“Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?” – Edgar Bergen

Happy Tuesday, Friends!  More bad interviewer behavior is on its way, but I just wanted to brighten your cubicle. 

 

Positive Thought of the Day:

“Thanks to Toby I have a very strong prejudice against Human Resources. I believe that the department is a breeding ground for monsters. What I failed to consider though is that not all monsters are bad, like ET. Is Holly our extra-terrestrial? Maybe. Or maybe she’s just an awesome woman from this planet.” – Michael Scott, The Office

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“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

What’s worse than having to go through the heartache of interviewing?  Going through the heartache of not hearing back after an interview. 

Not letting a person know they are not a fit is one of the worst things an interviewer can do.  It is inconsiderate of applicant’s time, possible travel expenses, and feelings.  People put a lot of thought and heart into getting ready for an interview.  It is also very unprofessional.  The world is smaller than we think, and a bad reputation can make its way through the ranks, which can deplete a hiring manager’s applicant pool. 

I know human resources is a busy beehive of activity.  However, with today’s technology and word processing options, sending out emails or setting up a mail merge for rejection letters is fairly quick and efficient.  There really is no reason at all not to let someone know they will not be moving on in the application process. 

What to do if you are ever in a position of waiting on pins and needles to hear back from a company?  I thought you would never ask.

Vanna, if you please . . .

1.  Ask up front what their timeline is.  When it comes time during the interview for you to get to know the company and what they expect, simply ask, “What is your timeframe for making a hiring decision?”  It’s simple and to the point.  They may not have a definite date, e.g. “We should know by next Wednesday.”  But, they should at least be able to give an approximation, such as, “We have more interviews later this week, so we hope to move to the second round of interviews by the first part of next week.”

2.  Give them time to follow-up.  Is it possible they may have come to a decision earlier than expected?  Sure.  It is it your responsibility to call every day to see if they have?  No.  My general rule of thumb is to give them until they say they were going to follow-up and wait another week.  I know that sounds like torture.  Sometimes unforeseen things come up.  Sometimes there are lengthy hiring processes that preclude them from calling a hiring decision back right away.  Before you go in guns a-blazing, make sure you give them the benefit of the doubt. 

3.  Follow up.  There are different schools of thought on this.  More “hiring pundits” are shifting towards encouraging applicants to e-mail a follow-up.  Part of me agrees with this because it avoids putting the hiring manager or human resources, who may have no control on the process at that point, in an awkward position.  It also gives you a paper trail with a time and date stamp so you can keep track of correspondence.  The one downfall is this can be an easy way for a hiring manager to ignore your e-mail.   

If you’re going to call, don’t call repeatedly until you get a live person to talk to.  It is very rare to find a company who doesn’t have caller i.d..  If whomever you are calling doesn’t answer, leave a brief and professional voicemail, and leave it at that.  One thing that I always like to do is write out what I say because I tend to have cotton-mouth when I am calling for a status update.  Again, be brief and professional.  “Hi, _______.  My name is ______ and I interviewed for the ________ position last week.  I just wanted to touch base with you to see if any decision has been made regarding the position.”  Short.  Simple.  Succinct.

4.  Stay busy.  Just because you interviewed, and it seemingly went well, that doesn’t mean you should stop your search.  A new job isn’t yours until a signed job offer is in your hand.  Don’t let another great opportunity slip through your fingers because you assume you have a job in the bag. 

5.  Never let your emotions get the best of you.  Don’t burn bridges by firing off a nasty email about how you no longer want to work at such a callous company or yell at a hiring manager about how he or she shouldn’t leave such a great candidate waiting.  I know it is frustrating, but you never know what your career may bring.  You may want to apply with them again.  Also, networking connections can be built in every situation.  It may not have worked for this position, but you might have been considered for a possibility down the line.  Keep the relationship positive even though you’re feeling pretty negative.

6.  Be prepared for the worst case scenario.  You may get ahold of someone directly, and they may tell you no.  As harsh as it may sound, be careful what you wish for. 

Hiring is not a perfect process.  Hiring managers are not perfect people.  Just remember that you deserve a company who is going to be considerate of your time and effort.  Waiting is hard.  Rejection is harder.  You’ll get through it, though!

Positive Thought of the Day:

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Donald Laird

"Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant." – Mitchell Kapor

Now that you have your grocery list written it’s time to go shopping. Shopping for jobs is a lot like shopping at IKEA. There is a lot to look at and you have to put some work in to get a finished product, but if you can find the right colored track you can at least get started. And, with any luck, you’ll get to meet Ace of Bass.

Big Task; Little Steps. Vanna, if you please . . .

1. Human Resources would love to see your face . . . when you come in for your scheduled interview. While it is easier to remember a name when there is a face attached to it, dropping in unexpectedly and requesting an interview is not the way to get remembered. If you have the time to pick up an application or drop off a resume, that’s totally fine. Any more than that is presumptuous. I once had a co-worker say to me, “I wish I could work in HR so I could have a job where I do nothing.” HR may not look very busy since a lot of what is done is on the computer, but make no mistake: HR’s day is jam-packed just like everyone else’s. Dropping in unannounced for an interview is disrespectful to their time. Also, HR doesn’t want to hear a sad story about how you drove 7 hours to see if you could be interviewed. That just shows a lack of planning on your part. Don’t call us; we’ll call you. Literally. Don’t call on the phone and ask for an interview either.

2. EXTREE, EXTREE! READ ALL ABOUT IT! It helps if you’re wearing a newsie outfit while reading this point. While the classified ad of your local newspaper is not completely dead, it is on life support. More and more companies are opting for the more convenient, and sometimes more cost-effective, online ad. This is where your list comes into play. Some online job search engines can produce over 2,000 postings. Who has that kind of time and energy to sift through that many ads? Much like IKEA, once you can narrow your search down to either the green or yellow line, the easier it is to get to your dream job/futon.

Whether you are utilizing Jobshq.com, Monster.com, or Idealist.org, utilize the categories and parameters to cast out your net. Remember: The wider the net, the more fish you’ll hopefully pull in. If you have very specific criteria in terms of type of job or company you do/don’t want to work for, salary, or location, that’s fine. However, just be forewarned that having very narrow specifications may lengthen how long it takes to find a job that meets your requirements.

Don’t always rely on online classified or search engines either. Sometimes companies will only post openings on their website. So, if there is a certain company you have your eye on, check their website frequently. Also, start to notice trends and patterns in the types of job openings you want so you’ll have an idea of the likelihood of finding a job. For example, teaching and admissions positions tend to open up in the Spring and are usually filled by the time school starts in the Fall. So, if you would really like to break into academia at good ol’ Alma Mater University, start looking when you dust off your capris and t-shirts.

3. ‘Cuz we still like seeing fossils at the museum. Even though we are in the Age of the Computers, some companies will still only post job openings in the newspaper. The Sunday paper is going to be your best bet in finding the most amount of listings.

4. Trees are overrated. Just because more and more companies are utilizing the Internet to find their applicants doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have resume paper handy. Some online postings will still request a hard copy of your resume and cover letter. Also, as mentioned in point three, if a company only posted their job opening in the paper, more than likely they’re going to want any application materials sent to them. A box of 24 lb resume paper will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 – $10. You won’t need to go with anything that’s much more expensive than that. You want your resume to say, “I’m professional.”; not, “I got duped into spending $30 on paper.” Use the full-sized catalog style envelopes. Trust me. Maybe I’m too picky but folded resumes and applications are the worst.

Best of luck in your shopping endeavors. Don’t forget to pick up milk!

Positive thought of the day:
“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…

That’s what it feels like when entering the realm of job searching. Job hunting can wrench the gut of even the most experienced job seekers. Do not despair, friends. We can work (no pun intended) through the process together!

My two main goals of this blog are to be informative and encouraging. Looking for a new job; let alone finding a career, can be confusing, isolating and disheartening. I have waded through the drudgery of crafting resumes, trying on suits, and smiling through interviews. I feel your pain . . .

However, being in human resources, I have also sat through interviewees’ stories of cut up underwear (yep!), received applications completed with glitter pens, and Xeroxed notebook pages submitted as cover letters. My posts will hopefully offer some insight into the minds of those working through the hiring process as human resources (HR; I have been surprised at how many people do not what HR stands for) representatives. Maybe this insight will help smooth out some of the bumps in the road along the way to reaching your dream job.