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getting hired

To The Class of 2016:

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To The Class of 2016:

Since they won't let me give commencement speeches just yet, consider this your pre-commencement pep talk. It's not you. It's the economy. Seriously. It's changing. It's how you stack up against the sea of applicants. It's the process. It's messed up. The odds are never in your favor. They don't want you to be employed (if you watch DJ Khaled's Snap Story you know exactly who I'm talking about). They really don't. See, you're graduating in a time of constant change. New skills, new subjects, innovation, confusion, divestment over here, investment over there. It's a really crappy time. It used to be "go to college and get a job". Now it's "go to college and hope for the best". It might take you 3 months after graduation. It might take you 6 months after graduation. It might take you a year. But I don't want you to lose hope. You can't give up.

So here's the incredible thing about our time. Millennials are building the world around us. When we join the ranks of giant corporations, they do some really weird shit to keep us around. Give us 6 figure salaries. A ping pong table in the breakroom. Let us work from home 1 or 2 or 5 days a week. We're just that special. We write the code to power the robots to pick products off shelves and deliver them to peoples' homes in an hour. We can be our own bosses and never work a day in an office. We can have a side hustle. Shit, we can have 3. We can do whatever it takes to pay the bills. We're flexible, we'll work abroad for a couple of years and then come back. Then it's back to business. We're malleable. We're talented. We know who we are and we know who we're not. We have weird hobbies and quirky personalities. We're building the new world. Some of us are in manufacturing, some of us in the corporate world, some in non-profits. We have choices. We'll do a thousand different things before we find the one thing we actually wanted to do and that's OK.

You can't give up. I'm up to 3 different pep talks everyday. You've got this, people. Change it up. Forget your plans. Make the unplanned part of your plans. Do something you said you'd never do. Move to a new city if you have to. Do something that has nothing to do with your degree because it's paying the bills. Do what you want to do after work and keep doing it until you make enough money to do that forever. Work a really crappy job for a really awesome company because who knows what will happen. Forget your plans. What do you think Zuckerberg's plans were? I'm not saying you're going to be Zuckberg, but you'll never find out if you never veer from these "plans". Open your eyes to the opportunities you were ignoring. Never say never. Do you really think when people land their dream jobs right out school that they're "living the dream" a year later? Probably not. The grass is always greener. Do you. This isn't just about gainful employment, this is about your life.

That's more like it. Now don't lose hope, graduate, and kick ass. You've got choices.

 

Tati Graduation Photo

This picture was taken right around the time I thought I had it all figured out. Breaking news: I didn't and I still don't.

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Why I'm Not a Good Fit and Why Companies Should Stop Looking for People Who Are

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Why I'm Not a Good Fit and Why Companies Should Stop Looking for People Who Are

Tati-Headshot.jpg

I consume a lot of text every day. Whether it's a thought piece on Medium or a short news brief on TechCrunch, you can count on a tab being open at all times. I also have a terrible habit of sending long reads to my reading list and never hearing about them again (anyone else guilty of this?). I've made it a habit to piggy back off of the pieces that inspire or upset me. I'm about to do that with this post, because my train of thought has led me somewhere interesting.  I've read a couple of concerning articles this week. One was a summary of recent diversity statistics at companies like Facebook and Google. The other was an op-ed piece on cultural fit at companies and what they really mean by the term "fit".

About me: I am an impatient but very hard worker. I ask a lot of questions, I speak quickly, I sometimes have difficulty paying attention in meetings or on the phone, but in the end, I do great work. I am strongly focused on outcomes and overarching goals, perhaps even to a fault. I ask "why?" very often, and I use humor to get myself through stressful periods at work. I pursued a technical major in college, but I'm not looking to be in an primarily technical position for the long-term. 

Question: How many times have you been asked, "What makes you a good fit here?"

I don't know about you, but when I hear that question I think of organizational values. It's been drilled into me by countless advisors and career center counselors.Organizational values can be things like: innovation, transparency, relationship building, fairness, being resourceful. We often refer to such values in studying for interviews, so our answer goes a little something like "I'm hard working, willing to learn, I fail fast, and I'm results-oriented". You would think this would be a great answer, and if hiring managers abided by the true definition of cultural fit, it would be one. But in their world, it [your answer] actually isn't.

Often we find, and recent studies show, that fit isn't about organizational values, but more about personality fit. Many times, interviewers aren't even aware that they're placing a lot of value on the chemistry you have with them in an interview. Don't get me wrong, I think it's important that we have some commonalities. You like working hard, so do I. You like being recognized for it, so do I. Maybe you like art museums and so do I. But these things shouldn't be deal breakers. If you ask me what my hobbies are and I don't enjoy golf, you shouldn't cross me off the list in your head because I won't be out of the office on Fridays at about the same time as you are. Hire or don't hire me because of my alignment with your company's values and not because of how I see the world or how I reach certain conclusions.

Call to action: Stop looking for candidates who "fit".

By searching high and low for candidates who seem to be younger versions of yourself, you are hiring clones. Even the greatest personalities don't need to exist in high quantities in one place. Yes, I'm suggesting you re-think everything about your hiring process, but my intentions are good. Think about it; choosing prospective employees who think and act like you can ultimately mean choosing people who look just like you and come from a similar background. Just in my internship experience this summer I've seen how someone's very different thought process, which was molded by a different background, has led us to better project outcomes. This isn't a myth or a buzzword; diversity has value. The company I'm with right now does an amazing job at hiring people of all backgrounds, and thus, we come up with innovative solutions to our problems every single day and are leading the industry with what we do.


Unlicensed doctor's orders? Define what fit means to you. Don't confuse it with chemistry. Be transparent about your organization's values and hiring processes. Come up with a quantitative system for evaluating fit during interviews. Make sure it's not the the most important factor. Hire great misfits. Do great work. Repeat.

The aforementioned concerning articles:

http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/25/pipeline-leads-to-a-hole-in-the-bucket/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/31/opinion/sunday/guess-who-doesnt-fit-in-at-work.html?_r=0

Facebook's recent diversity report: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2015/06/driving-diversity-at-facebook/

*I have come to a conclusion that there may be a correlation between hiring processes, organization values, cultural fit, and our lack of overall diversity in the workplace. I welcome healthy discussion and debate about this topic, as I've been known to accidentally skim over important considerations when writing emotional critiques of the industry. Comment below, please! I'd love to hear your thoughts.*

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