Stupid Reasons for Not Hiring: Issue 2 – Unemployed

This is the second in what I hope will be an ongoing series about stupid reasons employers give for not hiring someone. The first dealt with being too attractive. Based on the Comment of a reader, the next will deal with being too smart. If you have an example of a stupid reason for not hiring someone, please share it as a Comment and I may write about it. As I mentioned in the first article, I am interested in stupid reasons, not illegal ones.

“It is easier to get a job when you have a job.” That statement has always been very popular. With the downturn in 2008, it lost some of its popularity. Sadly, it’s coming back.

I understand the logic behind the policy: If the person was any good they would be employed. It may be logical, but it is also wrong.

I’m not talking here about someone who stole from their previous employer, or lied, or did any other actionable act which rightly resulted in their being fired. That is understandable, although I must say, I have secured positions for two persons who had been fired for cause. They handled it the correct way and were able to overcome what was an unfortunate lapse in judgment.

For present purposes, I am talking about someone who was laid off. In other words, they did not lose their job because of something they did, but despite what they did. They were good at their job but their job was eliminated because of a restructuring. Or, the company lost a major client or, in the case of non-profits, a major funding source, and their employer had to cut costs.

In this scenario, an employer would be crazy not to consider an unemployed candidate, for a number of reasons:

First, they need the job and will have salary demands lower than someone who is employed. (I am assuming that they are as qualified, or more qualified, than other candidates.)

Second, they will be more appreciative of the job offer. They are scared and you have eliminated their fear. This could result in long-term loyalty.

Third, they can start work immediately. No need to wait two, three or four weeks.

Not hiring someone qualified, simply because they are unemployed through no fault of their own is, in my opinion, stupid. But it also might be illegal, depending on where you live.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.

Stupid Reasons for Not Hiring: Issue 1 – Too Attractive

Over the course of my career, I have encountered a number of really stupid reasons for not hiring qualified candidates. I am not talking here about illegal reasons; I am focused on stupid reasons.

For example, when a company says they will not hire someone who has only worked as a consultant, you may not like it, but it is neither illegal nor stupid. The employer is concerned that the candidate will not be able to cope with daily supervision, a 9-to-5 schedule, working closely with colleagues, and dealing with office politics. These are valid points.

What I am talking about are reasons that you would have to bend over backwards to try and justify.

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of topics on the subject. Please share your examples as comments. I’ll be happy to “steal” your ideas. For the record, #2 in the series will be on not hiring the unemployed. (And, yes, I know, some states are trying to me it an illegal practice.)

But for now, let’s focus on the attractive.

I am going to use a female candidate as the example. The reason is, I have seen attractive women not being hired because of their looks for the reasons that I am about to explain. It may very well also happen with male candidates. I’ve just never seen it.

A very attractive, totally qualified woman applies for the position of Executive Assistant for a married, male CEO. Hands down, no argument, no debate, nothing to discuss, she is the best candidate. So why does the CEO not hire her? “My wife would kill me!”

A very attractive, totally qualified woman applies for a job. The boss does not want her because he (or she – it goes both ways!) is afraid that the men in the office will find her a distraction.

This, too, was something I experienced first-hand, kind of. (I witnessed it, I was not the “victim.” For whatever reason, the women I have worked with have been able to control themselves and they never congregated around my desk…)

A young woman, fresh out of college, with a good resume (she had a couple of impressive internships) came to me because, while she was getting interviews, she was not getting any job offers. I got to know her and then we did a mock interview based on the job description for the previous position for which she had been interviewed.

To my mind, she did nothing wrong. But I had a feeling.

I told her that I was going to tell her something that might sound strange. The story went like this:

When you walk into an office for an interview, the women all look at you and start talking among themselves in a whisper, glancing in your direction. The men do the same. And when you had your internships, the guys in the office would find excuses to congregate around your desk.

At this point, she had a weird expression on her face. She stopped and said: That’s exactly what happens and what happened! How did you know?

I told her about what I had seen when I had office jobs. These things are not new. They happen all the time and with every generation. Sadly, as a species, we have not advanced much!

Then we did another mock interview. This time I told her what she had to say in her next interview.

First, I warned her not to say “Because I am so attractive…,” because that sounds pompous. You have to be modest. So, in response to the appropriate question or opportunity I told her to say the following:

For whatever reason, some guys find me attractive. When I had my first internship they would find excuses to come to my desk. I was always polite but I told them that I was there to work and learn, not to date. Most accepted that but in one or two cases, they would not stop. So I went to my supervisor and she stopped it. I tell you this because I want you to know how I deal with difficult situations and that I keep my private life out of the office.

Of course, I told her she could only say it if it were true. She smiled and told me that it was true for her second internship, but not the first. She was used to guys hanging around her and didn’t realize that it was inappropriate. (Ah, to be young again…) So her boss called her into his office and educated her. Then he called the guys into his office and read them the Riot Act.

I suggested that she include that in her answer. She made a mistake. Had a good boss who corrected her behavior and that of her male colleagues. She learned from the experience.

About a month later she called me to say that she had an interview. We did a mock interview. After the real interview, she called to say she had gotten the job. After she met with HR, the person who would be supervising her and some of her potential colleagues, the owner came into the room. He had one question, “What should I know about you?” She told about the office flirting and learning from her mistake. She also complimented her former boss and said that he was her role-model for dealing with difficult situations. He smiled, shook her hand, and said two words, “You’re hired!”

Don’t forget to share your examples of stupidity!

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.

The 3 Rules for Interviewing

After posting my video on interviewing strategies, a number of individuals reached out to me with questions about “the rules for interviewing.” They were obsessing over what is permissible and what is not permissible during an interview.

The result, in all cases, was that they were hesitant to answer questions fully. They had read articles – contradictory, of course – advising never to say this or do that in an interview. They had so much information and conflicting advice that, for all intents and purposes, they could not function. The obvious result: No job offers.

So their question to me was, What are the rules for interviewing?

There are three. There are only three. And that’s it. Everything else depends on the circumstances. So here they are:

Rule Number One: Dress professionally. That means conservatively with no perfume, cologne or scented aftershave.

Rule Number Two: Be punctual. That means arriving no more than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled interview unless the weather is really bad or they tell you in advance that you will have to complete an application.

Rule Number Three: Tell the truth. That means… Well, frankly, if you don’t know what that means you have bigger problems than interviewing!

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.

7 Things Worth Considering about Job Interviews

The key to a successful job interview is knowing how to research (prepare); understanding the difference between the screening interviews (phone and Skype) and the face-to-face interview; how to follow-up; responding to an offer; and, of course, the questions to ask and answer. It all comes down to differentiation. You have to differentiate yourself from your competition. Problem is, you don’t know who your competition is. So what’s the solution?

If you know, great! If not, isn’t it worth 47 minutes of your time to find out what you may need to know?

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.

The First Questions all Candidates and Employers Should Ask in Job Interviews

When the time comes, and candidates are asked in a job interview if they have any questions, this is when they can take control of the interview. And they want it to be a positive experience. There is one great question every candidate should lead off with which will guarantee positivity. By definition, it has to result in the interviewer(s) praising them. They will have no choice. So what is this question?

Why did you invite me in for an interview?

Of course, you can rephrase it – What about my resume appealed to you? – but the result will be the same. They will let you know what they felt were your strengths and now you know what to reinforce and, more importantly, what to emphasize. They probably missed something else that is great about you. So let them know what it is.

And then there is the question every interviewer should ask. Regardless of the job for which a candidate is applying, every employee of every company has tasks to perform. For every task employees must prepare. Employers need to know that candidates know how to prepare well for whatever situations they will face. Of course, an employer can usually tell how well a candidate prepares for meetings by the quality of their answers, and more importantly, their questions during the interview. But sometimes nervousness can interfere with an otherwise top-notch candidate’s performance. So there is one question which is likely to put the candidate at ease and provide the interviewer(s) with the information they need. So what is the question – the FIRST question – interviewers should ask?

What did you do to… – or, if you prefer – How did you…. prepare for this interview?

Either way, you will get the information you need to make an informed decision.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.

Are You a Victim of Job Discrimination?

You might be. You might not be. Here’s some information that you might want to consider.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.

 

On Van Halen and Writing Effective Job Ads

When the rock band Van Halen would perform it was a major undertaking. And it could be dangerous. High voltage and pyrotechnics can be a deadly combination. No one was supposed to die at their concerts. To the best of my knowledge no one ever did, or at least if someone did die it was not because of the group’s negligence.

The contract which venues had to sign with the band was thick and detailed. There were clear instructions about how everything was to be setup. If memory serves, this even included the distance between electric outlets. Nothing was taken for granted.

In the middle of the contract was an interesting clause. It stated that the venue was to supply a bowl, I think it was a “large” bowl, of M&Ms. Multicolored M&Ms. But, so stipulated the contract, no brown M&Ms. Why?

When the project manager – I doubt that was the actual title of the person responsible for assuring that the terms of the contract had been honored – would arrive at the venue, he (or she) would make a rudimentary inspection of the setup and then would look for the M&Ms. If it was there, and there were no brown candies, he (or she) would be confident that the venue had done their job. Of course, a slightly more than cursory inspection would be conducted, but the odds were that everything was alright.

What, you ask, does any of this have to do with writing an effective ad for a job? (By the way, “effective” means an ad that can be used to eliminate candidates so as not to waste the employer’s time.)

All job ads should include a test. Ask a question and see if you get an answer. Van Halen’s contract must have been a few inches thick. A job ad is usually no more than an inch square! If a candidate forgets to answer one question – which is all you need – in a small ad, how are they going to deal with a Van Halen-sized project that requires the answering of a multitude of questions?

So, by all means, ask about salary expectations. Or require a cover letter to see if the person can write. Or ask for a work sample. Give them a simple task. You may be surprised by how many candidates will either ignore the question/request or will not be able to properly respond. It’s a good way to eliminate candidates who, frankly, are not worth a phone call.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.