Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Career advice from radio personalities?

As I was headed from the gym this morning I was listening to a local radio station. Every weekday morning they have what they call the Morning Mind Messer. This morning’s question was, "What is the number one thing people lie about on resume?"  The answer….Salary.

I actually found that surprising as I don’t know of anyone that actually puts their salary on their resume. That went away along with the days of putting your DoB, hobbies, pets and favorite flavor of ice cream. Perhaps it was actually regarding an employment application. So my first recommendation is to never include salary on a resume. Okay the next thing that struck me was that the radio personalities suggested lying to be a good idea. Their justification for actually padding the numbers was to try and get a better offer. No, no, no, no. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Many times employers require salary verification. How would it look getting caught in a lie. You can rest assured any thought of giving you an offer is gone.

Bottom line, any company you’d want to work for should be giving you a fair and equitable offer based on your experience and skills right? And if a company is going to low ball you and pay you below market for what you bring to the table, do you really want to go to work for them anyway? Things rarely work out if you enter into a new relationship on the wrong foot. Feeling you were low balled breeds feelings of distrust and certainly doesn't give you a warm and fuzzy feeling.

There is no competitive disadvantage to putting down your current salary. The real key is your salary expectations anyway. You can dream big numbers but your expectations need to be realistic, too.

So what do you take away from all this?  Don't take career advice from a radio personality.

Scot Dickerson, CPC


Monday, May 13, 2013

Lunch interviews and spaghetti.

My kids took my wife out for Mother’s Day for supper. They traditionally do the Mother’s Day brunch but due to an out of state basketball tournament my daughter competed in, we broke tradition and went out for supper instead. Naturally I tagged along to play chauffeur and pay the bill. My daughter orders spaghetti and my son gets pizza. In the middle of eating a roaming magician stops by our table (on Sunday night this particular restaurant has a magician). So here is my daughter and son trying to eat and interact with the magician. It wasn't before too long that my daughter was wearing spaghetti sauce on her sweatshirt and my son was wearing pizza sauce on his face & shirt.

This reminded me of a conversation I would typically have with candidates that were scheduled to participate in a lunch interview or a dinner the night before a day of interviews with a company representative. This is what I’d tell them, and please keep the visual in your head of my kids.  If you are scheduled for a dinner or a lunch interview be certain to order a food item off the menu that can be eaten in small bites so that you may comfortably converse. Also, order a food item that has no sauce. And without a doubt, absolutely never ever order spaghetti.

So let’s say you do have a dinner scheduled with a company representative prior to your actual day of interviews. Let’s say you accidently get a food stain on your nice, white shirt. Now what? Do you go to the interviews the next day with a stained shirt? Of course not, you plan ahead. You bring an extra shirt because it is always best to be prepared for the unexpected. Nothing kills an interview like a food stain on your shirt or tie from dinner meeting the night before. 

Scot Dickerson, CPC
Capstone Search

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tell Us Everything! Everything!

Remember Chunk from the movie The Goonies?  Here’s the scene... The Fratellis are interrogating Chunk. They say, “Tell us everything! Everything!"

Chunk responds, "Everything. OK! I'll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max's toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog... When my mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and they served lunch I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out... But the worst thing I ever done - I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa - and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other."

This is funny stuff, and for me, the most memorable part of the movie. And it reminds me of how an interview can go. The interviewer is one of the Fratellis. Chunk is the person interviewing for the job. The interviewer asks the question, “Tell me about yourself.” The person being interviewed, Chunk, responds, “In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max's toupee….”

Where do you start? What is the best way to handle a question such as this during an interview to avoid being like Chunk??

Here is what I suggest. When asked an open ended question such as, “Tell me about yourself”, respond in such a way as to draw from the interviewer what it is they really want to know. So you can hone in on what is relevant and important. Surely they really don’t want to know about how you cheated on your history exam in third grade. So respond to the interviewer by saying, "I’d be happy to tell you about myself. What is it that you would like to know?" 

Scot Dickerson, CPC