6 Things NOT To Do In A Job Interview

job interview common mistakes

For many people, the most stressful part of the job-hunting process is the interview. That's the time when you have to sell yourself and prove why you're perfectly suited for the job. Many well-qualified people stumble and make mistakes that kill their chances of getting the job. Here are the most common mistakes I see people make:

Carrying too much stuff into the interview. You want to seem the consummate professional, not a harried traveler navigating through airport security. A slim portfolio or folder to carry extra resumes, pad and pen is all you should have. Ask if you can store your overcoat, umbrella or heavy bag while you are interviewing. Don't carry a beverage into the interview but if they offer you something during your meeting, always take the water. If you get thirsty later, you'll appreciate it (and unlike soda, coffee and tea, water dries clear should you spill it.)

Bragging that you're a 'perfectionist.' Many interviewers will see this as a red flag; it means you're difficult to work with and will never let go of a project. Say, instead, you're detail-oriented.

Confessing to multiple weaknesses. Interviewers commonly ask job applicants to describe their biggest weakness to see if people are humble and self-aware enough to identify something they can improve upon. But that doesn't mean you should cite a list of faults. Name one weakness that is relevant to the job, and explain how you are working to improve that skill.

Giving obviously rehearsed answers. It's important that you seem relatable, natural and likable, as well as competent and smart. Show your personality since the interviewer is checking you out for a workplace fit. I think of this as the "airport test": If the interviewer got stuck in the airport with you for several hours, would he or she consider you a desirable co-worker? Or would you be the kind of person who drove everyone crazy?

Having no clue about the company you're interviewing with. You should always be able to answer the question, "Tell me what you know about this company." Before the interview, you need to check out the company's website and speak with people who might also know the organization. This is how the human resources team determines if you are just fishing for any job or you are genuinely interested in their company and this particular opportunity. An interviewer wants to know that you took the time to do your due diligence since competition is fierce and not preparing indicates a lack of seriousness.

Answering your phone or fumbling with it. Sure, it's rude if the interviewer is constantly checking his BlackBerry, but if your phone goes off during the interview, you just look unprofessional. Seriously, if the phone is set to beep, light or play a concerto, make sure it's really powered off before the interview so you give your undivided attention.

Source: AOL

10 job-search tips for 2012

It's 2012, and with the new year comes a revitalized spirit, gusto and determination to enact your plans and make your dreams happen. With the evolution of career search over the past few years, it's good to take stock of what will make the biggest impact in landing a job this year.

Some things haven't changed. It's still tough out there. Many people are competing for few opportunities. But with the right tools, you can improve your search, broaden your networking opportunities and align yourself with a career that fits your skills.

Here are 10 tips for a successful job search in 2012: 

1. Create a job-search strategy. Employers hate receiving applications from candidates who are not qualified for positions. So it's time to stop using the shotgun approach to your job search. You're wasting your time, and you're wasting the recruiter's time.

Carefully read job postings and determine whether you could do most of the tasks required if you started tomorrow. A recent CareerBuilder job forecast reported that employers are not finding qualified candidates for their open positions, so learn how to tailor your existing skills to a job's requirements and spend time preparing better résumés and cover letters instead of just blasting a generic one to every single posting.

2. Define your goals. It can be challenging to stop and ask yourself, "What do I really want out of a job?" Answers as simple as a paycheck or benefits may be a reality, but the fact is that you do want more out of your job than just cash. Your career needs to satisfy you in more ways than just your pocketbook.

By defining what you want out of a job and what you offer as a job seeker, you become better at applying for jobs that are aligned with your overall career goals. By taking the time to define what you want as a job seeker, you can figure out what your best selling points are and the most valuable skills you have to sell to an employer. Make sure your social media accounts are professional if used as part of your search. And if they aren't, keep them under lock and key, since more and more employers are screening applicants via social profiles.

3. Diversify your search. While employers still use sites like CareerBuilder, many are branching out in multiple ways to connect with job seekers. You should be readily available in each of those channels. Whether it's through social media or local networking events, use today's technology to further spread the message about your job search. Today's job search can be summed up in one word: hustle.

The more you switch up your efforts, the more opportunities you'll come across and the more you will place yourself ahead of the pack. Also, know your industry and what trends are happening. Manufacturing companies may still have you apply in person, whereas digital advertising agencies may expect a much more elaborate electronic portfolio available via the Internet.

4. Evaluate your skills and add more. Perhaps your skills aren't up-to-date with most of the jobs you are seeing in the market, or perhaps they are a little rusty. Brush up on your skills with online courses or community classes. You could also consider going back to school full time. Government funding and other programs are available for out-of-work job seekers who want to enroll in training or continue their education to better position themselves in the current workforce.

5. Be unique. You already know that defining your goals and skills can help set you apart from the competition. When an employer asks, "Why should I hire you?" you will already have a list of your best qualities. As you come across jobs that you feel confident about, do something that will help you stand out and be memorable to the recruiter or human resources manager.

Dig around, and before applying, find out the name of the hiring manager or someone who heads up the department the position is in, and contact him directly. Use the information on LinkedIn to your benefit. Reach out with a brief introduction, and let him know you've applied for the position and you hope to be in touch. After applying, it never hurts to follow up with a company via social media to share your excitement about the position.

6. Listen. Searching for a job can be tedious, and you can get so focused that sometimes it's easy to forget to listen, research or monitor conversations. Pay attention to how employers are communicating about jobs via social media and through their websites and how you can speak to them in their own language. Connect with other job seekers or career experts, and see what methods you can adopt from their job-search strategies. Join Twitter chats and online career fairs to connect with more employers and broaden your network. Just be sure that while you're out selling yourself, you take the time to listen to how others are finding success in their search.

7. Set goals. The overall goal may be either get a job or get a new one, but when you break that big goal down into smaller goals, you set yourself up for more success and less frustration. When you only look toward that big goal, it can be disheartening when it takes a long time to achieve it.

Choose monthly goals such as joining professional organizations or volunteering at a nonprofit that will allow you to flex and use your skills. When you are able to create a to-do list and hold yourself accountable for achieving these goals, you'll feel better about yourself. That initiative can be shown off in your job search and interviews as a great example of your character. By forcing yourself to focus on small goals, you continue networking with new individuals who can assist you in your job search.

8. Prepare for anything. You can't always predict when you may get called for an in-person or phone interview, so you should always be ready. Go into an interview with at least five examples that demonstrate your best qualities.

When they want examples of real-life successes or things you'd do differently, have them prepared. If you volunteered or taught yourself a new set of skills, be sure to mention this. Rehearse for interviews with mentors or friends so you won't wing it, which can diminish your chances of portraying yourself in the best way. Leave the interviewer with phone numbers of references who will back you up with recommendations.

9. Positive thinking can lead to positive results. Use your career search as a time to see every situation as a learning opportunity. Of course, every job hunt will have moments of frustration and hopelessness. But don't give up on yourself or on the belief that the right job is out there. Use the time to re-evaluate your career path, which could lead you to a more fulfilling career. A positive attitude is contagious, and the more positive you are, the more likely others will be to go out of their way to help you.

10. Stay balanced. Job searching can take a lot out of you. Create a schedule or routine for yourself, so you don't burn out. Make sure you get plenty of rest, talk to friends and family, stay active and allow yourself time to do things you enjoy.

Finding the perfect job is attainable, but you have to put in the work and effort and have faith that you'll reach your destination. By being proactive, connecting with others and having a can-do attitude, you'll be able to tackle some of the biggest job-search hurdles in 2012.

Source: careerbuilder

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Hiring Manager

An employment interview is stressful. You need to say the right things to convince the hiring manager you're the perfect person for the job. But you also need to be sure your nervousness doesn't get the best of you and cause you to say something you'll regret. Saying the wrong thing can cost you the opportunity, no matter how skilled or experienced you are.

Here are examples of what not to say to a hiring manager:

No-no No. 1: "My current boss is a jerk!" or "I left the company because it was a rotten place to work."

Never badmouth a current or former employer. Even if you have had legitimate issues with a colleague, boss or company, don't air the dirty laundry in front of the person with whom you interview. Complaining about others will just make you appear bitter and resentful and could cause the hiring manager to wonder about your attitude if you were to be hired at his or her firm. Stick to neutral comments such as, "I am looking for a different work environment" or "My career goals have changed" if you're pressed for details about your desire for a new position. 

No-no No. 2: "How much vacation time do I get?" or "What's the bonus structure like?"
Questions like these tell a prospective employer one thing: You're more concerned about the perks of the position than the job itself. It's OK to ask these questions if you have been through several interviews and the hiring manager has expressed serious interest in hiring you. At that point, these types of inquiries allow you to make an informed decision about whether or not you truly want the job. But until then, focus your efforts on what you can offer the company, not what it can offer you.

No-no No. 3: "How much longer will this interview take? I have another appointment soon," or "Do you mind if I make a quick phone call?"
An important part of the interview is, of course, treating the hiring manager with respect. Asking questions like these makes you seem rude, as if the interview were something of an inconvenience for you. Instead, take pains to show how interested you are in the opportunity. Arrive to the interview on time -- or better yet, a few minutes early. Remain attentive throughout the meeting by taking notes and maintaining the right posture: Look the interviewer in the eye; nod when you agree with or understand a point he or she is making; and avoid crossing your arms, tapping your feet or displaying other signs of impatience. If you do have another appointment after the interview, leave a large enough window in case the meeting runs long or let the interviewer know ahead of time.

No-no No. 4: "I don't want to have to work late," or "I'd rather not learn PowerPoint."
You don't want an interviewer to view you as inflexible, which is exactly how he or she will if you make statements like these. Keep an open mind about a position that interests you, even if some aspects of it don't seem ideal. Other factors -- such as a higher-than-expected salary or the possibly to advance quickly -- could outweigh the need to work overtime on occasion, for example. At the same time, don't overlook absolute deal-breakers. If you do not want to travel for work, no matter the circumstance, let the employer know the opportunity is not right for you as soon as you realize that.

No-no No. 5: "Fortunately, my bad habits haven't caught up with me," or "I am one party animal."
While you want the hiring manager to be able to get a sense of your personality, you don't want him or her to know everything about you. When the hiring manager says, "Tell me about yourself," use discretion and avoid the urge to overshare.
As a Robert Half survey indicated, strong people skills are among the most valuable qualities a job candidate can display when competing against another person with similar skills and experience. The first chance you get to show your strength in this area is during the interview, so think twice before you speak when meeting with an employer.

Source: careerbuilder

6 tips to help you better leverage LinkedIn

When job hunting, savvy seekers know their work isn't over after they've posted their résumé on the Web or submitted an application for employment. If they want to meet their goals, they must continue to manage their job search with consistent, proactive efforts that put them in direct contact with hiring managers, human resources personnel and recruiters.

Your strategy for using LinkedIn, the leading site for professional networking, should mirror this concept. Simply creating a profile isn't enough to help you meet or reconnect with people, find jobs or stand out to potential employers. You have to participate in the community and take steps to market your presence on the site to achieve results.

Diane Crompton and Ellen Sautter, co-authors of "Find a Job Through Social Networking," say it's easier to understand this concept if you liken social networking to advertising.

They explain that "if you know anything about advertising, you know that placing an advertisement once is usually not sufficient. Media campaigns involve repeated placements of ads over time and often in multiple media sources, such as newspapers, magazines, websites and maybe even television or radio. If you are marketing yourself for a job, career advancement or business development, you need to have a multipronged approach to getting out the word about you and what you have to offer."

To help you implement this strategy, Crompton and Sautter offer guidance on how to use LinkedIn more effectively, which will in turn help you do a better job of marketing yourself online. Here are some of their tips:

Infuse keywords relevant to your expertise into your profile
According to Crompton and Sautter, keyword searches are a popular way recruiters and employers uncover potential job candidates on LinkedIn. To ensure your profile turns up in searches related to your expertise, industry or occupation, they suggest that you "enter relevant keywords in your professional headline, in the specialties section and throughout your profile to drive traffic your way. Be sure to use all variations of keywords -- full names, abbreviations, acronyms and alternate words -- to increase the chance that you will be found in searches."

Share your LinkedIn URL with others
"Consider adding your LinkedIn URL to your résumé, e-signature, business cards and other marketing materials," Crompton and Sautter suggest. Not only will this strategy point people to a place where they can quickly learn more about you, it also helps you establish yourself as a professional who is savvy about online networking.

Customize your invitations to connect
When you reach out to potential connections, the default message that accompanies your invitation simply says, "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn."
According to Crompton and Sautter, "Sending this canned note is a sure sign that you didn't take the time or care enough to personalize the invitation to remind the invitees who you are and how they know you. Such a message may even be viewed as spam by some LinkedIn members."
For a more meaningful invitation, Crompton and Sautter say it's best to politely and briefly explain how you know the invitee and why you'd like to connect with him or her.

Write recommendations
LinkedIn recommendations are endorsements you can post on the profiles of your colleagues, supervisors, vendors, customers or others you've interacted with in a work environment.
According to Crompton and Sautter, "Writing a recommendation often yields a reciprocal recommendation. In fact, when you write recommendations, the people you recommend are prompted by a message asking if they would like to reciprocate and write a recommendation for you. So if you are timid and reluctant to ask someone for a recommendation, this can be a more subtle approach," they explain.

List your Twitter handle
LinkedIn allows users to connect their Twitter accounts with their LinkedIn profile. This function is ideal if you're hoping to open a dialogue with your LinkedIn connections or if you want connections who are non-Twitter users to be aware of what you're posting beyond LinkedIn.
On the other hand, if you're tweeting off-brand, personal matters, you may not want every one of your tweets to be streamed on LinkedIn. In that case, don't sync your Twitter handle with your profile and consider Crompton and Sautter's following tip:
"On Twitter, you can select specific tweets you'd like to share with LinkedIn connections by manually adding either #in or #li to tag your tweets to 'go live.'" 

Join groups
"Groups are one of the best tools and best-kept secrets on LinkedIn. There are groups for every conceivable shared interest. You'll find alumni associations, professional associations, networking groups and many other special-interest groups," say Crompton and Sautter.
"One of the biggest reasons to join them is to have an easier way to connect with other like-minded LinkedIn members," they explain. "Depending on the protocols of each group, you'll most likely be able to communicate with your fellow group members through direct messages to individual members or the entire group by posting questions or comments for group discussion and response. So it becomes a way not only to expand your network but also to bypass the need to request an introduction or send an InMail to reach others."

Source: careerbuilder

Pros and Cons of Online Education

With our list of pros and cons, find out if an online degree is a good option for you.

Earning an online degree is a popular move these days, with 31 percent of higher education students taking at least one online course during the fall 2010 term, according to a 2011 report by the nonprofit Sloan Consortium.

That's a total of 6.1 million students engaging in online learning, notes the report, titled "Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011."

But just because online education is popular doesn't mean that it's the right fit for everyone, according to Sam Govea, executive dean of social science and distance learning at Brookhaven College in Texas.

"I think students have been bombarded too often with the pros of online education to the point where everyone believes they will have an easy time getting a degree in their pajamas in their spare time," says Govea, who teaches both on campus and online. "Students need to be prepared for what they will face."
Are you unsure of what to expect from online education? If so, take a look at our list of pros and cons...

Pro #1 - Flexibility

While individual schools and programs will vary, it's likely that going to school online will allow you more control over when and where you study.

For example, if you're employed and don't want to give up your day job, online education may be for you. "Eliminating the need to come to campus, online classes are great for working adults," Govea says.
This is also ideal for students who don't have access to degree programs due to where they live. "I've had students taking my classes from their station on a submarine in the Indian Ocean," Govea says.
All you need is reliable Internet access - dry land apparently isn't necessary!

Con #1 - Online Ed isn't Easy

If you're looking for a shortcut to a quality education, keep looking.
"Online classes are college-level classes," Govea says. "They will be difficult. They should be difficult. In fact, many instructors purposely make their online classes more rigorous to dispel the myth that online classes are easy."
"Many first-time online students aren't prepared for the amount of work required," he adds.

Pro #2 - Online Options Abound

There are plenty of online degree programs out there - whether you're interested in criminal justice, business administration, computer science, nursing, or health care administration, to name just a few.
There are also plenty of schools involved in boosting the number and variety of online programs.
Consider this: 89 percent of four-year public colleges and universities now offer online classes, while 60 percent of private schools offer them, according to "The Digital Revolution and Higher Education," a 2011 report by the nonprofit Pew Research Center.

Con #2 - Murphy's Law

As Murphy's Law tells us, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. And while the dog won't be eating your virtual homework (at least let's hope not), technical problems may flare up on occasion.
"Computers stop working, disks run out of space, networks fail," Govea says. "It will be up to the student to contact tech support and get assistance. Most of the time, the issues occur during a test or when trying to submit an assignment, not the time when patience is plentiful."

Pro #3 - Reputation

Think that online degrees don't matter? Think again.
A 2010 study by the Society for Human Resource Management, titled "Hiring Practices and Attitudes: Traditional vs. Online Degree Credentials," found that 90 percent of employers view online degrees more favorably than they did five years ago.

Con #3 - Self-Discipline is Key

Here's the thing about online degrees. You have to earn them, and it will require self-discipline to do so, according to Govea.
"Online classes can have deadlines set monthly, weekly, or at the end of the term," Govea says. "While online education provides flexibility, deadlines do exist and it will be up to the student to keep up."
What's the thing to remember here? Flexibility is great, but with it comes greater responsibility.

Pro #4 - Online Schools are Accredited

While diploma mills do exist, you can avoid them thanks to various independent and government bodies. The key here is to make sure that the school's online program is properly accredited.
Check with the U.S. Department of Education, which maintains a list of national and regional accrediting agencies that are worthy of your trust. You can find that information at www.ed.gov.

Con #4 - Academic Opinions Vary

There are many studies and reports that hail the benefits of online education, but the simple truth is that some academics remain unconvinced that it can compete with classroom-based instruction.
The 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning reports that 66 percent of academic leaders rate online education as the same or superior to traditional education. In 2003, that number was 57 percent, so online education's reputation within academic circles is apparently improving.

Sloan refers to the reputation boost as "a small but noteworthy increase."

Source: Yahoo

Crowding Out the Competition

How to Excel in a Group Interview

Imagine showing up for a job interview only to discover four or more applicants waiting to speak with the hiring manager at the same time as you. It's a predicament job seekers are more likely to face as companies streamline the recruitment process. Interviewing multiple candidates at once also provides employers the opportunity to observe how individuals behave when under pressure in a group setting.

A multiple-person interview may seem more nerve-racking than a one-on-one meeting, but it's a prime opportunity to showcase your strong leadership, communication and teamwork skills. Here are some tips to help you shine:

Be ready to strut your stuff.
Before any employment interview, list three characteristics associated with the job description and prepare to demonstrate that you possess them during the session. For example, if you're interviewing for an event coordinator position, you might recount a conference you helped organize at the last minute to highlight your exceptional time-management and multitasking abilities.

Get the lay of the land.
A group interview can involve multiple job candidates, as well as multiple hiring managers. So, once the meeting begins, try to read the different personality types in the room. Don't assume the person who is quietly observing possesses no clout; often, the least talkative person is the ultimate decision maker. You can get a sense of the hierarchy by observing whom your interviewers make eye contact with as they speak; typically, employees will watch for their managers' reactions to what they are saying. Regardless of who appears to be in charge, show equal respect and professionalism to everyone in the room, including other applicants.
Assert yourself.
If the interview is structured as an open dialogue, make sure your voice is heard -- but never at the expense of interrupting others, which is a sign of poor sportsmanship. If you have something meaningful to say and someone else is speaking, wait your turn. At the same time, avoid dominating the conversation -- another sign of poor team play. 

Show grace under pressure.
Because there are multiple people being interviewed, you may not have much time to formulate your responses to questions posed by an interviewer. If others start chiming in, and you're still considering your answer, resist the urge to immediately insert your thoughts; a poorly phrased answer can do more damage than saying nothing at all.

Expect the unexpected. 
With more than one person vying for the spotlight, don't be surprised if someone makes your point first. If this happens, think of a statement that adds to the conversation; this will show the hiring manager you can listen well and think on your feet.

Play up your people skills.
During a group interview, a hiring manager may split the group into small teams and assign a hypothetical problem or case for each to resolve. In these situations, the interviewer is likely looking to see who takes charge, how well the person delegates tasks and how the other members react to his or her leadership. The hiring manager might also observe how well individuals improvise, use their reasoning powers to win others over, and give and receive criticism.

Up the ante.
Interviewers often favor candidates who ask meaningful questions because quizzing a prospective employer shows that applicants are genuinely interested in the organization and have done their research. Posing insightful questions also is an easy way to stand out in a group interview, since some candidates will likely arrive unprepared. To develop thoughtful questions, study the job description and research the company beforehand.

Preparing for a group interview is very similar to getting ready for a traditional one-on-one interview.  The key to succeeding, however, is acknowledging the other applicants, and then acting strategically to distinguish yourself as the candidate of choice. If you can do this in a professional and polished way, you may be chosen for a follow-up interview or the job itself.

Source: careerbuilder

The Advantage Of Being A 40-Year-Old Intern

intern at 40

It's no longer a shock to see a 40-year-old intern. Stay-at-home mothers trying to get back into the workplace and unemployed workers hoping to transition into new careers are accepting internships as a way to get their feet in the door. In fact, many successful retraining programs require that students spend time in an internship. But even if 40-year-old interns are more accepted, it doesn't mean that it's easy to work side-by-side with 23-year-olds. Especially if your boss is a decade younger than you. There can be big challenges, but here are five survival tips.

1. Walk in with confidence.
The negative self-talk -- "I can't believe I'm doing this" -- is going to hurt your performance. Focus on what you want to learn about the job and the industry. Give your younger boss the same respect that you would want given to you. Hold your head high and feel confident that you are being proactive about your future.

2. Recognize that your previous experiences are an asset.
You've probably had many life experiences that other team members have not. So when looking at new project, ask yourself, "How can I add value?" What prior experience and skills do you have that will help you contribute to the end goal? Once you do that, you will be recognized as a major asset -- by your manager and co-workers.

3. Open up.
Everyone has a story. Some interns will talk about their parents pushing them into the field. Don't feel like you need to hide your situation from your co-workers. Come up with a three- or four-sentence explanation of why you are at the internship. Perhaps it's because you are exploring a new field, going back to work or got laid off. These aren't reasons to be ashamed of. Make sure that your story has a positive spin. The goal isn't to make people feel bad about you -- it's to help people connect and relate to your experiences.

4. Let your boss know your goal.
You, more than any other intern, must make sure that your superiors in the workplace know your post-internship goal. You aren't there to play around for a summer or just appease your parents. Sit down with your internship coordinator at some point during the internship; after you thank him or her for the opportunity, explain what you like about the work, what your career goal is, and ask for advice. This will ensure that you are on the same page as your employer. Also, two weeks before the end of your internship, sit down with your employer again and ask for advice on how to land a job at that company or a similar one.

5. Constantly build relationships.
Anytime you meet someone from a department that you might be interested in, ask the person if you could have a brief meeting at some point so you can hear how he or she got started. Informal, informational meetings are a great way to turn these contacts into strong professional relationships. Always remember to ask, "Is there anyone else at the company you think I should connect with?"

Source: AOL

Do's and don'ts of company's social media page

New surveys released through three of CareerBuilder's niche sites -- MiracleWorkers (which caters to health care workers), WorkinRetail (serving the retail industry) and Sologig (focused on contract and freelance positions) -- reveal the information workers value most on an organization's social media pages (and which social media moves they despise).

More than 500 workers nationwide in each of the above industries participated. Here's a look at the results:

Health care
Fifty-three percent of health care workers who use social media are interested in seeing information on company social media pages, according to the survey from MiracleWorkers.com.
What health care employers should post...
-- Job listings on company pages (wanted by 40 percent of health-care workers)
-- Fact sheets or Q&A about the company (26 percent)
-- Career paths within the organization (26 percent)
-- Employee testimonials (22 percent)
-- Something that conveys fun about working for the organization (19 percent)
...and what they should avoid:
-- Company communication that reads like an ad (a peeve for 35 percent of health-care workers)
-- Failure to respond to submitted questions (33 percent)
-- Failure to regularly post information on social media or blog entries (23 percent)
-- Filtering or removing social media comments (20 percent)

Fifty percent of retail workers who use social media are interested in seeing information on company social media pages, according to the survey from WorkInRetail.com.
-- Job listings on company pages (wanted by 33 percent of retail workers)
-- Fact sheets or Q&A about the company (27 percent)
-- Employee testimonials (18 percent)
-- Something that conveys fun about working for the organization (18 percent)
-- Pictures of company events (13 percent)
-- Video of a day on the job (13 percent)
-- Video of new products and services (13 percent)
...and what they should avoid:
-- Company communication that reads like an ad (a peeve for 43 percent of retail workers)
-- Failure to respond to submitted questions (38 percent)
-- Filtering or removing social media comments (27 percent)
-- Failure to regularly post information on social media or blog entries (24 percent)

Information technology
Fifty-one percent of IT workers who use social media are interested in seeing information on company social media pages, according to a new survey from Sologig.com.
What IT employers should post...
-- Job listings on company pages (wanted by 39 percent of IT workers)
-- Fact sheets or Q&A about the company (32 percent)
-- Career paths within the organization (24 percent)
-- Something that conveys fun about working for the organization (21 percent)
-- Video of new products and services (17 percent)
-- Employee testimonials (16 percent)
...and what they should avoid:
-- Company communication that reads like an ad (a peeve for 53 percent of health-care workers)
-- Failure to respond to submitted questions (32 percent)
-- Inconsistency in company messaging in different social media venues (26 percent)
-- Failure to regularly post information or blog entries (25 percent)

Employers must lead the social media pack
Despite this interest, very few workers on social media (18 percent of IT workers, 12 percent of health-care workers, and only 9 percent of retail workers) currently use it as a means to research jobs. Representatives from each site say social media users are waiting for companies to take the lead.
"Social media communication is a two-way street," says Bill Meidell, product director of WorkinRetail.com. "Retailers need to keep their pages active and respond to as many fans and commenters as possible in order to see a positive return on their efforts."
"IT workers are not only interested in learning about new career opportunities, but willing to refer jobs to friends or people in their professional networks, as well," adds Jamie Carney, senior product director of Sologig.com. "Forty-one percent will pass job leads along to others, according to the survey, making social media the perfect vehicle for improving a job listing's reach."
Rob Morris, product director of MiracleWorkers.com, echoes this sentiment, saying, "The referral process makes social media a great avenue for career information. We found that 30 percent of health-care workers on social media pass job opportunities to friends or people in their professional networks."

Source: careerbuilder

What questions do employers want to hear in an interview?

Once you've received the call from an employer inviting you in for an interview, the real preparation begins. Prior to an interview, candidates should research the company so they can not only answer questions, but have questions ready to ask the hiring manager as well.

The interview is where the job candidate and employer get to know each other. Think of it like dating. While a job interview is in a professional setting and the outcomes are different, the intentions are the same. You've exchanged information because you think there might be a connection, and now you're ready for your "first date." As much as you want to make a good first impression, the employer needs to make a good impression, too.

Just like a first date, you don't want one person to dominate the conversation and ask all the questions. It should be a balanced dialogue, and you should ask questions that get to the heart of the matter: Who is this employer, and why should I work for this company?

The right questions to ask
Alan Guinn, managing director and CEO of The Guinn Consultancy Group, works with employers every day. He recommends that recruiters listen for these 10 questions from job applicants to see if they've done their homework and truly want the position:

1. I've been told that I work very well as a team member. What are some of the ways your company encourages teamwork?

2. We all know how important job satisfaction is to everyone. I want to be happy in any role. Is the company committed to promotion from within, whenever possible?

3. I love your published mission and values. How are these reflected in day-to-day life at the company? Can you share some examples with me?

4. If your son, daughter or a friend was looking for a job, would you recommend working for this company? Why?

5. What do you think distinguishes this company from its competitors, both from a public and employee perspective?

6. How often do you speak with your C-level officers? When you do, what do they normally ask you? Do they ask for your opinion?

7. How does the company demonstrate a sense of pride in its employees? Can you help me understand what it looks for in return?

8. Are there paid, ongoing learning opportunities offered at my level of job responsibility? What obligations do I have if I elect to take advantage of them?

9. What does the company expect in the way of personal and professional growth for a person hired into this position?

10. Does the company value a difference in work and personal time, or does it blur the responsibilities between the two?

Think about your goals first
Don't feel obligated to walk into the interview with a set number of questions, but these give you an idea of the right questions to ask. Also think of the questions in terms of your career and personal goals. If you're moving into a role with more responsibility, how will that affect what questions you ask? If you're starting a family soon, what do you want to know about the company's commitment to work/life balance?

Thoughtful planning and preparation for an interview will not only help you feel more confident but will also leave a great impression on the person interviewing you.

Source: careerbuilder

Debunking common job search myths

We've all heard that a résumé shouldn't be longer than a single page. And that "It never hurts to apply," even to jobs that are a long shot. It seems as if everyone has at least a small nugget of job search wisdom to pass along.

But rather than helping you, some of the advice you receive could be harming your chances of finding a new position. Job search myths -- like the "rule" about the one-page résumé -- have a habit of sticking around even though they're not true. Here are several that have been debunked:

You should keep your résumé to one page.
This job search myth is perhaps the oldest of the bunch. Even if it were true at some point, it certainly isn't now. Hiring managers are much more interested in getting a true sense of your skills and experience than counting the number of pages you use. Although you don't want to ramble on unnecessarily, don't worry about going past the single-page mark if you need more space to list all of your professional accomplishments.

You shouldn't bother to send a cover letter.
Many job candidates think the cover letter is a thing of the past, especially since the vast majority of applications today are submitted online. But most hiring managers appreciate the introduction a cover letter provides. It also offers you an opportunity to expand upon one or two key points from your résumé, thereby strengthening your case for the job. Since fewer and fewer applicants are submitting a cover letter, a well-written one can help you stand out. If you are submitting your résumé as an attachment or uploading it to a database, use the email message as your cover letter.

You should consider only full-time employment opportunities.
It's a mistake to overlook temporary positions. These assignments can last for weeks or even months, providing a source of income and a chance to network and build new skills. In addition, an increasing number of employers are viewing temporary engagements as on-the-job auditions, evaluating a potential hire's fit for the role prior to extending a full-time offer.

You should apply for as many jobs as possible.
It's true you shouldn't pass up an opportunity you feel is right for you. But applying for openings that you have little true interest in or that have requirements you clearly cannot meet is a waste of time -- for both you and the hiring manager. Focus on positions that spark your interest and match your qualifications. Then, customize your application materials to show why you deserve to be considered.

You shouldn't bother looking for work during the holiday season or summer.
Sure, people are on vacation during these times of year. But as we all know, business never stops. Companies hire year-round -- even at the end of the year and during the summer. Don't put your job search on hold. Instead, realize that there's less competition from other job seekers, increasing the likelihood you're the one called in for an interview.

You shouldn't send an application unless a company has posted a job ad.
Every job seeker dreads hearing that his résumé will be "kept on file." So it's understandable that you want to be sure a company is hiring before putting in the time and effort necessary to submit a résumé and cover letter. Use your professional network to uncover opportunities that haven't been announced yet.

You should just cross your fingers after submitting a résumé.
Once you've sent in your résumé, the ball is completely in the hiring manager's court, right? Not necessarily. Don't be afraid to contact the employer after you've applied to reaffirm your interest in the position and explain why you're a good fit for the role. Employers sometimes need to be reminded of your qualifications. In fact, 81 percent of managers polled by Robert Half said job candidates should follow up within two weeks of applying for a job.

You should take the first job offer you get.
In a tough job market, this is one myth that is partially, but not entirely, true. Take a step back before rushing to sign on the dotted line. If your situation allows, it could pay to be selective. Ask yourself if the opportunity fits your long-term career goals. Will it give you opportunities for advancement and professional development? If not, taking the job could mean missing out on one that does offer this potential.

Source: careerbuilder

12 Tasks That Killer Employees Always Finish Before Noon

A recent study published in an American Psychological Association journal, Emotion, suggests that early birds are generally happier than night owls.

More than 700 respondents, ranging from ages 17 to 79, were surveyed and asked about their emotional state, health, and preferred time of day.

Self-professed "morning people" reported feeling happier and healthier than night owls. Researchers hypothesize that one of the reasons could be because society caters to a morning person's schedule.
It's certainly true that the working world does. Working "9-to-5" is more than an expression, but a standard shift for many Americans. It also stands to reason that those who like rising with the sun are also the most productive employees in the office.

Do you want to be more like them? Then take note of the tasks these high-functioning, productive, and more awake employees have completed before lunch:

1. They make a work to-do list the day before. Many swear by having a written to-do list, but not everyone agrees on when you need to compose it. According to Andrew Jensen, a business efficiency consultant with Sozo Firm in Shrewsbury, Pa., the opportune time to plan a day's tasks is the night before. "Some people like to do the to-do schedule in the morning, but then they might have already lost office time writing it out," he says. "It helps to do that to-do schedule the night before. It also will help you sleep better.

2. They get a full night's rest. Speaking of sleeping better ... lack of sleep affects your concentration level, and therefore, your productivity. Whatever your gold standard is for a "good night's rest," strive to meet it every work night. Most health experts advise getting a minimum eight hours of shut-eye each night.

3. They avoid hitting snooze. Petitioning for nine more minutes, then nine more, then another nine is a slippery slope that leads to falling back asleep and falling behind on your morning prep. Ultimately it also leads to lateness. "Anyone can be made into a morning person," Jensen says. "Anyone can make morning their most productive time. It could be that for the entire week, you set your alarm clock a little bit earlier, and you get out of bed on the first alarm. It may be a pain at first, but eventually you'll get to the point where you're getting your seven to eight hours of sleep at night, you're waking up with all your energy, and accomplishing the things around the house you need to before going to the office."

4. They exercise. Schedule your Pilates class for the a.m. instead of after work. "Exercise improves mood and energy levels," Jensen says. Not only that, but "there have been studies done on employees who've exercised before work or during the work day. Those employees have been found to have better time-management skills, and an improved mental sharpness. ... Those same studies found these workers are more patient with their peers."

5. They practice a morning ritual. Jensen also recommends instituting a morning routine aside from your exercise routine. Whether you opt to meditate, read the newspaper, or surf the Web, Jensen says "it's important to have that quiet time with just you."

6. They eat breakfast. Food provides the fuel you'll need to concentrate, and breakfast is particularly important since it recharges you after you've fasted all night. Try munching on something light and healthy in the morning, and avoid processed carbs that could zap your energy.

7. They arrive at the office on time. This one is obvious, right? Getting a full night's rest and keeping your sticky fingers off the snooze button should make No. 7 a cakewalk. If you're not a new employee, then you've already figured out the length of your average commute. Allot a safe amount of time to make it to work on schedule.

8. They check in with their boss and/or employees. We all know the cliche about the whole only being as good as the sum of its parts. In other words, if your closest work associates aren't productive, then neither are you. Good workers set priorities that align with their company's goals, and they're transparent about their progress.

9. They tackle the big projects first. You can dive right into work upon arriving in the office, since you made your to-do list the night before. And Jensen suggests starting with the hardest tasks. "Don't jump into meaningless projects when you're at your mental peak for the day," he says.

10. They avoid morning meetings. If you have any say on meeting times, schedule them in the afternoon. "You should use your prime skills during the prime time of the day. I believe that mornings are the most productive time," Jensen says, also noting that an employer who schedules morning meetings could rob his or her employees of their peak performance, and ultimately cost the company.
The exception to this, he adds, is if your meeting is the most important task of the day. "Sometimes you have to schedule a crucial meeting, or a client meeting, in which case you'd want to plan for a time when employees are at their peak."

11. They allot time for following up on messages. Discern between mindless email/voicemail checking and conducting important business. Jensen's company, Sozo Firm, advises clients that checking their inbox every couple of minutes takes time away from important tasks. Instead, set a schedule to check and respond to email in increments. Consider doing so at the top of each hour, to ensure that clients and colleagues receive prompt responses from you.

12. They take a mid-morning break. Get up and stretch your legs. Or stay seated and indulge in a little Internet surfing. According to Jensen, it's actually good to zone out on Facebook and Twitter or send a personal text message or two. "You should take 10-minute breaks occasionally," he says. "Companies that ban any kind of Facebook [use], texting, or personal calls can find it will be detrimental. Those practices increase employee satisfaction."
Just be sure not to abuse the privilege. "The best employees will respect their employer's time, and the worst-performing employees will find a way to waste time even if the company forbids personal Internet use," Jensen explains.

Recovering from a big interview mistake

Oh, to be able to turn back the clock or eat one's words. Interview mistakes are not only embarrassing, they are potentially costly. Recovering can be tough -- but not impossible. Consider these ways to limit the damage:

"People are more willing to forgive than we might think," says Marc Dorio, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Job Interview." He notes that owning up and uttering a genuine "please forgive me" can be quite disarming. "It demonstrates character, and an interviewer may be impressed by that. After all, it will show that as an employee you will be honest and admit when you make a mistake as opposed to hiding it or making excuses."

Dorio also recommends stating what you learned from your goof. For instance, if you are late to an interview, after your apology you can add, "I now know I need to allow more time when driving into the city on a weekday."

Don't dwell on the mistake
If an expletive accidentally pops out of your mouth or you make some other faux pas, save self-chastising for later and get back on track. "The candidate should apologize quickly and move on with answering the question," says Linda Matias, owner of CareerStrides.com and author of "201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions." "He should not apologize and then stop talking, because the mistake just lingers in the air. Dwelling on this fumble, or any other fumble, will bring extra unneeded attention to the situation."
Slip-ups in presenting information can be handled in a similar fashion.

"If a candidate says something and instantly regrets it, he should make an attempt to make his position clear," Matias says. "He should not wait until after the interview to address the issue. That said, he should not harp on a mistake. Making a quick statement such as, 'Let's backtrack for a moment' and then going on to provide a clearer statement works well."

Think on your feet
While panicking may be your gut reaction, remaining calm in the face of a mistake may allow you to salvage the situation. Running late? Show you value the interviewer's time with a call to inform her, apologize and ask if the meeting can be rescheduled. Confuse the company or one of its products with a competitor? Quickly utter an "I'm sorry -- of course I know that you produce X" and then get on with how you will market X using your experience in the field.

Suppose you accidentally appear at an interview without your portfolio or list of references. What can you say that excuses such a lapse? John Scanlan, assistant director of the career services center at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, says you might try something like, "I don't have my portfolio (or list of references) today because I wanted to talk to you first about the specific skills and accomplishments that are most important to you. This way I can customize it to illustrate more effectively the sort of skills you are seeking."

Don't assume it's too late to act
Noticing an error in the moment can be horrific, but recognizing a mistake after you've already left the interview can make you feel hopeless. Yet Scanlan notes that the situation sometimes can be rectified. "If you feel you made a bad impression, committed some grave error in judgment and/or somehow offended an interviewer, one strategy is to address the problem in a thank-you note. But be sure to state the issue positively as opposed to simply reminding the interviewer of your gaffe."

Adds Matias, "If the candidate regrets something later, and the mistake is a biggie, then he can mention the situation in a follow-up letter. He can write, 'I would like to readdress the question you asked regarding ...' Then, simply re-answer the question. This is a strategy I use with my clients, and it has been very successful."

The easiest way to deal with a mistake, of course, is not to err in the first place. Researching the company beforehand can eliminate the embarrassment of not knowing what it produces or who its biggest competitors are. Practicing aloud the answers to likely questions can build confidence and help you remember pertinent information and names. And don't hesitate to confirm an appointment, ask for the spelling of someone's name or request clarification of procedures. Better to look detail-oriented and responsible than to make a preventable blunder.

Source: careerbuilder

Do You Need A Facebook Profile To Get A Job?

You value your privacy and are not one to jump on the social media bandwagon, so when someone Googles your name, they'll find a White page's listing and a link to Ancestry.com. You're okay with that, but what does it mean for your job search?

Is it true that if someone can't find you among the 955 million monthly active users on Facebook that they should worry there might be something wrong with you? In our connected culture, hiring managers expect to be able to find data about you when they Google your name – and they will Google your name. Research shows 40 percent of everyone you meet will try to check you out online. If hiring managers can't find any relevant information about you, they will wonder why. If you're in the running for the job, they'll probably try to dive deeper.

Do you know what free "deep web" search engines, such as pipl.com or polymeta.com, which store and serve up details a typical Google search does not deliver, say about you? It might not be what you want recruiters to find; you are better off helping recruiters learn what they want to know. When you maintain profiles on the social web and/or create a professional website – a social resume ("yourname.com"), you make sure anyone who may want to hire you will find exactly what you want them to know about you.

Don't underestimate how important it is to have an online presence online-a digital footprint – to help convince potential hiring managers you are right for the job. If you're wearing a virtual invisibility cloak and protecting your privacy to such an extreme that they can't find anything about you, your "digital shadow," the information someone else may post about you online, will become your calling card.

Why should you care about that "digital shadow?" Because when you provide no online content, you essentially hand over the keys to your online presence to anyone who may decide to post something about you. Giving control to someone else can be dangerous; when you don't create content about yourself, anyone with a little online savvy can hijack your name. "Sue" reported Googling herself for the first time and finding that an ex-boyfriend had posted unflattering information about her that potential employers found. She hadn't already posted anything about herself, so the negative details were prominent results.

There is no question having an online reputation can make a big difference for job-search success. Jobvite's 2012 Social Recruiting Survey found 92 percent of hiring managers use or plan to use social networks. What networks do they use? Ninety three percent focus on LinkedIn, 66 percent use Facebook, and 54 percent recruit via Twitter. When you disconnect digitally, you miss all of these potential opportunities.

What's the least you should do online if you are serious about your job hunt? Consider a LinkedIn profile a requirement. LinkedIn profiles tend to rank well in search engines, so having a completed profile should make your viewable via Google.

It's okay to protect your Facebook updates with privacy settings, but allow your Work and Education, About You, and Contact Information sections to be public. That way, people will find out that you have a profile, even if they are not able to see your personal information. Another option? Fully fill out your Google+ profile, which you own if you use any Google product, such as Gmail. Since it's Google's product, Google+ profiles rank well in search.

When you create online profiles, you decide what information to share and avoid causing someone to wonder what is wrong with you when Google doesn't seem to know you exist. You're not convinced? You don't really want to be found? It's certainly your prerogative to try to be invisible online. However, when it comes to your professional opportunities, having no online profile is suspicious at best and suspect at worst. It's up to you.

Source: AOL

Why Employers Like Liberal Arts Grads

Some college students simply prefer studying Monet over math and Freudian theory over physics. For them, it makes sense to major in a liberal arts discipline like history or philosophy.

But liberal arts majors get more out of college than an interesting transcript; they also master the writing and communication skills experts say are crucial to success in almost any career.

Why it pays to write well
The benefits of a liberal arts major start early: A degree in liberal arts rarely restricts a student to just one career path. Whereas some majors -- engineering or computer science, for example -- provide specialized training in a specific field, liberal arts degrees tend to provide a much broader educational background and skills applicable to almost any job.

In addition, good writing skills shine through on résumés and cover letters. David Teten, CEO of New York-based independent research firm Nitron Advisers, says he has seen communications from some job seekers that were incoherent, ungrammatical and rude.

"One out of five people who apply to jobs with my company get rejected because their writing skills are so bad," he says. Score one for liberal arts majors.

The same communication skills employers look for during the job search are valued even more highly on the job -- in part because they can save the company money.

One-third of employees at blue-chip companies can't write well, and businesses spend up to $3.1 billion annually on remedial training to improve their workers' writing skills, according to a report by the National Commission on Writing.

And writing skills are only getting more valuable. "As companies get bigger and less and less cohesive... the written word becomes even more important," says Lisa Earle McLeod, columnist and author of Forget Perfect (Penguin/Putnam). "You don't have people in one place working together anymore, so being able to write concisely and directively for people will become a more valued skill."

Thus, some liberal arts majors find their superior communication skills eventually catapulting them to top management positions -- and top income brackets.

"The jobs that really, really pay the best involve getting large bodies of people to do what you want them to do," McLeod says, pointing to TV producers and CEOs as examples. "And that's all communicating."

Starting Small
With all of the benefits of a liberal arts major, there's little wonder why these degrees are so popular. Students earning associate's and bachelor's degrees in liberal arts disciplines far outnumber students studying in mathematic or scientific fields, according to data from the U.S. Center for Education Statistics.

And this large supply often means entry-level salaries for liberal arts majors plummet far below those offered to their quantitatively-focused classmates.

Starting salaries for this year's liberal arts graduates average around $30,300 -- well below the $52,000 offered to electrical engineering grads and the $43,800 for accounting majors, according to a spring salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

McLeod says the nature of liberal arts majors' skills also prevent them from earning immediate career success. "Everybody can read and write, and everybody can talk," she says. "That's why it takes so long for the people who do that to differentiate themselves."

'Adding' new skills
According to Teten, one way for good communicators to enter the fast track is to learn to use numbers. "You don't need higher math for the vast majority of jobs in this country," he says, "but everyone needs to understand what numbers mean."

Teten says people can improve their basic quantitative skills by calculating day-to-day math mentally. "If you make a point of calculating the tip yourself instead of relying on the calculator, you'll build the skill of simple mental mathematics," he says.

Source: careerbuilder

10 Signs You've Got A Bad Boss

It's one thing to have a bad boss. It's an entirely different story when your bad boss is one of many at your firm. That could indicate a deeper problem suggesting your company's management culture needs an overhaul.

Companies with poor management practices typically have employees who are disengaged and want to quit the firm, says Allan Steinmetz, chief executive and founder of Boston-based Inward Strategic Consulting. A recent survey from Harvard Business School says 95% of high achievers regularly update their resumes and check out other employers in part because they're unhappy with their current company's career development programs. According to a 2010 survey from Manpower Group, 21% of more than 14,000 workers globally said they were unclear of their company's strategy and/or how their individual role contributes to that strategy. While a disengaged workforce is a symptom of substandard leadership, just what constitutes bad management? Here are a few problematic practices experts believe should be axed:

1. Bad Communication

Few things cause employees to tune out faster than a top management team that keeps the company's future direction to itself. Such practices cause the rumor mill to work overtime, particularly during times of change or economic stress.

Burton Goldfield of California-based TriNet, an HR outsourcing firm, experienced this firsthand when he visited a firm TriNet was acquiring. In order to meet with the entire staff, he set up two separate group meetings in a small conference room. "The rumor was that half the company was going to be fired depending on the session they were in," he says.

Scheduling difficulties caused some people to be moved back and forth from one session to the other, which they thought meant they were being moved from the "hired" to the "fired" pile. "It is amazing how quickly rumors start based on some distorted kernel of the truth," he says.

According to a 2009 survey of 328 employers by Towers Watson, only 58% educate their people about the firm's values and culture. Just 26% of companies surveyed planned to tell employees how the company was faring through the economic downturn.

Goldfield ultimately fixed his communication problems with a weekly, three-minute podcast. He interviews new hires, talks about new offices or a product the company is launching or what competitors are doing. He even interviewed his wife on their 30th wedding anniversary. "Almost the entire company listened to that one," he says.

2. Leading by (Very Specific) Example

Micromanaging is a mistake many new managers make and there's no better way to alienate your workforce. Employees told there's only one way to do things -- yours -- will stop thinking creatively about how to solve problems.

"There are a lot of highly competent people who have been promoted because they have done things well, and when they become a manager they think they have to show others the way to do things," says Mike Noble, managing partner with Massachusetts-based Camden Consulting Group, an HR consulting firm. "They think, 'My way is the only way, and everyone else can follow my lead. If they are not doing it my way, they are probably doing it wrong.'"

Having one approved method to get things done sets subordinates up for a fall and, ultimately, the firm. "Everyone will defer to you as the expert or the final arbiter on things, and will stop developing new skills because they just expect you to provide the answers," Noble says. "This might close the door on better ways of doing things," he says, which could come about with the advent of new technologies or people with a different set of competencies.

3. Team-Building that Isn't

Fostering a connected team is an important practice, but before implementing group runs at lunchtime or post-work happy hours, be sure members of your team won't feel left out. Those with a physical ailment or are, say, a recovering alcoholic, won't feel comfortable running races or swapping stories at a bar.

"Saying, 'We are a great team-building company,' when everyone goes out to run on the West Side Highway -- that's not in any way in my mind a team-building company," says Goldfield of TriNet. "Running may be the passion of the CEO, director or manager, but some people will follow begrudgingly or try to keep up, when that's not the intent of the team-building."

Getting to know your team members is generally an effective way to build collaboration and a sense of joint purpose. Social gatherings have become a linchpin for career success. Some 63% of employees surveyed by Robert Half International earlier this year said that productivity increases when employees have social relationships with their professional colleagues.

4. Little or No Training

According to a 2011 report from Accenture, 55% of workers in the U.S. say they are under pressure to develop new skills, but only 21% say their companies have provided training to learn those new skills within the last five years.

"A lot of organizations aren't doing the hard work to train their employees and expect them to come into the workforce with skills," Cantrell says. "Most workers don't know what skills are required in different jobs. If you don't know what they are, how do you go get them?"

Programs that cost companies money, such as training, mentoring and coaching, are valued highly by employees, according to HBS. When employees don't have access to development, they often leave. Companies with poor management practices see this as an impossible conundrum. If they invest, they fear employees will leave for better jobs elsewhere, but employees will quit if they don't feel invested in.

5. Ineffective Training

Just as lousy as no training is training that doesn't work. Typically, these are programs that provide the exact same training for every employee, no matter their existing skills.

"There's an assumption that everyone needs training and that everyone is starting from the same level of competence, but that very rarely is the case," says Noble. "Companies want to provide training for everyone so employees feel included, which is an honorable motive, but it can sometimes backfire."

It backfires, for instance, when companies put social-media savvy employees into the same Facebook training session as people who don't yet have a profile on the site. The pace and level of training for class-goers should vary based on the skill-sets of the people receiving it, and creating one-size-fits-all training programs implies that the firm doesn't have a grip on individual employee competencies.

6. Poorly Executed Performance Reviews

"One of the things I've heard most frequently is that people's HR or people practices were irrelevant to them," says Cantrell. People's schedules, rewards and performance assessments are often the same for people working in the same job, at the same level or for the same amount of time, Cantrell notes, "but people do very different work than one another," even if their titles are the same.

Cantrell says that assessing people once a year on generic criteria -- the traditional philosophy -- is outdated. A 2010 study of HR executives from Sibson Consulting and World at Work found that 58% grade their performance-review practices at a "C" or below, primarily because managers don't provide constructive feedback, and employees don't feel motivated by the results.

Some companies also misuse 360-degree feedback, a tool used by HR departments to get perspective on an individual employee from colleagues at, below and above the level of the specific worker. "We highly encourage 360-degree feedback, but say it should be used for development not for performance appraisals," says Noble.

As an evaluation tactic, 360s fail because the reviewers aren't always objective. "An employee giving feedback on their boss might think, 'Deep down I know that she has flaws, but if I tell her boss, they may come down on her and I don't want people to come down on her that way,'" Noble says. That problem can be averted if the employee knows that their comments won't impact their boss' standing in the organization, and vice versa.

7. Stifled Mobility

Many companies just don't know what their workers are good at or how to develop them once they're hired. That makes it difficult to challenge employees to learn new skills that would enable them to develop their careers.

"Once people become employees, they report that it becomes hard for them to move around to different jobs in their organization," Cantrell says. Accenture's survey found that only 34% of employees believe that they can move into another job at their company. Only half believe that their employer gives them a clear understanding of the skills they need to grow in a particular job or career path.

Having an understanding of the skills and abilities of current employees can reduce the costs of recruiting externally for talent. To encourage employees to find new jobs internally, "employers can make job needs more transparent, and begin to develop more flexibility in their HR processes," Cantrell says.

8. Preventing Follow-Through

Most employees like to feel their work has meaning. If they don't get this kind of satisfaction, they lose motivation, according to a number of research studies. One sure way to demean an employee's work is to move them off a project before it's completed.

That's what one of Cantrell's clients did. Its work strategy moved people on and off projects before they were completed, which didn't allow them to see the results of their work. "It completely de-motivated them," Cantrell says.

"From the employee's perspective, they want to feel like they have an impact," says Rick DeMarco, West Coast managing director for Inward Strategic Consulting. "If you pull them away before they see the result of their labors, they'll wonder what all that was for."

This practice also develops a workforce with a serious problem with follow-through. "A weakness in leadership today is that companies develop great strategists who can't execute a plan," DeMarco says. "Companies aren't teaching people to see something through from beginning to end, which builds a mentality of not finishing what's been started."

9. Obstacle-Course Applications

Having a thorough application process is critical to maintaining a level of sanity when an employer is looking to hire, but being too specific can hinder the entire process. Much has been said about how too-specific keyword searches among applicant pools is contributing to the so-called the skills gap, but the problem could begin before applications are submitted.

According to a July 2012 survey from Beyond.com, a job-search website, more than a quarter of 1,700 respondents said their biggest frustration with job seeking is finding job descriptions that are too vague, too specific, too confusing or incomplete. Unclear job descriptions could leave employers with fewer applicants because too many job seekers weren't sure if they actually met the position's requirements because the desired skills weren't clear to begin with.

10. Hiring For Skills, Not Competencies

A frequent complaint of job seekers is that resume-scanning software eliminates them from consideration for positions because they don't have the "right" degree or previous job titles. Accenture found that 38% of workers believe their employers don't consider talents and competencies when hiring. They only consider specific work experience and education, leaving many candidates who might have the capacity to quickly learn a job in the pool of the unemployed.

"Hiring managers try to find people by basically screening a resume for its experience and education," says Cantrell of Accenture. "Academic studies have shown over time that they aren't predictors of performance, but we continue to do it." Searching for competencies such as accounting, design, entrepreneurial mind-sets or computer science can be more of a predictor of someone's behavior at work.

"If you think about it, just because you have a degree in computer science doesn't mean you're a great computer scientist or that you were any good at it," she says. On the other hand, evaluating people based on the competencies that make up a good computer scientist presents a greater guarantee that you'll find someone good at the job, Cantrell says.

Source: AOL

8 important tips for Skype interviews

With video interviews becoming more common during hiring, not being prepared can easily keep you out of the running. While meeting via video is time saver, getting past the technological barriers of not speaking face-to-face can be difficult. Be sure you're prepared and use Skype to your advantage, experts say.

For one, use your computer screen to refer hiring managers to your achievements or provide explanations. "Prepare a digital portfolio that you can link to during the interview or show the interviewer your screen, which has a sample of your work," says social media expert Marian Schembari, who adds that you can also send relevant links through the chat function.

Looking for more ways to impress? Here's how to handle a Skype or video interview:

1. Look at the camera, not the screen
It can be confusing, but when you're looking at your monitor it actually makes the interviewer feel as if you're looking away. Instead, look directly at the video camera you're using for your interview. And although you're not making eye contact in the traditional sense, this is the way that the interviewer perceives that you're looking straight ahead.

2. Be aware of interruptions
Since you're used to living in the house, it can be easy to forget to turn off a phone or not warn family members to give you some privacy, Schembari says. Have a plan for whatever distractions you have in your house, including children and dogs. "Too many people don't take [Skype interviews] as seriously as in-person interviews, but you need to be just as professional here," she says.

3. Practice in front of a mirror
During the interview, you can see yourself in the video camera, which can be startling if you've never seen yourself speak. "It's important to get familiar with your own facial expressions when you talk," says Colleen Aylward, chief executive of InterviewStudio Inc., a company that offers video interview capabilities. "It also gets rid of some of the camera shyness."

4. Mind the background
Your surroundings can say a lot about how you've prepared for the interview, so it's important to put your best foot forward. "Shoot your video against a blank wall or a warm one-color background," Aylward suggests. "Clear off your desk, or have only awards and certificates in the background."

5. Avoid patterned clothing
Wear a shirt that's business casual and complimentary to your skin tone. Avoid patterns that come across as too loud on screen, such as anything floral or bright stripes. Clothing can distract the interviewer from the information conveyed during the conversation, so it's important to plan your outfit carefully.

6. Conduct a mock interview
Being comfortable with the technology prevents the added stress from a tech malfunction. Find a person you trust and use Skype or other video conferencing software to conduct a mock interview. You're bound to make mistakes, so it's best to practice with someone who can provide honest feedback.

7. Test audio and video
Just because your laptop has a built-in video camera and microphone doesn't mean the quality is up to par. Instead, test out the video and audio capabilities on your computer and decide whether you need to buy a headset with a microphone or an attachable video camera. Before the interview, some companies may send their own video devices to applicants.

8. Add extra enthusiasm
Any news announcer will tell that your reactions translate differently when on-screen, so it's important to compensate with extra enthusiasm and concise answers. Additionally, speak succinctly and remember that speed is important, Aylward says. "Practice speaking more quickly than you normally do," she says.

Source: careerbuilder

Dress to impress: 5 rules for nailing business casual

With fewer than 6 percent of men sporting a necktie to work, business casual has come to dominate today's workplace attire. But don't throw out those pleated skirts too quickly: According to human resources specialist Donna Wyatt, who instructs in the MBA program at University of Phoenix and also works in development for a technology company in Connecticut, there are still definite no-no's when it comes to dressing for the office.

Here are some basic rules to help anyone avoid an outfit faux pas:
A woman laughing.

1. Trust the classics.

When in doubt, "it's always better to dress more on the conservative side until you see what other people are wearing," Wyatt says. As a basic starting point, women can wear dress slacks or a business-length skirt, with a blouse. Men should go with a collared shirt (a polo shirt counts), and some Dockers® or khakis. "The key value in business casual is classic rather than trendy."



A very flamboyant tie.


2. Don't adorn yourself in letters.

Never wear clothing with logos or words on them unless it's a shirt from your company. "You can really get into trouble if you wear a sports-team logo, for instance, and find out that your supervisor is rooting for the other side," Wyatt explains.

A person wearing lime green crocs. 

3. Choose attire that's functional rather than trendy.

Wyatt notices a lot of younger employees donning thigh-high boots, tights and tunics. "The tight-tunic-and-boots getup is more of a trendy look, but it's also very revealing," she says. "Even if you don't interact with the public, you're still interacting with one another." Keep in mind that if it's something you would wear to a nightclub, it doesn't belong in your day job.

Casual shoes. 

4. Exercise restraint.

"We used to forbid people from wearing sandals of any kind, but we've loosened up on that in the last few years, because most styles for women are open-toed now," Wyatt says. "So now we say, 'as long as they're presentable,' which is a very broad term." As a rule of thumb, Wyatt says, forgo flip-flops, hiking boots and tennis shoes, and make sure your footwear is neat and clean.

5. Keep it family-friendly.

A woman showing off her legs.When it comes to yards of fabric, less is never more in the office. Wyatt has had to send employees home for arriving in skimpy ensembles. "One woman on our staff showed up in something that looked more like lingerie," Wyatt says. "I said, 'Really, you need to put something different on because this is just not public attire.' In the end, Wyatt says, "each company will have its own set of rules."

Source: Phoenix

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