Monthly Archives: September 2008

…an offer in hand

got a letter from one of our readers…seems he is getting a job offer in the next day or two from a company and is expecting another one from another company on the 15th…he wanted to know how to stall a decision with the first company so he can compare it with the offer of the second…he asked our advice…so, here it is..

don’t even try this…30% of the time a company says they are “going to make a offer”…they don’t…they think they are gonna, but they don’t…

if you have an offer in hand..call the second company and ask them if they can move faster…if they can’t, make a decision on the first offer regardless of how the second one might appear…a bird in the hand is always best..

if you postpone the first offer any longer than a day or two, they will inevitably think you are “shopping” their offer and will often rescind the offer and go to the next candidate…

in this economy, you can only count on the offer you have in your hand… don’t believe anyone that tells you they are going to make you an offer until they do..

…i’m getting an offer…no more interviews

…famous words…don’t do that…don’t ever bank on an offer unless you have one…in writing..in your hands..and don’t stop interviewing until you have it..

we can’t tell you the number of tremendously disappointed people we have consoled over the years who thought they were getting a job offer, quit interviewing and never got it…

no company will ever admit to doing this, but we have seen situation where the candidate showed up for their first day of work to find out that there was no job for them…

lesson…don’t stop interviewing until you have an offer in you hands and a start date that is a as quick as you can get it…you never know what might happen

…five biggest resume mistakes

1. people overestimate the value of a resume…it isn’t going to get you a job…sending it, thinking that it is magical, is an error…it may not even get you an interview

2. the average resume gets read in 10 seconds…don’t think someone is reading and digesting what you wrote…if you don’t get their attention in 10 seconds, it isn’t working

3. people underestimate the number of resumes they are competing with…on average …300

4. people overestimate the qualifications of the people who will screen, read and or “pass” their resume along…if you think the “right” people are reading your resume..you are wrong…

5. people write the wrong content on their resume…they write what they understand about themselves …forgetting that unless they are clear about what their company does and what they do, most people won’t understand it…if your resume can’t be understood by a high school senior…who doesn’t know you…you are writing the wrong content…

…informational interviews

so much has been written and spoken about these over the years…save your breath, time and trouble..

no employer in today’s market…who is worth talking to, has time to give you an “informational” interview…now if it is your uncle, or your dad’s best friend…maybe…

but don’t call someone and ask for an informational interview..you are either looking for a job or not…and if you are..talk to people that might have one…ask for a job…not information…how wimpy!

…keep ‘em short and to the point

get this right!…long emails to potential employers don’t get read…

just like cover letters and even resumes..keep ‘em short and to the point…emails should be four or five lines..no more..

hiring authorities get hundreds of emails a day…they even miss some…but anything longer than four or five lines will get shorted…use bullet points and “hit ‘em quick and hard”

you are going to read it four or five times before you send it…your hiring authority is going to scan it once…maybe read the first two sentences or so…

….my clinical depression

wonderful candidate…great job opportunity…makes it through four interviews and near the final one he talks about overcoming clinical depression…all of a sudden the conversation got real strained and silent…now they are thinking about it..

the employer believes the job is really stressful and some of the folks there are wondering if the candidate can take the pressure…

the sad thing is there was no good reason for him to talk about his depression…simply no good reason…he thought it would make him appear as someone who had overcome personal challenges…

Lesson:..anything, …i mean anything that may be a personal liability, that isn’t essential to the job..DON’ BRING IT UP…

don’t know yet what the company will decide, but candidate didn’t need to bring this up

…excuses for your screw ups

if you have made a couple of screw ups in your career..(and who hasn’t) don’t try to make stupid excuses about why they happened…

just today, i interviewed a candidate who blamed everyone but himself for all of the mistakes he had made..it was always someone else’s fault that he or his situations failed…and this is over a 15 year history…give me a break!

hey, none of us haven’t made mistakes…accept the responsibility…don’t moan or groan about it…tell a perspective employer how much you learned from it..but admit to having made an error in judgment…make lemonade out of the lemons…

…”well, my severance is about to run out”

…hello! …wake up! what employer is going to want to hire a candidate that says that the reason he started looking for a job is that his severance is about to run out…

..on top of that, the candidate put off looking for a job for four months, and in the next two months his severance will end, and so he has decided to look for a job…

THINK THIS: “How does what I say appear to a perspective employer? Do I come across as a hard working, determined employee who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done?”

..politics

we know that sara palin kicked butt…but don’t you dare discuss it in an interview…

if there is even an hint of being drawn into a political conversation…don’t do it…YOU need a job…not get elected..

simply nod your head and say, “It’s all very interesting.” then s-h-u-t u-p!…bring the conversation back to the interview…what you can do for the company

don’t play not to lose..play to win

our candidate made it to the finals…after four interviews, he made it to the last two interviews…

he is a dynamic guy…aggressive, assertive, bright, witty and really knew how to sell himself…he had a great track record..frankly, he was perfect for the job..

but as he got closer to the final interviews, he started thinking about how well he was doing in the process and then started thinking…”i’m doing so well…better not screw up!”

so, instead of interviewing the same way he did to get to the finals, he toned down, didn’t want to take any chances, quit being aggressive, assertive, bright, witty and, unfortunately quit selling himself….he was afraid to loose..

well, he didn’t get hired…

lesson…dance with what ‘brung ya…keep doing what you did to get where you are…don’t alter your interviewing style when you get to the finals…