There are Only Four Jobs in the World

Work Type analysis allows companies to use the product like cycle as a guide to divide work into four categories: Thinker, Builder, Improver, Producer. This approach breaks down the artificial barriers based on skills and experiences.

In The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired I make the case that in order to build a diverse workforce of extremely talented people you need to define all jobs as a series of 5-6 performance objectives. This needs to replace the laundry list of skills, experience and "must have" competencies found on most job boards.

These types of performance-based job descriptions are not only more compelling they also open the talent pool to more diverse, high potential and older people who can do the work but have a different mix of skills and experiences. Competency can be proven using a performance-based interviewing process that requires the candidates to provide detailed examples of comparable accomplishments.

One way to develop the performance objectives is to just ask the hiring manager what the person needs to do to be successful in the job. This normally includes one or two major objectives and three to four sub-tasks. For example, a major objective might be, "Lead the effort with design and operations to prepare a two-year product roadmap." This is a lot better than defining the job as, "Must have an MBA, a technical degree, 6-8 years industry experience and a results-oriented attitude."

The Four Work Types

Work Types is another way to develop these performance objectives. This approach classifies work into four categories that map directly to the classic product life cycle. This is shown in the graphic and described below. When opening up a new job requisition ask the hiring manager to develop 1-2 performance objectives for each Work Type. When completed put the objectives in priority order. One or two Work Types will typically stand out.

During the interview have candidates describe their 2-3 most significant career accomplishments. Then assign these to Work Types to see if there's a match on scope, scale and complexity. Aside from being a more predictive interview, this is a great way to overcome differences in industry and work experiences.

The Four Basic Work Types

Thinkers: These people are the idea generators, strategists, and creative types. They're at the front end of the growth curve, and their work covers new products, new business ideas, and different ways of doing everyday things. Sometimes they get in the way once the company or projects begin to grow. An example of a performance objective for the Thinker could be, "Develop a workaround to the technical bottleneck to ensure the launch date is met."

Builders: These people take ideas from the Thinker and convert them into reality. Entrepreneurs, project managers and turnaround executives are typical jobs that emphasize the Builder component. They thrive in rapid change situations, make decisions with incomplete information and can create some level of order out of chaos. They feel strangled in bigger organizations. "Rebuild the entire product management department in 90 days to support the global launch," would be an example of a Builder performance objective.

Improvers: These are the people who take an existing project, process or team, organize it and make it better. In a moderately growing company they are charged with upgrading a new system, converting an outdated process or rebuilding a department. In a mature company they're the ones that need to implement major and minor change despite heavy resistance. Here's an example of an Improver performance objective: "Develop a detailed plan for upgrading the international reporting system over the next 18 months."

Producers: Technical skills dominate the Producer Work Type. A pure Producer is someone who executes a repeatable process on a regular basis. More often, the Producer Work Type is a component of the job, for example, combining problem-solving (the Thinker) with some technical process to implement a solution. Here's an example of a pure Producer performance objective: "Handle 6-7 inbound calls per day at a 90% resolution rate."

Regardless of the size or scale, most work requires a mix of different thinking, project management, process improvement and executing skills. Getting the scale, scope and mix right is essential for hiring the right person.

Some types of work are more at the front end of the cycle, some bulge in the middle, some are heavily weighted towards process implementation and some are balanced throughout. Regardless, knowing how a job is weighted by these Work Types allows a company to better match people with the roles they're being hired for rather than hoping there is a good fit.

Google for Jobs is Evil

It's good to remember one of Google's original mission statements - Do No Evil. Google has just violated this credo in the announcement of their new service: Google for Jobs.

If you're not convinced Google for Jobs is evil, read part 2 of this post. So far, 100% of the people agree. You will, too.

Google contends the purpose of Google for Jobs is to save America by getting more people back to work more quickly. Don't fall for the con.

I contend it will make America less competitive and damage the American workforce. This is evil.

They might be saying to the world that they are trying to help people find jobs more quickly but they either are naïve – which I doubt – or realize the business potential for increasing job turnover and reducing job satisfaction is enormous.

Let me prove Google for Jobs is evil.

In the old days it took work to leave a job. So you didn’t just leave a job when you had a bad day at the office.

You first had to prepare a resume.

Then to find an open job you had to peruse the classified ads or display pages of the WSJ or a major local newspaper or contact a recruiter or former co-worker.

Then you had to send in your resume and wait.

When you had the occasional bad day at the office you just sucked it up. You didn’t change jobs for superficial short-term reasons. It was just too hard to do.

I contend that job satisfaction was higher in the old days, too. It doesn’t take much insight to read Gallup’s employee engagement reports and conclude that the current 70% disengagement rate of the U.S. workforce could be attributed to the ease of changing jobs for the wrong reasons.

The right reasons are related to lack of learning and career growth, not the occasional bump in the road. This difference is shown in the bottom half of the Job Seeker’s Decision Grid graphic.

Too many people leave jobs for short-term reasons – “The Daily Grind.” Then they make matters worse by accepting jobs for more short-term reasons – what they get on the day they start the job.

One of the core principles I advocate is to not accept a job unless the reasons for doing the job are intrinsically motivating. This is the box in the upper right corner of the grid. This represents what a person will be doing and becoming if successful. When making the job switching decision a good balance is 2:1 or 3:1 long-term over short-term. I advise job-seekers to assign their pros and cons into these two categories when comparing jobs. When the emphasis is on the short-term – more than 50% - dissatisfaction soon follows. This leads to “Job Hopping Syndrome” – a continuing series of jobs leading nowhere.

One problem is that while most candidates believe they’re making long-term decisions, they have often have little knowledge of the actual work before taking the job. That’s why companies need to switch to a performance qualified attraction and assessment approach rather than one based on skills and experience. Google for Jobs prevents these discussions from even happening.

To prove it, just look at the jobs being advertised. All they’re offering are lateral transfers. By emphasizing skills and experience as the criteria for initial consideration, they only appeal to the fully-qualified, under-employed and dissatisfied worker. They’re anti-diversity, too, since they instantly exclude diverse candidates who have a different mix of skills and experiences. This is the very definition of diversity that Google for Jobs overlooks.

Google for Jobs also ignores how strong people – whether they’re active or passive or fully-employed or not – actually change jobs and compare opportunities. It’s always slower and more long-term focused. That’s why I contend the Google for Jobs approach will lead to more negative outcomes by rewarding and emphasizing short-term tactical thinking over the long-term strategic reasons for changing jobs.

Just look at the Job Seeker’s Decision Grid graphic as you ponder this. Google for Jobs is focusing exclusively on people on the left half of the grid – offering lateral transfers to fully-qualified people who are more interested in leaving a bad situation for more money and some temporary pain relief.

The best career-minded people – those who make decisions using the right side of the grid – aren’t willing to apply directly so making the "find a job and apply" process more efficient is illogical for any person who wants to make a career move. That’s why I suggest companies put duct tape over the apply button and instead install a “Let’s have a conversation button,” in its place. The best people are willing to discuss the potential of a career move but aren’t willing to formally apply first.

All Google for Jobs has done has made it somewhat easier for the 15-20% of people looking for another job to find a temporary respite from their short-term struggles. It will take more creative companies to figure out how to entice the best talent to consider switching jobs for the right reasons. In a recent video with the talent leader of a Fortune 50 company, I suggested the right reasons are those that result in a 30% non-monetary increase. This is the sum of a bigger job, a mix of more satisfying work, more important work and a faster growth rate to ensure this learning, impact and satisfaction continues.

Unfortunately, Google for Jobs ignores this entire concept and makes matters worse by treating a job change as a mere transaction rather than a thoughtful process that has lifelong implications. To me that’s the very definition of evil.

10 Digital Marketing Ideas for Finding a Better Job in 2017

I’m working with a few clients hiring digital campaign marketing managers to improve their top of the funnel attraction rates. The big idea for them is that as digital marketing becomes the de facto standard for finding new customers, those who do it more effectively will wind up with the most new clients.

The best recruiters are now starting to use these same concepts and tools to find and hire stronger candidates.

Job seekers need to rethink their job hunting strategies along the same lines.

Key to Success: Spend More Time with Fewer Companies and the Right People

The central theme of this approach is the need for job seekers to spend more time with fewer companies targeting hiring managers and their functional leaders. Underlying this model is recognition that there are two job markets. The public one where jobs are posted and the hidden one where jobs are filled either via referral or internal promotion.

The video describes this concept.

In The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired I offer advice to job seekers on how to enter into the hidden job market through the backdoor. Some of these points are summarized below. If you’re into digital campaign marketing you’ll see the similarities.

Narrow your focus by first defining your ideal company. Finding a better job starts by identifying companies that need your skills and abilities, those that are hiring people like you and those that might have some problems you can solve. Once you have 15-20 companies like this do your research and find the names of likely hiring managers and department heads. LinkedIn is specifically designed for this purpose.

Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile can be found. Most recruiters begin to fill jobs by searching resume databases like and LinkedIn. For them this is a better way to find good candidates than posting jobs. This post describes the process we created to help recruiters find top tier candidates using advanced searching techniques. Job seekers need to reverse engineer their resumes accordingly so they can be found more easily.

Use a campaign marketing approach to get the first meeting. This is the essence of digital marketing. Forget about applying unless you’re a perfect skills match, but definitely be sure to follow the company since this will improve your profile search ranking. More important though is a proactive multi-pronged campaign to key decision makers consisting of emails, recommendations, referrals, voice mails, meet-ups and whatever else you can think of to make contact.

Sell an exploratory discussion, not a job interview. Regardless of how you make contact, don’t press for a job. Instead suggest the chance to have a discussion around a problem or opportunity the company is facing that you know you could help solve.

Get recommended. Without question getting referred by a trusted source is the best technique to arrange an exploratory discussion with a decision maker. But note that networking is not about meeting as many people as you can. It’s meeting a few highly-connected people who can vouch for your performance to a few other highly-connected people.

Build a networking map. You need to find some connections to the decision makers to get recommended. One job applicant told me she contacted a sales trainer she had used to get a referral to a company hiring sales managers. Another got referred to a company through a professional engineering society associate.

Mention a higher up. In your messages mention you’re also sending a similar email to other leaders in the company. Mention their names. If your email is provoking, provocative and/or insightful the person reading it will more likely reach out to you directly rather than having to be told to by the higher up.

Offer a sneak peek. One job seeker told me he prepared a competitive analysis of a company’s new product line and sent the first few slides to the VP Marketing. He offered to present the whole program in a short meeting to the marketing team. He got the meeting.

Conduct discovery during the exploratory discussion. As soon as the meeting starts ask about some of the challenges, critical tasks and problems the department is currently focusing on. Then describe some of your most significant accomplishments that best compare. All job seekers should do something similar to ensure they’re properly assessed on their past performance.

Slowly prove your worth. The solution selling process described here involves proving your worth in incremental steps. Each step is called an advance. For job seekers it’s getting another meeting with people who are likely to be hiring someone just like you in the near future. So ask for another meeting if it’s not offered.

Job seekers can take these lessons from digital campaign marketing: narrow the target, maximize the response rate and spend more time with the right people. Done properly the result will be a better job.

Don't Change Jobs Unless You Get a 30 Percent Increase

Time is your most valuable asset. Too many job candidates waste it by making long term career decisions using short term information.

If you're looking for a new job, about to get a new job or think you'll ever change jobs you must follow these somewhat conflicting and irrational rules, which aren't either:

  • Unless you're desperate, don't ever accept an offer that doesn't include a minimum 30% increase.
  • If you're not looking for a new job but are open to consider changing jobs, don't use compensation, location or the job title to decide whether to have an exploratory conversation.
  • As far as your career goes, time is your valuable asset. Don't waste it. What you do over the next 3-5 years will define the next 10 to 15.

I've been working with candidates both active and passive for years. Even the best, including those who are perfectly happy and are not looking, often violate these fundamental rules of career management. The most important is the one about time being a valuable asset. Sometimes not looking for a new job is riskier than looking for one.

From a career management standpoint understanding the above rules starts by categorizing all job-related decisions into these four buckets.

The "Having" bucket: This is what candidates put on their resumes in terms of skills and experiences and what companies list on their job descriptions. Using a "having" approach to match candidates with jobs overlooks all of the best people who can do the work but have a different mix of skills and experiences.

The "Getting" bucket: This is what recruiters and candidates both want to discuss during their first conversation - the job title, company name, location and compensation package. Both parties filter each other in and out based on this start date criteria with the excuse, "I don't want to waste anyone's time."

The "Doing" bucket: This is what a person will actually be doing on the job during the first year or so and who the person will be doing it with. Most candidates never learn about this "doing" since they've either filtered themselves out during the initial "getting" conversation or they were filtered out because they didn't "have" the ill-defined requisite "must-have" skills.

It's important to note that if the doing part of the job offers an increase in job stretch, job satisfaction and job impact it might offset the need for a big compensation increase. Collectively these are a big part of the 30% increase mentioned in the title and described in the graphic below.

The "Becoming" bucket: This represents the collective future opportunity inherent in the new job, if the person hired is successful in the "doing" part. This is also part of the 30% increase and can be estimated by comparing the candidate's current rate of growth to the underlying rate of change of the new opportunity.

As part of our Performance-based Hiring training programs I suggest to recruiters and hiring managers that to hire the best talent they'll need to offer a minimum 30% non-monetary increase in order for the person to change jobs. I refer to this as the 30% Solution as shown in the graphic. It represents the sum of job stretch (a bigger job), job impact (a more important job), improved job satisfaction (a mix of more satisfying work) and faster job growth.


The good news about this is that most candidates are willing to offset their need for a large compensation increase as long as the job offers a minimum 30% increase in career opportunity. The bad news is few candidates ever get the chance to have these discussions.

For job seekers you need to consider any job change a strategic decision. This is what you'll be doing and becoming in the new role. Too many job seekers overvalue what they'll be getting on their start date with some vague promise of the actual job and future opportunity. This is the primary reason job satisfaction is universally low around the world and turnover is unnecessarily high. So when you get a call from a recruiter, take it. Have an exploratory discussion. Then have the recruiter describe the job in terms of challenges, problems and performance requirements before deciding to get serious.

Recruiters and hiring managers need to embed the "30% Solution" into their everyday processes. It starts by searching for candidates who would see the job as a career opportunity, not a lateral transfer. Once on the phone with a prospect they need to engage in an exploratory conversation to see if the 30% increase can be found. Unfortunately too many box check skills and negotiate the terms of an offer before the person has any knowledge about the job or the opportunity.

The bottom line for job seekers is not to make long-term career decisions using short-term information. More important, the next time you get the chance spend more time negotiating the scope of the job, not the compensation increase.


Break the Hiring Ceiling to Get a Better Job

Companies put a lid on the quality of people they're hiring by using skills-laden job descriptions and transactional processes. Job seekers can break this artificial talent ceiling by being creative, gutsy and engaging.

Most or what I do involves training and coaching recruiters and hiring managers to use Performance-based Hiring to find, recruit, interview and hire outstanding talent. Most of these candidates have multiple opportunities and few reply to job postings so recruiters and hiring managers need to be both skilled and creative to hire them. Most aren't though. This fact offers the savvy job seeker an opportunity to bend some rules to get a better job.

Bending the rules starts by knowing the rules. The most important is the idea that traditional job descriptions put a lid on the quality of the people being seen. To break this ceiling I ask hiring managers to define the job as a series of 6-8 prioritized performance objectives rather than using the more common laundry list of "must-have" skills and experiences. Job seekers can do this during the interview.

The second is to replace the transactional box checking process most companies use with a consultative recruiting process. This approach involves spending more time with fewer candidates to better match real job needs with the person's ability and interests.

There's no reason job seekers can't use a similar, more focused ceiling-breaking process.

For job seekers the process starts by fully understanding the difference between transactional and consultative selling. Buying cars, purchasing anything on Amazon or negotiating the price for something based on quantity is a transactional sales process. Finding jobs on some job board and applying is a similar transactional process.

When a product or service is customized to fit the specific needs of the buyer a consultative sales process is used. In this case the sales rep begins with a discovery process to determine the customer's needs and based on this prepares a customized solution. A comparable consultative process for hiring is how referred candidates are recruited and hired in the hidden job market before the requisition is officially opened.

Job seekers can find these better jobs in the hidden job market but they need to narrow their focus to first get the interview and then they must use a consultative process during the interview to get offered the job. Here's how this process works.

  • Take a less is more approach to job hunting. Rather than applying to anything and everything, find 8-10 companies that seem to have positions available that best fit your skills and interests.
  • Do your research. For each company focus on their new product efforts or where they're trying to be more efficient. Your objective is to uncover business problems they're facing that you can solve.
  • Use non-traditional techniques to find the decision maker. Here are some hack-a-job ideas that don't involve applying directly. My favorite: Use a non-resume to get an audience with the decision and use your time in the meeting to conduct discovery.
  • Getting referred increases your odds by 5X. Networking is not about meeting as many people as you can. It's about getting a few people who can vouch for your performance to introduce you to a few other people.
  • Market demos, videos and teasers - not your resume. One person told me he put together a competitive analysis of a product line, sent it to the VP Marketing and landed an interview a few days later. He came up with the idea looking in an industrial journal with the product announcement.
  • Focus on total campaign results, not response rates. Sending out hundreds of resumes in the hope to get a 1-2% response rate is a waste of effort. Instead, use multiple approaches to arrange exploratory meetings with 70-80% of those companies on your target list.
  • Success is making advances, not having interviews. The measure of success in consultative selling is moving the process forward. For job seekers this equates to arranging a series of exploratory conversations or doing a small project to demonstrate your ability.
  • Make sure you're assessed properly. During the discovery phase you'll be asking the people you meet to clarify real job needs. During the interview your goal is to demonstrate you can do this work by providing examples of comparable accomplishments. This interview template and video will help you guide the process along.

Job seekers regularly ask for my advice on how to get better results when applying to job postings. My advice is always the same: Stop pushing the apply button. Instead get creative, find some companies that can benefit from your abilities and then go prove it to them. This process is called consultative job seeking. It takes a lot more work than applying directly but it represents the difference between hoping for an interview and getting a real job.