Etiquette 101: Getting Hired Over Lunch.

An instant career killer that may cost you a paycheck?  Inappropriate behaviors that may be deal-breakers during a job interview over lunch.

In a highly competitive job market many job seekers are invited to an interview lunch; the interview is actually conducted over a meal. This tactic separates equally matched candidates from the competition and may come at a high price; getting hired.

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Silver Platter Hiring.

Useful tips to kick-start a successful job interview over lunch:

Show up on time and at the correct location. Be sure to map out your route if going to an unfamiliar location. BE ON TIME. Heads up! Some hiring managers select a difficult location and have used this tactic to challenge and determine the ability of a job seeker to navigate effectively.

Tip:  When possible, drive by the restaurant the night before and scope out the area; avoid getting “lost” and have a plan for parking, projected mishaps or construction delays.

Unable to resist that piece of gum? Gum chewing becomes an issue when you do not know what to do with that sticky glob once seated at the table before serious discussion. Additionally, the hiring manager or recruiter may face Chiclephobia (The fear of chewing gum.), just ask Oprah Winfrey, no one was allowed to chew gum in her studio when she was a talk show host.

Tip: Opt for mints.

Waving, pointing, or flailing the silver? When engaged in conversation do not wield the knife and fork around as you are speaking. This creates a distraction and is seen as unprofessional.

Tip:  Never, never, never, lick the last bits of mashed potato or other delight from the blade of the knife, at the table, during the job interview (or any other time, for that matter…).

Do you salt or pepper your meal before taking a bite? Think again. This action has been known to send a non-verbal message of making hasty or rash decisions and could cost you that job. Why? You “assumed” the meal needed salt or pepper prior to tasting.

Tip:  Always sample a small bite before adding salt or pepper. In addition, use caution when dousing ketchup, dipping sauces or other condiments to a meal, it may send off a “red flag” and can be seen as an insult to the chef.

Remember, you were not invited to the meal because you are hungry!   Avoid ordering expensive menu items, finger foods and difficult to manage items (ribs, lobster, fried chicken, spaghetti, etc.). Also, if a food item is difficult to eat, you spend more effort on eating the meal and less on building rapport with emphasis on the main mission; GETTING HIRED.

Tip: A salad may be cumbersome, not all leafy greens are cut into bite size pieces; opt for the soup instead.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol inhibits the ability to recall important details, impairs the ability to remember names (especially in a networking setting), may cause improper conversations to emerge, and is not advisable when being considered for a job.

Tip:  Sparking water and a lime make a good substitute.

The purpose of the interview lunch? To determine your social savvy.  Many times this form of interview is one of THE determining factors in hiring.

Tip:  You are an extension of the company brand when hired; demonstrating good manners set you apart from the competition. It is NOT about the food; it is about the relationship building process and “how to be” may determine “cultural fit” depending on the industry and/or position you are seeking.

These are just a few dining etiquette fundamentals and if traveling abroad be sure to research each culture and the differences when conducting business or a job interview over a lunch or a meal.  Good luck!

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The Talent Gap. Who is to Blame?

Is it a lack of qualified candidates or is it a lack of talented and skilled labor?  As of today, there is no shortage of talent in the jobs marketplace.  However, there is a shortage of  conversations centered around a resolution.  Who is to blame? the employer? the job seeker?  This question demonstrates today’s struggle employers and job seekers are experiencing when engaged in the masterful shell game; hiring and getting hired. 

What can be done?  Businesses and organizations need to effectively employ legacy or institutional  knowledge transfer of more seasoned workers onto new and emerging talent within their organizations, construction and other skilled trades need to amp up apprenticeships to leverage the ability for knowledge transfer before it is too late, and educational institutions need to begin forging new concepts for career planning by offering coursework and learning that supports a brighter future for great possibilities with marketable skills that are in demand, now and in the future.

With an onslaught of retiring workers on the move, it is imperative that businesses create strategies to bolster continued growth into the next decade and that job seekers plan for a career path versus a J.O.B. (Just Over Broke).  

Online Job Search

Looking for a Job.

Individual responsibility is a necessary requirement to defining a career pathway and seeking out resources, in the local community and remotely, that offer training and apprenticeships to prepare for future careers with emphasis in technology, skilled trades and beyond.   

HR executives and hiring managers claim it is the lack of qualified candidates. Job seekers claim it is a lack of good paying jobs and difficulty uncovering viable opportunities. Both are correct and in most cases, the employer and the job seeker, are to blame.

10 Reasons Employers and Job Seekers Stand in Their Own Way:

1. Candidates applying for job opportunities that they are clearly NOT qualified to execute. 

Tip:  Technology is used to process online job applications.  Robots “read” resumes.  If your resume does not feature specific required qualifications you will receive a rejection email in your inbox.

2. Resume’s that do not build value or demonstrate the ability to fulfill the requirements featured in the job posting.

Tip:  Make the investment and hire a qualified career coach or use online resources to ensure your resume is properly read by the software “robots” used to filter resumes in online application tools and that is easily read when sharing or supplying manually through email or other channels.

3. Failing to use a cover letter that connects the resume and work history to the job qualifications and requirements in the job description. 

Tip:  Less than 30% of job postings require a cover letter, however, that doesn’t mean you should not have a cover letter.  What you should know…keep a cover letter to one page, focus on three to four key skills/abilities featured in the job description and match to your qualifications.  Be specific and avoid oversharing personal information, many people have talked themselves OUT of a job by revealing too many personal details.

4. Candidates with “one size fits all” generic degrees or a background with no specific direction or focus. 

Tip:  If you don’t know what you want to do or where you are going on your career pathway; how can an employer understand your value and where you fit?

5. Employers in need of candidates with Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) skills or skilled trade background and the selection of qualified individuals is limited.

Tip:  Attract motivated, reliable, and dependable candidates with the possibility of learning new skills or a trade by investing and spending the monies necessary for engaging potential new hires.

6. Candidates not engaging the necessary planning and preparation for job interview success; “just showing up” is NOT enough.

Tip:  Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  Behavioral interviews are most common and understanding how to respond to job interview questions using the proper formula, with practice, will help hiring managers understand your ability to do the job.

7. Employers looking for “Superman” when “Robin” will do.

Tip:  Is there potential?  Potential is a key factor when evaluating talent.  Does the candidate have the POTENTIAL with existing abilities to be “upskilled” into a role versus waiting for the perfect hire?

8. Candidates failing to execute a resume that is adaptive for upload and filtering by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) and the lack of keywords sprinkled throughout the document in order to “get found” to “get hired”.

Tip:  Follow directions.  If a job description REQUIRES a Bachelor’s degree, your resume must meet the qualification.  If a job description PREFERS a Bachelor’s degree and you have an Associate’s degree, you can apply for that job.  REQUIRES vs. PREFERS.

9. Employers failing to be specific and clear as to required and preferred skills in the job description.

10. Employers poorly trained on appropriate interview techniques and strategies to uncover qualified candidates for hire.

These are just a few examples that stand in the way of good employers finding good employees that are eager to be of value and purpose in your organization.  Good luck!

 

 

 

 

Job Interview Strategy: Employment and Facebook Privacy.

Employment and Facebook Privacy.∗

There have been recent reports that companies are asking prospective candidates for their username and passwords to their social media content. This is in direct violation of the terms of service agreement that a user has made with the social media provider and compromises not only their information but also compromises the privacy that is expected by all of the connections/users.

How do your respond to such a request? Example: “While I respect the fact that you would like access to my account; unfortunately, I must adhere to the Terms of Service Agreement presented by (insert social media provider, i.e.Facebook) for the privacy and safety of my account and those connected to my account and therefore will be unable to do so. As you can imagine, I would also not provide the username and passwords that would be issued by this company, in the event I am hired, and I hope you can appreciate my integrity in this matter.”

Also consider, this could be a test to see how trusted you would be in situations that could compromise the security and policies of the organization. How? Well if you are too quick to give up your Facebook username and password, not to mention violating the Rights and Responsibilities as a Facebook user, would you do the same with their company information too? Something to think about.

Ethics and Integrity in the workplace are valued commodities and you would want to question the ethics and integrity of an organization that would choose not to hire you in the event you stood firm on your commitment to avoid relinquishing or compromising your privacy and the privacy of other Facebook users.

DO NOT relinquish your Facebook or social media username and passwords to a prospective employer as a precondition of hire , in this case, you would be violating your agreement to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and compromising the privacy of your connections. Even if you feel you have “nothing to hide”, this is not only about you, but the expectations of privacy on behalf of your connections as well.


Registration and Account Security∗∗

Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way.  Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:
1.  You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
2.  You will not create more than one personal profile.
3.  If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission.
4.  You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain (such as selling your status update to an advertiser).
5.  You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.
6.  You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender.
7.  You will keep your contact information accurate and up-to-date.
8.  You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.
9.  You will not transfer your account (including any page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission.
10.  If you select a username for your account we reserve the right to remove or reclaim it if we believe appropriate (such as when a trademark owner complains about a username that does not closely relate to a user’s actual name).

∗Disclaimer: This is strictly the opinion of Denise Anne Taylor and should not constitute legal advice, if you question your rights please seek legal counsel.

∗∗Extracted from the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Job Interview Strategy: Ask Questions.

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The job interview process is a two-way street; dialogue is the key to a successful encounter.

Remember the Five “P’s”, Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Questions for consideration include:

1. What happened to the previous employee or why is the position available?
This will allow you to determine if the employee was promoted (This is a good sign and may indicate future opportunity if the company promotes from within.) or did they move on (This will indicate that you may have to dig deeper in your questioning to determine management style and corporate culture to determine “fit”.) or is the job a newly created role and the question can reveal the amount of turnover in the position. Beware:  If the position has had five people in that role in the last four years this may be a “red flag”, especially if they are no longer with the company, it could signal management or leadership concerns, etc.

2. What type of on-boarding or initial training is provided to ensure success?  Does (insert name of organization) support continuing education or certifications?  
This question allows the company to express the fundamentals they have in place to ensure your success through a detailed on-boarding and trainee program, continuing education, and resources or certifications for continued professional growth and development.  Ongoing training programs are proven to increase employee engagement.

3. What is the preferred management style of the (insert department, company, etc.)?
This will determine if the role is that of a “worker bee” with minimal contribution or does the culture support input allowing you to contribute concepts and ideas for growth and development of your role and the organization.

4. Would you paint a picture of the typical day in the role of a (insert job title)?
This will allow the organization to provide a snapshot of the role and what you can expect. Look for defined, confident replies.  Some companies allow for job shadowing to determine if a role is a good fit for you and the company. 

5. What challenges/problems/concerns are associated with (insert the department, the role, the company)?
This will reveal the pain they need to address and may open the opportunity for you to share background, skills, or abilities that may assist in overcoming the various challenges revealed and/or mentioned in the job posting.  How can you be of immediate benefit to help the team and the company achieve their defined goals and objectives?

6. How are expectations measured?
This will allow you to get a sense of how your progress and success or failure will be reviewed.  Does the company provide 90-day feedback and review? 6-months? or Annually?  The employee review allows for periodic feedback to assess your contributions and keep you on track for success in your role.

7. What are next steps in the hiring process?
This question should be asked at the end of your job interview. You will gain insight as to the hiring manager’s processes for moving forward and you will be able to navigate your next steps for outreach and expectations.  Should you follow-up by phone? email? When will they be making a decision? 

It is “OK” to ask questions. It is necessary and required! You are interviewing the organization and their team just as much as they are interviewing you. Why? Because you need to also determine “fit”, to learn if this organization’s culture and leadership environment “fits” with your work style and career goals so that you can flourish and succeed and contribute in a productive and meaningful capacity.  Good Luck! 

Job Interview Strategy: Tell Me About Yourself…Solved.

jobinterview-70292-largeThis is NOT a trick question…

…many candidates appear bewildered and befuddled because silently they are thinking, “Well, what do you want to know?” or “Where do I begin?” or “Why don’t you just ask me specifically what you want to hear?” so let’s review what this question really reveals…

#1. Your Communication Style. If you are unable to clearly communicate about who you are, where you have been and your key skills and abilities in an effective manner; how can the interviewer expect you to clearly communicate about their products or services effectively once you are hired?

#2. Organized Communication. When you can communicate in an organized, easy to follow manner, then this demonstrates your ability to communicate in that same capacity once you are hired.

#3. Confidence. An individual that can exhibit a confident demeanor while expressing their work history will make a more significant first impression.

#4. Extended Conversation. It allows for the interview to take on a greater depth, and allows you to expand on accomplishments that correspond with the job posting. In other words, you get to sell yourself.

Most candidates self-sabotage their ability for success in this all important area by saying too much or saying too little or providing information that is of little value.

One of the most asked questions during the job interview is “Tell me about yourself…”, and it is the single greatest question posed when looking for a job, networking, and when meeting new people.

Maintain a chronological format and keep your reply under two minutes, practice, practice, practice, and continually evolve shorter versions for career fairs and networking events (also known as a 30-second commercial or sometimes called the “elevator pitch”).

Step 1: Start with your most recent position/role, state company name, your title, and job responsibility overview (one or two sentences) and a key accomplishment. Be brief.  Your goal is to generate interest and you can expand further as the job interview progresses.

Step 2: Next, take the job interviewer back to the beginning of your career history (How I began my career…) and walk them forward (chronologically) back to your current position/role; (dates in this statement are not required) stating company name, position and job responsibility overviews, add a key accomplishment, here and there, that applies to directly to the job posting.  Tip:  Bring a copy of the job posting with you to the job interview and use it for reference.

Make  Connections For The Interviewer.  “I accomplished…..and saw that you were looking for someone with this particular skill, expertise, etc., in the job posting…” or “This is where I gained the experience noted in your job posting.”

Step 3: Speak with confidence, enthusiasm, and practice so that you sound as though you actually did the work; avoid sounding as though you are uncertain as this will create a “red flag” for the hiring manager, recruiter, or job interviewer.

Avoid talking about hobbies, family matters, where you were in kindergarten etc., keep it professional. If you left the workplace for personal reasons (stay at home mom, caregiver, health, etc.) state something like; “I made a personal decision to leave the workplace to attend to family matters ( to further my education, care for my mother, etc.) .” Keep it simple.  Focus on your skill and abilities and the job role.  If you are confident about your choice; they will remain confident.

Good luck!

Just a Thought. Change.

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The Power of Change.

“Never underestimate the power to change yourself; Never overestimate the power to change others.” Unknown