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Dec 22, 2017

How to Interview for a Job - Tips You Need to Know

Very often, as a business owner, I am in the position if interviewing prospective candidates for office positions in our organization. Actually, I will again be looking for replacement staff in the next month or so. I was recently asked by an acquaintance across the country from me what I look for when in the process of hiring staff. This person has a wonderfully worded resume, but is having a difficult time finding any kind of work. The job market is extremely tight, and in some states, like Michigan, there may be hundreds of applicants vying for one position. In order to interview successfully, there are certain steps one must take. These are just a few of the things I look for when hiring new staff.

Be On Time

There's nothing more irritating to me if a prospective employee is late for his or her interview. I'm a busy woman with lots of things to do, and my time is limited. Be on time, have a pen handy, and a copy of your resume for me to keep. If for some reason, you are delayed or no longer want the position, a courtesy call before the interview appointment is always appreciated.

Dress Appropriately

The biggest mistake is made when interviewees dress inappropriately. Remember, managing a career and an interview is all about personal branding or marketing yourself.

Make sure your clothes are clean, pressed, and that you are well groomed. You don't have to have a huge and expensive designer wardrobe. Don't go into your interview looking like a hooker; wear a conservative dress or suit, with low, sensible shoes, and keep the makeup to the bare minimum. For men, a suit is not necessary, but a clean oxford shirt with tie and slacks, not jeans, is the best choice.

Filling out the Application- Neatly!

Usually, I have applicants fill out a standard application, as well as submit a current resume. Make sure you use your best handwriting, and that your handwriting is legible. Use proper English, and be sure all of the words in your application are spelled correctly. If spelling common business terms is a problem for you, practice spelling in your spare time.

Be Sincere and Enthusiastic

The biggest pitfall for job applicants is to convey insincerity. I can usually tell if a person is doing the interview as a condition of unemployment, and really does not want a job. Others may be sincere in the interview, but once they land the job, there's no follow through with a level of enthusiasm. Please don't waste my time or yours if you really don't want a job.

The Trick Questions

After explaining the position, I will ask my prospective candidate couple of questions to get a feel for the applicant. When I ask a question like "what are your weaknesses or faults," I'm looking for positive responses. Actually, I am looking for VERY POSITIVE responses. You might wonder, how I can positively respond to something negative like a 'weakness' or 'fault'? A good so-called 'weakness' would be to tell the interviewer that you tend to overdo in your quest to do a good job. (Employers LOVE to hear this, by the way!)

You are so fervent in desire to do a good job that you'll come into work early or stay late. Another positive weakness would be to tell the person you have great attention to detail. You want to make sure the job is done correctly the first time. Another "fault" is to say something like "I really want to learn, so I might ask a lot of questions, and some people might think this is annoying."

All of these things show the employer that you're a positive person, and that's exactly what we are looking for.

The other question I ask is "what do you know about our business?" You'd be surprised how many people walk in for an interview and don't know what the core business is. You can always look up your prospective employer online just to get a little knowledge. You don't have to know everything about us, but make sure you know something. That way, if the interviewer doesn't ask that question, you can always ask a question concerning their business which makes it sound like you're truly interested.

Questions not to Ask

Please don't start off the interview or the phone inquiry with "How much do you pay?" For one thing, you do not have the position yet. When I get around to considering you for employment, salary is negotiable. The same goes for benefits. Employers want to feel as though you really care about them and their business, and the best applicants appear to want the position so badly, that money is not the top priority.

The Hooks

Last year, I had a man apply for a position actually volunteer to work for me for free for a week. While I didn't take him up on his offer, it showed me that he was serious about wanting to work for us. I eventually hired him, and he's proven to be an invaluable employee.

Follow up telephone calls (or email) also let me know that you're serious about employment. Don't think that you will be bothering the prospective employer. Sometimes employers get busy and cannot place the promising applicant right away. A follow up phone call lets me know that you're still interested, as well as jogs the memory about you.

A thank you note for the interview opportunity is also a nice touch. It lets me know you have manners and respect for me and my company.

While this list of "Things to Do" will not guarantee a job offer, I believe it will increase your odds of finding a position in much less time.


Dec 16, 2017

How a College Graduate Can Gain Employment in This Economy

Many recent college graduates may become increasingly perplexed about where to start their job search. With thousands unemployed, the job market can seem pretty bleak. However, there may be several jobs available to college graduates.

The key lies in knowing how to find them and how to get hired. If you are among these many graduates looking for employment, there are a few tips that can aid you in your job search.

First and foremost, don't raise the bar too high. Many college graduates will refuse to accept a position, let alone apply for one due to the salary. The truth is, salaries are almost always negotiable.

Accepting a lower paying position may not be ideal but you are gaining much more than a paycheck. Work experience and the opportunity for advancement are only a few of the reasons to consider one of these positions. The same can be said of internships. This also gives the graduate a jump start to building his or her future resume and the chance to network.

Speaking of networking, graduates searching for jobs should really put this tool to use. A letter of recommendation from a professor or experiences related to your education that occurred outside the classroom may be a good place to start.

As a matter of fact, this is a great way to at least, land an interview. Many graduates have gained employment by networking through peers, professors, and various facilities associated with the college, myself included. Do not underestimate the power of knowing someone and inquiring about the availability of a position.

Use all resources available. The majority of college and universities will also offer job placement services to those who have successfully completed their education. This may be a viable way to gain employment for several college graduates.

In addition, some of these schools will hire from a pool of new graduates, depending on the need of the institution and the graduates major. Many former students are employed at the colleges that I have attended. Submit your resume and stay in touch.

The most important thing that college graduates can do to aid in the job search process is to explore all avenues and to continue looking. Searching for a job is work and you must be willing to put in the hours. It can be tough, especially with all the competition but eventually you can and will find gainful employment.


Dec 9, 2017

5 Tips for the Newly Unemployed

These Tips Will Help You Get Organized and Protect Your Family as You Decide What to Do Next
Being laid off is a shock. One day you have a routine, a plan and a schedule. The next day you are unemployed, undirected and often stuck on how to move forward. You will have to get a job search started but you don't have to do that today. This article will give you five specific tasks to take care of immediately. These tasks will help you protect your family, start a plan of action and also give you a little room to plan for the next phase of your life.

1. Start the Unemployment Benefit process - Don't delay!

In the current economy many states are overburdened with new unemployment claims. For some states it may be 10-12 weeks before claims are approved. It you are not able to start your claim on line or get through on your state's provided telephone numbers, find your nearest office and go in person. Be sure to bring the social security numbers of your dependants, your employment start and stop dates and the details of any severance packages that you received.

2. Get health insurance

Having a plan for medical insurance for yourself and your family gives you the room to look for the right job, not just any job. COBRA plans are notoriously expensive, however, under the recent stimulus bill you may only have to pay 35% of your COBRA premium. Look for information about "ARRA" or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in your COBRA documentation. You have 60 days to decide to activate COBRA, (and you will be covered retroactively) so this buys you a window while you research other options. Check out independent plans purchased directly from a health insurer, if you are generally healthy the fees may be manageable. Also check out group health offerings through small business services.

3. Understand your expenses

Financial planning experts tell us that a solid understanding of your actual expenses is the first step to a sound financial plan. If you are like most people, however, you really don't have a true understanding of where you spend your money. Now is the time to take a total inventory of what your expenses are. Be sure to include sometimes hidden expenses such as money spent on gifts, donations, children's needs and daily pocket spending such as coffee or snacks. A realistic understanding of what your expenses are will give you clarity on what you really need to earn and will give you insight into where you can shave expenses if necessary.

4. Make a project list

Right now you have more time than you have money. Make a list of all this projects that you've been meaning to get to but didn't have the time for. Are there home improvement projects that have gone unfinished? Do you have pictures piling up that you plan on scrapbooking? Have you been meaning to walk more to lose those extra pounds? Write it down. When you have your list completed, prioritize you top 5 projects. When your day is unstructured or the job hunt is getting you down, turn to this list and get busy!

5. Take a vacation Seriously

You have been given the gift of time, don't waste it. Yes you have to job hunt but you can't and shouldn't job hunt 24x7. Don't be so anxious about your job loss that you waste the chance to use this time to have some fun. Do you have frequent flyer miles that you could use for a "free" getaway? Do you have a road trip destination and a tent? Do you have a kid's pool, a lawn chair and a book? Get creative and it doesn't have to be expensive. If you are using your time off well, your job hunt will be more productive.


Nov 30, 2017

Breaking the Rules in Career Management

Everyone who works in the world today knows that their future depends on their ability to break the rules to achieve what they want, or need to be successful, with their job. Well for everyone who has ever thought about breaking the rules to get ahead within your company you may be working for, I would like to show you some actions you can take to advance your career by breaking the rules within the rules.

The first thing you should do is to start thinking like an entrepreneur and ask yourself if you were the CEO of the company what you would do differently. Take the time and step out of your job and act like the CEO and analyze your contributions to your job and ask yourself what more could I be doing to make things better?

Another thing you can do is look at what rules aren't working for you or your department and then ask yourself is these rules really benefiting the department or the company? Then if you see the current rules aren't working you can change or alter the rules to where it will benefit both the company and its customers.

Once you have found the problem write it out and run it past others in your department and ask them what their advice would be to help resolve the problem. Ask if there was any other companies had problems like this and what they did to fix the problem, and after listening to everyone and taking their ideas then propose a solution to fix the problem.

Let everyone know your concerns and become known as the idea person and problem solver. Always listen to everyone and their ideas and think all of those ideas through. When you are attending meetings if there is an idea that you think will not work, don't be afraid to speak up and present a different solution or a well reasoned argument why the proposed direction would not work.

Always strive to have a plan of implementation for every great idea that you think of or may have already thought of. Always try to think what will benefit both the department and the company. Discuss all possible ideas and results to your superiors and see what they think of your ideas.

Always look for new ways of improving what is being done within the company and also look for new ways to help move the company forward. Consider taking a different approach when dealing with customers. How can the meeting presentations be improved upon and be more streamlined to make the company better?

If you keep this approach on the forefront of your thinking every day and you challenge the rules that don't contribute to the bottom line. You will soon begin to see career growth, and it will now have more satisfaction, plus your responsibilities and your rewards will increase all because you learned how to break the rules within the rules.