Saturday, March 27, 2021

Things NOT To Say At A Job Interview and Six Red Flags That Say Perhaps That Job Isn't For You

We all know that going on a job interview is cause for varying degrees of anxiety.  We're uncomfortable, very concerned about making a good impression both personally and with our resume and work history.  Saying the wrong thing…misspeaking…is upper in our mind.

All of this discomfort is part of the process.  But, there are those who go beyond the bounds of mere jittery nerves.  The following comments were actually said during the course of a job interview.

Q:  Why did you leave your last job?

A:  "I have a problem with authority."

Q:  Why should we hire you?

A:  "I would be a great asset to the events team because I party all the time."

Q:  Do you have any questions?

A:  "Cross dressing isn't a problem, is it?"

Q:  Why are you leaving your current job?

A:  "I was fired from my last job because they were forcing me to attend anger management classes."

Q:  Why do you want to work for us?

A:  "My old boss didn't like me, so one day I just left and never came back.  And here I am!"

Q:  What are your weaknesses? [related to job skills]

A:  "I get angry easily and I went to jail for domestic violence.  But I won't get mad at you."

Q:  When have you demonstrated leadership skills?

A:  "Well my best example would be in the world of online video gaming.  I pretty much run the show.  It takes a lot to do that."

Q:  Is there anything else I should know about you?

A:  "You should probably know I mud wrestle on the weekends."

Q:  When can you start?

A:  "I need to check with my mom on that one."

Q:  Have you submitted your two weeks' notice to your current employer?

A:  "What is two weeks' notice?  I've never quit a job before.  I've always been fired."

The following are random responses and comments made by job seekers at interviews.

"If I get an offer, how long do I have before I have to take the drug test?"

"When you do background checks on candidates, do things like public drunkenness arrests come up?"

"May I have a cup of coffee?  I think I may still be a little drunk from last night."

And finally…

[During a telephone call to schedule the interview]  "Can we meet next month?  I am currently incarcerated."

While we put a lot of effort into that all important job hunt, we should not be so anxious to land a job…any job…that we ignore those red flags trying to tell us this might not be the best place to work.

While those red flags might be flying during your interview, you could be so busy talking about how well you work with your team or bragging about your killer sales record that you don't see them flapping in the wind trying to get your attention. Or you pretend you don't see them. You pretend you don't hear the interviewer complain about a colleague or working long hours. Or you decide it's no big deal that she interrupted your interview twice to take a call.

If getting the job means a large pay increase, or if you've been looking for a job for quite a while with no luck, you're more likely to ignore the signs. But if you don't want to be job hunting again in a few months, you need to pay attention to those red flags.

The good news is that there are usually clues during the interview process that you could be heading for trouble. Spot any of these signs, and you may want to turn down that job offer you've been seeking.

Your interviewer is late. Being a few minutes late for an interview is no big deal. However, if someone is 15 or 20 minutes late, that deserves some added attention on your part especially if your interviewer doesn't appear to care. Being on time is a sign of respect for both the interviewer and the interviewee.

And rescheduling your interview a few times doesn't bode well, either. Your interviewer might be overworked or disorganized, and you really don't want to work in that type of situation and atmosphere.

Your interviewer hasn't reviewed your résumé. If the hiring manager isn't familiar with your background, you have to wonder why you're being interviewed at all. If the person who is doing the hiring hasn't taken the time to read your résumé then that person isn't doing their job.

Ideally, the hiring manager and your potential boss will have called you in because they've carefully read and discussed your résumé and read your online profiles. If they haven't done this, they're not invested enough in bringing in the right person, or they're just desperate to hire someone…anyone.

There's confusion about the position. Sometimes you get called in for an interview through a referral or because you have a great résumé, and the manager is trying to figure out where you fit. You may wind up getting hired, but the job you get might not be best suited to you.

Taking a job because you like the company or the manager isn't enough. Try to pin down specifics about what you will do and how you will be evaluated. Can't get any information? Perhaps it's best to walk away.

Your interviewer checks email and texts. It's just too rude. Your interviewer should be paying attention to the interview, not checking his cell phone. And if someone is that uninterested in what you are saying, there's a good chance that you won't be hired anyway.

The department has a lot of turnover. During your interview, ask why the previous employee in that position resigned, as well as how long that employee had been in that specific job and how long with the company. When you meet other team members, ask them about their career paths.

If many team members are recent hires, be sure there is a sound business reason for the hiring spree, such as a new product or client or a round of funding. Otherwise, too much employee turnover hints at a toxic boss, culture, or work atmosphere.

You hear negative comments about the job situation you're interested in or read them online. If your interviewer criticizes the person you will be replacing, other team members, a boss or even the company in general, don't disregard it as unimportant. It isn't professional, and it might mean you will be working for someone who doesn't respect other people or is impossible to please.

Pay attention to negative comments in online reviews of the company as well. A few negative reviews are one thing—there are always a few disgruntled employees. But if there are many such comments, consider yourself warned. Look for patterns in the comments, too. If the same negative words or phrases pop up in many reviews, such as political, lacking vision or endless hours, the problem might be the general atmosphere or the leadership, rather than a single manager.

So, with all of this information at your fingertips…good luck with the job search!

Saturday, March 20, 2021


I think of doing a resumé when job hunting to be similar to writing a synopsis of your story before writing the manuscript…a dreaded task that no one wants to do but it's necessary.

With a synopsis you need to convey the storyline, who your main characters are, their conflict and how it's resolved, and the emotion that fits into the story—providing an editor with the feel of your story as well as the events that take place. And the catch that makes it a daunting task? Trying to fit all that into the very limited number of pages as set forth by the publisher without it reading like an impersonal listing of items.

A similar problem exists when putting together a resumé. I've heard it said that a resumé should never be more than one page long, therefore brevity is a must. But on the other hand, you need to provide a prospective employer with a clear picture of your qualifications and experience.

So, what do you put in and what do you leave out?

I recently came across a list of 5 things you should not put on your resumé which I'd like to share with you.

Your Age:

People doing the hiring need to know what you can bring to the company rather than how many years you've been alive. I think it's actually illegal in the U.S. for a prospective employer to ask the age of anyone 18 years of age up to the retirement age. And along with listing your specific age goes the following no-no items:

            Listing professional experience more than 15 years old.

            Providing an exact number of years of professional experience in your opening summary. For example: 'senior accountant with more than 25 years of experience in...'  According to experts, this type of data invites age discrimination. And don't forget that age bias goes both ways—a resume that says you are too young for the job isn't to your advantage, either.

Listing Tasks or Duties Without Results:

Your resumé needs to go beyond listing the jobs you've done: It must convey what you've accomplished on those jobs. Many applicants miss this key distinction. Saying you reorganized the filing system conveys the task but that's all. But saying that you increased office productivity 20% by reorganizing the filing system conveys both the task an positive results.

Explanations of Anything Negative

A resumé needs to present a positive picture of the person applying for a job. If there's something negative that needs explaining, do it in person at your interview rather than in your resumé.

A List of Every Job You've Ever Held

Prospective employers don't want to know about that summer job you had—unless you're applying for a job where that specific experience is relevant. List the work you've done in the past 10 to 15 years that tells an employer you're a skilled, reliable fit for the job. However (tricky line here), employers don't want to see gaps in your employment history so you need to account for that time.

Personal Details

Employers usually don't care about your marital status, race, sexual orientation or hobbies, unless they are somehow relevant to the job. Including personal data is a novice mistake. Your resumé is just the first step in securing a job. At this phase of the process, those personal details aren't necessary. Today's job seeker usually sends a resumé via email and that means there's no way to know exactly who or how many people will see it. With identity theft becoming a larger and larger problem, you need to protect your personal information from anonymous eyes.

And here's a few more quick tips:

Make sure your resumé is free of typos, grammar goofs, and factual errors (like getting a company's name wrong).

Don't list your salary history unless the employer demands it.

Don't worry about providing references on your resumé. You can do that in a separate document.

Good luck on the job hunt. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

10 Incredible Scientific Discoveries About Dogs

Dogs—commonly referred to as man's best friend. Somewhere between 11,000 and 15,000 years ago, dogs were among the first of the animals to be domesticated by man and are well known for being loving and loyal. They also have many lesser-known and quite fascinating traits.

Here's a list of 10 of those qualities.

10) They have 3 eyelids. Like people, dogs have top and bottom ones that move up and down. They also have one that originates in the corner of the eye and moves side to side. Its purpose is to clear mucus and debris from the eye, something we humans do with our hands.

9) Dogs really do love their humans. MRI scans reveal that when presented with the scents of various people and canines, the reward centers of the dog's brain is most responsive to the aromas of their human companions.

8) They're just as smart as toddlers. Specially designed IQ tests show that dogs' capabilities are on par with the typical 2-year-old. That means they're capable of learning over 150 words and gestures.

7) Dog paws often smell like snack foods. There's some debate as to whether the particular scent is popcorn or corn chips, but either way the cause of it has been linked to a bacteria dogs pick up while walking.

6) Canines possess the ability of night vision. It's not on the same level as cats, but it is superior to that of humans. A dog's pupils are larger and their central retinas have more cells dedicated to light sensitivity than to color detection. That gives them an upper hand when it comes to making out objects in dim light.

5) Every nose is unique. The Canadian Kennel Club has been using nose prints as a means of individual identification since the 1930s and many organizations have followed suit.

4) They most likely dream. Proof isn't at the 100 percent mark, but there is an abundance of support backing the claim. Much of it is based on brain attributes and behaviors that dogs and humans share. Among them are structure and the occurrence of electrical impulses during the deep sleep stage.

3) Fur isn't just about warmth. In the summer it acts as insulation, keeping heat from reaching their bodies. Fur also protects their skin from the sun's damaging rays.

2) They really do listen when you talk. Even better, they've been shown to understand a lot of what's being said. Though they're not able to decipher the words, dogs can interpret certain sounds and the message's overall emotional tone.

1) Dogs aren't nearly as sweaty as humans. That's largely because rather than having sweat glands all over the bodies, as people do, dogs only have them in their paws. To cool off, they rely mostly on panting. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Cats Have Super, Psychedelic Vision

Science has known that birds, insects, reptiles, and fish can detect ultraviolet light. Recent studies show that more animals share this ability than originally believed. A new study shows that cats and dogs may be able to see UV, too.

Cats are nocturnal and have been thought of as being able to see in the dark. They have long been a symbol of the mysterious. It's now believed they can see things invisible to humans such as psychedelic stripes on flowers and flashy patterned feathers on birds. The secret to this is ultraviolet light detection, an ability shared by many animals but not humans. Snow reflects UV but white fur does not, allowing reindeer to see polar bears at a distance. Humans would just see a blur of all white.

It is assumed that most mammals do not see UV because they have no visual pigment sensitive to UV. They have lenses like those of man that prevent UV from reaching the retina. Certain people, such as those who have had their lenses replaced during cataract surgery, can see some UV, but most humans cannot.

Humans are good at seeing detail. If we didn't have a lens that removed the UV so that we don't see it, the world would appear more blurry.

Next week I'll share some facts about dogs.