Self Perspective

A twice weekly podcast focusing on career management and recruitment with executive recruiter John G. Self, Managing Partner of a Dallas-based search firm.
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Self Perspective




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Jul 19, 2018

Job Interviews are probably the most important aspect of the employment process and yet this is where many candidates struggle. 

Today on SelfPerspective we are going to talk about how to integrate your life’s stories into your answers to questions from prospective employers.

If you want to improve your interview performance, this is a must listen-to podcast.  John Self is a masterful story teller and understands how to use stories to fashion a compelling message in a job interview. 

Jul 12, 2018

To be successful in today’s business climate, you not only have to perform, to execute your business strategy and exceed your performance objectives, you must also have well-honed career management skills, including a deep understanding of personal branding, which is to say that you may, or may not,  be a CEO of a business but everyone is the CEO of their own companies, their skills, their record of accomplishment and their reputation. 

If you are not familiar with this concept, it is time to stop, take a breath and become proficient, or you may find yourself prematurely on the sideline, unable to find a new position and wondering what you will do next in your career.  

It is a concept author and consultant Tom Peters first wrote about in Fast Company magazine in August of 1997. In the 21 years since the article first appeared, it is has become more relevant.  

Jun 28, 2018

Today we focus on the prickly question of how you should change jobs — what to say to your current employer and when you should say it.

This is a question that comes up frequently  when I am advising clients on career matters and in the courses I teach on interviewing.  The most common reason I am asked this question centers on how the current employer will respond, and for good reason.  There are far too many bosses  who can be extremely vindictive to employees who become  job seekers.  They view it as a loyalty issue — by accepting another position, even for a nice promotion with much better salary and benefits, you have betrayed them.  These “Its all about me” bosses can react inappropriately, sometimes even illegally, so looking for another job can be a dicey proposition.  

 Given that a growing  number of management and young executives — Millennials — are changing jobs three times faster than other  age cohorts in the workforce, this topic is very relevant. 

Jun 13, 2018

We have all had a failure or two in life —  those that were serious and many that, in hindsight seem less so — we botched a test, we were turned down by the person of our dreams for a date to the high school prom, or we did not get what thought would be THE ideal job.  

Novelists, poets and those who write for a living have an intimate relationship with rejection or failure as have entrepreneurs. 

Failing to snag that IDEAL job is one thing, but risking and losing your life’s savings or, worse, your parent’s life savings in a failed business that you so strongly believed in is quite something else.  It is a gut-wrenching, confidence killing experience that some people never get over.

Now here is the thing, we view starting our own business, being an entrepreneur, in the most romantic and exciting terms. Rarely does the idea, the realistic possibility of failure, cloud our  thinking.   We hold on to the stories of those famous entrepreneurs who started a company in a small garage somewhere only to hit it big and reap the enormous financial rewards of taking the gamble.

The money, the fame are powerful distorters of the reality that most entrepreneurs fail.

For those of us who have experienced that kind of failure — thankfully mine did not involve my parents retirement plan — but when my partnership deteriorated over misaligned values and goals — it was emotionally devastating. I had to walk away from a company I had founded after 16 years.  I never thought I would be starting over when I was 60 years old.   But it happened.  I was one phone call away from losing a great deal more than just money.  Fortunately one of my God installed signature  strengths is that of resilience.  I persevered and survived.  I have tried not to look back except for those important and strangely wonderful lessons that I learned from the experience.

The most important lesson I learned, and those who have shared a similar experiences, all say the same thing:  If you cannot take the pain, the sense of loss and get back up and go again, then perhaps entrepreneurship, and this includes buying a franchised business, is not the best strategy for your career.

In America, we value certain human qualities — honesty, determination, fairness which is to say playing by the rules, and resilience. But none more than redemption.  We are drawn to those stories about people who have failed terribly only to rise again and achieve great success. 

Jun 6, 2018

Leaders who cannot communicate are toast.  We are revisiting a blog post from earlier this year that really resonated with me today as I was planning this broadcast.

“Do you understand what I just said?”

That was one of my mother’s questions that always got my attention.

I can recall dozens of times my mother asking that question, usually when I was but one small step from incurring serious discipline. It was a question loaded with a serious warning. 

Conversely, as a recruiter, there are times when I have wanted to ask a candidate: Do you understand what you just said?

May 9, 2018

There is a career transition myth that the size of a job applicant’s network or absent his own, the size of his outplacement consultant’s network, is critical in the process of finding a new job. It is simply not true. 

Candidates win or lose jobs based on their performance in the interviews and most candidates struggle mightily with this aspect of their job search.

May 2, 2018

The biggest threat Chief Executive Officers face when joining a new organization is the existing culture. Today’s big idea focuses on job transition and how to avoid this common cause for CEO failure.

Culture is an incredibly complex subject. It is the amalgamation of a multiple of things, from values, leadership examples, behaviors and habits. CEOs that ignore the existing culture at a new organization do so at their own peril.

Today's podcast offers three steps to mitigate this risks. 

Apr 25, 2018

Managing Your Career through a crisis — it is rarely as bad as most executives in this situation think it is but there are important caveats to that rule.

Short of murder, rape, embezzlement or pedophilia most career missteps are not as devastating as one may want to believe. 

Most career threats are not insurmountable but executives with big egos or a reluctance to admit they made a mistake may need to take a drink of humility before re-entering the job market.

Apr 11, 2018

Today’s Big idea focuses on when a job applicant should tell the truth about an issue in his or her background.  It is not as straight forward as you would think.

Reputations get dinged, people get bruised along the way.  Some of the dings and bruises are more serious than others.  Some can affect your career.  The tough question is what and when information on the more serious career issues should be disclosed to a recruiter or the prospective employer.  The answer is… there is no sure answer.

Mar 14, 2018

Most executive candidates rarely differentiate themselves from their competition. They use the same predictable resumes and bland performance in interviews.   

Today’s Big Idea:  Telling Your Story more effectively in the job interview.

Storytelling is a special art form.  This is especially true for the job interview.  It is a powerful tool but you must understand its limitations.  There are some questions that are not storytelling qualified, they beg for a straight forward, fact-based response. There are other important questions that are ideally suited to answer in a story format.

Mar 7, 2018

Today’s big idea  is about stories and the people who tell them and the power they have.

Story telling is not the exclusive purview of novelists or  writers of children’s books. 

Preachers tell stories from the Bible to exhort their followers to lead a better life.

Teachers tell stories to engage their students in important subjects like history and civics. 

Even corporations and their advertising agencies rely on stories to sell ideas or products. 

And there is a reason story telling is such an important and powerful tool. Research tells us that a good story connects the story teller and the listener in a dramatic way.  The listeners are more likely to remember the message when it is wrapped in a story well told.


Feb 28, 2018

Today’s Big Idea on SelfPerspective: one of the most important tools in your job search that will accelerate your quest for success. 

When someone loses their job, regardless of how competent they are in doing the work, it unleashes a rush of emotions, from the anxiety that comes with feeling overwhelmed and a sense of loss, to even crippling insecurity or depression.  Our job is our sense of identity and when we lose that anchor, well it is, to say the least, unsettling.  When you add all of these feelings to the likelihood that an applicant for an executive position is going to have four or five rejections before they get a  “yes”, it is easy to understand why looking for your next job can be an emotional merry-go-round.


Jan 17, 2018

Today’s First Big Idea comes from the Harvard Business Journal  — Five leadership voices every executive must cultivate. Communication is an important leadership skill that deserves more of our attention.

Our second big idea focuses on the age-old debate:  Which executive is more likely to perform better and thus move ahead — the person who puts in the longer hours, or the executive who sticks to a set work schedule with no nights or no weekends?  The answer may surprise you.


Dec 6, 2017

Here are five things executives in the job market can do to maintain their momentum through the holidays. This may be a dormant time but there is much a job seeker can do to maintain her or his momentum. Do not waste the gift.

Nov 29, 2017

Today, our big idea is an intriguing emerging concept in interviewing, a technique that could help you break through the noise and competition from dozens of other candidates to win that job you have always wanted.

Nov 8, 2017

Today, navigating the unsettled waters of career management in the digital age and the important role that social media platforms like LinkedIn, FaceBook and Instagram play in connecting you with potential employers.

This is one skill that executives in the job market can't live without.

Oct 25, 2017

If you believe the numbers, career change is no longer the exception, it is an integral part of today’s career experience.

Oct 17, 2017

Today, our big idea: being prepared for the curveball interview question and why that could make the difference between winning or losing a coveted job.

Oct 10, 2017

This week we cover industry trends that could effect your career and five career management essentials for managing this change.

Oct 4, 2017

Betrayal is one of life’s great nasty words, especially when it comes to your career trajectory and personal security.

Sep 27, 2017

Here are five things candidates must do today to boost their competitive position in a crowded market.

Aug 30, 2017

Today’s BIG Idea for career management is to avoid sameness. In a crowded, noisy job market, it does not pay to be like everyone else. If you are not getting calls back when you submit an application or your resume, it is time to think about a new approach.

Aug 15, 2017

In today’s podcast we will build on a recent theme of my blog posts: career management and career transition. In part one, we will explore outplacement services — what it is, how does it work, who pays for it, why it is so important for executives who have been laid off or terminated, and how to request this important benefit. In Part 2, I will share a story about a Chief Operating Officer who, in the summer of 2015, learned that his health system no longer required his services.


Aug 2, 2017

Today our theme is “Don’t Get in a Hurry" and we're covers three dimensions:

  • The early careerists, anxious to get to the top of their chosen profession 
  • Those executives and managers who are well on their way in their careers but who should periodically hit the their pause button and take stock of their strengths and skills. They should ask themselves whether they are truly happy and fulfilled in their quest.
  • And finally, a look at the challenges and opportunities in navigating the road to the top and how we should never become so impatient to get there that we exchange our core values for that golden ring.
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