Stand out at the interview

Interviewing for a new job? Remember when you interviewed for your current position? Any way you slice it, job interviews will cause stress but they can also be a growth opportunity.

In recent weeks I have interviewed several candidates for three different positions. I am hiring a new executive assistant who will work closely with me as a partner for day to day tasks, so I can be more effective and efficient.  On a different level, I’m on the search committee for our University of Michigan Chief Information Security Officer – a critical leadership role at a time of increased security threats. I’ve also interviewed a candidate for a key director position in our IT department at the request of the executive director who is doing the hiring.

No matter the role, there are some common themes: the first impression you make, your engagement during the interview, your core skills, and your previous experience all come into play.

Group interviews are especially challenging. They can seem stilted and scripted as the interviewers take turns posing questions. Interviewers need to balance common questions/scenarios with each candidate for consistency while creating a lively discussion where they get to know the person. Candidates need to adequately cover each question without getting off track and still let them get a feel for the person. Continue reading

Balancing career and family

I just had the joy of taking care of my 20 month old granddaughter for two days. Her day care center was closed this week so my husband and I flew out to LA to have some fun and help out.

It reminded me how hard it can be to balance a career and a young family. Parents take turns getting ready for work while watching small children. Getting kids out of the house with all their necessary supplies can be an organization challenge in itself. One parent does the drop off and the other may handle the pickup. Figuring out who has to be at work by when and who gets done in time is the family dance. If there are long commutes, multiply the challenges and logistics. And then theres the home front again after a long day – Continue reading

Welcoming feedback

It’s that time of year again. At UMHS, we do all performance evaluations at once in June / July timeframe.  360 feedback is key – up, down, sideways and customers.

Performance EvaluationI asked each of my direct reports for at least 6 names – including peers, their direct reports and customers.  Then I requested feedback from those individuals by either email or a phone call.

I just finished answering 8 surveys on colleagues – part of their soliciting feedback on how they are doing.

I sent my survey soliciting feedback on me to about 35 people including peers, internal customers, and direct reports. Continue reading

Making great hiring decisions

Late last year, I was on a leadership panel at the 2013 U-M StaffWorks Best Practices and Technology conference sponsored by VOICES of the Staff. After our prepared remarks, there was plenty of time for Q&A. In response to a question about how to deal with a challenging co-worker, I talked about the importance of hiring decisions. When I said that the hiring decision is one of the most important ones managers make, if not the most important, there was spontaneous applause. I was pleasantly surprised by that response. I truly believe what I said. I’m guessing that the applause were a reflection of the audience’s personal experiences – wondering why some of their co-workers were hired in the first place or why they are still there.

Talent Compass

During my 30 years in management positions I’ve hired many talented people. Hiring decisions can be exciting and rejuvenating for teams. I’ve successfully turned around performance issues with people who I inherited through re-organizations or when I’ve joined a new organization in a leadership position.  Some of those people still keep in touch and thank me many years later. And yes, I’ve had to move people out when it was clear they weren’t right for the position and organization. These are important yet difficult decisions that no one enjoys making.

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MiChart summer interns — a win-win!

Whats your college student doing this summer? Is it meaningful work? Is it making a difference? Are they taking steps towards their career goals? Or having experiences that could cause them to rethink their major?

Interns huddle during MiChart go live at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center

Interns huddle with a Super User during MiChart go live at the Cardiovascular Center

I’m happy to say that all of the above could be true for 250+ student interns we hired as “at the elbow” support for our inpatient electronic medical record implementation. And it is a win-win. As part of our MiChart activation team, we get much needed help from bright, enthusiastic, high energy undergrad and graduate students. They get real world experience in a health care setting: a med/surg nursing unit, labor and delivery, OR and PACU, an ICU, an adult or pediatric setting, or an outpatient department. Continue reading