karen weeks

Obviously CHRO Karen Weeks

Karen WeeksObviously CHRO Karen Weeks

Karen Weeks, the founder of Shine at Work coaching company and Chief People Officer at Obviously, an innovation influencer agency, shares valuable insights into her recent transition. Joining Obviously just a week ago, she reveals her strategies for securing the job and adjusting to her new role. Karen focuses on improving Obviously’s onboarding, prioritizing relationships, and balancing impact and self-validation as a new employee. Stressing the significance of asking questions in interviews, she outlines crucial inquiries for potential recruits. Additionally, she sheds light on Shine at Work’s intake process, traits of successful clients, and upcoming HR trends.

Karen also shares her insights in The Future of Tech Hiring: 98 Bold Predictions for 2024.

Episode Transcript

Rob Stevenson 0:00
I want the people out here listening to know how they can go there and get a Chief People Officer job. So you just did it. So how do you do it? I guess it’s my question.

Welcome to Talk Talent to Me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines with modern recruitment

Speaker 2 0:18
We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions, where they’re willing to take risks, and what it looks like when they fail,

Rob Stevenson 0:28
No holds-barred completely off-the-cuff interviews with directors of recruitment VPs of global talent, CHROs, and everyone in between.

Unknown Speaker 0:37
Once I went through the classes and the training and got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

Karen Weeks 0:45
Talent Acquisition. It’s a fantastic career, you are trusted by the organization. You get to work with the C suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between. And everybody knows you.

Rob Stevenson 0:58
I’m your host, Rob Stevenson. And you’re about to hear the best in the biz. talk Talent to me. Oh, yeah. Welcome back, everyone, to your favorite talent acquisition podcast. It’s me, your buddy Rob here with another classic installment of the show. And I’m very excited by today’s guest. She is the Chief People Officer over at obviously, Karen Weeks. Karen, welcome to the show. How the heck are you today?

Karen Weeks 1:22
Hi, great. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited for this conversation.

Rob Stevenson 1:26
Yeah, me as well. And our first order of business is that congratulations are in order. Because you recently, I mean, maybe even this morning, you said you’re at the very end of your first week at a new job at this new job at obviously. So congrats on the new gig.

Karen Weeks 1:42
Thank you. Yeah, you are the first person to sort of welcome me with that new title. So it’s kind of exciting to hear it.

Rob Stevenson 1:47
How does it sound? Is it still weird?

Karen Weeks 1:49
A little bit, especially after seven and a half years at audit group? It’s still weird not to sort of reference that as my home base.

Rob Stevenson 1:55
Right? Right. It’s like typing the previous year, instead of the current one. I kind of got used to this. So I loved talking with people about just their own career, growth and trajectory and progress, etc. And you are right, in that moment of career transition. So I was hoping we could chat about it a little bit. First, what made you decide that it was time for a new job? And how did obviously come on your radar?

Karen Weeks 2:21
Yeah, it’s really interesting. I mean, I know some of this is going to sound cliche, but it really was a tough decision, I had to think a lot about it, I put a lot of time and energy and love into order groove. And I kind of saw that I was hoping to see that all the way through until I was ready to kind of do something on my own. I didn’t have another startup in me, I didn’t want to make that change. And so as I knew some people add, obviously, I’ve, you know, sort of helped them here. And there was some things that were going on, because they didn’t have an HR team there. And because I knew people, they trusted my opinion. So over the last few years, I’ve been sort of brought in here and there to say like, Hey, what about this? And what about that. And so I built a relationship with them. And then honestly, it was their acquisition, they were acquired by VML y&r, which is part of WPP. So that removed the startup pneus of them, they still feel very scrappy, they’re still in that building and scaling stage. But now they’re doing it with this huge parent company alongside of them. And you’re also not constantly waiting for that like exit, like, what is the exit? What is it going to happen? It’s already happened for them. So it really became an interesting opportunity to do some integration work with m&a, which I’ve done before. And really think about how did these cultures come together? How do these teams come together, while also helping obviously, build their own team and their own processes and think about scale in a way that they haven’t had to think before. So it’s kind of the best of both worlds, I still get the startup the feel of obviously, but I get to be part of this larger organization with VML y&r. So put those things together thinking about the kinds of challenges and opportunities that were happening. And obviously, as much as I loved order groove, it really felt like this could be really exciting. This could really leverage some of my brainpower that hasn’t just been needed at order groove. And that’s not a slam against them. They are awesome. I’m so proud of the work that we did. But companies do different things. And I was excited for a challenge that I hadn’t had in a while with this kind of work.

Rob Stevenson 4:21
So you’re at the end of the first week. What’s it like being the new kid? Were the other kids nice to you? Did you have someone to sit with during lunch?

Karen Weeks 4:28
I know I always think about I think it’s Forrest Gump where they’re riding the bus and they go seats taken and like they don’t want it. Yeah. So they were all extremely lovely. It’s really interesting because because they are in influencer marketing, using Slack is really a way that they celebrate and share things on the team. So the amount of messages I got and the interaction I see on slack with like the likes and the wounds and all that kind of stuff. It was amazing. Just So today I actually said, Thank you for a great first week, it’s been so great getting to know people, and like the hearts and the cheers and everything that went up were unreal. So the engagement of the team, especially in a remote culture is really exciting. And I think that was actually the thing I was most nervous about was, I’m coming in, in this HR leadership role. I’m doing this remotely, especially after all those years of being an order groove. How am I going to feel connected to this team? I know we talked about it at order grew from a new hire standpoint, and I’m now that new hire. And so I was really trying to be purposeful, and how am I going to spend my first week setting myself up, literally, with a new laptop and everything, but then also, how am I going to start to feel connected to this new company? So it doesn’t just feel like another day in my house?

Rob Stevenson 5:45
So you were able to focus on onboarding as an employee, like you said, as a people leader? Now you’ve gone through it you have on boarded? Was there anything you missed the first time around? I’m curious, like having been through it? Would you do anything differently? If you were, for example, tasked with revamping onboarding here at obviously?

Karen Weeks 6:02
Yeah, I think so the things that stood out to me were one, especially if someone’s joining a team where there’s not a lot of infrastructure in place. So if you’re joining like the CES team, there’s a bunch of CES people, we’ve hired a ton of CES people. So while there’s always improvements that can be made, that onboarding and training plan is kind of there because it’s been repeatable a couple of times, when I think about as we grow, and we’re going to be bringing new positions into the org, or teams that are pretty small, I think there there’s a great opportunity of it. And I think when I thought about that, in the past, as a people leader, I entrusted the manager to sort of do that and be like, well, you only have two people on your team, you’re onboarding a third, I’m sure you’ve got this, because it’s such a small team. But in fact, that’s actually probably the team that needs the most help, then I think the other thing that stood out to me was just resources. You know, luckily, I knew a couple people pretty well. So I didn’t mind asking those quote unquote, dumb do people questions. But if I didn’t have any of those connections, and I couldn’t figure out how to get my license to Microsoft Office, for example, I don’t know who I would have asked. I mean, maybe I would have asked my manager. But you know, I think coming up with an FAQ a point of contact kind of list, something very simple that says, hey, if you have these kinds of questions, go to this person, if you need this resource, go to this person, if you’re looking for this system, go to this person, I think sharing that on day one, or having it be part of Justworks, or something like which is the PEO we’re using, I think could be really powerful.

Rob Stevenson 7:34
It’s a weird thing, being a new employee. And something that I used to think about when I was deciding whether to move or not, was that typically, I had built up a little bit of cache at my current role. I was working on the things I liked, I had a good relationship with my managers, I had friends, I knew where everything was, right, that kind of thing. And there’s so there’s that familiarity. And you, you sacrifice that when you go to a new job, you have to start all over. And you have to build back that trust and respect and make new friends and all that, then I can see why some people might not want to take that jump. So was that part of your calculus at all? Or rather, I mean, clearly not so much, because you did it. keeping all that in mind? How do you start out to try and rebuild some of that stuff?

Karen Weeks 8:18
Yeah, it’s a great question. Because I mean, look, we all get those messages on LinkedIn or whatever, we have a great opportunity, don’t you want to talk to us about it? And I’ve said no, every single time, partially because I was really happy in order groove, but especially the last couple of years, I also didn’t know if I knew or wanted to figure out how to do that without knowing people somewhere. So I do think part of my calculate decision was that I didn’t know some people at obviously, I met a couple of people at VML y&r as part of the process. And so I felt more connected to them. So at least I had a handful of people that I had some trust with in some relationship with going into it, I don’t think I could do it with quote, unquote, total strangers. That’s just my own personality. So I think that was part of the calculated risk was, well, at least I know a couple of people here, because otherwise, I don’t think I would have done it. But I do think when I talk to either when I am the person doing the interviewing, or when I’m coaching people in my coaching business around trying to decide if they’re going to make a change, some of those things are what we talk about is how are you going to set yourself up for success if you accept this opportunity, or if you’re the job seeker, like what is going to be important to you in order to decide if that’s the right company for you, especially if it’s a remote company or you’re not meeting people in person as part of the interview process.

Rob Stevenson 9:38
It’s a delicate thing too, because as you say, you want to be set up for success. You want to make an impact right away. However, you don’t want to rock the boat, right? You want to rock the boat, just the right amount. You want to accomplish things you want to be the person who gets things done, you want to make a difference, etc. How do you approach that or how are you planning to approach that here at obviously,

Karen Weeks 9:57
I think it’s really first doing a lot A lot of listening. So it’s very easy to have a couple early voices in your head and be like, Oh, that’s the thing that clearly I have to tackle first or Oh, that must be a really big problem, because I’ve heard about for two whole people. So I think really taking the time to get a lot of different perspectives, talk to a lot of different people, talk to managers, talk to frontline employees, talk to people in different departments, and really just so get all in first, I think it’s important for every new leader, but especially on the HR and people and culture side, if I’m thinking oh, I think we need to, I don’t know, change performance reviews, because a couple of people mentioned, they didn’t get a great one last year, I might be missing that it’s actually manager training that we need, because those managers might need some coaching on what it is, the process itself might be fine. So I think really taking the time to learn and listen and then make some decisions about oh, I’ve heard this enough. This is a big enough theme that I think I should tackle it. And then working with, and especially again, in a leadership role working with the rest of the leadership team to figure out what are the business goals? What are your sort of department metrics, so that when I think about prioritizing the work I’m going to do, I want to make sure it’s impacting those things as well. So I’m a big believer that businesses are able to achieve their goals because of the people and the processes that are set up. So I may think we need to take lattice to this nth degree, because as an HR person, that’s super sexy, and like, I’ll nerd out over that. But if that doesn’t actually help us impact our goals, it might actually be some hiring, we need to focus on first, or it might be some remote cultural work that we need to focus on first, because that will both help the people as well as help the business.

Rob Stevenson 11:44
Is it sort of a worldwide all employees considered listening to her? Or are there particular stakeholders you target?

Karen Weeks 11:51
I tend to talk to managers first, because a lot of times as an HR partner, that’s probably the people I’m going to be working with first. And then in those meetings with the individual managers and leaders, I asked them, who on your team should I talk to you first, you know, when I started an order group, we were only 40 people. So I was able to meet with every single person within my first quarter, obviously, is over 100. And we’re growing pretty quickly, especially with the connection of VML. So I need to think about who do I want to meet when so I’ve asked the managers as I’ve met them, who are some key people on your team that you think one could teach me something about, obviously, to deserve a little bit of spotlight. So meeting with the new HR leader might give them a little boost in their engagement? Or someone who’s really got their finger on the pulse of what’s going on? And I’ll start there, because otherwise to get through, everybody will take a longer time. I still want to try to but it will take a while.

Rob Stevenson 12:43
Yeah, of course. I’m curious about the interview process. What is it like interviewing for a chief people role? And what was the hardest part? What was like, Okay, I need to do my homework, or I really need to prepare for this. I want the people out here listening to know how they can go there and get a Chief People Officer job. So you just did it. So how do you do it? I guess it’s my question.

Karen Weeks 13:01
Part of it was really helping the leaders know how I can help the business in them. So I think part of it was thinking through Okay, so as I met the CEO, I tried to ask her who’s also the founder, ask her a lot of questions around. What is top of mind for you? Where do you see some gaps in the organization? What are you most excited about? When you think about HR partnership? First of all, have you ever worked with someone because some founders haven’t, or they’ve worked with folks that either didn’t work out, or they saw it in a very different way? So just like everything, I’m interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing me. And so as I’m asking, like the CEO, these questions, if I hear things like, Oh, I really need someone to help me manage timecards or something like that. That’s not the work I enjoy doing. And that’s not how I see the best way that I could be leveraged as an HR role. So that would not have been the right fit for me, maybe for someone else, just not for me. So I wanted to really get the sense of what is important to this team. Where do they think I’m going to be able to help them level up the business, the team, all the things? And then as leaders, how can we help each other? So we are now a leadership team. And again, especially at obviously, they’ve grown a lot since the acquisition. And so there’s several new leaders, and there’s an actual leadership team now. So how are we going to work together? So I spend time with the CFO with the CTO, the CEO, who’s also the founder, I spent more time with the CEO who I already knew. And then I met with a couple of other leaders in the organization to really kind of dig into what was going to be the best way to move all this forward. And then I met with some VML leadership as well.

Rob Stevenson 14:42
This is the 3d chess player version of interviewing, by the way, because it sounds like in a lot of these conversations, you were really driving it when you are surfacing pain points when you are trying to figure out okay, what is really hard for you, and then I assume one They reveal that now you’re able to start offering solutions, right? So you become in their mind, I’m not really the person who checks all these boxes on the job description that you wrote, I’m the person who is going to make your life easier and solve all these problems for you. And that I think is the difference between someone who’s interview feedback looks like, this person is great. I liked meeting them. And someone who’s interviewed feedback is like, go out and hire Karen, yesterday, we need this person, right? Yeah. And so that’s what I encourage people to do is like, when people say, Oh, you’re interviewing them as much as they are you it’s like, it’s not merely you’re assessing them for whether you’d want to work there. Like, I want people to drive the interview, I want you to take over I want, like when I do any questions, yeah, so glad you asked. So and that’s the point. That’s where you differentiate yourself. So I’m curious, you listed a couple. But what are some other examples of things you can ask when you’re trying to surface pain points, so that you can position yourself as a solution, those pain points and thus, increase your chances of getting hired? What are some of the things that you should ask people,

Karen Weeks 16:01
just to sort of double down on that it also changes as you get more in your leadership career, you know, interviewing as an HR coordinator versus an HR leader are going to be two very different things. Because at the more junior levels, it may still be a little more behavioral interviewing. Tell me about a time where you had too much on your plate? And how do you prioritize and that kind of stuff? I think as you get more senior in your career, it really is more about well, I know you could do the things otherwise you wouldn’t be at this level. So let’s talk about how you’re going to do the things here? And how are we going to partner together as peers and I think that’s more of what leadership interviews tend to be like, as you get more senior. So I just wanted to kind of like add to that, because I thought that was a great call out as well.

Rob Stevenson 16:44
You’re definitely right, that’s more and more important as you get senior. However, in even in the case of like an HR coordinator, the person interviewing you, they still have a problem that they’re hoping will be solved by this hire. And your job is to find out that problem, because I think I’m not talking about obviously here, I think just in general, I don’t think you can trust that every company has a really, really good interview process. And they’re going to do such a good job interviewing you that they’re going to realize that you are the person they should hire like, I think you need to assume that they may not get the best out of you, or they may not really know what they’re looking for. And you have an opportunity to be a little more thoughtful, I think and if you if you are serious about getting the job

Karen Weeks 17:22
100%. And well, I think even to your point, like when you get asked what questions do you have, for me, that is your moment to really dig in. So I think some of the other things that I personally look for, that I was looking for, and I think I encourage others to think about is, first of all, what are some of the places that you know, you can help? So asking questions that aren’t leading the witness, but get into areas where you know, you can make an impact. So for example, one thing that I love to do is coaching new managers. So I asked a couple of the leaders who I knew had new managers based on conversations, I had talked to me about the development of your managers, not only because they need the development, but strong managers make you as a leader stronger, because you have more time to do things you can delegate, etc. So that was one thing where I specifically asked, I know you have a couple of new managers on your team. How’s that going? So far? What are you seeing with their development? What are some goals that you have for them? How is that leveraging you as a leader, so I started to kind of take them down that path, because I knew I could just jump right on it and get all excited about it and really help them. I think in other places, I would ask questions more about their organization. So on the CS side, I knew that they were scaling a lot and getting a lot more deals in with the acquisition. So I was asking, how is that impacting your team? Are you having to think about org design differently? How are people sort of stretching to step into the newer versions of these roles? How’s the change management going there? So again, I was sort of able to identify if this is what your team’s going through. I’ve seen this before. This is not my first rodeo. So let me ask them the questions that might be on your mind. And if they’re not, they probably should be. So let’s start having that conversation.

Rob Stevenson 19:07
Have you ever been in an interview, like on the interview where side and then said, Do you have any questions for me? And then they say no.

Karen Weeks 19:14
Oh, all the time? Yes.

Rob Stevenson 19:16
Really? That common?

Karen Weeks 19:18
Yeah. Maybe not all the time. But yes, plenty of times where that has happened. So I try to always reflect on okay, why might that be happening? Are they a little more introverted? And they sort of are done with our questions. And often sometimes, I will say to that, hey, you know, if you have other questions, you want to email me, that’s totally fine. Or, you know, we can always grab more time if you want to digest what we’ve talked about and come back with some more questions. Or I’ll say, you know, when you meet this person next, it’d be great if you had a couple of questions for them. So I kind of like see if they take that guidance to do more later. Sometimes it could be they’re really Junior and they kind of don’t know what questions to ask no one’s prompted them to think about what questions to ask, but I don’t hold them against it if it’s once, but if every time they’re interviewing with somebody, they never have a question. I’m like, we’re really good interviewers. But we’re not that good. We have not answered all your questions.

Rob Stevenson 20:13
Yeah, okay. That’s a much more gracious response than the one that I’ve offered. People have to say it to me, I’m just like, Oh, you’re not curious. Like, you can’t think of anything to ask me. Or you’re totally satisfied by this conversation. And to me, the technical skills you can evaluate, but like the curiosity and the desire to like, learn, and be creative and get better, and get more information and be collaborative, like that is something that maybe you can’t teach as much. So that’s what I want to hear from people is like, Have you been thoughtful about this role at all.

Karen Weeks 20:41
And it’s really interesting, because sort of putting my other hat on as a coach that helps people with their job searches. Literally, as we talk to our clients, they don’t think about that piece. And they don’t think about the fact that they’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing them. And when we say, look up this person on LinkedIn, and look at their background and see what questions you have for them, even if it’s, you’ve been at autoguru for seven and a half years, what keeps you there? Or you just joined, obviously, what made you join, like, even simple questions like that, again, shows your engagement in the company or shows your engagement in something. But so many of our clients are like, Oh, I wouldn’t have thought of that. Or oh, I Vives was to ask about work life balance, or work hours or something like that, like not something they actually care about, but something that some search told them top five questions to ask in your interview?

Rob Stevenson 21:30
Yeah. And if you’re asking those questions, you’re on the right track, because you thought of it. But don’t ask those questions. Come on. Anyway, it sounds like you have your work cut out for you here at obviously, but you’re well suited for it. And in addition to your full time role, you are also running this coaching company as well called shine at work. And I was really hoping we could speak about that, because I think it’s something that talent, folks, and really, anyone who wants to be strategic about their career could use. So I would love to just hear a bit about it. What is it? And why did you decide to start doing it.

Karen Weeks 22:02
So we really help people at various pivot points in their career, maybe they’re trying to get a promotion, maybe they’re just trying to decide if they stay or go, they’ve decided to go or they’ve been told to go, and they’re trying to find something new. They might be a new manager, and they’re in which is a totally different job. So they don’t know how to take that step. It might be a leader who’s trying to think about their organization, or honestly, some of our clients or even HR folks who are on small teams, and really need someone to kind of help partner with them. So it’s advisor slash coach, so anyone who’s sort of at this pivotal moment in their careers, and it honestly started, just before the pandemic, I was trying to think about my own career development. And I was realizing I wanted to really help more people than just the people I was working with in order groov. I truly love what I do, I’ve been doing it for a while, I have a lot of different perspectives. I know what it’s like when you’re in a role, or in a stage in your career, where you’re not feeling your best, and how different it can feel when you get on the other side of that. And I honestly just wanted to help people. So I just kind of did some freelancing here and there. And then the pandemic hit, and I thought, oh, that’s that, like, no one’s going to be paying attention to this, because they’re just trying to literally survive right now. And actually, it flourished because people were being much more intentional about their careers. Either they were impacted, and they said, oh, shoot, I’ve been laid off. And now I have to really think about what I want to do next. Or they felt like their companies didn’t handle some of those things well, and they were trying to decide if that was where they wanted to be. So I got a lot more freelance clients. A lot of people were thinking about career changes, not just doing it again, but really making a change. And I would hear well, people don’t do that. And I thought, well, first of all, I did it I you started off in theater and out in Hollywood and totally made a career change. I know so many people who do so I started the podcast just to kind of share those stories and share those tips. So especially during a time where everybody was so isolated, I just wanted people to know they weren’t alone. And it just kind of get growing and growing. And I have a partner now who does a lot of the coaching with me who really focuses on the job seeker. So he’s a former recruiter, so he knows what the recruiters are looking for. So he works with them. And it’s just continued to grow from there.

Rob Stevenson 24:16
I think it’s such an important service for people to use, because your career is so important. And making career changes is also hugely important. And the thing is, we don’t do it a lot. So you don’t get a lot of practice, you don’t get the reps to make sure that you’re really good at it. And to just leave it to chance or to just like hidden hope, as a lot of people do, as I’ve been guilty of doing at certain points in my career is madness. It’s such a silly way to approach such thing as important as your livelihood and your career. And if you would hire a personal trainer to help you work out if you would hire. I don’t know a guy to fix your windows like anyone who has more reps at something that’s really important like having a window or having a healthy body. Why would you not do it for your career? It feels like it’s the same thing. So I really encourage people to take advantage of some specialists and professionals when they are in these moments. And I’m curious when people come to you, when they’re like, Hey, can I just quit my job, or I’m interviewing for new jobs, like, what juncture do people tend to come in is that the best time for people really to be reaching out to you,

Karen Weeks 25:21
it’s a mix of, I’ve had it, I’m out. I don’t know if I’ve actually quit yet. But like, I definitely have made the decision to leave. That’s was a big chunk, like the first half of this year. But really, the last few months, we’ve seen people going, I don’t know if I want to stay or go. But I want to make a decision before going into the new year, because whatever I decide I want to double down on in the new year. So can we take a few months to figure out what I want to do. And then depending on that decision, that I want to work with you to figure out whatever that decision is, and play out that decision. So it’s really interesting watching sort of the ebbs and flows of the people that we work with. So for what it’s worth, you, you sort of alluded to, like what’s the right time to work with us? For what it’s worth, it’s really the best time when you’re trying to think about what to do. And the reason for that is because you’re honestly in a better place emotionally to go through that decision making. If you are ready to be peace out Jerry Maguire, get me the you know what out of here, that’s a harder time to start your search, because you have a lot of thinking to do a lot of reflection, do networking, all of that. And you might be more prone to just get something because you want out. And I always want people to be running towards something, whether that’s an internal opportunity, staying where you are, and just re engaging or changing jobs. But doing it before you’re at the breaking point is actually the healthier time to do it.

Rob Stevenson 26:48
In times of peace prepare for war. Yeah. Right. Yep. But that’s tricky, too. Because it’s like, I wouldn’t think to do that when I’m like, very fulfilled and happy in my role, like Sunday would have to be kind of going wrong. So I guess you’d have to try and time it like on that downslope. Like you’re just sort of cresting over the hill of the roller coaster. And it’s like, Okay, before I hit rock bottom here, let’s make some preparations.

Karen Weeks 27:14
Well, it is really interesting, because a couple of our clients, we actually first started working with when they were making the job change one person when they had quit, and they wanted help with their search, because they weren’t getting where they were trying to get an another person who had decided it was time to move on, but wasn’t sure what to do next. But the reason why I bring those two people up specifically is that then once they got the job, they continue to work with us. So we help them set themselves up for success from an onboarding standpoint. How do I make the first 90 days good? How do I make the first six months really strong? Then we talked more about longer term career development. Okay, now I’m settled in my role. Not that I’m looking for a promotion tomorrow, but how can I continue to be successful? How do I navigate some of those things that we just all go through. So that to your point, it’s going great right now, but we continue to partner with them, just like, you know, your physical fitness suggestion, you know, if you’re working with a personal trainer, and you hit your weight goal, or your marathon goal, or whatever it is, you don’t usually stop working with them. Maybe you go to a month versus every week, but they help you stay in shape. And so that’s what we can also do with folks is that your career is a journey, we can partner with you along the way as well.

Rob Stevenson 28:29
Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. So let’s say that, I went to the website, and I signed up, and then we’re having an intake call. What would you ask me? How do you begin?

Karen Weeks 28:40
First, I will ask you around sort of your journey. So I can look at your LinkedIn, I can look at your resume. I like to hear more about Tell me about your career journey, where you started, how you got to where you are now? And what are your thoughts on moving forward? Like what prompted you to reach out to someone? And then we kind of go through that, then we talk a lot about how best to you learn? What do you need out of a coach? What does success look like for you? Because I have my style. And I want to make sure that that’s right for this person or dance style and make sure that’s right for this person. There are a million coaches out there. So how do we know that we are the right match? And so we’ll talk about how do you stay motivated when you get stuck? What helps you get unstuck some of those things, and then we’ll sort of share more about okay, so based on what we heard, this is how we think we’d partner with you and kind of share our insights kind of like the interview we were just talking about about let me start showing my value in the interview. We hope we can start showing our value in that intake call and talk about how we could potentially partner together based on what you’ve said, you know, here’s a little tidbit. Have you tried this before? How would that feel for you? So we can kind of get a sense of what it would be like to start working together.

Rob Stevenson 29:54
What are you kind of listening for like in the example of I can read your LinkedIn but I want to hear from you What is the discrepancy? What kind of stands out to you?

Karen Weeks 30:02
Yeah, I think it’s a lot of the why. So why did you make that job change? Or what were you looking for in that move? If, and this is zero judgment, but if it’s a lot of, well, I just wanted more money, or I didn’t like this person or it’s more reactionary jumps, that might be fine. But I’m just I want to hear that because I want to dive into that more. To me, I’m trying to understand how purposeful Are you? Are you in your search? And maybe that was the past, right? Like, in the past, you had to make some of those changes? If so what’s going to be different this time, because otherwise, you could just go get whatever job you want. I’m trying to work with people who want to be more purposeful with their careers. And again, zero judgment, we all have to do things for certain reasons. But that’s just going to be the best partnership, if you’re working with us.

Rob Stevenson 30:50
For the people you’ve worked with, who have succeeded by whatever metric that is for them, what do they have in common besides doing everything you tell them? Yeah.

Karen Weeks 31:01
I think part of it is definitely perseverance. No matter what your goal is, you’re gonna have good days, and you’re gonna have bad days. And so you just have to kind of keep going through it. But also giving yourself the grace on the bad days, and then celebrating the good days. And we are right there with you. So in addition to the coaching sessions, we offer what we call like, unlimited time, so you can email us, you can box us whatever, because we want to be on the roller coaster with you, as you have the good days and the bad days. So I think someone who’s willing to persevere through those goods and bad days, I think the other thing and you joked about it about they just do what we tell them to do. There is this, like it’s work, this takes work, and we have a process for a reason. And we’re willing to adjust and if something isn’t working, we’re the first to say, hey, this isn’t working for you, let’s try this angle instead. But you have to actually do the work, we cannot do it for you, we will not do it for you. We literally can’t do it for you. Like I can’t promise you a job. But I can give you the skills and the tips and the advice and the resources to then take and do the work to get the job or whatever the goal is.

Rob Stevenson 32:07
Yeah, that makes sense. Again, I can’t reiterate enough how important I think this kind of work is for people early in any career to do but certainly in talent as well. There’s just much less of a well trod path through a talent career than there are other functions. So I would encourage folks to take advantage of this or something like this. Karen, before I let you go, I wanted to ask you to look around the corner a little bit. You are in this cheap people role you are making big decisions on who should be hired and how many people should be hired. So what do you see coming down the pipeline? What sort of new technologies or hiring trends do you foresee in the next coming year?

Karen Weeks 32:39
One thing is really focusing on the relationships and how you can build those in a honest and authentic way. And so I think it’s really interesting, because everybody’s concerned about how AI is going to affect recruiting. And by the way, it is like I’m not naive, it’s writing job descriptions, it’s helping source candidates, it’s helping vet resumes that are coming in. But at the end of the day, that is still only part of the work. And I think that especially as a lot of great talent continues to be in the market, as companies continue to go through good times and bad, and people will be poking their heads up. I really think the relationship building is what stands out. Because even if an AI bot grabs your resume or grabs your profile, you’re still going to be one of 50 that the AI bot found. So how can you stand out? It’s making those connections on LinkedIn, it’s making those connections through your network through your alumni groups, like whatever. And I think that’s on the recruiting side, too. You know, one thing, we just met with the VML recruiting team, and we are sharing our open roles, because even though I’m not recruiting for VML, if they’re looking for, I don’t know a great content person, well, I happen to know a lot of great content people for my tech days. So who could I introduce to help start that conversation? And I think that’s something that as we talk about AI so much, I think we’re sometimes forget about that relationship piece.

Rob Stevenson 34:09
Yeah, make sense to me, Karen. We are creeping up on optimal podcast length here and this has been really really fun. You’re a total delight. Obviously I can tell is obviously lucky to have you, Chief People Officer, founder of this career coaching consultancy, Shine network and podcast host the podcast is called the shine network podcast. For more from Karen on how you can take control of your career. Definitely check out this show. And hey, thanks for being here. This was really fun. Karen really enjoyed talking to you today.

Karen Weeks 34:36
Yeah, absolutely. Same here as well. It was a great conversation.

Rob Stevenson 34:39
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