Jody Phillips

Hirevision Career Coach


How Long has this Been Going On?


Longer than most of us have been alive, that’s how long! It dates back to Nixon’s presidency and Watergate, to when Trudeau (Pierre Elliott) was piloting Canada. It picked up speed about the time SNL and Star Wars were in first release.

What’s been at issue all these decades? Diversity as regards women. Women with proportional representation in the corporate world.

Women showed up in both World Wars (like Rosy Riveter here doing a ‘man’s job’ in the 40’s). By the 60’s women woke up, in the 70’s they were active and determined, and actually managed a few wins by the 80’s. But the stats on women at the helm are still embarrassingly skimpy in 2017. Women run only 4.5% of companies worldwide.

Of course the disparity clash predates the 1960s. In modern times it harkens all the way back to the early 1900’s when suffragettes were fighting for the vote. But now women are cops, truck drivers, pilots, lawyers, plumbers, firefighters and actuaries. So why the stink over diversity? We’re everywhere aren’t we?

Not exactly. When C suite guys (and they are guys) talk diversity, they look at their organizations and see lots of it as regards women – there are plenty of them. But the key is perspective. Women may be all around them but the female population reduces exponentially the higher up the organization you go.

Let’s go back to proportional representation, which is: the diversity percentage found in junior positions mirrored in top-tier roles. Ontario Securities Commission’s Comply and Explain is “requiring TSX-listed companies report publicly on the representation of women on their boards and in executive positions…”. When the legislators and Bay Street are in, we’re rolling.

Diversity’s finally being demanded, not because organizations are opting for the high moral ground, or because it’s an idea that’s time has finally come. Corporations are taking up the banner because “Companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially” or so says McKinsey.

Fearless Girl – Wall Street

And diversity’s trending. Consider State Street’s ‘Fearless Girl’ and SHE – their “exchange-traded fund that invests only in companies committed to gender diversity. Both pack a bit of irony, given that State Street employs only 22-34% women in Vice Presidential to C Suite roles. Remarkably they’ve beaten banking, insurance and other financial services companies that lag behind at 14-23%. The sunny side? State Street sharing with the public forces a clear view, mirror-to-face. Tasking their best with leveling the field is enlightened leadership, profitable vision.

Are Boards and Executives committed to focusing on gender diversity up their ranks as well as down? Some are so far behind the curve they may not even be looking. How many women are in high-ranking positions in your company? Bet the ratio isn’t much different from when VCRs and pocket calculators were introduced.

Perhaps you, the most senior leaders, will accept this lucrative challenge. Are you up for increasing your profits through…

  1. Demanding a clear picture of how many women are senior executives versus those working at lower-levels.
  2. Acting on the disparity. Inviting a diverse group to change it, mandating a shift.

When you do, we’ll all win.


20% of Your Workforce is Walking Out the Door!

Boomers are walking out the corporate door faster than they once poured into a Stones concert. Most companies will see a fifth of their workforce retiring right about now.

The implications are stunning. Intellectual capital embodied in ‘lifers’ will be trotting off to the golf course, the garden or the lifelong dream of breeding cavalier spaniels.

Wayne’s gone, driver in hand. Every back-story and reinvention in purchasing since 1975 is walking out with him. Or Allison. She’s off to Tampa Bay. She created systems for parking permits to space plans. Wayne and Allison may be pterodactyls but they know how things run and they’re running them –  for now.

Technology is shrinking job markets. As will some boomers who’ll work till they drop. But this isn’t going to be an empty spaceship.

Who’s taking over? Millennials. A collective groan can be heard from the oldsters, the most mature cohort left standing. Oh those lazy sacks of you-know-what, unreliable, unproductive and entitled. Disdainful and arrogant. Perennially adolescent.

From a hiring perspective we’re wise to view it from the Millennial perspective. Like it or not, they’ll be steering.

Consider their back-story. Dropped at classes by parents who worked evenings and weekends, Mum or Dad ducked into the hall to take calls at school recitals. Then when the biggest thing trending was downsizing, they were sacked. Often at mid to late career their parents shuffled in the back door, cardboard boxes aloft crammed with stinky shoes, pictures of their Millennial baby selves and a That was easy! button.

What worldview of corporations do Millennials have? Their parents’ sacrifices were rewarded by career bombs. Domestic shrapnel flew. And not so coincidentally, they’re the offspring of the most divorced generation ever.

Millennials are wicked smart and aren’t buying-in to back-in-the-day models. You won’t attract them with a signing bonus, nor will they lie in front of a virtual corporate truck and take one for the team.

They want freedom to work from no fixed address, to walk away after a reasonable shift. They don’t care if they’re messaged 40 times a minute they stop. Where they work isn’t important. Smartphones body-glued, they submitted university papers from a coffee shop and the front steps of their hovel (they can’t afford overpriced housing – well housing at all – hence an abundance of them living in their parents basements).



7 Absolutes for Attracting (& Retaining) Millennials

1. Flexibility – they’re a wee bit feral and want to range, which may mean standing or moving around with a laptop rather than being tethered in a cube farm. On training, which really motivates them, they’d prefer an interactive online course to a 3-day workshop delivered by a talking head.

Take a peek at this ‘cube-less’ office, where all the real estate given is a locker – really.

2. Job Stability – the risks and costs of contract work are not lost on them – they LIVE them. Juggling 3 gigs, no paid holidays, variable hours and income insecurity are but a part of the price for contract work. So give them a status that allows predictable income, holidays and some assurance that their job will exist in a year.

3. Creativity instead of sending them downstream of opportunity as jobs die off, create a platform for disruptive brainstorming. Encourage innovation. Let them propose projects then implement – and that’ll create their jobs. Imagine 6 people around a table working in a flat configuration (no Grand Poobah), dreaming up development that requires humans. Which ties in nicely with my next point…

4. Optimal Engagement – will get optimal results. Flat organizations –Tesla, Google, Microsoft – allow employees’ creativity to flourish, encourage innovation of what was previously unimaginable (hospital air quality inside vehicles, self-driving cars, Skype translators). I mean these advances are stunning!

5. Stimulating Tasks – the upside of the technology takeover is eliminating boring tasks. This dovetails brilliantly with sparking a Millennials interest. Repetitive, senseless work results in boredom burnout and they’ll take flight.

6. Health at all levels – Millennials are amongst the most anxiety-ridden generation ever (given the conditions they’ve inherited not so startling). And they’re not stigmatized about sharing their pain. So offer support. Mindful meditation, group play that encourages movement. Give them balanced work schedules of 4 or 5 days a week. ‘Perma-work’ is less productive than working fewer hours, no matter how counter-intuitive it seems. Stanford proved it and check out how the the Finns have created a firm that’s doing what works, not what’s always been done.



7. Commitment to Purpose when Elon Musk takes the stage he doesn’t sell cars, he sells ideasHis lofty concept? We can change the world with consumers subscribing to sleek electric vehicles and off-grid homes. The corporate market underestimated the power of his message. He got unprecedented global buy-in by using the Steve Jobs technique; he grabbed a mike, a stage and inspired people. He sold more cars in an hour or two than most dealer networks sell in a year.


Consider the upside of his business model. Limited offices and dealerships, virtual meetings, clusters of like-minded Millenials online getting things done fast. Unlike other auto manufacturers he doesn’t have an unwieldy network of ‘stores’ littered across continents.

What does the traditional business model cost? What does the Tesla business model cost? Tesla’s is a Millennial one. So far out of the box they didn’t build one.

Are you ahead of the pack on your recruitment strategy? Take a good solid look at your talent pool. The world belongs to Millennials – like it or not.





Weapons of Mass Distraction

English: Exploding Planet with The Gimp 2.4.6 ...

Exploding Planet

Whether you’re a conspiracy theorist or not  (think Boston) consider the spectacle that is the reporting of these violent events.

An ever-increasing media addicted society means there’s nothing easier (or perhaps more sinister) than becoming one with the slick dramas we’re brainwashed by daily.

And episodic drama it is! Journalists as actors. Politicians and government officials coached to academy award winning performances. All broadcast through technology so advanced it’d inspire jealousy in an alchemist! These are the ingredients of a potent propaganda soup.

Now I’m not qualified to say whether what is being dished out is true or false, good or bad. But there’s no doubt the versions of events plated up for us to swallow are so biased that fact finding is as fraught with illusion as Dorothy’s skip down the yellow brick road or Alice’s launch down the bunny hole.

What fascinates me is how our response to viewing these events affects careers and job searches, our work.

Our brain waves change to alpha level when watching videos online or TV. That’s an almost semi-hypnotic state, where we’re sponges for whatever is proffered up and absorb information more potently.

If you’re unemployed your psyche may already be disenfranchised. The unknown is what you wake up to daily, a vacuum of uncertainty that is easily filled – positively or negatively.

Who’s most successful on job hunts? Those who are confident, positive, clear and focused. In short, the antithesis of the state you may unknowingly slip into when watching storm troopers evict people from their homes.

When our brains buy into fear and confusion (which they inevitably will when we’re glued to a screen) we’re rendered less powerful. It can paralyze at worst and be a negative state changer at best.

The remedy? Turn it off. Redirect your thoughts. Ask yourself what constructive difference it’ll make if you watch the same violent video loop a million times.

Then ask what difference it’d make if you sat silently imagining your career – as you’d like it to be. Or what would result if you focused on order and possibility? What would happen if you ruminated on (and believed in) solutions rather than the uncontrollable?

I’m not proposing we become ostriches, heads in a dune, unaware of world events. I am suggesting that overexposure is not only counterproductive it’s unhealthy.

Enhanced by Zemanta


The Myth of the Purple Squirrel

3d red-blue anaglyph Squirrel Kensington Park ...

A Blue-ish Example of the Breed

HR’s biggest tangle? My clients tell me it’s talent acquisition. Common wisdom attributes it to employers who’re screaming for ‘purple squirrels’.

Tight niches demand highly specialized talent with complex qualifications. Exotic and rare creatures with unusual markings. Innovative thinkers with strings of  designations who are deft with in-house politics. Add years of exacting experience, say for example, toying with algorithms and models – analyzing then predicting the future with more zeal than a psychic. This is the stuff of today’s job market.

Remarkably, I don’t believe it’s attracting talent that creates HR’s nastiest issue – no matter how rare the squirrel they’re hunting. I find extraordinary folks every day – and yes – they’re mostly P.S. searches.

The culprit is a clogged hiring process. A Consultant from Mercers recently presented their findings on the number of interviews required to generate optimal hires.  Common practice is three to six (HR/Hiring Manager/Executive/Panel/Peer etc.).

The research proved otherwise. The magic number is, are you ready? One. That’s right – ONE interview/er is most successful. And they found that hiring managers have the highest batting average for picking best pup (or squirrel) in show.

Why is that? Well because consensus-based-hiring demands the impossible. Consider the analogy of six people going out for a meal. They need to agree on where to go, who lands in who’s car (both directions), what to order and who’s grabbing the tab.

Inclusion of every branch of the organizational tree fails. Too many blessings required. It’s easy to screen folks out when your performance isn’t assessed on theirs. Ego issues muddle. Peers feel threatened. Execs demand a perfect qualification set, when bagging one lavender squirrel is often as good at it gets (selecting from three contenders is unlikely when hunting royal purples).

The most viable prospect is often lost because consensus stretches the timeline – sometimes to a year. The prospective employer’s only contending purple may be wooed by a competitor that offers career trajectory, more money, but most importantly, speed. Immeasurable work is zapped and time lost when said squirrel accepts a position elsewhere.

The solution is at the top. A cogent case must be made to CEOs, COOs and and others with ‘C’ in their titles. Whack back the hiring process. Simplify. Create an organization that moves smartly while remaining diligent. It’s a very profitable choice. As an HR professional would you champion the cause?








Enhanced by Zemanta


Radio Segments

Resume Support

Interviewing Support

Interview Preparation

Marketing Yourself & Self Employment

Follow-up & Negotiations

Thank you for listening!


Blue by You


Blue from badgering

You’ve made multiple applications to the same company? Why’d you do that?

End up feeling like Blue looks?

You’re not alone. Pete’d been whacked a.k.a. downsized. He knocked himself out with job-hunting verve and blanketed the market. His aggressive doggedness was a transferable skill he’d have been better off losing, not using.

He was convinced direct competitors would scoop him. His strategy to stay in his industry meant getting maximum advantage from his experience. The downside? A mighty teeny-tiny job market; a dozen principal and about 50 indirect players comprised his skimpy target market.

Every day Pete cruised the careers sites of the majors. He’d find 5 to 15 roles posted with the same company. Convinced he qualified for many, he applied to at least a third of them. Some were more junior than his previous positions, others more senior. Pete didn’t care. He’d shoot the same resume at 5 or 6 different openings at the same organization.

Result? Pete’s ambitious attack on the job market recoiled hard enough to knock out a tooth.

Here’s the process his online application went through:

  1. It was plucked by search engines because his keywords matched. BUT,
  2. A humanoid reviewed his resume (not an android or bot)
  3. When inputted into the database there was a record of how often he’d applied – and when.

What message did Pete send? That he was potentially:

1. Desperate.
2. A liar – did he really qualify for 6 divergent jobs?
3. Overqualified. If he could do all those jobs, was he beyond all of them?
4. Unfocused. He didn’t care which job he got (or maybe how he did it). Any job would do.
5. Blind. Wouldn’t he consider the optics through a recruiter’s eyes?

The tip? Be selective. Apply for only one position with the same company. In unique circumstances two. Look, your resume is typically coded so you’ll pop up for any position you qualify for. Recruiters have to be imaginative. If you’re qualified for a different role, they’ll see the match. That’s their job. Not yours.

Blue subscribes to winning by badgering. Leg-attaching & cloying are favored techniques. His rationale? The more in your face he is, the likelier you’ll fold and he’ll get walkies or a snuggle. Apparently not.

So submit just one astonishing application.

Are there exceptions? Of course. When the population of the company is 50,000 and they have multiple hiring centres. Or when you’re applying to the same company in different cities. Or when you’ve been advised by an insider who’s savvy to their process. But most of the time, less is more.

Have you been trying too hard? What were your results?

Jody Phillips


Giving it Away

at Beer pong (Drinking game)

Tamara Succumbs to Peer Pressure

Alright so you’ve been hunting for work. And hunting. You’ve discovered that getting a job is as competitive as landing a berth on an Olympic team?

The degree of specificity in today’s market is staggering. Maybe you can put a check-mark beside each and every qualification. Good. Next? You’ve discovered there are a hundred (or a thousand) other folks who can do the same thing. How do you market yourself with competition as stiff as a nun’s wimple?

Here’s what Tamara did. She’s a 23-year-old brainy, beautiful college student. She went to a kegger and then drove her car into a tree. One of many consequences (which, by the way included trading the remains of her car in for a bike) required her to do 250 hours of community service.

Tamara made her contribution back to society in the summer. Before starting grad school she worked with disadvantaged kids, helped refurbish a library and fed the homeless. Guess what Tamara got? Three job offers! I’m not kidding! This is a true story!

Two police car accidents

Consequences of Peer Pressure

Look, Tamara’s gone back to vet school so she couldn’t accept any of them. What irony! The young everywhere are digging for work. Globally 17-25% of those under 25 are unemployed. That means it’s wickedly difficult for students to get jobs. And Tamara got three job offers – that’s worth repeating – THREE opportunities at paid employment!

Who knows? Maybe it’s what comes around goes around. Perhaps when you help others, it flies right back at you.

Or maybe it’s that Tamara throws her heart, kick-ass skills and her big brain at anything she does. Or perhaps it’s her light, positive attitude.

Tamara always gives her best. That’s one big piece in her being offered jobs. I mean, without proving you’re a standout, what employer wants to keep you?

But if Tamara hadn’t been ‘volun-told’ to volunteer, nobody would know what she had to offer.

Doesn’t matter how much or little your experience you can create an opportunity to showcase your gifts.

What’s the down side? You come away with a full heart. Maybe even a sense of appreciation and gratitude. That’s it, that’s all. What’s the upside? You get all of that and a job.

Serving Some Dessert

Tamara Feeding the Homeless

Ever considered giving it away?

Jody Phillips


Processed Meat

Spanish dictionary pages up into the air


noun \ˈprä-ˌses, ˈprō-, -səs\

a : progressadvance <in the process of time>b : something going on : proceeding

Know the term HR process? It’s a euphemism for the wacky dance created just for job seekers.Throw your resume at an online posting, get phone screened, interview with a few dozen people – and then – God willing – you’re hired!

My idea? Change the term HR Process for purposes of accuracy to HR Paralysis. It’s a more apt description of churning through the corporate casting mill. Seems to me HR’s completely forgotten it’s purpose. People. In jobs. Moving the business forward.

HR Paralysis goes like this.

Step 1. Submit resume online.

Step 2. Wait  2-3 months

Step 3. Get a phone screen (oh you lucky thing – made the first cut!).

Step 4. Wait 2-3 months.

Step 5. Get an in-person interview with your ‘direct-report-to -be’. Woohoo!

Step 6. Wait 2-3 months.

Step 7. Meet with the VP Grand Poopah, in charge of everything.

Step 8. Wait 2-3 months.

Step 9. They don’t want you for the job you applied for, now they want you for another job that’s being created by a reorganization.

Step 10. Wait 2-3 months.

Step 11. Meet with new direct-report-to-be.

Step 12. Wait 2-3 months.

Step lucky 13! You got the job! (None of your competitors were still around. One even graduated from the planet).

Zut Alors! What to do?

Let’s put an action-packed process back into hiring. A recent study revealed that internal trust in HR had dropped from 70% to 46% in 3 MONTHS! Apparently the guys on the inside waiting for a new addition to Planet IT aren’t impressed. Nor are the marketing dudes who desperately need a researcher. Everyone’s measured on delivery.

Where are the progressive HR people who’ve noticed they’re running around a pony track – busy, busy, busy – hiring fewer people, over a longer period of time, reflecting less productivity?

C’mon stand up and be counted! I want to hear from you, the HR futurists. You folks who’ve noticed that service stinks as regards hiring – not because there aren’t jobs, no, no, no – but because of that insidious phenomenon, HR Paralysis. I’ll bet you know what remedies there are and can get things moving.

Jody Phillips


Can you LOVE what you do AND be rich?

“People who love their work bring an intensity and enthusiasm that’s impossible to match through sheer diligence. … Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability, it turns out, because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice. Therefore, career experts argue, you’re better off pursuing a profession that comes easily and that you love, because that’s where you’ll be more eager to practice and thereby earn a competitive advantage.”–Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun (p. 71)

Has Gretchen got something here or what? Do you, like so many others, believe that work is 80% diligence and 20% passion?  Well, on closer examination, honestly, maybe it’s 80% diligence, 5% passion, and 15% mind-numbing boredom!
In a culture where Wednesday is referred to as “hump day” and the end of the week is greeted with a chorus of “thank God it’s Friday,” are we so disenchanted with our work that we’re wishing our very lives away?  Are you one of the many who live in anticipation of two or three weeks’ vacation a year, seeing your time off as your only genuinely pleasurable time?

The people I know who LOVE their work are unaware of time–other than not having enough of it!

  • For instance, when my architect friend Rich gets awarded a new project, he hops around like a kid who can’t wait to get into his sandbox.  Rich loves nothing more than dreaming up buildings. To him, design equals play.
  • Page, an editor I collaborate with, says that when she finally decided what she was put here to do, she couldn’t believe that people would pay her to read! Guess what her favourite hobby is? 😉

Both Rich and Page sometimes get up in the middle of the night to work! Yup–their passion knows no clock. Their avocation is truly timeless.

My belief: you’re not only doing yourself a favour by finding your dharma, you’re doing the world and your bank account one too. Why? Well, when work is bliss, you’re happier and more productive. That joy dribbles into your family life, into every human interaction you have. Happier people, happier world. As for your bank account, most wealthy people got that way by doing what they love, not by aspiring to riches. Money is a by-product of putting something excellent into the world, not an end in itself.

Can you feel the difference when a product or service is infused with the love of having created it? I can. So what’s your passion? What do you love to do?


How to Avoid Death by Unemployment

Can being unemployed make you sick? Worse, can it kill you? You bet! According to a recent article in the New York Times, downsizing can be downright dangerous.

Forget about the unemployment statistics that are powered, in some small part, by your getting whacked.  What about the trauma that stresses you out, has you on a direct trajectory to a dirt nap?

As someone who’s worked with the unemployed, underemployed and those teetering on the verge, I know which emotion rules their psyches–fear. And what’s lurking behind fear? Powerlessness. You’ll find the core belief that survival and success lie in the hands of corporations and in the heads of politicians, out of their control.

Take Back Your Power

Not. C’mon! I helped my cleaning lady morph into a pet groomer, an IT dude become a tech recruiter for the green energy sector, and a university student create his own job stringing tennis rackets and coaching kids. And look, not one of them is bound by a Daddy. They’re all self-employed.

Easy? No. But let’s face facts. Slapping a nitro pill under your tongue isn’t exactly a trip to Disney either, is it?

Come on! Do you really believe that if Generic Co. can’t hire you, it’s all over? That if the “Administration du jour” doesn’t create opportunities, you should pour yourself a stiff one and wait for the big one?

Take a lesson from the career jockeys, the folks who are always on the hunt and who always land well. What’ve  they got that the people in decline, readying themselves for the paddles, don’t? Their own confidence and power. They believe there’s a solution. And they find it.

Unearth Your Gifts

How? Focus on your talents. Focus on what you love to do. Research the market. Ask what it needs. Even bad markets need something. Then dovetail where you shine with what the world needs.

But the first decision is the most important: the one where you take back your power and start looking at what you can do. Skip the pity party. Evict your inner victim.  Stop looking at the empty holes in the cube farm, anticipating that yours could be next. Quit commiserating with anyone who’s mired in misery. And start examining your talents. Trust me, you have something to give. It’s there.

Has your health been affected by your employment situation? What’s your story? Got any tips for reclaiming your vocational and your medical well-being?