Posted: by HRNasty in Job Interview Tips, What Recruiters Really Think, What to wear

Job Search Myths

The Doctor is in!

Job Search myths 

It surprises me how often a job seeker will ask for advice on their job search and then challenge me when I deliver the HRNasty answer.  There are preconceived ideas (I call it fallacy) about how one should go about their job search and as a guy on the inside looking out, these ideas are keeping candidates outside looking in.  These fallacies, I mean these “ideas” seem entrenched in innocent minds and I don’t know where it comes from, but it is almost a Jim Jones cult mentality.  Trust me, continue to drink the Koolaid on the job search myths below and you might as well save yourself the effort of mixing and take the cyanide straight.   I always get pushback on a few topics.   Sometimes I get a lot of pushback, but arguments usually come from what I refer to as AskHoles, AKA the person who asks a question and then becomes an asshole when they don’t like the answer.    

Now I am not calling myself a doctor, but when I ask my doctor for some advice on pain in my shoulder, I don’t challenge her.  She has studied for years, practiced for years and has seen both failures and successes when it comes to outcomes.  Usually the failures are the patients doing and the successes are the result of her intervention. 

A recent scene in the doctor’s office: 

HRNasty:  My arm doesn’t have full range of motion and it affects my casting when I am fly-fishing. 

Symptoms: Hurts to raise my arm above my head, hurts to set the hook and it hurts to apply leverage to the rod when reeling in fish.

Doctor:  How often do you go fishing? 

HRNasty:  2 days a week, 7 hours a day. 

Doctor:  Are those two days in a row?

HRNasty: Yes how did you know?  Sat and Sun.

Doctor:  I am a paid professional.  Take a rest.  You get 1 hour of fishing a week for the next month.  I will give you some exercises to strengthen your shoulder.  Do these exercises 3 times a week for 15 minutes a day, twice a day. 

This is where HRNasty can either take one of two directions: 

I can be the AskHole and throw a tantrum.  “Doc, I gotta go fishing, you don’t understand. . .  the fish are in, this is THE season, I live in the Steelhead capital OF THE WORLD!  You are not going to keep me on dry land”! 

Or 

Take the sensible route and rest up per the doc’s orders. She has seen this play out a number of times.  

Again, I am no doctor, I have just seen 100’s if not 1000’s of candidates run through the gauntlet called the interview loop and am a pretty good predictor of who is going to come out with an offer and who is not.  More importantly, I can decipher WHY they won’t come out with an offer.  

So with that in mind, the “Doctor is in” and I thought I would try and set the record straight as we move into the new year and candidates attack their job search with a new vigor.  

The Job Search Myths: 

One-Page Resume 

When I ask about who recommends that resumes should be one page, I hear answers all over the map:  career centers, parents, professors, or high school career counselors.  When was the last time the guy at the career center had to go out into corporate America and try to find a job?  When was the last time he actually filled a job requirement as a recruiter?  I say this 3 times a month:  Did Leonardo Da Vinci limit himself to a 1-page resume?  Did Einstein have a 1-page resume?  I wrote a more civilized version of how I really feel here

The bottom line is that if the information is relevant to the position you are applying for, include it.  If you have a resume that has irrelevant information to the position you are applying for, I will ask you to “cut it out”.  This doesn’t mean it can ONLY be one page.  If you have been working for 7 years and you only have 1 page of accomplishments, I will question how productive you were.  Who ever is telling candidates that they need to keep their resume to one page is doing folks a disservice.  

Doesn’t Matter What You Wear 

I work in tech and it surprises me how often candidates show up to an interview in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.  I appreciate expensive jeans just like the rest of the world, but this isn’t what is being represented.  Selvedge is flossy, faded baggies with holes or jeans that were purchased 10 pounds ago makes the following statement:  “I just don’t give a shit, they covered my skid marks didn’t they”?  There is a reputation in tech that because the dress code is casual and employees are in flip-flops and shorts that it is ok to show up with the same to the interview.  I know plenty of employees that landed jobs wearing a t-shirt and jeans, but I bet they left money on the table.  If we have two candidates that are of equal ability, the customer interaction factor comes into play.  When interviewing any candidate, in the back of my mind I am wondering if I can put this candidate in front of our largest customers or VP’s from other departments.  I love it when we find these candidates.  They are GEMS!  The ones that are good at their job AND can present themselves well receive more opportunity and earn more in the long run.  Establish yourself during the interview as a jeans and t-shirt employee, you are burning a hot iron into your ass with the “keep me in the corner and behind a desk” brand.   No one likes the smell of burning flesh in the morning.    

Social Media Doesn’t Matter in a Job Search 

Really???  To this, I say the following:  Social media isn’t just social anymore.  Social media is for promoting brands, companies, new products and winning presidential elections.  Ask president Obama if he feels like Social Media made a difference in his last two job hunts.  There are so many ways that social media can help your job hunt that if you don’t get this one I am not going to waste my breath.  When recruiters and hiring managers get your resume, where is the first place they go to check you out?  Don’t just post about where you were last Friday night, share current trends in your industry! 

I know How to Answer Interview Questions  

When I practice mock interviews with candidates, I would say that 95% of the folks do have an answer to most interview questions.  The problem is that the answer is buried in a 4-minute diatribe and the answer doesn’t reveal itself till minute 2.

  • Long-winded answer.  Most people quit listening after 15 seconds of not getting an answer to a question asked.  I have the unique ability of asking a question and then sitting though 45 “dog” seconds of the “set-up” to the answer and then not chewing my arm off as I finally hear what is their “final answer”. 
  • One sentence answer.  I interpret unemotional short responses that show no effort of engagement because the candidate doesn’t take the initiative or feels that I am controlling the situation.  Interviews should be an equal back and forth conversation.  
  • Answer interuptus.  Every time I try to explain something to the candidate, I am interrupted and cut off.  The candidate is in such a rush to prove they have the answer and knows what I am talking about, they cut me off to prove their point.      

May I translate the above three for you?  They all translate to “We really appreciated meeting you, and will get back to you with next steps.  Don’t call us, we will call you”.  

Unless you have heard about any of the above from a recruiter, ignore the information.  I don’t ask my plumber about my shoulder, I ask a shoulder specialist. 

See you at the after party,

HRNasty

nasty:  an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone that is good at something.  “He has a nasty forkball”. 

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  • Damn, I love your shizzle, Nasty. Always refreshing. I’ve gotten to the point of counseling all my candidates (regardless of level/experience) to be concise, but answer the question, before every interview. I used to assume and take for granted that the more senior-level candidates already knew this…but they don’t! Everyone needs to be reminded of this. Typically, if you need more than 2 minutes to answer a question, you are doing it wrong.

    PS: that doctor in the photo reminds me of someone I know.

    • Busta, that is me, trying to perpetrate some shizzle.  Great advice to the senior level candidates.  Concise and effective communication is KEY in an interview.  You only have a limited amount of time to cover as much ground as possible.  Interviewers are limited on patience.  The two of these make for a bad combo if you are verbose.  Practice your answers so you use the interview time being interviewed and not beating around the bush.   As always thanks for stopping by!   

  • Patrick,
    Great question and I love your observations about not being in Ireland and it not being the 1800’s.  You would be surprised how often people stick to their beliefs at the wrong time and the wrong place. 

    As to bullet points. . . and the question “how many should I have”.  Here is what I like to see, and hopefully it makes sense why.  In chronological order your most recent job will hopefully have the most number of bullets.  Jobs you had 10 years ago will have fewer bullets.  You may or may not list jobs held 15 years ago.

    The reason is this.  More than likely, you will be hired for the jobs you have most recently held or your last few years of work.  Although bullets from positons 15 years can show consistency and job growth, they are not what is going to get you hired.  If you held a job 15 years ago, list a few bullets but ONLY the ones that are relevant to the position you are applying for.  On your most recent job, you may have 10 bullets or even 15, but if they are relevant to the job, that will be that much more proof that you are qualified.  

    I also think it looks aesthetically pleasing on a resume.  The most recent job has the most bullets and the farther back in time, the less bullets are listed.  Having an equal number of bullets from the most recent position and a position from 10 years ago is probably not relevant and is not helping your cause. 

    Hope this makes sense, and as always, thanks for stopping by,