Negative Talk

Don’t engage in it while networking.

There are many reasons people are in the job market.  Unfortunately, some of those reasons aren’t pretty.  You were downsized, the company moved out of state, or you resigned because you didn’t see eye-to-eye with new management.  While it’s important to be honest, there is a fine line between candor and what can be misconstrued as unprofessionalism.  Many candidates, understandably upset with the situation, are quick to finger-point and assign blame.  Maybe the boss was an unreasonable jerk, but saying this is not advisable.

First, companies are interested in candidates that are not just qualified to do the job, but enthusiastic about their organization.  They want someone who is genuinely interested in making a commitment and a contribution.  Plus, they might wonder if they too will be smeared if any difficulties should arise.

Second, we all know by now how small the world is.  Word gets around very quickly.  Social networking allows us to “meet” people with a few clicks.  Therefore, what you say about so-and-so can, more easily than ever, get back to him or her.  This is especially important in niche industries like logistics, where, if you talk to someone long enough, you are bound to know someone in common.

Finally, peppering a conversation with all the ways the previous company wronged you undermines your strengths and detracts from all your shining qualifications.  Don’t avoid questions about why you are no longer with a particular company or why you’re looking for other opportunities, but use diplomacy and tact.  People tend to be more understanding than we think, especially with something out of our control.  You can’t go wrong by staying POSITIVE!