Archive for the ‘Job Hunt’ Category

Service of When We Think We’re Terrific But We’re Not: Inconceivable Job Interview Mistakes

Thursday, November 18th, 2021


Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

I couldn’t believe the results of a survey that Steven Greenberg reported on WCBS News Radio 880. He’s the host of “Your Next Job.” Among other things on his LinkedIn profile he lists HR and Talent Acquisition Consultant.


Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

Most job candidates think that they do well on interviews he said in a recent radio news brief. Speak of delusional if you compare this impression with what employers had to say!

Greenberg covered highlights of a survey of employers:

  • 71 percent said applicants answered a cell phone call or texted during the interview. He advised this is inappropriate behavior even during a Zoom call. Really?
  • 70 percent said the candidate dressed too casually.
  • The majority said applicants appeared disinterested: They didn’t ask questions that showed they’d looked into the position or the business or organization.

These are such obvious, easily remedied issues none of which should have happened in the first place. They illustrate that the preponderance of job candidates in the survey were oblivious of others. I can’t offer another explanation. Can you? Have there been times you thought you aced something and you didn’t?


Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

Service of the Best Way to Say ……

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

You don’t have good news to share and you want to say something positive but the bottom line is that there’s nothing upbeat or cheerful about the conversation. How do you best construct your words?

For example:

You accept a job with a dream position in the wings that finally comes through after a few weeks. How do you word your exit?

A longtime advisor at a prestigious company moves to a tiny unknown firm and you have solid reasons not to follow. What do you say to her/him?

The chef comes over to your table and asks “how is dinner?” and it’s barely OK. You smile and respond what?

A tech person at a doctor’s office is nice but subpar. How do you tell the doctor so that the person doesn’t retaliate the next time you go?

Can you add other scenarios in which you want to carefully choose you words? How would you address some of the ones in this post?


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Service of “But Everyone Does It”

Monday, July 5th, 2021

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

People cheat on their taxes and some claim everyone does, but best not try. Ask Allen Weisselberg.

Taxes aren’t the only thing people fiddle with.  One friend lied to the anesthesiologist about her weight. She thought that was why she woke up in the middle of the operation. A doctor subsequently told me that wouldn’t happen for that reason. But still, not a good idea to underestimate.

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay

What about people with healthy resumes and years of accomplishments under their professional belts who nonetheless cheat on theirs? Some report a degree they don’t have [which is nuts as it’s so easy to confirm]. Others stretch a three month stint into a year. Many companies make the background check the last thing in what can be a month’s long process, sometimes more. What a shame to be beached after all that. From the employer’s point of view, the thought would be that such a candidate could as easily cheat the company or its clients. “You’re only speaking about a seven month difference,” a few might argue. I say keep it to three if that’s the truth.

One friend learned that his mother was older than she’d admitted when he accompanied her to the doctor towards the end or her life. She hadn’t wanted to be older than his father which was the reason for the discrepancy.

Some people exaggerate their wealth [which I’ve never understood].

What other things do people do–that they shouldn’t–with the excuse that everyone also does it? Any repercussions?

Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay

Service of Salary Secrecy

Monday, May 17th, 2021

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Job seekers have shared their opinions with me about whether to insist on knowing the salary range before pursuing a position and in the first conversation revealing, to the prospective employer, the remuneration they expect. They fall into two schools of thought: Do and Don’t. The same thing applies to a PR agency before staff takes time to write a proposal. The risk of failure increases when the client doesn’t share how much the company is budgeted to spend.

One friend at the top of her game won’t work for less than $X and doesn’t want to waste her time on countless interviews for nothing so she says she won’t move forward on a job lead without salary information. She’s also fine with sharing her salary expectations with headhunters and hiring managers.

Alison Green wrote “When Employers Demand a Salary Range From Applicants but Refuse to Suggest One,” asking why “hiring managers play such coy games around salary.” In her article in getpocket.com she reported that employers sometimes wait until they make a formal offer or late in the process yet they require that candidates spill their figure right away. She commented, after being contacted by a close-lipped headhunter: “Why not just tell me what [the salary] is so we each know if we’d be wasting our time or not?”

In one example, she was told the interview process entailed, after HR screening, a call with the hiring manager, a full day of interviews in the office, potentially a second day, and maybe having to complete a project or test.

There’s no surprise why employers opt for secrecy–they want to pay as little as possible. Candidates fear if they mention an amount they won’t be paid what the employer is willing to pay. If the job is appealing enough an applicant might be willing to accept a lower salary but fears, by mentioning a higher one, they will knock themselves out of the running.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Green wrote: “Job seekers who just ask directly what range the position will pay risk running into interviewers who bristle at the idea that money might be a key factor in someone’s interest level.” That happened to her in the example above that potentially entailed two days of interviews. “The HR person got really cold and awkward and said she couldn’t tell me that information. … I received an email later that afternoon that said because I was so interested in salary and not the company or the job, they weren’t continuing with my candidacy.”

She found that some employers say they duck offering a compensation range because candidates will be disappointed if not offered the top salary.

She advises job seekers to do research about jobs in the targeted industry by speaking with recruiters, directors of professional organizations and colleagues. “Ultimately, as long as employers treat salary info like a closely guarded trade secret, candidates will be at a disadvantage.”

Have you been caught up by the salary question? Should employers be open about their salary range and prospective employees be relaxed about sharing their expectations? Aren’t employers who object to candidates asking what the pay will be naive to think that people work for fun, with no concern about covering expenses or what others in the industry pay? What about prospective clients who won’t tell an agency what their budget is–do you write a proposal anyway?

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

Service of Unanswered Questions or None of Your Business

Monday, March 29th, 2021

Photo: theschoolrun.com

I hate to admit how old I was before I could parry an unwelcome question. Before you could find out real estate sale prices online a friend asked me what we got for our co-op apartment. My answer: “We got what we asked.”  These days I reply bluntly to intrusive questions. I’ll say: “I don’t want to talk about it,” or I change the subject.

“Going on an interview?” you’d hear in the workplace if a colleague who usually wore casual clothes was dressed to the nines.

Photo: nicolabartlett.de

And then there’s the nag who starts every conversation with “Did you get that job yet?” It’s especially grating when you’ve told the person you’ll let them know and to please stay off the subject.

There’s a health question on some job applications: “Did you ever have cancer, epilepsy, mental health problems?” to name just a few of the listed diseases. The applicant’s choice of responses are “Yes,” “No,” and “I don’t want to answer.”

Photo: womensweb.in

When a state adds to its list of vaccine-eligible citizens those at risk of Covid-19 due to underlying health conditions the nosy get to work. “Medical privacy has become the latest casualty of vaccination efforts, as friends, co-workers and even total strangers ask intrusive questions about personal health conditions,” Tara Parker-Pope wrote in a New York Times article, “‘How Did You Qualify?’ For the Young and Vaccinated, Rude Questions and Raised Eyebrows.”

If you check “I don’t want to answer ” to health questions on job applications will the reader assume that the answer is “Yes,” you have had one of the listed diseases? When you’re asked an intrusive question, do you feel obliged to answer? If not, what wording works best for you? What are other examples of questions you’d rather not answer?

Photo: boldomatic.com

Service of the Humbling Job Hunt That Doesn’t Have to Be

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Photo: careerbuilder.com

I remember an interview at a major PR firm years ago. I left walking on a cloud even though there were no jobs for me. The HR manager was spectacular–he made me feel great about my career and my prospects and we laughed a lot.

Encouraging job-seekers is the gold standard and should be the mission of anyone responsible for adding staff or is in even the smallest part of the process. Unfortunately, it’s not the case as often as it should be. A positive approach and refusal also goes for decision-makers inviting vendors to bid on a project.

I’ve covered the tribulations of job hunting before, most recently last December in “Service of Employee Behavior” where I protested how important a simple follow up to a scrubbed candidate is, especially after the person has prepared for and gone through an interview process. If for no other reason, it frees the conscientious candidate from making repeated follow-ups to no avail. It is respectful and reflects well on the company.

Photo: mediabistro.com

There are exceptions: when the reply is a putdown the recipient would have been better off with silence. An example was the arrogant response to a friend’s outreach to a communications company which inspired this post. He was told he “wasn’t a fit.” [Actually, he was.] The reaction of a colleague, to whom I shared this incident, was “at least he got a reply. Most people don’t.”

Another friend arranges her calendar around the many telephone interviews that are essential to her job hunt. She waited for one scheduled call, rang the person when the phone stayed mute for minutes after the appointed time. Eventually she called him and left a  him a voicemail message.  She never again heard from this person. Outrageous.

A top editor told me, after she was laid off and had become a freelance writer, how sorry she was that she’d been so abrupt with or unresponsive to writers who’d approached her with story ideas after she’d experienced how it felt to be on the other side of the ask.

Is self-importance the rule or the exception for those in the hiring business whether for a job or a project? Have you come across exemplary people in these roles or outstandingly nasty ones?

Photo: integrativestaffing.com

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