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Time Management Master Guide

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Mastering Career: The Right Career Path and Design

With the aging of the population and the declining workforce in Japan, the globalization of people, goods, money, and information is accelerating further, and the technology that enables work styles regardless of location is becoming more common, the work styles are also large in Japan. It has changed. (Whether it is good or bad)

It is natural to change jobs, and after the shift from office work to remote work, IT skills are of course essential, and English and programming will be commoditized in the future. In such an accelerating world, how to design and create a career (in a rough translation, “life as a worker”) is a very difficult task.

This guide will explain how to think about your career and put it into practice.

Job change

In Japan, where there are many culture gaps with different cultures (this site mainly refers to the Anglo-Saxon area), there is limited information for job seekers, and even among foreign-affiliated companies, they are looking for a “good” job and are safe. Getting a job seems like a miracle.

Job change agents are also effective, but I often hear that they have no experience of working in the field and regret that there is a gap from what I heard after I actually got a job. As an employer, even if we ask agents about differentiating factors, the only difference is the applicant’s data, and there is nothing else.

On the contrary, not all information is posted even if you utilize LinkedIn or other job sites. There are many projects that are not posted. But looking at each one’s work page takes a tremendous amount of time.

Target audience
Those who are thinking of changing jobs to foreign-affiliated

I am writing while thinking that the main readers are those who currently work in Japanese companies or foreign companies and want to work in a better environment and want higher rewards. Please use the tips and methods for finding a job.

Current students who are thinking of finding employment in a foreign-affiliated company

We will also gather information for those who want to work in a foreign-affiliated company or are looking for a job at a foreign-affiliated company. Of course, it doesn’t mean that we are free to personally decide which company to work for, and we do not particularly recommend employment in a foreign-affiliated company.

Those who are considering hiring at a Japanese company

I think that it will be useful for many people if I work for a Japanese company and change jobs to a foreign company. We hope that it will contribute to global expansion and recruitment of foreigners. (I’m personally glad that Japan’s fine-tuned services are rolled out all over the world.)

Referral criteria
Company growth: Stocks go up. Happy everyone. In the opposite case, blame against each other and lay off. It’s not accumulated.
Occupation: Skills that will grow.
Career path: Company evaluation and name recognition. Training etc. A company that is easy to live in the next company.
Environment: salary, working hours, etc. Above average.
Presence in Japan: Larger is easier to have discretion. (It’s a problem if it’s too big.)
Originally, we should include the most important “people” called the culture fit, but this is different depending on the team, and the element of luck is large. If you do not match, you can change jobs and you can change the team, so please feel free to think about it.

Note
Please note the last updated date of the job listing. I am reviewing it once a month, but I think there are cases where jobs are already gone. Please note.
We do not use any insider information. I write only publicly available information and rules of thumb that anyone can get.
This site does not make investment recommendations, advice or recommendations for any particular company, market or organization. In the unlikely event that you make an investment based on the information on this site and a loss occurs, this site and the operator will not take any responsibility.

Philosophy and policy
Content quality> reward

We operate the site by advertising and affiliates, but we do not change the content of the article due to rewards. For example, companies that are not affiliated with affiliates are proactively introducing as long as the business is good.

Person> Personnel, Person> Man

I try not to use the word “human resources” as much as possible. The stance is that people are people, not materials or materials (although it is described as “cost” on the balance sheet). Also, the idea that “a man can work” is a mistaken idea, so it is a familiar word such as “business man”, but I use the word “business person” as much as possible.

Job category> Industry

We focus more on what skills we have, rather than what industry we are in. You can see that the industry catch-up is working 2-3 months full time, but for example, mastering legal and sales is not enough for a few years.

In the foreign-affiliated industry,

Entrepreneurship: IT, media, fashion, HR, etc.
Investment: unlisted, passive, active, virtual currency, etc.
Work style: Time difference of 10 hours or more, multinational, remote work, etc.
Job category: Product development, marketing, operations, etc.
Industry: Consulting, Media, Finance, Food, Apparel, Retail, etc.
etc. I have experienced a surprising number of things.

15 years ago, there was no iPhone yet. Global technology companies led by GAFA are beginning to have overwhelming power now, but I have no idea what will happen in the next 15 years.

However, I believe that there will always be “people who provide value to the world through business” regardless of age. I would be grateful if this site could be of any help to those new age workers.

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OKR: The Definitive Guide

Introduction

By continuing to grow in business, stable economic activities can be achieved. For that purpose, it is important to manage goals for each year, quarter and month. “OKR” is attracting attention. OKR is a framework for goal management, and has been adopted by companies around the world, including global IT companies in the Silicon Valley.

In this article, we will explain the meaning and merits of OKR, recommended OKR management tools, precautions for introduction, etc.

OKR – the basics

First, let’s check the meaning and characteristics of OKR, and the differences from KPI and MBO, which are easily confused.

What is OKR?

OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is an abbreviation for “Objectives” and “Key Results”, which is a framework for achieving goals in companies. It is widely known that it was developed by Intel Corporation in the United States and introduced by major companies such as Google and Facebook.

By introducing OKR, it is possible to subdivide the goal setting of each department, team, and individual, and put clear goals and the results to be achieved down to the individual level. As each department, team, and individual achieve their goals and achieve results, they approach the achievement of goals for the entire organization.

Difference from KPI and MBO

OKR is used to achieve organizational goals, but it is often confused with “KPI (Key Performance Indicator)” or “MBO (management By Objectives)” which is often used for goal management. ..

KPI refers to “Key Performance Indicators” and is a goal management tool for achieving 100% of the final goal. It is primarily shared within a department or team for the purpose of project success. Clarify your final goal and share your progress towards that goal.

MBO stands for “Goal Management System” and is a personnel evaluation method advocated by Peter Drucker, the father of management. We set goals for each employee and evaluate their achievement as one of their achievements. MBO is used for the purpose of determining individual rewards.

On the other hand, OKR aims to improve the productivity of the entire organization, so it is a common target for the entire organization. In addition, while the expected level of achievement for KPIs and MBOs is 100%, it can be said that OKR has set a high target that is expected to achieve 60-70%.


ObjectivesScopeMeasurementTarget ScoreFrequency
OKRCompany DirectionWhole CompanySMART60~70%Quarter
KPIProject ManagementDepartment/TeamDepending on projects100%Monthly / weekly
MBOIndividual PerformanceManager/ReportDepending on orgs100%Annually

In addition, the following five elements of “SMART” are used as an indicator of the degree of achievement of the target.

  • Specific: Make the expression concrete and easy to understand
  • Measurable: Quantify the achievement of the goal
  • Achievable: a realistic goal that can be achieved
  • Related: It is a goal related to the management goal of the organization.
  • Time bound: Set the deadline for achieving the goal

In this way, by setting concrete and achievable goals based on SMART, and making them visible and improving the results, it is possible to improve the productivity of the entire organization.

Benefits of introducing OKR

What kind of effects can be expected with the introduction of OKR? Here, we will explain the three advantages of introducing OKR.

The goals of the entire organization can be lowered to the individual level.

With OKR, it is possible to transfer the goals of the entire organization to the individual level. If only the company’s upper management and some departments understand the goals of the entire organization and they are not shared by each employee, the employee cannot take it as his / her own.

Therefore, even if you set goals individually, they will not be the same as the goals of the entire organization and will not lead to results.

If OKR is introduced, each department, team, and individual level will set goals that are linked to the goals of the entire organization, so that the entire organization can achieve the same goals.

Each employee can work with clear goals

One of the merits of OKR is that each employee can work with clear goals. Not only the goals of the organization but also the goals of each employee are clarified, so that employees can concentrate on the work that they should do after understanding their roles and responsibilities.

Communication within individuals and teams is activated

The introduction of OKR can be expected to have a synergistic effect of activating communication within individuals and teams. Since all employees share the same goals and results, it becomes easier to identify problems and propose solutions. As a result, communication within individuals, teams, and departments is activated.

Furthermore, if people with the same goals gather together, they will be able to strengthen their unity and achieve more effective results.

Three recommended OKR management tools

If you want to implement OKR efficiently, you should choose OKR management tool. Here are three recommended OKR management tools and their features.

The Challenges

OKR is a goal management method that allows an entire organization to have a clear picture of where they are moving forward, at department, team, and even individual levels.

However be careful about caring only about the outputs. For example Jeff Bezos famously prioritized inputs over outputs. The former can be controlled while the latter cannot.

Share the OKR goals, achievements, and progress within the company, and consider creating an environment in which superiors can provide appropriate feedback to their subordinates.

If OKR can be used effectively, each employee’s productivity and work motivation can be increased, and as a result, the goals of the entire organization can be achieved. Why not consider introducing OKR with reference to the OKR management tools introduced above?

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Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Process, and Challenges

Introduction

We keep getting asked again and again – “Why is Diversity and Inclusion important?”.

First we need to understand the importance of having diverse, inclusive culture at work.

The Benefits

Not just being right, but also being smart

Now-famous research conducted by McKinsey proved that companies that are more gender diverse are 21% more likely to outperform others, and those that are ethnically diverse are 33% more likely to outperform others. 

diversity stats

In short, if your company has a less-diverse work environment either by gender or ethnicity, the odds are high that your company is not doing well against your competitors.

This is why so many companies are investing a huge capital in Diversity and Inclusion training seeking a solution. Importantly, it’s worth mentioning that the importance of gender diversity on executive teams is accelerating:

[In the 2014 diversity data] we found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 15 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. In our expanded 2017 data set this number rose to 21 percent and continued to be statistically significant.

McKinsey

More creativity & innovation = Faster problem-solving

Is implementing Diversity and Inclusion strategies just about improving a company’s reputation?

Well, social reputation is just one of the many benefits you can have, but there are more than that.

Numerous research proves that building a diverse culture as a company growth strategy is a highly effective way to bring more creativity, fasten problem-solving, and drive innovation. 

When companies see a creative stagnation and innovation slowdown, they tend to either bring outside experts (consulting, agencies, etc.) or hire a creative director. But here’s another approach – change your culture so that creative spirits flourish internally.

Diversity in the workplace increase creativity. People from different backgrounds tend to have various experiences and perspectives. Exposure to a variety of diverse perspectives and views leads to higher creativity. 

When you put together people who see the same thing in different ways, you are more likely to get a melting pot of fresh, new ideas, thus improving the creativity of your workforce. 

As a company with many global clients, Boston Consulting Group conducted an interesting study showing a relationship between diversity and innovation.

Companies that reported above-average diversity on their management teams also reported innovation revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity.

According to Josh Bersin – an industry expert – inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.  You see a clear (and a bit repetitive) pattern here? More diverse backgrounds create more perspectives, which helps these companies innovate. 

HBR offers us a different twist; the authors of the article argue that cognitive diversity contributes to problem-solving faster than diversity in age, ethnicity, or gender.

Long story short, whether it’s a biological or cognitive difference, when it comes to being innovative, having different perspective matters. And creating a diverse, inclusive culture at your organization is the key to success.

More flexible. More versatile.

Without a doubt, the 21st century will bring us advanced technology (mobile, AI, nanotech, etc.) and cultural shift (accelerating globalization, remote working, gig economy, etc.) and many other micro/macro changes.

This trend requires organizations to continually adapt, adjust, and accommodate. Industry leaders believe having diverse backgrounds in their teams is vital for these attributes.

Vijay Eswaran, a founder of Kuala Lumpur-based QI Group, shares an inspiring message.

More than ever, flexibility and versatility are becoming the most important keys to success for individuals, companies and countries alike, and a culturally diverse environment is the best way to acquire these qualities.

Vijay Eswaran

Bigger markets. Broader audience. Faster growth

Let’s take a look at IBM. They increased the number of female executives worldwide by 370% in a decade, resulting in more than just expanding their talent pool but growing their market.

As the world keeps globalized, your markets become diverse and multicultural. Accordingly, you want your people diverse as well. With numerous try and error to more effectively reach a broader range of talent and customers, IBM saw significant bottom-line results. One example of such success goes like this.

Based on a recommendation from the people with disabilities task force, in October 2001 IBM launched an initiative focused on making all of its products more broadly accessible to take advantage of new legislation—an amendment to the federal Rehabilitation Act requiring that government agencies make accessibility a criterion for awarding federal contracts. IBM executives estimate this effort will produce more than a billion dollars in revenue during the next five to ten years.

As you saw, building a diverse team can be your number one growth strategy since it brings more innovation, problem-solving, flexibility & versatility, and more significant market opportunities.

KPMG, one of the largest accounting organizations proudly states that “diversity has moved away from a nice-to-have to a must-have for companies as a strategic business imperative.”

Attracting new people

In 2014 Glassdoor run a survey and demonstrated interesting results:

  • Two-thirds of those surveyed say a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.
  • Seventy-two percent of women surveyed say that a diverse workforce is important when evaluating companies and job offers, along with 89 percent of black respondents, 80 percent of Asians, and 70 percent of Latinos.

i.e. When it comes to the recruiting process, minority groups value diversity even more than the average job seeker.

As you can see, you can build a great brand for a group of people who are largely untapped by many recruiters by emphasising a diverse workplace. Again, having female executives is statistically value-added to your organization.

Boosting team morale

You know how you feel when get rejected, right? It’s not a great feeling at all. So this is not surprising that according to Salesforce’s research, employees perform a lot better when they’re at an inclusive workplace.

  • Employees who feel their voice is heard at work are nearly five-times (4.6X) more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
  • Employees who say their company provides equal opportunities are nearly four times (3.8X) more likely to say they are proud to work for their company.
  • Employees who say they’re able to be their authentic self at work are nearly three times (2.8x) more likely to say they are proud to work for their company — and nearly four-times (4.4x) more likely to say they are empowered to perform their best work.

Yes, you read it right. Four. Times. Acknowledging, embracing, and celebrating diversity will keep your team engaged way better than having a monolithic perspective.

Now – you know it doesn’t make any sense NOT to work on diversity and inclusion, right? There are a million ways to start but we believe taking that first step is the most critical.

The Process

The process to make sure everyone in your company is welcomed is not an easy task. You need a dedicated team and company-wide efforts. Let’s take a look.

Now we know the benefits and reasons of embracing diversity in the workplace. Let’s take one step further – why don’t we think like D&I as a key growth strategy?

Does this sound too far-fetched? We don’t think so. After reading this article, you’ll see diversity can be your competitive advantage.

As we’ve seen diverse perspectives push businesses forward with unique insights from many backgrounds.

Industry leaders know this well. For instance, KPMG now states diversity and inclusion strategy is a must-have, and it’s running numerous projects to improve diversity and inclusion at every part of their organization.

Scott Page, the author of The Difference, argues that “progress depends as much on our collective differences as it does on our individual IQ scores.” It essentially means the diversity of your team is as important as (or even more important than) the average IQ of your workforce.

The Challenges

Diversity initiatives have always been faced against pushbacks. It moves three steps forward and two steps back.

Inevitable Conflicts

However, Jim Stone, an Evolutionary Psychologist, reminds us that we’re not necessarily born to be different. When you go to churches, schools, or casual gatherings, the chances are you see similar faces than the different ones. 

This is not an argument for less diversity. It’s an acknowledgement that, whenever you decide to blend together two (or more) subsystems into a super-system, it’s always more complicated than it looks.

There is always friction. And much of it shows up in unexpected places. And it’s an acknowledgment that all of this friction takes a psychological toll. We’re not fully built for it. We’re not designed to be outraged all the time. And we’re not designed to walk on eggshells all the time.

This modest reminder leads us to talk about what’s “too much diversity.”

Diversity Fatigue

“Diversity fatigue” describes the stress that managers at work feel when they need to hire or deal with people from underrepresented backgrounds. There is unquestionably a not small number of people who think diversity fatigue is a real issue.

“One of the most treasured American (and many countries’) rights is the freedom of association.” Po Bronson continues. “You can hang out with whomever we want, wherever we want. It’s a complicated right, because when we hang out with “people like us,” inevitably someone gets kept out. Where and how to draw the line is a question we all seem to be struggling with right now.”

The dilemma between personal preference and social responsibility has been discussed for a long time, not only by politicians but corporations.

This is why Jennifer Jackson-Preece, a senior lecturer at the London School of Economics, believes that “a top-down approach from the government does not always work on its own. There needs to be common involvement.”

Strong Culture > Bottom Line > Social Responsibility

Then what is the right way to embrace diversity internally at your organization?

Scott Page calls out focusing on the bottom line instead of morally right/wrong discussions, with a series of case studies proving groups with different backgrounds outperform those without.

This makes sense, but even beyond the bottom-line discussion, you as an individual can influence peers with value-based conversations because a number alone doesn’t motivate people.

Bonnie Nixon encourages you to bring a core value to the table and start building a strong culture. She states that “I found that if the leader(s) placed a strong emphasis on something and followed through with rewards and action, where needed, then the values and ethics were met.

Where the leader had a strong value on diversity–not who you are but what you can do and what you can bring–and an HR group that hired based on competencies, then you tended to see the best person hired and promoted, and the culture was able to utilize each person’s individual genius effectively.”

Forcing people to blindly embrace diversity would cause an opposite reaction. Instead, it would be best if you shared common values and principles on why diversity matters with a clear rationale with your team.

This sounds like a real work and it is, but there’s no other way. For example, “no tolerance over derogatory comments on backgrounds because it impacts the bottom line positively” or “neither recruiters nor hiring managers allowed to filter talent by backgrounds,” and so on.

Only through constant commitments, you’d build a strong culture with a more diverse workplace. And then you’ll realize the more diversity you have, the more diversity of thought you have, which ultimately makes for better business decisions.

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Product Design: What, Why, and How of Designing Products

We’ll talk about what product design is, why it’s critical, how to approach.

In short, product design is about experience and a process to deliver that experience.

Case Study with Apple

Recently the industry voice has been harsh to the company’s innovation. The devices evolution is certain slowing down.

Will there be a huge, jaw-dropping release? We don’t know. But as one of the biggest companies on the planet we know they’ve done many things right we’ll see them in details.

The Best Product

What made Apple Apple? We’re sure there are various contributions to it, but first we must start with their products.

Period. I clearly remember when I first touched the Macbook, iPod, and iPhone. They’re not only “new” or “different“, their products were (and mostly are) better compared to other products available. This quote from Jonathan Ive says well.

It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.

Jonathan Ive

You don’t need to wait minutes to start using a computer (is my example a bit too old?), interface is so much simpler that you “feel” you gain more creativity, and you don’t need additional security software to install.

We can easily imagine they cared about and used products they built themselves A LOT — and that’s why they could built a way better product than others.

The Best Support

My favorite “product” Apple made is the Genius Bar. Until it was released and accepted by wider audience, the customer support for tech products at retails was a complete disaster.

Sometimes they just didn’t know how to fix, so what they do was just calling a maker of product and let customers wait for hours.

Genius Bar changed this. Now “tech support” is located at the center of Apple Store with staffs with full of knowledge and experience to handle complex issues.

Great thing is you can go to London, San Francisco or Tokyo to get same quality of service. Furthermore, they can leverage the Genius Bar as a platform to collect direct customer feedback to the product team at Cupertino, and build even better products.

The Simplicity

What we love about Apple is that they do everything simply. They named a phone “iPhone”, not “PAX-503”, their marketing is “1984” and “Think Different“, not “The fast computer with 64MB memory and this processor and that application”, and they focused on only few things that matter, not on OpenDoc.

If you look back, we can see this level of ruthless simplicity brought the best products and customer support to the company. Needless to say Apple became the most valuable company on the planet.

Does it still hold true?

We can go on and on the what-made-apple-so-great list, but now let’s think about if those are still true or not.

Today iPhone, the product introduced almost 10 years ago, accounts for almost two third of Apple revenue. Then-one-sized products now offer various line-ups and colors (though it generates more revenue.)

We’re not here to miss Steve Jobs leadership or write about random what-if stories. Nor are we complaining that they’ve lost their edge.

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How to Conduct Interviews: The Best Practices with Sample Checklists

This guide is all about how to conduct interview well and pick great candidates while avoiding the troubles.

Preparations

Why it’s critical

First let’s dive in to the reasons why you need to have a skill to judge candidates. According to Geoff Smart and Randy Street, a single mishiring for $100K position costs about 1.5 million dollars.

A very rough calculation here: if your startup raised $5mm and then failed at hiring 4 times, you’re doomed in a year. I know the “in a year” part wouldn’t so accurate but the magnitude of damage caused by mis-hiring is not so far from the truth.

Secondly a mishire will bring your company a poison. It demoralize other employees, make it hard to focus (because they talk non-critical things all the time), lose customers to competitors, etc.

And more than anything, it wastes tons of your time. The time is the most important asset for you (and everyone) since it’s something you can’t buy back. Now you know why you can’t afford even a single mishiring.

Try. Avoid. Mishiring. No matter what. It literally kills your company. A research says 50% of hiring ends up being a mishire but it’s preventable.

The followings are hard lessons we learned through supporting companies.

You will be much better at hiring right people if you focus on these three things. Some of them are unconventional, but trust me, they work well.

Know what are your recruiting restrictions and use them as screening, check references no matter what, and do trials so you can have a deep understanding of candidates at work.

Culture, GTD, and Raw Intelligence

Culture

Many companies try and fail building company culture. It’s not just writing up “10 core values” on paper and hanging it on your office wall. You need to intentionally build a way your employees work*, and It’s not just a matter of internal management, it must apply to your recruiting processes too.

There are already bunch of resources about this topic, but one of my favorites is stories about Zappos. Lots of managers “hope” to hire and fire people based on cultural fit, but only few actually do. I highly recommend reading this book when you have a chance. If not, watch this 47sec video.

The former Zappos COO Alfred Lin joined as board of Airbnb few years back — as many you of you know Airbnb is also a company irrationally emphasizing on the importance of culture. The video is pretty long but recommended.

Building your own unique culture takes time. And you need strong belief in it while no one else (or just few) is believing. And it’s even harder to make HR decisions based on it. However, at the end of the day, whenever I see people staying or leaving for a company, the reasons are most likely related to a company culture both directly and indirectly.

Get Things Done

Get things done (GTD) plays important roles when you actually work together, but at the same time it’s the hardest thing you can tell without actually hiring.

The GTD is not something like shouting out your company’s culture or coming to your office earlier than anyone (it’s important to be punctual though!). It boils down to whether the person can really get things done. I’m deeply inspired by Elad Gil on this topic. Read this blog — it’s worth it.

He pointed out these are signs that candidates are NOT GTD (in his word, Get S**t Done).

  • Lack of urgency. Used to a large company environment where its OK if things take a few weeks longer.
  • Easily distracted. Heavy procrastinator.
  • Lazy / doesn’t work hard. Some very smart people are basically lazy. Don’t tolerate this.
  • Starts but never finishes things.
  • Lack of follow through — makes commitments but does not follow up.
  • Argumentative. Arguing incessantly about how to do something rather then just doing it.
  • Slow. Taking a long time to code (or do) something simple.
  • Perfectionist. Tendency to overdesign something and to spend 4 weeks building the perfect implementation versus 1 week building the thing that “just works” for 95% of the time.

The points above are mainly for startup companies, but in the today’s rapidly changing work environment, I’m sure this applies to almost any company around the world.

Raw Intelligence

You can rephrase the raw intelligence as a candidate’s potential. It’s common for many companies to skim resumes and screen candidates for your job. But don’t fall in this. In stead, focus on hiring someone who can learn very quickly. They will put more stuff on the table. You don’t need to take my words on this, but take the ones of the Facebook CEO.

The thing is, there are many cases that it’s more effective training new hires than relying on their past experiences. This is because (1) experienced people have own styles and that might not fit into your style (2) therefore they have less attitude/motivation to learn and adapt. It becomes tricky when you hire senior position, but that’s probably another topic we should explore in a different post.

Misc.

Realized we didn’t mention “experience” or “education” here? As mentioned in the Raw Intelligence part, these could obscure your judge and make you biased (“wow she worked for Google! can’t be bad!”) Also these big companies have internal structures, so depends on company size, industry, style, etc. they might not fit into your company. Be careful about experience and education.

NOTE: These 3 elements are not equally important : the culture is the most important, then GTD, and then raw intelligence.

Hiring is more of an art than a science, so feeling is important. But be careful about how candidates fit in your culture, get things done, and learn & grow over time. If you clear all of these, chances are, you will hire great people and your company will end up being successful at whatever you do.

Practice

We’ve talked what to look at during a hiring process. Finally let us demonstrate some practices on interviews.

Plan

Figure out your budget, a compensation package for the position (stock option, etc.), relocation / remote option, visa support, etc. In real life, there will always be few or many restrictions when you want to hire someone for your company.

At the same time you want to hire the best of the best, so write down what you can and can’t afford so that you will be able to judge applicants at first sight save your time.

Reference check

Just do it. It’s that simple. It’s a part of employer’s work and the best way to find out a culture fit without getting biased by what applicants are saying. Also, if you tell applicants that you will do reference check with their past employees, they will be more honest.

Don’t be lazy on this. Ask questions that are mentioned above: culture fit with their past companies, how she get things done, and her attitude to learn new things.

Interview*

It sounds crazy but most interviews are meaningless, because interviewers can’t tell what they truly care about (“does this person fit into our culture? is she capable of doing what we want her to do?”).

Instead, we recommend working with a candidate before hiring. I know this sounds strange but please read on.

What I mean by saying “work before hiring” is doing trials. For instance Automattic hires candidates with their trial methods.

Doing trials befit both sides : employers can make sure the fit and also get thing done by asking applicants to work on small jobs, prospect employees can earn money and also have a better understanding of the company.

Key Takeaways

Problem : Mishiring costs a lot.
– Avoiding this saves million dollars.
– Mishiring will take your time, a lot.

Solution : Focus on culture, GTD, and raw intelligence
– Culture : Use it to hire and fire.
– GTD : Focus on what she’s putting on the table, not what she’s saying. – Raw Intelligence : Don’t care much about experiences, but how fast she can learn new things.

Practice : Know restrictions, check references, and do trials.
– Know restrictions : Understand this not to screen.
– Check reference : Do it no matter what. It’s worth it.
– Do trials : The best way to see how candidates perform at work.

*probably better to write a new post only focusing on culture / how to interview since these are some of the most important topics of hiring.

Categories

The 20 Best Job Search Sites, Boards, and Enginers

Introduction

There are hundreds of job boards out there but a few of them are successful.

What determines the site is whether successful or not?

  • Active: The target groups (designers, developers, marketers, HR, etc) are actually checking the site to find positions.
  • Updated: The jobs on the board should be up-to-date

Many of you may already have heard of — or even used daily — some of the job boards below, but we’d like you to focus on how to make the most of them rather than knowing what kind of jobs boards are out there.

The ways to use them varies depending on what you look for and your situations.

A quick warning first. We excluded some of the most famous job aggregators* like Indeed and SimplyHired, and general job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder.

For Job Seekers

The main reason is a lack of context on their sites. Remember, to find the right jobs, you really need to think about a quality of applications over a quantity.

In other words, you have to understand your relationship with companies you’re applying for. Maybe you’re impressed by their design team, or respect their culture, or even you just like the CEO — it doesn’t matter.

But you must start from a context, not from a list of job descriptions. We’ve seen so many people failed at this and didn’t pass interviews or quit their jobs in first few months.

Although these job boards have tons of jobs, most of them are “cold” (ones you’ve never heard of) and also it takes tons of time to filter jobs and find ones you’re interested in.

Takeaway
Whether you’re an employer or job seeker, the quality matters more than quantity. Don’t be general for job search. “I’m ok with anything” means you aren’t ready for anything.

Now we know what to look for. Let’s dive in the list.

Some of them even don’t take the form of a job board. But here are some of places we recommend to find jobs you love.

By Skills

The simplest way to pick a job board is based on your skills. Like if you are a developer then going to Stackoverflow, or if you’re a designer then to Dribbble, etc.

Developer

If you’re a developer with some experiences backing your resume, it’d be pretty easy to find jobs today. You still need some preparations like filling profiles for sure, but simply there are not enough developers to suffice the demand. Here are some of the best places to find dev works.

1. Hacker News : for many developers, Hacker News is a go-to place to get tech updates and geek out. Not so surprisingly, it’s a full of job opportunities too. The “Who is hiring?” posts (here’s the latest one) list exciting dev-related jobs monthly. Since HN is a community, sometimes you can see reactions to job posts and figure out what other developers think of them.

2. GitHub : if you’re a developer, chances are you use Github almost every single day. Although it works just as a developer-friendly job search tool, I highly recommend making the most of it by working on some open source projects or host your own projects there to get noticed by potential employers. Many of people we talked are hired in that way. Showing what you can do is always better than just telling so.

3. Stack Overflow : What’s great about Stack Overflow as a job board is, unlike HackerNews and GitHub, for them a recruiting solution is the primary revenue source so they invest in and work on lots of cool features to get hired including developer profiles, where you can put detailed information about yourself and your developing skills. Also, the jobs listed there are pretty comprehensive and you can search almost any kind of engineering jobs.

Designer

More and more consumers care about design these days (therefore under-appreciate products and services that are not designed well) and roles of designers at companies are expanding.

4. Dribbble : A bite sized design can change your life using Dribbble. It offers not only a high quality job boards, but Pro plan, with which employers can filter its members by location, skills etc. Fill in detailed information and upload your works — clients may contact you.

5. Behance : If you’re on the Adobe ecosystem, keep posting your crafts on Behabce will increase the probabilities of getting hired, because you can apply for jobs directly on the site using the same profile (some of jobs don’t offer this option). Also its job board is adding social layer on top of it so you can follow companies you care for notifications.

6. Designer News : Designer News is like Hacker News for designers. Lots of designers are sharing articles and commenting each other. The quality of jobs on the site is super high and they have Who is hiring? posts too. Recommended place to visit regularly if you’re a designer.

Marketer

Unlike developers and designers, it’s hard to prove what you can do as a marketer, since all marketing strategies are highly contextual. For instance a campaign X might work for company A but not B, or a program Y works if it runs in March, but not in May, etc. So it requires you an extra care to find a right fit with a company to work for.

8. inbound.org : For many marketers, like the Hacker News for developers, inbound.org is like a home for getting industry insights, latest updates, and being collaborative one another. They have great job boards, and especially the quality of jobs related inbound marketing (like content, for example) is second to none.

7. GrwothHacker : You may have heard of the term “growthhacker”. They are data-driven, engineering-minded, and fast-moving “marketers” who bring growth to companies. And the GrowthHackers is taking a paramount role to advocate the term and share skills as growthhacker with its audience. Not only that, they have high-quality job boards for the position.

Writer

I personally don’t recommend using crowd sourcing sites to find jobs, just because a chance of getting paid well is really, really low. Unfortunately most of writer related job sites are featuring short-term contract jobs.

9. Upwork : Although the quality of jobs vary, the number of writing jobs on Upwork is huge. A good starting point for many writers.

By Types

Skills are must-haves of getting hired. But more and more people start paying attentions to a work-life balance and how work can adapt to your life, and not vice versa. These sites are helpful if you’re considering finding your own way to live & work.

Remote

Working remotely allows you to have a better control of your life (think about how much time you spend for commuting every month for example). With more and more communication tools are being made (Skype, Slack, Trello, to just name few), it’s getting easier to find and work for remote teams.

10. WeWorkRemotely : One of my favorites. The quality of jobs on the site is superb and they’re all fully remote. It is run by Basecamp folks (or 37Signals back when it launched) and created a movement for remote working.

11. remoteOK : It’s an aggregator of remote jobs, including jobs on WeWorkRemotely. As far as I know it’s the most comprehensive remote job sites out there. If you’re looking for remote jobs, it’s a go-to place today.

Startup

Loving a fast-moving environment? So am I! For people who like to work in a less-hierarchical culture, you might fall in this group too. These sites are highly recommended for you.

12. AngelList : If you love startups and rapidly-changing environment I highly recommend AngelList job boards. One thing I love about the site is showing compensation (not only salary but stock option too) upfront and you can have what startups are doing in details.

13. VC/Incubator : Most VCs and incubators have their own hiring networks. I don’t recommend any specific job board, but here are some examples. First Round Campital / Techstars / Y-Combinator.

Quality

Who doesn’t like getting hired for a high-quality creative job?

14. Authentic Jobs : Well I mentioned not to use general job boards. But this is exceptional. As the name suggests, they have a large number of “authentic” jobs on their sites and being frequently updated. If you are looking for jobs more broadly, this site is one of few recommendations to go to.

Social

These sites are not even a job board, but they’re really useful when it comes to find jobs.

15. Facebook : I’m not listing Facebook as typical job board but as a commutation tool to talk with prospect clients. I was hired three times through Facebook already, so I know how powerful it can be from my personal experience. The important thing is having authentic conversations with friends (don’t sell yourself and just be open), in many cases they know some job opportunities and if they think you’re a right fit, they will connect you to them.

16. Slack : I know. Slack is not a job board. But on Slack, you have shared interests and contexts. Reactflux (React JS) / #nomads (nomad life) / TechLondon (London) / #Startup (startups), etc. These Slack communities have hiring related channels and the members there are really responsive. Here again, don’t sell too much. Just have authentic, friendly conversations. People will talk to you if you’re adding values to the communities.

17. LinkedIn : Needless to say, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful sites to find jobs. A great thing about LinkedIn is a profile (or resume). I recommend filling in details to get ready for a job hunting. Some employers may ask you to share your LinkedIn URL, so just do it even it sounds boring.

18. Glassdoor : What I like about Glassdoor is that you can view company information in details (obviously reviews are the most important one) pretty much. Leverage the site if you’re having an interest in a certain company.

FYI I tried using Twitter too but didn’t work well (probably connections between its users are more one-sided, and the realtime feed is not good for job huntings).

For the Better

I believe the lifestyle-focused job finding will evolve even further in the long term — and the new way to find jobs will be focused on social impact. How awesome is it if you can work on jobs you love and change the world for the better?

19. Idealist : If you would like to work on social causes, Ideealist is a good place to start. Or you may want to apply for companies like KivaChange.org. or Causes and know more about specific issues first. There was another opportunity like this; Bill Gates recently posted about a video contest, whose winner would get $5000 + a job. Probably this kind of job finding will become more common than unique in several years.

… and 20. Direct Recruiting: This is not a “job board” but the best way to hire or get hired is direct connection. This requires a bit of efforts but worth trying. We’ll cover this in another post.

P.S. If you know some job boards or related sites which are not covered, please let us know! Happy to take a look.

*As an employer, probably job aggregators can be your option to get traffic. “How to bring many people to your job page” could be another blog topic.

Categories

Chatbot Master Guide

One of the toughest hurdles for new web/mobile apps is letting users to fill out profile.

Partially because it’s just a tedious process, but also users don’t trust apps so easily at their first try.

For many apps though, user profiles are arguably the strongest leverage to offer valuable user experience. This is especially true for social networks like Facebook and matching services like Tinder.

There are some tactics to “hack” this issue, and it’s boiled down to one simple philosophy : “Lessen frictions as much as possible.”

If you’re reading this post, you’ve likely heard of (and used) the Facebook Connect or contact import on your smartphone for chat apps. Tinder nailed this exceptionally well, leveraging Facebook network to let people build profile at ease and match them one another.

However, the flip side of this is that you might end up wasting lots of time partnering with a wrong platform. One example is Meerkat, which used Twitter network as a broadcasting platform. But soon after the launch, the platform cut off the integration and started a new competitor Periscope.

Unfortunately, a similar case applied to us. We tried to connect our app with LinkedIn for the one-click profile building, but it changed their developer policy and now it’s almost impossible for third party developers to use LinkedIn data to build user profile for job introductions, etc.

So we sought a Plan B, which is optimizing our bot to help customers create profile. What we did was letting the bot to ask what kind of jobs our customers are looking for, and add that to profile directly.

Under the hood, we send a Javascript event through these communication and send it to our server and database, so that our customers can request job introductions anytime across devices.

In this way, we could increase the conversion rate to fill out profile and UX as a whole.

Building a bot is really fun (and it’s very challenging), because the smarter it gets, the more requests come from users.

Categories

The Definitive Hiring Guide

While we help hiring managers / employers / CEOs, the most frequently asked question is about the recruiting process. So today, I’m gonna write about how you can efficiently operate hiring at your company.

We will focus on showing a whole picture of how the HR operation works.

Although hiring methods vary depending on companies, a general hiring flow goes like this. 1. Plan & Post 2. Source & Screen 3. Interview 4. Offer & Close

1. Plan & Post

Overview

Plan ahead at least 3 months before you hire candidates. This is because if you start hiring people you need right now, you will end up hiring them in few weeks (or many cases months) later, and your hire will not be as efficient as you wished.

Also, you should throughly think about and understand why your company is so special for applicants. Today workers can access to virtually any job on the planet using their PCs/smartphones. You should somehow stand out from the crowd and show them the reason to apply.

Tools

No tool / manual work — some companies use Google Form & Sheet to post jobs and receive applications, or just put job@ email address on their career pages. We don’t recommend this. Tracking applications is critical to analyze what kind of candidates are more likely to be successful (not only at getting hired but after the on-boarding too.). You don’t need a rocket-science technology for this, just use a simple tool like ones below.

ATS (Applicant Tracking System) — there are some tools that are useful to post jobs and track candidates like WorkableLevergreenhouse and Jazz. In terms of core features there’s not much of a difference, so pick one and move on.

*We excluded cases for companies that are using their own internal hiring tools. It means they have their own hiring structure built already and probably this article is not useful for them.

Practice

Now hold a pen and jot down information about your job. You might want to brainstorm with your peers before posting it.

Job Title : Just be clear. You don’t want to try differentiate your job by title. We recommend avoiding a jargon like “Frontend Ninja” except few rare cases.

Compensation : Let’s face it — any company has a budget and restrictions. So don’t have a mindset of “we will adjust it based on applicants’ experiences” too much. At least have a clear understanding of the financial limit before posting a job.

Location : Is remote working allowed? Visa supported? How do you offer a relocation package? etc. Again, check them before posting.

Job Description : Applicants know what they are going to do once getting hired will not be same as job description in many cases, but you still need to make it detailed to filter out non-qualified applicants.

About company & culture : Not required but highly recommended for the reason mentioned above. Write mainly about why your company is different and how. Some companies add URL to their company page for more detailed information.

Ready to post? Where to post jobs will mainly be: your company website, job boards, and internal docs. Please move on to the Step 2 for details.

Be clear on who you’re looking for and plan ahead.

2. Source & Screen

Overview

It’s the toughest part of all. Think about how many of candidates can pass your screening AND they become interested in working for you like a miracle AND you can afford to send her an offer. Sourcing is tough and that’s why companies’ leaderships should be involved and lead the process. To master this, you need to understand each channel to source candidates.

Inbound — this is applicants finding your job.

  • Company website : Put the job info you wrote in the Step 1 on your company website. If your company is somewhat famous or known in a niche, you can expect to get few applicants every month.
  • Job board : For most of companies, it’s a go-to place to post and promote your job. Use it to accelerate the number of applicants and reach out to wider audience.
  • Referrals : Today many companies are running internal referral programs. It works like “introduce your friends and if they are hired we will give you $$$.” You need to set this up as a process, so write it on internal documents like a company wiki, and remind employees constantly.

Outbound — this is you finding applicants.

  • Internal outreach : Find candidates using sites like LinkedIn and shoot emails to see if the candidates are interested in moving to interviews. We know some CEOs send emails to candidates themselves and got a high response rate.
  • Recruiters : We know you most likely hate them. “Spammy, pushy, sales-y” are words that described their experiences with recruiters. But if you want to scale up your team at fast pace, they could be your best friend to work with.

Tools

Job boards — If you want to post a job, be focused on audiences of the job boards so it filters applicants at the very first.

Sourcing — 3Sourcing, LinkedIn, TalentBin, etc. These sites are offering a talent search engine and are helpful to source candidates. Or if you’re looking for someone to hire with specific skills, you might want to explore sites where creatives can post their works like GitHub (developers) or Dribbble (designers). If you want to ask recruiters for help, find local ones (actually there are some types of recruiting firms and they are all different. We will write about it in a future post).

Screening — the aforementioned ATS tools will do. They will allow you to link candidates resume, profiles and other information, so make the most of them.

Practice

1. Now you need candidates who are interested in your job and apply for it. Use the following options depending on your situation.

a : Start a referral program within your network by ask your employees / friends if they know who you’re looking for. As mentioned above, write up how a referral works (bonus, condition, etc.) on internal document and share it with them. b : If you need to reach wider candidates, consider using job board. Again, choose the right job board that has similar audience as who you want to hire. c : Do internal outreach if you’re having a very specific criteria and know who can solve it. d : If you fundraise or are generating cash and need to scale up the team pretty quickly, working with recruiters would be your option.

2. Put applicants into ATS to screen them. The reason why we emphasized planning and writing a job information is, that can be used to screen candidates. Based on the job description, screen candidates who you want to interview (using ATS, you can automate this process and don’t have to do a manual work.). Also what’s great about using ATS is that you can let everyone at company involved with a hiring process.

Hiring is the most important function at companies. Period. Get the CEO, leaderships, or everyone at company involved. Otherwise it won’t go well.

3. Interview

Overview

It’s not the toughest, but requires many experiences and skills to find out who’s the best.

Methods

  • No tool (in person) : Grab a coffee / beer to chill out together. Or take the candidate to an office tour. It is by far the most time consuming, but worth it if the candidate will be a big contributor to your company.
  • Phone & Video call : For most companies it’s a standard way to interview candidates. Although it’s pretty time-consuming, you can see how candidates talk and react to your questions in real time.
  • Email : We don’t recommend this. Just setting up an interview is fine, but it’ll be a chaos for sure if you use it for conducting actual interviews. I’ve been in the process and all the attachments and some trial materials are messed up after long, long email threads. It was a pain in the butt.
  • Chat : More and more companies (mainly software startups) are starting using chat as a primary way to interview: Automattic is one of them. A great thing about chat is that communication is asynchronous so you can reply anytime you’re convenient. It’s very time-efficient.

Practice

Choose one of the methods above, pick up time, and set interviews up. It should be straight-forward.

During the interviews, focus on finding how you work together at work, instead of throwing fuzzy questions (e.g. ask how they solve problems that you are currently facing.). Lastly, make sure you do trials. Even small ones are much better than nothing. If you actually work with candidates before officially hiring, you will discover so many more stuff than just running interviews.

Don’t care about a formality. Just be practical when you interview.

4. Offer & Close

Overview

Ok, you’re happy with the applicant. Then the hiring is changing into more like a sales — you “sell” the offer and get candidates accept it. From this step companies’ operation and finance roles are involved. No worries, you will get used it.

Methods

You need two documents to wrap things up: NDA and offer letter (in some cases contract agreement).

Manual : You can google and find some samples like this: http://www.ournda. You should be also find samples of offer letter too.

Lawyer : Or if you want to be careful about it (and you should), you need to talk to lawyers or I’d like to recommend the service of Upcounsel. They match you to high-quality legal advisors.

Practice

The only thing that left is let the applicant sign on the documents. Be careful about these problems.

  • Be quick : Talented candidates get offers almost every single day. So don’t step back and take a break even if you get a verbal “yes”. Close it as soon as you can.
  • Be authentic and transparent : Many candidates don’t know well or even haven’t heard of words like stock option vesting, performance review, etc. Being open and honest about it and get trusted by candidates. Buffer, even took a step further, and is sharing employee’s salaries and stock options.
  • Be responsive : We don’t know why, but it just sometimes happens that employers don’t be responsive to applicants in the middle of hiring process and the whole flow messes up. Just don’t do this. You will lose trust.

Hiring is not the end. It’s just the beginning. The value of hiring operation will be clear when a new hire shows her performance and contribute to the team.

Key Takeaways

Problem : Don’t know what’s a basic flow to hire people.

Solution : Follow the 4 steps. 1. Plan & Post 2. Source & Screen 3. Interview 4. Offer & Close

Categories

How to Run Effective Meetings

You type what your boss said at a meeting. And look back what you typed in a day or two. Chances are, you don’t remember more than a half of things, if not anything.

Sure, your laptop helps you record information faster than hand-writing. But believe me, taking notes in longhand will be a lot more beneficial for you, when it comes to organize your memory and creativity. This post demonstrates why taking note is a great solution, and how you can ditch your laptop for the next meeting.

You listen.

I’m not suggesting you throwing away your computer by the way. The power of laptop is its incompatible speed and (mostly) ever-lasting storage. So your documents will be stored word for word, and if uploaded to the cloud, it can be shared with anyone with the internet. So using laptop is useful for fact-based documents or final outputs such as spreadsheet, essay or dissertation, and wiki.

But NOT for utilizing your time at meetings (or in case you’re a student, at lectures). When it comes to human conversations, topics drift away and often times, something important suddenly come up and whole agenda turn around. How fast you can record (type) doesn’t matter in this scenario. You have to listen carefully what speakers are talking about.

Good note-taking requires you to mobilize your attentional abilities. You must be prepared and focused, pulling out important details and attaching new idea to prior knowledge. (Read More) This practice will boost your listening ability and therefore creativity and quality of final outputs (product, reporting, marketing campaign, etc.)

You summarize.

According to this research, “the average writing speed of a student is around 0.3 to 0.4 words/ second, whereas a lecturer speaks at a rate of around 2 to 3 words/second.” This means you cannot write out everything your peers said, assuming they speak a lot faster than lecturers. Then what should you do?

You should digest and summarize. This ability is called a conceptual understanding in psychology. By succinctly capturing the essence of the information, you can be go ahead and make decisions while others are checking their Evernote after the meeting.

Taking notes by hand forces the brain to engage in some heavy “mental lifting,” and these efforts foster comprehension and retention.

By Cindi May

You review.

This Princeton’s paper points out you’d forget what you learn unless you review it within 24hours. The negative affect of laptop for meeting notes is the mighty power of storage. You think (and it is certain true) that the information is there forever. However, your brain stops remembering anymore so when you check back next time, it’s no difference than learning from scratch.

Have you ever faced in a situation where you don’t remember what piles of post-it mean on the wall, which you took a photo in a week ago? This happens because of the aforementioned reason — your brain thinks the information is not so important and throw away from your memory.

To maximize what your learn from each meeting, you need a habit of repetitive review cycle. This enables you to organize your information and prevent over-loading tasks.

Listen. Summarize. And Review. I hope you’re now ready to leave your laptop at your desk and bring a note instead to your next meeting.

Bonus

As a bonus information, I’m listing two other forms of note taking than just writing up texts. They’re pretty handy.

Mind mapping : when you want to expand your idea, mind mapping is send to none. Also you can visually understand the relation each topic has.

Mandalart : Mandalart empowers you to organize your thoughts by relevancy. Compared to mind mapping, this method forces you to focus on what matters most. App screen from Mandal-Art app.