Dealing with an Unresponsive Employer


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.


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

Top 5 Salary Tips

Top 5 Salary Tips

As much as we all look for job satisfaction, most workers agree that money is the real reason they get out of bed and go to work each day.

These tips will help you get paid what you deserve and make the most of the money you earn.

1. Work out your value 
Thoroughly research what other people with your skills and experience are getting paid so you can back up your salary demands. Remember that the same role can be of different value in different industries so make your research remains relevant to your situation. Find out more or try out our Salary Calculator.

2. Improve your negotiation skills 
It can be easier holding out for more money when you’re in the process of being offered a job than trying to get a raise when you actually have one. Consider positions of power, bargaining tools and the consequences of non-agreement. Find out more.

3. Utilise benefit schemes 
Employees often undervalue the value of benefits when it comes to negotiating a salary. If your discussions aren’t going particularly well, it’s well worth trying to work into the package benefits that cost next to nothing for you employer, but mean a great deal to you. Find out more.

4. Make the most of your money 
If you’re having a tough time with money, you may have to make a choice between getting into more debt, becoming a hermit, or coming up with some ways to save the pennies. Look to set budgets, destroy credit cards, eat cheaper and consolidate any outstanding loans.Find out more.

5. Save for the future 
It’s never too early to start saving for your retirement. For most companies it’s an obligation to give you access to a pension scheme or at least point you towards a financial advisor who can explain the ins and outs of the thousands of pension options that are available. Find out more.

As Temperatures Rise, Productivity Falls, Survey Shows

Nearly 30 years later,Bananarama’s haunting words once again ring true: it truly is a cruel, cruel summer…

…at least it is for those employers who say their workplaces are suffering from a decrease in employee productivity right now.

According to CareerBuilder’s recent survey on employee productivity, one in four employers (26 percent) think workers are less productive in the summer and nearly half (45 percent) think workers at their organization are currently burned out on their jobs.

Turns out, the reason employees seem burned out is because they are. (Shocking, right?)

Of the nearly 5,300 employees surveyed, 77 percent say they are sometimes or always burned out in their jobs, and 43 percent say their stress levels on the job have increased over the last six months.

The rising stress could be a result of heavier workloads. Nearly half (46 percent) of employees reported an increase in their workloads in the last six months, while only eight percent said their workloads decreased.

As if feelings of burnout aren’t enough to distract workers, summer provides its own special recipe for productivity disaster: Nicer weather, vacation-fever, and kids being out of school led the list of reasons employers felt their workers were less productive.

Productivity perceptions differ
The goodish news is that productivity is actually up from previous years…depending on who you ask: Looking at overall productivity trends year-round, 30 percent of the more than 2,600 employers surveyed say workers are more productive today than before the recession began; while 12 percent feel workers are less productive than before the recession.

Employers who saw a rise in worker productivity during the recession primarily attribute the increase to the fear of losing a job and the effects of downsized staffs on individual workloads. In addition, 73 percent are seeing the increase sustain today and 14 percent state productivity has increased even more.

Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America, says it’s no wonder workers are feeling burned out right now. In a statement for the press release, Rasmussen says:

“The recession produced consequences for not just those who were laid off, but also for the many employees who were asked to work harder as a result of leaner staffs. While getting more out of a smaller workforce is a sign of organizational agility during unpredictable times, it’s hard to see such yields in productivity holding forever. Headcount will be needed to meet increasing demands.”

4 Fast Fixes to Employee Burnout
While there’s no (legally available) magic pill to make employee burnout go away, you can help relieve some of their feelings by implementing a few of the following tactics.

  1. If you love them, let them go. Encourage your employees to cash in their vacation time. Even if they can’t afford to leave town, taking a day or two off will help them refresh.
  2. Add an “ish” to that clock in/clock out time. If it works for your company, be a little more flexible with letting workers come in later or leave earlier, or maybe work from home a few days a week, so long as they get their work done. Better yet, consider implementing “Summer Fridays” and letting your employees off at noon to let them enjoy a little extra weekend time.
  3. Have class outside. Re-energizing your team could be as simple as taking a break from the routing and getting out of the office every once in a while. You might consider organizing an outing to a museum, baseball game, bowling alley or nearby restaurant for a team lunch or happy hour. In addition to boosting morale, out-of-office gatherings give co-workers a chance to mingle in a more relaxed environment, strengthening both business and personal relationships.
  4. Adjust the A/C. Yep, you read that right. It may sounds simple-to-the-point-of-silly, but a recent survey shows extreme office temperatures can affect worker productivity. It may be hot outside, but that doesn’t mean the a/c has to go bull blast inside. Don’t ignore the a/c either, though. Smelly, sweaty and hot is a triple threat to productivity, if not the senses.

Are you feeling the effects of worker burnout this season? How are you coping?

Job Interviews: Tips for Turning an Interview into an Offer

The way we hunt for jobs has changed drastically in the past decade — thanks in part to the continuing growth of the Internet, the social-media revolution, and the new ubiquity of mobile computing. Of course, some job interviewing tips remain the same: You still need a greatresume — even though it might not be on paper (and may be augmented by video and other multimedia files).

Networking is still very important — even though it happens online more and more frequently. And a job interview is still a deciding factor in the hiring process — however, some of the rules and requirements of interviews have changed.  Here are some tricks for turning interviews into offers:

5 Thoroughly Modern Job-Interviewing Tips for Success

1. Doing Your Research Is More Important than Ever
You find the perfect job posted on So you apply, and — hooray! — you’re called for an interview. Now it’s time to do some research. The Internet and social-networking sites make that a lot easier than it used to be, so you’re expected to make the effort.

Be prepared to talk about the company’s recent achievements, the challenges it’s facing, and industry news. Also look up the people you’ll be interviewing with, and find interview-appropriate conversational topics or common ground you might discuss. (For more tips on how to demonstrate your research, read “How to Ask Good Questions at an Interview.”)

2. Make a Good Impression on the Phone
With more candidates to sort through, recruiters and hiring managers often rely on phone interviews as the first step in the interview process. It’s important to prepare for a phone interview as you would for a real interview — and that includes dressing for the occasion and finding a quiet place to talk, away from barking dogs or blaring daytime TV.

Sit up straight and smile — your professionalism will come through on the phone.  (Check out the “Phone Interviews: 5 Tricks for Standing Out” slideshare for more tricks on standing out during a phone interview, as well as more presentations from

3. Prepare Sound Bites
Think of a job interview as something like an infomercial — and you’re the spokesperson as well as the product. So you’ll need some catchy slogans (or “sound bites”) that will lodge in your viewers’ minds and make them really want that product.

A sound bite is succinct, specific, and catchy: “I was the division’s top salesperson for three years straight,” for example, or “I wrote the highest-clicking article in the site’s history.” (For more tips, read “Selling Yourself in a Job Interview.”)

4. Get Ready for Tough Interview Questions
Interviewers will surely ask difficult questions, so it pays to have answers prepared. Think of past on-the-job situations when you’ve been challenged, when you’ve learned from failure, when you’ve disagreed with a boss, and so on.

Also be ready for questions you can’t prepare for in advance: an interviewer may want to determine how well you think on your feet, and will ask a puzzle question such as “How many golf balls would it take to fill this room?” When you’re asked a question like this, don’t just take a guess — think aloud, and let the interviewer hear your thought process (“First I’d have to determine the room’s volume …” and so on).

5. The More Some Things Change, the More Others Stay the Same
While there are new guidelines, the old commonsense ones still apply: You have to be on time, you have to be dressed professionally and appropriately, and you have to have a solid post-interview plan.  (Get tips on what to do after the interview, in “Follow Up After the Interview for the Win.“)

Getting It Right As A New Leader: What To Do When You Get Promoted

As difficult as making the climb up the ladder to leadership might be, assuming the new responsibilities of an executive role might be even more challenging. 

In this post from the Personal Branding Blog, author Suzanne Bates shines the spotlight on one leader who got it right and what his experience can teach other new leaders:

In 2003, Fred Cook became the third CEO of Golin Harris in 54 years, when Al Golin stepped aside. As the baton was passed to the new leader, the financial picture at Golin Harris was a bit shaky.

Cook recalls:

“We had grown complacent. We were resting on our laurels. A collaborative, friendly and supportive culture meant that we would lose a new business pitch and you’d see a flurry of emails congratulating everybody for coming in second or third.”

Cook faced a dilemma. How could he infuse a winning attitude, part of his brand, without losing what worked at Golin Harris?

He wanted to turn up the heat and change the chemistry of the company, without changing the people.

Think about a time when you’ve started in a new role. Does this sound familiar?

You have good people, and good values, but something isn’t working. How do you preserve what works and still drives the company forward?

One of the biggest challenges can be building a brand—and intertwining your personal brand with your company’s brand. Brand awareness is a marketing concept that measures other people’s knowledge of a brand’s existence.

As a leader, one of your jobs as a new leader is to create and enhance brand awareness, to use your personal brand to highlight the company brand.

The first thing Cook did was to celebrate what he wanted to emphasize — that winning attitude. “If a team won a piece of business, I sent out trophies with the Golin Harris logo. They came with a note card from me along with a gift card for $50.”

There is nothing better than rewards and recognition to create tangible reminders of the values that you want to drive home.

You also have to start measuring people by those actions and behaviors. That may sound like a no-brainer, it’s consistently surprising how companies don’t do this. Once you establish the value, figure out how to measure it, track it and communicate results.

Golin Harris started tracking “winning” success every way they could measure it, and by 2007, four short years later, they had won Agency of the Year awards from three different organizations.

The next and sometimes more difficult challenge is sustaining the momentum. How do you keep it going? Change is hard.

At Golin Harris, one of the Agency Awards trophies was mailed from office to office, all 30 around the globe.

People were encouraged to send back videos of the trophy. “They had it in front of the Eiffel Tower, on a ferry boat in Hong Kong; we shared all this on our web site.”

The result was it stuck. Within a few years, the company was thriving financially. “What I am most proud of is we went from almost no profit to better than 20% margin without changing any of the senior management team,” says Cook.

Golin Harris preserved what worked, while infusing a new value, by highlighting the value and making the message stick. People were excited because they were part of a winning team.

Brand Building for New Leaders

Fred Cook wasn’t well-known to the Golin Harris leadership team when he was brought from LA to Chicago and then made CEO a few short months later. As a new leader, he sensed the difficulty many people had. “It is one thing to be given a title and another to earn the respect that comes with the title,” he said.

Cook did what any smart leader would do. He went one-on-one to each leader and talked with them. “I wanted to understand their strengths and leverage them,” he said.

“Then it was a matter of convincing them the change was good for the company.” This built momentum for a course of action. That doesn’t always happen. If it doesn’t, you need to take action. One person who is not committed can sink the ship. You have to ask for, and receive, 100% commitment. You and they owe it to the organization. Be sure that as you start in a new role, you build trust, get people on board, and assess whether they are all with you, hearts and minds.

Communication Strategy for New Leaders

Once everyone is on board, it’s time to cascade the message. This takes a sustained effort. People need to hear the message many times, feel it and believe it. You have to connect logically and emotionally. It has to stick.

Communicating is the most important thing you do. If you don’t spend time on this, and keep it going, you know what will happen. People will dismiss the latest message as a passing fad.

A good communications strategy is necessary to execute every business plan. Without a plan for how to communicate, and time on your calendar to do it, your plan will fail.  Plan on means daily, weekly and monthly communication activities.  You should have meetings, written communication and a lot of clever, tangible reminders that keep the message front and center.

Remember, the success or failure of the communication plan can’t hinge on your actions alone. You are driving it; you are responsible for it. But you can’t be the only one to deliver the message.

I’ve seen many organizations get bottle necked because the top person was the only one talking about it; the rest of the team was too “busy” doing to take the time to cascade the message. The best communication strategies include everyone in the organization.

Sometimes, one ingenious idea can be the hinge for the entire plan. Golin Harris employees were chattering about where the “trophy” would pop up next.

Your leadership brand is most valuable when it is known by many others. You have to create that buzz. Just like a product brand, your leadership brand impact is measured by the number of people who are aware of you and have a positive impression.

Does your name spring to mind when people think of leaders in your space? Are you the one they call for a comment, or to give a speech, or be on a panel?

When people are looking to do business in your category or industry being the first person they think of is invaluable.

Survey – discovering client perceptions of recruiters and the recruitment industry

2079 senior professionals working within the recruitment industry were invited to participate in a confidential telephone survey aimed at discovering client perceptions of recruiters and the recruitment industry.

168 chose to participate (8%) and came from a variety of industry sectors including Information Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Finance and Biotechnology.

Overall, the survey concluded that clients hold a negative perception of the recruitment industry and therefore opinion can be granted that recruiters have many barriers to overcome when trying to develop successful working partnerships.

An analytical breakdown of the response to each of the survey
questions follows.