Our Favorite Business Books

After a quick internet search you will find there isn’t a short supply of “The Best Business Books” lists out there. Why so many lists? Our theory is that great employees want to keep improving their skills and why not learn from some of the best. That made us wonder, what books do our recruiters love? So we did a survey in our office and here are our favorite business books:

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Why we love it: This isn’t about how YOU can succeed but how a company goes from good to great. After you read this you will look at your current company differently, trust us! Collins studies companies that are crushing their competition and what happened in their history that produced their amazing results.

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

Why we love it: It’s not a traditional “business” book but it shows how a man was able to create a successful company without losing the values he holds dearest. This books shows how the company DNA is so strong they would rather go without making profit then give up on their passions.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Why we love it: If you don’t know Malcolm Gladwell, you should! Outliers is just one of his many best-selling books about human behavior. In this book he presents you with the logic and the common thread behind what makes people leaders of their industry and points out it’s not just about their IQ!

The 7 Habit of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Why we love it: You will be a better employee after reading this! Some companies even make it mandatory reading for their staff. It will help you think about why you do things a certain way and what habits you currently have and if they are helping or hurting you.

Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath

Why we love it: It’s an easy book to get into and it’s really helpful in getting you to think about what your strengths are and the complementary strengths to look for in others to offset your weaker areas. If you work in a team environment this is a must read!

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Are there any you would recommend? We hope this has inspired to visit your local bookstore or library and pick one up!

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Dealing with Rejection

Unfortunately, most of us have been rejected when searching for a new job. In a competitive marketplace it is hard to avoid rejection so here are our best tips for handling it and how you can bounce back quickly:

  1. Depending on how far you were into the interview processes, losing out to another candidate can be devastating. We let our minds wonder and envision what the new position would be like and how great life could be with the company. Take a moment to be sad or disappointed; there is no harm in that, as long as you get back out there.
  2. Try and figure out what could have gone wrong. Did you say something wrong in the interview and then couldn’t get back on track? What happens when you have no clue what went wrong? Ask your recruiter, they will get feedback from the company and look to them for suggestions on how to handle the situation differently. This is a great opportunity to learn, grow and improve for next time.
  3. Start searching for other opportunities. Work with your recruiter to put together a list of other companies or jobs that you would be open to. Our inside tip is: don’t limit yourself to one specific type of job. Talk to your recruiter about what you are looking for in a job and they can suggest things you may not have even thought of on your own.  Be open to what they have to say, they want to see you succeed!

Once you have successfully secured your new position, look back at this time and recognize that it’s the hard times that allowed you to be in the position you are in now. Difficult times can build character and make you appreciate when success finally arrives. Enjoy it!

Social Media and Your Job Search

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Have you ever googled yourself? Would you be comfortable with a potential supervisor seeing your social media pages? If not, you may have some cleaning up to do! CareerBuilder conducted a survey last year and asked 2,300 hiring managers if they look into candidate’s social media pages during their hiring process. They found that 37% of them did! When asked why they look, 65% said to see if the candidate presents themselves in a professional manner and if they would be a good fit for their company culture.

Many of the hiring managers who viewed social media profiles said they have found content that caused them not to hire the candidate. Some say it was due to inappropriate photos or evidence of drinking and/or drug use on the candidate’s profile page. Another reason was because of the candidate’s poor communication skills or they made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion.

The good news is that hiring managers aren’t screening your social media profiles to looking for only the negative; they are also looking for information to give you that extra boost you may need. Many hiring managers say when they find something positive on a profile it motivates them to offer the candidate a job. In some cases it was that the employer could get a good feel for the candidate’s personality or they conveyed themselves in a professional manner. Social media can be a tricky thing to balance, you may think it’s just a way to keep in touch with friends or post photos but you never can tell who is looking at your page.  You have the ability to control the impression given off, we suggest you take the time and make sure it’s something your proud of!

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Interview Question: What is Your Weakness?

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When you hear “What do you feel is your greatest weakness?” in an interview, admit it, you think How can I answer this without looking bad?! It can be done, with some preparation. Although, we would advise not taking the Michael Scott route from The Office: “I work too hard, I care too much and sometimes I can be too invested in my job.” Instead here is how we would suggest you strategize handling the question:

Give Details

Many people think that being general is a good idea when talking about weaknesses but really it’s the opposite. For example, if you just say “communications” your interviewer may think the worst! That could cover everything to talking on the phone to presenting at a staff meeting. Instead tell them, “Speaking to large groups makes me a little nervous, so I usually have to allow myself extra time to practice.” Be specific!

Know the Job

If you said creating reports in excel was your weakness and the job you were interviewing for is an inventory manager, it probably wasn’t a good choice. On the other hand if you were interviewing for a fashion designer, having advanced excel skills would not be as important. Review the job description closely and steer clear of skills directly related to the job you are interviewing for.

Show Your Growth

The most important thing to keep in mind when speaking about your weaknesses is to show your growth. For example you could say, “In the past I struggled with productivity but since I started creating a list of what I need to do each day it hasn’t been an issue.” Use your weaknesses as an opportunity to show how you have grown as an employee.

There is no single best answer for this type of question because it needs to be authentic, relevant to the job and show your growth. We can’t tell you what you should say, but by taking our advice you can come across as self-aware and professional.

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Meaningful Conversations at Work – When and How to Have Them

Depending on your job maybe you talk all day, on the phone, in meetings or to customers. Even if you don’t have much interaction to the outside world during your work day, you probably chat with coworkers, right? What if this chatter at work could become your best tool for career advancement? Stop thinking of these casual conversations as filling the time while in the elevator or before meetings start and start thinking of it as a way to be more productive with your time. Here is how to adjust your thinking:

Start talking

Lots of people think that they are too shy or not good at small talk but these are things that can be keeping you from a chance to advance in your career. Picking a topic to talk about that you are passionate or knowledgeable about will make you feel more comfortable. If the idea of speaking to someone still seems awkward remember that conversations can be in person or over email. Send an email after a company meeting or after seeing an article someone in company published to show you are an invested employee and to keep the conversation going.

Expand your circle

It’s natural to have a certain group you are friendlier with at work and you will tend to talk to them more exclusively. Most likely you will all be at the same level within the company, try expanding your conversation circle. This can be up or down, CEO or summer intern, everyone has value and helps make the company succeed.

Talk in a meaningful way.

If you are in a hurry or see that person you want to speak with is busy then don’t engage in a conversation with them. You want these connections to be real, for the person to hear what you are saying and give it some thought. Allow yourself time to answer thoughtfully, don’t rush it!

Stop Talking

We also want to point out there is a time to stop talking and get back to work. We here at PCG love bouncing ideas off each other or brainstorming new way to grow the business.  BUT we also know when it’s time to get down to business and work. Don’t be distracted by trying to build these relationships that your job performance starts to suffer. You can talk to managers and CEOs but if you don’t have the work ethic and performance to back up your passion for the company, your words may go unheard.

We are not saying that all conversations about what happened last night on Scandal needs to stop, but maybe you could take our advice and mix it into your regular conversations. Try it out and see what happens! If you able to build more meaningful connections with your fellow employees, it will be worth your time.