Wednesday, October 29, 2003
It's easy to be at your best when...

  • You feel genuine passion & excitement about what you are doing, and/or talking about.

  • You're as good a listener as a speaker. (Nobody learns anything if they're always the one doing the talking.)

  • You can recognize, instinctively, what your audience expects from you, and wants in return for their time and attention. If they get what they want, you will too.

  • Number three, of course, requires that you have done a fair amount of homework. Though instinct is very important, so is learning everything you can about a subject before making any kind of presentation (whether it be a job interview or speaking engagement, etc.). In short, do your homework!!

  • Always be open to exploring alternate ideas to your own. Just because you may have done something successfully one way for a number of years, doesn't mean there isn't a better way that you have just not discovered yet. Be respectful of others opinions, or you may just find that you are doing nothing but talking to yourself. You'll only end up impressing one person... you. That certainly won't win you any prizes.

  • Be willing to admit your shortcomings, if asked. Nobody is perfect, and it is unnerving, to say the least, to be in the presence of someone who is little more than a legend in their own mind.

  • Always be prepared to give credit to others where it is due (unless you are able to prove that you have the ability to single-handedly leap tall buildings in a single bound.) I, personally, have only seen that done on TV.

    And last, but not least...

  • Always be yourself. It is the one thing you can do better than anybody else! Trying to be someone you're not rarely fools anybody.

    Now, go out there and be a winner! ;-)
  • Monday, October 27, 2003
    Scared you, didn't I? Here's the flipside (of Friday's post)...

    Without an International Free Trade Agreement, we can't compete globally, and that's a very bad thing. It's true, manufacturing will likely disappear in the US completely, but so what? There's so little left now, will it really have as big of an impact as NAFTA did? I don't think so. Merely an aftershock.

    I believe unions are as much to blame for putting some companies under, as NAFTA was. Why should we pay semi-skilled laborers $35 an hour for such jobs anyway? With our ever-changing US labor laws (to protect workers), it seems to me that unions are no longer necessary to protect the average American worker. Companies do pay more competitively now than 30-50 years ago anyway... they have to, to attract the best talent. People are more willing to be mobile today than they were back in those days.

    In short, I find that I have mixed feelings about a lot of things these days. We all should. And before making any strong stances one way or another on any issue, we should all weigh the facts from all sides very carefully.

    That's what I think. ...You?
    Friday, October 24, 2003
    So, NAFTA wasn't enough...

    Now we are seeking not just a North American Free Trade Agreement (which, by the way, put approximately half a million auto industry people alone out of work, plus millions more in the various US manufacturing sectors), but now we are looking at an International Free Trade Agreement. Wow.

    Say what you want about Ross Perot, but he was right on the money when he said that if NAFTA were to pass, which it did in 1995, we could all hear the giant sucking sound of jobs leaving this country. I know I sure did, loud and clear. At that time I was an independent 3rd party recruiter (working exclusively in manufacturing) making 6 figures, working from home no less. Within a little more than 2 years after the passage of NAFTA, I too was out of business.

    If NAFTA caused a giant sucking sound, I imagine the International Free Trade Agreement will do not only that, but also bring about a huge black hole. It worries me how this move could further damage our economy, and what it might do to the whole of middle class America.

    Anybody have any good news on this? If so, I'd love to hear it, and I bet a whole lot of other American workers would too.
    Friday, October 17, 2003
    Resume 'Smarts', in a nutshell

    What an employer really wants to see on your resume (aside from skills, work history, and education):

    1. A natural progression (without too many job changes) in your career path. Lateral moves, without good reason, are considered a red flag. In other words, if you have changed jobs 3 times in 3 years with no other motive than a salary increase for the same kind of job is not good. When changing jobs, potential employers want to see that you did it for advancement, not just money.

    2. Tangible accomplishments (with facts and figures) that can show your abilities at cost-savings, efficiency, etc... Example: Instrumental in instituting a flex schedule, which reduced turnover by 35% in a 6 month period, saving the company over $250,000 in hiring and training expenses.

    3. If there are time lapses in employment (as is more common today than at any time in recent history), be prepared to explain what you were doing while looking for new employment in your field... Example: Took classes, did volunteer work, etc. This shows initiative --what every employer wants to see.

    Put yourself in the shoes of the person reading your resume. All they really want to know (besides that you have the skills and training necessary to do the job they are trying to fill), is that you are a go-getter, a hard worker, and someone who takes pride in what they do. They want to hire people that will save them money, bring new ideas to the table, and be loyal to them. The only way to prove that is to show them such a track record. Saying it in an objective statement just isn't enough.

    Their attitude? ...Don't just tell me. Show me.
    Advice of the day

    Be yourself, and be good at it. ...It's the one thing you can absolutely do better than anybody else!

    (When you attempt to be somebody you're not, it doesn't fool anybody but you.)
    Tuesday, October 14, 2003
    Where 'o where has my recruiter gone?
    ...Where 'o where can she be??

    We hear this all the time... "This recruiter was very attentive until I went on an interview. Now they've stopped taking my calls. They tell me they don't have any feedback about my interview, so how do I know where I may have gone wrong (so that I can do a better job next time)?"

    This generally means one of two things...

    1. Maybe they really haven't gotten any feedback yet, and genuinely don't yet have an answer from their client. If the recruiter has a good rapport with the company, generally feedback can be obtained relatively quickly, from 1-7 days. ...An experienced recruiter always gets feedback of some kind, or they typically will give up the search. They feel, justifiably, that their time is being wasted by the company, and will move on to other searches, if there is such a lack in communication.

    If they tell you that the company just isn't giving any feedback, but still wants to interview more candidates, that is a clear indication that, for whatever reason, you are most likely not being considered for the position.

    How does one hunt for something specific, when they don't know what that specific something is? Unless they're an amateur, the recruiter that is, they won't continue to work 'blindly' for this company.

    2. Maybe the recruiter got negative feedback about your interview, and isn't sure how to share it with you. However, most experienced recruiters won't leave you hanging and will find a way to let you down honestly, yet tactfully.

    So, how can all of this be prevented in the future?...

    QUALIFY YOUR RECRUITER! Just like they 'qualify' you for a given job, there is no reason why you shouldn't question how they will represent you (before you even go on an interview). Ask them questions like, "Have you done work for this company before, and if so, what is their standard time line for filling such a position?" And, "What kind of communication and feedback can I expect from you throughout this process?"

    You wouldn't let a doctor treat you for something, without learning the details of the procedure, and his/her credentials for performing such a procedure. Why should you let an unqualified recruiter represent you in something as important as your career, without knowing their credentials, plan of operation, and anticipated outcome? You shouldn't!

    If a recruiter were to object to your line of questioning about their qualifications to represent you to their clients, I would question, to myself, why they have become defensive. Most professionals are more than happy to share their accomplishments with others when asked. If your recruiter has a successful track record, they will be eager to set your mind at ease, and let you know about their qualifications.

    If a recruiter pulls a disappearing act on you, don't despair, and don't continue to drive yourself crazy trying to track them down. Chalk it up to experience and go on.

    There are at least dozens, if not 100's, of recruiters specializing in every industry and/or occupation imaginable. Just like you might 'shop' for the right doctor, keep looking until you find the right recruiter.

    He or she is out there somewhere, waiting for your call.
    Monday, October 13, 2003
    Dear Bobby,

    You know what they say... "Only the good die young". I don't know about all that (because I know a lot of fine folks who are twice the age you were when you departed on Friday morning), but I do know one thing...

    You were not only good; you were great, in my eyes. You will be missed, until we meet again. ...Don't forget to save me a seat, dear brother. I'll join you when I'm done here.

    Love always & forever,
    The economy aside, why is it so much harder to
    land a new job now than it used to be?

    Back 'in the day' when I was recruiting, the most modern technological advancement available was the fax machine, which actually was a pretty neat thing in it's time. I could talk to a hiring manager on the phone about a candidate, and then have a resume in his/her hands within minutes, if they wanted to see it. (HR only got involved after the fact... to arrange transportation for an interview if necessary, discuss benefits, type up the offer letter, etc.).

    I believe the first thing that began to hinder the necessary communications between a hiring company and an applicant (or recruiter) was the now-common voice mail system. For some reason, it seems to me, that a person is many times more likely to return a phone call if a message is left with an actual live person, than on a machine. Of course, people were also much more likely to answer their phones directly in those days too, for fear of missing something important (like, perhaps, your call).

    Also, it seems, that during these technologically changing times (internet, email, etc.), many companies now make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for an individual to directly reach any of their departmental Hiring Managers. Most such calls are routed straight to a Human Resource department, causing 'good candidates', too often, to be lost in the shuffle. (Not their fault really... they just have too many irons in the fire, and occasionally, tunnel vision prevents them from recognizing a good candidate when they see one.)

    One example of that scenario is this (and it happens all the time)!...

    ABC Manufacturing Company has a Plant Manager, John Smith, who has become increasingly unhappy with the performance of one of his Production Supervisors. He is watching this person closely, and has made a mental note that (though he is not yet actively looking to replace this supervisor), if a suitable replacement should come to his attention, he would strongly consider letting this person go, and giving someone 'better' a chance at the position.

    You have just been downsized from the manufacturing plant you have been successfully employed at for the past 7 years, and most recently, as a Production Supervisor (and, coincidentally, in the same line of business as ABC Manufacturing, which is only 12 miles from where you live). You call ABC Company to see if there are any jobs available there for someone with your background. Your call is not routed to the Plant Manager (who is just waiting to talk to someone like you), but instead to the HR department.

    When you finally succeed in reaching a live person there, you are told there are no such positions available at this time. If, in fact, you had been given the opportunity to speak with the actual person who oversees the area where you want to work (John Smith, the Plant Manager), you would no doubt be preparing for an interview with him for the following week.

    What happens instead is this... The Production Supervisor who is not performing to satisfaction is finally let go two weeks later. The Plant Manager calls on the HR/Recruiting department to assist in filling the vacancy. You are nowhere to be found, and no one even knows to contact you, because they never took the time to find out who you are when they had the opportunity.

    Why? Because only the Plant Manager knew about this potential opening for you when you called, but you didn't get the chance to speak with him.

    So much for progress.

    In short, I believe that two of the main contributing factors as to why it is so much harder to land a new job now than it used to be has a lot to do with poor communication (in part due to new technology that is not necessarily used effectively), and the fact that much of the hiring process has been taken completely out of the hands of most hiring managers.

    There are a number of other reasons too, but the question began, 'The economy aside'. ...That in itself could be another whole article (or even a book)!
    Sunday, October 12, 2003
    Don't loose another interview or job
    offer do to simple improper word usage.

    Of course, if you read the title to this article correctly, you know it should actually say, "Don't lose another interview or job offer due to simple improper word usage". (If you read the title, but didn't see anything wrong with it, you may be in trouble.)

    You can't rely on spellcheck to repair improper usage, if the improper words being used are spelled correctly.

    Then, there are the words spelled correctly that seem to always be mispronounced when spoken. Why is that? I wish I knew. Example: the simple word 'especially' is supposed to be pronounced just like it looks. It amazes be how many people instead pronounce it, "eXspecially". (In my opinion, that makes a whole new word with a new meaning. ...eXspecially. def; 'Not Specially Anymore'. Ask yourself the next time you say that word if 'not specially anymore' is what you're really trying to say. If not, you're probably pronouncing it wrong.)

    A few more examples:

  • Take the word 'ask'. How could it be pronounced any other way but than the way it looks; a-s-k? It's 3 simple letters, for crying out loud! Point made. Let's move on...

  • There, Their & They're. Three simple words, all pronounced the same, but with distinctly different meanings. I'll use them properly in an example, to show my point... "There will be another chance at another job, John, just not with this company. They're not going to hire anyone for a position there that doesn't care enough to take the time to use their words correctly."

    Mike interjects, "It's true, John!... They didn't hire me either, and all I did was aks them about they're time frame in lose terms. I'm anxious about going back to work too, eXspecially since all 10 of my previous interviews seemed to turn to dust."

  • And how about these?...
    --To, Too, Two
    --Pair, Pare, Pear
    --Toe, Tow ...(My EX-husband actually used this on a sign once, when we were moving, "Truck in Toe". I took my own car.) :-)
    --For, Fore, Four
    --Read, Red
    --Confidentiality, Confidentially

    You get the idea...

    Don't lose (not loose - the opposite of tight) another interview or job offer due (not do - the opposite of don't) to simple improper word usage! ...There is never a second chance to make a good first impression. And that's a fact!
  • Tuesday, October 07, 2003
    Recruiting Myths

    I hear this all the time from (relatively new) recruiters... "Job boards are going to put us out of business. Why would a company use a recruiter, when they can advertise their jobs on their own?"

    My answer... "Why not?" Companies have always had the ability to run newspaper ads, so how is running ads online any different than that? To me, a recruiter that would ask this question isn't very confident in their own abilities, or even clear on what they can do for a company that a company can't do for themselves.

    Recruiting isn't about running ads (online or off). Recruiting is about finding the best candidate for a particular job, and then qualifying them (in matters of relocation, fitting in with the current company culture, negotiations for both parties, etc.)

    Anybody can run an ad, but some of the best placements made have little or nothing to do with that. What if the best person for a given job is relatively happy where they are working, and doesn't read any 'help wanted' ads anywhere? That's where a recruiter's true value comes to light... finding the people who aren't necessarily looking to be found, and introducing them to a better opportunity than the one they have. Recruiting is much more about networking (and playing middle man) than running ads.

    Recruiting is about selling the attributes of working for the recruiter's client. It's also about knowing the candidate(s) you have sourced well enough to know exactly what it would take to get them to accept an offer, if one is extended. A good recruiter will know everyone's expectations in detail, and be able to put the deal together on knowledge, rather than on hope.

    Running ads is merely a tool one can use when other ways of finding that needle in a haystack have been exhausted (like speaking with those that do the same job at the client's competition). Running ads may still not produce that 'just right' candidate, but it can bring a lot of people out of the woodwork that may just know the person who is being sought after. Ask them to tell you who they know that can do such a job, then offer to pay a referral fee if the person they refer is hired as a result. (When I was recruiting, most of my placements were made from just such referrals.)

    The most well-rounded way of recruiting is to 'do it all'... network (with old and new contacts), call the competition, and, last but not least, run ads. (Of course, I may be a little predjudiced, but doing so at can give you more visibility of your ads for less money than anywhere else. ...And that's a fact!)

    More on this later. The above is just the tip of the iceburg. Recruiting can be a very rewarding job, if done right. (And, like anything else, there is a wrong way and a right way to do it.) A company running ads of their own will not put a good recruiter out of business! Some (mostly local - unskilled to mid-level) jobs are best filled by running ads nowadays, but there are always those that are not.
    Saturday, October 04, 2003
    The Value of Networking

    It isn't really true that who you know is more important than what you know, but it's way up there on the same scale. For instance: If your Uncle Henry is on the Board of Directors at some large company, that may help you get your foot in the door for a job there. However, if you don't know how to perform the job, your days there are undoubtedly numbered.

    On the other hand, you can have the greatest skill set in the world, but if nobody knows of you and your stellar work history, you're bound to have a more difficult time landing that 'just right' job, particularly in this economy.

    The best way to become known, and recruit the help of others in your own campaign? ...Do some 'helping' of your own. You know the saying: You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours.

    I would venture a guess that we have no elected officials who haven't done their fair share of scratching other's backs (with the exception, of course, of really famous 'movie stars turned politicians'. They just need to be relatively good looking, have lots of money, and have starred in some really good flicks, like The Terminator, or Kindergarten Cop.)

    So, unless you have starred in some really good roles on the big screen, and you need a job of any kind, I'd suggest you get out there and scratch some backs. Eventually, someone will notice how good you are at it, and scratch yours in return.

    That about sums up the whole networking theory in a nutshell. ...It's good for everybody, and most importantly, it works!
    Wednesday, October 01, 2003
    Wouldn't it be dandy?...

    Wouldn't it be dandy if we didn't have to work?
    We could spend our days doing other things
    Like playing games, and making crafts from cork.

    Wouldn't it be dandy if life were a bowl of cherries?
    We could have more fun, and the time to do it
    And leave the dirty work to the Cleaning Fairies.

    Wouldn't it be dandy if everything was free?
    Life would sure be a whole lot simpler
    Like it was when we were three.

    My point? Enjoy the first 5 years of your life.
    ...It never gets any better than that! ;-)

    Formerly FROM THE INSIDE OUT was primarily a work-related blog, but as of 4/24/04, the sky's the limit! (Written anonymously, by someone you don't know anyway.) Old posts have been left in place, in case anybody has nothing better to do than read our archives. Well... there just might be somebody, right?

    LINKS... To some truly fascinating places, really!
    More coming soon!

    ARCHIVES... What did she say? Was it about ME?
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