“You aren’t learning anything when you’re talking.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

I’m a talker.  Always have been.  I clearly remember an interview I was conducting and seeing the interviewee’s eyes glaze over as I was rambling on about the cultural differences between the Midwest and West Coast.  Luckily, and hopefully, I have improved on my interviewing techniques since then.  Unfortunately, there are still a number of interviewers who do not understand that interviews are not forums for filibustering.  What to do if stuck with a long-winded hiring manager?

Vanna, if you please . . .

1. Be polite.  Eye rolling and interrupting isn’t going to speed up the interview or endear you to a potential boss.  Also, you’re not responsible for imbuing other adults with manners.

2.  Be succinct.  Keep your answers as streamlined as possible.  Engaging in a dialogue that flows is an important part of showing your personality during an interview, but try to avoid stacking stories, i.e. don’t tack on a personal anecdote that ties into the one your interviewer just told.

3.  Be in the moment.  Don’t let your mind wander.  Being an active listener is important in gaining insight to the type of supervisor or co-worker your interviewer might be, as well as the overall working environment of the company.  Also, you may be able to pick up on clues beyond what the job description states regarding the type of working styles and personalities he or she is looking for in a candidate.

4.  Be firm.  If you are working within a time constraint, e.g. you need to return back to your current job, politely let your interviewer know you need to wrap up the interview.  Something along the lines of, “I don’t mean to cut you short, and I certainly hope I have answered all of your questions.  However, I need to continue on to my next commitment.  If there is any further information I can provide regarding my background, I would love to set up another time to do so.” would work.

Interviewers need to remember they are hiring managers; not Oprah Winfrey.  Hopefully these four brief points will help you the next time you’re in it for the long haul!

Positive Thought of the Day:

“The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.” – Fran Lebowitz

"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