Monthly Archives: January 2013

Stand Out with Your Online Job Application

When it comes to applying for jobs online, it is important to stand out from the other applicants. Online job postings can attract thousands of applicants, making the odds of getting an interview very small.

In fact, only about 14 percent of all job seekers find employment through ads and the Internet. On the other hand, about 65 percent of all jobs come from networking within the company and by word of mouth.

If you can interact with the employer, it will help you stand out from the other applicants.

By incorporating several strategies into how you apply for jobs online, you can increase your chances of getting a job by more than 100 percent.

  • Verify that the company received and can access your application and any attachments.
  • Make contact with the people who make the hiring decision, ensuring they receive a copy of your resume.
  • Network within the company.

Shortly after sending your online application, give the company a call.  Ask to speak with the Human Resources department.  Ask them if they received your online application, and more importantly, ask them if they would please open your resume attachment to make sure it opens correctly.

With differences in software, sometimes resumes won’t open, and you would never know about it because typically they won’t email you back looking for it…they will just delete your file because they don’t have time to deal with little hiccups like this.

Calling to check will reassure you AND make a favorable impression upon the company.  Also, if you have specific questions about the position, you could take it a step further and ask to speak to the hiring manager to ask your questions.  This will make you stand out from the rest of the pile of resumes and let them know of your interest and excitement about the position.

Don’t Forget the Questions!

Whether you’re a senior preparing for campus recruiting or a recent graduate still hunting for a job, here are the top questions experts recommend asking at the end of a job interview to leave a great final impression on hiring managers and establish yourself as a top candidate.

1.  “Is There Any Reason Why You Wouldn’t Hire Me?”

Kelsey Meyer, senior vice president of Digital Talent Agents in Columbia, Mo., says, “A recent candidate asked, ‘If you were to not offer the job to me, what would be the reason?’ This was extremely straightforward and a little blunt, but it allowed me to communicate any hesitations I had about the candidate before he left the interview, and he could address them right there.”

“This one question is something I would suggest every single candidate ask,” adds Meyer. It lets you know where you stand and if you need to clarify anything for the interviewer. “If you have the guts to ask it, I don’t think you’ll regret it,” she says.

 

2.  “As an Employee, How Could I Exceed Your Expectations?”

Michael B. Junge, a staffing and recruiting industry leader with Irvine Technology Corp. in Santa Ana, Calif., and author of Purple Squirrel: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Master the Modern Job Market, says that one of his favorite interview questions is when a candidate takes the lead and asks, “If I were offered this position and joined your company, how would you measure my success and what could I do to exceed your expectations?”

“The question shows confidence without being overly brash, while also demonstrating that you have an interest in delivering positive results,” Junge adds. What’s more, the answer you receive can reveal what the interviewer hopes to accomplish by making a new hire, and this information can help you determine whether to accept the position if you get an offer.

3. “How Could I Help Your Company Meet Its Goals?”

Dotson also suggests job candidates ask the interviewer, “How does this position fit in with the short- and long-term goals of the company?” The response to the short-term side of the question gives you further insight into your potential role and helps you tailor the remainder of the discussion and your interview follow-up, she says.

“Second, by bringing up long-term goals, you are telling the hiring manager that you’re there for the long-run, not just another new grad that is going to follow suit with her peers and job-hop every six months,” Dotson says.

Junge also recommends that interviewees ask, “What challenges have other new hires faced when starting in similar roles, and what could I do to put myself in a better position to succeed?” He says few students or new grads will ask this question because most haven’t witnessed failure.

To a hiring manager, this question demonstrates maturity and awareness, and if you’re hired, the answers can help you avoid the pitfalls of being new.

4.  “What Excites You About Coming into Work?”

People love the opportunity to talk about themselves, so this question provides an excellent chance to learn about the hiring manager and find ways to establish common ground.

“This is also a great opportunity for the candidate to determine whether he/she is excited by the same things that excite the hiring manager to see if the culture is a good fit,” Chowdhury adds.

To Summarize

Although it is important to provide a great first impression to a potential employer, as well as acing the basics of a job interview, closing the interview strong is just as important.

Ask these questions before you leave, and leave your potential new employer with a great impression.

 

4 Essential Questions to Ask at the End of a Job Interview” was provided by Investopedia.com.

Cough, Sneeze, Cough and Repeat

Reports are out stating that this is one of the worst flu seasons on record.  There have been many deaths and hospitalizations from this year’s flu bug.

When running a business, it’s hard when key employees, or any employee for that matter, calls in sick.

As a business owner or manager, it is your job to communicate to your employees the importance of not spreading illness around at work.  A sick employee is not a productive employee.  Most often it’s best for them to get back on their “A” game faster by healing at home.

Here are a few tips you can give your employees about staying home:

1.  Call in Early.  If you’re feeling sick, call or send a text the night before.  That way, plans can be made to cover for you and to share the responsibilities around the office.

2.  Offer to Telecommute.  Oftentimes workers come in to work because of a pressing meeting, a deadline or other important matter.  Give your employees an option of telecommuting while they are sick.  Invest in the software that makes this possible…it will be an investment that will pay off.

3.  Delegate.  You know your job better than anyone else.  If you have a serious illness that will have you missing work for a few days, delegate it to someone who can help.  A good manager or owner will always have employees be dual-trained on things so one can pick up where the other left off.

WebMD.com recommends that employees who exhibit any of the following symptoms should stay home from work and not infect anyone else:

Flu Signs:  fever, muscle aches, headache, runny nose, sore throat, cough, weakness and fatigue.

Sinus Infection:  yellow or green discharge from the nose, headaches, aching in jaw and teeth.

Pinkeye:  everyone knows what this is – it’s highly contagious – stay home!

Colds:  scratchy throat, sneezing, runny nose and coughing.

All of these things are highly contagious and care should be taken not to “share the love” around the office.

If employees know they are cared about, especially when ill, their morale will be much higher and they will have incentive to get healthy and back to work more quickly than if they feel resented for being ill.

A Respectful and Racially Diverse Workplace

Since today is the day we remember and reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, it is appropriate to discuss race and respect in the workplace.

Many American neighborhoods, public schools and churches are still overwhelmingly segregated.  The workplace remains one of the few places where those from diverse backgrounds routinely interact. Because Americans from different ethnic groups still have a lot to learn about one another, however, the workplace is often the site of racially offensive behavior.

Sometimes colleagues unintentionally make racial gaffes, and other times prejudice is to blame for their bad behavior at work. It’s in every employee’s interest to avoid culturally inappropriate behaviors in the workplace.

If you can’t say anything nice…

It seems obvious that racial slurs should be a no-no at work, but an employee of African-American descent was stunned recently when a white coworker referred to an Arab-American coworker as a “towelhead.” Apparently, the woman figured that the African-American wouldn’t be offended that she used the term because she isn’t from the Middle East.

That turned out not to be true, a mistake that could have cost the woman her job.

Don’t use race to describe

If you can’t recall a coworker’s name, it’s not appropriate to refer to her as “that Asian lady in sales” or “that black chick in operations.”  If your workplace is predominantly white, think about what you would do to describe a white colleague whose name you don’t know. You might describe what he’s wearing or his height and build.

Try using these same strategies to describe your colleagues of color. Then, “that Asian lady in sales” becomes “the tall woman in the red blazer.”  By taking a few seconds longer to describe someone, you can avoid giving colleagues the impression that their race is first on your mind.

Make assignments based on skill sets, not race

You’re a manager of a company whose new set of clients is Mexican American. Naturally, you assign the Latino man in your department to the case. In fact, anytime you deal with Mexican-American clients, you make sure to involve your lone Latino employee. It’s a smart way to do business, right? Not necessarily.

If there’s a language barrier—the clients speak Spanish and the Latino employee is the only one in the office who can communicate with them—this move makes sense. But to pair up employees with clients simply based on cultural background doesn’t always pay off. Employees should be paired with clients who need services in which they have a strong skill set and range of experiences.

If clients felt that uncomfortable working with those from different ethnic backgrounds, they likely would have sought out a Latino-owned company with which to do business. What’s more is that if you keep directing all of your Latino clientele to your Latino employee, he may begin to think that you only trust him to do business with his own “kind.”

There is a myriad of scenarios where racial bias could creep up.  As a manager, work diligently to treat everyone fairly and to make race a non-issue in your place of work, especially when making decisions on hiring employees and during job interviews.

In the words of Dr. King, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance  and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

 

The above information was summarized from:

http://racerelations.about.com/od/theworkplace/a/RaciallyInappropriateBehaviorsatWork.htm

Say No-No to Nepotism

In many circles, the word NEPOTISM is known as a veritable four-letter word.

Nepotism is officially defined as:  The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

There is nothing wrong with a family-owned and run business.  They are often some of the most tight-knit and well-run businesses.

The problems occur when the family member employees and other employees are treated differently.

One employee worked in a business that employed several members of the same family.  He worked in marketing with the son-in-law of the owners.  They both shared the exact same job title, the same job responsibilities and the same office.

Problem was – they didn’t share the same salary or bonus structure.

The employee inadvertantly saw a pay stub of his office mate and there was a vast difference from his own paycheck.

This caused much frustration and general ticked-offedness with this employee.

He asked for a raise.  He got 25 cents an hour more.  He worked harder.  The son-in-law got rewarded.

The son-in-law’s bonuses were bigger, even though he wasn’t working as hard as the employee.

The employee soon saw that this was an extremely toxic work environment and that nothing would change his circumstance due to the high level of nepotism.

Here are a few tips to say “no-no” to nepotism:

1.  Make Salaries Equal.  This is HUGE.  Salaries must be awarded based on merit, not family.  When handing out raises, make sure they’re based on credentials, not pedigree.  Award raises to those who deserve them most.  Make a list of why someone does or doesn’t deserve a raise and stick with it, even if family is involved.

2.  Keep Personal Life at Home.  When hiring a relative, make sure that person understands that work life is totally separate from home life.  Spell out very clearly that raises, bonuses and other rewards will be awarded for certain milestones and workplace achievements,  and not because they married the bosses daughter.

3.  Spell it Out.  Put everything on paper – expectations, how raises will be awarded, rules of keeping personal lives out of the workplace, and on and on.  If it’s on paper and spelled out in the very beginning, those boundaries will be set in stone and they will be more likely adhered to.

And lastly, don’t promote the family members above others just as or more qualified.  You will lose good employees and give those family members a sense of entitlement that will not do them any favors in the future.

The Number One Trait in a Good Boss

You want to be the best boss.  The legendary boss that your employees talk about on facebook and inspire jealousy among all their friends.

To be the best boss, you must have the number one trait that good bosses have.

That trait is:  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Just having the title of boss, manager, CEO, or whatever you are, doesn’t alone grant respect from your underlings.  Respect must be earned and in order to do that, you must first respect those that work for you.

Do you know your employees?  Do you care about their personal lives and their family?  When you respect a person, you know them inside and out and show care and concern for them as an individual, not just as a worker.

Another key trait of respect is to never, ever (and I mean, ever) belittle your employees.  Constructive criticism is one thing, but outright belittling and embarrassing is another.  Employees never get over being belittled.

The word belittle is defined as:  to regard or portray as less impressive or important than appearances indicate; depreciate; disparage.

Just remember that even though you are the head honcho, you don’t need to look down your nose at any employee.  If you do, it will come back to bite you.

A final note on respect.  Just because you may have a personal assistant, a six-figure income or a fancier car than your employees, don’t use these as excuses to not keep your feet on the ground.

Always remember what it feels like to work in a cubicle and go about the daily grind.

You will earn respect by rolling up your own sleeves and working right alongside your employees rather than observing your employees from a distance.

Top Jobs for the Moo-lah

Happiness in a job is extremely important.  But, paying the bills at home is equally important.  When you can combine the two in a job, then you are very blessed indeed.

Let’s face it, educators rarely get rich.  Same for fast food workers, gas station attendants and babysitters.

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you may want to consider changing your spending habits OR changing your job.  Check out the top 10 highest paying jobs for some ideas:

1. Neurosurgeons

Median pay: $368,000

Top pay: $643,000

 

2. Petroleum engineer

Median pay: $162,000

Top pay: $265,000
3. Nurse anesthetist (CRNA)

Median pay: $159,000

Top pay: $205,000
4. Petroleum geologist

Median pay: $149,000

Top pay: $247,000

 

5. Dentist

Median pay: $147,000

Top pay: $253,000

 

6. Actuary

Median pay: $136,000

Top pay: $208,000

 

7.  Software Architect

Median pay: $119,000
Top pay: $162,000
8.  Pharmacist
Median pay: $114,000
Top pay: $133,000
9.  Management Consultant

Median pay: $110,000
Top pay: $198,000
10.  SAP Basis Administrator

Median pay: $107,000
Top pay: $160,000
For more information on these job positions and what they entail, more details are provided by:  http://money.cnn.com/gallery/pf/2012/11/01/top-paying-jobs/10.html

Getting Job Hunt Feedback

You’ve tried everything.

Buying a new power suit.  Re-doing your resume.  Networking.  Printing your resume on fancy paper.

But you still haven’t landed your dream job, or any job for that matter.

The part of searching for a job that can be the most difficult is being told, “Thank you for your interest and time” and receiving no feedback on why you didn’t get the job.

This can cause a lot of frustration and you may be tempted to rip your resume into shreds and start applying for welfare.

While this approach may help you vent your frustration, it’s not going to get you closer to getting a job.

What you need is some feedback.  Grab that relative or friend who you know will be brutally honest with you and get a little feedback.

First, dress in your best job interviewing outfit and have your “feedbacker” review how you look.  Maybe your shoes need shined.  Maybe your jewelry is too outrageous or your tie is too “busy.”

These are tips you need to hear in order to “look” the part.

Next, sit down with them and have a mock interview.  Have them look over your resume.  Is it too detailed or do you need to elaborate on responsibilities you had at a previous job?  Is the grammar correct?  Is there enough white space?

Finally, have your “feedbacker” ask you some tough questions.  Have them grill you, ask crazy questions and basically throw the book at you so you can improve your interview performance.

It’s never pleasant to be critiqued, but when you’re serious about getting a job, this exercise will benefit you and prepare you for landing your dream job in record time.

New Year, New Issues

As a business owner, you have to worry about hiring the right person, training the right person, paying the right salary and basically doing everything right, right?!

Even though you may do everything you’re supposed to, there are things that are out of your control.

This year, your employees are going to see less money each paycheck and it’s not the bosses fault.

Everyone’s paycheck is about to take a hit because the rate of workers’ payroll taxes, which fund Social Security, has been 4.2% for the past two years. As of Jan. 1, it’s back to 6.2%, on the first $113,700 in wages.

Some business owners say it’s a tough talk to have with their employees that may not understand that it’s not the bosses fault.

Mike Brey, who owns four Hobby Works shops near Washington, D.C., recently had to notify his store managers about the upcoming change during a conference call. He called the experience uncomfortable. “These are the people who can least afford it,” Brey said.

Brey said he can’t raise compensation to ease the pain. Enduring the recession meant cutting his own salary, firing workers, taking on half a million dollars in debt and raiding his own 401(k).

“Any business that survived the recession did so by digging a big hole,” Brey said. “We can’t dig any deeper.”

Payroll taxes are key for financing Social Security, and the break of the past two years has forced the government to replenish the funds with borrowed money. The tax break was always meant to be temporary.

Workers earning the national average salary of $41,000 will receive $32 less on every biweekly paycheck. The higher the salary (up to $113,700), the bigger the bite, but business owners say their lower wage employees will feel it most.

So, how can you weather this storm?

The key is education. 

As a boss, you need to sit down with your employees and explain in detail what this will mean for their paychecks, why it happened, and what it means going forward.

As captain of the ship, you will still bear the brunt of the responsibility, but that comes with the territory.

The most you can do is to educate, empathize (it affects you too!) and then move on.  If your employees do have concerns, don’t brush them off.  Sometimes every single dollar is accounted for by employees and this could cause some stress and anxiety.

If you continue to educate, train and keep those lines of communication open – your business, and more importantly, your employees, will weather the storm.