Education Career Services

June 9, 2010

Interviewing: Be a Tiger, NOT a lamb

Finally… it took months to get one and nothing is going to stop me from making the right impression and landing a job offer (or at least making it to the next interview round). Securing an interview appointment is only half the battle – actually, getting the interview is only the beginning.

Over the past few days, I had the luxury of interviewing five candidates. The following summarizes the high points and a couple low points:

Thumbs Up:

* All five entered the reception area in a timely and professional manner
* All five dress professionally and fit the part, clothes tight and holding an eager and smiling face
* All five engaged in a “conversational” style during the interview (as opposed to being stiff or rigid – for the record, I prefer a relaxed discussion – one not predetermined and overly practiced)
* All five offered a firm hand shake upon initial greeting and departure
* All five could do the job

From the surface, it is a neck to neck rating.

Thumbs Shaking:

* None of the five have sent a thank you follow up (I prefer snail mail [yet did not even receive an email or a phone call] showcasing a bit of personality, innovation, attention to our conversation, and sincere interest)
* None of the five appeared to perform due diligence regarding pre-interview company research (I am only guessing here but as no one shared an in-depth knowledge of what we do and how we do it, I can only conclude based upon the premises provided)

With no clear-cut candidate advantage, what do you recommend I do? Having all return for a second interview would probably result in the same result. As a hiring agent, I want someone to step up to the plate and force me to recognize him/her as the one. Guess I will just keep interviewing, checking the mail, and hoping someone will rise above the complacency…

What does this mean for you? From the student to the entry-level first-time employee to the seasoned professional, interviews (if you are lucky enough to get one) are YOUR time to shine. The concept is simple:

Interview Shining Requires:

* Making sure you hit all points on the thumbs up category
* Perform due diligence prior to the interview; this means researching the company, what they do, how they do it, and what you bring which will add/contribute to the success of the company
* Send a thank you/follow up letter if you remain interested in the position immediately after the interview. Take it from me, a typical employer, sometimes the little things can make a huge difference

Getting that initial interview is only the beginning. Prove your value AND reinforce your contributions and interest. I have five good candidates treading, all I want now is a reason to believe one of them wants the job as much as I want to hire him/her… what else can I do?

dhuffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services/Career Services International
dhuffman@careersi.com

May 18, 2010

Interview over? What now?

Do thank you notes yield job offers? No, but they help by giving you another chance to sell yourself and show proper social skills at the same time.

Any form of communication with a possible employer can be your marketing tool. With this in mind, use your best sales skills, but don’t be too pushy. Stress that since learning more about the company and the position, you realize what a good fit you are and, having thought about this, you want to add some past achievements (or educational accomplishments) relevant to the job. Reemphasize your skills, mention any information you forgot during the original interview that will be impressive to the employer.

Keep in mind this is a thank you letter; that is the excuse for writing. It can be typed in a business letter format or handwritten using a pre-printed thank you note or professional looking stationary.  The letter should express your appreciation for the opportunity to interview and learn more about the position.

Some things you might want to include are:

* The day of your interview and the job for which you applied.
* Your continued interest in the position and the company.
* Your skills and qualifications and how you will contribute to the organization.

Be creative, the letter must be unique, not generic. It has to be flawless.

Write this letter as soon as possible after the interview. The employer should receive it within 48 hours, maximum. Obviously, the fastest way is to send it to him or her by email if you have their address. Don’t stop there; send a hard copy via regular mail as a follow up. That way you can be certain they receive some form of courtesy and, it will show you pay extra attention to details.

To further assist you, take a look at five tips helping you write your thank-you note:

1. Have a friend proofread your letters for misspellings and grammar errors.
2. Keep it short. All you need is a few sentences
3. Thank everyone who interviewed you. If you met with more than one person at a company, send a letter to each and vary the content.
4. Reiterate your interest in, and qualifications for the job.
5. Include the best way to reach you, even if you think the interviewer knows it. Sign off by asking about the next step.

Placing yourself above the competition takes diligence and action. Employers want you to be the perfect fit… do you think its fun to interview people? Take it from me (I’ve interviewed hundreds), I dislike the whole process and truly hope the next person walking through the front door is the person for the job… and that person could be you!

dhuffman

May 10, 2010

Interview Blunder: Out the Window

Over the past month, I have been searching for a writer to join our company. I had our department manager, Ziggy, place a few job postings in various sources. As of late we have been using Craig’s List to find potential candidates (not the best medium to find quality talent but it’s cheap—I tell you this so you do not miss out on any potential employment postings during your search).  After a few weeks, the field of call-backs was reduced from 25 to 4.

We called several to come in to interview, and I won’t bore you with too many details… let it suffice you to know that Ziggy felt all four could do the job well; thus, it was down to “intangibles” to differentiate.  As the four appeared equal on paper, how was the decision to be made? To reinforce what you should do in an interview setting, here’s a quick sample of the things the candidates did which were positive:

* All four candidates showed up ten minutes early (perfect timing)
* All four candidates dressed professionally
* All four candidates engaged in proper pre-interview/company research
* All four candidates asked the right questions

Enough of the positive things for now; let’s get into the gray area:

* Two candidates did NOT send thank you e-mail notes
* Three candidates did NOT send a hard copy thank you letter (a nice touch ignored)

Well, now we have a few items to consider. Here’s the kicker and perhaps I should not be telling you this but I believe the following incident swayed my decision NOT to ask for one of the candidates to return for a second interview.

Blunder: OUT THE WINDOW!

Given the opportunity and time, I make quick trips to the neighborhood bank. On this day we had a deposit to make and I took the trip. An interview was scheduled for 20 minutes into the future so had to hurry on my return. Upon my return, I happened to get behind a well-kept vehicle going the same direction as my office. I followed the mile and both turned right (I used my turning light—the car in front did not). As we neared the front the office, a young lady, driving solo, rolled her window down and flicked a slightly smoked cigarette onto pavement.

Too many, this act of littering would go unnoticed, but I happen to believe trash in my front yard is a blunder which should go noticed. The candidate opened her car door, intentionally missed stepping on the smoking stick, walked 25 feet, and entered our glass door. Moments later I was informed of her presence.

Over the next 30 minutes we talked about how her knowledge, skills, and abilities would contribute to our goals. It was a fine interview, her answers were perfect and, as a recent graduate from UCF, I felt she would fit the dynamics well. Unfortunately all I could see was a total disregard to my front yard; she littered and I could not get past the fact (plus the scent of too much perfume in an attempt to cover the smell of smoke). Needless to say, the field of candidates dropped from four to three.

Lesson of the day: For those preparing and going into an interview, the interview begins BEFORE the actual scheduled time. If you smoke or snack, don’t litter; as a matter of fact, I strongly suggest that if you smoke, do not smoke an hour (or longer) before you dress for the interview. For non-smokers, the smell is obvious and can be a turn off. Just saying…

The employment market is too tight to lose on a flickering butt. Keep your window up and your smile on.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International, www.careersi.com
Education Career Services, www.educationcs.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
The Huffman Report, www.westorlandonews.com

April 2, 2010

Making that first impression: Face-to-face interviews

Submitted by Jenna Rew

In these economic times, being called for a face-to-face interview is a success by itself. Companies want to hire those who can prove beyond doubt that they can fulfill all the employer’s needs. During the initial phase, you have to prove your value to the company is greater than the sum of your pay.

According to the Agency for Workforce Innovation for the state of Florida, over 211,500 jobs have been lost since February of 2009. That being said, nailing your interview is key to ensuring you land a position in a time when thousands are out of work.

So, how do you prepare?

Do the leg work. Research the company where you are applying. Find ways to showcase your skills in a way that is relevant to the employer and prepare questions that can not be answered by going to the company Web site.

Practice makes perfect. Research common interview questions and compose your answers. If possible, practice with someone else to avoid becoming tongue-tied or inconsistent. A few common questions are:

  • Why should I hire you?
  • What is your greatest strength? Weakness?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are your career goals?

 Know the area. If necessary, do a trial run. You want to be 10 to 15 minutes early and knowing where you are going is essential.

Prepare your briefcase/portfolio. Consider the things you should be taking with you:

  • At least three copies of your resume in case the interviewer does not have one on hand.
  • Your social security card and driver’s license
  • Writing samples or a portfolio of relevant work
  • Letters of reference and reference information.
  • If you are a recent grad, a copy of your last transcript

Dress for success. Women should wear business pants or a knee length skirt with proper hosiery, a blouse, heels or pumps, minimal jewelry and modest make-up. If appropriate, wear a jacket. Men should wear a three piece business suit and a modest tie, no crazy patterns. Clean shaven is best. Make sure your clothes are ironed. If your clothes are a rumpled mess you give the impression that YOU are a rumpled mess.

Follow-up. After the interview, send a letter or friendly e-mail saying thank you for the interviewer’s time and interest. When the employers are reviewing applicants they will remember you.

Preparation is everything. Plan accordingly and walk out of your interview with your head held high. Be confident and showcase yourself. You will succeed.

Thank you Jenna, I am convinced this will not be the last time we hear from you,

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International, www.careersi.com
Education Career Services, www.educationcs.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
Creator, The Huffman Report, www.westorlandonews.com

September 30, 2009

Are You Hiring (the sequel)?

As promised, the following is yesterday’s conclusion:

Your experience and educational background in research comes into play as well as your social and professional networks.  Once you identify a particular company or industry, talk to everyone you know about the company.  The cliché that “we live in a small world” will quickly become a little more real.  It may surprise you how close your network connections may be to decision makers. Through friends, classmates, family members, professors, neighbors, and career services counselors, chances are you will gain valuable insight without a great deal of effort, at least in the initial phase of simply asking.  From people in your network, jot down ideas and remember potential contacts within the company or industry; these may come in handy during informational interviews.

Once you have an outline of information you want to focus on, it is homework time. Research the organization and industry as you will be asking questions related to your findings.  Make a quick list of questions and identify what data your contact may be able to provide.  You will want to make a list of approximately 10-15 questions based upon the title and position of your contact.  The more you are prepared, the more likely the person on the phone will be happy to answer. As noted, people like to talk about themselves and especially their work.

Once you contact a professional in the field, explain that you are gaining information about his or her job responsibilities, requirements, company/industry needs, new processes, and so on.  Always make sure the individual has time for a discussion; if not, schedule a phone meeting at their convenience.

During informational interviews, have your résumé available in case you need a quick reference.  Stick to the time allotted (typically 30 minutes in length), do not take too much of the person’s time and, if the meeting goes well, ask to schedule another meeting, hopefully face-to-face.  Even if you receive a personal meeting, remember the purpose is to gather information—do not turn this into a job interview. You are “researching opportunities” in that particular field or industry.

Once your informational interview is over, write the responses and review them as your career decisions may hinge on the impressions taken from this and other informational interviews.  Send the person a thank you note as professional etiquette dictates that you treat the informational interview with the same standards as a job interview.  Once thank you notes have been sent, contact another professional within the company or industry.  Do not stop with a single perspective—the more input from various sources, the more accurate the representation will be.

Possible informational interview questions include:

What does failure mean to you?
What qualities do you feel a successful employee should have?
How do you demonstrate your ability to be innovative?
What are some of the most effective ways to demonstrate teamwork?
What three things are most important to you in your job?
Tell me about a conflict you had with someone and how you handled it.
Tell me about a major problem you encountered and how you handled it.
What qualities do you admire in others?
Tell me about a time a supervisor or peer criticized your work, how did you handle it?

Once it’s time for a formal interview, know that in recent years the use of behavior-modeled interview questions have dominated the interview process.  No matter the industry or job position, you must prepare for this type of setting.”

Okay, enough of the books for now.  To summarize, when networking, do everything you can to make the other person talk about him/herself, the company, and the needs within the company or department.  Do not turn this informational (informal) moment into a formal meeting.  Next time you go to a social (industry) function, keep your ears open, your words to be used as a catalyst for the other person (everyone likes a good listener and at this time, the information can be most invaluable), and the atmosphere to be comfortable.  During the first encounter, do not push for an interview but a follow-up on a specific topic of discussion. 

Find contacts through associations, foot traffic, networking events, and professional peers.  It’s not the easiest thing to do but developing a rapport is the foundation you are trying to accomplish. 

Hopefully I was not too exhaustive in my response.  If you need further help or would like my guidance in any other capacity, do not hesitate to ask. 

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

September 23, 2009

Young Jobseekers: How to Gain Credibility and Guard Against Age Discrimination

By Bret Hoveskeland

September 23If you happen to be a youthful current jobseeker, which of the two categories represent you the best:

1) the fresh-faced, young adult in college or recent graduate with a sparse resume?
2) the 31-year-old, fresh-faced, but not-so-recent college graduate hunting for a career job? 

How do you go about convincing potential employers when meeting for the first time that, despite your youthful appearance, you are still the right candidate for the job?  Here are a few guidelines this young writer found useful on combating similar employment situations:

Dress to Thrill

That is, to thrill them conservatively, not as some modern fashion victim or poster child for what not to wear at a job interview.  Dressing the part when meeting prospective employers is always the first rule-of-thumb to abide by, not only for making a great first impression, but also for getting any hiring manager to think you show serious interest in the position or company in question.  If a manager has one open position closely narrowed down to two final candidates, the choice may very well hinge on which one has a more professional, presentable appearance…. Appearance matters.  In addition, looking your most professional adds a perception of experience to those with a strikingly youthful look.

Regularly List Numbers and Figures for a Professional Background

When applicable, include the total number of years experience in a given field on the resume.  Whether the jobseeker is a recent college graduate with limited work experience or a workplace vet sporting the baby-faced look, giving employers solid numbers gives them a far greater idea of one’s special skills, as well as more confidence in what a candidate can do for the respective company.  Vague, generalized skill statements do not provide employers with proof of what the jobseeker is capable of doing.  On the other hand, if a candidate has accumulated years of experience in, for example, customer service positions, it can make that candidate look more wise in their years to list the number of total years experience on a resume, regardless of it being divided between different fields, such as retail, sales, or even an office environment.

Showcase Special Collegiate Skills and Experience

For jobseekers who may have not gained much work experience during their college careers, do not hesitate to include any significant college experiences that have aided in marketing one’s employable skills.  Internships, externships, student organizations, or specialty clubs that build skills in one’s major interest of study further enhance the new jobseeker’s resume and add to the experience he or she can list on a resume.  It also helps show that the candidate was proactive in developing their skills outside of the classroom, even if not in the current job market.

Use Caution Involving Social Networks

One word of warning more prevalent to modern young jobseekers, is to exercise caution when using or becoming a member of popular social networking websites, such as Facebook, MySpace, etc.  Not only does social networking usage tend to be higher with younger jobseekers, but in our American culture, we are hearing more cases of these sites causing problems for students and job candidates alike.  If a potential employer happens to come across a candidate’s profile on such a site and see information that may appear less than appealing or in poor taste, it can very well result in the jobseeker compromising their sought-after position with a prospective company.

In addition to these interview guidelines, it might not hurt to remember the appropriate song titles to various 70s tunes by such bands as Bad Company and Foghat.  And remember that BTO stands for Bachman-Turner Overdrive.  Knowing such facts can certainly help show your potential employers that your fresh-out-of-high-school looks might not be just what they seem.

Thank you Bret for your insight and no doubt many of our followers will benefit from your comments.

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
Education Career Services: www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: www.careersi.com

September 16, 2009

Initial Interview 101… an interviewee’s helpful advice

The following was submitted by Caroline and I would now like to share with you.

September 16Your resumes have gone out, the phone calls have come in and finally… you’re gearing up for your first interview.  Now’s the time for you to bring your qualifications to life and put a smiling, eager, confident face to the name you so proudly displayed in the header of your cover letter.

You might be thinking as long as you look ironed, cleaned and well-kempt, the interview will be cake. Think again, my friend!

First interviews are critical for establishing the possibility of your future with the company in question. As such, they should be taken seriously and prepared for intentionally.  Interview 101 boils down to common sense: be on time. It’s hard to stress the importance of this cardinal rule; but equally difficult to emphasize the damage that an oversight in this arena can create. Timeliness is not only an indication of your level of responsibility and capacity to meet deadlines; it is also a sign of respect. The interviewer has a schedule to keep. You are but a single part in his or her very full day. Do what you can to show them that you realize the demands they are under and that, starting now, you can be a positive part of helping them meet every one of them.

Timeliness is important, but just step one in this initial interview phase. You should take this opportunity to showcase that you not only know your own talents, skills and experience, but you are well aware of the company’s accomplishments, goals, and trends. Research the history of the company; brush up on any recent developments or additions and make yourself aware of the company’s overall philosophy. By doing so, you will be better prepared to link your own aspirations and qualifications to the needs of the open position. Be specific! Know enough to be able to converse beyond generalities.

Part two of your research should include preparing questions to ask the interviewer. It’s sadly unimpressive when it comes to the time for your own questions and you have none. Think through the position—what do you want or need to know in order to perform the proposed responsibilities? What are the expectations from your potential superiors? What are the possibilities for development and growth?

Remember—these questions aren’t just for show or to impress. This interview is as much about you getting to know the company as it is a chance for them to size you up. Regardless of the salary, benefits or other perks that this job may bring your way, if you walk into a situation blindly or without fully understanding the role you will play or the environment you will be in, chances are, the working relationship may be short-lived or, at best, frustrating and unsatisfying (And you didn’t just get through all those eight-o-clock classes to be frustrated and unsatisfied!).

Finally, when you are preparing for your initial interview, remember to dress and present yourself in a way that is impressive, complimentary to the company’s culture, but also representative of who you are. Your professional ventures should not be a masquerade. You need to be honest about where you come from, your past experiences and your personality. Too much of your life is spent in the work place to make it an arena for a façade.

In short, heed the clock, know what you’re walking into, prepare questions that will help you evaluate the fit and be yourself. Of course, the most polished, professional version of yourself… but yourself nonetheless. Interviews are a two-way street. Do your part to contribute to the process honestly and thoroughly. And then, engage in the process. Remember… regardless of the outcome, no interview is a wasted opportunity. You will always learn more about yourself, how you relate to others and your personal and professional goals.

So congratulations on the call-back… and get to work! This is just the beginning!

Again, thank you Caroline for your insight and no doubt many of our followers will benefit from your comments.

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
Education Career Services: www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: www.careersi.com

September 15, 2009

Job Interview…an interviewee’s reply

The following was submitted by Barbara and I would now like to share with you.

September 15As someone who has interviewed prospective employees, I’d like to add a couple of thoughts to “Job Interview – An Employer’s Experience”.

I agree with your recommendations that an interviewee be on time, be as prepared as possible, dress appropriately, and follow up with a note.  These are basic courtesies.

However, though I know prospective hires tend to blur after you’ve interviewed quite a few, I’m not entirely sure that encouraging a candidate to reiterate his or her strengths in a follow-up note is the best advice.  I’d even go so far as to say it’s not his or her responsibility.  In my experience, self-promotion in a follow-up note can come across as pushy and perhaps even transparent.

I submit that it is the interviewer’s task not only to probe a prospective employee’s strengths during an interview but also to jot down notes afterwards, to help you remember what distinguishes one candidate from another, to help trigger your recollection of something unique about the person.  That might be something as simple as a passing remark or an observation while you were chatting informally, or as focused as a “war story” told to illustrate a point.  It could be something as unconscious (but important) as body language.

That said, on to some things for the candidate to keep in mind.

Remember that the person interviewing you is trying to gather information that will help him or her make a decision, to determine things that may not be apparent on your resume:  Are you articulate?  What is your professional style?  Are you supportive and tactful or driven and confrontational?  Are you naturally energetic and enthusiastic or ho-hum?  These traits can be just as important as your past work history.

It’s also important to remember that an interview is a two-way street, a reciprocal process.  That is, besides enabling the interviewer to learn more about you, there are also some things you should know when you leave the building.

You might ask for information about the company and its direction, beyond what your job would entail (if you’re hired).  What does the company consider its core strength or business and who are the primary target audiences or clients or customers?  You can hardly know whether or not you’d like to be a part of an organization – particularly a small one, not quite yet in the Fortune 100 – unless you know more about it than what appears in an ad or even what you read on a website.

There’s nothing wrong with asking a question or two about what led your interviewer to join (or form) the company.  This isn’t to pry into a life history; it’s to gain an appreciation for what makes the company special for him or her. These things could be tangibles or intangibles.  Are they the same things you want for yourself in your new business environment?

Don’t be embarrassed to say “I don’t know” if you’re asked something you can’t answer.  Don’t try to bluff.  Similarly, if you’re asked about a certain skill and you’ve never had experience with it but believe that, with some coaching, you could master it, say so.  Don’t despair over what may at first blush look like the kiss of death. 

In short, be authentic and real.

These thoughts may be self-evident.  But in case they’re not, and particularly if you have most if not all of the necessary qualifications for the job but are new to the interview process, take a deep breath and relax.  The person sitting across from you probably wants you to be just what he or she has been looking for, so the search won’t go on for weeks or months.  Instead of worrying about how you’re doing, trust in yourself and what you have to offer.  This, you’ll find, will take you a long way towards completing a mutually rewarding interview.

Again, thank you Barbara for your insight and no doubt many of our followers will benefit from your comments.

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
Education Career Services: www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: www.careersi.com

September 14, 2009

Job Interview…an employer’s experience (day one)

Recognizing what an employer goes through when searching for qualified candidates places the job seeker in a distinct advantage.  With this in mind, spend a few minutes to get inside the mind of an employer.

September 14The final days of reviewing job applications and responses to my job posting has come and gone.  I have been swamped with great applicants throughout a five day period…can you believe the responses.  As a result, keep active in your job seeking and do not hesitate or delay action.  There are too many qualified candidates waiting for their chance.

With this in mind and a handful of very qualified candidates, it’s on to the next phase of the process.  In so many ways, this is the least enjoyable (at least from my perspective) phase to endure.  Holding initial job interviews can be taxing not only by the amount of time required, but by the opportunity cost of not being able to perform my daily functions.  Thus, keep in mind the importance of being at an interview a good ten to five minutes early.  Need I mention the effect of being late?

Interviewing began last Friday and I met three very wonderful and unique individuals.  It’s truly hard to imagine the process without sitting across the table (that of the one actually interviewing).  This is your opportunity to allow the interviewer quality time to get to know you, your contributions, and your goals…don’t blow it by being late or unprepared.  As an employer, what do I look for in a candidate?  So glad you asked.

As mentioned a few lines ago, I am looking for individuals who are prepared and ready from minute-one.  If an applicant is new to the city or is worried about traffic and as a result being late; do your homework, make a trip to the office/location the day before, estimate and give yourself plenty of time to make it on time.  I have this strong belief that a person’s character and ethic is confirmed not by what is said, but by what is done.  No doubt about it, during interviews, actions definitely say more than words.  For the individual who is going to be late, you must call and let the interviewer know. 

Many applicants may not belief this, especially students new to the workforce, but the interviewer will be interviewing more than one person and he or she designates a certain amount of time to conduct the interview.  For the late arrivers, know the interviewer will now be crunched for time and this will upset the remainder of the day.  For example, I planned on interviewing a new candidate every 1 and ½ hour for the next three or four days.  If an applicant is late, that disallows me to adequately interview or prepare for the next scheduled interviewee. 

On a side note, understand that by the end of the day many of the applicants blend into faceless pieces of paper.  In other words, I often do not recall all the wonderful values an applicant will bring to the company.  As a result, I encourage each interviewer to send a hard copy follow-up letter immediately after the formal interview.  At this time, don’t simply state how meeting was wonderful and I am more eager than ever to become part of the company…blah, blah, blah.  Take this opportunity to express the true value and contributions you will bring (and base the follow-up letter on what was mentioned during the interview—by using those cues, you are letting the possible employer you listened to the needs and are offering solutions).  No doubt it does not warrant a side note but will do one anyway:

No grammar issues or misspelled words on your resume or follow up letter!

Enough for now, tomorrow we will go over more interviewing tips and what employers are seeking during the initial stage.  Before we go, I encourage each one of you to share an interviewing experience and perhaps our blog audience can benefit from your knowledge.

I will keep you up to date as this saga continues…

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
Education Career Services: www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: www.careersi.com

September 3, 2009

Students Beware: Big Brother is Watching

September 03, 2009Today began similar to most every morning. I sat on the back porch, made a cup of hot tea (no sugar), and read the paper.  Granted, nothing special thus far worthy of a mention in today’s blog.  But (and here we go) within the local section I happened to notice an article written by Dave Weber (Sentinel Staff Writer).  Catching my attention was the title:

“New teacher loses job over blog”

Leading me to ask several questions: Should blogs, Internet submissions, social websites be used as a tool for employers to terminate an employee?  Even prior to the job offer, should these aforementioned mediums be used during a hiring decision?

Are you beginning to get an idea as to where this is going?  

According to the article, the individual in question submitted a blog “laced with four-letter words”  Seems like Seminole county does not appreciate four-letter words (a good reminder when dealing with that county). It appears that after pressure, the instructor “resigned after school district officials threatened to fire him.”  The article goes on to state that “blog entries during college days in Gainesville and more recently were peppered with profanity.  One talks about using fake urine he purchased to pass a drug test for him.”

Without discussing the merits of this situation, most people would agree with the idea that this individual may not be the perfect person to guide and mentor our young.  I’ll trust in the court systems helping hand to balance that issue.  What is at stake is: Does an employer have the right to apply pressure on an existing employee (or eliminate employment considerations) based upon completely nonrelated elements?  I wonder how many college students (heck, high school students as well) submit items electronically only to find those words used against them. 

It is my belief that the moral of this article is to inform students, the unemployed, and the employed to be careful of what is posted and come to understand big brother is not only watching, but is also taking notes!

In the end remember the definer of whom and what you are resides in perception.  In other words, employers wanting to see the “real” you (if there truly is such a thing) will dig, will turn over rocks, and will scratch and sniff until they are satisfied.  In our world of instant knowledge, the person with the shovel determines reality…consequently; do not muddy the water with rash outbursts.

Once written, it can not be un-written. In typical fashion, I would like your input on this topic…

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
Education Career Services: www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: www.careersi.com

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