Category Archives: communication

… know when to say “I don’t know…”

Our candidate was as perfect a fit as we were ever going to find. Our client needed a great candidate but also insisted upon a very technical background. It had taken us 67 days to find the guy and he made it through the first interview with flying colors. Eight people had preceded him and all failed.

Candidate calls and says, “I nailed this… I’ll get this offer.” We warned him that he could never let his ego get bigger than his game and he just needed to keep on interviewing well and then gracefully, humbly get the job. He was feeling pretty strong about being the only one of many candidates who got through the initial interview and went into the second interview with a panel feeling really confident. Well, as we’ve discussed before, a panel interview is totally different than a one-on-one interview. But that didn’t turn out to be the problem.

The problem came when one of the members of the panel asked him a relatively technical question that, in reality, had no real answer. The guy that asked the question was trying to show off among his peers. Our candidate took the bait and just started talking and talking and talking and talking. He knew in his heart that he really didn’t have the answer and was simply trying to baffle them with bull shit. Everyone in the room, including our candidate, knew exactly what he was doing. This all happened yesterday.

We’re not sure what’s going to happen. We haven’t been able to get feedback from our client. The people in the company know how hard these kinds of candidates are to find and, if they have any sense, they will still try to hire the candidate.

But the lesson loud and clear is: don’t act like you know something when you don’t. When you don’t know the answer simply say, “I really don’t know.” Trying to BS your way through an interview will only lead to disaster.

Keep e-mails Short and to the Point

This may come as a relatively mundane thing to discuss, but, especially in job search, I’m amazed at the number of e-mails I get and our clients get that are ridiculously long and don’t get read. Most things that are sent and received online are scanned not read. Psychologists have found that when people read things online, they jump around a lot. They usually start in the middle of the page move to the left then move upward to the top of the page. They do not, for some reason start at the top left corner of the page and read across the page like we do when we hold something printed in our hand.

The average businessperson receives 140 e-mails a day. E-mails are opened on average for 15 to 20 seconds. Job seekers think that Hiring Authorities carefully read the resumes and the e-mails that accompany them when they send them. They don’t. I’ve always contended that the average resume get scanned in 10 seconds. E-mails of job seekers probably get less.

If you are looking for a job, your resume needs to be very clear and specific about what you’ve done and where you worked. The e-mails that you send when you send your resume need to be short and powerful. I suggest no more than two or three sentences with maybe a bullet point or two. The subject line could be something that grabs the attention of the receiver and causes them to want to read the rest of the e-mail.

I’ve had candidates who introduce themselves with a subject line like: “Hire a top performer,” or “remember Michael Jordan…” And then in the body of the email they quote Michael Jordan about all of the shots he missed. It’s a compelling quote. The writer then went on to compare himself to Michael Jordan. It was all done in about five sentences that could be read in about 20 seconds.

Follow-up e-mails from candidates often don’t get read because they are way too long. Something short and to the point like this example works:

“Mr. or Ms. Smith, thank you for the opportunity to interview with you yesterday. The conversation was stimulating and enlightening. You made it clear that you wanted to find someone who was:

  • Experienced in your business
  • a top performer
  • someone who has passion and commitment to their profession

Let me remind you that:

  • I have 20 years of experience in the business
  • I’ve always been a top performer and my past reviews reflect that
  • I have passion and commitment and my references will confirm that

When might we get together again to discuss the opportunity further?

Thank you again,

Tony Beshara

it’s not hard to be more creative with this, but the point is to keep the e-mails short and to the point. A three or four paragraph e-mail is not going to get read.


…little things that will make a very big difference

Pay attention… Here are some little tips that are going to make a real big difference in your job search (and maybe in some other areas too):

The voicemail message on your cell phone… Make sure you recorded a voicemail that announces who you are and your phone number. Many people simply let the automatic voicemail announcement phone number tell them who they have called. The person calling is never really sure of who they are leaving a message for. I can’t tell you the number of times over the years that I’ve gone back to a candidate resume, two or three years later to see if they are available (with a really phenomenal opportunity that I found for them) only to hear a phone number. I’m never sure if when I leave a message that I’m leaving the message for the person who I’m really looking for. if the resume or my contact information is three, four or five years old I sometimes wonder if who I’ve called is the same person I want to reach. Sometimes, I simply hang up. So, the lesson is to record your name on your voicemail so that people know it’s really you. Also, be sure to record your number slowly so that people know they are getting it right, “this is Tony Beshara, 214-762-8788. Please leave a message slowly with your phone number twice so that I get it right.” Be sure to ask them to leave their phone numbers slowly and preferably repeated so that you get it right. There’s nothing more frustrating than to be listening to a voicemail and hear someone say, “please call me back at 214-3_4 -231_”  and not know what the numbers in the middle are.

deliver your resume in a traditional PDF or Word format. Keep in mind that the person you’re delivering it to is comparing it with 180 others that they’ve received via email. When you tell them to go to some off-the-wall website or even sending people to your LinkedIn profile you force them to take one or two steps that they really don’t want to take because they’re in the middle of opening up resumes that have been emailed to them. Most folks will simply skip your instruction and move on to the next resume they are going to review. So, trying to be fancy or cute by sending them to anything other than an attached copy of your resume won’t help you.

Your video resume… 99% of them suck. Unless you are very well practiced at doing videos and pay a lot of money to have it professionally done, your video resume is going to HURT you. The purpose of your resume is to get you an interview. There are too many judgmental things that go on with a visual observation of you in a video. Now, you can say, “well that’s true with a written resume” and you are right. But there are fewer of them with a written resume than a video resume. On top of that people are more conditioned to a written resume rather than a video one. Video resumes “look” too long and if a viewer doesn’t like the color of your hair, the fact you have no hair, the fact that you have more hair than they do… anything visual, you are likely to get eliminated. Video resumes introduce too many risk factors to your getting interviewed. You just don’t need the aggravation. (In the past few years I have seen ONE…just ONE spectacular video resume done by a friend of mine, Stanton Williams. I don’t know if it’s still out there in cyberspace, but it is absolutely excellent. If you can’t do one like that, don’t do a video resume.)

men…that gray peach fuzz of facial growth around your lips, chin and, sometimes the rest of your face on your LinkedIn picture… Get rid of it. You’re already complaining to me that people are discriminating against you because of your age. A picture like that makes you look even older. Wake up!

keep your name, email address and phone number on the very top of your resume. Don’t get fancy and put it at the bottom, or on the side or anyplace other than is really obvious for whoever reviews it to call you. If they have to go hunting for it, they might just stop and move on to the next resume. Likely as not they’re going to decide to call you before they read the whole resume any. If they have to go hunting for your contact information they may just stop.

just a few simple thoughts


it happened again today…oh, my goodness..this is soooooo sad..

a candidate I placed started his job last week..the company finally got around to checking his background and found that he lied about having a degree..they fired him on the spot..

in the last month, we have had three candidates who were either fired or had their offer rescinded because the client company dug into their background and found something that was either a cover up (i.e. a job they didn’t have on their resume… usually a short one)or an outright lie (i.e. degrees, dates of employment, etc.)

since 1973, i have never understood why people lie …especially about something so easy to check as a either have one or you don’t and it’s so easy to discover one way or the other. There are also so many services that can dig into a person’s background and find literally all of the places they have worked even if they aren’t on their resume.

(I had a candidate tell me one time that he really had graduated from the University of Oklahoma, but that the reason they didn’t have a record of his degree is that the registrar’s office had burned down. I’m not sure which is dumber, the lie or the story.)

DON’T is dumb…dumb…dumb

… kudos to Michael

A large part of the reason that so many people stay out of work for so long is that they don’t have the courage to push a prospective employer to interview them. They say things to me like, ” well, I called them once, and they never called me back.” (“Poor, poor pitiful me!”)

So here’s what happened. I tell Michael about a company that I have presented him to. I tell him about the SVP who is probably going to do theinterviewing and give him every bit of ammunition about the job, the company, how we should sell himself etc. My client, the SVP, who has also been a candidate of mine and I’ve known for 15 years, is one of those kind of guys who hardly ever returns a call, emails me in the middle of the night telling me that will have to catch up in the next couple of days, but doesn’t seem to get around to it. Having done this for so long, it only bothers me because when I get an exceptional candidates it’s hard to get a hold of the SVP, and both he and the candidate lose out on a great opportunity. I called the client at least 25 times about Michael… even tried him on Sunday mornings because he told me I could do that,… evenings… anytime I thought it was a good moment.

Now there lots of recruiters and other people who would say that it’s just not worth it to do that kind of thing. If the guy isn’t interested in calling you back or emailing you back he’s not much of a “client.” But, I have to tell you that his company is wonderful and he has three or four excellent opportunities. He’s going to hire somebody. It’s not much effort to make the calls. My ego is in check and I just don’t have any expectations to expect a call back. And, of course, I’m getting Michael other interviews.

So, after calling me two or three times about the appointment that I just can’t seem to get Michael, I  keep telling him I’m trying. (Damn weak excuse for a recruiter who is suppose to know what he is doing.) So, guess what? Michael calls me today and says he has an interview with the company on Monday with five of the managers he needs to be talking with. Michael didn’t sit around and moan and groan about the fact that he wasn’t getting this interview (or blaming his lousy recruiter). He picked up the phone and he left four or five messages for my client, the SVP, explaining that based on what he had learned from me, he was absolutely perfect for the job and the SVP really needed to interview with him. Success! The SVP’s internal recruiter called Michael today and arranged for a full day of interviews.

Now, this kind of thing won’t work all the time. Michael still hasn’t talked to the SVP. But that’s okay! He’s got five interviews on Monday. Kudos to Michael for making it happen. if more people were this aggressive about getting interviews like this, more people would go to work.

Good job, Michael!

Next week…why more folks don’t do this.

… your LinkedIn profile

If you are looking for a job, and even if you’re not, it’s really, really important to have a very professional LinkedIn profile. At least twice a week in my own personal practice, which is placing IT salespeople, sales managers and VPs, I have at least two candidates get eliminated because of their poor LinkedIn profile. So, here are some pointers:

  • Make sure your picture is a professional one. Pictures of you with your kids, your cat, your car, the latest fish you caught, bumming around on the beach are NOT professional. Pictures taken with your iPhone, or ones that are out of focus, blurry or with bad light will help you. Pictures taken with your Skype camera that make your head looked like an egg aren’t good either. P-R-O-F-E-S-S-I-O-N-A-L!! And by the way, if you don’t have a picture employers will think you are either very, very, very old or very lazy. They ask, “what’s wrong with this guy or gal that they don’t have a picture?”
  • Make sure that the content of the jobs you had is consistent with your resume. 40% of the time… Yeah you read it right, 40% of the time people’s LinkedIn profile do not agree with their resume. You’re sitting there thinking “that’s stupid” and you are absolutely correct. It is first class stupid. Please don’t be stupid. Fix the damn thing.
  • Quit with the 555 endorsements. Nobody cares about your endorsements. They care about what you have done and how well you have done it.
  • As with your resume, make sure it is very, very, very clear what And how well you performed at each one. I can’t tell you the number of resumes and profiles I review where the candidate doesn’t even make it clear what the companies he or she has worked for do. It’s as though they think the whole world knows their company. There are 7.1 million businesses in the United States and 98% of them are known to very few people.

Don’t discount or pooh-pooh your LinkedIn profile. More and more employers are using the profiles to preview candidates. Make sure your profile is perfect.



…your picture on your LinkedIn page

At least three or four times a week in my own, personal practice of placing IT sales professionals and managers, I run into the problem of the hiring authority reviewing my candidate’s linkedin profile and eliminating my candidate, before they even interview them, because the candidate does not have a picture on the profile or the picture is unfocused, very unprofessional or just downright lousy.

When are job candidates going to catch on that no picture on their LinkedIn profile tells the perspective employer that they are either so embarrassed at their looks or they just don’t want to go to the trouble of having an appropriate picture taken and posting it to the profile. Either way, it’s not good for the candidate. Pictures of you with your dog, your cat, your pet snake, your parakeet, the last big fish you caught, your buddies in the bar ( where they can’t tell which one is you), on the golf course, at a restaurant, at a Cowboys game, at your wedding, at your funeral are not only in poor taste, but downright stupid. Anything other than a professional business picture is going to hurt your chances of getting an interview.

Remember, hiring authorities are looking for just as many reasons not to interview candidates as they are looking for reasons to interview candidates. When a person posts their picture on there profile they have to ask themselves, “How might I be judged by this picture?”Anything the least bit less-than-perfect will get a person eliminated.

spelink and gramner on your resume

…i’m often criticized for my fat finger typing and apparent abhorrent spelling…it is OK when you own the company,..

IT ISN’T OK ON YOUR RESUME..make sure you have your resume proofed and read by a few folks…it isn’t fair, but employers will often eliminate a candidate because of poor grammar and spelling mistakes..

Just this week we had a candidate for an administrative manager position eliminated by one of our clients because her resume was written so poorly… poor grammar, sentences that weren’t, and some glaring spelling errors.

Amazingly enough, she got mad at our client. She said she’d been using the resume for a month and nobody had complained about it. I can’t imagine why she was complaining, but she was. She still didn’t get hired.

And you can’t say, “Well tony beshara doesn’t spell very well either”… tony beshara has a good job that he loves…not a good excuse..

p.s. don’t write your resume late at night when you are tired and get it proofed by many people

…more misguided (… Stupid) advice

So this week some job search guru goes on LinkedIn and writes an article about how interviewing and hiring authorities have an obligation to give you feedback about your interview with them… The guy goes on and on about how hiring authorities should and ought to give you feedback on the interview you had with them and how if you keep calling them, the good ones realize their obligation and will give you feedback…

Hokum… Garbage… BS… Laughable… Like what planet are you living on?… It’s obviously clear that this guy has never spent much time finding people jobs… It’s totally misleading to tell people that they’re going to get feedback from an interviewing or hiring authority more than, maybe once out of 15 times…

This guy goes on and on about how good managers, interviewers and hiring authorities should and will give you honest feedback  about your interview…DON’T BUY ONE WORD OF IT… I don’t know what this guy is smoking or where he dreamed this idea up… But the truth is 99.99% of all of the people you will interview with, unless they are really interested in hiring you and are incredibly nice,  are NOT going to give you any feedback about you or your interviewing…

Should they be willing to give you feedback? … Yes!… Will they tell you that they will?… Yes! Do they know it’s courteous to do that?… Yes!… Will they do it?… NO!!! is it rude?… Yes!…  Is it discourteous?! …Yes!… But, are they going to do it?…NO!

It’s not a matter that they are intentionally mean, or insincere, or rude… They are simply unintentionally mean, insincere, and rude… So you ask “how can people be that way?”… Really easy… They just are! You notice me writing about ‘spiritual beings acting human?’… Well, this is a manifestation of spiritual beings acting human…

So, you may ask for feedback from folks you’ve interviewed… Just plain don’t expect it… If you get it, you are blessed… but just don’t expect it. Don’t waste your time wondering why, hoping, wishing, begging, wondering, speculating… Just accept the fact that you’re not going to get it, quit cursing the darkness and move on to the next opportunity…

Having done this for more than 40 years the only reason I can imagine that people will be, at best, inconsiderate is because they are so busy and so wrapped up in their own lives that giving you feedback on your performance in an interview is just  not a high priority to them… Ironically,  when they become a candidate and go to look for a job they can’t believe that interviewing and hiring authorities are so rude…

So, quit losing any emotion over this and move on…

…simple idea

…look, on your cell phone voice mail message tell people who you are…do you know how many times people..hiring authorities… might call your number, not be sure it is your cell v.m. and hang up

especially three years from now…they dig your resume or information out and think you might fit the job they have then…call and get a recording with just a number without a personal identification like, “this is tony beshara..please leave a message”…so they hang up

get the point…make sure people know it is you!