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

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!

“Um, What Company is this Again?” Candidates’ Most Cringe-Worthy Interview Mistakes


Employers know as well as job seekers do that it’s still tough out there, and it seems they would be kind to overlook job seekers’ most innocent of mistakes, like spilling coffee on the boss’s suit, or letting it slip that “snugglebear” was one’s childhood nickname, or calling the hiring manager “Dad” in a moment of flustered introductions (No? Never happened to you?).

In a labor market where a single open position may receive resumes from hundreds of applicants, however, there are certain mistakes employers won’t — or shouldn’t — brush off. But which mistakes are blips — and which are total blunders? You be the judge, as CareerBuilder’s latest survey, conducted by Harris Interactive© among more than 3,000 employers, takes a closer look at candidates’ biggest interview mistakes – straight from the HR employees and hiring managers who experienced them.

What are the most harmful interview mistakes, according to hiring managers?

It’s hard to believe candidates would risk pulling out the iPhone during an interview to answer a text about Friday night plans, but it does happen. The mistakes below are surefire ways for candidates not to get the job, according to the majority of employers surveyed:

  • Answering a cell phone or texting: 77 percent
  • Appearing disinterested: 75 percent
  • Dressing inappropriately: 72 percent
  • Appearing arrogant: 72 percent
  • Talking negatively about current or previous employers: 67 percent
  • Chewing gum: 63 percent
In addition to these egregious errors, we recently walked into offices across the nation to ask hiring managers what would make them count a candidate out immediately.

Employers’ most memorable interview experiences

There are your run-of-the-mill “Don’ts” for interviews — and then there are some that are a bit more unusual. While, as we’ve said before, strange interview tactics can be a smart move, the tactics must show how a candidate will contribute to a company or display their strengths somehow. Do any of the tactics below pass that test for you?

  • Candidate brought a “how to interview book” with him to the interview.
  • Candidate asked, “What company is this again?”
  • Candidate put the interviewer on hold during a phone interview. When she came back on the line, she told the interviewer she had a date set up for Friday.
  • When a candidate interviewing for a security position wasn’t hired on the spot, he graffitied the building.
  • Candidate wore a Boy Scout uniform and never told interviewers why.
  • Candidate was arrested by federal authorities during the interview when a background check revealed the person had an outstanding warrant.
  • Candidate talked about promptness as one of her strengths after showing up ten minutes late.
  • On the way to the interview, candidate passed, cut-off, and flipped middle finger to driver who happened to be the interviewer.
  • Candidate referred to himself in the third person.
  • Candidate took off shoes during interview.
  • Candidate asked for a sip of the interviewer’s coffee.
  • A mature candidate told the interviewer she wasn’t sure if the job offered was worth “starting the car for.”

 Take a moment to reassess

It’s important for job seekers to keep in mind that with so many others applying to the position they want, every misstep can matter — and they need to be presentable, prepared, and courteous to those interviewing them, above all else. While many of the examples above show a lack of these qualities, it’s also important for hiring managers to remember to put themselves in candidates’ shoes for a moment (as seen above, possibly even literally), to reassess the situation.

What would your advice be to candidates on what NOT to do if they hope to ace the interview?

How to Become an Expert in Oil and Gas Job Interviews

Looking for employment in the Oil and Gas industry is definitely a worthy experience, as the large range of positions are easily to be filled by many types of professionals. The oil and gas domain is a complex one, and you will be able to see this even in the types of interview formats and questions that you will experience while applying for a position.

Although many of the smaller oil companies have a recruitment process that can be classified as formal, others have begun to focus on the global aspect of the oil industry and adapt their recruitment techniques according to their worldwide practices.

The recruitment process is very different from the traditional one that included the application form and the interview. The applicants are grouped under the supervision of a moderator and they are given complex tasks to solve.

Such techniques are used by Shell, and the tasks include creating viable solutions to problems that relate closely not only to the oil and gas processes, but also to the economy or environment of the area in question. This type of selection techniques will give the employers the possibility to observe how the applicants deal when confronted with complex problems that can occur in their position, but also how motivated are they and their ability to manage in a stressful situation.

The oil and gas companies have adapted their selection techniques according to their needs and objectives, but the final goal is the same: to form a highly professional team of oil and gas employees. Before you decide which company is the best for you to build a solid career in the Oil and Gas industry, you should know that a little research can work wonders on your selection process.

The first step you should do when preparing for a job interview for an oil and gas company is to find out more information about the basic sectors and operations in the Oil and Gas industry. The amount of information available on the topic is vast, including books, publications such as the Oil and Gas Journal or The Internet. It is the best way to be prepared for any kind of questions or case scenarios that the employer might try to surprise you with, and you will demonstrate your profound knowledge on the inside mechanisms of the oil industry. You will also find who the major players of the Oil and Gas industry are and which company is the best working environment to build a solid career.

After the company has approved your application, you should consider the next stage ? the job interview ? as the only occasion for you to sell yourself and to find out more about the employing company. Focus on demonstrating the employer that you can be an asset to his company, by bringing on board a productive and ambitious team player.

Consider the fact that the employers prefer ‘people persons’, and you should mention that you are a communicative person and you can reason with people on various levels. In fact, he will be able to observe this from the interview, so the manner you handle contact with the interviewer is very important.

Even if you are nervous and you think that you might not be accepted, consider the fact that usually, employers tend to choose the person that fits the company, instead of the most qualified applicant.

  • Be confident, happy and full of energy;
  • Be interested in finding more information about the company.

You can pass any job interview if you will consider following the next set of tips:

  • Arrive at the company earlier, maybe 10 ? 15 minutes earlier. In order to achieve that, make sure you allow time for any traffic problems. In case you are late apologize briefly and don’t offer any excuses, because you shouldn’t have any.
  • Don’t go at the interview if you are tired; yawning and lacks of energy don’t make god impressions.
  • The handshake should be firm. If you are nervous and your hands are sweaty, you can run some cold water over them and wipe them with a napkin.
  • Make sure you choose the appropriate clothing for the position you are applying for. A suit might be great for an accountant position, but not for a driller position.
  • Be prepared with useful information about the company and the oil and gas industry and you will build an interesting conversation with the interviewer.
  • Turn off the cell phone and the pager. No one likes to be interrupted by their sound, especially the interviewer.
  • Avoid excessive hand gestures or other nervous habits (like playing with your hair or chewing your nails).
  • Speak clearly and try to avoid using words like ‘hmm’ or ‘ah’, that could leave the impression you don’t know what to respond.
  • Think before you speak, especially if you like chatting. The interviewer doesn’t need to know what movie you have seen last night.
  • Be confident when it comes to your skills and what you can do for the company.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Don’t hesitate in asking questions about the company. If you don’t have any, think of some. The employers appreciate the real interest in the company and the operations they perform, and will consider that you could fit into the company.
  • At one point, you can open a discussion about the wages or benefits they can offer you, especially if you are a graduate.
  • You can offer to provide them more references about your skills and experience.

Now that you know what you should do during the job interview, maybe some possible questions about the oil and gas jobs might prepare you better regarding the informational aspect of the interview.

Those questions can easily match many of the Oil and Gas sectors, and the only thing you must to is consider any questions related to the specific company you are applying for. You can use them successfully for asking your interviewer details about the company and show that you are really interested in building a career in the oil industry.

  1. Can you specify some of the consequences of the mergers and the restructuring of the staff on your company’s profile?
  2. What is the career development of your employees that started a similar position five or seven years ago?
  3. What are the methods used by your company to maintain a permanent development in the oil and gas field?
  4. How would you describe your company’s most competitive advantages?
  5. How do your business units cooperate in order to operate at a maximum efficiency?

Now that you have put your interviewer on the spot, it will eventually be your turn to be ‘grilled’. You can use those questions to get an idea about what the interviewer will ask you. There will also be questions that will refer specifically to the position you are applying for.

  1. What are your goals on a long term period and on a short one regarding your career?
  2. Why have you chosen the Oil and Gas industry to build a career?
  3. Have you ever used your persuasion skills in order to achieve your goal? If you had, describe the situation.
  4. Have you ever been involved in a project that required working with people that came from different backgrounds? Describe the experience.
  5. Can you describe me a situation that required you to use your skills in order to prevent a possible conflict?

Now that you have seen how a job interview could develop for an oil and gas position, we strongly advise you to pay attention to the information above and use it properly in order to start your oil and gas career with the right step.

If you need advice contact us now.

CA Oil & Gas Middle East –


The 7 Questions You Need To Ask Before Hiring Anybody

Staffing is always a difficult nut to crack: Having too many people adds unnecessary costs and nicks your profits; too few and crucial things like customer service start to suffer. You want that magic number of sufficient, competent employees. For any owner, it’s a balancing act.

job interview

Here are the questions to consider:

1. What are your goals? Your investors are likely to be focused on short-term profits or conserving cash. Your customers are pushing for speedy, capable service. You have to walk the tightrope between the two.

2. What is your positioning? If you’re the price leader, your job is to cut costs wherever possible. Think like Walmart. If you’re more interested in customer service, then you must hire and train people to deliver top-notch service. should be your model.

3. How can you track your personnel needs? At, we use a personnel predictor that’s built into our phone system. It matches historical customer service trends on a day-to-day and hourly basis versus what we think we’ll need. We factor in an acceptable level of Average Speed to Answer and an acceptable Lost-Call rate. The software calculates how many people we’ll need based upon the service level we want to offer. Your business may not require such a system—but you should have some kind of a system.

4. How hard are your employees willing to work? Again, it’s not a simple question. People like overtime pay, at least in the short term, so it can be an effective way to temporarily meet increased demand. But people eventually burn out. And there’s ample evidence that people perform better when they work less. When your people work constantly, with no real break, they don’t have time for training, so they never get better at their jobs.

5. How do you pay people? I think it’s smart to make payroll as much as a variable cost as possible, so you can hire more people, but pay on performance—in other words, when they sell, provide service, etc. Your payroll costs never get (too much) higher than revenue dictates.

6. Are you willing to share the profits? If profit-sharing is a part of people’s bonuses, they’ll perform more efficiently. They understand that the more people you hire, the smaller their share of the profit pie. So they’ll work harder (read “smarter”) to prove their worth. At my company, at the end of the year we take a percentage of profits and divide it up equally among all the employees. The more we make, the more everyone gets, but the system incentivizes employees to make the most with the fewest number of people.

7. How long does it take to train and on-board people? If people aren’t moving through your training program and becoming productive quickly, put more resources into training to shorten that time. The more complex your business, the more likely it is that you’ll need to hire ahead of anticipated demand. If, on the other hand, you can outsource your peak calls, then you simply need to have that reservoir ready when demand dictates.

To hire or not to hire is not just one question: It’s at least seven—and probably even more. What questions do you consider before you decide to staff up?

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The Management Secrets Of Kim Jong Il

The death of North Korean Dear Leader, Eternal President and Lodestar of the 21st Century Kim Jong Il gives us a moment to assess the man – sorry, demigod – not just as a brutal, murderous, deranged dictator but also as a manager.

Let us not forget that he lead a complex enterprise for 17 years and even managed to “flourish” (at least by his definition), as he told his people every day. Clearly, there are lessons to be learned here.

Do whatever it takes to get the best talent. In 1978, Kim ordered the kidnapping of South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his wife, the actress Choi Eun-hee, in order to build up North Korea’s film industry. They made seven films before escaping to the West in 1986. We all know how hard it is to keep good people, don’t we?

Communication is overratedHe only made one broadcast to his nation. In 1992, during a military parade in Pyongyang, he said into a microphone at the grandstand: “Glory to the heroic soldiers of the Korean People’s Army!” Even so, North Koreans wept on the streets like Elvis fans when they heard of his death. And speaking of Elvis…

Have your own style. Only Donald Trump has a more distinctive (and funnier) hair style than Kim’s fabulous pompadour. As so often happens when someone dies, I suspect Kim’s passing will make people wistful and even nostalgic about him. To stay ahead of the curve go out now and order a gray leisure suit and glasses bigger than your face. You’ll thank me later.

Be a renaissance man. While in college, which he finished in just three years, Kim wrote at least 1,500 books. Even after becoming North Korea’s CEO he always made time for the arts, composing six operas and directing movies. He also invented a product described as “double bread with meat” and created factories to produce them. (Jealous rivals tried to smear this last accomplishment by saying this invention looked an awful lot like the hamburger.) Nor was he just another nerd: According to his biography, the only time he ever played golf, he had a 38-under par round that included no fewer than 11 holes in one.

Work your way up from the bottom. Despite being the son of the nation’s leader, Kim earned his place at the top. While in middle school he worked in a factory and was said to be quite the whizz at repairing trucks and electric motors. Even though he joined the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea in 1964, it wasn’t until 10 years later that he was anointed as successor to his father.

Embrace new technology. North Korea is believed to have as many as 1,000 hackers targeting other nations.

Keep an eye on the details. Kim had female staff inspect each grain of rice on his dinner table to make sure it adhered to standards of length, weight and color.

Customer service matters. Kim forced waitresses at restaurants frequented by foreigners in Pyongyang to have cosmetic surgery in order to appear more “western.”

Play office politics for keeps. Do I really have to spell this out?

Work hard? Party hard. Despite famines caused mostly by economic mismanagement that have killed two million North Koreans, Kim had live lobsters airlifted daily to his train when traveling. He reportedly drank nearly $700,000 worth of cognac a year. It’s a wonder he made it to 69. If that was his real age.
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