Learn Something New Every Day

Indeed I have.

This is what I’ve learned today. You can all be jealous later:

Counterfactual Theories of Causation

First published Wed Jan 10, 2001; substantive revision Sun Mar 30, 2008

The basic idea of counterfactual theories of causation is that the meaning of causal claims can be explained in terms of counterfactual conditionals of the form “If A had not occurred, C would not have occurred”. While counterfactual analyses have been given of type-causal concepts, most counterfactual analyses have focused on singular causal or token-causal claims of the form “event c caused event e”. Analyses of token-causation have become popular in the last thirty years, especially since the development in the 1970’s of possible world semantics for counterfactuals. The best known counterfactual analysis of causation is David Lewis’s (1973b) theory. However, intense discussion over thirty years has cast doubt on the adequacy of any simple analysis of singular causation in terms of counterfactuals. Recent years have seen a proliferation of different refinements of the basic idea to achieve a closer match with commonsense judgements about causation.


And what have you learned today?


Email Address: Professional v. Personal

I came across this article today and really liked what it had to say about email addresses. As cool as it is to have the really funny personalized email’s [please insert heavy amount of sarcasm here] like princessglittersparkle@bedazzled.com at some point it is time to grow up and realize that your future employer does not need to know that you partyhard@beerpong.com or that you have an obsession with all things bedazzled and sparkly. Keep your personalized emails around to terrorize your friends with and go get a professional email address for job applications.

What Does Your Email Address Say About You To Employers?

One thing that I had noticed when I was looking to hire people in the past was that some candidates would use email addresses like RockAndRoll@domainname.com or PartyAnimal@domainname.com.  Although these may be great email addresses for personal use, they may not be the right one for you to use in a professional environment.  Think about the post I did on Managing Your Online Brand, we talk about how you appear to potential Employers and companies.  When you think about managing your online brand, think about how your email address can appear to a potential Employer and if it is how you really want to present yourself.

Although loving Rock and Roll or going to parties isn’t a bad thing, it might not be something that an Employer needs to know about.  It could also come across as a negative or that you don’t know how to present yourself professionally.  It does share some of your interests socially which isn’t always a bad thing, but what if those aren’t things that the Employer sees as valuable or being good within the company’s social atmosphere.  Using an email address like YourName@domainname.com is much more professional and also keeps your name in front of their face.  Even if you use your personal email address for friends, I always recommend setting up a professional email address for business.

There are tons of free email services out there like HotmailGmail and Yahoo.   Even if your name isn’t available you can try variations like:

  • FirstInitialLastName@domain.com
  • FirstNameLastInitial@domain.com
  • FirstName.LastName@domain.com
  • FirstNameLastName123@domain.com
  • FirstName-LastName@domain.com

Each of these email addresses helps to clearly show your name and keep it in front of the Hiring Manager.  They are also free and more importantly, professional looking.  You can also set up professional profiles on Social Media sites where Employers will be looking you up related to this email address.  That way they only see positive things about you and professional pictures when they try to do some research on you.  One other option is to buy a domain name and set up your own email at your own site.  This is not only great because you’ll have a great email address like yourname@yourname.com, but they may go to your site and you can brag about all of your achievements.

Presenting yourself professionally is a huge part of landing an interview and your email is one of the things that Hiring Managers look at.  It is one of the ways they contact you and one of the things that you may include at the top of your resume.  I highly recommend you use a professional looking email address so that the company knows you are serious and that you know how to separate your professional life from your social life.


And on another note entirely – I thought I’d add in what The Oatmeal (www.theoatmeal.com) has to say about email addresses and your computer skills. As a tech recruiter I do actually pay attention to these things and I have noticed a distinct difference in candidates based on what email service they use.

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?