Category Archives: Job Search

Mind Your Job Search Netiquette with These Tips

Originally published on San Francisco Employment Jobs Careers:

Even in a world of gee-whiz technology, some old-fashioned ideals — like manners — aren’t outmoded. Business etiquette in general, and netiquette in particular, are crucially important to your career. Why? Because in an intensely competitive job market and with all other factors being equal, the candidate with better conduct is more likely to get the offer.
“Recruiters and companies presume competence based upon observable behaviors,” says Jodi R. R. Smith, founder of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting in Marblehead, Massachusetts. If you don’t exhibit them, employers may take you out of the running, she says.

Here are some can’t-miss tips for exercising good etiquette during your job search.

Mail/Email Etiquette

Be professional when writing to a potential employer — even if the person is your age. “The biggest faux pas is the assumed colloquial, familiar nature of communication,” says Carolina Ceniza-Levine, a partner with SixFigureStart, a career coaching firm in New York City.

Spelling any name incorrectly or calling a Ms. a Mr. can be the kiss of death. “Double- and triple-check it if you have to,” says Mandy Boyle, who manages the social media presence for Solid Cactus, an e-commerce solutions provider in Shavertown, Pennsylvania. “Don’t let your email, CV or referral slip through the cracks because you didn’t take the time.”

Since manners are about helping people feel comfortable, skip the pithy close or potentially controversial quote in your email signature. Ditto the zany email address. “HotMama69@whatever.com is not going to impress,” say Kate Tykocki, chief communications officer of Capital Area Michigan Works!, a One-Stop career center in Lansing, Michigan. “It’s going to create a perception that you haven’t thought your job search through or that you just don’t care.”

Telephone Etiquette

It’s equally important to be mannerly on the phone. Mind your vmail greeting. “I’m out partying. Leave a message and I might call you back when I’m not wasted” may work for your buddies, but it’s not going to work for a potential employer. Record a message that gives your name, number and instructions on leaving a message, or other modes of contact.

When you’re the one calling, be brief and professional. Robin Reshwan, founder of Collegial Staffing, a career-preparation consulting company based in Alamo, California, suggests this process:

  1. Write down key points.
  2. Make sure the most important information is at the top.
  3. Practice to get a smooth flow.
  4. Time it. A message more than 10 to 15 seconds is too long.
  5. Make the call.

“Follow instructions on the recording,” notes Dave Clarke, communications strategist with Churnless, a New York City-based digital strategy and production company. “If the person asks for name, number and a brief message, do that and no more.” That’s an easy way to show you listen and follow directions.

Social Media Netiquette

“Your digital persona can say a lot about how you conduct yourself in real life,” Tykocki says. If you come off as negative based on a perusal of your Facebook page, tweets or LinkedIn activity, you may inadvertently turn off an employer who doesn’t want “that sort of personality in their workforce,” she says.

Think about your Facebook, Twitter and other social media use this way: “If you were asked to open any of these sites during an interview, would you still get the job after the HR director looked at them?” asks Frances Cole Jones, author of The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World. If the answer is no, clean up your act.

To avoid other netiquette errors, remember to keep the social graces in mind when using social media.

Using the maximum privacy setting is good, but not foolproof. So scrape offensive language and images from your pages and tweets to avoid turning off employers. And mind your posts going forward to avoid breeches of good taste. “Give before asking,” says Arden Clise, a Seattle-based business etiquette consultant.

“Give recommendations [on LinkedIn], comment on people’s posts, retweet people’s tweets, make introductions, send relevant articles to your contacts, etc.” Similarly, show interest in the person. “I’ve had contacts who I haven’t heard from in years request a recommendation or introduction and not ask about me or show any interest in what I’m doing,” she says. They usually don’t get what they’re asking for, she adds.

Additionally, respect people’s time by keeping your posts and tweets high value and low volume. “Notifications are instantaneous and most people check Twitter, Facebook, etc. at least a few times a day,” Clarke says. “When I see that a potential job seeker has @ replied to me 10 times in a day about nothing important [or] valuable, I’m turned off.”

While these business etiquette guidelines seem like common sense, a dizzying number of job seekers don’t follow them. To make it easier for you, Clarke boils it down to its essence: “Don’t be an idiot. If you wouldn’t want your mom to read something you posted, don’t do it.”

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14 Questions You Should Never Ask at a Job Interview

Originally published on TheJobVault.com:

Scored a job interview? Congratulations! Want to stay in the running and make it past the first interview? Then avoid asking these alarmingly common deal-breaker questions. We all know how important it is not only to intelligently answer the hiring manager’s questions, but also to ask our own questions (so we seem engaged and interested). Some questions, though, should never be asked in a job interview:

How much does the job pay?
This is by far the top pet-peeve question for hirers. They want to think that you’re so in love with the job that money isn’t such a big issue for you. “Raising the subject of money during the interview stage may give the impression, rightly or wrongly, that all you care about is money, as opposed to working as part of a team and giving your heart, soul, and first-born child to the corporation,” says Todd Moster, a Los Angeles legal recruiter.

Salary is the elephant in the room that no one acknowledges during the interview phase, says Moster. You’ll get a chance to discuss pay once you get an offer, but you may not get an offer if you discuss pay first.

What is the benefits package?
Ditto. If you don’t love your career, it will show in your interview. Take a few minutes to take a free career interest test if you want to know your best career fit.

What are the hours? “This is the question that makes me cringe more than any other,” says financial-industry executive recruiter Paul Solomon. “Try 24-7, like every other position these days. Wall Street managers don’t want a clock watcher, so when I hear that question, I know the candidate won’t be the right fit.”

How much vacation time will I get? If you want to give the impression that you’re more interested in time off than working, ask this question. Otherwise, save it until after an offer has been extended, recommends Cathleen Faerber, managing director of The Wellesley Group, an executive search company.

Salary is the elephant in the room that no one acknowledges during the interview phase, says Moster. You’ll get a chance to discuss pay once you get an offer, but you may not get an offer if you discuss pay first.

What is the benefits package?
Ditto. If you don’t love your career, it will show in your interview. Take a few minutes to take a free career interest test if you want to know your best career fit.

What are the hours? “This is the question that makes me cringe more than any other,” says financial-industry executive recruiter Paul Solomon. “Try 24-7, like every other position these days. Wall Street managers don’t want a clock watcher, so when I hear that question, I know the candidate won’t be the right fit.”

How much vacation time will I get? If you want to give the impression that you’re more interested in time off than working, ask this question. Otherwise, save it until after an offer has been extended, recommends Cathleen Faerber, managing director of The Wellesley Group, an executive search company.

What is your policy on drug use? Believe it or not, this isn’t an uncommon question, says sales and leadership coach Dave Sheffield. “The funniest part of this question is that the interviewee sees nothing wrong with it,” he says.

How did I do? Sure, you want to find out if you’re a contender after an interview. “But asking that question puts an interviewer on the spot, and they’re rarely in a position to answer,” says Frances Cole Jones, the author of “The Wow Factor.” Plus, it makes you sound unprofessional. She suggests an effective alternative like, “So what are my next steps?”

No questions: “By far the worst question is the one you never ask: Not asking any questions during an interview shows a lack of interest or comprehension, or can make you look desperate, someone who will take any job under any circumstances,” says motivational speaker Barry Mather, the author of “Filling the Glass.” “Nobody wants someone nobody wants.”

Also on Monster+HotJobs:

5 (Good) Reasons To Decline A Job Offer

Given the current state of the economy, it might seem ridiculous to even consider turning down a job offer, if you are lucky enough to get one at all. Indeed, most of the experts we contacted said they have become very reluctant to advise anyone to turn down a job these days. According to CNN, it now takes an average of more than 30 weeks to find a job, the highest ever since the Department of Labor began tracking this data in 1948. This makes it very tempting to jump at the first thing that comes along. However, even in today’s job climate, there are still some reasons to consider declining that offer.

1. The company may be financially shaky.
If anything is worse than not having a job, it’s landing a job and then finding out a few weeks later that the company is going belly up.

“A candidate should know about the financial stability of the firm,” says Tom Gimbel, president and CEO of The LaSalle Network, a professional staffing and recruiting company in Chicago.

“If it’s public, do your research. If it’s private, ask that question in the interview. If the firm is struggling, the hiring team is not being forthcoming about information and there is no plan in place, perhaps you might want to keep looking.”

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100 Blog Posts to Help You Ace Any Interview

Once you’re done with your online college degree, it’s time to move on and get a job. And once you’ve landed an interview, you’re probably wondering what you should do to get ready and be prepared. With the help of these blog posts, you’ll be confident and ready to go.

Read the Tips >

WOW Videos on iTunes

I’m happy to announce my WOW video series is now LIVE on iTunes. Subscribe to my video podcast series direct from iTunes!

SNAP! It’s an App

There are three things my clients worry most about in an interview:

  1. being asked a question they don’t know the answer to
  2. being asked about a skill set they don’t have/a gap in their resume
  3. being asked what their current salary is, when they think they should be making more than they currently are

Here are your answers—snap! You’re back in the driver’s seat:

1. You’re asked a question you don’t immediately have the answer to:

The most common instinct here is to ‘wing it’. Don’t do that. Alternatively, don’t say, “Good question,” we know that’s filler. Say, “I hadn’t considered that. Give me a moment to think about it—because I want to be sure to give you the best answer possible.”

Note: you’ve remained confident by not apologizing. Requesting time to think about it will help you calm down. And who gets cranky because you’re trying to give the best answer possible?

2. You’re worried they are going to bring up a skill set you don’t have, or a gap in your resume.

Regarding the skill set, you can say, “I know your job description asks for X, and that’s not on my resume. Here is how I plan to get up to speed by the time I begin at your firm.” Note: have a plan.

Regarding a gap in your resume, you can say, “I spent that time doing X, which has given me Y skills that will transfer well to this new position.”  Note: think through how these skills will transfer.

3. You’re asked what your most recent salary was, but your last job was at the local diner, so that’s not relevant. What do you say?

“Well, I’m looking for a position that offers compensation in the range of $X – more than I made at my last job, but also more in line with what I think I have to offer.”

If they keep pushing:  “My current compensation is lower than I’d like, which is part of why I’m looking for a new role.”

And if they still keep pushing, tell the truth.  Lying is unacceptable, and continued evasiveness will make you seem untrustworthy.

Get the Interview Survival Kit App


Vodpod videos no longer available.

Announcing the Interview Survival Kit App

I’m very happy to announce that my new Interview Survival Kit app is now available as a FREE downloadable app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Complete with six different job interview scenario videos (who hasn’t had that passive aggressive interviewer? Or encountered the too-cool-for-school interviewee?) the nine questions (and answers!) you must research beforehand; answers to the worst five questions you can imagine getting; and a 72-hour pre-interview checklist/countdown clock, the Interview Survival Kit ensures you will be calm and confident, no matter what the situation.

Key Features

  • iOS 4 / iPhone 4 Ready!
  • Video examples demonstrate situation handling
  • Alert Notifications organize your planning with a 72 hour step-by-step countdown
  • Research Roundup give you the top questions to consider
  • SNAP! Answers to tough questions help you ace any interview.

Happy downloading– I look forward to your thoughts!

Sincerely,
Frances