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Some Job Hunting & Interviewing Tips


zoony

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Not sure if you'll ever read any of this in a how-to. Here it is, free of charge.

1. For crying out loud, put a valid email address on your resume.

-If your name is Joey Buttafuco, make your email address Joey.Buttafuco@gmail.com. Do NOT put Gamer23451Joey_B@hotmail.com.

-If you have an email address similar to StickyBunsHotBox@hotmail.com, for the love of God, do not put it on your resume.

-Avoid zeros, O's, lowercase l's, 1s, etc. Employers can easily mistake what they are and mis-type your email address.

-Here's a novel concept. CHECK YOUR EMAIL. Don't be the guy that sends the return email 2 weeks later "sorry I'm just getting back to you, I just saw this now". Well, too late.

-Put a valid phone number on your resume. By valid, I mean one that you will answer. And if the message on your voicemail is Lady Gaga or Katy Perry singing about getting laid, get it changed.

2. Do not bring up family or your kids in a job interview. Just don't do it unless you have no choice, i.e. explaining a lapse in work history, etc.

3. When asked what your salary requirements or expectations are, do not dodge the question. Answer it. Don't be cute. If you truly are open to any offer, tell them your salary history and that you would consider any offer.

4. It is perfectly acceptable to ask about job benefits.

5. For God's sake, do a little research. You are about to make one of the most important decisions of your life, i.e. who to start a career with. And you don't even do research? What does that say about you? (a) you're lazy, (B) you're stupid, or © both.

6. When given an opportunity to ask questions, ask them. And don't just ask the questions you get out of whatever book you read about interviewing the night before. Recruiters have heard them all. Ask questions that you want to know the answer to. Again, you are talking about turning your life over to a company. You REALLY don't have any questions? REALLY? You don't even want to know a sense of the culture?

7. Make it clear you are interested in the job. Ask about next steps at the end of your interview. Tell them you are very interested in an interview in your cover letter. Separate yourself from those that are half-way serious, and be conspicuous about it.

8. It is up to you to provide energy and enthusiasm in the job interview. Smile. Make small talk to begin the interview when prompted, be charming and brief. If you don't know what that means, google it. Don't ramble, and again, don't start talking about your kids or medical problems or anything negative.

9. If the address on your resume is 100+ miles away from the job you are applying for, address it directly in your cover letter.

10. Write a cover letter. Use proper grammer. Have someone proof-read it for you. You can and will set yourself apart with a professional, targeted cover letter.

11. Keep your resume short. If you are coming out of college, your resume should be 1 page. If you have work experience, try to keep it to 2 pages. Otherwise, you look like a long-winded self-important douche. Trust me on this one.

12. THANK the interviewer for their time in the form of a follow-up email after the fact. Do this, trust me.

13. If you really want to impress, have a plan for your first 3-6 months in the position, and show them how you would add value.

14. Show up to the interview with a pen. One pen that works. Bring a folio with a tablet of paper to take notes. Do not take notes just to take notes, write things down that you feel are important. Bring your driver's license and other pertinent info, you will most likely need to fill out paperwork prior to the interview. Starting off with "can I borrow a pen" makes you look like a moron.

15. When you are asked what your improvent areas are, identify something that you are actively working on. For instance, your weakness might be time-management. Tell them that. But then show them your calendar/Outlook on your phone/etc. and how you've been working on a system to get better. This will impress them.

16. Speaking of phones, for God's sake, turn it off during the interview.

17. Be prepared to speak directly to why you left your last job. Don't act shocked when the question is asked. Be prepared to speak to your resume in general. Make sure you can recite it without looking.

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All good advice...

Regarding #17, I recently interviewed a guy who mentioned that he "helped build the XYZ practice at his current company from 10 to 100 employees" which is obviously very impressive. Given that we are trying to do something similar, I started there and asked about his role in that. He stuttered, took a drink, looked like he was under hot lights, and eventually told me that he's not exactly sure how his manager went about "finding the right people". I won't even get into how many things are wrong with that!

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All good points. About the salary history though. I was stuck in a job that was paying ME about $30K less than other similarly qualified employees (due to reorgs and I was artifically kept from promotion because they knew I would go to another group). When I finally decided to change companies, the interviewer wanted to know my salary history. I wasn't about to tell them my below market salary for 2 reasons: 1) they might wonder why I was so much below market, and 2) I would get a lowballed offer. So I said: You have a fair market value position and I have fair market skills. Then I told them what my salary requirements were. I got an offer about $3K below what I quoted and I took the offer immediately without further negotiation. All of us were very happy with the deal. That's been my MO ever since, but I'm self-employed now so my negotiating skills for an hourly rate have considerably sharpened, especially the last few years. I've gotten top dollar and have been lowballed, but I am earning more money than I made as an employee.

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Here is a question

Company X makes an offer. You reject twice. Finally they come through with the money you want. You accept and have a start date in 6 weeks.

Day after commiting to Company X, company Y, whom you really want to work for, calls you. Potentially better pay, better commute.

What do you do?

(and yes I am lucky, I work such a niche jobs I get constant calls)

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Here is a question

Company X makes an offer. You reject twice. Finally they come through with the money you want. You accept and have a start date in 6 weeks.

Day after commiting to Company X, company Y, whom you really want to work for, calls you. Potentially better pay, better commute.

What do you do?

(and yes I am lucky, I work such a niche jobs I get constant calls)

First, I'd love to have that problem. :)

Second, that's a tough one. I'm not sure how much better the job/pay is over at Company Y, but I think you should be careful about hopping around too much. Of course, you haven't really started with Company X so not sure they'd be out anything, really.

Just remember the bird in the hand... make sure Company Y puts it in writing before you do anything

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Here is a question

Company X makes an offer. You reject twice. Finally they come through with the money you want. You accept and have a start date in 6 weeks.

Day after commiting to Company X, company Y, whom you really want to work for, calls you. Potentially better pay, better commute.

What do you do?

(and yes I am lucky, I work such a niche jobs I get constant calls)

Take the better offer after making sure it's better for more reasons than just initial cash and commute. Immediately let Company X know and move on. Unless you signed something and money has been spent, in which case it all depends on your industry and how interconnected it is. 6 weeks is a long time to wait and if they understand the demand for your services do to it being a niche industry they should have understood the risk a month and a half represented.

My 2 cents.

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All good points. About the salary history though. I was stuck in a job that was paying ME about $30K less than other similarly qualified employees (due to reorgs and I was artifically kept from promotion because they knew I would go to another group). When I finally decided to change companies, the interviewer wanted to know my salary history. I wasn't about to tell them my below market salary for 2 reasons: 1) they might wonder why I was so much below market, and 2) I would get a lowballed offer. So I said: You have a fair market value position and I have fair market skills. Then I told them what my salary requirements were. I got an offer about $3K below what I quoted and I took the offer immediately without further negotiation. All of us were very happy with the deal. That's been my MO ever since, but I'm self-employed now so my negotiating skills for an hourly rate have considerably sharpened, especially the last few years. I've gotten top dollar and have been lowballed, but I am earning more money than I made as an employee.

That is a perfectly fair way to do it. You let them know your expectation, clearly.

I ask salary history for candidates that tell me they're "open to any offer"

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About #3, I think it should be dodged if it is asked too early. It should be one of the last things that you talk about (after you have shown your value), and even if you don't talk about it in the interview, it can always be negotiated later if they are interested.

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9. If the address on your resume is 100+ miles away from the job you are applying for, address it directly in your cover letter.

Its amazing to me how many resumes I get like this with no explanation.

Its also amazing how many adults, adults in their 40s and 50s, use some sort of variation of "69" in their email address.

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Here's another tip. Dress appropriately. I interviewed a guy for a job in a professional work environment where he would be making more than six figures and he decided it wasn't necessary to wear a suit, tie or jacket. The office 'Casual Friday' policy doesn't apply for your interview.

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I graduated HS in 69 but I do not have an email addy with that number in it, for obvious reasons! I have a formal email address that I use only for my business dealings. I have my own website. I have various email addys connected to this website, but only 1 is on my business card.

All good tips here! This thread is a great service for both interviewers and interviewees. Thanks!

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And never, ever say the following when asked if you have any hobbies outside of the workplace:

"I enjoy eating jelly sandwiches at the park and listening to techno music while performing Robert DeNiro's caricature of Travis Bickle in the movie Taxi Driver wearing flesh colored tights and 72" camouflage wading boots."

Sometimes you need to bend the truth some as I got burned.

I'm also out of the thorazine and lithium.

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Those are very common sense. 100% accurate.

One thing I would add -a GREAT tip if you can pull it off.

At the end of the interview - Flat out ask "Based on what you have heard, do you believe I would be a good fit for this position?".

one of 4 things happen.

1) They flat out say no. They will tell you why. You shake their hand, thank them for their feedback, and you are on your way with some tips about what to do next time and are not stressed out about if you are going to hear from them. (Just DON"T argue with them...if they say NO, the decision has been made).

2) They say "Maybe..I was concerned about XXXX" -That gives you a second chance at a answer you obviously blew

3) they say "Yes..." and then go into what happens next. Sometimes they don't even realize they were going to say yes until you asked, but now they feel like they just committed to you.

4) MOST likely they say "Well - We have more candidates " and /or "There are some other people that need to also decide" at which point you respond "Of course, but your recommendation?".

trust - me - No one has ever LOST a job by looking like a go getter, a closer. Many (including myself) have gotten a job by doing just this. My current job, they answered "We have other candidates...in fact, I would put you as tie along with another candidate we interviewed yesterday". I nodded...and silence fell, and they went on "The other person was XXXX - Do you know them?". Turns out I DID know them. I responded I did, and they asked me my thoughts on that person!

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The one I don't agree with is salary. I recently interviewed for a position at a gov't consulting firm that wanted to know my desired salary before I knew what office/client I'd be working out of as well their expectations of me (we work 40-50 hrs, weekends expected, etc.). I was completely thrown off and they said their company policy is not to interview before they've been given a desired salary (mind you not a range). I mean obviously my salary concerns would be different if I have to work out of MD, DC or right down the street same as if I was expected to work on proposals and stuff during weekends or it was just a helpful activity.

I'm not telling you my salary range until you tell me what is expected of me for this type of position more than just the general work blurb on a website.

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About #3, I think it should be dodged if it is asked too early. It should be one of the last things that you talk about (after you have shown your value), and even if you don't talk about it in the interview, it can always be negotiated later if they are interested.

common mistake. Most recruiters ask right up front for a very clear reason. If you're worlds' apart, no point in wasting everyone's time.[

---------- Post added April-22nd-2011 at 05:16 PM ----------

Here's another tip. Dress appropriately. I interviewed a guy for a job in a professional work environment where he would be making more than six figures and he decided it wasn't necessary to wear a suit, tie or jacket. The office 'Casual Friday' policy doesn't apply for your interview.

I tend not to be too much of a freak about dress. But, many are.

To me, it is up to the interviewer to clearly state what the dress expectation is for the interview. Now that said, if you say business formal and the candidate shows up in a polo shirt, well, yah.

My boss probably has an IQ of 150+. CPA + MBA from from a very prestigious school and is one of the smartest people I've ever known. Extremely cerebral and he blows me away on almost a daily basis with his capacity for strategic thought. He's always 3 steps ahead.

He's also a terrible dresser.

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