Posts tagged ‘2008’

Tip: Beware the Receptionist Test

So – you finally find the office building where your interview is going to be held. You’re interested in the company and the position, and truth be told, you really need this job. You’re a computer professional, and you want to make a great impression on your future employer.

Once you show up, you’re ready to start selling yourself, but you’re asked to wait. While you’re waiting, the receptionist has a minor tech support emergency, and she asks you for some technical help. You stand up to help the damsel in distress. But that’s when it starts going downhill.

A company in England does this as an interview test. It doesn’t go well for the candidates. Here’s one poor toad’s experience:

John was a lot less level-headed. His task should’ve been the simplest of all — the receptionist couldn’t print a document. Totally understandable when the printer is turned off and all of the lights on its display were totally dark. First, he hit Control+P, selected the printer, and clicked “OK,” and confirmed it wasn’t working. His solution? Hit Control+P harder to make sure the printer really felt it. For 20 minutes, he kept increasing the force of his typing and mouse clicks, finally pounding his fist on the desk and giving up.

John probably didn’t get the job.

One big point to remember is that your interview starts as soon as you enter the building. Companies can (and will) use every means to make sure that  you are the best qualified person for the role.

For more on avoiding the Receptionist Test, start with Jake Vinson’s article in Tales from the Interview. Then check out the commentary by Andy Lester at the Working Geek. Then, you may want to finish off by reviewing my second post on this topic:

Good luck!


14 November 2008 at 12:41AM 3 comments

NotJobs: 6 Reasons You Failed the Phone Interview

1937 TelephoneAlison Green blogs at Ask a Manager, and writes as an outside voice for US News & World Report. Her recent article about phone interviews details six ways how not to get a job:

6 Reasons You Failed the Phone Interview

Alison Green

Here are some ways to quickly fail the phone interview:

1. Not displaying a grasp of what the job is all about.
2. Not asking any questions.
3. Not paying attention to tone of voice.
4. Having an overly casual manner.
5. Giving longwinded answers.
6. Missing the call.

Ms. Green has some good advice, so go see the full article. Let me add one of my own:

7. Using a Cheesy Cell Phone. Nothing enhances your interview image like a partial connection that hisses, pops and drops every third syllable. My advice is to double-check your coverage, and plan to use a land-line where ever possible. Oh – and just because you can do a phone interview while walking down a busy urban street doesn’t mean you should. The honking and traffic noises will interfere with your interview.

[Yes, this has actually happened. A sales candidate did this during an interview a few years back. He tried to do have the interview standing next to a bus, and the exhaust noise drowned out his voice. He didn’t get the job.]

6 September 2008 at 3:08PM Leave a comment

NotJobs: Speling prblems coz moor pblems


I’m going out on a limb here, intending to offer some advice that I haven’t seen on any other recruiting blogs. This comes directly from a customer service issue that chewed up several hours of my working time this afternoon. it is a problem that happens more frequently than imagined.

While I did not offer it directly to the candidate in question, my NotJobs advice of the day is:

When applying for a job,

it is a good idea

to correctly spell

your own name.



28 August 2008 at 11:30PM 1 comment

How Not to be an Intern

Kevin Colvin forgot the first rule of the 21st Century: “Your privacy is an illusion.”


18 July 2008 at 10:10PM Leave a comment

Tips: How does my resume rate?

Here’s a great article on resumes:

25 words that hurt your resume

Words don’t tell potential employers as much as deeds

By Laura Morsch

“So, you’re experienced? Before you advertise this in your resume, be sure you can prove it.”

Often, when job seekers try to sell themselves to potential employers,they load their resumes with vague claims that are transparent to hiring managers, according to Scott Bennett, author of “The Elements of Resume Style” (AMACOM).

By contrast, the most successful job seekers avoid these vague phrases
on their resumes in favor of accomplishments.

Instead of making empty claims to demonstrate your work ethic, usebrief, specific examples to demonstrate your skills. In other words, show, don’t tell.

Bennett offers these examples:

  • Instead of… “Experience working in fast-paced environment”
    Try…* “Registered 120+ third-shift emergency patients per night”
  • Instead of… “Excellent written communication skills”
    Try…* “Wrote jargon-free User Guide for 11,000 users”
  • Instead of… “Team player with cross-functional awareness”
    Try…* “Collaborated with clients, A/R and Sales to increase speed of receivables and prevent interruption of service to clients.”
  • Instead of… “Demonstrated success in analyzing client needs”
    Try…* “Created and implemented comprehensive needs assessment
    mechanism to help forecast demand for services and staffing.”

The worst offenders

It’s good to be hard-working and ambitious, right? The hiring manager
won’t be convinced if you can’t provide solid examples to back up your

Bennett suggests being extra-careful before putting these nice-sounding
but empty words in your resume.

  • Aggressive
  • Ambitious
  • Competent
  • Creative
  • Detail-oriented
  • Determined
  • Efficient
  • Experienced
  • Flexible
  • Goal-oriented
  • Hard-working
  • Independent
  • Innovative
  • Knowledgeable
  • Logical
  • Motivated
  • Meticulous
  • People person
  • Professional
  • Reliable
  • Resourceful
  • Self-motivated
  • Successful
  • Team player
  • Well-organized

Find this article at:

7 July 2008 at 10:21PM Leave a comment

A Successful Interview

Cartoon from ‘Poor People Like Pizza’

25 June 2008 at 7:01PM Leave a comment

7 Tips to Blow a Job Interview

Marty M. Fahncke, Founder of Conference Call University and President of FawnKey & Associates, has a blog where he shares his perspectives. Last March, Marty was interviewing for administrative help. It wasn’t going well. So Marty jotted down a few observations.

Here are two of his seven (actually, eight) points:

7 tips to totally blow a job interview

#1 Don’t follow the instructions for submitting your resume. If they ask you to email it, fax it instead. If they ask you to send it by postal mail, it’s easier just to email it, right? Hiring managers love to hire people who can’t follow simple directions.

#3 During the interview, be sure to cut the interviewer off and start answering before he/she finishes a question. You are sure to give a 100% answer with only 50% of the question.

See the whole thing:

17 June 2008 at 4:14AM 1 comment

Older Posts

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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