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.

“Caregiver”​ and “Stay-at-Home Mom”​ are not jobs

Usually, it takes a while for me to lose it. I have a high tolerance for the ridiculous, the foolish, the ignorant and the stupid. My feeling is that sooner or later people will realize who, and what, they are and they will receive the anonymity that they so richly deserve. So why bother getting upset?

On the other hand…

I received a call from a perspective career counseling client. This woman is interested in entering the job market. Nothing new about that. But this woman is rather unique. She has never had a “job job,” to quote her. And she does not have a resume. She’s never had one. And when she called “professional resume writers,” they all told her that since she had no “employment history” they really could not help her. After all, what she had been doing all of her adult life “didn’t count.”

The woman graduated from college and then got married. For the next 17 years, she raised three healthy, well-adjusted, children. When her eldest turned 15, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The family decided to move her into their home. She now had, along with her husband, responsibility for raising three children and looking after her mother who needed an increasing amount of attention as, ironically, her children required less.

Her mother recently passed away and now, with her eldest heading off to college, and her other two children more or less independent, she needs to get a job to help pay medical bills. And, for obvious reasons, she wants to and needs to get out of the house.

But the resume writers told her that she has no employment history. Talk about ridiculous, foolish, ignorant and stupid! Think about the skills this woman has had to master:

  • Patience
  • Organization
  • Scheduling
  • Maneuvering in governmental bureaucracies
  • Budgeting
  • Vetting of service providers
  • Negotiating
  • Being meticulous

What employer, in their right mind, would not want an employee who has mastered these skills? No work experience? Rubbish!

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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.

If you do this on your LinkedIn profile your boss may know you are unhappy

As long as you are either unemployed or do not care if your boss knows that you are looking for a new job, I always recommend to career counseling clients to include “Open to New Opportunities” in the “Headline” that appears after their name on their LinkedIn profiles. It’s a good way to advertise. Granted, you will be inundated with pitches from resume writers, career counselors and recruiters, but that’s the price you have to pay.

This article is not about “Open to New Opportunities.” That’s a conscious decision on the individual’s part to advertise the fact, if they are employed, that they want out. What this article is about is the unconscious decision people make when writing their profiles which lets their boss and the world know that they may not be happy with their job or career.

While working on a project for a LinkedIn marketing client, I began to notice an interesting trend. People list their job as one thing and their “Industry” as something totally different.

With the new user interface on LinkedIn, sadly, you can no longer see a person’s “Industry” when viewing their profile. “Industry” is now only a filter when doing a search.

There are people who get confused. For example, they may be an accountant at a marketing agency. They put “Marketing and Advertising” as their “Industry” because that is the industry of their employer. But a LinkedIn profile is personal. The question is not which “Industry” your employer is in, but rather which “Industry” you are in. So, in this hypothetical case, the individual should have listed their “Industry” as “Accounting.”

But I have found people who list their job as one thing and their “Industry” as something completely different – and unrelated to their employer’s industrial sector. For example, a fashion model listing her profession as “Law Practice.” Then there is the “Sales Associate,” working for a luxury retailer who lists his “Industry” as “Financial Services,” as do a “Skin Care Consultant” and a “Personal Chef.”

If you do not identify with your true “Industry,” that can be an indication that it might be time for a change. If your boss sees it, she will definitely know, or think she knows, that you will not be with her for long.

Bottom line, impression is reality. You do not want to give the impression that you are not happy with your job and wish you were in another line of work…unless, of course, you do!

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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.

How to Answer Interviewer Questions with an Ulterior Motive

The classic example is, “What are your weaknesses?” What the interviewer is really asking is, “Why shouldn’t I hire you?”

But let’s forget about the classics. A career counseling client just asked me how to respond to two questions she was recently asked, the first at a job fair and the second at an actual interview.

How is your job search going?

No, you can’t say what you want to say. “None of your business!” is not a proper response.

What’s behind the question? What are they really asking? Here are the possibilities:

Nothing at all. The person is just being friendly. So you have to provide a substantive answer, without saying anything concrete. Why?

They may not be friendly. Maybe they want to know if they can get you cheap. If you say things are going poorly you are weakening your bargaining position.

On the other hand, if you say they are going well, maybe they will think you will cost too much or maybe, since things are going well for you, being friendly, they may choose the person who is having a tough time – assuming that you are both equally qualified for the position.

And, naturally, this could all just be paranoia and you are overthinking. It was just an innocent question. So how do you respond?

I think there is a turnaround. I feel like there are more jobs but, on the other hand, it appears that more people are reentering the job market, so there is greater competition. What are you seeing?

First, you have shown that you know about the latest job creation/unemployment stats. Second, you have properly analyzed them without getting into politics. And, third, you have turned it around by turning the question into a conversation. You have answered without providing any real personal information. You have nothing about which to worry.

Where else are you applying?

You are in an interview. It is going well. And then out the blue comes the “Where else are you applying?” question is asked. Why?

Again, this is none of their business. Except that it actually is THEIR business. They are hoping to find out from you about their competition. You have nothing to gain from answering the question. If there are a lot of places, you can come across as desperate and unfocused and unwanted. If there are only a few, they might think they can get you cheap because of your limited choices.

But I doubt the question has anything to do with you. As stated, it has to do with their competition. They are using you for an exercise in legal corporate espionage.

So what’s the answer?

Confidentiality is very important for me. Just as I will not talk about you with other prospective employers, I won’t talk to you about them. I would not be comfortable doing so.

If they object, you know you don’t want to work for them and, in all likelihood, the job isn’t real. (It does happen!) In any event, you have shown that you are ethical so you can leave with your head high.

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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).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he co-chairs their Entrepreneurship Council, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

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.