Please submit your comment below as to a suggestion you would like covered on the Get Hired and Beyond Blog. Contest closes at 11:59 pm June 1, 2012. Please hurry up and submit your ideas now!!!
 
 
1.     There is a reduction in staff and you were the last one hired, therefore the first one out. It sucks! It was a purely financial decision. Thereby, explain it as such with confidence in an interview and you will likely get hired.

2.     You stole money/trade secrets/confidential info from the company. Hope you look good in stripes. Or orange. You’re going to have a much rougher time getting rehired.

3.     Your attitude sucks. You may be burned out or just hate your dead end job. If you don’t take that to heart, you will get promoted. If you do, you may be out on your miserable rear end. Job prognosis: people hire who they like. Lighten up!

4.     You are addicted to Facebook, Angry Birds, texting, or personal phone calls. Your boss is paying you to work. Try it. You may like it.

5.     You and your boss had a disagreement. A bad one. Eating crow can be good for you, especially if you like eating. All kidding aside, know when to call a truce and maintain professionalism. It’s much easier to find a job when you have a job.

 
 
1.     You have the skills and qualifications that an employer is seeking. I am not going to hire someone with a high school diploma who bags groceries as a CEO (at least not yet). Get the experience, read the posting, and know how your qualifications fit the position.

2.     Your resume is concise, results oriented, and outlines what you can contribute to the organization.

3.     Your resume and cover letter are grammatically correct. I am not hiring “mangers” to run a department, and that is not picked up on spell check. Have a friend or a professional read over your resume and letter prior to submission.

4.     You have the software skills an employer is looking for.

5.     You are likeable, positive, and confident. Nothing gets me wanting to end an interview more than a whiner who blames the world for his/her inability to be employed.

 
 
Sometimes in management, a difficult decision needs to be made, involving a freeze on salary increases/raises, or a layoff issue. Unless you were fired for disciplinary or performance reasons, this is not an indication of how your employer feels about you as a human being. Similarly, you should not share in an interview that your employer “hated you”, “discriminated against you”, or “harassed you”. You should share that a business decision was made to incur a reduction in staff, and you were a casualty of that reduction. When you badmouth your boss or prior boss, it is very unprofessional and unappealing, as you are in an interview to put your best foot forward.

Similarly, when you resign from an organization, whether for a relocation or better opportunity, consider it a business decision. If your employer takes it personally, it is okay to explain that you needed to make a move, whether for financial gain or employment growth. Tell your employer that it is not personal, but a business decision, with the opportunity to advance in your career. Anyone who respects you as an individual and an employee should understand. If not, that signifies that you may have been in the wrong place, and that you are making the right decision. Regardless, both sides are acting in the interest of what is best.

 
 
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As a hiring manager, I do not have time to be your best friend, even if you are a nice person. I am looking to hire a person quickly, so that I can get back to doing both jobs until I am able to hire someone to get the second set of roles and responsibilities off my desk. With that in mind, I am looking to spend somewhere around 30-60 minutes with my candidate, and  have him/her answer the questions that I ask.

Why do ramblers not get the job?

For starters, having been a participant in mind-numbing meetings and conference calls, no one, and I mean no one, likes the person who wants to drag the meeting out an extra 40 minutes with additional questions, commentary, or just to hear them talk. That makes most sane people want to seriously injure the person.  

Secondly, it shows that you are easily distracted and will have challenges sticking to task. It shows that you are not confident in your responses.

The last reason is that if you don’t answer the question at some point, the interviewer has no idea where you are going with your response!

So…instead of answering the question with what you think your interviewer wants to hear (like a bunch of unrelated buzz words jammed together nonsensically), answer the question directly and briefly. Then stop talking. Let the interview probe further if they are interested, or ask you another question to keep the interview moving along. Let the interviewer set the pace. Although being nervous typically encourages people to be chattier, stopping to let the interviewer know it is time to move along allows a comfortable timeliness, and may encourage a good two-way conversation between both of you. And that’s always a good sign!

 
 
I read a lot of cover letters with great lists of qualifications. They are so generic that they can be used for any job opening. In fact, if I am not mistaken, they are being used by a candidate for every job opening to which they are applying! In fact, there is no mention of the job duties, title, or what they can provide to an employer.

Think about how your skills will benefit your future employer. Provide real life examples of how you tangibly and quantifiably assisted the company in growth, reduction of costs, profitability, or efficiency. People tend to hire those who produce positive and documentable outcomes. A picture is worth a thousand words. Consider your example the picture you are painting. Highlight examples in interviews as well. It will set you apart from your competition!

 
 
People screw up. We are humans, and as such, we make mistakes: some little, some big, and some pretty overwhelming. Perhaps you didn’t finish college. Do not lie on your resume. Companies who have their fair share of applicants to choose from complete educational, reference, and background checks.

Case in point: I worked very closely with a fantastic temp who was assisting me at a Fortune 500 organization. She had all of the qualifications for the full time opening and did an outstanding job while temping. When it was time to offer her the full time role, my client verified her 4 year degree, and she had falsified it on her resume, thanks to bad advice she received from a relative. The offer was rescinded, and I refused to work with her again, because I was unable to trust her. Once you break trust, it is much harder to rebuild than just being transparent.

I would have still sent her to the job knowing she did not have her degree. The organization would have hired her, and even worse, they offer tuition reimbursement, so she would have been able to complete her degree while working. It never got to that point.

Whether a legal issue, credit blip (and after the last few years with the economy, who doesn’t have a problem there), or any other weakness, just be honest and share what you have done or can do to improve. Mom is right on this one!

 
 
Please leave a comment as to what you would like a topic to be for next week's article. One answer will be chosen at random on June 1. The winner 
 
 
Please do me a favor as a fellow human being: don’t tell me that you don’t have any weaknesses, whether in an interview or anywhere else. For starters, that’s bullshit! And it makes you sound like an arrogant jerk.

This question is asked, not to challenge your abilities, but to see how you effectively can answer a difficult question. Answering it with tact and honesty, and being prepared for it in advance, will assist you in sounding confident and professional, not cocky. Remember, people hire who they like!

Some ideas include:

(From an entry level candidate): “While I am newly licensed/graduated, I lack the experience you may find in someone more seasoned. However, what I lack in time in this career, I make up for in (SHARE STRENGTHS HERE).

(From someone with heavy experience/potentially overqualified): “While at first glance, I may seem overqualified for this position, I can provide you with flexible hours, a great deal of firsthand experience, and understand the salary range for the position. I am interested in becoming a long term player within the organization.”

Other ways to answer the question include sharing what you have done to overcome a professional weakness, or how you work now on improving an area which requires a little extra. If you research the position and find a minor area where you can be trained, that may be a good discussion point.

Please don’t tell me you are a perfectionist. That isn’t a weakness. It’s arrogance!