Tag: interview

The Interview – Part 1: Remember When?

Posted on February 24th, by Jacqueline Clay in Business and Workplace, The Funny Side of HR. 3 comments

Welcome to another edition of

The Funny Side of HR from the Desk of a Woman of a Certain Age


It is nothing short of amazing how the business of human resources has changed overall during the last 25 years.  And…certainly, if we look back at the job search and interview process 30+ years ago, there is less and less recognition of the art as we know it today.  (Remember, I am a woman of a certain age, so I can discuss this aspect quite thoroughly).  Both the job search and interview process has changed for the HR professional as well as for the candidate.


As I mentioned in my introductory piece last month, HR has its hand in a myriad of responsibilities and understanding the job search process from the candidate’s perspective is a key element in the attainment of the ideal candidate.  Given the amount of time it takes to conduct a candidate search, however, many organizations utilize agencies to expedite the process.


Today, I am going to do a backstory and take a look at the job search and interview process through the eyes and actions of a candidate seeking a job in years gone by.  This is almost cathartic for me since I have had many experiences job searching.  I will use the pronoun “you” to refer to all of us because we all have been in the job search marketplace at one time or another.


So…..walk down memory lane with me…

[Picture a blurred dreamy screen…Yes, I am also budding film producer!]


It is the 1980’s, back in a time when you could work your way up the corporate ladder and in essence, were expected to do so.  Many of us started somewhere near the bottom and made it to the top or very near the top.  (If only our boss would have left,  we could have made it to the top!)  Anyway, some of us made our way via education, certification, preparation, dedication, determination, innovation, recommendation, motivation and perspiration.  Some others made it by perpetration, falsification, association, relation, expiration, degradation and quite possibly, incantation.  However you made it, the force was with you, so congratulations are in order!


In any case, at the beginning, you found yourself in a situation to seek employment.  What kind of job?  Let’s see.  You have some experience and some education in your field of choice.  Most importantly, though you can type and know how to use a word processor, IBM computer.  You can type 60 words a minute.  (Actually you can type 70 words a minute…but unfortunately, only 60 words are correct).   You know how to use the arduous “cut and paste” and “find and replace” options.  You do not get a headache by looking at the word processor screen that has a dark green background with day-glow green print.  You know how to operate a fax machine and use a calculator.  You have the basics locked and sealed!


Now…let’s get started.  First things first.  Living in the Northeast and looking for work in New York, no job search could be launched without getting the job seekers bible…The New York Times.  How could you possibly be serious about any job search effort without thoroughly, eye glazingly (not sure glazingly is a word…but it IS the word needed here!)   reading the opportunities listed in the one and only New York Times.   You had to make sure that through hell or high water, you were able to get your copy of the Times.  This was so important that many people left their warm beds in the middle of the night, pajamas under raincoat, on Saturday evening, to make it down to the corner store to get their copy before it sold out.  Some stores would (somehow) just sell the Classifieds section so that you would not have to lug the entire 3 lb. Times when you only needed or wanted that part of the huge paper.   You still paid for it, but a reduced price.


Whew!  You got your copy!  Now to the Classifieds Section.  All you see are job advertisements from agencies, agencies and more agencies.  You circle the jobs most in line with your skills and qualifications.  Most of the jobs listed give short, fragmented descriptions, so it is difficult to determine whether you meet the qualifications or not.  You circle them anyway.  Some are listed with contact numbers, but when you call, you are not provided any additional information,  just told to come in.  “We don’t take appointments.  Just come in between 9 and 5 and bring several copies of your resume” was the mantra.


Resume!  Ok…you have a few copies printed on nice, expensive paper.  You prefer not to waste providing an agency with a resume printed on expensive paper.  But…alas…you may never get to the company interview if you don’t show a well written, professional resume and providing a copy on expensive looking paper may give you a minor edge.  You check to make sure there are no errors.  If there are, you have to retype the resume from scratch and take it to a printing company to make copies (unless you have a word processor and printer at home).  But…thanks to the resume gods, your resume looks good.


Ok….back to preparation.  Now…what to wear.  There are only a few acceptable choices.  A dark skirt suit (navy, black, brown, gray), a white or light colored shirt, low heeled shoes and flesh tone stockings.  Low heeled shoes were key because you never knew how far you would have to walk to get from agency to agency.  Accessories could be a string of pearls, a pin or a bow.  Simple, clean, professional.  We followed the Dress for Success rules to a tee.  One of the old adages routinely applied was, “don’t dress for the job you have (or in this case, going for), dress for the job you want”.


Finally, you have to decide the route to take.  (I am only going to speak from the perspective of seeking jobs in New York City and the subway, since that is where my experience is founded).  Most of the agencies were located near the 40th  midtown street location….although there were also numerous agencies in the Wall Street area.  Since you needed to keep your travel expenses to a minimum (in the 80’s, there were no metro ride all day for one low price cards), you made a list of the agencies in the same general vicinity knowing that you would, if lucky, only be able to get to two…maybe three agencies in one day.  Why?  Because you would have to wait…and wait and wait to be interviewed, especially on the Mondays and Tuesdays after the Sunday classifieds were published.  I recall walking into a “just come in” agency and seeing tens and tens of people just waiting.  Once you were called to move from the waiting room into the main room…you thought you were finally going to see someone to discuss the job…but no!  You were led to a room to take endless tests.   Typing, computer, spelling, math, calculator, etc.  Take a test…then wait…take another test…then wait.  Hour after hour.  At long last, some kind soul would call your name and usher you into the kingdom….the place where you would finally be interviewed for the job you circled.  You feel as if you had won the lottery!  It’s my turn!   Off to see the agency rep.


The agency representative, let’s call her Ms. Smith (very original, I know).  Ms. Smith scans your resume and reviews the mountain of tests you took earlier.  She asks about your experience and you regurgitate the speech you so diligently prepared.  Ms. Smith tells you about the position, but says that the agency has sent several candidates to the company already and waiting for a call back from them (the company).  Ms. Smith thanks you for coming and says, she will be in touch.  The entire interview took less than 5 good minutes.  Be in touch??  After several hours, you are told, “will be in touch” and given a polite good bye handshake???  At that point, YOU want to reach out and “touch” someone yourself!


Ready, set, go….. on to the next agency.  Never discouraged, you trot off to the next agency in your low heeled shoes with your New York Times circled classified section under your arm and your expensive resumes in your briefcase instilled with the confidence that you will eventually find a job.


Good Luck!


Next month….Interview – Part 2: How technology and social norms have changed the job search and interview  process for the candidate.  


About the Author: Jacqueline Clay is a freelance HR business consultant working with small and midsize organizations to assist them in meeting the challenging responsibilities associated with the full realm of HR management.  With  over 20 years leadership experience in all aspects of the HR business, she has helped organizations in a myriad of areas, including  on boarding, labor/employee relations, policy and procedure development, organizational effectiveness, coaching and training.  She holds a BA in Psychology from Fordham University.

How Do I “Hook Them”?

Posted on February 2nd, by Kristin Kaufman in Business and Workplace, Personal & Professional Effectiveness. No Comments

How do I ‘hook them’ when interviewing, vying for a promotion, or closing ‘The deal’?

As many may know, ABC has a real hit on its hands with The Shark Tank! The stars are a ruthless, shrewd collection of diverse, self-made millionaires who judge, qualify, and either select or ‘de-select’ budding entrepreneurs for further investment. If you haven’t watched it, you will either love it or hate it. This show can teach us a lot…..whether we are selling a concept, a product, or ourselves….let’s face it: who isn’t in sales in one form or another?

I have several clients who are currently interviewing for a new position/promotion within their existing company or in some cases other positions outside their current employer. Many are seasoned veterans who have not had to formally interview in quite some time. How can they get noticed and stand out when so many of the individuals they are up against are equally qualified? This is an art – not a science – as we all know. Yet, there are a few easy tips to keep in mind:

  • The devil IS in the details. So, when you are presenting yourself or your idea – in person, electronically, or in hard copy format – be polished in every way. No typos. Prompt thank you notes and emails. Be on time. Be prepared. All the details we often let go by the wayside the higher we climb in the corporate chain, COUNT. I am here to tell you – these small details and nuances matter.
  • First impressions count. How are you showing up….do you look and act successful? Are you confident? Do you act confident? (Not with false bravado and arrogance….with authentic knowledge of who you are and security that what you have to offer is of value.) Are you respectful? Are you dressed appropriately? Are you calm, cool, and collected? Are you well-spoken? Do you look them in the eye – personally and sincerely?
  • Have a compelling value proposition. What are you selling – about you or your idea? Why and who cares? What makes you and this product/service different? Who is your competition – and how do you ‘trump’ them? What need are you filling? What desire are you squelching? Why you? Why now?
  • Stay curious and open. Interviews and sales calls are often not so much what you tell them about you – it is what you ASK that makes the difference. Go broad and deep…industry, company, culture, leadership, current challenges, etc. The questions show your thoughtfulness (or lack thereof), and this is a sign of maturity and executive thinking.
  • Pre-briefing calls and phone interviews are not casual get-to-know-you conversations. Treat every interaction like it is the real deal. Smile while talking (they can tell….even if over the phone). Keep the energy high – without being an “eager beaver.” Be prepared and professional.
  • Know your stuff…..particularly the facts, figures, and data. If you are selling your concept, idea, or product – how much money have you made so far, i.e. what is your revenue stream? How much profit comes from that top line revenue number? How are you getting your product to market? What is your price per item? What percentage of that is profit? How do you plan to scale? What do you see your greatest challenges to be at this stage- and what do you recommend to fix it?
  • Raw, controlled, passionate enthusiasm. Areyou real? Do you LOVE what you are doing? Do you LOVE the product/service/job you are representing? Do you believe your offering is the ‘bees knees’ and will knock their socks off…..really?!!  Do you engage your audience like real people….and possible consumers? Are you meeting them where THEY are (not where you are)…i.e.: are you engaging them like the decision makers they are? Are you bubbling over…..in a contained, professional way? (Remember: energy begets energy….and enthusiasm SELLS.) Are you happy to be there?
  • Finally,have your answer to the “So what?” question well engrained in your mind. In other words…Why YOU? It is not enough to share what you have done, where you have done it, etc. You need to be clear on what it is that you uniquely offer and the results you can bring to the table. Full stop. In preparing for your interview, ask yourself at the end of every question asked – did I make it clear what I uniquely offered and delivered? If the answer is “I’m not sure,” then start over and create sharp, crisp answers which leave your mark.These steps guarantee nothing.However, what I know for sure, is that if we don’t hit each of these steps with all we have; we will never make it to 2nd base…..much less make a home run. Sure, there are at least a hundred more points of advice to offer in order to get that second round of funding, secure the non-profit donor in order for you to ‘break ground’ on the new facility, close the first multi-million dollar deal in a new account, or secure the promotion you have been working toward for years…..for whatever the sale is we are trying to make. Yet, those bits need to be developed and strategically customized for the sale.These steps are simply the basic blocks to get the door opened. Whatever profession we are in….software startup, non-profit organization, charter school system, or volunteer effort…..these steps are the constants. THAT is how you will be remembered when stacked up against others of equal tenure and experience.


About the Author: Kristin Kaufman is founder of Alignment, Inc.™, formed in 2007 to help individuals, corporations, boards of directors and non-profits find alignment within themselves and their organizations. A prolific writer, Kristin’s first book, Is This Seat Taken? Random Encounters That Change Your Life, was released on 11/1/11 to national acclaim, and endorsed by Stephen Covey and John Maxwell, among others. Her second book in the series, entitled Is This Seat Taken? It’s Never Too Late to Find the Right Seat was released 1/13/15. It has already been endorsed by notables such as Marshall Goldsmith, Sean Covey, and Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines. This book shines the light on late in life reinvention and encore ‘second half’s’ of diverse individuals. The individuals are in some cases widely known and others are somewhat  anonymous to the mass public. The common thread is their ‘post-50’ resurgence in life and in some cases their ‘fork in the road’ is quite serendipitous. Kristin’s third book, a sequel to ‘Is This Seat Taken?’ will follow later in 2015. Kristin is on Twitter as @kristinkaufman.

External Recruiting: An Insider’s POV

Posted on October 22nd, by Amanda Papini in Business and Workplace. No Comments


I have been in talent acquisition for almost ten years and have chosen to work in corporate recruiting.  I often get asked the question, “When you can earn two to three times what you are earning now, why haven’t you gone out on your own and begun working with many companies instead of working within just one?”  The answer is pretty simple.  For positions within a services organization where talent is what we are selling to our customers, I just don’t believe in the external recruiting model.

With experience in both external staffing agencies and as a corporate recruiter, the corporate recruiting model in conjunction with a proactive in-house recruiting department has proven to impact overall business success positively, specifically in business planning, client acquisition, and building and retaining our company’s talent base.

Talent acquisition is a critical component of overall business planning in a services organization.  If your company is exploring a new business venture, offering, or customer pool, it is necessary to determine not only what staff is going to cost in order to serve this niche, but also how readily available they are in your market.  A business plan may not seem as strong after considering the staff complement needed to create and ensure continued success if unavailable or extremely overpriced.  An internal recruiter can provide this expert, up-to-date perspective from his/her experience within the market and take into account the company’s challenges and opportunity to acquire talent to serve this business plan.

Client acquisition is another area of the business that is heavily influenced by a company’s chosen talent acquisition plan.  An in-house recruiter can work with the new business departments to ensure that the company has the right talent in place as soon as the new client is acquired.  The talent acquisition process takes nurturing of candidates that should occur far in advance of client on-boarding and working within the company, which gives you foresight that an external recruiter typically does not have.

Due to the often confidential nature of new business development, it is important that the recruiter has a strong relationship with the new business development team and that they have a vested interest in the company.  Business development isn’t likely to be shared with an external resource that may be partnering with possible competitors in the same industry, potentially creating a delay in acquiring the talent necessary to make client onboarding successful.

Furthermore, internal recruiters have a much stronger ability to assess fit to-role simply through continuous exposure to the company.  They have the benefit of working with all of the various hiring managers 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.  Through this close working environment an in-house recruiter has a much better chance of identifying which types of personalities and working styles will work well with each manager by observing how each hiring manager works with others inside of the organization.  Adding one more personality into a team can completely change the functionality and dynamics of that team.  When a company has chosen to go down the road of paying a 15% to 25% fee on first year annual salary with an external recruiter, there is most likely a pressing need for the role to be filled, and often hiring managers in a services organization don’t have the time to spend with external recruiters to describe all of the intricacies of the team to them.  When working externally to the environment you are recruiting for, it is nearly impossible to know each hiring manager and how he/she operates within the culture and environment.  Now, imagine the challenge of finding a solid fit-to-role once you begin hiring for several organizations with several hiring managers; the ability to keep up with changing environments, roles, and personalities becomes nearly impossible.

Undoubtedly, with a limited qualified talent pool available globally, recruiters must actively maintain relationships with qualified talent for future openings.  This is another area that an internal recruiter can more effectively serve a services organization: targeted relationship management with potential staff for the company.  The internal recruiter has greater knowledge of how the company can be a fit for the candidates and possibly alleviate pain points they may be experiencing in their current situation.  It is key to recognize that the value proposition to various qualified candidates may change over time and it is imperative that an internal recruiter keep abreast of changes with candidates’ situations and changes within the company and how the two may be a fit at a later time.

Finally, retention in a services company is imperative with the product of the company being the knowledge that each employee carries.  An internal recruiter has more of a vested interest in seeing the recruited candidate succeed and remain committed to the company. Not that the external recruiter doesn’t wish good things for the candidate, but he or she just isn’t there every day reaping the benefits or suffering the repercussions of the hire.  Furthermore, the external recruiter reaps benefits in the form of 15% to 25% of the candidate’s first year annual salary, as long as the candidate has the one to three month tenure guaranteed in the contract. From a monetary standpoint, most often internal recruiters are not rewarded on a per hire basis.  The paycheck they receive each week is in exchange for them continually serving the company that they are committed to, while external recruiters typically are serving many organizations at a time and are rewarded for each successful placement.  If a hire from an external recruiter fails after the tenure guarantee, the recruiter is not responsible for the replacement; whereas, an internal recruiter is required to replace the hire regardless of the time spent in the role.   You can see how one system is built to reward long-term employment, while the other rewards even with short-term tenure.

In conclusion, I believe an internal recruiting model versus an external recruiting one better serves a services organization.  Internal recruiting more effectively serves the business in the areas of identifying the right talent for the company, targeted relationship management, retention, business planning and client acquisition.


Amanda Papini, Recruiting Director at Response Mine Interactive started her career in recruiting at Medical Staffing Network in 2005, and moved over to a corporate recruiting role at BKV and Response Mine Interactive in 2007, where she built an internal recruiting practice for both companies. Amanda has since staffed over 250 full-time employees within both companies; an average of 50 hires per year. After assisting with RMI and BKV’s growth over the last 5 years, Amanda decided to move over to focus solely on RMI’s talent acquisition and take on a role more dedicated to employee development.

Photo Credit

Behavioral Interviewing: A Strategic Imperative

Posted on July 9th, by Amanda Papini in Business and Workplace. No Comments

When networking with job-seekers, I hear that behavioral interviewing is common practice; thus, I was shocked to read this article on Business Insider: “Google Admits Its Crazy Interview Questions Were ‘A Complete Waste of Time.”  I could not believe that a Fortune 100 company was still asking questions such as, “Why are manholes round?”  I am unable to determine how someone can objectively answer this type of question.  Behavioral interviewing is evidently a practice that is not as common as I had thought.  If behavioral interviewing is not something your company is practicing now, it is should be put into practice as soon as possible.

My typical one on one interviews last around forty-five minutes and I am strapped for time to extrapolate all the relevant information I need to determine whether or not this candidate is not only a fit for the role at hand but, also for our culture.  It is critical that I utilize the time with planned questioning that assesses what the candidate has done in the past and what she is likely to do in the future, rather than assessing whether or not the candidate can solve brainteasers that she will not likely be faced with in the role.  I believe that most individuals that secure interviews can tell you what someone should do in certain circumstances, but is it what she actually did when finding herself in that situation?  You are often able to discern how much experience she has handling the situations you are asking about by how quickly she is able to produce examples and how she handles herself under pressure.

If you are struggling to know where to start, I began by reading a couple of valuable books:  How to Choose the Right Person for the Right Job Every Time by Lori Davila and Louise Kursmark and High-Impact Interview Questions by Victoria Hoevemeyer.  These books offer sample behavioral interview questions and rating scales to get you started.

The most challenging piece can be getting consistent practice of behavioral interviewing across all of your hiring managers’ interviews. As all of us in HR know, the hiring managers are typically swamped and the last thing on their mind is preparing in advance for an interview.   I started off by utilizing behavioral interview questions for soft skills, as many hiring managers struggled with how to measure a candidate’s soft skills, but understood the importance of making this more objective.  It was also effective to let them know that I was going to assist them with being more prepared for the interview and complete some of the up-front work for them by developing the questions.

This provided an additional benefit, in that I was able to introduce more of a focus on soft skill assessment.  So often hiring managers place greater value on finding candidates who are a “plug n’ play” due to their technical skills that I have seen many hires who don’t work out, not due to their technical abilities, but the missing soft skills that were not assessed during the interview process.  It is important to remind hiring managers that specific technical skills can be trained; however, soft skills often cannot or require a larger time investment not only from a training perspective but also in fixing interpersonal problems that occur that are not as easily solved.

Greater acceptance from hiring managers can be acquired by conducting post hire analysis of the new hire’s performance and correlating this with the interview questions asked.  This allowed the hiring managers to make better hiring decisions in the future and determine which questions were valuable in making staffing decisions.  This also resulted in saving the hiring managers a lot of time and expense through a reduction of bad hires.

After experiencing the benefit of asking the same soft skill questions to various candidates and being able to rate them on a scale that allowed objective comparisons across candidates post interview, I convinced the hiring managers to allow me to assist with the development of technical behavioral questions as well.  Often, I taught them how to include technical elements in the soft skill questions, such as, “Tell me about a time you identified a data or reporting discrepancy and how were you able to validate the data and take corrective action in a short amount of time.” This would allow the hiring manager to not only assess someone’s attention to detail and ability to work under tight deadlines, but also their ability to understand the technical reporting aspects of the job.  It is incredibly important to eventually be able to assess the technical aspects of a job and the soft skills required at the same time, due to time constraints of interviews.  Additionally, this helps avoid receiving the canned responses to basic soft skill questions such as, “Give me an example of situation that demonstrates your ability to effectively manage your time.”  I typically recommend surveying all of the candidates for 5 technical and 5 soft skills and ensuring that all skill sets that are necessary to be successful in the role are covered by one of the interviewers on the team.  As a past Recruiting Director, I embrace the opportunity to ensure that questions aren’t being repeated over various hiring mangers that are interviewing candidates for the role and that we are providing a great first impression to our candidates of an organized agency.

Not only did our implementation of behavioral interview questions across the agency help secure talent that was a better fit to role but also perpetuated a stronger presence of our agency in the marketplace.


Photo credit iStockphoto

Amanda Papini, Recruiting Director at Response Mine Interactive started her career in recruiting at Medical Staffing Network in 2005, and moved over to a corporate recruiting role at BKV and Response Mine Interactive in 2007, where she built an internal recruiting practice for both companies. Amanda has since staffed over 250 full-time employees within both companies; an average of 50 hires per year. After assisting with RMI and BKV’s growth over the last 5 years, Amanda decided to move over to focus solely on RMI’s talent acquisition and take on a role more dedicated to employee development.

{Random Encounters} Build a Connection and Find a Job

Posted on March 5th, by Nisha Raghavan in Women of HR Series: Random Encounters. Comments Off on {Random Encounters} Build a Connection and Find a Job

One of my favorite things to do to pass time when I travel is observe people and strike up conversations with total strangers. And it has often worked for me in several ways, be it on my flight when I travel, while at the bus stop or when I am at places that I have never been before.

Strike up a conversation

I know some of us may not be comfortable talking to strangers and it is just the way we are. But I understand that I am making myself approachable and likable to the other person by making a small friendly gesture, an eye to eye contact, a smile, talking about the weather or probably sharing a story or experience about me which somehow relates to them. This can help them open up their mind, start a conversation and share something that is of common interest.

Life is quite often like this. Every day we meet someone who wants to know about somebody or who knows somebody that we want to know about. And as an HR professional who loves to network, I always keep this in mind. Not just to connect with others with an ulterior motive but to learn something new, some experience that I never dealt with before or probably help each other out by sharing experiences that help us grow as a person.

 Stories help you build connection!

I know of an incident that happened not to me but to one of my close friends while she was on her journey from Dallas, Texas to Tampa, Florida. As it turned out, the two hour journey helped land her a job when she got talking to a lady sitting next to her. Fortunately for her

that random person on that flight was a recruiter. She sparked up a conversation seeing the PHR Prep book in the hands of that recruiter. This helped her understand that the lady was an HR professional and they started talking about job searches and interview processes in different companies. She indicated that she is looking for a position in health care industry. Unfortunately, the recruiter was a headhunter in the financial industry.

But to her surprise when my friend got back home, she received an interview call from another recruiter who happened to be friends with the lady she met on the flight. And my friend got that job. How cool is that?

I am sure they might have felt much more comfortable talking to each other in a casual manner rather than sitting in an interview room across each other or at a crowded networking event.

So start striking up conversations and build connections, you may never know who knows who!

Have you had any experience like this? Would love to hear from you!

About the author: Nisha Raghavan is the author of Your HR Buddy blog and a co-host of DriveThru HR. A former HR Generalist with extensive experience in Talent Management and Development, she specializes and writes about Employee Relations, Organization Development and how companies can keep their employees more engaged through Employee Engagement Initiatives. Her experience in the corporate world was as an HR Deputy Manager at Reliance Communications Limited, India.


Skip the Clichés in Your Job Search

Posted on December 6th, by Kimberly Patterson in Networks, Mentors and Career. 2 comments

It's common sense (well it should be anyway!) that job seekers shouldn't bad mouth former employers on a job interview.

However, when you're looking for a new job, there's always a good reason for it and you should be honest — in a professional way.  I'm not talking about getting into an hour-long drama explaining how tired you are of the office politics.

I read an article where the author stated you should use the following reasons to explain why you want to leave your current employer:

  • Seeking new opportunities
  • Looking for more responsibility
  • Interested in career advancement

Don’t get me wrong – these are very viable reasons to look for a new gig.  But they've been around for eons and are ultra cliche!  Everyone who doesn't want to talk about the fact that they hate their boss will use one of these reasons.  If one of these reasons are legit for you, skip the cliche and just provide an example.  For instance, share an experience about why you're ready to tackle new responsibilities and how it will add value to an organization.

Unless the person interviewing you has just fallen off of a turnip truck or is on their fir

st day of the job, they’ll want to know more.  It's best if it comes from you rather than having the interviewer make an incorrect assumption about you or your work.

And what if you really are leaving your job because you hate your boss.  Is it best to be honest?  Well, we'd like to think we could be because there is a laundry list of bad bosses out there.  But, like it or not, perception is reality and you'll be judged way too harshly if you were that honest.  In this case, my suggestion would be to think of the second biggest reason of why you want to leave your position and go from there.

The most important thing to remember is to be your real, unscripted self.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

About the author: Kimberly Roden is an HR pro turned consultant and the founder of Unconventional HR.  She has 25 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR and business leader.  Her hands-on and innovative approach allows her to create and deliver HR solutions to meet business challenges and needs by managing human capital, talent acquisition and technology.


Perspective: The HR Gal Goes On Some Interviews

Posted on August 28th, by Cindy Janovitz in Business and Workplace. 2 comments

As an HR person, I always find it fun, exciting and a great opportunity to judge people when I go through my own interview experience.I realize this probably makes me a little crazy and a bit of a nerd. Internal interviews are great in the sense that I continue to learn how much internal interview processes suck. Who needs feedback or consistent follow-up? Apparently not me, however, that’s not where I am going to focus today. Internal interviewing is a whole different can of worms I am not opening.

Sometimes, I have a horrible day at work and I say to myself, “I am done being a human punching bag, I am going to find a new job!” I have a feeling this happens a lot when you’re young in your career as I am. I should probably stop saying I am young in my career because as we continue to hire more and more recent grads, I start to feel ridiculously old. Regardless, I am still younger than many of my colleagues. In the last few years, I’ve dabbled in some interviewing at places other than my current employer. I have always told myself that if I were to ever leave it would have to be for a bomb opportunity. Yes, I said bomb. This being said, I’ve learned a couple of things:

  • Many organizations have terrible interview processes
  • I am clearly too process oriented
  • I have seriously high expectations for potential employers

I’m really only going to focus on the first bullet. Mainly because I don’t want to write a 20 page blog post and even if I did, you wouldn’t read it. I wouldn’t even read it.

Many organizations have terrible interview processes

I use the word many, but I am probably exaggerating. I often find myself frustrated with the lack of communication that happens. I also realized recently, that I am sometimes “old school” in how I prefer to be communicated with initially during the interview process. There was one organization that communicated only via e-mail. As someone who works with an employer that truly believes it is import

ant to build relationships, this was something that was hard to move past. I want to get a feel for the organization based on my conversations with the recruiter, not over e-mail. I realize I am probably one of very few who feels this way. I guess I want to feel like I am worth a phone call.

Another organization didn’t let me ask questions! WHAT?! I spent all this time preparing and coming up with thoughtful questions so that they knew I was taking the interview seriously. You suck. I want to ask my questions. It was the first time this had ever happened to me, but I was annoyed. I think it shows little respect for the candidate as most people will come prepared with at list a few questions. Me, it’s more like 15 to 20, but I’m a little crazy.

Part of my personal problem with interviewing is that I do have high expectations and I know how easy it is to make a phone call to keep the candidate informed of where we are in the process. I also recognize that all recruiters have multiple positions they are recruiting for, but if you don’t keep the candidate informed (especially your top candidate,) they are going to change their mind or go elsewhere. I find it ridiculously frustrating as someone who has worked in recruiting and someone who currently works in HR to have to be subjected to a subpar interview experience at a very reputable organization.

The interview process gives the candidate an idea of what they may be walking into should they be offered and accept a job at your organization. Don’t screw it up.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

About the author: Cindy Janovitz  works for a great Fortune 500 company in Minnesota.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communications and Spanish from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Cindy has a passion for working with and helping people and a love for organizational culture.  Three words Cindy uses to describe herself are energetic, passionate, and  driven. You can connect with Cindy on Twitter as @cindyelizabeth


Social Media & Marketing: Meet Laurie Ruettimann

Posted on August 15th, by Shauna Moerke in Women of HR Interviews. 2 comments

Good morning Women of HR readers! We have an uber special interview for you today. In fact, I'm sure a lot of you have been waiting for this interview for a while. So if you are as excited as I am, I should get right to it then!

This morning we will be speaking to one of my favorite people: Laurie Ruettimann!

With over a decade of Human Resources experience in Fortune 500 organizations, Laurie Ruettimann is an influential speaker, writer and social media expert who now works with The Starr Conspiracy.

Hiya Laurie! Let’s start off with a little about what you do. I am the Director of Social Media at The Starr Conspiracy, a marketing and advertising firm in Texas.  I am also a writer, speaker and consultant.

You forgot to mention loving mom to a handsome ginger kitty named Scrubby!

So how did you get to where you are now? I used to work in Human Resources. I parlayed that expertise into a portfolio career, which is really just a bunch of part-time jobs that pay the mortgage.

Hey, sounds good to me. Whatever keeps Scrubby in the life he has grown accustomed too.

Can you complete the following thoughts for me?

My best advice… is to stop asking for advice. Y

ou won’t listen, anyway.

I encourage… people to get moving. Every day is one day closer to death.

People… like to talk about themselves. Shut up and let them.

One of the best ideas… is sliced bread. Nothing beats it.

HR… is where I learned how to use a fax machine.

Every HR professional… is a skank ho. Most people have secrets, even your HR lady.

I lose it… when people discriminate against the unemployed. There but for the grace of God go you, jerk.

Awesome answers! So while I'm busy trying to figure out other HR ladies secrets, while covering up my own, is there anything else you’d like to share with the Women of HR?

Working in Human Resources made me realize that I’m a big fan of dichotomies, mass categorization and black and white constructs. I like things simple and straightforward. This is why it’s good that I no longer work in Human Resources. Life is much more complex than an either/or scenario. HR requires flexible people with strong critical thinking skills. That’s not me. That probably isn’t you, either.

Not that I need to tell you this, but you can find Laurie at her blog, The Cynical Girl!

Laurie, lots of hugs and thanks for your time!


Coping with Interview Nerves

Posted on June 14th, by a Guest Contributor in Networks, Mentors and Career. 2 comments

I always used to struggle with awful nerves particularly before and during interviews and it meant I was missing out on many opportunities. I had to train myself to control these nerves to stop them from taking over. This took a while to do but here are a few of the things that I learned along the way.

Preparation is one of the best things for reducing nerves before and during an interview. Ensuring that I was fully prepared for questions and scenarios that may arise helped in a massive way. There are a few key things that I think are the most important things to prepare for:

  1. Researching the company, the job and the market – there is no point in applying for a job that you know nothing or very little about and turning up to the interview with a small amount of information. Visiting the company website, reading any relevant publications and generally keeping a look and listen out for things that can help you is the best start. Turning up unprepared will just make your nerves worse.
  2. Finding what format the interview will be in can help you to prepare for that type of questioning. I once turned up to an interview and was required to do a presentation that I was not at all prepared for. Needless to say my nerves got the better of me and I didn’t do well at all.
  3. Find out what you will need to bring to the interview. Often a portfolio of previous work will be required. Turning up without this could make nerves worse and generally looks bad on you.
  4. Double checking the time and date to ensure you have them right is highly important, it’s difficult for anyone to keep calm when they’ve got the time wrong. Calling the day befo

    re to confirm the interview can ensure no-one’s time is wasted. Allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the interview early and you can make a good first impression. Running late for an interview always caused me even more stress and made me more nervous than usual.

Panicking on the morning of your interview about what to wear does nothing to help nerves. Pick an appropriate outfit in advance of the interview. Try it on, ensure it is comfortable and fits well. Clothing should be smart, it is always better to be over dressed than under dressed in an interview situation. Ensure tops are not too low, skirts are not too short and clothing is not too tight, otherwise you run the risk of being dressed inappropriately.

Think about what the worst that can happen would be. The probability of that happening is likely to be low and even if something does happen no-one is perfect and the interviewer is human. Compose yourself and continue. If you don’t get the job you can learn from what happened and avoid it the next time.

If your nerves are really difficult and these techniques do not help then it may be worth visiting your health care provider who could suggest an appropriate course of action.

Most important of all relax and be yourself!  Do you have any tips for keeping calm for interviews?

Photo credit: iStockphoto

About the author:  Charlotte Watson, contributing on behalf of Nicoll Curtain, specializes in the advantages of utilizing an IT recruitment agency  as well as landing  IT jobs in London.


Women and Negotiation: Do We Ask For What We Want?

Posted on May 29th, by Trisha McFarlane in Business and Workplace. 2 comments

I recently had the opportunity to attend a women’s networking event hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers in St. Louis. Our speaker was Adrian Bracy, CEO of the Metro St. Louis YWCA.

Ms. Bracy told her story of growing up in Miami and not feeling like she fit in.  She shared stories of how she found a small group of friends to support and accept her, ladies who still are a major support to her years later.  Her stories of career transition as an accountant working in the NFL for various teams to her current role as the CEO of the YWCA in St. Louis were fascinating.  It was something she shared about what inspired her that leads me to share with you today.

Ms. Bracy mentioned reading Women Don’t Ask a few years ago as she was on a plane for a high level job interview.  From what she shared about the book, the lesson is that women are raised to receive an offer (job offer or other offers) and say “thank you.”  Men are raised to receive an offer and start negotiating.

Do women know the art of negotiation?

There are exceptions to every stereotype out there, but in this case, I’ll venture to guess that many women do accept job offers or answers from our leaders without question.  We don’t ask for higher salaries, for more help or resources nor more help from our family members.  Is it because it is not comfortable?  Is it because we are not competent in negotiation?  Is it because we want to avoid confrontation?   Many women avoid negotiation for varied reasons.  However, whatever t

he reason, it is something we can learn and get better at with time.

Right now, today, you can:

  • Arm yourself with information. Take time to think about what you truly need then do the research necessary to get yourself comfortable.  This will position you for having a creative approach to the solution you desire.
  • Don’t be afraid to be honest.  A good example of honesty paying off comes when negotiating workload.  Many employees today get their work from multiple sources; a supervisor, other colleagues, company leaders, clients, vendors…the list goes on and on.  After sifting through what needs to be done, being able to approach people and squarely address and negotiate different deadlines and deliverables will be key to better managing the workload.
  • Build a relationship. Whether you are negotiating with a family member or a potential boss, being able to show you are not afraid to ask for something and negotiate a situation will ideally build a stronger relationship and demonstrate you are worthy of respect.  Show respect to them and understanding for their needs and they are likely to want to negotiate to help you reach your needs as well.

The key to being a good negotiator is not about how many negotiations you win at.  The key is getting yourself comfortable with doing it more often- or just starting to do it.  Take that step and you’ll be the one asking for, and getting, what you want!

Photo credit: iStockphoto