evilcatbert knows all!

Bringing you the world from on high. As cats are curious, independent and sure they know everything, prepare to be enlightened.


"I'm late, I'm late for a very important date..."

A job interview is like a first date - if you like what you see, you want more. If you're less than impressed, the date is over before it even starts. For politeness sake you might stick around and talk with the person for a short while but once you part company, you know you're not going spend any more time together - it's just not a good fit.
If you want to get to the second date/interview, pull out all the stops on the first one. Showing up on time is huge - the reason that "punctuality is the courtesy of kings" is because being late is rude to the person who is waiting for you. It gives them the impression that you think your time is more important than the person you've left waiting. While your friends may think waiting around for you is no big deal, an employer won't find this anywhere near as endearing. Wasting their time is the equivalent of wasting their money - there's no benefit to either party if you do so - especially this early in the game before you have anything of value on deposit with them.
Imagine your favorite actor invited you to meet them at a set time. Would you risk missing this once in a lifetime opportunity to see them by showing up late or would you plan to be early in order to avoid missing your big chance? Treat any job interview like that and I guarantee you'll never be late for one again.
BTW to my favorite Time Lord of all, David Tennant, feel free call me from the Tardis. I'll meet you anywhere, anytime, on time - I guarantee it!


"I love the smell of napalm in the morning..."

Last week I posted about applicants requesting feedback from employers about why they aren't getting interviews but then flame out when they receive them.
Even if you are disappointed with the information, take a cue from this classy lady (I'm including her name since she deserves the credit!) who received news that a position she'd hoped to interview for had been filled:
"I appreciate your consideration and your reply. If something were to open up again in the future please feel free to contact me if interested. Have a great day!"

In contrast, I honestly can't recommend the "flame on" approach from another applicant on the same day (and who shall remain nameless) after he applied for a "female candidates only" position because he didn't feel our gender specific designation was either fair or legal. When notified he was not being selected because he didn't meet the qualifications, he sent the following:
"It is too bad that your company feels it best to discriminate from qualified candidates? Running a successful business means putting the best person in position to grow the bottom line. If you and your company feel only a woman can fill the "women" only position I hope that the sign "whites" only can come down from your politically incorrect position as well?
To coordinate you need to make sure that you get a single female in the office because a married one with children will always need to take care of kids and family first before the club. Just wanted to make sure the parameters are clear before I go and get a sex change to help you and your company succeed.
I really feel you are wrong in discriminating for the position like this and I hope your HR department looks into the EEO policies that you are breaking."

Since I'm head of the HR Department, I can assure this applicant that we know that EEO policies allow for a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) that acknowledges both sexes have the right not to have members of the opposite sex in areas such as locker rooms, rest rooms and shower areas when it is an essential function of a position.
While I can understand this job applicant's disappointment during his obviously unsuccessful job search, the negative effect of sending emails like this to any potential employer will last a lot longer than the momentary pleasure he might have had in sending it. So remember - what doesn't help can definitely hurt you.
In closing, this applicant stated in his resume to us that "I bring a humorous and light atmosphere to the work place"
I could tell this from his light and humorous email to me.


Speaking badly of the ex?

I know. I know. Ex-anythings are rarely spoken well of unless they are dead. And if you've left any of your previous jobs on less than your own terms, it's easy to dish the dis on ex-bosses, ex-companies, ex-co-workers, etc. But now's the time to apply another old adage you might have learned when you were a tiny tot - "if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all."
Speaking badly of your previous employers during a job interview is the kiss of death. Why? Because employers identify with other employers. What you do unto one is a pretty good indication of what you will do to them so if you complain about your last boss, talk badly about a company you've worked for in the past and or comment about what lazy butts your coworkers tend to be, the game is over. It's the equivalent of hitting the eightball into the corner pocket during a game of pool - doesn't matter how well you played the rest of the game, you've just lost.
The solution? Focus on yourself (and this is the only time I'm giving you this piece of advice - normally doing so is counterproductive). Talk about what you have been able to accomplish in previous positions, give examples of what you have done to help your previous employers, focus on what value you can bring to them. So when you're heading out for an inteview check your negative opinions at the door and leave your baggage at home - you'll soar higher if you travel light.


Have you napalmed a bridge today?

I often read on HR related blogs and websites about applicants who are unhappy about the lack of feedback they receive when applying for open positions. It doesn't help the cause of applicant nation, however, when one of their own returns a courtesy email (which many claim they would be content to receive) with a snarky response. To tell you the truth, it doesn't help the applicant much either.
Case in point. I recently posted for a part-time night auditor (desk clerk) position. I received about 70+ emails out of which we interviewed seven candidates and hired one of them. While I'm not able to respond to everyone who applied due to the 70+ to 1 ratio, I do try (as time and workload allow) to let as many of them know as possible that the position has been filled so they can focus their attention on other potential jobs for themselves. While these update emails are often received in silence, an occasional applicant will stand out from the crowd.
The positive ones reply with a quick "thanks for letting me know." The negative ones just respond badly. In this case it was "Shouldnt of bothered after almost 3wks discard my info." His reward? Demotion to the penalty box of the internet; his email address is now registered on the blocked junk mail list.
While I can understand the frustration of unsuccessful job hunters, it's never a wise move to act out of that frustration. This candidate just expanded his no-hire status from a single job to an entire company. That's how the bridges burned today can continue to light the way to the unemployment line for a very long time to come.