01 Feb Career dos and don'ts: Do your homework on the job search
Editor’s note: Contemporary Working, WTN’s newest column, is actually a blog on the Manpower Web site, and it’s designed to guide readers on their journey through the changing world of work. Readers will find tips, tools, and information on topics as diverse as the aging workforce, working women, professional etiquette, generational diversity, the talent crunch, and more.
I just read a good article on DiversityInc.com that lists 5 Job Interview Do’s and Don’ts. Good advice for anyone and everyone getting ready for a job interview.
I’d like to stress tips number 1 and 5:
1. Do your homework. When I think about candidates who impress me the most, they are the ones who know about my company and my industry. That shows they took the time to research, they are interested in this specific job at this specific company, and they are thinking in terms of a career — rather than someone who is looking for “any old” job.
5. Do ask questions. When I’m interviewing someone, I plan to ask lots of questions. And I expect truthful (tip #2), upfront (tip #3) and not over-personal (tip #4) answers. But I also judge the interviewee by the questions he or she asks. Are the questions thoughtful? Does the candidate show an interest in my company? My industry? Does he or she show good listening skills? Communication skills?
All of DiversityInc.com’s advice is good — and I recommend you follow it. And don’t forget to do your homework, then translate that knowledge into good questions that will impress the interviewer.
Is work ethic a thing of the past?
When I talk with employers, many admit they’re struggling to find people with the skills required to do the job. But many, many more tell me that their biggest problem is finding an employee who…
• Shows up on time.
• Shows up every day.
• Dresses in a suitable way.
• Interacts with co-workers appropriately.
These are pesky work ethic issues that are hard to quantify, but can make or break a successful career.
• Have things changed?
• Does work ethic mean different things to different people?
• Does work ethic mean different things to different generations?
• Can work ethic be taught?
• Does work ethic really matter?
What do you think? This is an important issue and I’d really like to hear from you!
I was not planning to write more about Celebrity Apprentice but I can’t resist after last night. For those of you who didn’t watch — the men sent Vinny into the women’s team to spy. He was to hear their ideas and their plan, then report back to the men. They thought they would be sure to win.
Turns out their plan didn’t work. In spite of the inside information, the women FINALLY beat the men and won a challenge — and they deserved it. That big Croc was cool!
But win or lose, is cheating okay?
• Piers sure thinks so.
• Ivanka said espionage was acceptable.
• But Stephen finally stopped eating long enough to come to his senses and feel uncomfortable about the plan.
I so don’t agree with Piers and Ivanka. I believe companies that sustain their success have a clear set of values. They reward integrity, and individuals who play by the rules are the ones who feel good about themselves and about their jobs.
Cheating may help you win, but is a hollow victory worth the price? What do you think?
Oh! One more thing. Omarosa doesn’t like twins!?! What?
It’s time for the men
I’ve been wanting to write a post about the bad habits of the men on Celebrity Apprentice, but they’ve won each challenge they’ve been handed. So I’m struggling a bit to link their behavior to losing in the workplace. But I can’t think of any good reason to act like some of the men have been acting, so here goes.
They have been…
• Dismissing others because of their gender or their apparent lack of power.
• Sensing weakness and immediately jumping in to take advantage.
• Talking over teammates without regard to their ideas or opinions.
• Being so arrogant as to think their ideas are the only ones to consider — and ignoring the rest.
If you’ve been watching, you might think I’m talking about Gene. But it hasn’t been just Gene.
So, regardless — man or woman, Gene, Piers or Stephen – these habits won’t serve you well in the long term.
Ping pong anyone?
We’ve all had those stressful days — too many e-mails, too many phone calls, too many meetings, too many issues to resolve!
How do you decompress when you find yourself in that stressful place? Do you…
• Take a break?
• Eat chocolate?
• Take a walk?
• Call someone who loves you?
• Take a power nap?
• Gut it out?
Some employers are creative about helping their employees handle stress. You’ve all read about innovative work environments at some of the up-and-coming dot.coms and other trendy companies. But there are well-established companies who offer creative outlets as well. Example: here at our headquarters we have ping-pong tables on every floor — so staff can get a bit of exercise, release some energy, and channel their competitive tendencies. (But we’re not quite this good — see some real ping pong!)
What creative stress-relievers have you seen?
Why do you work?
Good question. My hunch is that for most of us we don’t work just to pay the bills. What gives you the energy to get up and face every day at the office?
• Is work simply a necessary obligation for you?
• Is your profession your creative outlet?
• Is your current job a stepping-stone to your career ambitions?
• Will your job help you reach your dream?
Why do you work?
Other columns by Melanie Holmes
• Melanie Holmes: On wimpy handshakes and other business etiquette pet peeves
• Melanie Holmes: She’s baaack! Avoiding the etiquette pitfalls of Omarosa
This article previously appeared on the Manpower Web site and was reprinted with its permission.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.
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