Dealing with an Unresponsive Employer


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Dealing with an Unresponsive Employer
By Bill Radin

Joan was concerned, and more than a little frustrated. A week had gone by since the hiring manager interviewed her top candidate; but since then, she couldn’t get him to return her calls or respond to her emails.

In the meantime, her candidate’s attitude was starting to sour, as post-interview euphoria turned to disillusion. Given the employer’s silent treatment, there was little Joan could do to keep her candidate warm.

“Well, this stinks,” thought Joan, as she considered her options. Here are the strategies she looked at:

Option 1 – Stay the course. Wait another week or two for the employer to respond and assure the candidate that all is well.

Joan rejected this approach right away. Until she got an update, Joan couldn’t credibly counter the candidate’s disappointment or prevent the candidate from looking elsewhere.

Option 2 – Force the issue. Joan could double the number of phone calls and emails, break down the hiring manager’s door, or get somebody – anybody – at the company to intercede and get an answer.

“I’ll take charge,” thought Joan. But would pitching a hissy fit really speed up the process? No, she decided. And besides, a frontal assault might annoy the employer and possibly make matters worse.

Option 3 – Throw more resumes at the company. Perhaps the hiring manager simply needs to see more candidates in order to make a decision.

“Very tempting,” thought Joan. But without knowing what’s causing the delay, the solution of more candidates may not address the underlying problem. Maybe the employer already has too many people under consideration, in which case more choices would create even more uncertainty and more bottlenecks. Or maybe the position’s been placed on hold. Or the employer’s been busy putting out a fire somewhere else. Plus, Joan didn’t want to create the impression that candidates are a dime a dozen.

Option 4 – Shop the candidate. This deal’s already on “hold” status until further notice. Why not present the candidate to other employers?

“I like it,” thought Joan. Since she couldn’t change the employer’s timeline, Joan figured she might as well target new companies who might take an interest in her candidate. In fact, the more she thought about it, the more she saw the upside potential.

Not only would Joan expand her horizons, she’d increase her odds of making a placement. Plus, she’d stay on top of the candidate’s job search activity, helping to ensure that would have her hand in any and all offers that might come down the pike. And if one of the bidders happened to be Joan’s sleepwalking client, then so much the better. It might just reinforce the notion that in today’s war for talent, those who snooze often have the most to lose.


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9 Interview Questions You Should Be Asking


When interviewing, many candidates don’t realize that the questions they ask are just as important as how they present themselves and the answers they give. Failing to ask questions shows a lack of genuine interest in the job. Asking foolish questions indicates the candidate didn’t do enough research prior to the interview. Making either mistake can cost a candidate the job offer.

Heather Krasna, author of “Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service,” advises job seekers to prepare a list of questions before the interview, much like they’d create a list of talking points that address the value they offer the employer.

“Every interview is different. Some interviewers will only give you the chance to ask two or three questions. Others will ask again and again if you have any questions, so prepare more questions than you think you will need in case this happens,” she says.

Developing a list of questions to ask is problematic for many job seekers. In her book, Krasna offers the following suggestions and explains why such questions can give candidates a much-needed edge:

1. “What are you seeking in the ideal candidate for this position?”

This question allows you to counter by adding any particular skills or qualities you have left out in the interview, but which the employer thinks are important.

2. “How would you describe your management style?”

When you are being interviewed by a hiring manager to whom you would report, this is a great question for gathering insight into whether you might get along.

3. “Can you give me some examples of the types of projects I may be working on?”

If the job description was a bit vague on the types of assignments you would be doing or if you are otherwise unclear on this point, this question is essential to ask.

4. “What do you like best about working for this organization?”

This question not only gives great insight into the culture of the organization, it also makes the person answering the question feel good. In addition, if the person answering can’t come up with something good to say, this is a red flag about the place you might be working!

5. “How did this position become available?”

This question is a bit pushy, but it is quite important if you do not know how the position opened. Is the organization expanding? Or did the last person leave, and can you subtly find out why?

6. “What would you like to see happen six-to-12 months after you hire a new person for this position?”

This question is akin to “How will I be evaluated?” or “How do you measure success in this role?” It can also clue you in on whether the expectations for the job are realistic.

7. “What resources are available for this position?”

This question addresses the technology, staff or budget resources you will have and gives many insights into whether the organization is being realistic about what you can accomplish given the resources available.

8. “Is there anything you are still wondering about my candidacy that might keep you from offering me the position? Is there anything further I should clarify?”

This question shows you are open to feedback or critique and also tells the employer you want every opportunity to reassure him or her that you would be a great employee.

9. “What is the next step in the process? May I have your business card?”

The final question can help relieve your anxiety after the interview because you at least have some clue about how long it will be before the employer gets back to you. Ask for business cards from each person interviewing you so you can send thank-you notes.

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Hiring Manager


An employment interview is stressful. You need to say the right things to convince the hiring manager you’re the perfect person for the job. But you also need to be sure your nervousness doesn’t get the best of you and cause you to say something you’ll regret. Saying the wrong thing can cost you the opportunity, no matter how skilled or experienced you are.

Here are examples of what not to say to a hiring manager:

No-no No. 1: “My current boss is a jerk!” or “I left the company because it was a rotten place to work.”

Never badmouth a current or former employer. Even if you have had legitimate issues with a colleague, boss or company, don’t air the dirty laundry in front of the person with whom you interview. Complaining about others will just make you appear bitter and resentful and could cause the hiring manager to wonder about your attitude if you were to be hired at his or her firm. Stick to neutral comments such as, “I am looking for a different work environment” or “My career goals have changed” if you’re pressed for details about your desire for a new position.

No-no No. 2: “How much vacation time do I get?” or “What’s the bonus structure like?”

Questions like these tell a prospective employer one thing: You’re more concerned about the perks of the position than the job itself. It’s OK to ask these questions if you have been through several interviews and the hiring manager has expressed serious interest in hiring you. At that point, these types of inquiries allow you to make an informed decision about whether or not you truly want the job. But until then, focus your efforts on what you can offer the company, not what it can offer you.

No-no No. 3: “How much longer will this interview take? I have another appointment soon,” or “Do you mind if I make a quick phone call?”

An important part of the interview is, of course, treating the hiring manager with respect. Asking questions like these makes you seem rude, as if the interview were something of an inconvenience for you. Instead, take pains to show how interested you are in the opportunity. Arrive to the interview on time — or better yet, a few minutes early. Remain attentive throughout the meeting by taking notes and maintaining the right posture: Look the interviewer in the eye; nod when you agree with or understand a point he or she is making; and avoid crossing your arms, tapping your feet or displaying other signs of impatience. If you do have another appointment after the interview, leave a large enough window in case the meeting runs long or let the interviewer know ahead of time.

No-no No. 4: “I don’t want to have to work late,” or “I’d rather not learn PowerPoint.”

You don’t want an interviewer to view you as inflexible, which is exactly how he or she will if you make statements like these. Keep an open mind about a position that interests you, even if some aspects of it don’t seem ideal. Other factors — such as a higher-than-expected salary or the possibly to advance quickly — could outweigh the need to work overtime on occasion, for example. At the same time, don’t overlook absolute deal-breakers. If you do not want to travel for work, no matter the circumstance, let the employer know the opportunity is not right for you as soon as you realize that.

No-no No. 5: “Fortunately, my bad habits haven’t caught up with me,” or “I am one party animal.”

While you want the hiring manager to be able to get a sense of your personality, you don’t want him or her to know everything about you. When the hiring manager says, “Tell me about yourself,” use discretion and avoid the urge to overshare.

As a Robert Half survey indicated, strong people skills are among the most valuable qualities a job candidate can display when competing against another person with similar skills and experience. The first chance you get to show your strength in this area is during the interview, so think twice before you speak when meeting with an employer.

Robert Half International is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm, with a global network of more than 360 offices. For more information about our professional services, please visitroberthalf.com.

Weirdest Interview Behaviour


Before a big interview, a smart job seeker carefully chooses his or her outfit, researches the company and prepares smooth answers to questions the interviewer might ask.

But not everyone is a smart job seeker.

When CareerBuilder.com recently surveyed more than 850 hiring managers, nearly 70 percent reported they had witnessed a bizarre behavior from a job applicant during an interview.

Here are some of the gross, mind-bogglingly bizarre, and all-too-true ways real people blew their chances at scoring the job.

Not putting in the face time
You can’t get the job if you don’t show up for the interview. Several employers reported having job seekers blow off the interview completely, but that pales in comparison to some of the not-so-graceful ways some candidates made early exits.

Many bored candidates were spotted continually checking their watches, and one interviewee asked the hiring manager to speed things up so he could catch a bus. Another job seeker booked it out of the interview upon hearing about the drug test. But the weirdest story came from a hiring manager who said, “One applicant said the company had a black aura and left.”

Looking Unprofessional
A first impression can make or break a candidate – but apparently some applicants don’t understand the concept of “business-appropriate” attire. Several ultra-casual candidates arrived at their interviews in T-shirts and jeans, but that’s not the worst of it.

One job hopeful arrived at his interview displaying a hairy chest, medallion, strong cologne and a wad of gum in his mouth. And which is worse: the applicant who wore a housecoat and slippers or the one who wore his slippers with a bathing suit and T-shirt?

But remember: even impeccably dressed people can appear unprofessional. Singing the national anthem, trying to sell the interviewer a car, doing yoga at the interview and showing off your Ben Stiller imitation are proven ways to do just that.

Being excessively nervous
Some degree of anxiety is normal – even beneficial – at an interview, but hiring managers report some candidates take nervousness to the extreme. Applicants stuttered, giggled, babbled, and forgot what jobs they were applying for – but they were the lucky ones. Other, not-so-smooth job seekers wet themselves, and one applicant vomited on the interviewer’s shoes.

Being too forthcoming… or not honest enough
Sure, you only want that retail job for the 30 percent employee discount. But you wouldn?t actually say that in an interview… would you?

Some people did just that – or worse. One applicant raised eyebrows when he asked whether spousal abuse would prevent him from getting the job. Another said she had serious health problems and needed the company?s insurance. And one job-hopping hopeful disclosed that he planned to retire in two months.

Likewise, some hiring managers say interviewees are less than truthful in their applications. One candidate said he was in the military… and George Bush was listed as his last supervisor. Another admitted he didn?t do all of the duties listed in his résumé – but he assured the hiring manager that didn?t matter.

Being greedy
Asking about employee benefits during the first interview is almost always a no-no. Yet many job seekers were too quick to ask about salary, time off, vacations – even a raise before they had received the offer. Other, more audacious candidates complained about the hours they had to work, and one even asked, “How soon can I have your office?”

Acting desperate
Of course you want the job, but wowing the interviewer with your skills and qualifications is much more effective than outright bribery. Some candidates, however, went to all sorts of desperate measures. Applicants offered their interviewers gifts, money and even sex in return for a job offer, and one job seeker offered to shine the hiring manager’s shoes.

The secret to boosting your salary in a downturn


Given the current economic climate and turbulent job market, increasing your salary may seem like a pipe dream right now. In reality, it is possible to significantly enhance your career prospects by taking matters into your own hands. The secret lies in committing to your personal development through independent professional study.

Making the decision to ‘go back to school’ as an adult says a lot about you as a person and as an employee. Gaining targeted professional qualifications is a clear indicator that you are ambitious, motivated and dedicated to your particular line of work. A well structured course provides a framework for your existing knowledge while introducing you to additional skills that will boost your current ability. All of these factors combine to make you more capable and confident in the workplace, which in turn will increase your chance of securing that elusive pay rise.

Evidence suggests that professional study has a positive impact on employability and earning power. Research conducted by the University of Sheffield and published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in 2010 showed that vocational qualifications make a marked difference to employees’ earnings, ranging from 5 to 23 per cent. A further study by the department for Business, Innovation and Skills shows that people with level 3 vocational qualifications and above are less likely to be unemployed than those with similar academic credentials.

If you already have a busy work, family and social life then you may well find it hard to attend daily or weekly classes. This is where distance learning offers an attractive alternative. With distance learning you receive all your course materials digitally or through the post, and tutorial support is delivered by phone, email or over the internet. As a result you benefit from all the help you need at the time and place that suits you best.

Most distance learning providers also offer access to an online learning platform where you can take part in live we classes and chat with other students on the same course, so you get all the advantage of a traditional class from the comfort of your own home.

One of the main benefits of distance learning is that you’re not tied to specific start and finish dates. Instead, you progress at your own pace, spending as much or as little time as you like on your studies each week. You can even take a break and pick up where you left off further down the line. As a result, the duration of the course is down to you. With hard work it’s possible to gain a range of highly respected qualifications in anything from three months to two years.

Nowadays, it’s possible to find distance learning options for most subjects and course types so check out all the options before committing yourself to the classroom.

With these facts at your fingertips you are armed with all the knowledge you need to start developing your own professional skills and start creating a positive impression in the workplace that your boss can’t possibly ignore!