Education vs Employment (and your paycheck)

Here’s a plug for getting your education (courtesy of a friend of mine). And not getting your degree in something like… Communications Studies (ha!) or Basket Weaving.

Yes, these stats have been verified; we were just discussing them in a company wide call last week –  this poster is just more interesting to look at than a bunch of numbers. Good info though for those of you deciding on what your education path should or should not be.


Interview Q&A

Here is what you probably shouldn’t say to these interview questions. What are your thoughts on them?

Q: What kind of job are you looking for?

A: Anything. I’m open to any job.

Why this is bad:

1. I don’t believe you.

2. It’s not true. You’ll do anything hmm? Scrub toilets maybe? Customer Service Rep in a call center? No? I didn’t think so. When that question is asked, give a truthful answer. It is irritating to have to twist arms to get a real answer out of you.

3. If you don’t actually have an answer to that question then you need to sit down and figure this out prior to an interview. You look unprepared, aimless, and desperate otherwise. Not really the best image you want to present in an interview.

Q: What is your salary range?

A: I’m open.

Why this is bad: I know people say that the first person to put a number on the table is the one that loses and in some cases that is true. When you’re talking with a recruiter though we have to know this piece of information. It can be a broad range but at least give a range. I was once told by a candidate that made $75k in his last job that he was open to taking a job that paid $25k. At least that is what he told me until I dug deeper and found out that no, he really wouldn’t be able to take that big of a pay cut. Shocker.

**Disclaimer: I don’t often ask these questions for a variety of reasons but many hiring managers ask them every time so it’s worth discussing**

Q: What is your biggest weakness?

A1: I don’t have one.

A2: I’m a perfectionist.

A3: I take on too much.

Why this is bad: I think A1 is quite obvious on why that is the wrong answer so moving on… A2 – bad because that’s not really a weakness is it? Attention to detail, doing things right, blah blah blah. Yeah, you and everyone else is a perfectionist cupcake. I literally (not figuratively) roll my eyes when I hear that answer in an interview. Same goes for A3.

The interviewer is looking for an honest answer here. So give them one. Ask yourself what they are looking for in an answer. What we want to hear:  describe a real weakness and how you either improved or what you are currently doing to overcome it.

Q: When was the last time you were mad at someone?

A: My manager at my last job was terrible at XYZ and I always made me so angry and frustrated.

Why this is bad: Do I really have to tell you why this is bad? Ok, it’s bad because you just blamed your anger issues on your manager. And who are you telling this to? Your possible future manager.

Again, you have to ask yourself why they are asking you this question – what are they looking for in an answer? They want to see that you don’t just bring problems to the table with no solutions. They are looking for a strategic thinker – someone who can calmly and rationally find the solution to a problem and not someone who just walks away from a situation or just blows up.

Think about the last time you went to a meeting and for a solid hour everyone just complained and pointed out problem after problem… with no solution. No one wants to hire more of those people.

What questions have you encountered in an interview that threw you? What answers have you given to these questions?

Awesome or Terrible?

The jury is still out but I kind of think this resume is awesome. I plan on getting in touch with him if for no other reason but to tell him how much I liked his resume. I’d also like to see what it is he does and what he’s looking for… and after all, isn’t that the point of a resume?

Robby Slaughter

Although I have said that a resume is not the place to establish your sense of humor (which I still stand by), there is that exception to every rule. You just have to be able to carry it off and then of course, back it up when you are contacted. The problem is, most of us are not half as funny as we think we are (all fingers pointing at myself here).

I would also think that this guy knows exactly what he wants and I wouldn’t contact him for a typical, run of the mill job. But I would bet when I do talk to him he’ll be able to articulate to me exactly what he is looking for.

Any takers on that bet? What do you think of the resume?

And the winner is…

Actual answers/comments made by job seekers on resumes, cover letters, and applications to recruiters:

“Note: Please don’t misconstrue my 14 jobs as ‘job-hopping’. I have never quit a job.”

“I am extremely loyal to my present firm, so please don’t let them know of my immediate availability.”

“I intentionally omitted my salary history. I’ve made money and lost money. I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I prefer being rich.”

“I’m married with 9 children. I don’t require prescription drugs.”

“Marital Status: Often. Children: Various.”

“Here are my qualifications for you to overlook.”

Reasons for leaving last job:

“Responsibility makes me nervous.” I really like this one

“They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 every morning. Couldn’t work under those conditions.”

“Was met with a string of broken promises and lies, as well as cockroaches.”

“The company made me a scapegoat – just like my three previous employers.”

Job Responsibility and skills:

“While I am open to the initial nature of an assignment, I am decidedly disposed that it be so oriented as to at least partially incorporate the experience enjoyed heretofore and that it be configured so as to ultimately lead to the application of more rarefied facets of financial management as the major sphere of responsibility.”

“I was proud to win the Gregg Typting Award.”

[after a long list of computer and multi-tasking skills] “And I can spell!”

“Great smile, make a mean cup of coffee, and I can tie my shoes” (maybe he mistook our services for a dating website?)

Special Request and Job Objectives:

“Please call me after 5:30 because I am self-employed and my employer does not know I am looking for another job.”

“My goal is to be a meteorologist. But since I have no training in meteorology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage.”

“I procrastinate – especially when the task is unpleasant.”

Physical Disabilities:

“Minor allergies to house cats and Mongolian sheep.”

Personal Interests:

“Donating blood. 14 gallons so far.”

Small Typos:

“Work Experience: Dealing with customers” conflicts that arouse.”

“Develop and recommend an annual operating expense fudget.”

“I’m a rabid typist.”

“Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain operation.”


Moral of the story:

  • Your resume is not the place to establish your sense of humor
  • Proof read (not just spell check)
  • There are some things recruiters, hiring managers, and employers do not need to know – they didn’t ask so don’t volunteer it
  • Think before you write (or speak). It’s “Ready, Aim, Fire” NOT “Ready, Fire, Aim”