Posts filed under ‘Interviewing’

Helicopter Parent 101

Interviewer: "Would you say you're independent?" Me: *Looks at mom* Mom: *nods* Me: "I'd say so – Yes."

14 June 2016 at 12:17AM Leave a comment

How Not to Get a Job in Journalism

newspaper-2Louise, a senior in a Journalism program at an Australian university, had an encounter with an astute hiring manager who used a practical interview exercise to evaluate potential new hires. Louise writes well, so perhaps she has some skills needed for this craft, but her first experience in actual Journalism was memorable but not successful.

A practical interview exercise is a hiring method where the applicant is evaluated on their ability to perform a series of actions that are directly related to the job they want. Examples include asking welder candidates to join a seam, asking heavy equipment mechanic candidates to troubleshoot a faulty hydraulic brake system, or asking recruiter candidates to write up a job posting on a tight deadline. Anyone can talk a good game, but a practical interview exercise asks the candidate show what they can do.

Here’s how it went, as Louise described on her Student Journalism 101 blog:

“Hi, I’m Peter. The editor. The one who you have been conversing with over the emails.”

He seemed very official, very serious, very busy, very… all the describing words that make a job applicant feel more lacking in self-assurance and the situation all of a sudden very real.

“Hi Peter, yes I assumed that. Nice to meet you.”

“Come with me to my office and we’ll have a talk about what’s going to happen today.”

Interview time. Game face: on.

“I will not be interviewing you.”

Great.

“I don’t believe in interviews, they don’t tell me anything. I find that a lot of the time people will sound like an excellent candidate in words, yet their work is not very good at all. Instead, you will spend today doing work tests that will be led by the chief of staff. Not only do you have to impress a grumpy old editor like me, you also have to prove to the other journalists that you’re the right candidate for the job. At the end of the day, because they are such a tight-knit group, it is up to them to decide whether they like you or not and believe me, they are a tough bunch.”

“So… what exactly will I be doing in this work test?” I tentatively asked Peter, trying to hide the nerves in my voice.

“You will be writing two articles for the paper tomorrow.”

Gulp.

“The head of staff will assign you stories which you are to complete. Oh and by the way, these country folk will be able to smell out whether you are an experienced journalist or not. If you don’t seem credible enough or they begin to wonder if you really know what you’re doing, they’ll eat you alive.”

Wow! “…people will sound like an excellent candidate in words, yet their work is not very good…” is an insightful comment from brilliant hiring manager. Yes – anyone can talk a good game, especially in a word-driven field like Journalism. His practical interview exercise offers both a realistic job preview, and tests the real skills needed to survive in the role.

a-u-map

As it turns out, the classwork that Louise had completed for her major had little relevance to how the field actually works. (This is not a specific knock against the Australian University System <above>. The same problem is endemic throughout the USA’s University System too.) Louise reflects:

At university, we have weeks, if not a month to write an article and submit it for assessment. Obviously, I knew I didn’t have weeks in which to finish my story today, but in only a couple of hours?

In all my years of studying, I have never been under this type of pressure before. Nor had I ever learned how to cold call from a list of PR numbers or anything even remotely similar.

I believe that’s the problem with the majority of today’s journalism courses. Students spend months and years analyzing texts, studying media convergence, writing essays about journalistic standards, outlining business proposals and critiquing god knows what and what for – but this has largely nothing to do with what really goes on in the day to day jobs of working journalists.

University may enable degrees, but they do not prepare students in the slightest for the real world of journalism work.

Louise learned an important lesson about the disconnect between school and work. One hopes that she did not take on an extraordinary student loan debt to learn this lesson.

Please see the whole article here:
http://studentjournalism101.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/how-not-to-get-a-job-in-journalism/

A few extra thoughts for Louise:

  1. Good on you for starting a blog. Blogging is great practice for print journalism, especially if you work on a deadline. See the master, professional journalist James Lileks at lileks.com.
  2. Good on you for trying to get an cadetship (which I think is Australian for “internship”). Your trial by fire gave you a look into how your profession works. Better to know now how it works, instead of getting hit after graduating and getting hired.
  3. Keep at it. You’ve had a taste of the profession – hopefully you can make your way back into the field.
  4. Please write more.

Hopefully, we’ll hear more from Louise, preferably in print.

11 October 2013 at 12:27AM Leave a comment

Sam Shank: The 5 People You Should Never Hire

All Five Marx Brothers

All five Marx Brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo & Gummo.

CEO Sam Shank is hiring for his company, HotelTonight. In the spirit of NotJobs, Sam penned an article for the LinkedIn series How I Hire which he titled, “The 5 People You Should Never Hire.” Regular NotJobs readers (and our lone subscriber) shouldn’t be surprised at his list of the untouchables:

  1. The One Who Hasn’t Used Your Product
  2. The One With the Typo
  3. The One With the Out-of-Date LinkedIn Profile
  4. The One Who’s Inappropriate on Twitter
  5. The One Who Isn’t Motivated to Do Great Things

Shank has a good idea of what he IS looking for, which includes enthusiasm, passion, energy, pragmatism, intelligence, and thoughtfulness. Those are the qualities that will make his enterprise grow.

The entire article (which is highly recommended) is here:
http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130924101629-417196-how-i-hire-the-5-people-you-should-never-hire

5 October 2013 at 12:29AM Leave a comment

How Not to Get a Job as a First Round NFL Draft Pick

CareerBuilder asked hiring managers about frequent mistakes that will destroy a candidate’s chance at employment, and 60% cited answering a call or texting during an interview as one of the biggest deal breakers. Sixty-two percent said one of the most detrimental mistakes a candidate can make is appearing uninterested.

— Forbes: The 13 Most Outrageous Job Interview Mistakes

wvu HelmetEugene Cyril “Geno” Smith III had leveraged his experience with the West Virginia Mountaineers football team into a shot as a first round pick in the 2013 National Football League Draft. However, Geno Smith did not get picked in the first round. During his visits to potential employers, he ensured that he would not get the job.

helmet1-jetsMuch of the pre-draft buzz was around how Smith would be the first quarterback taken in the first round. Smith was drafted in the second round by the New York Jets, the 39th pick overall. The first quarterback in the draft was E.J. Manuel, taken 23 picks earlier by the Buffalo Bills as the 16th pick in Round 1.

On YahooSports, Jason Cole describes what might have changed the front office’s perceptions of Smith:

Two sources indicated that when Smith went on some visits to teams, rather than interact with coaches and front-office people, he would spend much of his time on his cell phone. Instead of being engaged with team officials, he would be texting friends or reading Twitter or a number of other distracting activities.

“All these other players who were in there were talking to the coaches, trying to get to know people and he was over there by himself,” one of the sources said. “That’s not what you want out of your quarterback.”

One must wonder if any text message is worth losing a millions of dollars to read. First round picks get salary/bonus contracts that average around $12M. Contracts for second round picks average between $2M and $800K.

Smith is a member of the Millennial generation – the most technologically connected generation on Earth. However, both Careerbuilder and Jason Cole show us that some Millennials have trouble knowing when to connect through social media, and knowing when to focus on the real live people in the room.

Is it smart to let your smart phone cost you the job?

3 May 2013 at 7:55AM Leave a comment

NotJobs: When you make an unforgetable first impression

Yes – I know recruiters who have had to get restraining orders on candidates.

24 April 2013 at 12:10AM Leave a comment

Your Background Check

A professional can’t really say this…background check

See http://www.someecards.com/ to make one for yourself.

27 March 2013 at 10:23PM Leave a comment

6 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get The Job

Marc Cenedella, founder of TheLadders, has an article in BusinessInsider where he pretends to interview a manager about her reasons for NOT hiring candidates. Cenedella must get a volume of feedback from his clients, and he passes on some of the tips he’s learned. In this article, Cenedella focuses on the items that candidates can control: application, resume, and interview.

Cenedella frames his article as a discussion between a hiring manager and a reporter:

Reasons from the boss:

  1. I never saw your resume.
  2. I didn’t understand why you were applying for my job.
  3. It is not crystal clear to me as to why you want to fill the role
  4. Your resume didn’t grab me.
  5. The interview was a nice chat.
  6. You never said you wanted this job.

What “Betty Boss” says about point #2 is classic:

It’s rather easy in the internet era to hit “apply” and submit your credentials, but far too often, I have no idea why you think you’d be a good fit. If the job lists “CPA a must” and you don’t have a CPA, or the job description makes it clear that it’s a sales manager role, and you’ve only been an individual contributor, why are you wasting my time and yours?

This is the “Overly Optimistic Candidate Effect”, where hope and technology combine to miss reality.

Cenedella includes a bonus point:

  • I heard back from somebody else first.

But then we got to the part where we were interested in discussing an offer and you slowed to a snail’s pace in your responsiveness, while another candidate didn’t.

He networked his way in, had two of my colleagues call me, and followed up with a gracious, but deadly effective, thank-you note. He also returned my HR person’s calls the same day so we were able to move much more quickly with him.

I heard from you that you had a couple other interesting opportunities that you were certain were going to come through, and that’s why you slowed things down here. It’s entirely understandable.

But you have to understand that I have a business to run, and the gentleman who seemed more enthusiastic and did more legwork while you were hoping to land your dream job is the gentleman who is now employed here.

See the full article here:
http://www.businessinsider.com/i-didnt-hire-you-for-a-reason-2012-3

14 November 2012 at 1:46AM Leave a comment

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My Core Ideas

1. "I can't tell you the best way to get a job - because there is no one best way. After 21 years of recruiting, I CAN share things I've seen candidates do to guarantee they DIDN'T get the job."

2. "Most companies don't realize how their recruiting process impacts their candidate pool, and their business. Attention to simple things will result in big improvements."

About the Author

Troy Bettinger, SPHR is a Denver Recruiter, Public Speaker, HR Metrics Analyst and Human Resources Leader who has been recruiting in corporate and municipal environments since 1991.

He specializes in the complete hiring process: defining, sourcing, recruiting, testing, interviewing, offering and orienting new hires. He's also well versed in strategic human resources, college recruiting, diversity recruiting, AAP, EEO, ATS integration, recruiting metrics, social media, recruiting leadership, training and employment branding.

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