2017 was a year of pretty extreme highs and lows in leadership. Sexual harassment issues came overwhelmingly to the fore, leading to many perpetrators to pay the price for years of misconduct for the first time. Racial tensions also unfolded on a national scale in ugly, violent, and sometimes fatal ways. Yet amid this tumult we also witnessed many moments of extraordinary leadership. And as Fast Company’s most-read stories of 2017 show, our conflicted political and cultural moment hasn’t curtailed readers’ hunger for making improvements, both personally and professionally.
Many of us expect our leaders to share that hunger. We want them to admit mistakes, act according to shared values, and look for ways to do better themselves and make others’ lives better in the process. As we head into 2018, these stories can hopefully help set us all on the right track–and offer the inspiration to make the year ahead as meaningful and productive as it deserves to be.
1. What Happened When I Gave Up Gluten, Sugar, Dairy, And Coffee
Sometimes it takes a detox to get our bodies and minds back on track. One writer felt this need at the beginning of 2017 after noticing that her holiday diet left her feeling sluggish and tired. Despite some initial difficulties, Fast Company’s Stephanie Vozza ultimately decided to stick with it.
2. Do These 5 Emotionally Intelligent Things Within 5 Minutes Of Meeting Someone
When it comes to making a good first impression, it may be more important to appear likable than smart. After all, nobody’s likely to remember you positively if they didn’t find you pleasant to be around. From finding common talking points to reiterating your new acquaintance’s name, these are a few emotionally intelligent things to do as soon as you meet someone new.
3. These Women Entrepreneurs Created A Fake Male Cofounder To Dodge Startup Sexism
Sexism in tech is still alive and well, as evidenced by this year’s Uber scandal, sexual harassment allegations in the VC world, and the infamous “Google memo” last summer. So when two women tech founders encountered sexist treatment in the process of building their business, they came up with a creative solution: create a fake male cofounder, by the name of Keith Mann, to navigate certain key business interactions for them. Here’s how that went.
4. This Is what Recruiters Look For In Your LinkedIn Profile
Want to see your LinkedIn account through a recruiter’s eyes? Look no further. Here’s a checklist of some of the features that catch their eye for the right reasons, and others that are instant turn-offs.
5. I’m Facebook’s Head Of People–Here’s What We’re Hiring For Right Now
In 2017, LinkedIn put the tech giant at No. 3 in its ranking of U.S. employers for attracting and retaining talent. What’s Facebook’s special formula? Lori Goler shared what the tech giant is looking for in new recruits, from interns to senior management. One of her tips for interviewees: Talk less about your typical workday and more about your absolute best day at the office.
6. This Emotional Intelligence Test Was So Accurate It Was Creepy
Fast Company associate editor Rich Bellis didn’t expect the emotional intelligence test he took earlier this year to be as accurate as it was. On the phone with its developer, Steven J. Stein, Bellis asked how he might learn to become more “flexible”–one of the traits he didn’t score highly on–and Stein suggested shaking up his breakfast routine. “I glanced down,” Bellis writes. “It was a Wednesday morning, and at my elbow was a Tupperware containing one of two breakfasts I pack myself pretty much every day.”
7. Three Secrets Of People Who Always Get Job Offers
Some people seem to have all the luck. They land their dream jobs without filling in the time-consuming job applications–come to think of it, are you sure they even sent in a resume? So what’s their secret? In a nutshell, being willing to break a few rules of the job search can go a long way.
8. Recruiters Explain What The Worst LinkedIn Profiles Have In Common
LinkedIn is obviously one of the first places recruiters and hiring managers go to look for candidates–which typically means sorting through a lot of boring and unmemorable profiles. Recruitment expert Lars Schmidt spoke to a number of recruiters to find out what makes them pass by immediately. A common theme: If your headline just restates your unexciting job title, you’re probably getting overlooked.
9. Why Employees At Apple And Google Are More Productive
For all the issues tech companies found themselves dealing with over the course of 2017, one evident reality is that their employees remain a core asset. Not only do the likes of Apple and Google generally have great people working for them, but they also know how to utilize their high performers. This year we found out how top tech firms’ star employees drive greater output and higher profits.
10. These Are The Worst Answers To The Most Common Job Interview Questions
It’s normal to fumble an answer or two during job interviews; interviewing can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences ever. But no matter how anxious you are, there are some things you should never utter. Fast Company spoke to hiring managers and recruiters to find out the worst answers they’ve heard from potential candidates. Here’s what they told us.