As any job seeker that has been unemployed for an extended period of time will tell you, the biggest challenge they face is dealing with gaps in their resumes. These gaps could happen for a number of reasons: unable to find work, raising a family, caring for sick relative, taking time off for various reasons, etc…. The problem is that despite many employers having gone through these situations themselves, many see these gaps as liabilities and view them differently from when they were on your side of the desk.
With the United States having its highest unemployment rate in several decades and several other countries facing similar economic challenges, more people are looking for work now than ever. I was listening to a radio show this week and a caller raised the question of whether it’s possible for people who have been unemployed for over a year to find a job in this job market. So the question is does having a job help when you’re looking for work or is it a necessity?
While I don’t think it’s impossible to find work while you’re unemployed (I’ve found work twice while unemployed), there certainly are advantages to being employed while seeking a new job. Being employed helps you with the perception of looking like you have more value — even though that’s not necessarily true.
These days many companies don’t require formal dress. Some go as far as allowing casual dress — I once worked for a company where I’d go in with sneakers, khaki shorts and a nice t-shirt and feel over-dressed. But does casual dress mean that people coming in for a job interview can dress down?
Dressing for an interview is a challenge in itself: under-dressing makes you look unprofessional and overdressing may make you look stuffy. I once had a discussion about this with a former boss after we had interviewed a prospective candidate that wasn’t wearing a suit. I felt that he didn’t take his job search seriously where my boss found it to be more comfortable to interview someone dressed more relaxed. Ironically, at the time I was 23 and my boss was 33 but he was more used to working in technology where I just finished my master’s degree at a business school — so there are a variety of factors that contributed to our opinions on the situation. Ultimately, the candidate wasn’t hired as his attitude wasn’t a good fit for the group — and I felt the way he dressed for the interview was an example of that.
Whether you’re looking for work or looking for new clients, people want to make sure that you are who you say you are and you’ll do what you say you’ll do. One way to assure those considering you or your services is to provide a list of references – satisfied customers or employers that can vouch for your character and skills. But even though this seems like a no-brainer, many people lose out because they choose the wrong people for references.
The wrong reference can make you look unprofessional, unethical and unprepared – and all of this can be done unintentionally from someone who is trying to help you. Yes, this has happened and I’ve seen it. Remember that these days most employers are doing their homework and checking references – ditto on the consumer side when working with a small business. So there’s a good chance the people you list will get called so you’ll want to make sure that these people will represent you well. So let’s start with how to choose the right people as references. Here are some tips:
So you’re sitting there in your interview and things are going well. But then you’re asked a common question, one that you know the answer to – why are you leaving your current job (or why did you leave your last job). But how do you answer it? Truthfully? What they want to hear?
For some people, why they left their last job is pretty straightforward while for others, it’s a more sensitive issue. In either case, you want to be careful as to how you answer it. Saying you hated your job raises issues about how good an employee you are. Complaining about the commute and lack of family time may make your potential employer wonder if you’ll be able to put in the extra time when needed.
Interviewers and interviewees alike are often unaware that certain questions asked during a job interview are considered illegal questions. Now by “illegal”, it doesn’t mean that someone will get arrested for asking such a question, but it does mean that the interviewee is not required to answer it to be considered for the job. The reason why these questions are considered illegal is to protect candidates from being discriminated against when applying for a job. These questions were made illegal as part of the Americans with Disability Act. In this article, we’ll cover what the illegal questions are, why they’re asked and how to respond.
Many interviewers and interviewees alike are not aware that in the United States, there are some questions that cannot be asked during an interview because they can be discriminatory and are considered “Illegal Interview Questions“. You are not allowed to discriminate by age, race, religion, gender, marital status, family size, military history, US Citizenship and a number of other things. Some states also have additional laws regarding these illegal questions.
From an interviewer standpoint, the rule of thumb is to not ask the interviewer any questions that don’t pertain to the qualifications of the job. Now it’s okay to make small talk and ask what books or magazines the interviewee reads or what movies or TV shows he or she may watch. But stay away from anything too personal such as race, religion and family life. The potential danger of asking an illegal interview question could result in federal action if a number of candidates complain (or one complains loudly enough).