as HLN have also been home to publications by Dr. Farnaz Namin-Hedayati and she has been cited by the Orlando Business Journal. 

Center for Work Life of Orlando, Florida is an award-winning executive development firm providing leadership and management training to executives and organizations. Our main services include executive coachingleadership developmentexecutive succession planningemotional intelligence trainingcareer planningstaff development, and communication in the workplace.


The March 2013 unemployment numbers are in from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and they aren’t exactly cause for celebration. Having only dropped 0.1% to a national unemployment rate of 7.6%, employers and employees have reason for concern. Fortunately, companies are slowly hiring on new employees, though they seem to be hesitant. This is understandable as with the fragile state of the economy; they want to make wise hiring decisions. On the other hand, potential candidates seem to be lacking the “Wow” factor to land jobs. With the right tactics on hand, the high unemployment can be thwarted. We’ve compiled lists of tips for companies and job seekers to utilize.

Photo Credit: The Agency Post

Photo Credit: The Agency Post

Hiring Tips for Companies:

  1. Thorough Job Descriptions

    Companies need to truly decipher what role they need filled and what it entails. Having been short staffed for some time, organizations are eager to start the interview process without the strong infrastructure to support it. That is not the recommended path. Once the budget allows for new hiring, it’s important that the determinants of success are clearly defined both from a hard skill as well as behavioral and cultural perspective. Start with the end in mind and start with strong job design strategies and pre-employment assessment tools.  Most organizations have such a typical application process, which doesn’t help find the “needle in the haystack” at all.  Instead the more funneled your beginning efforts, the more “essence” you receive at the end.

  2. Reformed Recruitment Methods

    Utilize the most up to date recruitment methods possible. From job posting websites to social media for screening, dig deep before selecting candidates for interviews. Do not skip the verification process. It is vital to get feedback from previous employers as well as academic institutions, LinkedIn Profiles as well as references.

  3. Stringent Interview Process

    Interviews are so easily blown through and under-utilized. Develop strict processes concerning how many interviews applicants must have. Past that, be sure to conduct a well rounded analysis of each candidate. Don’t just look for technical skills while skipping past behavioral interviews; it can be costly both in dollars and headaches in the long run in regards to retention as well as engagement.

Tips for Job Seekers:

  1. “Mind Scan”

    This is what we call doing the psychological and wellness check.  Job searching is a full-time job and if you are not going at it in a balanced way, burnout is in the horizon.  You will need your energy, stamina, and motivation to keep you in the game and to wow the audience.

  2. Foot-work

    This involves developing a clear vision of what you are looking for that aligns with your future goals and values. Seek jobs that are the most relevant to you, your skills and your future and do your homework on the organization, to be clear that you are a match. Your audience will love you for it at the interview.

  3. Refined Materials-

    If you have been unemployed for some time and aren’t sure what is going awry, seek professional help. Resume and cover letter standards are more critical than ever before. Learn the latest formats. Include the most pertinent details in your information. Make yourself stand out with detail figures, numbers regarding previous accomplishments. Consider bullet pointing your skills or creating a special table for them so they pop as well as making your resume and cover letter be unique to you.  Keep ATS (applicant Tracking Systems) in mind when choosing keywords, so you don’t end up in the “no” pile.

  4. On your feet-

    Be ready and presentable at all times. Dress your best and exude confidence in your day to day activities. You never know, you may meet your next boss or co-worker at the grocery store. In line with that thinking, know your elevator speech inside and out. At don’t be shy to utilize it at the right moment.

It is a slow road to recovery, but it is in your power to speed up the process. Stay confident and keep up your spirit by surrounding yourself with a strong network and supportive mentors. For more tips like these and the employment outlook refer to Dr. Farnaz Hedayati on the FOX35 Good Day show.




Senior level terminations have been on the rise. A recent Korn/Ferry international survey found that 48 percent of 262 participants were terminated from senior level positions within their first year on the job. Some CEO terminations seem to be tied to business and financial performance, such as Groupon’s recent firing of CEO, Andrew Mason. However in consideration for retention strategies and the toll that these terminations take on employee morale, there is an urgent need for companies and leaders to look at the overall picture, rather than terminating.

(Photo Credit: The Art of Lax)

(Photo Credit: The Art of Lax)


CEO’s worried about falling in those pot-holes may want to investigate the deeper issue. And businesses can do their share of preventative measures from a hiring and development stand point. Below are some tips for companies as well as senior level executives to look at before terminating.

Digging Deeper Tips for Companies:

  1. Consider the CEO’s leadership skills. Back in 2006, reports  pointed to lack of leadership skills as a top cause of CEO turnover. The same is true in today’s surveys and reports. It is imperative that the search process includes success indicators, inclusive of talent connectors linked to EI that can inspire engagement and intrinsic motivation.
  2. Utilize executive coaching for growth not only for discipline. Bill Gaines of Regis Consumer Products is an example of the importance of strong leadership skills for CEOs according to “Increase your Chances of Survival as a CEO” by David Brookmire. Brookmire points out that Gaines was known for his many skills and reliability, but lacked inspirational leadership skills. However, after undergoing executive coaching to attain stronger leadership skills, he has succeeded in his role.
  3. Create markers for strengthening technological skills within your talent. One common correlation to the high number of CEO turnover rates has been measured to be the leader’s inability to keep up with technology. It is a lot.  But it is the future.  When CEO’s don’t understand the growth of social media and the effects of cloud computing on sales, and growth, they leave a gap for competition.
  4. Provide immediate and frequent feedback. CEOs receive raises and awards, and then shortly later are asked to leave. Do not send mixed signals. Address issues honestly, gently and in a timely manner. This offers the best chances of success for everyone.
  5. Are CEO’s being given enough time to have impact? Statistics show 40 percent of CEOs fail within their first 18 months. One might ask, given only the human factor of familiarity with key players and customs, if they have been given adequate time to succeed. Adjusting to a new position involves learning loads of new information and developing many new habits, especially given the high variance in leadership style, from one leader to another.
  6. Is the organization receptive to new ideas? Could the existing structure of the company be the issue, not the new CEO? The trend in terminations and CEO conflict with boards etc. as a high leading cause for termination, may suggest that companies are not be effectively utilizing their new CEO.

Digging Deeper Tips for Senior Executives:

  1. Don’t rush into an opportunity without detailed analysis of the position, the organization, and your values. Research company history and assess the current situation of the business.
  2. Start developing success plans for the job and company before even stepping into an interview. The Korn/Ferry International survey found that organizational restructuring and personal conflict with upper management were leading causes of termination among their respondents. If the company you may be joining is headed for a restructure, can you prevent that with your success plan? Be aware that the “restructures” often involve new management.
  3. Be honest with yourself about your fit and those you encounter at the company. If you sense something is off from the start, you may want to think harder about the opportunity. As mentioned above, management conflicts about direction are a leading cause of termination. Though you are confident your ideas will work, are these ideas well received?
  4. If you’ve decided to accept an upper management position or are already a CEO, tackle your emotional intelligence and leadership skills above all else. As a leading cause of terminations, these skills are important for CEOs to develop in maneuvering the organization politics as well as long-term job satisfaction.
  5. As a potential CEO or current CEO, it is important to stay on top of technology and global business trends. Hopefully your company can provide this training. If not, sign up for a class or regularly monitor news and blogs for updates.



Termination trends are like a fad.  Organizations try it out and are sure to reverse it in the near future, as they learn, one person is seldom the sole decision-maker. Utilize the advice and aim for success.





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