Let’s acknowledge who is walking in the door for an interview today. By and large, this person sends in the same generic resume to every employer, and it’s full of errors. They don’t care enough to craft a sales page that matches their skills and talents with the job opening. When they show up for an interview, they are unprepared on every level. No investigation done before they arrive. No attention toward what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Who shows up is “I need to make some money. I just need a job.” Clock in and clock out.

I’ve always said, “Show up with soft skills. Hard skills are trained.” That is the reverse of who is coming through the door today. Candidates have a toolbox of what they believe are the hard skills, and those are necessary. However, people who arrive with soft skills, like the ability to connect with other humans, good verbal skills and eye contact, and a sense of comfort or peace within themselves, are like a winning lottery ticket. There’s a one in a million chance of finding one. The typical candidate is an empty ship at sea – apathetic and directionless. To meet someone who is present and genuinely interested is hard to find. It begs the question – what is going on here?

The descent into distraction started about 10 years ago. Back then, people were doers and creators with direction – and many had a purpose. Ever so slowly, the world has collectively turned over thinking and decision making to an external force. Hopes, desires, dreams and goals are shelved in favor of watching other people’s lives. As a potential employer, you are competing with a mobile phone. At one time, potential new hires were concerned about what you thought of them. They wanted to impress you. Today, they are consumed with comparing what they have and what they’ve accomplished in life to the people they follow on social media. It’s their new barometer.

Take a good look in the mirror, friends, because YOU are caught in the same mouse trap. Consider the panic you experience when you can’t find your phone as confirmation of just how deep the addiction is. You start things and rarely finish them because you struggle to focus. The lives and routines of strangers are summoning your attention every minute of every day. With one eye on the screen and one eye on your tasks, it’s near impossible for your brain to do its best work. This is showing up in you, in your staff, and in your potential recruits.

16 years after the world was first introduced to the online social world, a malaise has wrapped its arms around people. Discontent is the prevailing disease both inside and outside your nonprofit. Jobs are no longer interesting or fulfilling because they require commitment – while the online social world requires none. There is no need to ask people what they do in their free time, because the answer is the same for everyone – sitting on the couch at home watching other people’s lives. It’s time to face the facts. You are a follower now, like everyone submitting a resume and interviewing at your nonprofit.

Just like I pointed out in last week’s article, you are now in the Era of Disruption. A tool that was supposedly created to unite us all has ultimately disconnected us from each other, our individual purposes, our work, and most of all, ourselves. It is not going away, which forces all of us to adapt. Here is what that looks like…

  1. Locate confidence within yourself once again vs. desperately trying to download it.

    It’s always been there, and you simply forgot. If there is one thing your organization needs right now, it’s your leadership as the compass. Take your eyes off the screen and put them back on your work. It’s still there waiting for you.

  1. When a potential new hire shows up for an interview, ask what they hope to do in your organization that they’re really good at.

    Ask why they want the job. If the answer you get back is about money, keep looking. What you need most is an exchange of value. If they cannot language the value they’re bringing, they are only there to take. Which makes them not the right candidate for you.

  1. Within your organization, create spontaneous moments every day to FEEL the work you do.

    That is the only way a nonprofit like yours will survive. We do it by coming to a hard stop each day and exchanging wins. Things we recently achieved. A kid getting a warm jacket. A lunch delivery that made it on time so kids could eat today. Every day, there is at least one win. The work you’re doing inside your organization goes far beyond a screen. Make sure it’s piercing your skin along with everyone else who works there. Share your wins and remember why you exist! You’re in the business of purpose.

The final article of this series will arrive next week.

Want help? I offer individualized coaching and consulting specifically tailored to meet you where you are, with the people and resources you have available to you, and with your goals in mind.

Reply to this message directly to set up a conversation. Even if we don’t end up doing work together, I promise our conversation will highlight a direction and solutions you haven’t yet considered.

Let’s start there.