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Job Hunting in the Age of LinkedIn

After selling the restaurant my husband and I owned for 12 years, I recently joined the ranks of middle-aged job hunters. The last time I looked for a job, there was no LinkedIn, so the past few months have been a crash course in how to get hired in the Internet age. They have also been eye-opening about how companies use the Web to look for new hires. Having hired many employees over the course of my career, I have some advice for them:

Choose the right venue for your advertisement. Online job boards often are a gateway to unsolicited emails for jobs in fields unrelated to one's search, or an application process that is not suitable to every position and thus won't be completed by the applicant. During my job hunt, I made daily, cursory scans of the updates on the job boards I learned worked best for me. If one interested me, I'd look at it, but if I was asked to create an account to move along in the application process, I wouldn't proceed. And if you are looking to fill a position locally, advertise locally. Your daily local newspaper may seem old-fashioned, but it can be ideal.

Write an effective ad. Skip the company mission and self-kudos; we'll Google GOOG +1.98% you. Write a succinct description of the crucial skills, education and experience requirements, and an even shorter description of the job duties. Try to avoid issuing warnings like 'must pass a drug test,' or 'a background check will be conducted.' Dissuading drug addicts and scofflaws is not a great advertisement for your business. Most important, write in plain English. There may be a person who is an excellent fit who has not worked in your industry before. Using jargon sends a message that your company is a members-only club.

Ask for what you need, but do not be gratuitous in your demands. If personal appearance and presentation are important, have your applicants apply in person. If a clean background check for sensitive employment is crucial, applicants get that. But for most situations, a r嗷sum嗷 and cover letter are sufficient. If you are seeking even an entry-level employee, give applicants an opportunity to submit a r嗷sum嗷 and cover letter before asking them to fill out an employment application. A r嗷sum嗷 is a mark of professionalism and may help you distinguish one applicant from another.

Lose the online assessments. I've now taken several assessment tests in different industries, and the questions are consistently convoluted and seemed designed for only one purpose: to weed out anyone who thinks for themselves. Corporate HR consultants should remember that nurses sometimes save lives when they question a doctor's orders.

Prepare for the interview. The five standard questions you learned in your M.B.A. program aren't appropriate for every applicant. Asking a 25-year-old to identify her weaknesses might tell you something about her maturity or professional seriousness. Asking a 50-year-old the same will likely reveal little, as he has already corrected the really glaring ones to be successful. If you ask questions that get to the essence of what you are looking for, and then give an applicant a chance to reveal his values and character, rather than looking for canned answers, you will come closer to finding a good fit.

Don't be a chicken. If you are not feeling it during an interview, move on. The applicant will be in a much better place if you do something as radical as walking them out while you thank them for their time and respectfully explain why this job is not going to work out. You will have saved yourself a follow-up phone call (if you are so courteous) and given the job hunter some valuable feedback.<纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/>

Communicate. Applying for jobs, even by email, is like launching a boomerang that often never returns. Is it asking too much to expect employers to use the technology of which they are so fond of to acknowledge the receipt of a submission? I have read of applicants for mid-management jobs with large corporations being notified by form email or robocall that they will not be hired. I personally had three interviews and wrote two thank-you notes for one position, yet was never informed of its disposition. We have all heard the phrase, 'It's just business.' Well who you are in business is who you are. Manners are manners.

When you find the right person, hire him. The vast majority of jobs can be learned by an individual of average to above-average intelligence in pretty short order. What can't be taught are the intangibles that signal to your gut that this is the right person. In my experience, training a quality person with reasonable intelligence who was a blank canvas when it came to my business yielded exactly the sort of long-term, invested employee I was seeking.

After several months of searching, I'm happy to report that I recently acquired a new position. I found the ad in the local paper: It was a single line asking for submissions in person. After the interview, like most people, I berated myself for my performance, but I felt really good that human beings in a quality business would make the decision-not a computer or one of its glitches.



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