7 Things You Should Never Say During a Job Interview


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by Catherine Conlan | Monster

1. “How much vacation time do I get?”

“How long do I have to be here before I’m eligible for a vacation?”

“How long before I start to accrue additional weeks of vacation?”

Consultant Barry Maher says he was involved in a recent interview in which these were the first three questions out of the applicant’s mouth. “What had looked like a great applicant now looked like someone who couldn’t wait to get out of work,” Maher says.

It’s important to ask questions during a job interview, but not ones about taking time off. And that’s not all. Even if you have all the right qualifications and show up looking your best, it’s easy to lower your chances of getting hired by letting the wrong words slip out of your mouth.

Before you head out to meet your next prospective employer, consider these six additional things you should never say in a job interview.

2. “Sorry I’m late.”
Even if you have to leave ridiculously early, find a way to be on time to your interview. “If you can’t be punctual while asking for the job, how late will you be after you get hired?” says career coach Alex Simon.

3. “Do you mind if I get this?”
Answering a call or a text during an interview is rude and gives the impression the interview — and the prospect of getting hired — aren’t your priorities. “Leave your cell phone in the car, at home, anywhere, but don’t bring it into the interview,” Simon says.

4. “I’m a perfectionist.”
If you get the question about your greatest weakness, don’t try to answer with a strength instead, says Jim Giammatteo, author of “No Mistakes Interviews.” “If you say you’re a perfectionist, or a workaholic, you might as well grab your briefcase and go home. Any good interviewer knows that all candidates have weaknesses. If you can’t admit it, or even worse, if you don’t know it, you’re not the person they want.”

5. “I’m applying for this job because it will give me …”
You may think talking about the skills or experience you’ll get from the job is a compliment to the company, but it just puts the focus on you. “Instead, talk about what you will contribute to a prospective new employer,” says leadership coach Susan Bernstein. “This is a very frequent and subtle mistake that often keeps otherwise great candidates from connecting with the interviewer.”

6. “I’m not sure if I’m a good fit for this job, but…”
“Everyone is unsure until they’re hired,” says Bernstein. “You’re not actually expected to be able to perform 100 percent of the job on the first day. If you can do 75 percent or more, go ahead and apply. Then spotlight your strengths, rather than your doubts or deficits.”

7. “I want to talk to dolphins.”
TalkToCanada CEO Marc Anderson is often involved with interviewing prospective employees and says one candidate he met was eager to talk about his love of dolphins. “He said that he wished for us all one day to communicate with dolphins as they can awaken our spirituality.” The revelation didn’t help him win the job.

Information about odd aspects of your personal life can make the interviewer feel awkward, which is bad for your job chances, says Anderson. “Have all the weird hobbies you want, but don’t share them if they’re too far out there.”

3 Tips for Keeping Your Spirits Up During a Lengthy Job Search


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job-search[1]by Gina Belli

Looking for a work can be the hardest job you’ll ever have, and sometimes it can go on for quite a while. It can be a daunting, frustrating, humbling, and nerve-racking experience to search month after month for the right opportunity. New research suggests that having a positive attitude can have a profound impact on your job search.

You’ll be happier, more optimistic, and have more energy if you have a good attitude during this time.  It will help you stay motivated and allow you to put your best foot forward during interviews and throughout the hiring process.

Here are a few tips.

1. Schedule your job search like it’s a job.

Set a schedule for yourself.  Decide when you’ll look for work and where you’ll do it. This can be essential when you’re already working, in order to put in the necessary time at the end of the day and on weekends to pursue your search. But, even if you’re looking for work full-time, scheduling a time and place for your job hunt will help you stay on track. Some people find that spending time in a public place, like a library or cafe, can help them enjoy the process a little more, and it can also help with focus and motivation.

2. Allow yourself to take mental breaks for the process.

When you’re not looking for work, in the evenings for example, try to give yourself a rest from thinking about it. You know that you’re putting time and effort into it, and you know you’ll be back at it tomorrow, so spend some time thinking about other things and giving yourself a break intellectually and emotionally from the process.

3. Know that it could take awhile.

For professionals, finding a new job generally takes anywhere from six months to two years.  Various factors contribute to the duration, but either way you cut it, this could take some time. Try not to get frustrated or discouraged if you don’t land on something great right away.  You want to find a job that is the right fit for you, and that takes time.

Once you know that you’re putting the appropriate amount of time into your search, that you’re allowing yourself to take breaks, and that it could take a while, try to find a way to enjoy this time. There are probably opportunities available to you now, because of your flexibility, that won’t be there once you land that new and exciting position. Try to take advantage of those opportunities and enjoy this time. Keeping your spirits up during a job search isn’t easy, but it could be the key to finding and landing the job you’re looking for.


5 Ways To Get Noticed By Recruiters


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457388791[1]by Catherine | Monster

1. Show No Fear

“The best way to stand out to recruiters is to stand up to them” says Joseph Terach, CEO at career services firm. “Don’t let them overly influence your preferences for work responsibilities, arrangements or salary based on their reported understanding of the employer.”

Your job search is your own, even if they are helping. Terach recommends listening to the insider information recruiters can provide, “but keep in mind that recruiters have split allegiances and are salespeople at the end of the day.”

2. Communicate

Knowing what you want is a great way to stand out, Terach says. You’re not just looking for “a job”; you can tell the recruiter the job you want.

“If you come to the table with a crisp professional pitch, not only will your recruiter know exactly what it is you want (and don’t want), but they will also be more able to discuss you and communicate your background to potential employers,” he says. “It will save you time because you won’t be getting calls for interviews that don’t interest you; and when your recruiter finds the right job for you (one that fits your pitch), he/she will have zero reservations to get behind your candidacy 100 percent.”

3. Be Honest

You of course want to put your best foot forward when dealing with recruiters, but it’s important to be candid about any shortcomings you have as well, says Heather Neisen, talent coordinator. “Self-awareness and honesty are extremely important. Be proud to share your strengths and passions, but also be able to openly discuss areas where you need — or better yet, want — to improve.”

Many candidates don’t realize being honest about their shortcomings actually offers a chance to shine, she says. “Admit them and offer ways you’re trying to overcome them. Few things are worse than a candidate who believes they have nothing left to learn.”

4. Highlight Your Tenure

If you’ve got staying power, promote it, says Andy Barberio, account executive at Fortus Healthcare Resources. “I always look at tenure — tenure is really big. When you find somebody that’s been with an organization for a long time or has helped build it up, they are marketable. Switching jobs every year or year and a half over a five to six year period doesn’t present the best on a resume.”

5. Let Yourself Shine

Barberio says you can’t teach personality, but if you have it, flaunt it. “Personality and fit and being able to relate to staff is tough,” but it’s what recruiters are looking for. Some positions just require “a special kind of person,” he explains, and recruiters will try to get a feel for who you are when they are meeting with you. Being yourself will help the recruiter find the best fit for you and your skills.


10 Tips to Help You Hire Right


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Hiring is the Achilles heel of all small companies. Good candidates are hard to find, and the recruiting process always seems to take more time than planned.

Here’s what they are:

  1. Allow six months for the recruitment process. Hiring when you have a start date in mind that is just around the corner causes you to accept candidates you would have otherwise passed over. Give yourself three months to search for and screen applicants, one month so a new hire can give notice to her current employer, and at least two months to train a new person.
  2. Write a job post that accurately describes your company. Believe it or not, you don’t want to emphasize the qualities you need in a candidate in a job description. You want to tell a prospective candidate about what makes your company a different or special place to work, to insure you get interest from people who are the right cultural fit. It’s far less expensive to teach skills than attitude to a new recruit.
  3. Make the interview process several steps. Candidates who want any job–and not necessarily the job you are hiring for–rarely take the time to apply if they know they have to go above and beyond a one-click submisssion just to get looked at.
  4. Handle at least one part of the recruiting process yourself. Whether it be screening resumes, doing phone interviews, or conducting the first interview. The earlier you get involved in the recruiting the better the chances you have of finding the right candidate (and weeding out the others!). No one knows your company’s needs better than you.
  5. Identify the five most important qualities for the positiong you’re filling. Create interview questions that measure these five qualities to allow you to determine if a candidate possesses them or not.
  6. Do more than ask questions when you interview. Set up opportunities to observe how an applicant handles herself in situations similar to the ones she will be asked to handle if she’s hired. For example, if she will be organizing data for your company, give her data to classify, and pay attention to the way she does it. Does her approach match how you do things at your company? Does she follow a logic you can understand?
  7. Bring others in on your recruiting process. Make sure strong candidates are evaluated by at least two members of your team in addition to you. Instincts are important in picking the right candidate, but sometimes you end up on the fence. Having someone to talk about the candidate with can help you get clarity when it matters.
  8. Create a training program. Make sure your training program truly reflects the tasks a hire will be called upon to do. And then formalize it so the new hire can understand where she is at in the training process at all times.
  9. Reevaluate both what you teach a new hire and what he retains on a regular basis. Never be afraid to slow down the training process, teach a concept again, shift gears, or add new modules as you go. The idea is not to train fast, but to train right. Taking the time to do it once and thoroughly will shield your customers from errors, and your company from lost loyalty.
  10. Be honest with yourself throughout the training process. If you make a hiring mistake, don’t waste precious time and money hoping it will eventually turn out okay. It won’t. Let the candidate go immediately. It is better to have no help at all than to have the wrong help.

Recruiting the right team can seem daunting, but it is also extremely exciting. Taking the time to make the best hire rather than just any hire is a chance to expand your team’s competencies, grow your customer base, and take your company to a new level. Hopefully these 10 tricks will help you.


Recruiting for Those Critical, Hard-to-Fill Jobs


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by Stephen Bruce| BLR


The issue of unfilled positions is a major problem that affects the entire economy.  It makes it difficult for small businesses to grow if they cannot adequately and quickly staff key positions. But what can employers do? Some of the solutions that organizations have turned to include:

  • Evaluate your pay and benefits for positions that are hard to fill. Are you leading or lagging in the market? You may have to bite the bullet and offer more, especially if you have been relatively stagnant with your annual increases in rate ranges.
  • Offer training programs to existing employees or candidates. Many employers are finding success by instituting their own training programs in order to get the skills they need when candidates don’t already have them. Pay will be lower than for fully trained individuals, and you get to train people in your specific systems and to your specific standards.
  • Work with local education and/or training institutions. Perhaps they will be able to offer the type of training you need candidates to have.
  • Send employees to school. Similarly, some employers are opting to pay for the education that their existing employees need in order to advance into new positions.
  • Widen the recruiting parameters. Maybe you need to recruit from an expanded geographical area and commit to paying relocation expenses.
  • Consider telecommuting. Many employers don’t like telecommuting but have found that that’s the only way they can attract the candidates they want.
  • Change too-specific experience requirements to be broader. Sometimes industry-specific experience is a nice-to-have but not a must-have requirement to find a well-qualified candidate, and some employers have recognized this and revised their requirements accordingly.
  • Provide customized assistance. When you run into a situation like a dual-career couple, or someone whose home is “underwater,” figure out what sort of package you can put together to solve the candidate’s problem—and yours.
  • Consider outsourcing the function. Is this a task that can be performed by contracting it out?
  • Work on building your employment brand. Employers that have a reputation as a “great place to work” have an easier time with recruiting.


Refresh Your Resume in Six Steps


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ResumeWritingTips[1] copyBy Karen Hofferber | Monster

Many people are facing the prospect of finding a new job. And some are even contemplating a complete career change. If it has been years since you last updated your resume, you may be wondering where to start. Follow these six steps to turn your dusty retro resume into a high-powered personal marketing tool for winning interviews in today’s competitive job market.

1. Find Your Resume’s Focus

Before you start refreshing your old resume, clarify your job target. Without a clear vision of your career direction, your resume won’t do a good job of selling you to potential employers. If you have more than one career interest, you’ll be much better off developing different versions of your resume rather than trying to construct a one-size-fits-all document.

Having trouble finding your focus? You might want to start with some self-assessment tests or by speaking to a career counselor.

2. Research Your Target Job

Thoroughly research your job target before writing the first draft of your resume, especially if it’s been awhile since you’ve been in the job market. Talk to people in your target industry, and scour job postings on Monster to get a good idea of the qualifications employers are looking for. If you are changing careers, your research may prompt you to enroll in continuing-education classes to gain new skills.

Look for keywords that continually crop up in different ads. If you see terms used frequently, they should probably be in your resume whenever applicable. Pay attention to skills that aren’t mentioned in these ads as well, and remove items from your old resume that will make you seem outdated.

3. Develop Your Career Profile/Objective 

Now you’re ready to begin writing. If you’re a career changer, you’ll need a clearly stated objective to open your resume. Don’t expect busy hiring managers to figure out what you want to do. Use this section to explain key skills you can leverage from your prior career into your new job target. Emphasize how you can help the organization, rather than what you want in a job.

Here’s a before-and-after example:

  • Before: Seeking a challenging position with a future-oriented company offering opportunities for growth and advancement.
  • After: Dynamic public speaker/presenter with advanced technical knowledge, seeking to leverage these strengths as an award-winning computer instructor into an entry-level software sales position.

If you’re looking for a new position within your current field, use the Objective section to write a compelling career summary. This is the perfect place to write a few hard-hitting sentences emphasizing the breadth of your experience and the value you bring to the table.

4. Zero in on Your Achievements

Your resume must have an accomplishments-driven focus to compete in today’s job market and maximize calls for interviews. Avoid simply rehashing boring job descriptions. Instead, detail the results and outcomes of your efforts.

If you were a hiring manager, which would you find more compelling?

  • Before: Responsible for troubleshooting and maintaining workstations and systems.
  • After: Improved systems uptime from 91% to 99.9% for 350 corporate and remote users through expert, cross-platform (Windows/Unix) troubleshooting/maintenance.

For each of the positions you’ve held, use action verbs and phrases to describe how you contributed to your employers, such as cut costs, generated revenue, improved service, enhanced processes, solved problems and saved time. Use numbers, percentages, dollar amounts, comparisons or other key details to back up your claims. Be sure not to reveal facts that disclose proprietary or confidential company information.

5. Design Your Resume

Does your retro resume resemble a typing job circa 1977? To stand out from the crowd, use your word-processing program’s advanced formatting features, such as bold, italics, line draw, industry icons, attractive fonts, etc. — without going overboard — to give your resume a distinctive look. If you are not confident in your design capabilities, seek assistance from a resume writer or talented friend.

6. Proofread and Test-Drive

Your resume must be perfect. Carefully proofread your resume to ensure proper grammar, punctuation and word use. If you are changing careers, ask for feedback from hiring managers in your targeted field for valuable input on how your resume stands up to the competition. .


5 Tips for Recruiting Great People


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by Steve Anderson | LinkedIn

367bf31[1]Finding, recruiting, hiring, training, and then keeping new staff is perhaps one of the biggest issues facing businesses.

When the news broke that some companies were demanding Facebook login information from job applicants, people everywhere were horrified. Those who were employed, those who weren’t employed – even employers themselves – were antsy at the thought of corporate America demanding passwords to personal accounts.

This example simply highlights how expectations of job applicants as well as employers have changed. Competition will become fierce for talented employees, making it more important than ever that you not scare away a great future employee by allowing preconceived notions to cloud your hiring judgment.

Following are five tips to help you find and attract the very best and brightest to your organization:

  1. Don’t make unreasonable demands. 
Most of today’s job seekers will find your demanding personal account passwords unreasonable. Just as you wouldn’t want existing employees to provide passwords to work accounts to those outside the workplace, you shouldn’t demand that your employees hand over passwords to personal accounts either. In fact, it’s illegal in six states. I’m certain more will follow.
  2. Don’t make snap judgments. 
For several years employers have been searching social platforms for information on potential new employees. Job seekers were warned not to post wild party pictures or other inappropriate personal data publicly. Why? Because employers were making snap judgments about employees who might otherwise be dedicated, hard-working, career-minded individuals. But one bachelor party or a few old college pictures ruined it. Think about the hiring decisions you make and ensure they are based on all information and not some assumption you’ve made based on past experience.
  3. Give them a chance. 
Over the past few years, many great employees have become unemployed. Don’t assume they are not good candidate material. In any job market, good employees are subject to layoffs, sudden termination, and even voluntary termination. Don’t assume if a candidate is not currently employed they are not a good fit for the organization.
  4. Don’t judge a book by its cover. 
So your last job ad received 100 resumes and you’re limited on time. It’s easy to immediately delete any resume that doesn’t have the font you like or comes via snail mail instead of email. At least glance over those resumes, and make sure you aren’t missing out on a great potential hire who simply hasn’t quite mastered the art of job hunting. Not everyone is great at searching for employment. Besides, young, eager people can bring fresh energy to your agency.
  5. Do background checks. 
While it’s important to avoid generalizations, every employee should be subjected to a thorough background check. This includes checking references and doing criminal background checks. Be sure to require proof of education. Anyone can say they have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Make this a part of your pre-employment process to avoid unpleasant surprises down the line.

You likely know how crucial good employees are to an agency’s success. If you’re seeking qualified candidates, keep in mind that you need good employees as much as they need a great career opportunity. By approaching the employment process with a positive attitude and open mind, you’ll find the best employee for your organization.


Interview Take-Along Checklist


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By Christine F. Della Monaca | Monster

You’re interviewing for a job tomorrow, and you think you’ve done all the interview preparation you need to do. You’ve practiced your answers to a multitude of common interview questions and have thought up some questions to ask the interviewer. Your interview suit is pressed and ready. But what do you bring to the interview?

We’ve created this handy checklist, with the help of Interview Expert Marky Stein, so you won’t forget a thing.

Interview Checklist Items for Your Briefcase

  • Your Resume and Job/Professional References: But don’t just throw these crucial documents in your bag. According to Stein, linguists and psychologists have found that 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal. How you present this information says a lot about you.

To that end, Stein recommends you buy an inexpensive two-pocket folder in blue, since this color appeals to both men and women and conveys a business feel. On the left side, place your resume, and on the right, your letters of recommendation and list of references. When you get to the interview, say, “I wanted to bring an extra copy of my resume — here it is,” and open the folder, turning it around for the interviewer to read.

“This is a sign you are open and honest as well as organized,” Stein says. “The more you show you are prepared, the more you are showing respect.”

  • Pad and Pen: Taking a few notes during your interview (while being careful not to stare at your notepad the whole time) is another sign of respect. “It makes them feel you are listening,” Stein explains.
  • Business Card: People either take in information visually, audibly or through touch. “The more you give them to touch, the more real it seems to them,” she says.
  • Directions: “These lower your anxiety,” Stein says, adding that it’s preferable to drive to your interview location in advance and park so you can see how long the journey takes.
  • Cellphone: You can always leave this bit of modern life in your car, but if you must take it with you, make sure it stays turned off and in your briefcase; it’s a huge sign of disrespect to be interrupted during an interview or give the appearance you’ll be interrupted. “If you’re a man, don’t even wear it on your belt,” Stein recommends. “Keep it hidden.”

The Intangibles

  • Company Research: In almost every interview, you’ll be asked what you know about the company, Stein says.
  • A Smile: It may sound sappy, but this nonverbal clue is an immediate rapport-builder. Interviewers are often nervous, too. “In one-sixteenth of a second, we assess whether someone will harm, help or hurt us,” Stein says. “(A smile) immediately tells someone that you’re not going to hurt them.”


Résumés—Stop Wasting Time!


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by Stephen Bruce | BLR

hrda_091514[1]By the way, if you  end up in that cartoonish position of having 2,000 online applicants, you  probably need to find some knockout requirements to get that pile smaller. Or,  you could, for example, decide to look only at the first 250. Whatever system  you choose, be sure that it doesn’t discriminate.

Your Time Is Precious

You need a system to keep all those unqualified candidates’ credentials off your  desk and off your computer desktop as well.

Clear and Detailed Postings

First of all, in all your advertising and posting, be clear about the requirements and be specific about the job. Unqualified candidates will self-select out, and the best candidates will be intrigued by the close match between what you seek and what they offer.

Complete and Consistent Data

In many cases, you’re stuck with a variety of application material such as application  forms filled out by walk-ins, e-mail notes, letters from various people recommending candidates, and letters or résumés with little information in them.

Before you review, try to get as much information as possible in  the same format. You can’t compare one candidate who submitted a brief letter  to one who sent in a detailed résumé and filled out an application. If  information is too brief, ask the person to apply online with full information or request a more-detailed résumé.

Review Efficiently

Next, be careful to review credentials efficiently. In the winnowing process, you  want to spend as little time as possible with the obvious rejects—and more time on serious candidates.


It Pays to Recruit Passive Candidates


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by Bridget Miller | BLR

As the unemployment rate inches further downward and positions are taking longer to fill, many employers are looking for new and innovative ways to reach the best talent. One option that is increasing in popularity is searching for passive candidates—individuals who may not be directly looking for a new job, but who would be open to switching jobs if the right opportunity arises. 

It Pays to Recruit Passive Candidates

You may be wondering why an employer would go to the trouble of looking for someone who has not even applied for a job opening. There are actually several good reasons employers are using this tactic: 

  • When a job is posted, employers sometimes find that the majority of applicants do not have the desired skills and experience for the role. By searching for individuals who have the necessary experience and contacting them directly, an employer can overcome this hurdle. 
  • Getting high-talent individuals can be a competitive advantage; some companies find that seeking out the “superstars” in the industry is worth the extra effort. 
  • Passive candidates represent an increasing percentage of the job market—in fact, they represent the majority of the available candidates. According to LinkedIn, passive candidates represent approximately 75 percent of the workforce. By opening up lines of recruiting and putting resources toward reaching out to passive candidates, employers significantly increase the potential talent pool. 

How Can You Find Passive Candidates?

Reaching out to passive candidates requires entirely different actions than getting the attention of active candidates. Active candidates are the ones that see a job posting on job boards and react. A passive candidate may or may not even be browsing job boards. Here are a few ways employers can begin finding and reaching out to passive candidates:

  • Use your existing employees.  Some employers offer referral programs, for example.
  • Be visible where your ideal candidate is already looking. While the passive candidate may not be looking at job boards, they are probably networking or otherwise involved in the industry. Be visible at industry functions, conventions, and other related events. 
  • Cultivate your online presence. Once you get the attention of a passive candidate (or any candidate, for that matter), you’ll want to be sure that your online presence provides plenty of information about the organization, including the company culture. Prospective employees should be able to get a sense of what the organization is like. Be sure your organization is presenting a consistent image across online platforms such as the company website, social media accounts, and other online touch points. 
  • Make it easy to contact you and to navigate the application process. In other words, don’t give potential employees a reason to run away before you’ve even brought them onboard. Review your process objectively and see if there are any hurdles or any gaps. 
  • Consider using a specialized recruiting agency. Recruiting passive candidates takes a lot more time, effort, and energy than recruiting active candidates. Some employers find it’s more cost effective to turn the task over to a recruiting agency that specializes in this type of recruitment. 
  • Analyze what you’re offering. By definition, a passive candidate is likely going to be tougher to bring onboard, so the job offer—including all of the associated responsibilities and benefits—has to live up to the hype. Consider whether your organizational culture and goals are such that your organization will be able to bring in and retain top talent, and if not, assess what needs to change. 
  • Review your social networks. Social media followers are an existing network of individuals who have already expressed an interest in the organization. This can be a great place to start a search. Also consider browsing extended networks and using talent pools that are publicly available, such as LinkedIn. 
  • Continually recruit. The perfect candidate is tough to come by, but can sometimes be found when you’re not even looking to fill a role. Have a mindset in which you’re always recruiting—even when there are no openings to fill. By doing so, you’ll be attuned to possibilities and may have a candidate in mind the moment a job is available. Build a pipeline of potential candidates to contact.