HR Specialist

Archive for the ‘1’ Category

Job Search Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

In 1 on April 20, 2010 at 9:39 am

 In any economic climate, job hunting is nobody’s idea of fun. And with the growing number of folks hitting the bricks these days, it seems the task is getting even harder. But that’s not precisely true, because the actual job-hunting strategies and techniques remain the same in any climate. What is bothersome, however, is that the process is likely to take longer. This leads to increased stress: financial stress, physical stress, emotional stress and family stress.

Most people do not perform at their best in stressful situations. They get tired more quickly, they get frustrated and run out of patience, and they make mistakes. Here are six job-hunting mistakes frequently made during a recession.

Mistake No. 1: Feeling entitled
In the new economy, your stellar background, great track record, prestigious degree and glowing references guarantee you nothing. The new employment paradigm is, “What have you done for me lately?” You must be constantly developing your skills and talents, broadening your interests and driving your career development. If you don’t, you may well be left behind.
Mistake No. 2: Focusing on yourself, not the employer
Spend your time finding out which of a potential employer’s needs are unmet instead of touting your brilliance. Saying, “I need a job” is irrelevant and depressing; that’s your problem and has nothing to do with why this organization is hiring. Uncovering an employer’s problem areas demonstrates your bona-fide interest, and offering your solutions demonstrates your critical thinking, creativity and approach to problem solving. This is how to get hired.

Mistake No. 3: Taking rejection personally
Face it; there are a lot of jobs you are not going to land. Use rejection as an opportunity to assess and build your job-hunting skills. Evaluate what you could have done better in your research or interview or with your follow-up. If you aren’t getting rejected regularly, then you either aren’t working hard enough to get your foot in the door or you’re applying for jobs beneath your capabilities. No employer makes a decision not to hire you; they make a decision to hire someone else who did a better job of selling himself or herself into the position.

Mistake No. 4: Focusing on your age
It is human nature to focus more on one’s perceived weaknesses as opposed to one’s strengths.  This is especially true for people in the job hunt. Younger folks worry about not having enough experience; older folks worry about looking  overqualified.  If you don’t want a potential employer to focus on your age, make sure you focus on what strengths you bring to the party: energy, track record, endurance, patience, technology skills, people skills, creativity and work ethic. Sell yourself based on what you have.

Mistake No. 5: Looking for a silver bullet
Some job hunters swear by recruiters; others by online job postings. The latest buzz is that social networking sites are making all other job-hunting techniques obsolete. There is no one best way to job hunt.  If you want to increase the effectiveness of your job search, you must spend more time on it and use every technique in the book. This means answering print ads, responding to online job postings, contacting recruiters, cold-contacting potential employers, networking your brains out and using social networking sites to pursue all of these strategies. Sorry, there are no silver bullets or genies in a bottle.

Mistake No. 6: Absorbing too much news
Yes, there’s a recession. Yes, a lot of folks are out of work. And, yes, finding a job is a hard job in and of itself. But, no, the sky is not falling. And yes, if you work hard and long enough at it, you will land a good job. The media’s motto is, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Bad news is their stock in trade. You will never see a story about company hiring back 10 workers or a person who landed a great job after a rigorous job hunt.  A regular diet of bad news will convince you that no one is hiring (untrue), that you should avoid employers that have had layoffs (bad strategy) or that maybe you should just move to China (bad idea unless you speak Mandarin). Get out, have some fun, work at keeping your energy and spirits up, and network with optimistic people.

Eventually this recession — like all recessions — will really be over and you’ll be better prepared for (gulp) the next one.


Interview Myths That Keep You From Landing the Job

In 1 on March 8, 2010 at 1:17 pm
With so few jobs currently available and so many people currently hoping to fill those jobs, standing out in an interview is of utmost importance. While jobs themselves are scarce, job advice is overly abundant. And with an influx of information comes an influx of confusion. What career counsel do you take, and what do you ignore?There are a number of common misconceptions related to interview best practices, experts say. Kera Greene of the Career Counselors Consortium and executive coach Barbara Frankel offer tips below that can help you stand out from other interview subjects, avoid frequent pitfalls, and secure the job.

Myth #1: Be prepared with a list of questions to ask at the close of the interview.

There is some truth in this common piece of advice: You should always be prepared, and that usually includes developing questions related to the job. The myth here is that you must wait until it is “your turn” to speak.

By waiting until the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, “it becomes an interrogation instead of a conversation,” says Greene.

Greene recommends that you think of an interview as a sales call. You are the product and you are selling yourself to the employer. “You can’t be passive in a sales call or you aren’t going to sell your product.”

Frankel mimics Greene’s comments. “It’s a two-way street,” she says. “I recommend asking a follow-up question at the tail end of your responses.”

For example, Frankel says, if the interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself,” you first respond to that question and complete your response with a question like, “Can you tell me more about the position?” The interview should be a dialogue.

Myth #2: Do not show weakness in an interview.

The reality is that it is OK to have flaws. In fact, almost every interviewer will ask you to name one. Typically job seekers are told to either avoid this question by providing a “good flaw.” One such “good flaw” which is often recommends is: “I am too committed to my work.” But, these kinds of responses will only hurt you.

“Every recruiter can see through that,” Greene says of faux flaws.

Recruiters conduct interviews all day, every day. They’ve seen it all and can see through candidates who dodge questions. “They prefer to hire someone who is honest than someone who is obviously lying,” Greene says.

And for those of you who claim to be flaw-free, think again. “Everybody has weaknesses,” Frankel states. But one is enough. According to Frankel, supply your interviewer with one genuine flaw, explain how you are working to correct it, and then move on to a new question.

Myth #3: Be sure to point out all of your strengths and skills to the employer.

Of course, you want the interviewer to know why you are a valuable candidate, but a laundry list of your skills isn’t going to win you any points. Inevitably, in an interview, you will be asked about your skills. What can go wrong in this scenario?

“You don’t want to list a litany of strengths,” Frankel says.

“What is typical is that they will say: ‘I’m a good communicator,’ ‘I have excellent interpersonal skills,’ ‘I am responsible,'” Greene explains. “You have to give accomplishments. I need to know what did you accomplish when using these skills.”

Frankel recommends doing a little groundwork before your interview so that you are best equipped to answer this question. She tells her clients to find out what the prospective job role consists of. “What makes an interview powerful is to give an example related to their particular needs or challenges that you have demonstrated in the past.”

Provide three strengths, with examples. You will get much further with a handful of real strengths than with an unconvincing list of traits.

Myth #4: Let the employer know your salary expectations.

One of the trickiest questions to answer in an interview relates to salary. Money talk can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be. The fact is you don’t even have to answer when asked about desired salary.

According to the book “Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You The Job!” a perfect response would be: “I want to earn a salary that is commensurate with the contributions I can make. I am confident I can make a substantial contribution at your firm. What does your firm plan to pay for this position?”

Greene suggests a similar response: “I prefer to discuss the compensation package after you’ve decided that I’m the best candidate and we can sit down and negotiate the package.”

Myth #5: The employer determines whether or not you get the job.

While yes, the employer must be the one to offer you the position, interviewees have more control than they often realize. According to both Greene and Frankel, candidates have a larger say in the final hiring decision than they think.

“They should call the interviewer or hiring manager and say: ‘I’d really like to be part of the company,'” says Greene. “It can’t hurt you. It can only help.”

“Acing the Interview” encourages all candidates to conclude their interviews with one question: “‘Based on our interview, do you have any concerns about my ability to do the job?’ — If the answer is yes, ask the interviewer to be explicit. Deal forthrightly with each concern.”

Tomorrow’s New Hottest Jobs

In 1 on February 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

Wouldn’t it be great to know which jobs will see growing demand in the future? It sure would help with planning a career change, or even with picking a college major.

Turns out, you don’t need a crystal ball to find out. Every two years, researchers at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics create a new 10-year forecast detailing the specific occupations the government expects will grow and shrink over the coming decade. The 2008-2018 projections came out in December.

The new data is especially valuable because it includes the first year of the current economic downturn (2008). The new Occupational Outlook Handbook, which went up on the BLS Web site in mid-December, provides a first look at how specific jobs may recover — or not — over the next eight years.

Job-seekers may find the new report comforting, as BLS economists generally do expect us to pull out of our current job slump. Some broad job categories see big job growth over the next decade because they’re projected from the recession-era low in 2008. An example is construction laborers, projected to add 256,000 new jobs by 2018 as the sector recovers from its current slowdown, says Dixie Sommers, assistant commissioner of occupational statistics and employment projections.

One particularly heartening piece of news involves wages: the previous fastest-growing jobs forecast showed just four of the 10 jobs had high wages. The 2018 forecast, by contrast, lists six jobs that pay more than $70,000 per year. If you’re interested in health care, there’s lots of opportunity for you ahead — eight of the top 10 occupy some niche in the field.

Only three occupations appear on both the ’06 and ’08 top-10 fastest-growing lists — networks systems and data communications analysts, home health aides, and personal-care aides. The other seven of the top 10 are new for ’08. See these jobs listed below. Some are fairly small employment niches, but all are seeing exploding growth:

Biomedical engineer
This field’s expected growth through ’18 — a whopping 72 percent — far outstrips any other occupation. As health-care technology becomes ever more complex, demand will explode for more engineers who can combine medical knowledge with engineering principles to develop needed new medical devices and equipment. The BLS reports most have a background in another engineering specialty and additional medical training.

Financial examiner
Part of a broader trend of growth in supervisory positions, BLS foresees a 41 percent increase in demand for financial professionals who can analyze and enforce laws governing the financial and securities industries. The field is expected to add 38,000 jobs in the next decade. Most have a bachelor’s degree.

Medical scientist (excluding epidemiologists)
As technology makes it possible to delve deeply into the causes of diseases, demand for medical scientists is expected to rise 40 percent. Most have a Ph.D. in a biological science.

Physician assistant
Physician assistants work under a doctor’s supervision in big cities, or may be primary care providers in rural areas where doctors are in short supply. Apparently, more shortages are forecast as demand is set to increase 39 percent by 2018. Most physician assistants have a two-year degree on top of a bachelor’s degree.

Biochemists study living things and their chemical composition, while biophysicists study how electrical and mechanical energy impact living things. Growth is expected to exceed 37 percent. Some in this field start with a bachelor’s degree, while a Ph.D. may be needed for independent research work.

Skin-care specialist
Also known as aestheticians, skin-care specialists were No. 11 last year and made it to the top 10 at No. 8 in the 2018 projections. With expected 38 percent growth, this field is one of the quickest to get into in the top 10 — a high-school diploma or G.E.D. and a cosmetology-school certificate are all that’s required.

Athletic trainer
As America battles its obesity epidemic over the coming decade, the call for professionals who can help whip us into shape will expand like our waistlines — 37 percent, BLS estimates. Trainers usually work under a doctor’s supervision or in cooperation with other healthcare providers. Most have a bachelor’s degree, and more than half have an advanced degree, the National Athletic Trainers Association reports.

Economy sheds fewest jobs since 2007

In 1 on December 4, 2009 at 10:07 am

WASHINGTON – A surprising drop in the November unemployment rate and in job losses cheered investors Friday and raised hopes for a sustained economic recovery.

Read the rest of the article at:

10 Real-Life Interview Mistakes

In 1 on December 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Hiring managers don’t want to hear a lot of things during an interview — confessions of a violent past, a cell phone ring, a toilet flush. Yet job seekers have committed these interview gaffes and worse.

Odd behavior isn’t the only way to ruin your chances of landing a job. When hiring managers were asked to name the most common and damaging interview mistakes a candidate can make, 51 percent listed dressing inappropriately. Forty-nine percent cited badmouthing a former boss as the worst offense, while 48 percent said appearing disinterested. Arrogance (44 percent), insufficient answers (30 percent) and not asking good questions (29 percent) were also top answers.


Here are 10 real-life mistakes that illustrate what not to do when you sit down for your next interview:


1. Candidate answered cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave her own office because it was a “private” conversation. 


2. Applicant told the interviewer he wouldn’t be able to stay with the job long because he thought he might get an inheritance if his uncle died — and his uncle wasn’t “looking too good.”


3. The job seeker asked the interviewer for a ride home after the interview. 


4. The applicant smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room. 


5. Candidate said she could not provide a writing sample because all of her writing had been for the CIA and it was “classified.”


6. Candidate told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last boss. 


7. When the applicant was offered food before the interview, he declined saying he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.


8. An applicant said she was a “people person” not a “numbers person” in her interview for an accounting position.


9. During a phone interview the candidate flushed the toilet while talking to hiring manager.


10. The applicant took out a hairbrush and brushed her hair.


To ensure your interview is error-free (and smoother than the examples above), follow these five tips:


Do some research: When you walk into a job interview, knowledge of the company’s history, goals and current activity proves to the interviewer that you are not only prepared for the interview, but also that you want to be a part of the organization.


Don’t lie: If the conversation drifts to a topic you’re not knowledgeable about, admit you don’t know the answer and then explain how you would go about finding a solution. Displaying your problem-solving skills is better than babbling about something you don’t understand.


Keep it professional: Although interviewers often try to create a comfortable setting to ease the job seeker’s nerves, business decorum shouldn’t disappear. Avoid offering personal details that can be controversial or have no relevance to the position, such as political and religious beliefs or stories about a recent break-up.


Know what to expect: Expect to hear staple interview questions: “What’s your biggest weakness?” “Why do you want to work here?” “Tell me about yourself.” “Why did you leave your last job?” These open-ended questions are harder to answer than they sound, so think about your responses before the interview.


Put on a happy face: The interview is not the time to air your grievances about being wronged by a past boss. How you speak about a previous employer gives the hiring manager an idea of how you’ll speak about him or her once you’ve moved on.

By Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources,

Economic survey: Job losses to bottom out in 1Q

In 1 on November 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Economists expect the joblessness that has weighed down the nation’s economic recovery will start to slowly abate in 2010, but they predict consumers will continue to keep a tight rein on spending, according to a new survey.

AP - FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2009 file photo, shoppers prepare to load their car with purchases from ...AP – FILE – In this Nov. 19, 2009 file photo, shoppers prepare to load their car with purchases from …

While signs have pointed to the end of the recession, joblessness remains rampant. The national unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent in October, the highest in 26 years. About 9 million people currently receive unemployment benefits.

The November outlook by the National Association for Business Economics, which is set to be released Monday, shows economists expect net employment losses to bottom out in the first quarter of next year. Employers are seen starting to add to their payrolls after that.

“While the recovery has been jobless so far, that should soon change,” said Lynn Reaser, NABE’s president and chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University. “Within the next few months, companies should be adding instead of cutting jobs.”

But even if companies do start restaffing next spring, they aren’t expected to ramp up hiring very quickly. Some 7.3 million jobs have been lost since December 2007, according to NABE. Of the 48 panelists surveyed, 61 percent do not expect a complete recovery of those lost jobs until 2012. And they expect the unemployment rate will remain “stubbornly high,” averaging 9.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Panelists ranked high unemployment as their second biggest concern over the next five years, expressing “extreme concern” first and foremost about the federal deficit. Those surveyed expect inflation will remain low and the dollar to remain weak, though they see it strengthening against the euro and continuing to be a major reserve currency.

The economy grew at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter, the Commerce Department announced last month, a strong signal that the economy is entering a recovery phase from the worst recession since the Great Depression. But the pace of the recovery is expected to be slow because of high unemployment and tight credit.

The latest survey by NABE notes that sluggish consumer spending will continue to weigh on the economy. But it predicts rebounds in housing, growth from business spending as more companies restock lean inventories, and a rise in stock prices.

Economists polled in the survey predict 3 percent real GDP growth in the 2009 fourth quarter, and 3.2 percent growth for all of 2010. For the two years combined, the projected growth is half a percentage point higher than the forecast NABE gave in October.

“Real GDP growth should also be enough to recover losses from the recession and return output to an all-time high by the end of 2010,” NABE forecasters predict.

Those surveyed say the housing recovery will gather momentum, helped by low interest rates, with housing starts expected to jump 36 percent and residential investment climbing 9 percent next year. Such results would make 2010 the first year since 2005 that the housing sector contributes to overall growth. Economists expect home prices to gain 2 percent next year, after bottoming out in 2009.

Consumer spending gains are expected to be “lackluster,” as workers continue to worry about jobs and investments. Panelists also expect to see a “persistently elevated sense of thrift” as consumers save more. They expect the personal savings rate to average 4 percent in 2010, the highest level since 1998.

Businesses, though, will increase their spending. The survey said the inventory liquidation of the past year will bottom out and companies will restock in 2010, while also spending more on equipment and software because of higher profits.

Corporate profits are expected to gain 12.4 percent in 2010, which the survey said was average for the first year of an economic recovery. All survey respondents expect the stock market to grow in 2010, with the S&P 500 Index seen rising 9.5 percent next year.

Five Things New Grads Should Know About Job Hunting

In 1 on November 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm

The class of 2006 is looking at a bright future with promising job prospects and salary increases. Seventy percent of hiring managers say they plan to recruit recent college graduates this year, up from 62 percent in 2005, according to’s “College Hiring 2006” survey. Plus, nearly one-in-five hiring managers expect to hire more recent college graduates in 2006 compared to last year and one-in-four plan to increase starting salaries.

College grads can also expect a bigger payoff this year. Twenty-seven percent of hiring managers anticipate increasing starting salaries for recent college graduates in 2006 and only 5 percent plan to decrease them. How much should new grads expect to earn? Thirty-four percent of hiring managers expect to offer between $20,000 and $30,000 and 28 percent expect to offer between $30,000 and $40,000. An additional 10 percent will offer between $40,000 and $50,000 and 7 percent will offer more than $50,000.


New grads won’t have to pound the pavement for too long. Thirty-six percent of hiring managers say they will do the majority of their hiring of recent college graduates in the second quarter. Thirty-one percent say the majority of their hiring will take place in the third quarter. With promising job opportunities, favorable salaries and plenty of free time, new grads should have no reason not to look for that first job. Make sure you know these top five things hiring managers look for when sizing up a candidate:


1. Relevant experience Twenty-three percent of hiring managers say the candidate’s ability to relate their experience to the job at hand is the most important factor in the hiring decision. Unfortunately, new graduates often underestimate the experience they have through internships, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities, but 63 percent of hiring managers say they view volunteer activities as relevant experience.


2. Fit within the company culture Just because you look good on paper doesn’t mean you’re a shoo-in for the job. To 21 percent of employers, the trait they most want to see in a candidate is the ability to fit in with co-workers and the company. Offering up a blank stare when the interviewer asks why you are the right fit for the job will not go over well. Just be yourself, but mind your i’s — never insult, interrupt or irritate the interviewer. This can also be evaluated by that “unimportant” small talk at the beginning of an interview or non-job-related questions like “What was the last book you read?”


3. Educational background Nineteen percent of hiring managers place the most emphasis on your educational background: the institution you attended, major, minor and degree earned. Be sure to also include courses taken and completed projects if relevant to the job. With grade point average, it’s tricky. A good rule of thumb is to omit it unless it is 3.0 or higher and denote if it’s your overall or major GPA.


4. Enthusiasm Passion for the job is the top characteristic 19 percent of employers look for in a candidate. Employees who are passionate about their jobs tend to be more productive workers. The answer to “Why do you want to work here?” should always focus on the strengths of the company and the challenge of the position, not the perks. A “take or leave it” attitude about the job will leave the employer feeling the same about you.


5. Preparedness Eight percent of hiring managers say the ideas you bring to the table and the questions you ask carry the most significance. Come in prepared to discuss how your qualifications can specifically contribute to the success of the company. Actually put yourself in that role and explain how you would perform your work and ways to improve it.

Remembering Names and What to Do When You Forget

In 1 on November 12, 2009 at 11:55 am

Remembering names is a challenge for many; therefore, most of us need to work a bit harder at being more proficient. Most people tend to forget names because, typically, we are thinking about what we are going to say, rather than listening and concentrating.

Try this exercise: As soon as someone makes an introduction, either a self-introduction or paving the way for another, use the person’s name immediately and say, “Dr. Doyle. It is a pleasure meeting you, Dr. Doyle.” Do this with each person you meet.

Next, look closely at this individual. Make an association, perhaps with another person you may know with the same name. Then, make a visual association; visualize him or her as the person with the white teeth or who wears pearls. Ask him to say or pronounce his name again, particularly if he has a challenging or unusual name. In a business situation, ask for a business card. Look at the card, then back at the individual and make another visual association with the individual and his name. Finally, say the person’s name again and use it frequently in conversation, which will also make him feel special.

People like to hear the sound of their own names. Think about it — when we hear our name, we perk up, right? You are also sending a message to this individual that you care enough to remember his name, which is a positive reflection on you, personally and professionally. The business tie-in is, what else do you take the time for, go to the trouble of, make the effort to learn about (in advance)? Bottom-line: I trust you; I want to do business with you; I want you to represent my firm.

What to do when you forget a name?

 Here are seven steps to take when you forget someone’s name.

1. Confess
“What’s your name again?” would not be appropriate. Try something like, “I am so sorry, I have completely blanked on your name.” This said, with sincerity, is appropriate and speaks volumes about you while also demonstrating your genuine interest in knowing who she is and remembering  her. As always, it is not what you say, but how you say it.

2. Ask  ‘What is your full name?’
The person will respond saying his first and last name. At which point you might say, “Yes, I knew it was ‘Bill,’ but ‘Bill Flynn'”; now you have both.

3. Go to a respected third party
Ask, “What is the name of the woman in the blue dress?” You may then approach her, greet her by name and be a hero, suggesting you remembered her name.

4. Ask for a business card or calling card.
Take this opportunity to make yet another visual association.

5. Ask him to spell his name.
Be careful here. He could say, “J-O-N-E-S. In other words, exactly the way it sounds.” This can happen from time to time. It’s OK. Others understand and appreciate your effort in trying to know their name.

6. Introduce yourself.
Approach the other person and say your name, first and last. In business, we should all be conditioned so that when we hear another person say her name, we respond by saying our name, slowly and clearly, so it can be understood and remembered. 

7. The  ‘setup’
Sending over a trusted friend, colleague or spouse to introduce himself so the individual in question will respond by saying his name is frequently done and is effective. The person who designed this “setup” is then free to confidently approach the person, calling him by name.

Finally, knowing that most of us are challenged remembering names, it is everyone’s responsibility to be aware of this situation. Recognize the opportunity to help others when it comes to remembering names and using them for introductions and in conversation, which makes others feel valued and special. Everyone’s help and participation in making the name game seamless is not only appropriate, but required in order to be an active participant at any event. It will go a long way in terms of being noticed and appreciated.

Faux pas
Be sure to avoid these common faux pas when remembering someone’s name.

1. Assuming the familiar
Calling someone by her first name without being invited can be detrimental. Err on the side of being more conservative and ask, “How do you prefer to be addressed?” It is an expression and a gesture — always acceptable and appreciated and never wrong.

2. Assuming that ‘Suzanne Smith’ prefers to be called ‘Suzie’ or that ‘Cristiana Jones’ prefers to be called  ‘Christy.’
Once again, “How do you prefer to be addressed?” helps you to earn the right to advance and learn that Elizabeth Jones prefers to be called “Lizzy” or Dr. Jones.