Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Most job interviews are all about faking it

Being yourself on the interview is not part of the game. Only in rare situation somebody will appreciate your honesty and you could discuss your experience and potential job without having to pretend. Most of the HR personnel and interviewers will say that honesty is what they want, but that is simply not true. They want you to be honest so they could discard you as a potential employee. That is why you have to fake it.

1) Never say you are there because you need money

All of us are looking for a job because we need money. But don't say it out loud. If you say at your interview: "I am here because job is well paid and benefits are great", you are making a great mistake. You are there because you like the job, it is your dream job and you are the perfect candidate. Money is not an issue at all. You are prepared to work overtime without vacation because you absolutely adore that job.

2) You need to look excited for the job or the company

In all job search advice websites you can find that what employers like to see is enthusiasm for the job or company. If you have it that is great, but if you don't you need to fake it. Practice it at home, prepare sentences in your head. Say something like: "I was so excited when I heard about this position." or "I am following your company for some time." or "This is a dream place to be".

3) Prepare answers in advance

Some interview questions are overused. For example famous questions like: "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?", "What is your greatest weakness?" etc... There are plenty of books, courses, and advice on how to answer them. Nobody is expecting honesty, not even interviewers. If you try to be honest, and think about the answer on the spot, you could look like somebody who comes unprepared and doesn't know to google "most common interview questions". It certainly doesn't look good to make an impression that you don't prepare for obvious things. There is a pattern on how you should reply some of the questions, and you need to follow it.

4) If competition is doing it, you have to follow

Let's be honest. If you don't fake the interview, other job applicants will. Consequently, you will be at disadvantage. Don't let it happen, be prepared. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why people don't like HR?

If you have watched a TV show: "The Office" you know that one of the most hated  is Toby Flenderson who works for HR. Human resource department is indeed one of the least liked part of every organization.

But why is HR hated so much? Let's have look some of the most common reasons:

1) Too much bureaucracy

HR is full of unnecessary procedures, which only slow down the work of organization.

2) Their hiring criteria is ridiculous

In some organization the rule of thumbs for managers is to avoid as much possible to use HR in a hiring process. HR criteria doesn't filter the best candidates.

First thing is that they use automated software in filtering resumes. Automated software filters resumes by using certain keywords. Therefore it is more important which words you used, not what you said.

Second is that they look more at the form. Resume design matters more than real skills and experience.  Also the best resumes are written by resume writers. How does a resume helps in finding the best candidate when ti was written by somebody else?

And third thing is that they don't understand a position very well. Has it ever happened to you on the interview with HR,  that when you are at the middle of trying to explain all your programming skills, what have you done at previous job etc... and how it would matter on a potential current job, you realize that an HR representative doesn't understand a thing you are saying? You are trying to explain how your knowledge of Python can help in working with C ++, while they don't know what Python is. It is always better to talk with a person who actually knows what the work is all about, a potential boss or a co-worker.

Fourth, they use psychology test and questions which are not so relevant. All what it matters for most jobs is how responsible you are and that you are not a sociopath. Tests which measure level of your empathy, childhood traumas,  etc... are really not important. For example, a friend of mine has recently been asked how many siblings he has and how has his mother treated him. Is that reasonable?

4) Out of touch with reality

In solving employee problems or in trying to motivate employees they can use techniques which are out of touch with reality. For example, not letting employees to choose where they want to go to team building, but deciding on some corporate criteria. Forbidding jokes which might be considered sexual abuse etc...

5) They always side with employer

HR is paid by management, not employers. Consequently, they act in management's best interest. Don't trust them, or confess them something personal. In order to look good in management eyes they can break the confidence. If you told them that you don't like your boss, you better say good bye to the job.  They put a false friendly face, but don't care about employees, they only care to minimize lawsuit possibility for the organization.

6) They have no real skills and are overpaid

Some managers even claim that HR doesn't have real skills. All they know to do is paperwork organization. Most of them don't have communication, organizational or psychological skills.

Also, more people they fire, the more they get paid for cutting costs.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Looking for a job is like a full-time sales job

We are already been told that a job search is actually a full time job. Writing tailored resumes, cover letters, searching for job postings, networking, contacting, practicing interview, researching companies is definitely time-consuming. Add to it stress and it sound like a full-time job. Not any kind a job, but a full-time sales job. We have to sell ourselves, and present ourselves on best possible way. 

Imagine a door to door salesman who wants to sell you a product. He is persistent and convincing, enthusiastic, with a smile on his face selling the best product available. Well, you need to be like one of them. 

If you don't have sales skill, you are at disadvantage.

Your real work skills  don't always matter. What is most important is how you present yourself. Firm handshake, a tie, preparing answers in advance, looking motivated, understanding buyers needs, good body language, enthusiasm, confidence is what gets you a job.

Even if you are the most excellent and responsible programmer if you show up at the interview in jeans you would be discarded. If your resume isn't easy to skim through in ten seconds, you don't stand a chance.

These are simply rules of the game. Competition is harsh, and only the best and the most creative prevail. 

If you don't have good communication skills, or you are not good at pretending, don't be disappointed. You can learn all those skills.  It is not hard, it just requires time and practice. There are plenty of advice on the Internet about how to behave at job interviews or how to write a CV. On every interview you need to look like that is your dream job.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Does discrimination against unemployed or jobless make sense?

Jobless discrimination is one of the recent most talked about job market phenomenons .  Has it been present before or is ithat the we started paying attention to it given that unemployment levels are rising everywhere? We can’t say for sure. Maybe it is only a temporary trend.
From the job applicant point of view it is certainly a negative practive which should be discouraged. Like with any kind of discrimination it limits people  with less choice and opportunity.  But why are employers doing it? What are the reasons behind this behavior? We have gathered some of the most mentioned reasons behind this:

1. Too many resumes

The most important reason is certainly too many job applicants. When the number gets too high, companies are using any kind of filter they can think off.  Current employment status is actually a very good filter, because most of the applicants are unemployed. By using it the pile of resumes needed to be read gets significantly lower.

2. Assuming that most of the unemployed are unemployed for a reason.

Employers want the best of the best. Being the best of the best means two things:

 a) The best applicant is so good that he would never be able to lose his job no matter how hard times are.  They survived downsizing because of good skills.
b) Also, the best possible employee doesn’t have a problem in finding a job, so he/she would always be employed.
Therefore it is not possible to be best of the best if you are unemployed.

3. Unemployed  are not up to date with current trends

Unemployed have a  gap in experience. Being out of work means that one hasn’t been able to learn new stuff and skills, and be in line with latest trends.  This is especially a case for long-term unemployed.
Unemployed are more likely to apply everywhere, while employed only apply to specific companies
So, do these reasons make sense?

Some of the contra arguments would be:

1. Lots of people don’t get fired because of bad performance. Being fired is sometimes matter of bad luck.
2. Employed job-seekers have higher salary and benefits expectations. Unemployed will settle for less.
3. Employed job-seekers are not loyal to company and will leave as soon as better chance appears. 
4. Unemployed are more motivated to work, because they need a job.
5. Employed job-seekers are up to date only with their current workplace demand 

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