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interview

Monster presents the five questions you should never ask in a job interview. The last one is a bit of an outlier: don’t ask questions that show you haven’t been listening. This is good advice for a job interview, but also for life in general. Pay attention, people. All the others have to do with things like pay, flex time, promotions. Now these are things you do want to discuss with with the hiring company — after they offer you a job. To bring them up while you are still being evaluated as a candidate, before there is an offer on the table, is to negotiate prematurely. Basically, you’re talking about who to invite to the wedding and what religious education to give to the kids when you haven’t been proposed to yet. Bad form. Until the hiring company says they want you, you have nothing to negotiate with. Once…

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socialskills

What is keeping abundant available applicants from filling the many jobs that are currently out there and not being filled? An eye-opening assessment from Nick Schulz in the Wall Street Journal: …[C]onsiderable evidence suggests that many employers would be happy just to find job applicants who have the sort of “soft” skills that used to be almost taken for granted. In the Manpower Group’s 2012 Talent Shortage Survey, nearly 20% of employers cited a lack of soft skills as a key reason they couldn’t hire needed employees. “Interpersonal skills and enthusiasm/motivation” were among the most commonly identified soft skills that employers found lacking. Employers also mention a lack of elementary command of the English language. A survey in April of human-resources professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management and the AARP compared the skills gap between older workers who were nearing retirement and younger workers coming into the…

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crazy-idea-small

Laurie Ruettimann, of Cynical Girl fame, is not impressed with how recruiters are using LinkedIn: What bothers me most is that recruiters are using LinkedIn much like they used Monster and Career Builder back in the 90s. They are targeting people in existing roles instead of looking for undiscovered talent (or people with jagged resumes) who could do the job — and exceed our expectations — with a little bit of training and development. She correctly points out a few lines later that very few people go out looking for a job because they want to be hired into the exact position they already have. Sometimes they want the same thing in a better location, or for better money, or without that jerk of a boss, but much more often job seekers are looking for all that plus a next step. Surveys have shown that a sense of direction is…

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bathroom-scale

Okay, maybe it is for a few highly specialized positions — motivational speakers and the like — but it is not a general-interest item to mention on a resume the way you would your last job or your degree in accounting. This is true even if you have a big gap on your resume and the weight loss would be a good way to fill it. Why not? Three quick reasons: 1. It’s not relevant. (Therefore, rather than hiding the gap, it will only make it more apparent.) 2. It creates, by implication, a world in which one can be refused a job because of a lack of weight loss. 3. It might not make the impression you’re hoping for, anyway. Imagine if the hiring manager is having trouble losing weight… Sure, it’s an impressive accomplishment. It might belong on a life chart, but let’s keep it off the resume….

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resumewithpicture

A very interesting piece in Harvard Business Review Blogs claims that women job candidates who include a photograph with their resumes actually hurt their chances of getting a job. Attractive women get the brunt of the bias, with single women discriminated against in particular. Unattractive women who include a photo are discriminated against less frequently than attractive women, but again do themselves no favors. Bottom line: women who don’t include a photo with their resumes are more likely to get called in for an interview than women who do. So the very practical takeaway is that women should avoid including a photo with their resumes. Guys, it doesn’t hurt you at all. In fact, if you’re good looking, it can give you a bit of a boost. Note that these trends apply when women are the ones screening the candidates; when men are doing the screening, the bias against women…

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Privacy

How and why is this surprising? Employers ask job seekers for Facebook passwords When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password. Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information. Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn’t want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no. Am I just being cyncial? Once we established that they…

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sisko-facepalm

I’ve been hard on hiring companies and recruiters over the past few months for employing candidate screening and job interview tactics that I think are unfair, silly, and just plain bad business. But it’s important to note that these criticisms do not let the interviewee off the hook in any way. So in the spirit of equal time, I direct you to CareerBuilder’s survey of boneheaded things that job candidates do. Let’s begin with the basics: Answering cell phone or texting Appearing disinterested Dressing inappropriately Appearing arrogant Talking negatively about current or previous employers Chewing gum Seriously? Adults who need jobs? Every item on that list is worthy of a full-on face palm (and, sorry, “not knowing how” to dress appropriately is no excuse.) Unfortunately, I don’t think my delicate features can handle so much abuse. So let’s use the honors system. If you have ever done any of those…

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fittingin

A theme I harp on constantly is the unfortunate tendency for job interviews to come down to so much posturing and game-playing. Writing at Forbes, George Bradt explains that really there are only three job interview questions: 1.  Can you do the job? 2.  Will you love the job? 3.  Can we tolerate working with you? Get answers to those three questions from everyone you interview; then compare the various answers to identify your strongest candidate(s). Simple. And it should save a lot of time over asking people how they would go about escaping from a blender. I’m a little unsure about that third question, to tell you the truth. I understand that it’s a big piece of qualifying a candidate, but you can’t just come right out and ask “Can we tolerate you?” Most people think they’re fairly tolerable, if not downright likable, individuals. So whereas I think items…

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HighFive

Brazen Life presents the Top 10 Insider Tips for getting Hired at Google (or Any Coveted Company). Some good advice there. It seems that the real deciding factor might be how well you convey your passion for the product or for the role in question. I very much enjoyed this concluding bit of advice from Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo: Lastly, if at any point a high-five is warranted, it should be instigated by the interviewer, and not you… Apparently Arevalo was once on the receiving end of an interviewee high-five. Alas, the exuberant candidate did not get the job. While we’re on the subject, I would guess that winks, hugs, fart jokes (even really funny ones), and referring to anyone as “dude” (especially the interviewer, especially if she’s a woman) might not give you the edge you’re hoping for. And even if you’re interviewing for your dream job at Facebook, I doubt…

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futurenextexit

I’ve spent the past few months making my own humble contribution to adding an analytical layer to a job search site which we’ve also been working on making more interesting and social networkish. These initiatives have given me some time to think about how rapidly the process that we call “job hunting” is changing, both from the candidate’s and from the hiring manager’s perspective. Based on what I’ve learned working on these projects, and generally from posting to this blog every day, I’m prepared to make a few predictions about what job hunting will be like in the near future. 1. It will keep getting sillier, and probably won’t get any  more fair. Job candidates can continue to expect to be asked questions like, “How many bricks are there in Shanghai?” and “If you were the size of a pencil, how would you escape from a blender?” Once organizations decide…

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