Driving Me Crazy

I moved from New Jersey, where traffic is no joke, to Los Angeles, where the traffic is less funny.  Clearly, I enjoy sitting in my car.

But seriously, I understand what commuting to work is like, especially in areas where inclement weather is a reality.  This is why here at Pinto Employment Search we demystify the location of an available position by publicly advertising it.  Why am I writing about such a seemingly insignificant detail?  Because once in a while I’ll speak with a candidate who is inexplicably taken by surprise.  At best, they just didn’t notice.  At worst, they ask – before an interview is even scheduled – if working from home would be an option.  This will probably all end in a waste of precious time for both parties.

Commuting is not the company’s problem, it’s the job seeker’s.  I’m not saying an employer shouldn’t be flexible, and many have come around to telecommuting and flex time.  Thanks to technology and enlightenment, work hours and locations are more fluid than ever.  But unless the job is advertised as virtual or at-home, you gotta go somewhere.  After you’re hired, use your skills and ambition to earn all the perks you’re going to get when you wow your bosses with your performance!  You might end up being entrusted to work from home after all.

When You Don’t Get the Gig

Almost everyone who moves to Los Angeles eventually takes an acting class, even if they don’t expect it to become a career. You’re lured in by the Hollywood sign, the possibilities, the fact that it’s actually easy to run into people at all levels of show business. It’s not uncommon to see filming taking place in random places. In my day to day life, I’ve met actors, producers, composers, animators, even corporate employees.

And so, curious to see what it was all about, I too succumbed and began taking all kinds of classes. One of the lessons learned is that when you go on an audition, you’re more likely to not get the part than to get it. That’s not to discourage anyone; that’s reality. As big as the market for entertainment is, there’s a lot of competition. You just have to keep putting yourself out there and trying, and eventually someone will hire you.

A regular job search is parallel in that there are many candidates going for the same jobs. The logistics industry has seen many mergers and acquisitions in the past decade, unfortunately resulting in countless layoffs. Thus, when a company is looking to hire, they tend to be deliberate, even picky. Your resume may be flawless, your skills current, your interview smooth and professional, but in the end they went with someone else. The reason could be anything: maybe the other candidate lives closer, making a commute easier in inclement weather; maybe the other candidate doesn’t need medical benefits; maybe the manager liked you but had a gut feeling that the fit with the company culture wasn’t quite right.

Whatever it is, it’s out of your control. As with an audition, you prepare, execute to the best of your ability, and thank them. Learn from anything you think you could have done better. Wait hopefully, but keep your options open. Then let it go. If you get the job (or part), fantastic! If not, and you don’t get a reason, move on. Don’t lose your confidence. There’s something better waiting.

Who? What? Where?

Collective wisdom states that when you’re out of a job, your full time job is looking for one.  We’ve all been in this position at one time or another – some of us during the era of scouring newspaper ads and snail-mailing resumes!  With the internet and the proliferation of job search websites, it’s easier than ever to submit applications for dozens of jobs any given day.  Because of this, it’s also easy to forget all the different positions for which you applied.  A recruiter might call a few days after seeing a resume posted online and catch you off guard. Many times we’ve called applicants and you could actually hear the deer-in-the-headlights look over the phone – no idea what job we were calling about!

Therefore, it’s a good idea to devise some sort of tracking system to keep your job search organized.  Whether you use a spreadsheet or some type of app, it should be quickly accessible and include:

Date applied
Documents sent (resume, cover letter, references, etc.)
Any actions with the date and outcome (spoke with recruiter; received email from HR, etc.)
Last but not least, interview dates and locations – even for phone interviews. This should go in every calendar you consult on a daily basis.

Life is busy, and no one can predict how long a hiring process will take.  Sometimes there are multiple phone calls or interviews.  The last thing you want to have happen is to miss an important appointment.  Maintaining a structure can greatly help your job search process.

It’s Not You – It’s Me

We admire your ambition, persistence and patience.  But sometimes it’s just not the right fit.  As recruiters, we are asked to find candidates who fit a particular set of requirements given to us by our clients, the hiring companies.  Thus, we need to focus on speaking with applicants who meet those requirements.  We wish we could get back to everyone who contacts us, but because of time constraints this is not always possible.  This is no reflection on your application or our desire to assist.  Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes on a weekly basis, and because of the sheer volume are unable to respond to each and every one. We really wish we could!  Please be assured that we are keeping your information on file for future opportunities.  Badmouthing or chastising the recruiter will not help or serve anyone.  If there is a job description for the position to which you have applied, please be cognizant of the skills and other attributes required.  We look forward to speaking with you in the future and wish you the very best in your job search!

Look At Me!!

It’s been said a million times, but based on what we’re still seeing online, bears repeating:  take care when posting pictures and personal information online.

Social media and social networking sites are wonderful!  From finding long-lost relatives on Facebook, to connecting with someone at a company you’re dying to work for, sharing through technology is a positive thing.  The internet has enriched humanity is countless ways.  What we share with the world can have far-reaching impact.

Of course, the flip side of everything being public is…that everything is public.  The internet is a shapeless galaxy with no beginning and no end, so who knows how far our posts will float?  Therefore, it is prudent to be careful about the image we project online that may be seen by potential employers.  The CFO who was considering you for that cushy finance job cannot unsee that unfortunate snapshot of you doing a shot while holding up a particular finger for the viewer.  That may not be your normal state, but it will leave an impression.

To minimize this risk, adjust privacy settings on personal accounts, such as Facebook, to the tightest level possible.  Remember that some profile pictures will always be public, whether connected to other people or not.  Use separate forums for professional and personal contacts.  Google yourself to see what a potential hiring manager might see if and when they Google you.

For professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, you don’t need to buy headshots, but put a little effort into your profile picture.  It should be properly lit, not an extreme close-up, and project a friendly, approachable image.  This is not the place for a photo of you in your award-winning Catwoman costume.  Watch your words, too: tweets, comments, posts, etc.  Potential employers might judge negatively based on vulgarity, rants, and so on.

In this world where everything is captured and recorded, it’s smart to exercise a little discretion.  It may not be completely fair, but it’s reality.  Keep an eye on your public presence.  The public has its eye on you.

I Heard a Rumor

You land an interview with XYZ Inc. Part of your preparation might be to casually check with your associates to see what they know about the company.  Someone gives you a vague story about their customer service department screwing up every shipment.  Well, you can’t risk bringing your customers here, so you start to worry.  What if you bring on customers and then, because of this alleged uncaring import department, you lose the relationships you’ve worked so hard through the years to cultivate?  Maybe you should cancel the interview…

Whoa there!  You haven’t even given them half a chance!

There are always rumors out there about every company.  Most of the time, these are exaggerated and unfounded.  There are two sides to every story, and you owe it to yourself to give this interview a chance, with your own eyes and ears.  Besides, cancelling might just burn a bridge and any opportunities to work together in the future, here or elsewhere.

Remember when you were in elementary school, and at the end of the year, when you found out who your teacher would be for the next grade, invariably another student would proclaim, “She’s horrible!” or “He’s mean!”  And remember how nothing happened, the teacher was perfectly nice, and you lived to see yet another grade?  Don’t rely on hearsay; find out for yourself!

I Feel So Alone!

“I couldn’t call you back because my phone was misbehaving.”  “I didn’t check my email all day.”  “I can only interview Tuesdays at 7:00am or 6:00pm.”

These are actual quotes from people in need of a new job.  This amazes, confuses, frustrates, and annoys a recruiter or hiring manager.   We hate having to chase people.

To treat your job search with such nonchalance is a surefire way to let someone else swoop in and get the opportunity, and probably the job.  If you’ve submitted your resume somewhere, you should be ready for a phone call and/or an email, and you should have a plan for how to take the necessary time to attend an interview.  I’m not suggesting that you jeopardize your current job by calling out sick, but have a handle on your schedule so that it’s easy to set up an interview.

Allow us to provide some tips for best communication practices for your job search:

  • Make sure any phone number provided is working properly.
  • If you can’t answer a call right away, be sure to call back as soon as possible, preferably the same day.
  • Make sure your voice mail greeting is personalized, friendly and professional.
  • Have a professional email address, preferably your full name @ the email domain.
  • Check your email frequently and respond promptly.
  • Regularly check any social media through which you might receive messages (LinkedIn, for example).

Everyone’s time is valuable, and while there are obviously circumstances that arise that are out of our control, the key is to be flexible and responsive.  Don’t let the opportunity fall to someone else.  Make it easy for people to communicate with you!

Counter Offers

Things at work are horrible.  You start a job search and lo and behold, you are eventually offered a position with a great company, opportunities to advance, and a higher salary.  But when you tender your resignation, your manager protests and comes at you with a counter offer.  This may be in the form of more money, added responsibilities, or new perks. Tempting to stay, isn’t it?

Before you immediately accept such an offer, consider these things:

  1. Why did it take your resigning to compensate you appropriately?
  2. Will you need to put yourself through a nerve-wracking job search every time you find conditions unacceptable?
  3. How will your colleagues and managers feel if you stay? They are bound to find out what happened, as offices are full of politics and gossip.
  4. Will you always be asking yourself “What if…” after you’ve closed the door on the new opportunity?

You can count on management to be less than pleased that they were essentially given an ultimatum.  They may feel that you have been disloyal, and therefore will not hesitate to let you go should they fall upon difficult times or find a cheaper replacement.

Of course, this strategy may work.  You are within your rights to request reasonable changes and be paid what you are worth.  But more often than not, your current employer will be flustered, and the company you turn down might feel used as leverage.  You don’t want to burn any bridges, so think very carefully before attempting this strategy and making this crucial decision.