Questions Job Seekers Should Ask


Job Seekers Need to Ask Their Own Questions

So the awkward moment arrives and the interviewing manager says; “Do you have any questions for me?” The worst thing you can do is say; “No, I don’t have any questions.”

There are three issues. First, you don’t want to look like a dufus. Second, you need to find out whether the company is a right fit for you! Third, you must be prepared!

Listening to Herman Cain

As I was driving to work the other day; I was listening to the Herman Cain Show on the radio. As the owner and CEO of several businesses he has interviewed many applicants and one thing he always likes is the applicant who asks intelligent questions.

The problem is most candidates are unprepared and either do not ask questions or do not ask intelligent questions. Even though the candidate knows the opportunity is coming; they are unprepared and have no idea what to ask.

Below are some of the possible questions raised on the show:

What’s the Next Step?

Far too often job seekers don’t take the time to determine the process. They sit through the interview, answer the questions and then leave wondering if they will ever hear anything more. Ask about the process; are there more interviews or will some candidates be invited back for a second interview? If so, when and how many?

How Long Before There Is a Decision on the Position?

What is the timeline for filling the position? When do they expect to make the decision? Is there an urgency to filling the position?

What Have You Learned in the Interviews?

How many candidates have you interviewed? How many more interviews do you have scheduled? How do I compare to those you have interviewed? What have you seen in others that has piqued your interest?

What Are the Critical Skills and Abilities You Require?

This is an extremely important question. The job posting may list a large number of skills and abilities they would like or desire; but what’s critical?

Is This a New Position or a Replacement?

If this is a new position you need to take the opportunity to help define the role. What skills do they want and what additional skills can you bring to the position.

Long ago, when I worked for IBM, one of the ways we were able to get business was by helping the organization write their RFP (Request for Proposal). Obviously when you get in on the ground floor of helping to define the requirements; you increase your chances. The same can be said for a job description.

This process can be especially useful if you know a hiring manager, who has a need. If you meet the basic requirements for the position, you can help this person refine the skills and remarkably they happen to match what you have

If this is a replacement for someone who moved up or out; you need to focus on what key skills and abilities must be replaced. Quite often your predecessor performed tasks and assignments which were outside the normal scope of their job because they had the skill. Is the company looking for a clone of this individual

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve!

Do you need help with your message? Are you struggling for people to know you and what you have to offer? If so, I can help. My contact information is below or Email  Me Now! and lets get started.

Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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Does Networking Work?


Have you ever wondered if networking pays off?

Here is my latest experience. Approximately 8 weeks ago my contract was ended. I had been contracting at one company for the past 3 ½ years and it was only supposed to be a 1 year contract. That worked out well for me and I am happy that it lasted that long. I will get back to the end of the contract in a little bit.

Prior to this contract I had been looking for work for about 6 months. I had some things here and there that kept us going, but it was tough regardless. What is important, however, is what I did while I was with this company.

Take Action

The first action, not under my control, was shortly after I started I was called to a regional employment role in my church. The second action was I started using LinkedIn. The third actions was the more I learned the more I wanted to learn on how it could help me with my search.

Learn to Network

By learning how to network and allowing my network to get to know me I made many great contacts. I didn’t know everyone in my network at first and in many cases I am still getting to know them; but I will keep working on this.

Make Lots of Connections

About 1 1/2 years after getting into LinkedIn I started on Facebook. I had watched my teenagers use MySpace and then Facebook and thought they were wasting their time. I was wrong! At least with the idea that Facebook offered nothing for me. I started connecting with all kinds of people and it has been great.

I now have over 850 connections on LinkedIn connecting me to over 8 MILLION people and I have over 650 connections on Facebook. Some of the LinkedIn and Facebook connections are duplicated, but most are not.

After the Contract Ended

Anyway back to having the contract end… I contacted my and other recruiting companies to see what might be available. It wasn’t long and I had a couple of opportunities presented. One ended up panning out and I started the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Emailed Over 170 Contacts

The other thing that I did, however, was send an email to about 170 of my email contacts. That process generated over a dozen responses with possible opportunities. Where I went wrong was not sending that email out earlier in the process.

Let People in Your Network Know Who You Are and What You Can Do

When people in your network know you, know what you can do, and know what you want to do; they are there to help. My email went out a couple of weeks ago and I am still being contacted by members of my network to see what they can do to help. The truth is that I still have well over one thousand people that I could contact; a majority of whom I did not know three years ago.

I connect with new people all the time; it is my goal to be adding 5 – 10 new connections either on LinkedIn of Facebook every week. Sometimes it is as many as 20 per week and this is what YOU must be doing as well.

Networking works when you give it a chance.

I Am Shocked When Business Owners Ignore Social Media


I Am Amazed

I am amazed; I am shocked every time someone tells me that they want their business to be on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or any other Social Media and then end with the comment saying they do not want to have that presence tied to them. All I can say is: What?

How can you be in Social Media where it is all about conversations, not dialogue, and not expect to be involved? Web 2.0 applications, which is what Social Networking or Social Media applications are, is all about conversations. That is why these applications were developed.

Anyone Making This Statement Does Not Realize That Social Networking Is About Conversations

Social Media is about conversations with your friends, customers, prospects, and others. If it is not you conversing with them; then who do you want doing the talking? Have you designated someone to talk on your behalf? Are you prepared to entrust these communications to someone else?

If this is a large organization, where the operations are no longer tied to an individual, it may make sense. But if you are a small or medium sized business, a professional, a consultant, or an entrepreneur; you probably do not have someone that you have trained and entrusted to talk for you.

Social Networking Is About the Conversations

The purpose of these communications is to build credibility, reliability, and trust; how can you do that and simultaneously remain anonymous? Are you afraid that a customer or prospect will say something you do not like? If that is the case you need to wake up, because they are saying those things regardless. At least with Social Media you have a chance to hear what is being said and respond.

Business Owners and Managers Cannot Ignore Social Media

Today’s world does not allow you to hide! Your business can be and actually is a target and thinking that by not being involved in Social Media will somehow protect or shield you is a mistake. Things are being said with or without your participation. Social Media has become the outlet for favorable and unfavorable discussions.

It used to be that the dissatisfied customer would tell six friends; today that number increases geometrically. The average person on Facebook has 130 friends. If they post something about you, favorable or unfavorable, on average 130 people will see or hear the message.

There is a YouTube video out about United Airlines breaking this guys guitar. Over 3 Million, yes that is an “M” people have seen this video. Last I knew it was even becoming a record.

You are now a member of the viral world so stop being an ostrich and get your head out of the sand. You need to be participating!

Do Not Go Outside the Box Too Quickly


Maybe Thinking Out of the Box Is All Wrong

We hear frequently about the idea of thinking outside the box and I’ve come to realize that maybe outside the box is not the correct term. Think of yourself as a picture. As with any picture you have a foreground object(s) and then the background. Look at the foreground object as your current job and the background as your skills that put you in that position.

Even if the foreground becomes fuzzy or fades; the background still exists.

Do You Define Yourself by YOUR Job, or Are You Defined by YOUR Skills

When your job becomes obsolete; does that mean that you become obsolete as well? If we are focused on the foreground that is an easy conclusion for YOU to reach. But if you look at the background as your skills, abilities, and talents that put you into the job you will see that you have many things working in your favor to continue moving you forward that are not obsolete.

The Assault on the Job Market

Over the past two decades we have seen the US Job Market assaulted by jobs moving off-shore, automation, business closings, and the recession to name some of the culprits. As a result the US has experienced tremendous job loss; some of which are gone forever. The workers that occupied the jobs that no longer must adjust. They cannot live on the hope that those jobs may return, because in the majority of cases they will not.

The job market is also being assaulted by the changes from employees to contractors or consultants. More and more employers are recognizing the need for flexibility in the workforce and one of the best ways to facilitate flexibility is with a temporary workforce. As such workers must be prepared to adapt again.

The change to a temporary workforce places increased pressures on the workers to continually be upgrading their skills and abilities to meet the demands of their prospective employers. Even while they are on assignment these workers must constantly be looking to the future anticipating the new skills that will be required when the assignment ends.

Restructure Yourself Based Upon What Made You What You Were; Not For What You Were

A few years ago Marshall Goldsmith wrote his book “What Got You Here; Won’t Get You There”. It was a book about advancement within an organization and the fact that the skills that caused your success in one position are not the same skills that will enable you to succeed in the next.

Today, the same can be said as you progress through your career. The skills that get you to one position may not be the same skills that you will need for your next opportunity. You cannot bank on your next employer needing the exact same set of skills as the last. You must be prepared to re-craft yourself to meet the needs from one opportunity to the next.

LinkedIn Recommendations


Are You Giving and Receiving LinkedIn Recommendations?

Recommendations on LinkedIn are important additions to your profile and completing your story and the stories of your connections. We can say all kinds of great things about ourselves but when we have others giving a testimony about us and what we have accomplished; it is far more valuable.

Recommendations from former managers and supervisors, co-workers, and even subordinates add significantly to your story. Hiring managers and recruiters like to see recommendations because it adds to your credibility and increases the recruiter’s and hiring manager’s confidence in the choice they are making.

Where Some Go Wrong with Recommendations

There are three primary areas where people go wrong with recommendations.

  1. Inviting someone to LinkedIn, solely for the purpose of a recommendation.
  2. Giving and receiving a recommendation simultaneously.
  3. Giving and receiving gratuitous recommendations.

Inviting someone into LinkedIn for the purpose of a recommendation is easy to spot. The person giving the recommendation has only one connection: YOU! Obviously if the recommendation is important you want to get it, but help the person establish themselves on LinkedIn in the process. Provide them with suggestions as to with whom they should connect. Help them through the process and follow their progress.

Simultaneous recommendations look staged and in many cases they are. It is the old adage of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours. You give me a recommendation and I will give you a recommendation. Realize that when you do that it will show up as part of the current status with your connections and the connections of the other person.

I do not know how many times I have seen the so and so was recommended by this person and the next entry is this person was recommended by so and so. Do you get my drift? It looks staged from beginning to end. Yes, you may want each other’s recommendation, but at least separate the process a little bit.

You can even do the reciprocating process, but one of the two should hold off on approving the recommendation until a few days have lapsed.

The last issue is the recommendations that say “He is really a great guy and if I had the chance I would hire him again immediately.” That may be the case, but as a reader of the recommendation I want to know why he is a great guy and what he accomplished to earn my accolades.

Be like Julius Caesar; use the Veni, Vidi, Vici approach…

  1. He or she came.
  2. He or she saw.
  3. He or she conquered.

Tell the reader the situation the person encountered, the actions that were taken, and the results achieved.

Recommendations must have meat to them!

If you have written the meatless recommendations in the past, go back and do the person a favor by writing a meaningful recommendation. Show them that you care and they WILL reciprocate with a meat filled recommendation for you. (Just do not do it the same day.)

What Stories Is the Internet Telling About You?


Your Internet Presence

Virtually everyone today has an Internet presence. If for some reason you do not; you will attract as much attention as you would with a poor Internet presence. What story does your Internet presence tell people?

Have you ever taken the time to Google your name, enter it on Yahoo, or Bing? You must do this; you must know what is on the Internet pertaining to you! Go to Google.com and type in your name, press the enter key, and see what comes up. Are you happy with the result? Are you seeing, and therefore a recruiter or hiring manager seeing, what you would like them to see?

What Is Unacceptable Information

Things that are unacceptable include:

  • Pictures that show you in compromising situations.
  • Inappropriate language or posting from you or your friends.
  • Pictures or stories that include you in illegal activities, even as basic as under age drinking.
  • Discussions and stories that are derogatory to you or others.
  • Negative comments you have made about employers, businesses, other people
  • Negative comments about teachers, managers, supervisors, and other authority figures.
  • Insulting or disparaging comments about friends and associates.

Any of these items can be the negative that causes the recruiter or hiring manager to reject you as an employee. This is not discrimination, this is just business. Businesses cannot afford to hire employees that may bring discredit on the business, negative attention, or other adverse effects.

What employees and prospective employees bring to the business can be critical to the business success. You, as an employee, must bring positives; not negatives.

How Do You Clean Up Your On-Line Presence?

Cleaning up your on-line presence starts with your Social Networking. You need to remove any photos or information that is negative. If you started the discussion, you can delete the entire discussion. If you commented on a discussion, you can remove your comments. If you have friends or connections that are offensive you can unfriend or remove them.

Take the offensive information out of your on-line presence and do it now!

What If Your Removal Offends Your Friend or Friends

If the postings of friends and connections is negative, you can ask them to change their behavior because it jeopardizes your opportunities. If they are unwilling to help you, then they truly are not very good friends and you are probably better off without them.

If you are serious about having a good on-line reputation, then you must think of yourself first and make the necessary choices. Obviously your goal is not to hurt others or their feelings, but it is to ensure that you are presented in a positive light.

After the Clean Up

Once you have cleaned up those things that you can; what is left? If you still have negative or derogatory information, what can you do to eliminate or at least mitigate the impact.

One way is to create positive Internet articles related to you. Participate in events or organizations that generate positive information and get involved. Join organization boards, involve yourself in civic activities, write your own blog articles, comment on popular blogs and leave your name, join LinkedIn, Facebook, and other Social Networking sites that receive high search engine rankings. Build your connections and friends lists which will raise your rankings. Create a Google Profile, put positive postings and videos on YouTube.

If you have many negatives associated with a Social Networking profile, delete the profile and start over.

What If the Negatives Are from Someone with the Same Name?

If you are being haunted by someone with the same name that has negative information; do not despair, you can address that as well.

Some of the steps you can take include:

  1. Post a consistent professional picture with all of your profiles.
  2. Use your middle initial, middle name, maiden name, nickname, or something else that will differentiate you.
  3. Create an Internet Gravatar (picture) that can be used for postings on sites where you cannot add your picture.
  4. Change your reference on your sites to a consistent name. Use the username function on Facebook, the change profile name on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., to capture your identity. Choose a name combination that no one else is using.

    Cut, purge, erase, delete, replace, create, post, comment, participate, and do any other positive things you can to recreate your on-line profile in a positive manner.

Summer Jobs – Ready, Set, Go


A Little Ground Work Is Important

Are you hoping to get a summer job? What steps are you taking to make that happen?

Getting a summer, job in today’s job market, is not as simple as walking up, getting an application, filling it out, and getting hired. You must be prepared by doing the groundwork and your homework.

Here are some basic steps:

  1. Clean up your Social Networking sites.
  2. Identify your target work location.
  3. Will they be hiring this summer?
  4. When will they be hiring?
  5. How many do they plan to hire?
  6. What Is the Projected Start Date?
  7. What Is the Projected End Date?
  8. When will they be accepting applications?
  9. What is the application process?
  10. Do you need a resume?
  11. After the application process what comes next?
  12. Who is the hiring manager?
  13. What do they look for in an employee?
  14. Have them describe their ideal employee.
  15. What can you do to ensure that you are the one to be hired?

Clean Up Your Social Networking Sites.

If you have questionable content on your Facebook, MySpace, or other Social Networking sites clean it up. Over 60% of employers will check and with high school and college students, the percentage increases dramatically. Employers do not wan employees that will potentially bring negative attention to their organization.

Google yourself and see what comes up. If it is negative see what you can do to get positive information to come up at the top of the search. Joining Facebook, LinkedIn, creating a Google profile, and posting to your blog; are all ways that you can add information to a Google search that will rise to the top. Get people to click on your blog and these other materials to increase the visits and again raise the ranking.

Identify Your Target Work Location.

What is your short list of places where you would like to work this summer? Make a list and start working the list; contact anyone of interest.

Will They Be Hiring This Summer?

Find out the summer hiring plans. If they will not be hiring move on. If it is a maybe mark it as such.

When Will They Be Hiring?

What is their hiring timetable? How does that fit with your availability? If that does not fit your schedule what alternative arrangements might be available?

How Many Do They Plan To Hire?

How many will they be hiring? Will they hire everyone at the same time?

What Is the Projected Start Date?

How does the schedule fit with your schedule? If the schedules do not match, can you work something out? Is there any flexibility?

What Is the Projected End Date?

When do they see the summer jobs ending? Is there a set date or does it depend upon availability?

When Will They Be Accepting Applications?

Find out the date when they will start accepting applications and plan accordingly. Make sure you are timely. Check out the process ahead of time to ensure that you will have all the answers to the questions.

What Is the Application Process?

Is the application process a kiosk at the employer’s location (i.e. Target, WalMart, Albertsons, etc.), is it on-line (CostCo, Home Depot, etc.), or is it a paper process (McDonalds, Burger King, mom and pop, etc.). Know ahead of time and be prepared. If it is a kiosk or on-line one of the first questions will be if you have filled out the application. A “no” answer will be their first reason to dismiss you. You must be prepared.

Do You Need a Resume?

Some places may want a resume in addition to the application, be prepared and have one available. List previous employment, organizations (especially leadership roles), and do not put references. They will ask for those.

After the Application Process What Comes Next?

Know what to expect after completing the application. If the next step is to meet with a hiring manager, when are they available? If there are certain days and times, know as much up-front as possible. This saves you the inconvenience, but even more it shows commitment, determination, and most of all interest!

Ask when you can check back. But do not simply say that say “When I follow up do you prefer I call or come in?” This approach gives them no option on whether you will follow up; only on how you will follow up.

What Do They Look For in An Employee?

Employers do not discriminate, they just know what they want and prefer. Visit the location and look around. If the employees look like skaters (that is the desired image at some businesses) and you are clean cut that will tell you something. It tells you what they look for and hire, but it also begs the question is this what you want?

Have Them Describe Their Ideal Employee.

Have them describe their ideal employee. You should get this as early as possible and ideally before completing the application. If they are looking for people that are sports oriented, you want that on your application. If they are academically oriented you want that on your application.

What Can You Do To Ensure That You Are the One To Be Hired?

Express your profound interest in working for them and the reasons for that interest and then ask: What can I do so you will hire me? How can I prove to you that I am the one you want?