8 Things Remarkably Successful People Do

8 Things Remarkably Successful People Do

The most successful people in business work differently. See what they do–and why it works.

runner winning raceGetty

I’m fortunate to know a number of remarkably successful people. I’ve described how these people share a set of specific perspectives and beliefs.

They also share a number of habits:

1. They don’t create back-up plans.

Back-up plans can help you sleep easier at night. Back-up plans can also create an easy out when times get tough.

You’ll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment–without a safety net–will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.

If somehow the worst does happen (and the “worst” is never as bad as you think) trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, you always will.

2. They do the work…

You can be good with a little effort. You can be really good with a little more effort.

But you can’t be great–at anything–unless you put in an incredible amount of focused effort.

Scratch the surface of any person with rare skills and you’ll find a person who has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.

There are no shortcuts. There are no overnight successes. Everyone has heard about the 10,000 hours principle but no one follows it… except remarkably successful people.

So start doing the work now. Time is wasting.

3.  …and they work a lot more.

Forget the Sheryl Sandberg “I leave every day at 5:30” stories. I’m sure she does. But she’s not you.

Every extremely successful entrepreneur I know (personally) works more hours than the average person–a lot more. They have long lists of things they want to get done. So they have to put in lots of time.

Better yet, they want to put in lots of time.

If you don’t embrace a workload others would consider crazy then your goal doesn’t mean that much to you–or it’s not particularly difficult to achieve. Either way you won’t be remarkably successful.

4. They avoid the crowds.

Conventional wisdom yields conventional results. Joining the crowd–no matter how trendy the crowd or “hot” the opportunity–is a recipe for mediocrity.

Remarkably successful people habitually do what other people won’t do. They go where others won’t go because there’s a lot less competition and a much greater chance for success.

5. They start at the end…

Average success is often based on setting average goals.

Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest, whatever. Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up. That is your goal.

Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.

Never start small where goals are concerned. You’ll make better decisions–and find it much easier to work a lot harder–when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.

6. … and they don’t stop there.

Achieving a goal–no matter how huge–isn’t the finish line for highly successful people. Achieving one huge goal just creates a launching pad for achieving another huge goal.

Maybe you want to create a $100 million business; once you do you can leverage your contacts and influence to create a charitable foundation for a cause you believe in. Then your business and humanitarian success can create a platform for speaking, writing, and thought leadership. Then…

The process of becoming remarkably successful in one field will give you the skills and network to be remarkably successful in many other fields.

Remarkably successful people don’t try to win just one race. They expect and plan to win a number of subsequent races.

7. They sell.

I once asked a number of business owners and CEOs to name the one skill they felt contributed the most to their success. Each said the ability to sell.

Keep in mind selling isn’t manipulating, pressuring, or cajoling. Selling is explaining the logic and benefits of a decision or position. Selling is convincing other people to work with you. Selling is overcoming objections and roadblocks.

Selling is the foundation of business and personal success: knowing how to negotiate, to deal with “no,” to maintain confidence and self-esteem in the face of rejection, to communicate effectively with a wide range of people, to build long-term relationships…

When you truly believe in your idea, or your company, or yourself then you don’t need to have a huge ego or a huge personality. You don’t need to “sell.”

You just need to communicate.

8. They are never too proud.

To admit they made a mistake. To say they are sorry. To have big dreams. To admit they owe their success to others. To poke fun at themselves. To ask for help.

To fail.

And to try again.
Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

The most successful people in business approach their work differently than most. See how they think–and why it works.man holding a picture of a blooming treeGettyI’m fortunate enough to know a number of remarkably successful people. Regardless of industry or profession, they all share the same perspectives and beliefs.

And they act on those beliefs:

1. Time doesn’t fill me. I fill time.

Deadlines and time frames establish parameters, but typically not in a good way. The average person who is given two weeks to complete a task will instinctively adjust his effort so it actually takes two weeks.

Forget deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity. Tasks should only take as long as they need to take. Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can. Then use your “free” time to get other things done just as quickly and effectively.

Average people allow time to impose its will on them; remarkable people impose their will on their time.

2. The people around me are the people I chose.

Some of your employees drive you nuts. Some of your customers are obnoxious. Some of your friends are selfish, all-about-me jerks.

You chose them. If the people around you make you unhappy it’s not their fault. It’s your fault. They’re in your professional or personal life because you drew them to you–and you let them remain.

Think about the type of people you want to work with. Think about the types of customers you would enjoy serving. Think about the friends you want to have.

Then change what you do so you can start attracting those people. Hardworking people want to work with hardworking people. Kind people like to associate with kind people. Remarkable employees want to work for remarkable bosses.

Successful people are naturally drawn to successful people.

3. I have never paid my dues.

Dues aren’t paid, past tense. Dues get paid, each and every day. The only real measure of your value is the tangible contribution you make on a daily basis.

No matter what you’ve done or accomplished in the past, you’re never too good to roll up your sleeves, get dirty, and do the grunt work.  No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring.

Remarkably successful people never feel entitled–except to the fruits of their labor.

4. Experience is irrelevant. Accomplishments are everything.

You have “10 years in the Web design business.” Whoopee. I don’t care how long you’ve been doing what you do. Years of service indicate nothing; you could be the worst 10-year programmer in the world.

I care about what you’ve done: how many sites you’ve created, how many back-end systems you’ve installed, how many customer-specific applications you’ve developed (and what kind)… all that matters is what you’ve done.

Successful people don’t need to describe themselves using hyperbolic adjectives like passionate, innovative, driven, etc. They can just describe, hopefully in a humble way, what they’ve done.

5. Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn’t just happen to me.

Ask people why they have been successful. Their answers will be filled with personal pronouns: I, me, and the sometimes too occasional we.

Ask them why they failed. Most will revert to childhood and instinctively distance themselves, like the kid who says, “My toy got broken…” instead of, “I broke my toy.”

They’ll say the economy tanked. They’ll say the market wasn’t ready. They’ll say their suppliers couldn’t keep up.

They’ll say it was someone or something else.

And by distancing themselves, they don’t learn from their failures.

Occasionally something completely outside your control will cause you to fail. Most of the time, though, it’s you. And that’s okay. Every successful person has failed. Numerous times. Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. That’s why they’re successful now.

Embrace every failure: Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently.

6. Volunteers always win.

Whenever you raise your hand you wind up being asked to do more.

That’s great. Doing more is an opportunity: to learn, to impress, to gain skills, to build new relationships–to do something more than you would otherwise been able to do.

Success is based on action. The more you volunteer, the more you get to act. Successful people step forward to create opportunities.

Remarkably successful people sprint forward.

7. As long as I’m paid well, it’s all good.

Specialization is good. Focus is good. Finding a niche is good.

Generating revenue is great.

Anything a customer will pay you a reasonable price to do–as long as it isn’t unethical, immoral, or illegal–is something you should do. Your customers want you to deliver outside your normal territory? If they’ll pay you for it, fine. They want you to add services you don’t normally include? If they’ll pay you for it, fine. The customer wants you to perform some relatively manual labor and you’re a high-tech shop? Shut up, roll ’em up, do the work, and get paid.

Only do what you want to do and you might build an okay business. Be willing to do what customers want you to do and you can build a successful business.

Be willing to do even more and you can build a remarkable business.

And speaking of customers…

8. People who pay me always have the right to tell me what to do.

Get over your cocky, pretentious, I-must-be-free-to-express-my-individuality self. Be that way on your own time.

The people who pay you, whether customers or employers, earn the right to dictate what you do and how you do it–sometimes down to the last detail.

Instead of complaining, work to align what you like to do with what the people who pay you want you to do.

Then you turn issues like control and micro-management into non-issues.

9. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.

Everyone says they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. Most people who go there think, “Wait… no one else is here… why am I doing this?” and leave, never to return.

That’s why the extra mile is such a lonely place.

That’s also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities.

Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload or unpack a shipment. Don’t wait to be asked; offer. Don’t just tell employees what to do–show them what to do and work beside them.

Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do–especially if other people aren’t doing that one thing. Sure, it’s hard.

But that’s what will make you different.

And over time, that’s what will make you incredibly successful.
Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

What the blankity blank blog am I doing? New Visions

New Visions

“Seeing” things a little differently

Exactly… what am I doing?

As if I don’t have enough to do around this time of year, here I go with another challenge. I’m beginning to realize that I like challenges. Maybe it spurs my emotions to stretch and go further than what I think I can do. Whatever the reason, I seem to find myself right in the middle of different types of challenges.

I work a full-time job, live in two different houses (that’s another story for another day), getting ready to participate in an arts and crafts fair coming up soon, cooking Thanksgiving dinner, writing speeches for toastmasters, managing my new website, finish my memoirs, and this @#$*! blog!

Busy_woman : one frustrated young business woman with many of post it representing concept memory and frustration on work Stock Photo

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Please don’t misunderstand me…I love my blog. It has brought me much joy, writing my thoughts and connecting with so many cool people like you. But, here I go… participating in yet another challenge. It’s the WordPress, November NaBloPoMo challenge. I am supposed to write every day for the entire month. Sounded fun at first…it suddenly just dawned on me that I am BUSY!

Another challenge that I have created for myself? I am attempting to quit drinking diet sodas. I am three days into being completely diet soda free! I have been experiencing a lot of insomnia lately and I want to see if this helps. (also knowing diet soda is not healthy for me.)

So, forgive me if I am rambling. I just had to get a post in before I continue with my long list of “things to do.”

Have a great day everyone!

.

FYI – Please follow this link to my new website http://sherrylcook.com and subscribe by entering your email to receive weekly newsletters on keeping your mind, body and spirit happy and healthy!

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Acer Execs Admit Innovator’s Dilemma, Question How Long Apple Remains Apple | Fast Company

http://www.fastcompany.com/3002847/acer-execs-admit-innovators-dilemma-question-how-long-apple-remains-apple

Acer Execs Admit Innovator’s Dilemma, Question How Long Apple Remains Apple

Not long ago, at the W Hotel in New York’s Union Square, a group of dark-suited Acer executives stood cramped together in their suite, showing off the company’s latest notebooks, desktops, tablets, and hybrid PCs. The reason for the occasion? The launch of Windows 8, Microsoft’s new operating system, which hardware makers like Acer believe will give them a fighting chance against Apple in the mobile market.

For decades, hardware manufacturers (often called OEMs) have built huge PC businesses on the back of Microsoft, which provided the companies with software. But that model has radically evolved in recent years: Apple, which controls both its hardware and software, was able to advance toward (and dominate) new industry paradigms–music players, smartphones, tablets. OEMs, dependent on third-party software makers like Google and Microsoft, watched helplessly as Apple vaulted forward to become the world’s most valuable company, its iPad alone now selling more units than they do PCs. At the W Hotel, surrounded by gadgets dripping with Apple’s influence–MacBook Air-like products, slate-size devices, touch-screen interfaces–I couldn’t help but ask the execs present whether Acer, with its traditional business model’s reliance on Microsoft, is experiencing the innovator’s dilemma.

“It is, it is,” said Campbell Kan, corporate VP and president of Acer’s global PC operations, in a refreshing display of candor. “It’s true that, in terms of timing, time to market [with Microsoft] was not as good as with Android or with the iPad. This is also a dilemma. Windows has been so successful going back just three or four years ago, before the iPad launched. Now, I think Google and Microsoft have realized [what’s changed]. But it’s never too late.” Asked whether Acer was at an inflection point, Kan responded, “I think you’re right. Consumer behavior is so different–the behavior and usage models have changed.”

Perhaps the honest introspection is one reason for Acer’s intriguing product lineup, at least in notebooks. Of all the other devices I saw at the W Hotel, where OEMs were displaying their portfolios, Acer’s Aspire S7 laptop was the one I found most appealing. Withs its Gorilla Glass-encased exterior, ultrathin industrial design, and a clever hinge that stiffens the screen’s movement the farther it goes back, so it won’t wobble when interacting with the touch interface, the S7 was at least more impressive than the devices I had already seen from HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, and more.

Acer S7

Kan chatted briefly about HP’s attempt to imitate Apple’s vertical model with its 2010 acquisition of Palm, which HP hoped would enable it to control both the hardware and software via Palm’s WebOS operating system. “When HP decided to do WebOS, it decided to do everything in the ecosystem by itself, but the company found out that it’s not easy,” Kan explained. “Building that ecosystem is so difficult. If you don’t spend five to 10 years doing it–I mean, just think about what Google is doing and how Apple is doing–it’s not going to happen soon. With Acer’s strategy, we’re still not going to do the ecosystem by ourselves. It’s been a long successful story for us to work with industry players like Microsoft and Android, and even the Google Chrome team. We still rely on our relationships with them. We still believe that based on what we have learned from those partners that we are able to have a very good alliance with them.”

Michael Birkin, Acer’s chief marketing officer, soon jumped into the fray. “The Apple model has worked brilliantly for Apple, but it’s not a model that’s really going to work for many people,” Birkin said. “The history of people trying to do other things you alluded to–like with HP–when the Googles of this world have tried to do other things, it’s not always been successful. So I think we just want to have a laser focus on what we know we do well. The world is moving in my opinion from the descriptions of PCs, tablets, and smartphones, to the morphing of product ranges to match what consumer and company needs are. We need to be completely cognizant of that dynamic whilst making sure we play to our strengths and not believe we can do it the way Apple has done it. Because I’m not sure anyone else can.”

Added Birkin, “And even then, in the post-Jobs era, let’s wait and see. This year, obviously no problem. Next year, probably the same, but it’s a very very difficult system to maintain. Apple really has got to knock it out of the park every time they come up with something, so I think this whole dynamic has got another twist and turn to make over the next three to four years.”

Still, while certainly risky to venture outside one’s circle of competency, many companies have decided the benefits outweigh the risk. Microsoft and Google, for example, are now dabbling in hardware: Microsoft with its Surface tablet, and Google with its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Thus Acer and other OEMs are being squeezed from all sides–even their own software partners are becoming their direct competitors.

“Well, it’s very difficult to analyze, and you’ll go nuts trying to figure out whether we are friends or foes,” Birkin said. “At the end of the day, in our opinion, you have to focus on what you can do really well, providing it remains relevant. At the end of the day, we’re working with Microsoft, and obviously they have their own agenda, and we have to have our own agenda. That means we work closely with them, and yes, there are moments when we compete, but in the history of the success of people moving away from their comfort zones, there’s been many more failures than successes.

“I think we just have to make sure we have to get into a world where we can control events as much as we can, rather than events controlling us,” he continued. “Which means we’re not going to play anyone else’s game. We’ll play ours–provided we can come up legendary products and move the market and move with it.”

[Highwire Image: Ljupco Smokovski via Shutterstock]

The Trick of the Presenter’s Paradox in Tracking Employee Performance

Very interesting article…

Rise Performance Group

By Sally Ann Moyer

Sometimes it feels like we live in a world of bigger is better. It’s tempting to want to bolster your company or yourself by naming off as many accomplishments as possible. The desire to highlight your success naturally leads you to think about it in concrete terms of how much and how many, but performance management rests on more than a numbers game. Tracking employee performance can be a test of quality, not quantity.

More actually means less when it comes to employee evaluations and performance reviews. A recent series of studies reported in the Harvard Business Review called this the Presenter’s Paradox. The studies discovered that “more is not actually better, if what you are adding is of lesser quality than the rest of your offerings.” The Presenter’s Paradox accounts for this disconnect between presenter and consumer perceptions.

In the study, buyers were willing…

View original post 483 more words

How to Social Network Like the Presidential Candidates (Infographic) from CareerEnlightenment.com

by Guest Writer, Heather Huhman

While becoming President of the United States isn’t your typical employment situation, even our presidential candidates know their success lies in networking. Although your dream job may not be in the White House (or maybe it is!), even everyday job seekers can take a page out of the presidential candidate playbook when it comes to landing their ideal position.

It’s true: In the presidential race, candidates use some of the same networking tactics that can help even regular ol’ job seekers on their search for employment. That means taking advantage of online resources like email, video, blogs, and social media to tap into the right networks. After all, some say Barack Obama won his first election off the back of social media–he hosted the very first White House Google+ hangout and revolutionized fundraising with the power of the Web. This year, Obama has sent out 600 emails in just the past three months alone, and Mitt Romney’s YouTube channel has already garnered 260 million views.

Job seekers everywhere can tweak these networking tactics and incorporate them into their own job search. The infographic below, compiled by Jackalope Jobs, a Web-based platform that combines search, social networking, and the overall user’s experience to provide relevant job openings, details even more techniques used by presidential candidates.

 

Have you used any similar techniques in your job search? What are some other networking tactics you’d suggest for everyday job seekers?


Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011),  #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle  (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

Linkedin Endorsements Changes Everything. Here’s Why …..from INC.

LinkedIn Endorsements Changes Everything. Here’s Why

By Dave Kerpen |
Nov 08, 2012
linkedin3_1725x810_21607.jpg
LinkedIn endorsements is to small business owners what the Facebook ‘Like’ button was to consumer brands: influential exposure.

For years, LinkedIn has offered recommendations as a way to get support from fellow professionals and businesses. If you received recommendations from other individuals, you garnered credibility, and were more likely to show up in searches.

But now, LinkedIn’s endorsements are much easier to get. It takes someone seconds to vouch for one or more of your particular skills, versus the 10 minutes to 15 minutes a recommendation might take. In today’s time-starved world, this is a critical difference. LinkedIn hasn’t released numbers yet, but if you look at several profiles, it’s clear that in just a few weeks, many users have generated way more endorsements than five years worth of recommendations.

If you want to give an endorsement, go to the top of a connection’s LinkedIn profile, where you’ll find an endorsement box you can click on, or write in skills or expertise you’d like to endorse (like PowerPoint, writing, market research). Lower down in the profile, you can view all current endorsements that connection has already received, and if you agree with any, simply click the plus sign and you’ll endorse that person as well. When you endorse someone (or someone endorses you), this will show up in your LinkedIn news feed (and spread the word).

LinkedIn isn’t weighting endorsements in search results yet, but it will soon. This means, the more endorsements for your skills and talents that you get, the more often you’ll appear in search results, the more trusted you’ll be, and the more leads you’ll potentially generate from LinkedIn.

So how do you get endorsements? There are two main ways I recommend:

1) Ask. Send out a dedicated email asking people you know for endorsements with a link directly to your profile. You can also send private messages via LinkedIn to your connections. Better yet:

2) Give others your endorsement. When you endorse others, they get notifications from LinkedIn, and will often reciprocate without your asking.

If you believe an endorsement is invalid, you have the option to hide it from your profile.

Remember, the more endorsements for your skills and talents you have, the more leads you can generate when people are looking for whatever it is you have to offer.

How many endorsements do you have on LinkedIn? Do you think endorsements could be a game changer?

Add this article to your Favorites?

ASK THE CAPITALIST: CAN I CONNECT LINKEDIN AND TWITTER TO REDUCE MY NEED TO POST TWICE?

November 06, 2012

Ask the Capitalist: Can I Connect LinkedIn and Twitter to Reduce My Need To Post Twice?

Smart people try to look for hacks that automate work.  For example, if you’re trying to create a relevant social content stream as a candidate, manager or recruiter, it make sense to answer the following question:

“Kris:

I do updates to build my professional brand on both Twitter and LinkedIn.  I don’t mind doing this, but since the updates are pretty much the same, it would be great if I could update one and it automatically updated the other.  For example, is it possible to set it up so if I post to Twitter it automatically shows up on my LinkedIn account as an update?”

-Christine

—————————-

Hi Christine –

I like the way you’re thinking.  You’re experimenting with the social tools and are looking for ways to be everywhere without taking the time to be everywhere.  Well played.   The answer is…. maybe.  In June of 2012, Twitter announced an end to their partnership that allowed users to sync updates from the two sites. According to Twitter, the site is increasingly focused on “proving the core Twitter consumption experience through a consistent set of products and tools.” This essentially means that LinkedIn users can no longer automatically sync their tweets to publish on LinkedIn.

Boo.  That sucked.  It was all Twitter’s fault, not LinkedIn’s.

Buffer screen shot

Users like you are now be forced to post their LinkedIn updates separately. Or, how LinkedIn positions it, “Simply compose your update, check the box with the Twitter icon, and click ‘Share.’ This will automatically push your update to both your LinkedIn connections and your Twitter followers just as you’ve been able to do previously.”

Basically, users can post from LinkedIn and have that message go out to its Twitter following, but not vice versa.

So no automatic API exists, so doing the manual dance above is one way to deal with it.

The other way?  Use a 3rd party tool like Buffer or HootSuite that allows you to link all your social accounts to the same account, then do an update and select all the social accounts that you want that update to appear on.  This type of system allows you to control your digital life, do one update and blast it out, and even time when you want it to show on each social account.  It’s a better way to deal with it.  The picture to the right of this post is a screenshot from Buffer, where I’m sharing a cool HR website via a social update, then sharing it across twitter and LinkedIn at the same time.

No direct API from twitter to LinkedIn?  Just another example of the man trying to hold us down.  Buffer doesn’t care.  Kind of like the Honey Badger.

-KD

REMEMBER TO VOTE TODAY!!!!!

GO, GO, GO out to VOTE TODAY!!!       …..Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012…..

Today’s the day, everyone!!  Please, everyone be mindful of your privilege and responsibility to VOTE today!  So few around the world have this right – we MUST use it to express our opinions and support regarding America’s future!!!!! Whatever your preferences, VOTE TODAY!!!

I’m on my way out now, how about you??  I’ll let you know about the lines in Atlanta, GA — please let me know about your voting experience today!!!

ROCK THE VOTE!!

Rosemary

 

The 3 Most Hated Interview Questions – and How You Can Juice Them Up

The 3 Most Hated Interview Questions – and How You Can Juice Them Up

123RF Stock Photo

When you’re asking interview questions day in and day out, it’s easy to fall into a rut.

Even the most intuitive and engaging hiring managers may find themselves rattling off the same set of stock questions every day, and thanks to Google, these prompts are less effective than ever before. Applicants search online for common corporate hiring questions and then simply memorize their responses. It’s hard to learn anything about your candidates when they’re telling you exactly what you want to hear.

If your company could use a little help making better hiring decisions, it’s time to give your stock interview questions a badly needed makeover. Try these creative alternatives to break through the scripted dialogue and assess candidates for who they really are.

Hated Interview Question #1

Bad: Tell me about yourself.

Better: What’s the most exciting thing that ever happened to you?

As one of the first interview questions posed to most applicants, this opener is meant as an ice-breaker.

The problem? Most candidates will recite a response that tells you nothing you didn’t already know from the cover letter and resume. To help them ditch the script and open up, ask interviewees about the most exciting thing they’ve ever experienced instead. The answers you get might surprise you.

A candidate who talks about the birth of his son shows that he’s committed and loyal. An applicant who beams while describing his first published piece of poetry gives you a glimpse of his creative side, and someone who’s gone sky diving or deep sea diving reveals that she’s not afraid to take chances and try new things.

Remember, when your questions are interesting, your answers will be, too.

Hated Interview Question #2

Bad: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Better: What do you want your job title to be when you retire?

Some interview questions have no good answer. This is one of those questions.

If candidates say, “Right here,” they seem ambitionless. If they reply, “Moving on to the position I really want,” then they seem uncommitted. If they say, “Sitting in your seat,” they come across as predatory, and if they steal Mitch Hedberg’s line and answer, “Celebrating the fifth anniversary of you asking this question,” they might get points for humor, but you won’t learn anything about their passions and goals.

Making the time frame less immediate will help you to uncover what applicants truly enjoy and what drives them to succeed. That’s the kind of information you need to make the best employee selection decisions you can.

Hated Interview Question #3

Bad: Tell me about a time when you had to overcome an obstacle.

Better: Let me describe a problem you might encounter while working here. How would you solve the problem?

Most applicants are prepared to tell you a story that paints them as the business equivalent of a superhero flying into a burning building to rescue orphans. Sometimes these stories provide valuable insights into a candidate’s character, but often these tales are unrelated to the kind of work the new position requires.

To get an idea of how your new hire would handle the decisions she’d have to make in her new position, use a real, concrete example and ask her what she’d do. You can even formulate questions designed to reveal different qualities.

For example, the question “What would you do if you found out a colleague was fraudulently inflating his sales numbers?” is a lot different than “If your business to business sales took a dip a few weeks before your performance review, what would you do?” Pointed questions can tell you a lot about a person’s social skills, integrity, technical knowledge and expertise.

Conducting an hour-long Q&A session that’s stuffed with clichéd interview questions is no way to start a business relationship. It’s trite, it’s uninspired and above all, it’s boring, both for you and for your interviewee.

Energize your interview sessions by revamping your questions. Not only will the process become more enjoyable, but you’ll get the information you need to make even better hiring decisions.

Remember what Tony Robbins once said: “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.

9 Ways HR & Recruiting Technology Will Evolve in Next 4 Years

9 Ways HR & Recruiting Technology Will Evolve in Next 4 Years

123RF Stock Photo

Soon enough, we’ll have an idea of what the next four years at the White House will look like.

But technology is a bit harder to predict — and four years can have a dramatic difference in the products and services available for recruiters, HR professionals, and employers.

How will HR and recruiting technology evolve over the next four years?

1. Millennials will dictate evolution in HR Tech

Most of the 10 million Millennials entering the job market during the next three years will expect a far better candidate experience than today’s. This more-demanding “customer” of human resources dictates that HR technology be upgraded to initiate timely candidate interaction and utilize social media as a communication tool. Essentially, rather than the cold shoulder being given candidates now, evolving HR tools will deliver a digital handshake and a virtual smile.

Mark Babbitt, YouTern

2. Embrace social media, digital technology, online video hiring

With more and more applicants spending increasing amounts of their online time using social media, HR technology will find new ways to use the social space to find great candidates. Social media will be used to find a larger and more connected talent pool of candidates for companies looking for particular skill sets. While online video will be embraced as a better way to get to know these tech-savvy candidates faster and more personally than the traditional phone screens.

Josh Tolan, Spark Hire

3. Video & crowdsourcing will impact HR technologies

Because HR is always looking to lower hiring costs, HR technology trends will shift toward techniques that not only work, but also save money. Two dirt cheap techniques that are kicking up the recruitment space are the use of video and crowdsourcing in the recruitment sphere. Video allows employers to explain a lot of information to job seekers in a more engaging format that can also promote their brand. Crowdsourcing is basically a ton of free help in creating and promoting a job. Stay tuned.

Rob Kelly, Ongig

4. A shift toward social performance

The talent management industry isn’t currently keeping up with the demands of employees who want user-friendly performance management platforms. Social Performance is slowly seeing adoption across the workforce, and this will continue in the next three years since it’s easy to use and deploy–not only HR, but for every leader and manager–in order to drive autonomy and results. It’s also ideal in meeting the need for HR processes to be continuous, and allows for more informal feedback in real-time.

Morgan Norman, WorkSimple

5. Force HR to grow to a highly strategic organization

HR Technology is making our lives as HR practitioners much more efficient — even in spite of the huge learning curve that most professionals face in adapting to new technology. As HR Tech continues to collect and display metrics, more and more businesses will be able to make strategic business decisions as a result of these findings — not just from C-Level conversations that leave HR out.

Joey Price, Jumpstart:HR

6. Social capabilities integrated into the platforms

When a candidate applies for a position, a HR manager or hiring manager will see the application and their social profiles as an integrated aspect of their application. For example, it will show what company the candidate worked at, the recommendations they received while at that position from his or her LinkedIn profile, recent tweets, and Facebook wall posts.

Sudy Bharadwaj, Jackalope Jobs

7. More advancements in technology, but focus on people will prevail

Technology has an important place in recruiting, but it cannot entirely replace human interaction. Technology will continue to enable quick and cost-effective recruiting through applicant tracking, screening, evaluating, and communicating. Smart hiring managers will use technology to their benefit, but recognize the need for in-person meetings and phone calls to discover who the candidate behind the computer is.

Michele St. Laurent, Insight Performance

8. Technology determining fit will Be critical

The ubiquity of a professional persona and the amount of structured and unstructured data surrounding it has created a massive problem determining signal from noise. The ability to create intelligent applications that leverage these data to quickly determine intent and fit will be critical to the success of any new recruiting technologies, otherwise there can only be incremental improvement to legacy systems.

Michael A. Morell, Riviera Partners

9. Employer value proposition, branding will be real recruiting difference

It will become much more like CRM and less tailored to the application of active job seekers. Employer value proposition and branding will be the real difference makers and the technology will evolve to support this. It will enable talent acquisition leaders to engage with a community of talent via multiple channels.

Larry Jacobson, Vistaprint