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Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Oct 4, 2012 in Building Confidence
, Self Improvement
Zoosemiotics is the study of animal communication; any intentional behavior on the part of one animal that has an effect on the current or future behavior of another animal. Examples can include sounds such as bird calls or tail-wagging in dogs.
When competition is fierce in the jungle, you have to project confidence using effective communication techniques. In the job search or workplace jungle, this doesn’t mean marking your territory or baring your teeth. It can be as simple as being conscious of how you would like others to perceive you when you speak. Combine refined speech with confident body language in your communication to give you the alpha edge.
Cara Hale Alter, author of The Credibility Code: How to Project Confidence and Competence When It Matters Most (www.thecredibilitycode.com), offers these tips (taken from the Costco Connection):
Keep your head level
Speak with optimal volume
Hold eye contact for three to five seconds
Keep your hands in the gesture box
Avoid using fillers or uptalk
Visit the original article (link above) or www.thecredibilitycode.com for more tips on how to project confidence!
Ostriches will attempt to avoid dangerous situations by burying their heads in sand and pretending the threat does not exist. Although this saying comes from a false legend about Ostriches, it is true that you cannot avoid risky situations, such as a criminal history in a job search, by pretending that it does not exist.
A criminal history is one of the most difficult things to overcome when it’s time to find a job. Many employers require criminal background checks, or at least self-disclosure of criminal history on applications, and the thought of losing out on an opportunity due to even minor charges lurking in your background can be nerve-wracking. But, this is no reason to lose hope for future employment or faith in your career. In fact, there are many steps you can take to overcome a negative background check during the interview process and even give off a better impression than you would have otherwise. Read on for some steps and ideas:
1. Address it head-on.
If you already know that you have some criminal history on your record that could potentially affect your employment, then it’s a very good idea to address the issue head on. This is something that you have to balance, though. If the charges are light enough, such as a few parking tickets, then you may not want to bring them up at all. If there are some serious misdemeanors or felonies on your record it is never a good idea to stay silent. Rather than waiting until your interviewer brings it up or (even worse) hoping they don’t notice, take the matter into your own hands and let him or her know in the initial interview stages. You will look much more professional by addressing the issue clearly and honestly than by skirting the possible hesitations of the employer.
2. Tell the truth.
This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to dealing with a negative history during a job search. It can be tempting to simply keep this information off your application or make certain charges seem less serious than they really were, but this is almost certain grounds for dismissal if your employer ever learns the truth. If you are honest about your past, many employers will take your honesty into account when they are considering whether to hire you. If you are dishonest, an employer would not be wise to ever consider you for hire. Besides, it is much better to approach a job interview knowing that you are being forthright. Getting through an interview based on lies will only mean that you have to keep up those stories to your boss and everyone else who works there.
3. Discuss what you’ve learned.
If you need to bring up some criminal history during a job interview, try to turn this potential negative into a positive. Depending on the charges and how long ago they occurred, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss your own life with a potential employer and what you’ve learned from past experiences. Everyone has a past, and no one is perfect. If there were issues in your life that caused you to go down the wrong path, own up to them and express why you are a different person now than you were then. Learning from your mistakes does not make you less of an employee, it simply makes you human, and every successful person has gone through trials to get to where they are today.
4. Don’t be picky.
Even though the thought of a future employer uncovering a less-than-stellar background in your past makes you cringe, there is no reason to feel like your life and opportunity for success is over. However, knowing that you have a record that would make many employers look the other way, you have to be prepared for multiple rejections. But, there is always opportunity to re-build and start again. If you have to work in less than desirable positions for a while, then that is what you have to do, but there is always a way to come back from a criminal past, as long as you have a true desire to work hard and continue moving in a positive direction. So keep your head out of the sand!
This guest post was contributed by Jane Smith. Jane is a freelance blogger and writer for http://www.backgroundcheck.org/. She specializes in career issues, managing an online reputation, and making healthy life choices. She welcomes you to email her any questions or comments and can be reached at janesmith161 @gmail.com.
If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!
One of the most well-known defense abilities of Octopi, besides mimicry, is the expulsion of ink. The preferable defense, of course, is to simply not be seen. This can be achieved by squeezing into tight places and camouflaging to avoid detection. If they are spotted by a predator, the Octopus can eject ink in a large cloud to cover their escape.
For years experts have warned job seekers that their Facebook profiles and other social media accounts may very well hinder their chances of employment—anything like controversial statuses and/or unflattering drunken photos are enough to get your resume thrown in the trash can. After all, employers want someone who will be able to represent their business in a good light.
While in the past job applicants were able to safe guard and restrict their personal information from prying eyes simply by changing their privacy settings, much like the Octopus prefers to hide, some interviewees may no longer have that added sense of security. Employers are getting a lot smarter. Rather than hiring an expensive IT specialist to hack into your account or trying to “friend” candidates on the social media site, some employers are doing something rather blunt: directly asking for an applicant’s Facebook username and password during the interview.
Headlines report that this trend is slowly sweeping the nation. Employers ask job applicants for log-in information so that he or she can evaluate the applicant’s Facebook page later on; or an employer will ask the applicant to log-on Facebook in front of him or her before the interview is over. It’s a technique that can definitely be seen as a violation of privacy. But for those desperate for a job, they have no other choice but to oblige to the interviewer’s request.
Other big-name companies like Sears may not go as far as asking for log-in information directly, but they do manage to get ahold of your Facebook profile information in a more subtle way: via Facebook apps. Some companies make job applications available on Facebook. In order to access and submit the application however, users must first agree to the app’s terms and conditions which specifically say third parties can access profile information such as photos and your friends list. Hiding may no longer be enough.
So what to do and how can you prevent your Facebook from hindering your employment opportunities? For starters you can do some major spring cleaning. Obviously setting certain photos albums to private isn’t enough, so back the photos up on your hard drive and delete sketchy photo albums entirely on your profile. It’s also a good idea to change what you post and the frequency —don’t complain too much or sound whiny (no dissing your ex or post about the turmoil’s of not being employed); be informative—links to news articles are ok because it shows that you know what’s happening in the world; refrain from posting too many YouTube music videos; and most importantly keep every status update G –rated. Go ahead and delete a few statuses that you think might make you look bad. Facebook’s new Timeline makes this process a little easier.
If you think your Facebook is just too much of a mess, remember that you could always delete it—temporarily or permanently. After all, interviewers can’t punish you for having something inappropriate on your Facebook if you don’t have one. Deactivating it during the period of applying and a few weeks after you’re hired is a great idea. But if you want to delete your Facebook entirely, remember you must e-mail the Facebook administration so that they can take it down for you. “Inking” the elements of your online presence that are less desirable to employers so that they cannot find them may save you, just like the Octopus.
Update! Facebook speaks out against employers asking for passwords.
This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7 @gmail.com.
If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Mar 22, 2011 in Interviewing Skills
We’ve had interview tips here in the past (search and you’ll find them! >>>) But last week I was reminded how much more complex interviews have become since the economy has turned, which requires people to dig deeper to show value in why they should be hired.
The interior of the earth is commonly divided into 5 main layers: the crust, upper mantle, lower mantle, outer core, and inner core.
Just as there are many layers to the earth there are just as many layers to you and your experience. Companies don’t want to hear what I call the “beauty pageant answers” anymore. When the interviewer asks “What are your strengths?” responses like: “I work well in teams or on my own” or “I am a quick study and hard worker” just won’t cut it in today’s competitive interview environment.
Let the earth break it down for you: The crust of the earth can be traits that anyone could have or want. You are a hard worker and you are eager to learn. That tells little about your personality or your measurable skills. Let’s dig deeper. The upper and lower mantle is beneath the crust and can stand for your hard, measureable skills such as the software and systems you know, the breadth of your experience, or your certifications and education. The mantle is the thickest layer of the earth and it could have a lot to say. The core is the very center of the earth and should say something about your specific value. What beyond your likability, your assets, and your experience can you bring to the job? What specifically makes you stand out? The core is the deepest part and may not be evident on your resume. The outer core is the hottest liquid in the earth and should be boiling out of you in the interview! The inner core is thought to be solid and rotate at a different speed than the rest of the earth. This is true of your experience as well, for the most valuable experience probably took the longest to gain and may take some introspection to synch with the rest of your experience and skills.
Give the interviewers more substantive information about your technical expertise as it applies to your work. Your character traits should shine in the answers you give and you can intertwine concepts about your more subjective skill sets. A better answer to the question above for someone who is, say, a financial analyst might sound like: “I work well in teams, am a quick learner and have advanced skills in excel including macros, pivot tables, and V-look ups. I aided in an extremely valuable acquisition to the company and helped it grow in a dynamic and unprecedented direction that continues to be a significant contribution.”
Whether you are a bartender or CFO, everyone has quantifiable/measurable skills as well as abilities and accomplishments. Dig deep to identify what yours are.
Take this list of standard interview questions and try them on for size interspersing your hard, measurable skills combined with good examples that show work ethic, dependability and other subjective characteristics.
Tell me about yourself.
What are you looking for in your next position?
Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
Why does this job interest you?
What lead you to leave your current job?
When would you be able to start?
What is your anticipated salary?
Why should we select you for this position?
What do you see as your strengths and how would you utilize them in this position?
What would you consider an area that would offer you growth, or is a weakness?
What changes would you have made, if you could, in any previous job?
What did you like best and least in your most recent job?
Tell me about an assignment or goal from your last job which you failed to achieve and why.
What did you like best and least in any supervisor?
Tell me about an occasion in your career where you exceeded your employer’s expectations.
Describe how you organize and prioritize.
What is your approach to customer satisfaction?
Tell me about a situation where you had to make an important decision with limited facts.
What was the toughest decision you have ever made and how did you arrive at it?
Describe the most challenging ethical decision you have made in the workplace.
Describe when you anticipated potential problems in a previous job and developed preventative measures.
What are some of your significant accomplishments in your career?
When have you had to support an idea or project that you were not in favor of?
Have you ever improved on an existing process or work area?
How would your previous supervisors/peers describe you?
What if you get a counter offer?
Do you think you are overqualified for this job?
Where did you tell your employer you are today?
Suggested correct answers to all these questions are intertwined here throughout our blog. Feel free to send in your own unique situations and interview questions you need help answering and we will reply here for you and everyone else to learn from. Use the 5 layers of the earth to help you think of the perfect answers that will make you stand out in the interview.
Wildfires are unexpected and devastating to the forest but recovery is never impossible. Twice in the past week two people I know very well were fired from their jobs. In both cases, they were told it was for cause and due to performance, or lack thereof. However, neither person was on a “work plan” or hadn’t been given any sort of formal warning. Both are now left nursing unexpectedly shattered egos and holding a bag of bills to be paid.
For them, and for the other readers out there who were recently fired, I thought I would jot a few pointers on how to take some of the burn out of getting fired:
1 ) Give yourself a day to grieve. Let’s face it, this is a shock and you’re mad about it. It’s not fair and you were treated poorly. Once your day of grieving is over, it’s over, and you are moving forward. You and only you can take charge of your destiny. It’s easy to get sucked into negativity so make a conscious effort to not wallow in your misery. Focusing on what you liked about your work and what you are looking for in your new job is a great way to overlook the negative aspects of what just happened.
2 ) Ask yourself what you could have done differently. You have all heard me say this a million times, but the root of all conflict is unmet expectations. What expectation of your former employer were you not meeting? And be honest! There are two sides to every story and if you were fired for cause there is something you did (or didn’t do) that didn’t meet their expectations. Figure out what you could have done differently so that you don’t make the same mistake twice. But don’t beat yourself up about it. Just recognize that might be an area of personal growth and work on it so the same situation doesn’t happen again.
3 ) Get your resume together and show that you are available for work immediately. As unemployment continues to drop, contract and temporary opportunities are on the rise so make sure people know you can start a project or full time job right away. If you need help with your resume, grab a copy of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME from Amazon. It will really make the process a lot easier for you.
4 ) Find someone to be a reference for you from your previous job. A lot of people get fired and find out it was a blessing in disguise since they end up moving on to much better positions. The best reference is always a former supervisor and when you’re asked to leave, a former supervisor who has also left is a great person to use as a reference. You can also reach out selectively to people with whom you had good working relationships and ask if they are willing to serve as a personal reference. Many companies have a firm “no reference” policy if you can’t identify an ally who is willing to verify your talents, skills, and employment in your list of former co-workers. How about a vendor you worked with or supplier that you serviced?
5 ) Post your resume on line and make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with a status update stating you are looking for work. When you are working with recruiters, it’s important that you don’t displace your personal pressure onto them to perform miracles for you. Maintaining a positive story with as little drama mixed in will make your recruiters work harder for you in the long run. They don’t want to hear another sob story so focus on your strengths and what you want to do so they can really help you out.
6 ) Make a list of companies that you are interested in working for that hire people with your skill sets. A little Googling goes a long way here. Search skill sets, certifications, and industry experience in addition to job titles. This will open up a whole new list of companies you wouldn’t have discovered if you only search for job titles. This and other tips are discussed in TEN STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT JOB.
7 ) Start networking. Go through the companies on your list. Know your two sentence description of who you are and what you are looking for so you can let anyone who will listen or read know what your abilities are. 80% of jobs are obtained through networking so get out of your comfort zone and meet people. LinkedIn is an amazing tool that you can reach out to people through. Ask politely for selected professional referrals. Don’t connect with people you are about to interview with or have just interviewed with – that can be uncomfortable for them. Still look them up and see what you might have in common with them so you can discuss it when you meet.
8 ) Prepare for your interview by practicing your answer to why you left your last job first. No one wants to come out and say, “I was fired.” How about, “Unfortunately, my role had evolved and my former employers’ needs changed from when I started so my skill sets were no longer a match. I was sad to leave but I’m glad that it opened a door for me to be able to meet with you today about new opportunities.” It’s imperative that you turn the negative situation into a positive step into the future. It’s ok to admit you have things you are working on to improve and the self realization in and of itself is a step in the right direction.
9 ) Set a schedule to keep yourself busy. Don’t change your routine drastically because you lost your job. Just replace those hours you would have been working with your job search. Keep up your gym schedule, kids schedule, etc. as much as your finances will allow. Use every opportunity you can to network with people asking professionally for referrals.
Listen, many of us have been in this position, so know that you’re not alone. Apply for unemployment and create an executable job search strategy. I know you feel you’ve been treated unfairly but think twice (or three times…) before considering legal action against your former employer. Most states are at will and the only person who gains from suing your old employer is your attorney. Unless you have the financial ability to front 50K in legal fees, just move on because the employee rarely wins.
And one last thing…what goes around comes around. The people that let you go will likely get let go themselves someday and probably be unemployed a lot longer than you now that you’ve laid the groundwork for your success!
Check out these links for more useful tips:
The plates of the earth may be shifting as they do before an earthquake.
I had a conversation this week with a client that started out,
“Honestly, Carolyn, we’re looking for a little gray hair.”
When I asked them to tell me more, he replied,
“We want someone experienced to lead us out of this recession in order to emerge a stronger organization in the next three years.”
I found this completely refreshing since I hear from so many executives that find themselves between jobs with more than 20 years experience, that they feel they are being passed over for up and comers with less experience.
If you’re an employer looking for leaders, here are a few reasons you might want to join my client in their pursuit of people with more experience rather than less:
MYTH: Older workers can’t or won’t learn new skills.
REALITY: Those over 50 are proving their ability to learn new skills by becoming the fastest growing group of Internet users. Career-changers in their 40s and 50s are taking courses to enhance their skills.
MYTH: Older workers aren’t flexible or adaptable.
REALITY: Because they’ve seen many approaches fail in the workplace, they are more likely to question change. But they can accept new approaches as well as younger workers can as long as the rationale is explained.
MYTH: Older workers are more expensive.
REALITY: The costs of more vacation time and pensions are often outweighed by low turnover among older workers and the fact that higher turnover among other groups translates into recruiting, hiring, and training expenses.
MYTH: Older workers take more sick days than younger workers.
REALITY: Attendance records are actually better for older workers than for younger ones.
MYTH: Older workers don’t stay on the job long.
REALITY: Workers between 45 and 54 stayed on the job twice as long as those 25 to 34, according to the Bureau of labor Statistics in 1998.
MYTH: Most older workers are too “overqualified”:
REALITY: YOU GET MUCH MORE THAN YOU PAY FOR. It’s like getting a Ferrari for the price of a Miata. Forget the foolish business about “overqualified.” Many older workers are ready to throttle back but not ready to stop working. They will step into a non-management job after years of running the whole show and be content with that. A retired Army colonel and high-end management consultant, is happy as a clam driving a bus for the local transit authority. Would a twenty-something with no experience dealing with difficult people do as well? And if they ARE willing to manage for you, the value of their experience is exponential.
MYTH: Older workers can’t keep up with the younger generations in work habits.
REALITY: OLDER WORKERS HAVE BETTER WORK HABITS: Inaccurate stereotypes lead hiring supervisors to assume that older workers can’t perform the way younger workers do. That they will miss work or not get as much done. Deciding a candidate who’s a standout on paper isn’t worth an interview because of unsupported assumptions about age means you miss terrific talent you could have brought on board. She may have missed two days in 30 years. Don’t rely on unfounded assumptions to rule out older workers.
In a study of work habits in 39 separate organizations that included 3000 non-management workers, those younger than 26 years of age were found to be substandard in all six work habits: work standards, safety awareness, reliability/follow-through, attendance, punctuality, and avoidance of disciplinary actions. Workers in the 26 to 45 age range were average on all six. Workers age 46 to 55 were above average on four of the six categories. Workers over 56 were above average on five of the six and twice as far above average as the 46 to 55 year-olds on four of the five. If your hiring needs lean heavily on work habits, you should be looking for people with gray hair.
REALITY: THIS IS THE AGE GROUP WITH THE MONEY
The biggest irony in all this is that the over 50 crowd is the population that actually has money to spend. They own upwards of 70 percent of the financial assets. Their per capita discretionary spending is two and a half times the average of younger households. They hold almost half of all the credit cards in the United States.
You need people who think like them on your team so you can capture that business. Leave your competitors to duke it out over the twenty-somethings whose credit has just dried up.
To curry this market, you need to have a connection to it. Your marketing, strategic planning, and customer service functions need people who can relate because they are over 50 themselves.
REALITY: YOU BROADEN YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC APPEAL.
Unless you’re selling youth-exclusive products, having someone on staff who does NOT answer “Thank you” with “No problem” is a plus. If you want to appeal to the full range of customers, you need a full range of ages to serve them.
Now, for all you job seekers out there that fit this bill, here are the caveats:
- You must be comfortable with your computer skills. You can’t rely on having as large a staff of direct reports as you may have had in the past so make sure you can function self sufficiently.
- Don’t try to negotiate every job opportunity that comes your way into something that’s perfect for you before you even start. There are four or five more of you that can do the job if you seem too demanding before you even start. Instead, take the time to make yourself an exact fit for what they want. If it’s a mutually beneficial situation you’ll be able to make changes and adjustments to your schedule or personnel roster AFTER you’ve proven yourself first.
- Be flexible. Companies need adaptable, creative, amiable people at all levels. Just because you’re used to doing something a certain way in the past doesn’t mean you can’t learn a new trick or two that can create efficiency.
- Express a high energy level. If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, get some extra exercise. The loss of just a few pounds does miracles for your confidence not to mention your appearance.
- Be prepared to commute longer than you might want or even move should the job demand. No one wants to move or commute and while the economy is improving, executive jobs don’t grow on trees.
- Network. Regularly interact with people at levels above and below your job title as well as within related areas of expertise. Going to an event filled with IT professionals when you’re a CFO makes you the big fish in a small pond. You’ll learn about companies you’ve never even heard of, and who knows if they don’t have just the perfect opening for you!
Certain myths about older workers (50+) may allow potential employers to hesitate in hiring them, but most employers realize the true value in hiring employees who have been around for a while. The tectonic plates in the earth are responsible for much of the shaking and rumbling that major cities on a large fault feel every year. You don’t have to be young to be a shaker and a mover in a company and employers know that a truly experienced and wizened worker with “a little bit of gray hair” can lead their companies back into a “boom.”
From Four BIG Reasons to Hire Older Workers by Mary Lloyd.
And The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA
Download this fun handout!
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 2, 2010 in Career Path
, Job Search
, Thinking Positive
The Wall Street Journal reports some good news for 2011 accounting grads- make sure you use your college’s career center if you’re interested in Big 4 accounting jobs. You can also send resumes and cover letters directly to the Director of on campus recruiting at the Big 4 of your choice asking for an interview. Grades and activities will play a big part in their selection, as will internships, but these are some promising numbers:
“PwC [PricewaterhouseCoopers] says it plans to recruit about 5,500 undergraduates and graduate students from U.S. campuses for the year ending June 30, 2011, for internships and full-time jobs. That’s up from 4,600 the prior year, and 4,800 the year before that…
Competitor Ernst & Young says it plans to hire 6,450 U.S. college students for full-time jobs and internships in the year ending June 30, 2011, while Deloitte LLP says it will hire 5,000 in the year ending May 31, 2011. KPMG plans to hire 3,400 in 2010, and 3,900 next year.”
Quote taken from the original article PwC Pays for Priority by Joe Walker
In the summer months, the centers of continents heat up, drawing moist air from the cooler ocean leading to the most significant rainfall on the planet. In the spirit of the symbiotic relationship between the ocean and the jungle – this summer I am taking a huge leap (and hopefully a splash) into unfamiliar territory – television.
I know there is a truly interested audience out there for a show that can follow average and not-so-average Americans in their search for work. One of the hottest topics since 2008, resume building techniques and job searching tips are some of the most talked-about items in the news and on the internet.
Imagine a talk show that focuses on this very theme including: job search, negotiation skills, promotion techniques, improving communication issues in the workplace, and exposing corporate hiring practices to the world so that Joe/Jane Job Seeker can better understand what happens behind the scenes to get his or her resume to the right person and not in another incoming email pile. A potential one stop forum for people needing assistance with any and all workplace conflict resolution, career advice, interview preparation, resume writing…anything and everything relating to career development. A place where successful celebrities and business personalities from chefs, to creative entrepreneurs, to CEO’s could share their stories of success and maybe even uncover some of the things they might have done differently. A completely different category in the talk show world where you can learn how to get any job or move up in the one you have and access a personal career coach right on your computer or television.
On the heels of the release of my third book, TEN SECRETS TO GETTING PROMOTED, I put on my life jacket, fins and oxygen tank (no pun intended) and have entered the Oprah / Mark Burnett contest for my OWN show on her new network. CAREER CONFIDENTIAL
If you share my vision, please, take time to vote…as many times as you can! …and share this link with your friends and family that could benefit from a show like this making it to a regular time slot.
Come join me for a swim into the vast ocean of career development. YOU have the ability to help me help them (and you!), so please…link, listen, VOTE and SHARE!
Oceanic facts from: http://oceanmotion.org/html/background/climate.htm
Climbing out of the jungle and into the spotlight! Vote for Carolyn Thompson to have her OWN show on the Oprah Network. See these topics in action! Follow the link! Carolyn’s Audition
No matter your walk of life, career development is a major part of everyone’s personal path. My OWN show would focus on all aspects of career development from resume prep, to job search, to negotiation skills, to promotion techniques, to company hiring practices. Improving communication issues in the workplace, one-on-one interviews with notable successful business people and celebrities, getting behind the scenes at the major US employers including the federal government. Anything and everything related to careers, job search, employment, and getting promoted. Take a listen and please vote!
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Oct 19, 2009 in Interviewing Skills
In the jungle, the mating ritual is simple. It’s an animal’s most basic survival instinct: to mate, procreate, and continue its species.
For much of the human species, mating starts with dating.
In the workplace, the mating ritual is translated into succession planning, and dating starts with the interview.
Just like dating, interviewing has a few “rules” that both the interviewer and the interviewee should adhere to for best success in the relationship. Etiquette applies for all parties, so take heed of these ideas to be a good interviewer/interviewee.
FOR COMPANIES – The interviewer
The new economy does not mean you should wait weeks to call people back! Just as in dating, the three day rule applies. If you want a candidate to remain interested in working for you, whether they are unemployed or not, you should give them feedback and/or second interviews within 72 hours of their first interview. In the past few months companies have been dragging out the interview process for weeks and many of the people they started with a month or two ago have moved on…they are already dating someone else seriously and your inability to move your process along often means they don’t want to see you again.
Think long and hard about how many people should be involved in the interview process. You need time before introducing your new love interest to all your friends. Adding even a single person to the interview process empowers them to give you their opinions, which will encourage them to offer their opinions when you may not want them, thus adding to the length of time. Keep the process tight, and only involve those people who are in direct reporting line and decision makers who are in good standing with the company. One disgruntled person in the mix can ruin the recruiting process.
If you were dating someone, you wouldn’t call all of the person’s former boyfriends and girlfriends for their opinions as they have already broken up and moved on. Similarly, you shouldn’t check references “off list”. Many people are searching confidentially and by asking questions of people they currently work with you breach that professional courtesy making you and your company less trustworthy in the marketplace. Besides, let’s face it, work is work and we often have professional disagreements with people in the workplace. Reference checks should be limited to the former supervisors, peers, and subordinates the candidate has provided to you as their references. These are people with whom they have developed working relationships and the former co-worker you may know from church, LinkedIn, or other civic groups may not be able to speak to the true skills and abilities of the person interviewing. Besides, who’s to say they weren’t in the race for the same promotion in the past or something, even worse, what if they dated outside the office in the past? Many people look for open avenues to gossip about others so don’t fall victim to some people’s need to focus on negatives when we can all find something positive about everyone when push comes to shove.
FOR CANDIDATES – The interviewee
Many companies do phone interviews first, something they are placing increasing emphasis on as in many cases they save time and money. Answer your phone professionally and in a positive manner at all times. If you are busy and can’t speak, DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE. You only get one chance to make a first impression and if you don’t impress someone on the first call, you’re unlikely to get a call back. You need to be equally prepared for these interviews as if you were sitting in front of the CEO of the company him- or herself.
Express interest and enthusiasm, even if the topic may not be at the top of your list. Just as when you’re out on a first date and the conversation veers to something more mundane, you maintain interest if you’re attracted to the person physically. If you’re attracted to a company financially, you should be astute in all conversations with any parties involved.
Don’t expect a proposal on the second, or even third date. A recent article in the NY Times reiterated what we are seeing in the market, longer, more complex interview processes leading to protracted job searches. Don’t get discouraged! Just make sure you have that fabulous interview outfit for the next meeting ready to go.
Always send a thank you note! Common courtesy goes a long way.
For more job search tips, please visit http://www.carolynthompson.net/webinars.htm where you can find resources on interviewing, resume writing, and making a great first impression!
Author of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME…available on Amazon.com!
and TEN STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT JOB…available on Amazon.com!