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Job Offers Are Like Buses

The title of my column today may sound a bit confusing. It comes from one of my own mentors. Years ago, when I was finishing graduate school in California, I spent a significant amount of time searching for the right job. I would go to job fairs and networking events as if it were my full-time job. I would interview for anything and everything.

Occasionally, a job would pop up that would seem almost right. It would have a great job description. The company seemed stable. The team seemed interesting. But, there was something about the hiring manager that was off – or perhaps the company wasn’t offering a competitive salary.

I would meet with my mentor to tell him about all of the jobs I was considering, and to discuss the pros and cons of each. If a job seemed like the wrong fit, he would encourage me to walk away. The thought of turning down an offer without another in hand was nerve-wracking. My mentor would then remind me, “Jobs are like buses. Just wait; another one is always coming.” The keyword here is always.

He felt it was more important to find the right fit, instead of hoping you could take every job that came along. Looking back, these were wise words. Who else in your life do you spend as much time with as your boss and co-workers? For most, the answer is your spouse. You typically don’t choose to marry your first girlfriend or boyfriend. Why would you expect that at work?

Often, we want to take every job when we’re feeling desperate. We’re miserable in our current position and we think that anything would be better – even if it were just for a short time.

The problem with this strategy is complex. First, your next job may have just as many problems are your current job, if not more. As the saying goes, sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.

More importantly though, planning to take a job for a short time forces you to explain why you’re looking for a new job just after accepting one. This means that you’ll be explaining all the dirt on your old company, including the ways that you didn’t get along with your boss or co-workers.

When you choose to wait and to select the right job, you’ll find yourself there for more than just a short time. While you’re interviewing, you’ll be able to focus on the positives of what you want in the future rather than the negatives from the past. Whether it comes to interviewing or negotiating your offer, focusing on the positive puts you in a much stronger position.

When you’re having a tough day, just try to remember that jobs are like buses. Just wait. Another one is always coming, and you want to be sure you get on the right one.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

The Illegal Question in the Room

The title of this column is a reference to the big elephant in the room. It’s that thing that everybody knows, but nobody is talking about. I’d like to talk about it a little today: illegal job interview questions.

Did you know that in 2018, people are still being asked illegal questions in job interviews? They are. It’s happening.

I’ve wondered how this could be the case. My best guess is this. Illegal questions seem obvious from the outside. Rarely do hiring managers get trained on how to properly interview candidates. Interviewing seems like something we should all know how to do if we’re hiring. Human resources folks know the illegal questions, but the questions seem so obvious that it probably seems pointless to review the questions with hiring managers. But, sadly, it seems we really need to. Interviewing isn’t a skill we’re all born with, and as hiring managers, we may not really think about what we should or shouldn’t say.

A few of the basics we should all avoid include: religion, pregnancy status, disability, age, citizenship, race, marital status, or number of children. In certain states and cities, it’s also illegal to ask how much money someone has made at a previous job. The elimination of these questions helps everyone to avoid discrimination. It also helps us to focus in on what we’re really there for: the job search. Can this candidate do the job?

If you haven’t been asked an illegal question before, I’m glad. I have personally been asked about whether or not I’m married, if I have children, if I plan to have any children soon, and how old I am. It sounds more like I was interviewing to go on a date than to get a job. Don’t you think?

If you’re asked something along these lines, it can be hard to know what to say. If you answer, you may be discriminated against and not hired. If you make a fuss and don’t answer, you definitely won’t be hired.

One interview coach shared with me that he likes to reply with something snappy. If a candidate is asked, “Do you have children?” he suggests responding with something like, “What I think you’re trying to ask is if I can do the job – and I’m totally up for it!”

While I do agree that this technique can be effective, there’s something bigger at play. Do you really want to work for someone who would ask you illegal questions? Do you want to work with someone who is judging you in this way?

I’ll be honest. When I’m asked illegal questions, I answer them. I answer them in a kind and friendly way. Then, I make a mental note about the question and about the hiring manager. I know that anyone who asks questions like this isn’t someone that I’d want to work for. So, my answer doesn’t really matter.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Sitting In Judgement

If you’re looking for a new job and if you’re actively interviewing, I want to encourage you to hang in there. It’s going to work out. I’m sure of it. Job searching is like dating. It’s really tough until you find “the one.” And, it just takes one. You only need one good job to change your current situation.

But, in the meantime, it’s painful. It’s really, extra painful. I get it. I’m starting to think some hiring managers haven’t been watching the news lately. They haven’t heard that the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in seventeen years. There are no longer enough talented people to go around. The job market has shifted back to the favor of the job seeker.

Some of the questions and demands the hiring manager will ask may come across as demeaning or disrespectful. Some may even be illegal. I’ve been asked my marital status, my age, and whether or not I have children in job interviews. No kidding.

It’s hard to say that you should always keep a positive attitude when job searching – especially when you’re going through it. But, the truth is, keeping it positive is the only way you’re going to find your way to the right job opportunity.

My hope is that sometime soon, all hiring managers will wake up to the fact that the job market has changed. The job seeker is evaluating them too. And, job seekers are not just products to be bought. They’re real people with real feelings and their own opinions.

Either way, don’t let the bad hiring managers get to you. Or, try not to. Because you do want to be ready with a positive attitude when the right hiring manager comes along. You can’t let those who are rude get into your mind. You have to remember who you are and all the great things you bring to the table.

The right hiring manager won’t simply sit in judgement. They’ll ask you solid, relevant questions. They’ll talk to you with respect. They’ll be prepared. And, they’ll take into consideration that you’re evaluating them too. They’ll ask if you have questions, and they’ll give you thoughtful answers back.

The right hiring manager will value you. They’ll give you an appropriate title, and a fair amount of money. They want to hire someone good and they’re willing to pay for it. The right hiring manager will build you up, not tear you down.

The right hiring manager is out there. Pushing yourself to keep your head up will ensure that you’re in the right space when   you meet them.

And, to the hiring managers out there: The market has shifted. Talent is scarce. Treat candidates the way you’d want to be treated. Even if they aren’t the perfect fit, be respectful. You may need the job seeker one day. You may want them to work for you.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

The Time to Find a New Job is Now

For years, the job market has been tight. I’ve spoken to many job seekers who are suffering through work each day. They aren’t sure what their alternatives are, and they’re not prepared to be unemployed for any length of time. If you can relate, there’s good news for you.

All signs indicate that the job market is looking up. Our national unemployment rate, hovering between 3.8 and 4.1 percent, has been lower this year than in any of the past ten years. The entire situation is forcing companies to fight a little harder for the best candidates.

If you’ve been unhappy in your current situation, this is the time to look at your options. For many industries, it’s a job seeker’s market. But, before you rush out and look for a new role, you should focus your energy on three specific areas of your job search.

First, polish up your resume. Once you start talking to friends about your interest in a new job, the first thing they’ll ask you for is the latest copy. Updating your resume first will ensure that you’re ready to go if you find job openings. If you get stuck, ask for help. A close friend or family member is often happy to help out. Be sure to include quantifiable results, and check closely for errors. These two steps are critical to creating an impactful resume.

Next, work on your talking points. This is often called an elevator pitch. When you begin talking to people in your professional network, you need to be able to explain your goals. Write down what you would say in response to, “Tell me about yourself.” Think through the reasons you’re looking, and what you’re looking for. Be clear and specific. Practice on a close friend. Record yourself. You should not have a conversation about your job search until you’re able to speak confidently about the type of opportunity you may be looking for.

Last, update your LinkedIn profile. Check everything from your profile photo, to your work experience, to your contact information. Take a close look at your LinkedIn URL. If it’s not customized, now’s the time to update it. And, be sure to check out the “jobs” tab where you can indicate to recruiters that you’re open to opportunities.

Once you have these three pieces prepared, it’s time to begin. If you have a tough time finding opportunities in your area, consider where you may have flexibility. For example, are you open to doing the same job in another industry? Or, are you open to doing a new job in the same industry? Or, are you willing to move to a new market, where there may be more jobs?

Whatever you decide, don’t wait. The time to act is now. If you’ve been unhappily punching the clock every day, the low unemployment rate is your signal to start your search.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Why Your Company Reviews Matter

Every once in a while, I’m talking to a job seeker when something happens that I’m not expecting. It’s especially surprising with the job seeker doesn’t currently have a job and is unemployed.

I’ll say, “What about this company? They’re hiring! This looks like a great job opportunity.” Without missing a beat, the unemployed job seeker will say, “You know, their company reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed are terrible! I’m going to pass on that company. I would rather be unemployed.”

Can you imagine? Someone who is desperate to find work is so turned off by a company’s negative reviews that they won’t even take the time to apply there. Let that sink in for a minute.

It’s almost like someone driving cross-country, who’s looking for a hotel to stay the night in. They come across a hotel, and look up their Yelp review. It’s terrible and mentions bed bugs. Without a second thought, the driver decides that sleeping in their car would be a more desirable option than staying at a hotel with a bad online review. They don’t even take the time to stop at the hotel to check it out. They just keep going.

From an employer perspective, I get it. The company reviews are frustrating. Big job websites are there to help out when you want to pay to put job ads on them. But, they’re not willing to hear your side of the story when it comes to company reviews. And, not every employee is leaving fair and unbiased reviews.

I hear you. In the same way that Yelp reviews aren’t always fair and unbiased, neither are employee reviews. The good news is, most people know that. Most consumers (and job seekers) are looking for what the reviews say on average.

And, this is the thing. The big job search companies can’t edit reviews, or they wouldn’t be a credible source for job seekers. If they weren’t credible, job seekers would stop using them to find jobs, and they would never see your job ads.

The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to influence the average review. Take the time to read your reviews closely. What do people like, and what turns employees off? If you find a common theme, think of it as an opportunity for improvement. It’s like receiving a performance review. It gives the company specific goals to improve upon.

But, whatever you do, don’t ignore your company reviews. They will show up online. Your future employees will read them.

Picture this. You have a number of bad reviews. Every job seeker with any alternative choice will go to another company. That means that the only applicants you’ll be left with are those who have no other options. Now, that sounds like a real nightmare.

Embrace your company reviews. They’re a place for you to showcase your strengths, and attract the best candidates.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

The Risky Business of Job Searching

I recently heard a stand-up comedian make a joke about dating. They compared the experiences that men have versus women when they go on a Tinder date. They joked that when a man gets ready for a blind date, his biggest worry is that it will be boring. He will have wasted an hour of his life, and perhaps some money.

When a woman prepares for a blind date, her biggest worry is a bit different. In her worst case scenario, she may be physically hurt during the date. Before going on the date, she makes sure to text her friends, to let them know where she is, in case she doesn’t return.

This stand-up routine is meant to be a joke, but it highlights how different an experience can feel when two parties perceive they have different levels of power. Job searching has a similar dynamic.

From the hiring manager’s perspective, a bad interview is a waste of an hour. They’re going to have to keep searching for candidates. It’s a letdown. All of these things are bad. But, think of the flip side of this coin. Think of the work that a job seeker has put into their search. Think of their risk level if something goes wrong.

They’ve put in a lot of time preparing for the interview. They’ve updated their resume and LinkedIn. Perhaps they’ve spent money hiring a professional to help them. They may have purchased a new suit, and spent money on a haircut.

Then, they sneak out of their stable full-time job to come to meet the hiring manager. They’ll make up a lie about being sick, because the company wants to meet them tomorrow and it’s too late to take a vacation day. They are trying to search in secret because if they’re caught searching, the company may view them as disloyal. And, in many states, companies can fire employees for no reason at all.

As a hiring manager, a bad interview is a waste of an hour. As a candidate, a bad interview can cost you your job and future earnings. It’s a huge risk!

Hiring managers, the job market is tight right now. You may be struggling to find the right talent for the job. It’s tough.

If you find yourself in this spot, put yourself in the shoes of the candidate. Consider their risk. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated. Respond to their emails in a timely and respectful way. Don’t have an attitude that they’re lucky to get your time. Look at it like a two-way street and realize they’re evaluating you too.

If you decide they’re not the right fit, continue to treat the person with respect. Let them know your decision in a considerate, human way. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated and you’ll find that your options for candidates will increase.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach