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June 27, 2011

How BeKnown Will Make Facebook Work for You

Monster.com has just launched a new professional networking app for Facebook users: BeKnown. BeKnown lets you identify and connect with friends and professional contacts from multiple sources to grow your professional network, enhance your online professional identity, and discover new jobs.

Smaller beknown logo

The great thing that BeKnown does for users is allow them to build a professional network on Facebook (the world's largest and most active social network), while keeping personal and work-related contacts and content completely separated. That's 700 million people on Facebook and 97% of Fortune 500 companies using Monster to find candidates coming together.

If you're on Facebook, you can now use BeKnown to:

    * Create professional networks within a professional environment, created by Monster -- without ever leaving Facebook. (No more need to switch back and forth between sites.)

    * Easily invite contacts from other social networks to expand your BeKnown network beyond your existing Facebook friends. (You can add a contact to BeKnown without having to become his or her Facebook friend.)

     * Keep social activity with friends and family separate from work-related activity with professional contacts.

     * See Monster's millions of job postings  -- and see who among your professional contacts on BeKnown is connected to the companies you're interested in.

     * Connect professional networking to Monster’s job search and browse tools and import your Monster or LinkedIn profile to BeKnown from right within the app.

Joining BeKnown is easy -- the app guides you through a very quick setup process. You can opt to use your Facebook profile information and/or pull information from other networking sites, as well as your Monster.com profile. Then, you simply invite connections to join your professional network and start earning badges to showcase on your profile. Ta-da! You're using BeKnown.

(Learn more about how BeKnown works, and check out this new AvidCareerist post on why you should join BeKnown.)

There's a new way to keep it professional Facebook and put your network to work. Get BeKnown today.

 

 

Posted by Charles Purdy on June 27, 2011 at 02:04 PM in Career Development , Job Search , Networking | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

June 22, 2011

The Right Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

It can be a make or break moment in any job interview: when the interviewer asks, "So, do you have any questions for me?" This is your chance to demonstrate your understanding of the position and the company, to show that you've done your research, and even to give the interviewer a little bit of insight into your personality.

"Often, hiring decisions are made in the last few minutes of an interview," says resume authority Laura Smith-Proulx. "The right questions give you an edge in demonstrating that you have thought more broadly about meeting company needs, rather than simply proving you have the experience to meet the minimum job expectations."

Smith-Proulx and Tony Deblauwe, the founder of consulting firm HR4Change, recommend preparing your questioning strategy as carefully as your original interview answers -- not only because it'll help you demonstrate your abilities and expertise to the interviewer, but also because asking the right questions gives you insight into the job, the company, and people you’ll be working with.

"The interviewer’s responses will allow you step back and ascertain whether the job aligns with your personality and career goals," says Deblauwe.

When you're devising your questions, here are the three key questions Smith-Proulx and Deblauwe say you should focus on:

Questions About Job Duties
"If you’ve been observant or taken down notes during the interview, you’ll be able to reflect back on projects mentioned and challenges discussed," says Deblauwe. "Now you want to probe deeper into the specifics."

Smith-Proulx explains that asking what a typical day looks like, or the role's impact on the team's or company's performance, shows the interviewer that you're thoughtful about doing a good job and have a sincere interest in the company’s vision of the perfect candidate.

Here are some questions that these experts recommend asking:

   > How can the person you hire be of most value to the team in light of the project goals you mentioned?

   > What types of tasks should your ideal candidate be prepared to face on a day-to-day basis?

   > What do you believe will change with this role within the first year?

"Your goal," explains Smith-Proulx, "is to ensure that the interviewer sees you as a person who wants to fit in quickly, who can add value, and who will anticipate business needs."

Questions About the Boss's Expectations
"The hiring manager has already formed a vision of the ideal candidate, and here’s your chance to find out how you stack up -- or decide if you even want to," says Deblauwe. "Since the employee-boss relationship is so critical, it’s important to gauge whether the expectations are realistic."

"Questions like this can also help gain information about the company's culture and unwritten rules of conduct," adds Smith-Proulx.

Here are some questions that these experts recommend asking:

   > How would you recommend that a new employee build relationships in this job?

   > What qualities does your team value most in a new member?

   > What type of team member have you hired in the past that worked out well? What about new hires that didn’t fit in?

"Your goal," explains Deblauwe, "is to show yourself as a realistic, committed employee who's willing to take on the task of bonding with the team and delivering a strong contribution."

Questions About the Hiring Process
Deblauwe says that these questions can be some of the most difficult questions to ask -- but being prepared and confident will help you put your best foot forward. "Ideally," he says, "you want to walk away with a sense of next steps, the level of urgency the company has for filling the role, and the company’s level of organization and commitment to candidates."

Note that these types of questions should be asked last, and that interviewers may not be allowed to answer some of them.

Here are some questions that these experts recommend asking:

   > When do you expect to have a shortlist of final candidates?

   > What types of information do you still need in order to decide on a candidate?

   > How soon will the new employee be expected to fill this position?

"Your goal," explains Smith-Proulx, "is to remind the interviewer that you’re eager to fill the role, but that you also have a responsibility to give a reasonable notice to your current employer and/or to make arrangements for starting the new job. You want the process questions to form a framework of how decisions will be made, not to convey that you are overeager or desperate."

The questions you ask at the close of an interview will be the final impression you make on the interviewers -- make those moments count! (For more tips on questions to ask, read "Own the Interview.")

About the Experts:

Laura Smith-Proulx
A unique resume authority and former recruiter, Laura Smith-Proulx is a five-time global resume industry competition award-winner: http://www.anexpertresume.com

Tony Deblauwe
Tony Deblauwe is the founder of consulting firm HR4Change and a former HR manager with more than 15 years' experience: http://www.hr4change.com

Posted by Charles Purdy on June 22, 2011 at 05:57 PM in Interview , Job Search | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)

June 09, 2011

Bad Manners at Work

According to a recent Monster.com survey, there's a 50 percent chance that your coworkers think you've got bad manners. We asked site visitors to rate their colleagues' manners (at their current or most recent job), and 26 percent answered, "Downright rude!" while another 24 percent answered, "Plenty of room for improvement." Only 7 percent said their coworkers were "very polite." Here are the complete results of the survey.

Manners
That's a lot of rude behavior! But how can you improve your manners? In a separate poll, we asked people which impolite behaviors ticked them off the most. And the behaviors that bothered people the most were:

  > Coworkers who gossip: 35%
  > Coworkers who don't clean up after themselves: 25%
  > Coworkers who are too loud: 14%
  > Coworkers who text or email when they're in meetings: 10%
  > Other / none of the above: 16%

What rude coworker behaviors do you hate most? Share your thoughts in the Comments section!

 

 

 

Posted by Charles Purdy on June 9, 2011 at 05:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

June 07, 2011

The "Elephants" in the Job Interview: Handling Difficult (but Impossible to Ignore) Topics

IStock_000000985714Small You don't want to talk about it, but you can't ignore it: You left your last job because you were fired. Or because you shouted "I quit!" in a rage and stormed out. Or maybe your last job wasn't the problem, but you can tell that this interviewer is just, as they say, "not that into you."

Dealing with the metaphorical "elephant in the room" can be as difficult as handling an actual elephant -- but when a new job is on the line, it can be even harder. We asked Jim Camp, the president and CEO of Camp Negotiation Systems and the author of the bestselling book Start with No: The Negotiating Tools That the Pros Don't Want You to Know, for some advice on getting past elephants.

Camp explains, "A job interview by definition is a negotiation. It is an effort to bring about an agreement between two or more parties, with all parties having the right to veto."

Camp has developed a negotiation-management system and tools that he says can help anyone, in any type of negotiating situation, deal with barriers to negotiation. "Having such tools before you get to the negotiating table helps you prepare for, execute, and debrief the negotiation step by step," he says.

Now let's bring on the elephants:

Elephant #1: You were fired from your last job.

Before your initial job interview, Camp recommends creating a checklist. "In the checklist," he advises, "you would list any problems that you foresee might hurt your efforts, such as a firing on your resume, and that [might] keep you from the conclusion you want -- getting the job. Then you will address each problem in your first interview, either in person or on the phone. It would sound something like this: 'There is a potential problem I would like to address. It is important that we have transparency and openness as we begin. I was terminated from my last position. If that is important, I would like to address that at the very beginning. How would you like me to proceed? If termination is a game stopper, let's know right now.'"

That may sound scary, but Camp believes that not addressing the firing directly can be far worse: "Your directness, and your invitation to allow them to 'veto' -- in this case, to bring the interview to a stop -- will set them at ease," he says. "Such honesty puts you in a good light."

Elephant #2: You quit in an angry blowup (or just without giving notice).

Camp says you can use the same strategy here that you would use if you were terminated -- and for the same reason: "There's a good chance that your interviewer will call your previous employer. If you don't bring this out into the open, you'll be in a compromised situation when it comes time for your interview. That is, you'll be wondering whether and when they'll bring up the topic. You'll be wishing you'd said something. ... In the interview, you should be focusing on your words and behaviors, definitely not emotions such as fear or worry. Instead, just bring it out into the open, using a similar statement as previously discussed. And remember to talk about it in a way that helps the interviewer see you as an asset -- someone who made a mistake and learned from it, perhaps, and someone who will be forthright, honest, and direct. These are positives for the employer, not negatives."

Camp says that once you vanquish elephants like this, you can then discuss your job history "in the context of creating a well-rounded picture of the circumstances -- one that puts you in a beneficial light and helps the interviewer see you as an asset to the organization." 

He adds that it's very important for you to retain control of your image -- and if you hide part of your history, you can give up some of that control.

Elephant #3: The interviewer says you're overqualified (and you just might be!).

Camp says that, like the first two elephants, this one should have made it on to the checklist of problems that you are facing. And, he says, you have to negotiate those problems out first.

"If it's not a deal breaker," Camp says, "then you've just gotten the interviewer to open up to the vision that you are going to start building for them, the one that shows them their problems, and that offers yourself and your top three or four qualities as the solution to those problems."

(For more tips on dealing with this particular elephant, read "I'm Overqualified.")

Elephant #4: The interviewer is hostile and aggressive.

Camp explains that his system of negotiation is made up of soft skills and hard structures: "The soft skills fill the structure," he says. "Within the behaviors that make up the soft skills, we have two that come immediately to bear on this situation. The first is the 'stripline.' It is the ability to be a little more negative than the other party. For example, the interviewer says, 'It just doesn't appear to me that you accomplished near as much as you could have in your last job.' Your response: 'From what you have to go on, it probably seems even worse than that.'"

Then you can speak about your accomplishments in more detail.

"The second is to nurture," Camp says. "Lower your voice, slow your pace of speech, and sit back as the discussion continues. By utilizing the stripline, nurturing, and a strong checklist, this type of interviewer is fairly easily handled."

Elephant #5: You can just tell that the interviewer is just "not that into you."

Again, Camp says it's crucial to get this problem out into the open: "By this, I mean stopping the discussion and stating the new problem you see, followed by a great open-ended question that can't be answered with a plain yes or no. For example: 'May we stop, please? I see a problem growing here. I sense I'm falling short in your eyes. Where am I falling short? Can you help me see that?' With that you should be able to re-engage and reboot the discussion."

Get more job-interview tips from Monster.com. For daily career-advice tweets, follow @monstercareers, and then join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

In an interview, how do you explain that you were fired from your last job?

First of all, an interview by definition is a negotiation. It is an effort to bring about an agreement between two or more parties with all parties having the Right to Veto. In the Camp System of Negotiation, we use a negotiation management system and tools that can help anyone, in any type of negotiating situation, deal with the proverbial elephant in the room, such as a recent firing. Having such tools before you get to the negotiating table helps you prepare for, execute, and debrief the negotiation step by step.

 

In the very first interview, this would be clearly dealt with within our "Camp Checklist." In the checklist, you would list any problems that you foresee might hurt your efforts (a firing on your resume) and that keep you from the conclusion you want (getting the job). Next, you will address this problem in your first interview, either in person or on the phone. It would sound something like this: "There is a potential problem I would like to address. It is important that we have transparency and openness as we begin. I was terminated from my last position. If that is important, I would like to address that at the very beginning. How would you like me to proceed? If termination is a game stopper, let's know right now." Sound scary? Believe it or not, it's worse not to address the job termination. Your directness, and your invitation to allow them to "veto" -- in this case, to bring the interview to a stop -- will set them at ease. Such honesty puts you in a good light.

 

You can then discuss your job history in the context of creating a well-rounded picture of the circumstances, one that puts you in a beneficial light and helps the interviewer see you as an asset to the organization. The key here is to have the opportunity to create the most effective vision, or way of seeing you, but never appear to hide the history. After all, just about everyone has been terminated from something.

 

How do you say that you quit without giving notice?  

Use the same strategy as above. There's a good chance that your interviewer will call your previous employer. If you don't bring this out into the open, you'll be in a compromised situation when it comes time for your interview. That is, you'll be wondering whether and when they'll bring up the topic. You'll be wishing you'd said something. Don't let such emotions into the job interview. In the interview, you should be focusing on your words and behaviors, definitely not your emotions  such as fear or worry. Instead, just bring it out into the open again, using a similar statement as in the first question. And remember to talk about it in a way that helps the interviewer see you as an asset--someone who made a mistake and learned from it, perhaps, and someone who will be forthright, honest, and direct. These are positives for the employer, not negatives.

 

How do you handle an interviewer who says you are overqualified?

Like the two scenarios above, this is an issue that you should have addressed long before someone would point it out. Again, in your checklist you should have identified your real problem or problems that you are facing and you should negotiate those problems out first. Bring it out into the open and invite the employer to decline to go further, if they wish to. If this is not a deal breaker, then you've just gotten the interviewer to open up to the vision that you are going to start building for them, the one that shows them their problems, and that offers yourself and your top three or four qualities as the solution to those problems.

 

What are some tips on handling a hostile, aggressive interviewer?

The Camp System of Negotiation is made up of soft skills and hard structures. The soft skills fill the structure. Within the behaviors that make up the soft skills we have two that come immediately to bear on this situation. The first is "stripline." It is the ability to be a little more negative than the other party. For example, the interviewer says: "It just doesn't appear to me that you accomplished near as much as you could have in your last job." Your response: "From what you have to go on, it probably seems even worse than that." The second is to nurture. Lower your voice, slow your pace of speech, and sit back as the discussion continues. By utilizing the stripline, nurturing, and a strong checklist, this type of interviewer is fairly easily handled. 

 

Sometimes, in an interview, you can just tell that the interviewer is "not that into you." What steps should you take then? 

If you see that problem progressing, it is important that you reset your checklist, and get that problem out into the open. By this I mean, stop the discussion and state the new problem you see followed by a great open-ended question that can't be answered with a plain yes or no. (These usually feature words such as why, where, what, and how.) Example: "May we stop, please? I see a problem growing here. I sense I'm falling short in your eyes. Where am I falling short? Can you help me see that?" With that you should be able to re-engage and reboot the discussion.

Posted by Charles Purdy on June 7, 2011 at 06:31 PM in Career Development , Interview , Job Search | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

June 03, 2011

The Monster 5 for Friday--Careers Edition--June 3

It's time for our quick look back at the week in career advice -- five job-related (and job-search-related) that we want to highlight:

5. Today's unemployment report from the U.S. Department of Labor may have been less than ideal, but Monster research has uncovered many cities where the picture is a lot rosier. Is your city one of them? Read MarketWatch.com's "Top 10 Cities in the U.S. to Find a Job."

4. So, those are the cities that seem to be in good shape -- but which professions have long-term potential? For some ideas, check out "In the Year 2016: The 30 Fastest-Growing Jobs."

3. Knowing where to look for work is important, but once you've located the job you want, you're going to need interview skills. For tips, read Yahoo! Shine's "5 Toughest Interview Questions (& How to Answer Them)."

2. Once you land that great job and have had it for a while, how can you tell whether your career still has forward momentum -- and what do you do if it needs a jump-start? For tips, read "11 Warning Signs Your Career Has Stalled."

1. Now, before you get set to enjoy a nice summer weekend, read the great advice in this U.S. News article: "9 Ways to Use Summer to Your Career Advantage."

Do you need job-search advice? What job-seeker topics would you like to see covered? Leave a message for us in the comments section below, or find @monstercareers on Twitter and send a message. Also, get support and great job-seeker advice when you join our community on Facebook.

Posted by Charles Purdy on June 3, 2011 at 07:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 02, 2011

Should Employers Be Allowed to Hire Only Nonsmokers?

It's a complex question: In May, we asked Monster.com site visitors whether employers should be allowed to require that employees be nonsmokers. More than 3,000 people responded (19% of them identified themselves as smokers).

Some employers believe that hiring only nonsmokers will keep insurance costs (and sick days) down while keeping productivity up. But even many nonsmokers seem to see smoking as a personal choice that employers should have no say in -- a majority of them (and, less surprisingly, a majority of smokers) say that employers should not be allowed to refuse to hire smokers.

Here are the results:


Should a company be allowed to require that its employees be nonsmokers?

Smoking

*3,237 respondents

Today, Radio Iowa is reporting that a Des Moines hospital has announced a nonsmokers-only policy: starting July 1, prospective employees of Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines will have to submit to a urine test that will check for nicotine. The report says that a representative of the ACLU has called the policy legal, although some states have forbidden similar policies.

What do you think of policies like this? Should employers be allowed to say "No Smokers Allowed"? Share your thought in the comments section.

 

Posted by Charles Purdy on June 2, 2011 at 07:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)