||Ask The Headhunter
||Nick Corcodilos appeared on the
Career Channel. This is the transcript.
Yahoomc: Alright folks -- Here he is, Nick
Corcodilos -- It's time to 'Ask the Headhunter'!
Nick: Greetings, All. Welcome to Ask The Headhunter
dongs1_76 asks: I am a recent graduate
with a BS in Biology looking for a job in an internet company or finance. How do I prepare
Nick: First, you've got to "qualify"
yourself by researching the Internet industry -- are you really ready for a job there?
Second, start selecting specific companies you'd like to work for. Just looking for job
listings doesn't cut it. That puts you in automatic competition with hordes of job
hunters. Take 4-5 of those companies, and research the heck out of them. Your goal is to
actually talk to people who know a company or work there. Employees, customers, vendors.
This is how you build your knowledge, and it also gives you the insider contacts you'll
need. The key is not to ask for a job, but to get to know people on the inside who can
introduce you. That's the best way to run a job search.
voodootwang asks: I've had no luck with
headhunters, i'm a design engineer, solid modeling want to get into digital animation, I
find headhunters are not up to date on current technologies, is this the case? what am i
doing wrong, i havent had one reply from any.
Nick: Remember that headhunters aren't in business to
help you find a job. Their job is to fill positions for their clients. They're very busy
doing that. That's why they don't return your calls. If you happen to fit an assignment
they're on, they might call. The best headhunters aren't experts in the fields they
recruit in, but they're very knowledgable My advice: you don't really need a headhunter.
You need to learn to think like one. On the ATH web site, please check The Basics, How To Find A Good
Headhunter, and Computer Graphics & Animation.
SymboliQ asks: nick, i recently left my
job after personality conflicts with manager. how do i approach this subject in interviews
Nick: Don't approach it at all. If the employer asks why
you left, all you need say is that you want to work for his company. The key to success in
an interview is to CONTROL it without appearing arrogant. Do that by keeping the focus on
the work. Answer all other Q's very briefly, and then say something like, "What sort
of challenges will the person you hire face? Can you give me an example of... a problem
you'd want me to tackle if you hire me? I'd like to show you how I'd approach it."
That keeps the discussion on what matters. Try it -- it works!
blues_before_sunrise_99 asks: My husband
has been with the same company for tens years and is a computer production
manager/scheduler. He'd like to leave the company but the pay is no where near to what
he's making. Any suggestions?
Nick: Most career changes involve a cut in pay. But you
can't look at it as a loss. It's an investment. (Sorry if that sounds corny.) The key is
to assess what the growth curve at the new job will be. It's perfectly acceptable to ask
an employer about that in an interview. But you also have to accept that you may have to
take a cut in pay to make the shift. Will the new job bring you back up the pay scale in a
reasonable period of time? If it will, it's probably worth the investment.
misspeach_99 asks: When job seeking, and
you're going into a male dominated area, should your dress be more femine or just regular
Nick: Never let the men dictate how you should dress. As
long as your demeanor is professional, you should wear what you want. Do not wear
"more feminine" clothes because you think it will "help". What matters
most is how good your work is and how people regard you. Clothing is a part of that, so
use your judgment. If it seems wrong to you, or makes you uncomfortable, then don't wear
it. You might want to check the Women's Edge section of Ask The
nary_a_clue asks: I have been working
contract for several months. The client company offered to hire me directly, but with a
pay cut. They say the benifits are worth more than the difference in pay. I disagree. What
is your take on this?
Nick: You should run the numbers before you conclude you
are right. An employer's "overhead" on you may run anywhere from 25-50%. It's a
big mistake to think that as an employee you should be able to earn what you do as a
contractor. One big issue: security. If you lose a contracting job, you have to market
yourself and possibly take time off to do so. A FT job doesn't require that. (At least if
you don't get laid off!) Please run the numbers -- I think you'll find that the employer
is right, but I can't tell you by how much. Check the Consulting
Jobs Primer for more.
ghw4 asks: I'm a 37m middle manager who's
been with the same company for 15 yrs. The company is good. We're an ESOP, but I'm not
going anywhere. Should I stay or go?
Nick: It's important to carefully evaluate the criteria
that you base your decision on Today's "job market" is "hot". That
leads people to think they should consider changing jobs. That's not necessarily true. You
may be able to find a better job in your own company. (See my articles The Job Search Starts At Home and The
Wall Says It's Time To Go... it's about this very decision.
arymayv asks: I have been working at the
same company for 10yrs, and was able to make a career change within the company. However,
now that I have 5yrs experience, and have been downsized, I've found that my salary is $15
to $20K less than the market. Any suggestions as to how to handle the salary history
Nick: Yep. Decline to divulge your salary history. This
is very controversial, and it has generated more postings and email than any other topic
on Ask The Headhunter. I don't believe your salary history is anyone's business,
especially an interviewer's. As soon as you divulge your salary, you kill your negotiating
edge. Yet people answer the Q all the time. I wrote a whole article about this, Keep Your Salary Under Wraps. In the article I explain that you
can tell the employer your last salary is confidential because the company's employee
policy makes it confidential. In many cases this is true. Check your employee manual. It
likely says that anything between you and the company is confidential. Your salary
included. More and more of my readers on ATH have taken the position that their salary is
confidential, and employers are backing off.
XxXGrinspoonXxX asks: Are G.E.D.'s looked
down on by Employers?
Nick: Personally, I admire anyone who gets a GED. Don't
apologize for it or act like you're a "second class academic citizen" for it. Be
proud of it. I don't think you'll face a problem. Just remember: Keep the interview
focused on how you're going to make the employer more profitable if they hire you. That's
what counts. That's what the entire Ask The Headhunter site tries to teach people: How to
win the job by showing -- in the interview -- that you can DO the job and do it
profitably. If you don't believe me, check the collection of readers'
Basketball_grl_99 asks: I already have a
professionally done resume, I have been searching for jobs but most of them I am too young
for even though I am very capable of the job, what can I do??
Nick: Throw out the resume. Resumes are the absolure
WORST way to land a job. I discuss this at length in Resume
Blasphemy. Resumes encourage people to go after too many jobs at once. Here's the key:
Stop looking for jobs. Stop sending out resumes. Stop reading want ads. Instead, pick out
the companies you'd love to work for. Get to know them. Meet people who work there or who
work with the company in some capacity. (Vendor, customer, etc.) You can prepare for your
approach to the company by creating what is essentially a "non-resume". I
discuss it in the aforementioned article. To produce that resume, you have to get to know
the company and meet the people. And it's the people who get you in the door. Relying on
resumes makes people lazy about job hunting. Imagine if companies hired only people from
whom they got a resume. Most companies I've ever known hire most people through their
personal contacts. Try it -- it's a lot of work, but so's that great job you want, right??
vose5 asks: I'm a poet, former hospital
secretary, and stringer for a newspaper. I'm interested in looking into writing on for a
web company. What is out there and how do I train for it?
Nick: Writing for the web is not much different from the
regular print world. I know lots of people who have made the transition. For example, Sam
Meddis, who writes the excellent Technology section of USA TODAY started as a lowly
reporter for a regional NJ newspaper. Start by finding some relatively local publications
that also have web editions. Approach them and offer to write some web columns. You may
work for little or no $$ to start. But that will build your skills and credibility. What
matters most is your ability as a writer -- if you're good, they'll love you. Look at me:
I started the ATH site 5 years ago, with NO experience online. I learned by doing and by
making lots of mistakes. If the writing is good, and you know your subject, word gets
helplz asks: How do you handle the lack
of referances..been contractor for to many years and committed the fatal didn't keep
Nick: Ah, that's a no-no :-) It's absolutely
critical to stay in touch with people you work with. References don't have to be past
bosses. They can be customers, vendors, co-workers or anyone who knows the quality of your
work. I'd take some time and try to track down at least 2-3 of these kinds of folks. You
can't just say you have no references... it's very suspect. If you're desperate, you might
be able to get around this by putting together something that shows examples of the
quality of your work.
Migrainer asks: If interviewers want a
recommendation from your current boss, but the current boss is a raging psycho, is there
an alternative way of providing a recommendation?
Nick: No one in their right mind expects a job
candidate to provide a current boss as a reference. Never offer that. Always explain that
your current boss is off limits because if he knew you were looking, it could cost you
your job. (In rare situations, your boss could be a reference, of course.) Just tell the
employer that you have other great references... even some co-workers who could talk about
you, but not your boss. Any reasonable employer would accept that.
Sweetd_45 asks: How marketable is a woman
of 53 who has 30 years of full charge bookkeeping experience with expertise in job costing
in the construction industry?
Nick: If you're good at what you do, you can win a great
job. PLEASE, don't get hung up on your age. Yes, some employers will discriminate, but in
my experience most won't. Here's the key: your attitude. I've met some very talented older
workers who are so concerned about their age that they project that fear, and employers
smell it. It suggests to them that you'll carry it into the job, and that it will cause
problems with younger workers. Act like a pro who isn't concerned about age, and I think
you'll do great. For more on this, check my article Too Old To
Rock & Roll? in The HH Articles section of Ask The Headhunter.
rglovepup asks: How do you know when it
is time to move on......I feel I have been passed over twice. But company says I am still
inline. How do I call the bluff?
Nick: Never bluff or mess around with bluffs. The best
thing to do is put yourself on the block and find out what you're worth, both in terms of
$$ and in terms of the kinds of jobs you could win. THEN go to your employer and tell them
that if they don't give you one of several jobs you've got your eye on, you may have to
consider other options. However, NEVER threaten to leave or take another job. That doesn't
work. Approach this professionally and diplomatically, and ONLY when you have some other
solid opportunities ready to go. The article The Wall Says It's Time
To Go on the ATH site will help you with this.
GroovyMango asks: Have you found that the
job websites (Monster Board, Hot Jobs, etc.) have had a big effect on your business?
Nick: Oh, absolutely! My clients call me more often with
more assignments. The job sites have created an interesting phenomenon: they have devalued
the resume to the point where it's worth almost nothing. Think about it: if there are 20
million resumes available for free on the Net, the value of any one resume approaches
zero. Who can dig through all that stuff? One of my clients ran ads on several major
career sites. They got 7,000 applicants. The company had to hire 2 temps to sort the
resumes. They interviewed 7. Hired none. They called me with the assignment. There are
several articles related to this on the ATH site. In The HH Articles, see Job Netting. In Guest Voices, see Mining
The Net For Candidates for an employer's interesting perspective. She explains how she
does NOT use the career sites. She uses the newsgroups to recruit from. In a nutshell, the
job sites create more work and confusion for employers. Every good headhunter I know is
swamped with work right now.
arymayv asks: I have passed up a trying
for a number of opportunities because the commute would be too long and unpredictable. I
would consider a much larger geographical area if telecommuting was an option 2 or more
days a week. I haven't tried to sell the idea yet. Any suggestions?
Nick: Telecommuting became a good idea years ago when
AT&T championed it. (Any wonder??) Then AT&T backed away from telecommuting for
its own employees. It's simply too hard to manage most people that way. Some companies are
making good efforts, but such jobs are very hard to find. Most telecommuting jobs are
given to people who have a solid track record at a company. They can be trusted to follow
through. The best telecommuting jobs today are those where you run your own business.
You're the boss. It's not easy to start such a business, though. Wish I could give you a
more hopeful response, but it's a tough gig.
id1_1234 asks: I was recently hired for a
wonderful job opportunity, but my backround check came up with a bizarre warrant for my
arrest from Florida. It was on a Florida drivers license, which I have never had, and from
a time I was never in Florida. I am really embarrassed, although it wasn't me. I am
spending over four thousand on an attorney, but, I feel I lost the job. How can I revive
Nick: Ouch. All you can do is hand the employer a court
document that explains it wasn't you. Do this with the hiring manager, not the HR dept.
You need to appeal on a personal level. If you don't get much of a response, move on to
the next employer. I'm sorry to hear you had this experience.
dongs1_76 asks: I just had a job
interview for a company that deals primarily with bank loans and to be honest, I did very
poorly on the interview. I felt like I knew very little about the industry I was looking
in. Can you suggest any tips?
Nick: Yep: research the heck out of an industry before
you interview with any company in it. Don't feel too bad, though. Most people are sort of
brainwashed... they go interview with any company that wants to talk to them, just because
they were invited. This is the single biggest cause of bad hires and bad jobs, in my
opinion. Think about it: America's employment system encourages people to apply for jobs
with companies they don't know and to interview with people who don't know THEM. It's like
blind dating. It doesn't work well. Please learn something from this. If a company isn't
worth researching in excruciating detail, it isn't worth interviewing with. And if you're
not willing to do all that work in advance, you don't deserve the job. Please check some
of the articles on the ATH site. They'll teach you how to job
hunt intelligently. Don't feel bad: this is a problem most people face. Just do something
about it. I wish you the best.
TooEdu asks: What would you recommend for
a Canadian who wants to work in the States. My education is mostly American and I have 2
Masters degrees (MBA & CIS) I also have extensive managerial, accounting and
Nick: I'll be honest with you, I don't know what the work
restrictions are on Canadians in the US. My best advice is to not job hunt blindly via
ads. Pick the companies that interest you, read about them, and call the people in those
companies who are mentioned in the articles. (This is a very powerful technique in any
situation.) Call them and ask their advice. If you're honest and straightforward, I'll bet
you'll get some good help.
jenandjazz asks: What resources do you
recommend to do research on specific companies?
Nick: Your local library, even more than the Net. Of
course, you should use the Net: the SEC's EDGAR data base, Hoover's, and Yahoo! But I'll take one good reference
librarian at my local library over the next ten search engines. Start with your reference librarian. You'll be surprised how
much help he or she can be, and it's free!
helplz asks: I need to explore your site
in more detail - will you do another chat in the future
Nick: Sure, we'll be doing more Ask The Headhunter chats
on Yahoo! Meanwhile, you'll find lots of resources on the ATH site. ATH is not a
traditional careers site -- it's pure advice. No job or resume postings. You should also
get a copy of my book -- at the bookstore or library -- you'll
find it helpful. Thanks to all for coming today! Hope to see you again at the next
Yahoomc: Thanks Nick and thanks to all of
you for your great questions! Be sure to check out Nick's site at www.asktheheadhunter.com
for a bunch of great info! Good night!
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