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Job Talk HERC's Jobseeker Blog

Job Talk HERC's Jobseeker Blog

HERC's blog for jobseekers, Job Talk, offers tips from experts in the field that will help you with your search and provide the best ways to promote yourself to prospective employers.

There have been a few online articles of late on interviewees’ legitimate criticism of interviewers.  While I do not condone inappropriate interveiwer behavior and do want you to keep your pride and self-esteem intact, I’d like to shed some insight into what might cause interviewers to behave the way they do.  One reason is pure lack of training.  Savvy employers, higher education included, do provide interviewers with tools to guide them and capture assessments.  Human Resources professionals are more apt to have a structured process with targeted questions.  Non HR interviewers despite being most in need of interview tools often lose them in the shuffle of daily life.  Faculty are also most easily distracted by all else they are working on.  So it becomes an issue of perception on your part.  You could perceive distraction and lack of structured questions as a reflection of interest in you and/or the importance of the position OR you could turn the situation around.  One of the primary goals of an interview for you is to endear yourself to the interviewer.  I certainly do not mean that you should grovel but rather empathize with them and their clearly overworked situation---suggesting how you can help them do all they need to do if hired.  One recent article referred to the “rude” question of how low a salary would someone consider.  I personally get annoyed when a candidate will not give some basic information about salary expectations.  And in career counseling I advise people not to take an unduly large salary cut because it is so hard to recoup later in your career.  When confronted with a salary question, however, it is better for you to offer an honest answer.

In other words, do your self-assessment and your financial assessment at the same time and know in your mind what you really would be willing to accept for your dream job.

Contributed by By Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University

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hands typingI do not at all negate the need for job seekers to keep their LinkedIn profiles up to date.  Employers including those in academia are increasingly using LinkedIn to source candidates and find out more about them than resumes might convey.  You should not think, however, that LinkedIn is the only way that potential employers can “check out” candidates.  Especially when someone is looking for a new position inside their own organization, there is no controlling a potential hiring manager from reaching out to people they know inside and asking about you.  Human Resources can and does discourage this type of activity, but it is very hard to enforce.  Unfortunately information gathered in this manner is not necessarily indicative of your performance or your skills and abilities.  In other words, what a potential hiring manager might hear could be non-job related and simply based on prior personal interactions.  Even if you are seeking new opportunities outside of your current organization, the world is small and networks are vast.  You cannot second guess who might know whom.  So what is the answer?  My personal recommendation as noted in some past articles is to carry yourself professionally at all times. This is of great importance for senior opportunities.   You should try to be “nice” to people at all levels.  That might seem simplistic and hard to be on top of at all times since we are all so pre-occupied on the job and at home.   But in the long run managing your daily personal interactions with everyone is equally as important as managing an online profile. Your reputation is “out there” in many different ways.

Contributed by By Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University

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While there can be a long time lapse between when a job hunter submits a resume and when the response might come from a potential employer, you should always be at-the-ready.  Often the outreach to schedule a time for a phone screen or an in person interview will come via email.  Then you should respond professionally but with enthusiasm.  Try to be as flexible as you can in indicating your availability, recognizing of course that if you are still working, you don’t want to jeopardize yourself at the office.  As a recruiter I often choose to call a candidate for scheduling even if is for yet another substantive call at an appointed time.  How someone answers their phone is noteworthy.  Especially in this winter of terrible weather that has made everyone grouchy, if you are an active job seeker, it is always best to answer your phone with professionalism.

Program yourself to think that the chances are that any call from an unrecognizable number could be a future employer ---and not necessarily a telemarketer.  I am often surprised by how people sound when answering their phones.  Granted, you might be caught in settings where you cannot really talk freely but if you politely explain that fact and ask to return the call, it is preferable to fumbling for your calendar while in a supermarket.  While it is perfectly acceptable for you to have applied to multiple similar positions within a single employer, if you can avoid being too obvious about that fact, it is preferable.  But if the caller only indicates the title of the position that is identical to other titles in the same organization you should then casually ask which hiring unit they represent.  It is better than risking prepping for the wrong position.  I always recommend that applicants keep hard copy of full job descriptions for  all positions to which they apply since jobs might be taken off a website after an onslaught of resumes have come in.  This then makes it hard for you to retrace the information even if you do keep a running log of all jobs you to which you apply.  Lastly, do try to get detailed directions from the caller to avoid having to ask later on.

Contributed by By Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University

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