LOS ANGELES (October 2, 2017) – Anita L. DeFrantz is a Bronze medal-winning Olympic rower; Attorney; Activist; Vice President of the International Olympic Committee; Multiple Sclerosis fighter;Speaker; and Humanitarian.
She has been a trailblazer as an Olympic athlete, during a time when women – especially women of color – were invisible.
Today, DeFrantz unveils her fascinating life and significant accomplishments in her new book My Olympic Life: A Memoir. Readers will find this modern-day heroine provides a wealth of inspiration and encouragement in these pages, and not just for current and aspiring athletes, women and minorities.
Gloria Steinem said, “Just reading My Olympic Life will make your heart race, your mind expand, and your hopes rise. That’s the kind of life Anita DeFrantz has lived, as a child in an activist family, an Olympic champion fighting for fairness, and a leader challenging limits of race and sex. Everyone needs her story…”
With unwavering tenacity, Anita L. DeFrantz has fought against sexual harassment, helped to change outdated gender verification rules, cracked down on doping, influenced new eligibility requirements, and helped maintain the integrity of the Olympic Movement. She even took on President Jimmy Carter when he tried to use the Olympics as a political forum during the Cold War.
Surely, it is DeFrantz’s boldness, clarity of vision and personal courage that has led this exemplary woman to rise to become the seventh-ranking member in seniority of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). She currently serves on the IOC Executive Board, and as one of the IOC’s four Vice Presidents.
In this riveting book, co-authored with five-time New York Times bestselling author Josh Young, DeFrantz reveals how she emerged from racist threats during her Indiana childhood to exhibiting unwavering leadership and ever-growing influence in Olympic circles to fight sexual harassment and racism, grow women’s Olympic sports, influence new eligibility requirements, change outdated gender verification rules, and more. She even delves into hot-button Olympic issues like doping and political scandals.
Reading My Olympic Life will reveal why DeFrantz has been named one of the “150 Women Who Shake the World” by Newsweek and one of the “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports” by Sports Illustrated.
Much more than a celebration of advancements in women’s or civil rights, more than a tale of her Olympic victories, My Olympic Life reveals how one motivated, courageous, and passionate person can truly help change the world.
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Executive Chairman of Starbucks Howard Schultz once said, “Hiring people is an art, not a science. And resumes cannot tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture.” This astute observation by the American businessman sums up the importance of assessing a job seeker for their soft skills—not just what’s on paper.
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills, also known as “employability skills,” are defined by Business Dictionary as “a group of essential abilities that involve the development of a knowledge base, expertise level and mindset that is increasingly necessary for success in the modern workplace.”
For any new recruit to fit into your corporate culture and be productive, soft skills are prerequisite. While resumes may sound impressive, assessing a jobseeker for soft skills plays a key role in promoting effectiveness in a company’s hiring process.
But how do you assess something so intangible? Use the following nine factors to create questions that assess for the soft skills you need from future employees.
How to Assess a Candidate’s Soft Skills
The first impression a jobseeker imparts speaks a lot about themselves. A jobseeker who walks in with a disheveled appearance and salty language, for example, may not take their role seriously enough. What’s more, they could make other employees and customers uncomfortable with their behavior.
Body language betrays a lot. Observing body language will enable you to learn a bit about a jobseeker’s interpersonal skills. Also, it can help inform whether the interviewee is lying or answering a question honestly. Jittery jobseekers are generally diffident about themselves and unsure whether they can meet your standards. They doubt their own abilities and may end up as underperformers.
Regardless of the nature of your business, problem-solving skills are essential for every employee. Candidates who cannot troubleshoot are unable to provide customer care, address issues faced by business associates or assist colleagues and seniors in the event of any internal problems. Include a couple of questions about how the jobseeker would solve a problem. The answer may not be the most thorough, given time constraints of an interview, but it will help you assess this vital skill.
Awareness About Major Issues
Your future employee need not be an encyclopedia. Yet, it is vital they know about major issues affecting the world, country and local economy. Knowledge about these issues and opinions suggest that the jobseeker is alert and responsive. It also indicates adaptability to adverse situations, since such candidates will usually possess abilities to respond effectively. Issues and opinions can reflect traits, such as positivity, skepticism and negative thoughts. Admittedly, these thoughts may vary according to the issue. A candidate may be positive about something or negative about another. Yet, such awareness would also help you judge the overall traits since every flipside also has positives.
Memberships of Clubs/Organizations
Memberships of clubs and organizations are a clear indicator of a candidate’s social and collaborative skills. Such employees generally tend to become great team players. Additionally, it also indicates the candidate spends time on constructive activities, such as sports, hobbies or even politics.
An increasing number of employers worldwide now utilize psychometric tests to gauge a candidate’s behavior and mental aptitude for a job. They enable you to assess the cognitive capabilities of a jobseeker required for any post in an organization. Additionally, psychometric tests help a company to assess an applicant’s analytical and pedagogic skills essential for any role. They are particularly useful in finding hidden traits of a job seeker that are often missed during an interview. However, there are debates worldwide over the effectiveness of these tests to assess soft skills and hidden talents as well as negative traits of an individual. Some psychologists and HR experts vouch for their reliability, while others claim the results provide inconclusive results that can mar career prospects of good candidates—so if you choose to use them, do so cautiously.
Quizzing a candidate over knowledge about your company as well as past employers, if any, is another effective way to assess their soft skills. Answers indicate an interest in the profession and industry. They will also show whether an interviewee is well prepared and is serious about the job or is eyeing the vacancy merely as another employment option. Sometimes, the answer can also reveal traits, such as willingness to adapt to a new work environment and spirit of collaboration to ensure personal success as well as that of your organization.
Composure Under Stress
The ability to work under stress is critical for many positions, especially when hiring for more senior roles. One good way to evaluate this skill is by asking a candidate to tell you about a stressful period at work and how they responded. You can also simply evaluate their behavior during the interview. Fumbling to respond or getting frustrated indicate the person may have a hard time working under stress or pressure.
Ability to Work with Diverse Groups
Companies, just like the country in general, have become increasingly diverse in recent years. Walk into any major employer and you’ll find people of all different backgrounds, educations, beliefs collaborating and thriving together. So if an employee has a hard time working with anybody who thinks or acts differently than them, it can be hard for them to succeed. Ask candidates how they have collaborated with people who have had very different perspectives than them. If their answer suggests that they steamrolled others’ ideas or refused to listen to them, they probably won’t perform well in a diverse team.
Modern workplaces demand that all employees possess soft skills. Indeed, soft skills can be more difficult to acquire than professional degrees and experience. Without them, any hard skills are far less valuable. So when screening candidates, don’t just try to uncover how well they know a particular software program or platform—get to the heart of how they interact with others.
Lisa Parker is a Freelance writer. Her passion is to write blogs on entrepreneurship, business trends, business management, and business leadership, lifestyle, relationship, career and education. And many more.
Landing a job is a challenge for many professionals. Landing a job without any experience can be an even bigger challenge. For a job seeker without any experience, it’s discouraging when you’ve applied for dozens (or hundreds) of jobs and received zero responses from employers.
Although you might feel like giving up on your job search, it’s important to persevere and continue writing cover letters that will make you stand out to employers.
Here are some tips for writing a cover letter when you have little or no experience:
First paragraph: Clearly introduce yourself
The first paragraph is your opportunity to make a strong first impression on the employer. This section should explain who you are, the position you’re interested in, and how you discovered the opportunity.
The introduction is also a great opportunity to mention any connections you have with the organization. For example, if you know a previous intern or alumni who worked for the organization, be sure to mention their name in your introduction.
“My name is Sarah and I’m a recent graduate from Purdue University. I graduated in December with a B.A. in communications and a minor in marketing. An alumni forwarded me a job posting about your Associate Marketer position at ABC Media Group. I’m highly interested in this opportunity because I’d make a great fit for your agency.”
Second paragraph: Talk about your relevant skills and accomplishments
This section is the biggest challenge for job seekers with little or no experience. It’s also the section where many job seekers make mistakes because they don’t know how to highlight their relevant skills and classroom experience.
As you explain why you’re qualified for the position, it’s important to connect the dots with the employer. For instance, if you didn’t have a marketing internship but you’ve gained a lot of marketing experience through a part-time job in student services, you could highlight the communications skills and experience you gained through that position.
“I realize you’re looking for a candidate with strong written and oral communications skills, as well as experience with event planning and strategy development. As an office assistant in Purdue’s Office of Student Life, I was responsible for planning and promoting campus movie nights for students. This project required me to promote the event on social media, send email blasts to students and design flyers to post around campus.”
Third paragraph: Highlight your best qualities and explain why you’re a good fit
Most employers want to hire candidates who are creative team players with strong time-management skills. Although you consider yourself a great fit for the position, you need to use examples that illustrate why you’re a good fit for the job. The reality is, simply stating that you have excellent time-management skills and a knack for leadership won’t land you a job.
When talking about your qualities, it’s important to talk about real-life examples. The key point to remember here is to make sure your examples are succinct and visual.
“During my final semester at Purdue, I led a group of three students to create a marketing campaign for an animal shelter in Indianapolis. I was responsible for leading brainstorming sessions, communicating with our client and editing the final version of the campaign. Through this project, I learned how to collaborate with others and work effectively in a team in order to accomplish a common goal.”
Fourth paragraph: Conclude with a call to action
The final paragraph is the section that will seal the deal for a job interview. You want to leave a lasting impression on the reader, so make sure your conclusion is confident and upbeat and encourages the hiring manager to get in touch with you.
“With the combination of my marketing experience and leadership skills, I’m confident I’d make a great fit for this position. Thank you for taking the time to review my application and consider me as a candidate. I will follow up next Wednesday to schedule a time to talk with you more about this position. I look forward to hearing from you soon!”
People line up at Big Shake’s Nashville Hot Chicken, excited to get the array of unique flavors being served up. Now, people across the country can simply log online and buy whatever they want, and it will arrive at their doorstep within two business days. With the launch of the online store, Chef Big Shake has made it possible for everyone to get in on the hot chicken, deep fried turkey and “famous” shrimp burger action.
“There are many people who have been waiting for this store to go live, so it’s an exciting time,” explains Shawn Davis, otherwise known as Chef Big Shake, the creator of The Shrimp Burger and owner of Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish. “The online store will let everyone get a taste of our food, whether for themselves or as a special gift for someone else. Some say you can’t find a better gift than my famous hot chicken.”
Chef Big Shake’s online store, located at ShopBigShakes.com, serves up a full menu of options to choose from, including his famous Nashville hot chicken, seasonings and peppers, shrimp burgers, and more. For those wanting to ensure their holiday meal is simple and a big hit this year, they may want to order Chef Big Shake’s deep-fried turkey, for only $89.99.
The deep-fried turkey offered through the online store serves 10-12 people and is shipped Monday-Wednesday. After it has been expertly deep-fried, it is then frozen to seal in the flavor, then packed in a reusable cooler with dry ice, and shipped anywhere in the country, arriving in two business days. Once the person receives it, they put it in the freezer, and then follow the simple instructions for heating it in the oven, so it’s ready for that special holiday gathering. Chef Big Shake’s deep-fried turkeys are crispy on the outside, and tender and juicy on the inside. They can also be ordered infused with their award winning Nashville Hot Chicken heat injections: such flavors as CryBaby® – Mild, Stop Drop n Roll® – Medium, Rambo – Hot. Or, classic flavors such as: honey butter, honey BBQ, Cajun butter, Jerk, lemon pepper, and classic seasoning.
“Whether you are someone who lives near a Big Shake’s or you want someone who doesn’t to try the food, we want to make sure you have the best tasting turkey this holiday and ready to help,” added Davis. “But be careful, once you go Big Shake, you never go back! This food will keep you coming back time and again.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving. Here are some safety tips for those who plan to deep-fry their turkey themselves for the holidays:
Never leave food cooking in the kitchen unattended, and don’t leave the house while the food is cooking.
Make sure that children stay away from food that is being cooked, so they don’t get burned.
Keep the outdoor deep fryers away from flammable sources, including garages and balconies. Also, check the weather to ensure that it will not rain or snow.
Be sure that the turkey is completely thawed, which will help eliminate flare-up risks.
Those using a propane-powered deep fryer will need to ensure there is a two-foot buffer between the burner and tank. Ideally, you should use a fryer that has temperature controls, so that the oil is not heated beyond its smoke point.
The fryer must be on a level surface before it can be used. If it’s not, there is a risk of it being tipped over, starting a fire.
Avoid overfilling the oil in the fryer, which can ignite if it comes into contact with the burger. Check with the manufacturer’s directions for the correct amount to use.
When it’s time to submerge the turkey, shut the burner off. You can turn it back on once the turkey is submerged in the oil.
Use protective gear, such as safety glasses and oven mitts when working with the fryer.
Once the turkey is done, remove the pot from the burner and place it in a safe, level place to cool overnight, before disposing.
Big Shake’s currently has three locations, in Franklin and Goodlettsville, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama with a fourth location opening soon in Huntsville, Alabama. Chef Big Shake became famous for his signature shrimp burgers, which were featured on the hit show “Shark Tank.” They have sold hundreds of thousands of them. The restaurant has also become famous for its hot chicken plates, chicken sandwiches, hot chicken and waffles, hot chicken tacos, and more. They also feature a variety of fish entrees, including whiting and catfish. Diners can choose their level of heat, ranging from “cry baby” to “executioner.”
““Chef Big Shake,” was named after and founded by Shawn Davis, a man who worked his way up from restaurant dishwasher to chef to entrepreneur. After being passed up on the reality business show “Shark Tank,” he received the funding he needed to take his business national. Today, his product line, which features five varieties of “The Original Shrimp Burger,” is available in over 2,500 stores, and he owns Big Shake’s Hot Chicken & Fish restaurants. To learn more about the restaurant chain, visit the site at: bigshakeshotchicken.com/.
Once upon a time, Stedman Graham—yes, that Stedman—was a soldier in the United States Army, trying to figure out who he was and where he was going. More than 40 years later, he’s a world-renowned businessman, author and speaker with a laser focus on identity leadership.
“Understanding who you are is the key to your growth,” he told U.S. Veterans Magazine.
Five years in the Army in the 1970s gave him a solid foundation. “I would not be here today without the military,” he said. “I needed structure.”
Graham learned to be on time. To listen when others were speaking. To do his best. To not quit. To be a follower. To be a leader. To get down to the nitty-gritty details of whatever task he was working on.
“It helps you lay out a process for continual improvement,” the 68-year-old founder and CEO of S. Graham & Associates and bestselling author of 11 books said of his experience in the military.
Graham has never forgotten those lessons, and he is forever grateful. Which is why he continues to visit military bases and stay in touch with servicemen and women.
It’s also why he lobbies employers to hire veterans.
“The message of learning while you’re experiencing is a great message for our troops,” he said. “It’s a great design for self-actualization…You couldn’t have a better opportunity than serving.”
And, he added, you won’t get a more grounded, humble, flexible and
can-do employee than a veteran.
Graham was born on March 6, 1951, in the Whitesboro section of Middle Township, New Jersey, the son of Mary Jacobs Graham and Stedman Graham Sr. He is one of six children.
He received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Hardin-Simmons University in 1974, and a master’s degree in education from Ball State University in 1979. Graham, who stands at 6-foot-7, played basketball at Hardin-Simmons.
He later moved to High Point, North Carolina to establish himself in public relations. At B & C Associates, he worked on behalf of African-American causes and had many distinguished clients, including author Maya Angelou and South African activist Winnie Mandela.
He is also founder of Chicago, Illinois’s Athletes Against Drugs (AAD), a non-profit organization that provides services to youth and has awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships since its founding in 1985. Moreover, the organization arranges for sports figures to educate children about substance abuse.
In 1988 Graham created S. Graham & Associates, a Chicago-based corporate and educational marketing and consulting firm.
Graham has delivered speeches at many public and private schools on the topics of identity and self-awareness. He is perhaps most famous as an author of business and self-help-related books, including, Who Are You? and his newly-released, Identity Leadership: To Lead Others You Must First Lead Yourself.
Graham has been partners with Oprah Winfrey since 1988.
Identity leadership employs a simple but profound premise: You can’t lead anybody until you lead yourself. And to lead yourself, you must know yourself. The “self” is the biggest enigma in the world, the more provocative challenge, and the most rewarding mountain to climb, according to Graham.
Graham talks about being a learner, a hard worker, and knowing who you are, but if you go deeper, he invokes what he calls the most important word in the English language.
“Love is the key word,” he said. “Passion, talent and skills are related. Do what you love.”
In Identity Leadership: To Lead Others You Must First Lead Yourself, readers learn how to define themselves. The alternative, Graham said, is that society “puts you in a box.”
“When you can’t define yourself, the world defines you by your race, by your house, by your car, your money or your title,” he said. “It’s kind of socially constructed and designed to control your development.”
Graham said once he figured out who he was, he began to lead himself and, “to create a vision beyond my circumstance.”
If love is the most paramount word, purpose might be second, or in the top five. “Everything starts with a purpose,” said Graham, adding that purpose is essential to self-actualization.
In his world travels, he is intensely interested in motivating people to get rid of labels—whether they are linked to race, gender, class, you name it—and to take control of their own destiny.
He wants others to realize the process for success is the same for everybody in the 24 hours we have in our days.
Graham says being able to teach that, and to help people realize their potential, is a passion and a joy. He advises his readers and listeners to not be afraid.
“Failure, in fact, is a phenomenal teacher,” Graham says. “The concept goes back to ‘learning while you’re experiencing.’”
He said veterans know what it’s like to be part of something bigger than themselves, and they’ve learned how to adapt, particularly when faced with adversity. But they aren’t superheroes. They could use a helping hand—be it by a prospective employer, a nurse, a clerk, or a citizen on the street.
“There’s so much work to be done as far as helping our troops,” Graham said. “I’m just honored to be of service.”
In August 2019, Google issued a new set of community guidelines that banned political discussions at work.
The new policy states, “While sharing information and ideas with colleagues helps build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not.
Our primary responsibility is to do the work we’ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics. Avoid conversations that are disruptive to the workplace or otherwise violate Google’s workplace policies.”
Talking about politics isn’t the only conversation you should avoid at work. There are plenty of types of work conversations that could cost you your job, so you’ll want to learn how to avoid them if they come up.
Talking Openly About Wanting To Quit
Even if you’re among co-workers you trust, it’s a bad idea to talk openly about wanting to quit your job, said Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.
“No matter how close you may be with your co-workers or even if you said it out of frustration, it’s best not to discuss something this sensitive in mixed company,” she said. “News of this nature travels quickly through an office grapevine. Before you know it, your manager might find out and will have questions for you.”
“The best approach is to avoid discussing this topic altogether with co-workers,” Case said. “It’s a personal matter that should be kept to yourself and a conversation to have with management when, and if, the time is suitable for it.”
In general, it’s best to avoid any topic that could make your colleagues uncomfortable and raise a flag with human resources. Because religion is such a sensitive topic, it’s one you should not discuss at work.
“You may need to talk to HR or a supervisor if you need accommodation for your religious beliefs, such as time off for religious holidays or a place to pray during the workday,” said Paula Brantner, an employment attorney and principal at PB Work Solutions. “But when it comes to your co-workers, no one wants to be proselytized to at work since you’re compelled to be there, and it’s harder to politely decline.”
“Although religious discrimination is illegal, you also need to be focused on your job while at work, so don’t spend time engaged in religious conversations,” she said. “And don’t engage in discrimination against or harass other workers in violation of federal, state, and/or local law because they don’t share the same beliefs or have individual characteristics that you don’t agree with.”
Discussing Your Home Life or Marital Issues
Leave any issues you have with your home life at home, said Baron Christopher Hanson, lead consultant and owner of RedBaronUSA.
“News about your home life or any litigious matters you or a spouse may be facing can spread … or reveal weaknesses that competitors and foes in any workplace may use against you,” he said.
Airing Out Workplace Secrets
“Any workplace secrets — marketing plans, financial strategies or legal disputes — that your company is dealing with should never be discussed in public where details may be overheard, recorded or distributed digitally in nanoseconds,” said Hanson.
“In today’s modern world, communication comes at us seemingly from every direction — other people, our computers and especially our smartphones. Private texts and conversations can be seen or heard over our shoulders like never before, even on the train home from work when you think no one is really listening or seeing what you type.”
Discussing Health Issues
As with your home life, discussions about your health don’t belong in the office. Talking openly about a medical issue should not cost you your job, but it can make co-workers feel uneasy.
Telling your co-workers that you had a routine dental appointment isn’t necessarily an issue. Still, you might want to hold off on discussing serious medical problems, Annette Harris, president and founder of personal branding agency ShowUp!, told HuffPost.
“Similar to marital problems, people often just don’t know how to react or respond in a work environment,” she said.
Gossiping About Other Co-Workers
You probably won’t like every person you work with, but you should definitely keep those thoughts to yourself, said business coach Stacy Caprio.
Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.
Technology has changed our lives in many ways, including how we conduct a job search. I have witnessed a number of recruiting and job coaching changes in my 30+ year career. Most – but not all – involve the use of technology. Here are a few non-technology changes.
1 Whether due to downsizing or a worker’s desire for a new challenge, today’s workplace sees more turnover than ever before. All this change means it is important to keep your resume up to date and be a lifelong learner to remain competitive with constantly improving and expanding skills. Take a class. Earn a certification. Do what you can to best position yourself with market-relevant skills expected by today’s employers.
2 While networking has always been part of the search process, I would argue it is more important than ever. The days of walking into a company, shaking hands with the hiring manager and having an unscheduled conversation are largely over. Technology makes it easier to locate and apply for work, and human resource departments are overwhelmed with applicants. Some companies have responded by building digital barriers to protect their time. You may be qualified for the position, but, if you are one of 300 applicants, personal referrals can improve your chances the employer will choose to speak with you rather than other candidates.
3 Employer expectations and what you can do to meet them have shifted. I am seeing companies place more emphasis on soft skills and cultural fit than ever before. For many jobs, you will be required to take an assessment or two. You may have the skills and experience to perform the work, but if your personality does not mesh with that employer’s desired target, you may not get the job.
Employers expect candidates to be prepared; technology allows easy access to information about the company. Online resources help answer interview questions. Doing your homework – being prepared – is more significant than ever.
Technology is a tool. Use it and know you need more than a search and a few clicks to get the job. Good luck!
Randy Wooden, director, professional center at Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina. He is the author of the “Job & Career Advice” blogs.
If your goal is to climb the career ladder of success all the way to the top, chances are your path may not be direct. But it can also be hard to predict. “When you’re in the middle of an organization or even a few levels away, knowing what it takes to get into the C-suite becomes a bit of a black box,” says Cassandra Frangos, former head of the global executive talent practice at Cisco and author of Crack the C-Suite Code: How Successful Leaders Make it to the Top. “Some think that it’s a straight line, and others think it’s a matter of luck or even politics—and at times it can be.”
However, having played a role in many C-suite successions, Frangos found that there isn’t always a one-size-fits-all approach. “All organizations are different, and every executive brings unique strengths,” she says. “It’s often a portfolio of experiences that you need to have as well as a lot of skill in terms of navigating different career paths.”
Frangos is the co-instructor of a new course at MIT Sloan School of Management’s Executive Education Program called “Charting Your Path to the C-Suite.” In it, she shares the four most common paths you can follow to reach the C-suite.
The tenured executive
The tenured path is where executives stay at company they love and find a great culture fit, says Frangos. This is also the most predictable and common path, with the majority of CEOs and other C-suite leaders promoted from within, including 69% of Fortune 100 CFOs, according to a study from CFO Journal.
This path also requires the most patience. While Frangos says internal hires that rise to the C-suite were identified as high performers within their first year, she also says they often spend more time in roles than those who take other paths. “Know how long you’ll be in line, and decide how long you’re willing to wait,” she advises.
For example, if you’re second in line, and the current CEO is young, well-liked, and only in the job for two years, it could take a while for you to be promoted. On the other hand, if your boss has been there for a decade and mentioned that they’d like to retire or do something new in the next couple of years, your time might be coming soon.
“You can’t control someone else’s succession,” says Frangos. “If you are a C-suite hopeful and there’s no spot opening up in your timeframe, it may be a signal to look elsewhere.”
The free agent
Free agents C-suite members reach a certain point at a company and then jump to another to continue their climb. They’re often recruited because the company is looking for an outsider’s perspective and ideas. “This path seems to be picking up steam, as 22% of CEOs between 2012 and 2015 were appointed from outside organizations,” says Frangos.
To be a free agent, you’ll need to demonstrate a flawless track record and reputation, says Frangos. “Also, [you’ll need to] develop your leadership brand in a more deliberate way compared with internal peers,” she says.
The leapfrog leader
Leapfrog Leaders pass over their peers as well as superiors, jumping several steps ahead based on their vision and potential. Frangos says this was the case when Chuck Robbins was appointed CEO of Cisco in 2015. Formerly the head of sales, Robbins jumped two spots ahead to take the top spot.
To be a leapfrog leader, you need to able to confront industry disruption and present yourself as a strong champion for change in the organization, says Frangos. This can be the most difficult path to execute because it’s not one you can plan for; you need to prepare for opportunities and be ready to seize them if and when they arise.
Perhaps the fastest track to the C-suite is to create your own. Founders start their own companies because they have an idea and a passion—not simply a desire to be a CEO.
With this type of career path, you have more control over the timing of your entrance to the C-suite. However, it requires different skills sets. You need to be entrepreneurial and have a willingness to take risk. You also must be willing to take on a wider range of responsibilities during your startup mode, as founders wear many hats.
Whatever path you take
Anyone headed to the C-suite should have a willingness to reinvent themselves, as well as the confidence to state their ambition, no matter which path they eventually take. The landscape of the C-suite is changing in terms of its dynamics and the way to think about leading, says Frangos.
Throughout your career, you will participate in many, many job interviews. In all of these interviews, you will hear a few questions time and time again: What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Why should we hire you? Even though these questions are incredibly cliché, there’s a reason so many interviewers rely on them.
Your answers to the cliché questions say a lot about you. They can make or break your chance at landing the job.
It’s essential to prepare original answers for the cliché questions you know you’ll hear at your next job interview.
The strongest answers are unique and will give you a leg up in the competition.
Here are seven of the most cliché interview questions and how to answer them with originality:
Tell me about yourself.
Employers will often begin the interview with this one. Because it’s so vague, this answer needs to be prepared ahead of time. You can answer using your elevator speech. Talk briefly about three areas of your career: job history, most impressive accomplishments, and relevant goals. Your interviewer already has your resume, so rather than memorizing your background, you need to expand on what makes you different and emphasize your passion. Keep it concise.
Why do you want to work here?
This question will show hiring managers if you’ve done your research before the interview. You should enter the interview knowing background information about the company, recent news surrounding the company and industry, and specific details about the position. Understand the company culture and mission. Use what you learn to highlight the detailed reasons you want the job and why your background makes you a perfect fit for the company.
What are your biggest strengths?
Your strengths and weaknesses tend to be paired together by interviewers, so have answers for both. When it comes to your strengths, you need to tailor your answers to the job description. In addition to a laundry list of responsibilities, job descriptions will often list soft skills required for the role. If you have these qualities, list them as your greatest strengths in the interview. It’s not enough, however, to say your biggest strength is your ability to communicate. You need to show them why by telling a story that showcases a time when you used your skills to accomplish a goal.
What is your biggest weakness?
On the flip side come your weaknesses. This one is tough because it’s easy to give a cliché answer. Avoid giving a strength disguised as a weakness like, “I’m a perfectionist.” Interviewers know this is a cop-out. Instead, choose a real weakness, and put a positive spin on it. Talk about the fact that you realize it’s a problem, and discuss the ways you’re working to improve. For example, “I tend to rush through tasks because I want to get them done quickly, but I am learning to step back and put a bit more emphasis on quality than speed. I’ve started to become both efficient and effective.”
Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?
Your answer to this question should demonstrate your desire to commit to the job and grow within the company. Talk about how you want to learn everything you can and expand your skills to benefit the company. Mention your desire to move up in the company over time. Explain you want this job to be the start of a long career with the company.
How do you handle conflict?
When interviewers ask this (or similar questions about teamwork, leadership, etc.), they are looking for you to describe specific examples of your experience. Describe a time when you faced conflict in the workplace. Explain the situation, how you handled it, and the results. Don’t forget to tell the story from start to finish to show how you accomplished your goal.
Why should we hire you?
This question might be one of the last things you’re asked in an interview. Like #1, it’s pretty vague, so have an answer prepared. Talk about your best skills and accomplishments that show why you, and you alone, are the perfect person for the position. Use specific details from the job description, and emphasize why you are capable of doing them best. If you’re not asked this question, you might be asked, “Is there anything else you’d like to tell me?” Use the same principles to answer this question. End your interview by proving why you’re the only person for the job.
Even though all of these questions are cliché, you can use them to shine in your interview. The fact that they’re so cliché is an opportunity. Expect to be asked these questions and answer them with stories tailored to make you the best candidate.
It seems that after Papa John’s founder John Schnatter was forced out for saying the n-word on a conference call last year, the pizza chain has been trying hard to win back Black customers.
And one of the first moves they’ve made was partnering with Shaquille O’Neal earlier this year, who now wants to put a Papa John’s restaurant on every HBCU campus.
To do so, he’s teamed up with Miles College, an HBCU located in Fairfield, Alabama, and he’ll make an announcement on Saturday, Oct. 26, with the school’s president, Bobbie Knight. They’ll make the announcement on the Miles College campus in the Student Activity Center at noon.
“HBCUs have been pivotal in the development of young minds; influential in highlighting the history and culture of African Americans and effectively provided a means for academic success,” said O’Neal in a statement. “It is in these great halls of these wonderful institutions that students saw their potential magnified and exemplified.”
“Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘If you want to move people, it has to be toward a vision that’s positive for them, that taps important values, that gets them something they desire and it has to be presented in a compelling way, so that they feel inspired to follow,’” he added.
“Join me and President Bobbie Knight of the great Miles College, as we move toward a business initiative that will open avenues of opportunities for our HBCUs. Today is our day. This is our time,” the statement concluded.
Earlier this year, O’Neal spoke to The Undefeated about joining Papa John’s and said he would only be involved if the company “got some diversity” in its leadership.
So to honor that request, he was asked to come on as a board member.
“‘How about a triple threat?’” O’Neal remembered telling CEO Steve Ritchi at the time. “’Board member; I want to invest in stores to show you I’m serious, and of course I’ll be an ambassador to the brand.’”
The 21-year-old who made headlines around the world for single-handedly running a hotel and caring for its 90 guests trapped along with him during a flood was rewarded in big way by the city of Beaumont, Texas.
Homewood Suites employee Satchel Smith was honored with a proclamation for his heroics during tropical storm Imelda, which included answering phones, cooking, doing dishes, and washing laundry, during a solo shift that lasted over 32 hours.
The young man, who said he was “just doing his job,” also lost his car in the flooding—but, after his marathon of good work, city officials surprised him with a new one, a 2013 Honda Hybrid, during an event.
“I mean it was a bit unexpected—overwhelming!” he told KFDM News. “I mean I don’t expect anything for what I did.”
“I’m truly thankful.”
And, too, so are the guests he catered to, including Angela Chandler, who said Smith handled the situation “with grace, kindness, and a beautiful smile on his face.”