Attitude and the January 2012 Career Conference

The Cameron-Brooks team and the January 2012 Career Conference JMO candidates will arrive in Austin, TX this Friday to kick off our first Conference of the year.  As we make final preparations for the conference, I wanted to share some thoughts heading into the Conference.

In past pre-Career Conference blog posts, I’ve shared the current economic conditions but since I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago on that very topic, I’m not going to address it here.  The information is still accurate and definitely worth a read if you have any questions about how it pertains to the JMO.

Instead, I wanted to discuss the proper mindset in the interview process.  In an interview, you must do three things:  1) Prove your fit  2)  Demonstrate interest in the position/company and 3) Build rapport.  If I had to come up with a fourth “must do” item, it would be to demonstrate the correct attitude.  My colleague, Samantha Vanover, came across a good article talking about the importance of attitude in the hiring process and if you’d like to read the article, you can find it here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2012/01/23/89-of-new-hires-fail-because-of-their-attitude/

In the article, the author states that of the 20,000 new hires they tracked as part of their research, 46% of them failed within 18 months.  But what was surprising is that of those 9,200 failures, almost 90% of them were due to attitude reasons, and not for lack of skill.  It is important to understand and recognize the right attitude doesn’t start on your first day of your new job; rather it begins in the interview process.  The purpose of the initial interview is not to ascertain what is in it for you.  I promise you there will be time during the interview process to make that determination in due time.  Unfortunately, applicants often approach the initial interview with the mindset of what can this company do for me in terms of salary, perks, promotions etc. when their approach should be to display a good attitude and convey what they can bring to the table on behalf of the company.  Companies are not just interviewing candidates for skill.  They want candidates whose attitudes match their unique culture.  I have done my share of hiring in my career.  Several years ago, I made the mistake of hiring someone because they possessed the requisite skills and I paid less attention to whether they were a good cultural/attitude fit.  That person was gone from my organization in less than six months.  According to the article above, Herb Kelleher, former Southwest Airlines CEO used to say, “we can change skill levels through training, but we can’t change attitude.”  That attitude must start in the initial interview.

We have a great Career Conference lined up this weekend for both the companies and the candidates to kick off 2012.  Sample industries for the January conference include: Medical Device, Biopharmaceutical, Consulting, Construction and Building Products, Oil & Gas Exploration, Transportation/Logistics, Consumer Products, and more.  Sample companies include:  Boston Scientific, Ernst & Young, Carrier Corporation, Exxon Mobile, Goldman Sachs, Corning, Eli Lilly & Company, Johnson & Johnson, Tyson Foods, Inc., and many more.  The companies attending this conference represent a wide array of industries and sizes to include Fortune 500 type companies, smaller rapidly growing companies, privately held companies, as well as those that are internationally based.  Sample positions include: District Manager, Regional Manager, Manufacturing Engineer, Applications Engineer, Clinical Account Specialist, Engineering Team Leader, Senior Consultant, Manager of Special Projects, Manufacturing Supervisor, Financial Analyst, and more.  Although we are still finalizing the interview schedules, we expect the average number of interviews to be ~12 which is in-line with the 12-13 interviews we experienced in 2011 and the 11+ interviews we have experienced since the end of 2009.

Continue to follow the blog. Next week I will write a post on the results from our November Career Conference.

Rob Davis