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Old 05-19-2014, 11:34 AM   #21
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One nice thing about ER - there's nothing ambiguous about it.
Really?

How soon we forget about a recent thread where we discussed the situation where a spouse was still working!
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:08 PM   #22
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Reminds me of a Martin Blank quote from 'Grosse Pointe Blank', hired because he had a certain 'moral flexibility'... I guess they can't really put that on the job description.
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:31 PM   #23
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If you have to ask what this obviously ambiguous question means, doesn't that imply that you are already disqualified?
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:45 PM   #24
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If you have to ask what this obviously ambiguous question means, doesn't that imply that you are already disqualified?
That's what I thought.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:15 PM   #25
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The user doesn't see it, The seller doesn't need it, and the buyer doesn't want it. Ambiguous industry for sure!
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:26 PM   #26
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"Deals well with ambiguity" was one of the complimentary things said about me on a performance review. As used, it meant I made my boss's life easy; didn't (appear to) get upset when higher level requests were sketchy or conflicting, and used both intuition and common sense to figure out the correct path.

But that, of course, was a performance review for a job I already had. In a job ad, it certainly telegraphs that you had better enjoy thinking on your feet and not getting upset at the unexpected.

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Old 05-19-2014, 02:31 PM   #27
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"Deals well with ambiguity" was one of the complimentary things said about me on a performance review. As used, it meant I made my boss's life easy; didn't (appear to) get upset when higher level requests were sketchy or conflicting, and used both intuition and common sense to figure out the correct path.
This sounds like exactly how I would describe it in the megacorp I worked for.

Having worked in Germany for several years, I would also agree that culturally this is not something that would be common there, at least in large corporations.
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Old 05-19-2014, 02:41 PM   #28
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Where I worked they called it "other duties as assigned". Gee, that's descriptive.

But yes, we had to think on our feet. Literally.
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Old 05-19-2014, 02:49 PM   #29
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HRspeak for the job's full of headaches...
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:23 PM   #30
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Is it a warning sign?
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Only if you do not deal well with ambiguity.

Ha
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:37 PM   #31
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Here is application of "dealing with ambiguity" from my job. One of my responsibilities is "provide technical support on AAA types of products to <a particular geography>. The number of products in the "AAA" group numbers about a hundred, far more than what my team can cover. I'm also not told the type of support that I need to provide.

So, on my own, I have to figure out which products in the AAA group require support (based on things such as business priorities, client interest, executive strategies, potential revenue, etc.) and the type of support needed that is also efficient for the product (for example, pointers to product info, developing demonstrations, creating workshops, etc.).

How I deal with this "ambiguity" to provide the proper technical support, as well as being able to change it when business conditions dictate the change, is a factor in my job evaluation as well as my job rank.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:53 PM   #32
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Here is application of "dealing with ambiguity" from my job. One of my responsibilities is "provide technical support on AAA types of products to <a particular geography>. The number of products in the "AAA" group numbers about a hundred, far more than what my team can cover. I'm also not told the type of support that I need to provide.

So, on my own, I have to figure out which products in the AAA group require support (based on things such as business priorities, client interest, executive strategies, potential revenue, etc.) and the type of support needed that is also efficient for the product (for example, pointers to product info, developing demonstrations, creating workshops, etc.).

How I deal with this "ambiguity" to provide the proper technical support, as well as being able to change it when business conditions dictate the change, is a factor in my job evaluation as well as my job rank.
Is this being able to "deal with ambiguity" HR-speak for being able to make decisions on your own? I suspect that most of us have to do that to some degree or another. Why this ambiguous ambiguity question, why not just ask if you can make decisions on your own. Hmmm, wait, let me think about that for a few minutes....
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Old 05-19-2014, 06:07 PM   #33
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If you have to ask what this obviously ambiguous question means, doesn't that imply that you are already disqualified?
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Old 05-19-2014, 06:18 PM   #34
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Is this being able to "deal with ambiguity" HR-speak for being able to make decisions on your own? I suspect that most of us have to do that to some degree or another. Why this ambiguous ambiguity question, why not just ask if you can make decisions on your own. Hmmm, wait, let me think about that for a few minutes....
Perhaps it is. But from my experience it can go beyond that. In the example I gave found I also had figure out what questions to ask, find out whom to ask them to, assimilate the data, then make a decision on sometimes incomplete data, and then defend that decision to management (e.g. particularly when a product manager thought you should be offering more support than you thought was feasible). Then be ready to change based on changes from the client, additional data, management directive, change in team member/skills (all of which can be sudden surprises)...

To a lot of folks "make a decision" implies that someone has provided them with all of the correct info and they just have to choose, instead of figuring out how to find the info from which an "educated guess" decision can be made. Just my experience in one Megacorp, others mileage may vary.
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Old 05-19-2014, 08:05 PM   #35
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The statement should really be 'Deals with ambiguity well, when appropriate'. IMO, the statement is too ambiguous.

Sometimes ambiguity is a fact of life, and you do need to deal with it. Other times, ambiguity is bad, you need to drill down and demand the specific information. Reminds me of that old saying:

May I have the courage to change that which I cannot accept, the serenity to accept that which I cannot change, and the wisdom to tell the difference.

-ERD50
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:53 PM   #36
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I kinda believe that most employers include something in the job description that allows them to reject any applicant that they want to reject. This may be one of those cases.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:52 AM   #37
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The last line under "Other personal characteristics" reads "Deals well with ambiguity". What is that supposed to mean?
It's probably a job writing job descriptions.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:33 AM   #38
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I've spent the last 2 years starting a new business unit in an emerging market. Every member of my team has had to deal with a lot of ambiguity because we are learning as we go -- meaning that while we have a macro-strategy/approach we are also operating on 90 day cycles and things are changing all the time. We often reflect that our world is the epitome of Edison's comment that "He didn't fail, but he did learn 100 ways not to make a light bulb."

Many people need more structure and certainty. Going down one direction and then reversing course and going an opposite direction based on learnings makes them very uncomfortable. We've had a few people join the team for a while and we quickly discovered it just wasn't for them. Other members of my team THRIVE on the challenges and unstructured nature of the situation.

Knowing nothing else about the hiring company, it could be a similar situation.

Good luck!
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:04 AM   #39
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This is one buzzword that I think is not just fluff. To me it means the job will have different goals set for you by different bosses with different ways of evaluating your performance. Not just different but conflicting. To me it means you will have to convince boss A that spending your time doing something for for boss B is not a waste of time.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:22 AM   #40
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Update: Had a call with the headhunter and his manager and asked about the phrase. Their customer is simply looking for someone who can work independently and takes initiative, without being closely supervised. The director whom the position holder will report to is based offsite, in Singapure.
Everything went very well so far. Now I'm hoping to be invited for an interview. I will keep you posted. Thanks for all your comments!
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