Jun 24th 2017 by MickeyG42 • 29 Questions • 53 Points
My short bio: At our last AMA 12 months ago we helped hundreds of people answer important career questions and are back by popular demand! We're a group of experienced advisors who have screened, interviewed and hired thousands of people over our careers. We're now building Mentat (www.thementat.com) which is using technology to scale what we've experienced and provide a way for people to get new jobs 10x faster than the traditional method - by going straight to the hiring managers.
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Edit: Thanks everyone! We truly enjoyed your engagement. We'll go through and reply to more questions over the next few days, so if you didn't get a chance to post feel free to add to the discussion!
How does Disney balance the need to maintain a "magical" experience in challenging situations?
I have went there a few times and at a park system that large you would think there would be issues with removing rowdy/drunk/belligerent guests, accusing/preventing people of theft, removing people from the parks who have been banned previously, etc...
In many settings that results in people throwing fits, but Disney seems to handle the "customer service" aspect of challenging situations well even in hot crowded parks that serve alcohol.
So, can you help me understand?
Hi Jon and Jason!
It's nice to meet you (anonymously)! Thank you so much for doing this - I attended your last panel and it was so insightful!
I had a question that I never got the chance to ask since we ran out of time... But when working with a show or a film, how do you approach the story and what is your process of finding the "right" sound/musical idea for it? I personally find it very challenging marrying the two together and trying to "read" on what the project would need, and tend to lean more on my personal musical knowledge that's within my comfort zone. What is your process?
Doctor, thank you very much for your tireless work.
As a fellow Rotarian, supporter of the Polio Plus program for over 10 years and someone who has contact with polio survivors through work and personal life, I have one question.
What would be the best way to communicate the importance of continued support for this program to younger generations that we interact with and recruit as Rotarians everyday?
While I am very excited by the support, I am concerned that with this influx of support from the Gates Foundation that some may think, "oh that should do it." When the truth is this is a long road we are going down.
I apologize for the run-on sentences.
I need a change of career, but I have no idea what I want to do, just that I want to do something else. What's your advice on seeking out a new career?
I get told a lot that people never see security and that's one of the goals. Unless it's a safety issue there's never more than 2 security escorting drunks out. We use Undercovers to catch shoplifters and bring them backstage before accusing or searching them.
Even when we talk to people who are drunk, it's as few of us as possible, not only to keep it as unembarrassing as possible but also to make it low-key. We don't want to interrupt your experience by dealing with another guest.
To us, the most important thing is your compass. Your emotional, personal compass. If you're able to expose yourself emotionally and spiritually to the picture, then you will know when something is working and feels like you are on the right trail.
Sometimes we don't even think about it as instruments...its what sound or tone makes us feel the way we need to feel to help tell the story. So its really a journey down the road of trial-and-error.
If you start thinking about what someone else would want you to do, and you lose track of your own compass, then you're in trouble. Please yourself! :)
I remember vividly the fear of polio when I was young and when my own cousin developed paralytic polio and the great sadness in my family because of this. I remember her need to have multiple surgeries and braces in order to walk. But, in general, each summer the swimming pools would be closed and contact between children kept to a minimum because of the fear of polio. And my father was a practicing physician and I remember going with him and seeing homes where there was a sign on the door: Quarantine and Keep Out Because of Polio. Younger generations won’t remember this. This experience is a distant memory in the U.S. but is still very real for those living in polio-impacted countries. I think that we need to communicate that struggle to younger generations.I think it is important to emphasize in meetings and literature the value of eradicating polio. We have almost reached the point of accomplishing the goal of eradication, but we need to push over the finish line to accomplish the goal. In some regions, like Afghanistan and Nigeria, they’re still having experiences with paralytic polio, which the United States hasn’t since the 1980s. That’s why it’s important to stay engaged with this effort across the world.
One exercise we go through with candidates is identifying different family friends within your network. What professions do the people around you have? Aunts, uncles, friends of your parents, older alumni from your high school or college, etc. Grab a coffee or a beer with them and really pick their brain.
You'd be surprised by how much people love to give advice and guidance for someone interested in their field. Don't be too shy to reach out!
Hello Dr. John Sever,
Thank you for your service. My questions are :
There have been outbreaks of vaccine-associated polio in the past. How difficult was it to restore people's faith in the vaccines?
Are there any goals for eliminating oral polio vaccine, and using only injectable polio vaccine?
How should I respond if they ask me about job jumping (I.e. Switching jobs every few years)? Companies aren't loyal to you anymore but expect you to be, and the only way to move up is by leveraging your current position to land a better one elsewhere.
Is it appropriate to ask an interviewer for feedback to improve myself for the future?
There have been outbreaks of vaccine associated polio, but they are extraordinarily rare - 1 in about 2.7 million doses of the vaccine administered. And these have been met with intensive immunization in the areas. With that approach the outbreaks have been put under control. There is an acceptance of the immunization program to proceed. In most areas of the world, parents are eager to protect their children from paralysis and there is strong acceptance of the vaccine.
Once the wild poliovirus has been shown to no longer be present, we anticipate we will transition to using only the injectable polio vaccine. But until that time, it is necessary to continue with intensive immunization with the oral polio vaccine. A combination of both vaccines (oral and injectable) is necessary to eradicate polio.
This is a tricky question to tackle broadly since every industry has different norms and perspectives on tenure.
For example, a 12-24 month tenure in some industries (consulting, early-level investment banking & private equity, large tech) is perceived as normal, while it would be shockingly short in pharmaceuticals.
Our advice is generally you want to be testing your market value and opportunities for promotion constantly, but be sensitive to your industry's norms.
The standard answer that does not raise eyebrows during an interview is along the lines of "I was able to land a position that offered more responsibility, opportunity and career development."
Do asymptomatic carriers exist for polio and would we need to continue to inoculate even after zero cases? And for how long?
I'm an older worker (60) who has spent most of his life as a janitor or janitor supervisor. I have other skills, but I feel most jobs won't even consider me due to my age or because I'm a janitor. Is there something I could put on my resume so a company would at least give me an interview?
Most people infected with polio don’t exhibit symptoms. Only about 1 in 200 people infected with polio are paralyzed by the disease. We will need to continue inoculation for at least three years after we reach zero cases and the virus is eradicated – very likely for several years beyond that time.
It's definitely not impossible for older job seekers to make career changes and find something new with their experience. Make sure you are CURRENT - create a LinkedIn profile if you don't already have one and take the time to fill it out and put in a nice, professional headshot. You have a lot of work experience that can be relevant to other fields, so research the positions that you'd like to work in and emphasize how your background will help you to fulfill the requirements of the position. Be prepared to be flexible in terms of payment, don't undersell yourself but realize that if you come off as an expensive hire, you may be passed over for a younger worker willing to settle for less money. Finally, tap into your network, talk to friends/past colleagues or anyone you know working in the industry you're looking to change into. This can be a great help in landing a new position.
Cover letters -- how important or not important are these actually? I'm sure it varies greatly by industry and maybe even by geographical location, but in general what are your thoughts on writing them, and ideal length?
In 1979, polio was no longer active in the United States and a few other countries. So, we knew that it could be controlled and eradicated. But most countries in the world were not immunizing for polio. So, it was important that immunization be taken to all of the children of the world. And Rotary was interested in accepting this opportunity and helping to immunize the children of the world.
Great question! We've worked with over a dozen career counselors here in the Bay Area and maintain a large network of recruiters -- the direction the hiring industry is moving towards is placing more emphasis on customizing covering emails -- cover letters are seen as a prerequisite and are often unread.
Nevertheless, it's good to include one as it passes a minimum bar -- we recommend 2-3 paragraphs and a density of roughly 75% of one full page. Mirror the header that you use in your resume.
Hey Doc, what can people without that kind of money do to help and what's in your cross-hair after Polio ?
If you haven't worked in a couple years and the reason for not working is not being able to find a job, what do you say then? What do you do when you no longer receive call backs or interviews due to no work experience besides college?
Rotary is working actively to raise $50 million dollars per year for the next three years. Even small donations will help to reach that goal. People can also help raise awareness of the problem within their personal networks. Consider contacting your local Rotary club to get involved as a volunteer. We are dedicated to completing the eradication of polio before moving on to other projects.
Reaching out to your network can be a great way to break into your industry, and it can be useful when trying to overcome the hurdle of a lack of experience from not being able to find a relevant job. If you are still acquiring skills in your unrelated job that could be relevant to a position in a different industry, talk about that. Reach out to people on LinkedIn. Talk about your career goals in your summary. A lack of work experience is definitely a big obstacle but it isn't the nail in the coffin of your job search - you'll just have to find creative and more direct ways around it, like direct outreach.
So when I went to Disneyland with my orchestra a year back, one of my friends couldn't bring a glass tea cup into the park, even though he bought it on Downtown Disney. What's the deal about this?
When composing for a procedural, is there a procedure of your own that you put into practice?
Glass. Sharp object. He drops it and someone else cuts their foot, that's a problem. Downtown Disney isn't really part of Disney. Sure there's the one disney store; but it doesn't count. Everything Disney does is about safety; safety from injury for guests and safety from lawsuits for the park.
We don't brand anything that we work on as one thing or another, so our approach is the same.
We look to find the hidden truth that score can best help bring to life. That's our procedure.
I feel trapped in a career I don't like, at 27 I want to find something I can enjoy more and feel confident and happy growing within. How do I start and what steps do i need to take to get there?
Oh yeah we see them. Sex on pirates and mansion is really common. Nothing too weird just people hooking up.
We don't think we care about the profession as long as its good storytelling and working with people who care as much as we do about the project.
We found working on Parenthood, which is relatable to us as parents, to be particularly satisfying.
Decide what it is that you want to accomplish in order to reach this feeling of fulfillment. Once you have a clear understanding of what it is you need to work for, you can start to figure out which positions and companies could help you fulfill this. Some people are born to be entrepreneurs and the only way to fulfill their career goals is to break out on their own and start a business. Other people get a great sense of achievement from working on a team and accomplishing a lot for a greater cause like a big company. It all depends on the individual. Once you have a clear idea of specifically what you need to accomplish in order to get this boost of confidence, happiness, and sense of internal growth, you can start to find positions that will help you get there. Make a list of your career goals. Research different companies and their missions and see which ones have values that align with your own. This is a great way to start and hopefully, you'll figure it all out a lot faster.
When someone is trying to convey that they have managed high dollar budgets, is it appropriate to say a dollar amount, or is it better to just describe the resources you were responsible for? i.e. 10 fleet vehicles, or 30 employees payroll, 900 computers, etc.
I got a call for a lost little boy. We had the kid, no parents. When I get there I meet this little 7 year old, "Jake", who grabs my hand and starts dragging me arlundooming for his mom. Absolutely adorable kid. We find mom in less than 5 minutes and she's just in tears.
They told me they were in line for Small World when he vanished so I walked them up there and put them in the front of the line. They were so sweet and thankful. It's that kind of stuff I loved getting to do.
Thanks for doing this again! I'm in the process of reworking my resume and it's a struggle.
How do I illustrate that I want a company that's willing to teach and train me in my industry, without sounding like I'm incompetent?
If you're in your early 20s, it isn't too bad. They don't like working with you for a second job or school but you can make it work. If you have any experience in the world (or are a veteran who served awhile) it can be hard. They only promote yes man ass kissers, which doesn't bode well for people like me. They pay isn't great; most cast members end up living 3-4 in a 2 bedroom to make ends meet.
In the slow season if you're not full time you might get 18 hours a week if you're lucky. Full time around 32. It's just not a job for adults with families. If you live with Mom and Dad, fine. If you're retired and need a get out of the house job, fine. Anything else, not worth it.
Policies we're...ok. Nothing really outrageous. Kind of like the military when it comes to appearances. Only in the last 5 years or so did they start to allow beards. No.visible tattoos allowed; they won't even hire you if it can't be covered up. Same goes for male piercings.
At what point in someone's career is it considered worthwhile to go > 1 page on a resume? In the US, are CVs ever useful outside of academia in your opinion? What should be included on your resume if your work is more visual and lends itself to a portfolio better?
Nothing that isn't ready know, unless you count how they treat employees like crap.
What is the biggest reward of your job?
How much time do you typically have to get to know an episode before you need to produce a score?
How does one get around a college degree requirement? My friend has almost 20 years experience in his field and in management but has trouble being considered for positions outside his current company because he doesn't have a degree.
It can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to 3 days.
Consider a local staffing company or recruiter. With 20 years of experience, education should be an afterthought.
I'm in Seattle, and there is a lot of work available and there are a number of staffing companies, especially in IT. However, there seems to be a real disconnect between what recruiters think a job entails, and what the hiring manager is looking for. Here are some questions related to that issue:
Why do businesses generate such long and convoluted requirements for their positions, when they are really just looking for someone who can quickly adapt, onboard in a convenient timeframe and operate semi-autonomously?
What is the most common X-factor omitted by managers and applicants?
Are jobs morphing to match human requirements, or are humans compensating to meet job requirements? Can big-data assist in niche-matching position requirements with not only profiles, but personalities?
This question itself is complex enough it could become it's own reddit thread =)
I'll offer another perspective:
With the average job posting receiving over 300 applications, companies have convoluted requirements on purpose -- to filter candidates. Yes, it's frustrating -- but unfortunately, companies are incentivized to make it difficult to apply to a position.
Hello my name is Jose Palacios I am a Labor Consultant based out Los Angeles, Ca. I been self employed for over two years now. I notice that I am able to receive more phone calls from cold calling whenever I use the name Joe Palace. What would suggest for brownies like my self in order to stand out and not be stereotyped?
Hi Jose, good question. This is a hot topic of debate within the recruiter community currently and hiring managers are definitely becoming more aware of their biases. There have been a number of studies proving that yes, discrimination does exist; here's a recent one:
In general, we don't recommend changing the last name on resumes as it creates problems during the hiring process. However, if you are comfortable going by Joe at the workplace, that is completely acceptable to use on your resume. We often utilize this practice for Asian legal names when the candidate goes by an American name.
More in-depth studies show that aligning your skills and interests to the norm is beneficial -- I hate that stereotyping is a large part of hiring and we wouldn't suggest "whitewashing," but try to align your profile to your industry.
I am trying to get a job in a city and a country 3000 miles away(where I am originally from). At this point I am pretty sure my resume gets trash binned as soon as my address is seen. One imagines your clients encounter this and other similar problems as well, advice?
This can be a problem due to applicant tracking systems (ATS) but there are ways around it. In your summary, you should make it clear that you are looking to relocate. Also make a point of mentioning your desire to relocate in any cover letters.
How long should I keep putting Eagle Scout on my resume before it begins to seem old/childish?
If the skills you gained/used as a scout are relevant to the position that you are applying to, it's fine to keep it on if you highlight how it makes you a better candidate for the job. If it's just extraneous information about your extracurricular involvement, it's not necessary to include in your resume.
What kind of advice can you offer this up and coming generation (millennials) that are trying to break into this job market for the first time?
Stay open minded, there are many opportunities out there that could seem like they are unrelated to what you want in a career, but could lead to incredible options later down the road. Be prepared to work hard and show that you are interested in staying in the position for awhile - because, with the current job-hopping trend, many employers are hesitant to hire millennials if they are suspicious that they will leave within a year or two of employment. Reach out to your network, this is one of the most valuable tools you have as a young job-seeker looking to break into an industry. Focus on how you can make a big impact at your first employer right away - the more you can achieve in a short time, the better for making moves either up the ladder or into different, better positions.
I'm a public health professional that just started a B school MBA program. I was tired of working 60 hours a week and getting poorly paid for 40. Do you have advice as two when I could/should start marketing myself to other fields? I am surrounded by pharma companies so those are the low hanging fruit. Are they other avenues I should also be looking at?
Hi dopo, it's never too early to start the recruitment process in business school! We see candidates pounding the pavement as early as the first Aug/Sep of a 2 year program.
One thing we do consistently see -- the location of the business school is very correlated with the success of its students in landing a job. Take advantage of the network the school offers you first, as there are many relationships between the school and companies that may not be obvious to the student body. Good luck!
In places like tech startups, would you consider directly emailing the CEO with your resume as a smart move or not?
Yes, but make sure you do your homework about the story of the company and why you'd love it. Target the right person (CEO, CTO, COO) who would be the decision-maker for your role. Following up once or twice on the email is perfectly fine too. Don't be discouraged if they don't respond to your first or second try.
Any advice on doing a Skype interview from across the world?
Make sure you go to a quiet place, have a good wi-fi connection and show up for the interview as if it was a live, in-person interview. Dress professionally, make sure your hair isn't a mess and have a bright attitude. It can be strange to have an interview through the computer but make it as natural as possible by treating it as if it were an in-person interview. Let your personality shine through and remember that they can still see your body language and get an idea of who you are through cyberspace.
How have you helped fresh grads overcome the barrier of entering the job market which demand XX number years of experience in the field when they have little to none?
A little bit of insight on how recruiters at companies think:
Typically jobs available for will be broken into a variation on three categories: Entry (students), Experienced Hires, and Executives.
If you're a fresh grad, you are looking for entry-level positions where ideally the work experience range is 0-3 years. There is some leeway around applying to roles that are 3-5 years of experience required if you have reputable internship experience, AND the years of experience are typically not a hard-and-fast rule for human reviewers, but we encourage you not to waste your time applying to the wrong job.
Talent acquisition staff will look for a few core things in a recent graduate's resume: skillset (education or self-learned), leadership experience, and related industry experience (extracurriculars or interests). Best of luck!
Any tips for a 30 something currently finishing an undergraduate in engineering to land internships?
Network with your professors. This is one of the best ways for older undergraduate students to land jobs, especially in engineering/hard sciences. Because you are likely far more mature than some of your younger undergraduate counterparts, you can connect with professors or other campus faculties who may have connections either within your university for internships or work experience, or they may have external connections in companies that could help you out. They are your best resource to get started.
I've spent 15 years working as a professional Stand-up comedian, teaching comedy to others, published a book, wrote for TV, and taught rewrites. Now I'd like to take my skills into a corporate setting. Is there an interest from corporations for this kind of background, and what jobs do you think I have a shot at, if any?
Thanks in advance!
Making some assumptions here based on your background, but here are some thoughts.
Stand-up comedians are the master of taking feedback in real-time and adapting. You could use those skills to work in user testing, UI/UX design, and market research.
Since you've spent time teaching, you seem to enjoy talking to people. A sense of humor converts very, very well to corporate sales.
Screenwriting may always be the dream, but writing consumer marketing copy is a profession you could consider as well.
I'm turning 30 soon and despite having a degreee in Hospitality management I've never been above minimum wage. Am I already doomed to fail?
Of course not! Search for the list of successful businessmen & women who were successful later in life -- you'll be surprised to find that is the norm, and success before 30 is the outlier.