How to set your expectations after an interview

What is the worst part of an interview? If you ask me, its the not knowing that drives me crazy.

ME: Did I get the job? Do I have a chance? If I did, would you even tell me? Or, are you perfectly satisfied with sending me some automatic generic reply? Why aren’t you answering the questions in my mind?!

RECRUITER: Thank you for your time. We’ll be in touch.

Well, if you identify with my previous angst, you may want to try my (patented-pending) approach to interviewing for a job. In a nutshell, interview the interviewer to gauge the likelihood of said interview being a waste of your time. To do this, sprinkle in these questions some time during the process.

ASK: How long have you been recruiting? How much have you seen the industry change over that time?

WHY?: If they have been recruiting for a while (at least 3 years), then you can assume that they know what they are doing.


ASK: How much have you seen the industry change over that time?

WHY?: If they have been focusing in the same industry for awhile, then they “get” what managers in the field really want vs what they say they want.


RESEARCH: How many endorsements do they have on LinkedIn?

WHY?: It suggests how much of a people person they are. Recruiting is all about relationships and selling. If they have a bunch of attaboys from people they supported then they know how to pick and present a candidate and (better yet) know how to politick to get their hiring numbers up.


ASK: How long have you been recruiting for my role?

WHY?: Let me count the ways. If the job is old (especially in this economy) say, over 90 days old then (1) the manager can’t make a decision, (2) manager is still lobbying for increased headcount and wants resumes on tap for when they are ready, (3) manager wants to hire his cousin but has to “exhaust the possibilities” so it looks good, or, (4) manager wants to hire internally but politically cannot so he has to make it look good.


ASK: How pivotal is the role in the overall company scheme?

WHY?: Is the job low on the pole? If so, most likely they are not in a rush to fill the position. If your gig does happen to be low on the priority list so, ask about other roles they are trying to fill. If you know someone that might be a fit, you have another reason to contact them (to give them a referral) and chances are they won’t ignore you.


ASK: What was the last great achievement made here?

WHY?: If you get a blank stare, they are (most likely) a worker bee. They are definitely not drinking the company kool-aid which may be bad for you. Why? Not well connected with the company so might not be able to remember opportunities in other departments you might be a fix for.

These are just a few questions and the methods behind the madness. Let me know what you think? Have you tried this method before?


How to get jobsearch help from friends and family

Do you know someone that is looking for a job? Of course you do! How do I know that? I know that because you get the same emails that I do that say, in so many words, the economy sucks, you know who’s hiring? If you do, send them my resume because its attached. Chances are you received these type of emails from family members, friends and people whom you have no idea where they came from. Am I right?

Well, if you know someone who has tried this method of prospecting the hidden job market and did not get anywhere, maybe it was due to their approach. I do not want to bash anyone, but some people do not make it easy for me to help them. I mean, my heart goes out to anybody who is looking for work. (Why would I write so much on the topic if I did not have sympathy for those suffering this plight?) But, dude, make it easy on me. Three sentences and a resume is not doing it for me. May I offer a suggestion? Check out a request for assistance that was forwarded to me recently.

(1) Jim,

(2) First and foremost, I must THANK YOU for being an instrumental and valuable connection for my personal and professional growth here in Atlanta! Just knowing you is inspiring to the success I’m trying to build for myself and constantly reminds me to work harder and push further toward my next level… and that “next level” is exactly why I’m reaching out to you today. (3) By the way, I remember your being a fan of the TV show “24.” You might find this article interesting: How Will Jack Bauer Spend His Vacation Until The ’24’ Movie? I hope it makes you smile.

(4) As you know, I am currently a producer/programming assistant at [ censored ] in Atlanta, [ censored ]. I’ve enjoyed my experience there; however, it is not currently yielding desired growth or opportunities for career progression, nor does it provide what I need to take care of financial responsibilities. Thus, I have found it very necessary to pursue full-time opportunities that will help me achieve these desires.


In effort to maximize my chances at obtaining gainful employment, I’m enlisting your help, in hopes that you can reach out to your contacts who you believe will benefit greatly from my skills and experience.(6) I specialize and can perform within the following business, education or media related areas and titles:

  • Radio/TV Broadcasting – Show Producer, Associate Producer, Programming Assistant, Web Content Producer, Assignment Editor, Program Coordinator, Assistant Program Director, Production Coordinator/Manager
  • Public/Media Relations – Public Relations Coordinator/Specialist, Media Relations Liaison, Community Relations Coordinator/Manager
  • Writing – Writer, Editor, Editorial Assistant, Proofreader, Copywriter, Scriptwriter, Script Supervisor
  • Business/Marketing/Event Planning – Marketing Communications Coordinator, Event Coordinator, Special Events Coordinator, Manager, Supervisor
  • Education – Teacher, Substitute, Administrative Assistant, Trainer, Paraprofessional
  • Administrative Positions – Customer Service Manager/Coordinator, Executive Assistant, Office Manager, Administrative Assistant

Once again, I ask that you forward my resume to your contacts that need someone like me, or if you come across opportunities that require online applications, (7) just shoot me an email and/or the requisition #s and I will complete the process J. Also, I can provide excellent references and tailored cover letters whenever necessary.

(8) TARGETED COMPANIES: Turner Broadcasting, Time Warner, BET, TV-One, WXIA-TV, WATL-TV, WGCL-TV, WSB-TV, WAGA-TV, WUPA/CW-69, Tyler Perry Studios, GA Public Broadcasting, School Systems (APS, Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb), Colleges/Universities, Federal Government, Non-Profits, etc…

(9) WITH REGARD TO LOCATION – I desire to stay in the Atlanta area, but I am open to opportunities in the DMV (DC/MD/VA) area. Wherever the right opportunity is, that’s where I want to be.

(10) WITH REGARD TO PAY –My desired pay is $40K or above. I am open to reasonable negotiations within that immediate range. I desire a full-time, salaried position with full benefits and the possibility of 401K/stock options… this is non-negotiable and are the only opportunities I can/will consider at this time.

(11) WHAT I’M NOT LOOKING FOR – As stated above, I am only considering full-time opportunities that can guarantee salary and benefits. I will not consider any multi-level marketing, commission based cold calling, or initial work for start-up companies. Freelancing work for individual or start-up companies is possible, but I will only pursue those opportunities AFTER full-time work has been secured.

(12) I hope my requests don’t come off as asking for too much, or as being too picky because I’m not. I’m a dedicated, hard-working woman and at this particular point in my life, I have to be authentic in my worth. Hands down, what I bring to the table through skill, experience and instinctive talent is worthy of investment… and anyone I’ve worked with, or for, can attest to that J

(13) I know that you have a very busy schedule, and from the depths of me, I THANK YOU for ANY assistance that you can provide. I’ve sown so many seeds since being here in Atlanta and I look forward to reaping the HARVEST of a rewarding opportunity…thanks for helping me take this step in enjoying just that!

Warm Regards,

[ censored ]
(14) Writer | Producer | Multi Media Professional
(15) Facebook | Linkedin | Twitter | Blog

Why is this a cool prospecting letter? These are my notes:

(1) Although this person has (probably) sent this same email to several of her contacts, they took the time to personalize it. Or at the least, used a program that does it for them. (Smile)
(2) They start off giving me warm and fuzzy feelings. That’s a good thing because if I feel good about them, I will more than likely remember them later.
(3) We actually know each other and gave me information that I actually have an interest in. (Who doesn’t love Jack Bauer?)
(4) Thank you for reminding me of who you are. I don’t have the best memory.
(5) Keeping it real. I can appreciate that. I feel good about you and now I can (hopefully/maybe) be of help to them.
(6) Bullet points make it easier on me to pidgeon hole you.
(7) All I have to do is send you a lead and you will follow through? Cool. Thank you for not asking me to connect you to my closest connections when I barely remember you.
(8) Very nice. It saves us both time when we both know what you want.
(9) Very nice. It saves us both time when we both know what you want.
(10) Very nice. It saves us both time when we both know what you want.
(11) Very nice. It saves us both time when we both know what you want.
(12) Honesty is always appreciated.
(13) Ending the request on a positive note is also good.
(14) Thanks again for pointing out your preferred jobtitles. Again, I don’t have the best memory.
(15) Oh cool, you are on Twitter and Linkedin. I will connect with you that way as well.

I hope this proves useful to you and your connections.

Happy Hunting!

Jim Stroud

Why layoffs are a jobseekers best friend

I feel a poem coming on.

Layoffs suck.
I hate ’em.
I know you do too.
Economy sucks.
The End.

(Insert the sound of fingers snapping here)

Okay, besides the sentiment of my poem, what else do layoffs make you think about? Is there anyway a layoff can be a good thing? Well, actually, yes they can be… for the unemployed. How? Consider this, one way to get ahead in business (or the job market for that matter) is to be connected to the right people. If you wanted to connect with say… a VP of Engineering working in the Semiconductor industry and you did not know anyone that could introduce you, how much luck would you have getting past an Admin who is screening his (or her) calls? Probably, not much, especially if you are trying to position yourself for a job. However, how much would your chances improve if the person you wanted to talk to was just laid off? (Don’t answer. It was a rhetorical question.)

Layoffs (and a down economy) are good for at least one thing – future business opportunities. Why? People are more open to talking to you now because possibly / maybe you might be able to help them down the road. And the longer they have been out of work, the more open they are to networking. I suggest that you take advantage of this now because as bad as things are now, they will not always be. When the job market returns and business returns to “normal” everyone will have less time to deal with your request for job opportunities and simply refer you to a recruiter who will refer you to a blackhole of resumes and you may never be seen or heard from again. Make sense?

Nowadays, I hear a lot about layoffs, but they do not all interest me. Nor, should they interest you. What should pique your interest are layoffs in your industry. If, say… Xerox was laying off people left and right and your skills would be a good match for that company, connect with their employees. Even if they are not working now, they will be eventually and most likely it will be for a competitor where your skills are still valued. Make sense?

Let’s imagine that you are looking for networking connections in the finance arena. Sure, there are a lot of Wallstreet companies you can pursue, but who would be more open to talking to you? Let’s do a search on Google and see.

I look for companies that are announcing a hiring freeze and see that Morgan Stanley has announced a hiring freeze and people are concerned about layoffs. Yikes! Well, now may be a good time to reach out to Morgan Stanley employees and say that you would like to network with them. Perhaps in the near-future you may be able to refer job leads to them and vice-versa. Get it?

If you like the direction this is going in, here are a few more searches to get your brain in motion. Of course, you may want to change the keywords to fit the industry you serve. (Smile)

Happy Hunting!


Which online college is the most popular with jobseekers?

I was online (as always) and stumbled across an advertisement for an online college. It was not the first time I had seen an advert for an online school and it won’t be the last. I don’t know if its just me, but I have been seeing a lot of “back to school” ads these days. Have you ever been curious as to how many people attend these institutions? Maybe not, but I was, at least on one occasion. So much so, I decided to do a bit of research. I wanted to know how popular these online schools were with jobseekers. So, how do I do that?

The first thing I did was search Google for articles listing for “top online universities and schools” and found a top 10 list of online universities.

Using this list as my basis I realized that I was not considering several others that should be on this list. As a matter of fact, when I searched out these online universities, I noticed several Google Ads from other schools I had never heard of. So, when considering my research, take that into account.

I used Google initially to run my searches, but it kept blocking me so I switched to Yahoo and then back to Google because I’m a glutton for punishment. In my searches, I looked for the term “resume” or “CV” in the title of the document and the name of the school, but not see terms in the title like sample, tips, how and fake. Why? When I ran my searches initially, I would see a lot of resume samples, resume tips, things like that. I also saw results entitled “How to write a resume” as well and… Okay, I think I am seeing your eyes glaze over a bit, so let me share my data. (Click here for a sample of one of my searches.)

  • In both Google and Yahoo, University of Phoenix was represented in online resumes the most and by a WIDE margin.
  • In both Google and Yahoo, Devry University was in second place when it came to being mentioned on online resumes.
  • In both Google and Yahoo, American Intercontinental University (AIU) was in third and Kaplan was fourth.

Does this suggest that the University of Phoenix is the best online university there is? Um… I cannot say. What I can say is that in the sampling of schools I considered, University of Phoenix attendees had the most resumes online. So, there you go.

In case you want to look at more numbers, here is how the stats lined up.

I found on Yahoo:

  • 1,910 University of Phoenix resumes
  • 531 Devry University resumes
  • 495 AIU resumes
  • 311 Kaplan resumes
  • 169 Liberty University resumes
  • 162 South University
  • 37 Post University
  • 36 Ashford University
  • 29 St. Leo university resumes
  • 16 Everest University resumes
I found on Google:
  • 9.940 University of Phoenix resumes
  • 2,630 Devry University resumes
  • 1,700 AIU resumes
  • 1,850 Kaplan resumes
  • 605 South University resumes
  • 523 Liberty resumes
  • 506 Ashford University resumes
  • 447 Everest University resumes
  • 274 Saint Leo resumes

Hmm… quite a disparity of search results, but I digress. I hope you found this information of interest.



How NOT to get the job you really, really want

Have you considered renting a billboard and promoting your resume that way? If you have, can I make a suggestion? PLEASE DON’T do that.

  • Mark4Hire <– Did it work? No.
  • HirePasha <– Did it work? No, but she started her own company. God bless her. How much did it cost to rent the billboard? $7,000.00)
  • Julie Sarpy <– $1200.00 for 3-days of Billboard hype. Not sure if it worked.
  • David4hire <— $5,000.00 billboard. No success story posted. (Anybody have an idea?)

Why billboards are a bad idea:

  • Not targeted – On any given day, on a major thoroughfare, tens of thousands of cars pass through. Where are they going? To work? Maybe. Maybe they are job seekers like you? What percentage are people ideally suited to hire you? Can you tell? Nope!
  • Expensive – In these days and times, spending thousands of dollars on a longshot is very risky.
  • Can’t track who saw it – Sure, its in a great location for a lot of eyeballs (presumably) but how many people really paid it attention? Maybe they are listening to the radio, talking on the phone or they saw it but did not really see it. Case in point, if you drive the same way everyday to and from work, do you still look at the street signs?
  • Often in a bad location – Bad location is subjective. If you have a pizza joint near an intersection, then a billboard is GREAT! However, if you want to work in the semiconductor industry and there are no semiconductor companies near that location, then that location pretty much sucks. You dig? So, my final analysis?

Just say no!

However, if I caught you too late and you have already invested in a billboard. Sigh… Here are a few suggestions (for what its worth)

  1. Use a (free) service like Textmarks. With Textmarks people can text a phrase to a number (41-411) and the service will automatically send a message back to them. The message that is broadcast could be “Project Manager – 10 yrs experience – Six Sigma Certified –”  When someone texts the service you get their phone number. So, follow up and say “Hi, are you hiring?”
  2. Find other suckers / umm, I mean other jobseekers to join you and thereby defray costs. Have the billboard point to a website where multiple resumes are posted. Hmm.. Maybe you can make a business out of it? If so, let me know (and send me a cut).
  3. Make sure that the billboard is not on a major highway. Beyond all the traffic, who is really looking at it? Do the research and make sure that the billboards are near office parks. The price may be lower since you are not near a major intersection, but at least the traffic will be more targeted. And speaking of location, do yourself a favor and put your tax dollars to work. The Department of Labor keeps stats on occupational trends. For example, <– reports on what counties in Ga are projected to be hiring and in what and which counties are expected to be doing the hiring. Make sense?

Good luck with your search.