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JerksAtWork.com
Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the JerksAtWork.com homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.
 
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Finding a Job

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


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I am a professional with 38 years of progressive responsibility in a technical field. I placed my resume on a job website and had 37 hits and zero inquiries. There is no apparent interest in a person 59 years old. Why are companies totally resistant to hiring someone my age? Should I mask the evidence in my resume?
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Is it okay to ask almost as many questions as the interviewer when you are interviewing for a job? For example, can I ask how many people I will be working with, what are the expectations of the department, how many candidates are applying for this job, and more?
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I applied for a job in a company and heard nothing for three months. I called once and got tossed around on their voice mail system, but never talked to anyone. I just received a rejection letter, an ice-cold form letter that has several typos. Even my name is spelled wrong. I'm annoyed and I'd like to write them back, but I'm wondering if it is worth it.
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A couple of years ago, I helped a friend get a job. He has done well and was just promoted again. I was recently laid off, and I contacted him to see if he could help me. When he didn't return my call after a week, I called him back, and he still did not call me. Should I try again?
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I am in a sales/marketing position with a manufacturing company, and I am considering changing jobs. I informally met with a marketing manager from a dot.com company. I am not a techie, but I am not ignorant in technology either. I could hardly understand what this person was saying. The vocabulary was almost completely foreign, and I am wondering if this is his problem or mine?
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When providing a reference, my former employer makes it clear to prospective employers that he had a problem with me. It's not so much what he says, since the company has a policy of only verifying employment, but how he says it. I know this is true because one of the prospective employers told me so after calling him for a reference. What can be done about this?
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About a month ago, I accepted a position with one company, and the next day I received an offer with a different company, and I told them I had already accepted a position elsewhere. After a month of employment, it didn't work out and now I'm looking for a job again. Would it be okay to contact the other company and ask them if they still have a position open, or should I just move on?
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I am graduating from college in June, and I am trying to find a marketing job, but I haven't found anything. There's not much interviewing going on at my school, and I'm starting to get nervous. What do you suggest for new grads?
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I have every single qualification that a company required in its ad for a manager, and I sent them a cover letter and electronic resume, but I heard nothing. I sent a follow-up note and even left a voice-mail message for the person doing the search, but I cannot get a reply. I really think I would be a good match with this company. Is there anything else I should do?
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I am an over 50-year-old woman, and my boss is an alcoholic. Some days he can be normal, but on most days he yells, screams, and curses at me for no reason. I am scared to death of him. I have been on the job for over two years, but I cannot tolerate his behavior any more. I have sent out resumes and received no replies. I am discouraged. What can you suggest?
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When I apply for jobs that are listed online, I figure that there are numerous applicants, so I send in my resume several times. One of my friends in human resources says this is a waste of time, but I think that this shows persistence. Do you think it's worth doing?
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During a job interview earlier this week, the interviewer took two cell phone calls. He didn't mention that he might have to take some calls, and he didn't say anything afterwards. I was annoyed, but didn't say anything because this was a job interview. If this happens again, is it worth saying something?
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My husband was laid off three months ago, and I am concerned about the way he is trying to find another job. He finds ads for positions that he's not truly qualified for and then applies. He's a great guy with many skills, but there is no way he'll get these jobs. When I try to talk to him about it, he just gets upset. What do you suggest?
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Last year I gave notice to the company where I had been for 11 years. I stayed on for three extra months until they found the right person to replace me. During this time, I suffered a severe medical condition which required surgery and a long recovery. I am now searching for a new job and am unsure how to explain the break in my employment history. My previous company will provide excellent references, but I am afraid I will be passed over, even though I am highly qualified.
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The woman I report to, a vice president, is one of the cruelest people I have ever met! I am one of two managers who report to her, and she constantly belittles both of us in public, and she will literally attack over trifling matters. We have gone to senior management and to the Director of Human Resources, but to no avail. She and the HR Director are close personal friends, so that made things even worse. I am looking for another job, but I would like to know what to do in the interim.
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I have been laid off for the past five months. I went on two interviews that appeared to go very well, and the interviewers said they would call me either way. I actually turned down another position because I felt assured an offer was coming. I left voice messages and e-mails, but heard nothing. Is this a new trend? Should I continue to press for a response or just let it go?
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I was fired from my previous job as a medical assistant. A specimen was lost and I was told that it was my fault, but it wasn't. The office manager would not listen to my side, so I was dismissed. I have completed several applications that ask if you have been fired and why. What do I write? What will they do? Will they give me a chance to explain? What if I don't write it down?
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I have written online about myself and some of my previous employers, and sometimes my language was harsh. I'm going to be changing jobs soon, and I know there's a lot of talk about companies checking applicants' online behaviors. Is that really happening now?
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I know that screeners do not spend much time reading resumes, so I am changing my resume to include only job titles and dates of employment. Anyone who reads the resume should understand my work just by the titles. With this approach, I think I stand a better chance of getting called for an interview. Do you agree?
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I can see the handwriting on the wall, and I don't think I am going to be with this company much longer. I would like to move into an industry that is stronger, more secure, and offers more opportunity, and I was wondering if you can suggest some growth fields.
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We conduct group interviews, and we just finished up interviewing a good applicant for an accounting position. The only problem was that he was extremely negative in describing most of his previous employers. His comments were bitter, mean, and unnecessarily insulting. We are split on what to do. What do you think?
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I am looking for a job, and I get very nervous and stressed before every interview, and then I don't present myself as well as I could. Are there some ways to eliminate this nervousness?
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I had a very good job interview a little over a week ago. My experience was a perfect match, and the interviewer and I got along real well. At the end, he said that he would contact me and set up the next step. Since then, I have heard nothing. I have sent a couple of e-mails, and I have called him, all with no response. What should I do?
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I am an experienced Credit Manager, and after I took a year off to finish my Master's, I returned to an hourly position for almost three years now. It was supposed to be temporary until I found a better job, but the benefits are good and nothing better has surfaced. I know I am not spending enough time on my job search, but I am not sure of the best way to do it. I cannot take a big drop in salary because I am head of my household, 51 years old, and saving for retirement. What do you advise?
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I am a 58 year-old woman with over 15 years in executive support and a great resume. Even though there is not supposed to be any age discrimination these days, do you feel there is? What are we mature people supposed to do? I am applying through agencies, newspaper ads, and the Internet. What other advice can you give?
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I was laid off from an accounting clerk job I held for just two months. The company was very small and unorganized, and the boss's daughter constantly told me she would be coming in to help, but she never did. I'm wondering how to avoid a situation like this in the future. Can I ask a job interviewer how they are planning on training me? Should I even put this two-month job on my resume?
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I'm going to a job fair in about three weeks. I went to one last year and there were long lines for the employers I wanted to meet, so I met with several smaller companies and ended up with nothing. I don't want to spend all of my time in line, but I don't want a repeat of last year. What's the best strategy?
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I am in the middle of a very frustrating job hunt. I have made follow-up phone calls after being interviewed, but after experiencing the annoyed voices of human resources officials telling me that they will call me if they wish to follow up, I have to ask, is it me or have standards changed?
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I responded to an ad by sending a cover letter and my resume. I received a letter back saying that in order to receive further consideration, I needed to provide letters from my previous employers verifying my experience, and proof of authorization to work in the United States. Is this as unusual as I think it is?
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I was terminated in my last 3 jobs, but there are two sides to each of these stories. I have been through several job interviews recently, but I am not getting called back, and I am certain that this is because of the terminations. Do you have any suggestions?
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I recently registered with several employment agencies to assist me in my job search. I am a qualified receptionist/administrative assistant with good references. The job interviews that I am sent on are "less than professional" places to work. I wish I could find an agency that would truly be interested in helping me find a decent place to work. Any suggestions?
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I went to a job interview and gave the interviewer copies of some very positive letters written by some of my former employers. He tossed them aside and said letters aren't worth much because no one ever puts anything negative in writing. Are reference letters useless?
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A good friend of mine works in the back office of a small medical practice. She feels picked on by the doctor and the receptionist. The receptionist complains constantly, and the doctor allows himself to be drawn into her gossip about the back office staff. I've told my friend that she should find an office where there are more employees because what she is experiencing is typical of small medical offices. What do you think?
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I am a salesman, and I can sell anything. I was recently downsized from the metal industry because of a merger, and I took a car salesman job for the time being. I did not finish college, I'm 38 years old, and I do not want to go back to school. The lack of a college degree comes up every time I apply somewhere. How do I get around this in a resume so that I can at least get the interview and sell myself?
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I am moving out of this area, and the pay levels where I am going are lower than what I have been making here. I don't want to price myself out of the market, and I was thinking of telling possible employers that my pay is lower than what it really is. What do you think?
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Many advertisements are searching for applicants who have a sharp eye for detail. Do the placement professionals intend for these ads to be poorly written so that the applicant will proofread and correct the grammar, spelling and punctuation errors as a type of screening? By doing these corrections and sending back the revised version, along with my resume, will I insult or offend the writer?
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I had a very positive second interview for a mid-level management position with a major non-profit health agency. The vice president who interviewed me explained that the next step was an evaluation of the three candidates using a professionally developed profiling system. He said it would be a week or more before I heard from them. Two days later I received a generic turndown letter, and it was dated on the day of my interview. I am stunned, and I would appreciate your input.
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I have had several different jobs in my career, and I recently completed a rather expensive technical training program. I have been sending out resumes, but all I get back are rejections or nothing at all. I keep trying different resumes, but none work. What do you suggest?
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I am going for a job interview at a high tech company. The attire there is pretty casual, but I am wondering if I should wear a tie to the interview.
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My new supervisor is rude, abusive, and intimidated by my previous professional experience and technical knowledge. Although I previously received excellent yearly assessments, he has given me several verbal and written warnings within the first three weeks of reporting to him. I have begun searching for a new position, but I am concerned over what this supervisor will say about me in a reference check, and I fear a backlash from him if I do not obtain the new position. My previous management contacts have moved to other organizations. How do I approach this situation?
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I am a 58-year-old maintenance worker with 33 years of experience in my field. I have had many interviews for better jobs, and every time they say that I would fit the job well, and they often use the word "great," but then I get a letter saying they picked someone else. I am in very good health, happy, and a great worker, but I am feeling left behind because of my age. What can I do?
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There is a company that I would like to join, and they seemed to respond favorably to my resume. They set up an interview, but canceled it at the last minute, and then canceled two later interviews. Is there anything I should be doing to get an interview with them?
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I am going on a job interview next week, and I am supposed to be interviewed by a panel of 4 people. I have never had this type of interview before, and I am somewhat nervous about it. Are there any hints?
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I just graduated from college with a management degree and will be looking for a job shortly. I completed an internship over the last five months but left the company on bad terms. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from the internship and it is a great addition to my resume. I know that I won't be able to have references from anyone except another intern. Should I still include this internship on my resume?
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Many employers are requesting or even demanding that resumes include one's salary history. Some ads even say that resumes without a salary history will not be considered. Why is this demand being made?
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I just completed my second job interview with a company, and they want me to start working for them immediately. I have been with my present employer for 2 years, and I feel it is only right to give a couple of weeks notice, but I will lose the new job if I do.
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I am a recent college grad and I have been working for a start-up company for substantially less money than I would have been paid if I had accepted a more conventional job, mainly because there are stock incentives here. Things are not working out, and I am going to leave. My question is whether my low salary is going to hold down my starting salary level in my next job.
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I was dismissed by the company owner during my ninety-day review meeting, without the supervisor present. The owner said good things about my attitude and work ethic, but the lack of accuracy in my work was given as the reason for the dismissal, although I thought I improved. I am seeking new employment and am concerned about what my former supervisor might say. He has been through several assistants and is unpleasant to work with. I would prefer to have prospective employers speak with the owner. Should I warn them about this supervisor?
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We are spouses of active duty military personnel. Many of us have at least a BS/BA degree, but are only able to get entry level positions because moving across the U.S., Europe, and the Far East has made our resumes look like we are unable to get full time employment, and our references almost impossible to contact. How do we get employers to think of us when they seek employees?
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I spent nearly six years as a Marketing Coordinator while I was trying to break into marketing management. I was passed up for promotions, and I was told it was because I needed a bachelor's degree. At great expense, I went back to college and obtained a bachelor's degree and an MBA. Now I'm hearing I don't have enough on-the-job experience to be a manager. I've been looking for over a year, and I'd even take a marketing coordinator position to get my foot in the door. Although it's lying, I'm considering removing my education from my resume. Do you think that would help?
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I am beginning my career, and I want to know how to respond to a job interview question about my goals if I don't have a particular objective. I know what direction I want to go in, and I want to do well, advance, and continue to learn, and maybe my goals will crystallize when I join the company.
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During a job interview a few days ago, the interviewer took several phone calls and his secretary came in three or four times. I thought this was rude and inconsiderate, and I think the interruptions prevented me from doing well. What is your take on interruptions in job interviews?
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I quit my job due to a co-worker's interference with my work. This person was messing with my remittance reports when I was at lunch, among other devious tactics. I spoke to my employer several times, but my employer did not believe me! How do I answer the question, "Why did you leave your last job?" without sounding like I can't get along with people?
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I sent my resume electronically to a company, and they invited me in for an interview. When I arrived, I was asked to complete an application blank. Isn't that out of date? If a company still uses them, maybe they are behind the times in other areas. What do you think?
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I am applying for a new job, and I have a strong resume. Since it speaks for itself, I have not been attaching a cover letter because it's extra work and does not seem worth the trouble. How important is it?
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I recently went for a job interview, and I was asked to complete an application blank. The interviewer said I might not like some of the questions, and if I feel that any violate my rights, I should not answer them. There were questions about my living arrangements and religious organizations, so I left them and a few others blank. I had a good interview, but I have not heard back from the company. What do you make of this?
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A friend of mine has been job-hunting for five months and finally landed a good position. What he and I found exasperating was the number of human resources people who made promises to call at a specific time and date, but never did. Some would promise to meet him, but never followed through. We were wondering how these people rose to these positions.
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When I submit a resume, I keep it brief. I give my job title, rough dates of employment, and company names, and that's about it. I think if I write much more, the screener won't read it. I have gotten some interviews based on this strategy. What do you think of it?
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I am a receptionist and I have this job through a temp agency. The position is currently being advertised, and I applied for it and was interviewed. I keep asking the Human Resources recruiter and the temp agency for feedback, and I am told I did a great job, but they are still actively interviewing candidates. Should I speak up or keep looking for another job?
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I have applied several times to the same company for the same job that they keep advertising over and over. I know I am well qualified for it, and I really want it, but I never hear anything back. I have emailed and faxed my resume several times, but still nothing. What do you suggest?
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I am looking for another job because of my manager. He is an uncommunicative, over-controlling, micromanager. Everyone who reports to him cannot stand him. I have been told that it is not a good idea to speak negatively about your manager during a job interview, but he is the only thing I don't like about this job. What should I say when asked why I am leaving this job?
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When I interviewed for this job, I met with the person who became my boss. In the interview, he was friendly and professional. Now I see that my initial impression was wrong. He is mean, abusive, and cold. I am going to leave, and I am wondering what I can do to prevent this from happening again.
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When I was looking for a job, I completely misread my current employer. The company is different from what I thought, and I am looking for a new job sooner than I hoped. I do not want to repeat this mistake, and I am curious about ways to learn more about a potential employer.
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I had three interviews with a company I liked, but I just got a rejection letter. A friend said I should send them a letter to thank them for interviewing me and let them know how impressed I am with them and their company. My feeling is they hired someone else and that's it. What do you suggest?
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I just had a job interview, and the interviewer spent much of the time badmouthing the company, his boss, and the work atmosphere. I have never experienced this before, and I wonder what you make of it.
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I just went through a job interview and was asked a bunch of trick questions, such as why the water in a hotel room is instantly hot. I had no idea what the answer was, and I don't see how this type of question can help the interviewer make a better decision about me. What's the point of using them?
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I recently completed a job interview for a marketing position, and then the interviewer asked me to send him a summary of the interview. I have never heard of this before, and I thought it was ridiculous. I started to write it and didn't know what to say, so I decided to write a letter to you instead. What do you think of his request?
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I am a 55-year-old female, and I heard that I would have a better chance of getting a job if I looked younger. I am considering having some minor surgery, and I was wondering if you think that doing so actually helps make someone more marketable.
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I have always tried to help my friends, and I made phone calls for two of them when they were out of work. Now they are working and I am not, but they won't lift a finger to help me. Any suggestions?
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About four months ago, I was "let go" during a probationary period from a job where I had very limited experience. I have a bachelors degree and this position did not require a degree, and it paid substantially less than my previous jobs, most of which have been professional. After 15 years in social services, I decided to change the direction of my career and do something different. I have now taken this risk and it did not work out. Should I list this job on applications? If I don't, there will be a six-month gap in my employment history. This dilemma is causing me great stress and anxiety.
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We are trying to fill a marketing position, and we ran an ad that asked applicants to send in a resume. Some of the applicants only responded with cover letters. The letters were very good, but I am concerned that an individual who does not follow what we ask before being hired will do the same once he or she is hired. A couple of other managers disagree. What is your opinion?
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I am putting my resume together, and I have some impressive individuals who will provide excellent references for me. I have heard it is not a good idea to put references' names on a resume, but I'm wondering if I should do it because of who they are.
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I had a job interview for an entry level marketing position, and toward the end the manager handed me a paper and pencil and asked me to draw a man, a house, and a tree. I am a terrible artist and I always have been. I took a few minutes and did my best, and then he looked it over and told me about my personality. I thought he was totally wrong, but I didn't say anything because I want the job. A few days later, I received a form rejection letter, probably because of this test. Do many companies do this?
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I was in a job interview for around 15 minutes when the interviewer got up and said he would be back in a couple of minutes. Just after he left, the phone rang. I assumed the call went onto his voicemail, but when the interviewer returned, he said this was a test. The company is looking for confident and aggressive employees, and because I let the phone ring, I did not show the traits the company needs. The interview ended shortly after that. Does this make any sense to you?
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I have heard about successful people who embellished their resumes to get a job. I added office computer skills onto my resume in order to qualify for a certain job, and I got it. When my lack of computer knowledge came out, I was fired. I think this was unfair of the company. When they saw I was a good employee except for this, they could have given me some training. Do their actions seem fair to you?
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I went on a job interview and the interviewer said I was dressed inappropriately. I thought I looked just fine. I have been on many interviews and no one ever said this to me. Do you think his comment was appropriate?
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When three of us finished our individual interviews with a strong applicant, we took him to lunch. During the meal, one of my colleagues asked him many personal questions, especially about his family. The applicant answered them, but I think he was a little shocked. Afterwards, I told my colleague that these types of questions should not be asked, and he said that since this was an informal lunch and not a real interview, he could ask whatever he wants. Is that right?
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I went for a job interview, but first I had to complete an application blank. On most sections, I wrote “see resume,” and then I had what I thought was a good interview. A few days later I received a rejection letter. I called to see what happened but I never got through. Some of my friends said I was eliminated because I did not fill in the application blank. Is that a real possibility?
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I have been responding to employment ads for several months, and I have not had one interview. I know there are many applicants in my field, but my background seems to be more than satisfactory. Do you have any special steps that might help? Some of my friends suggested I show up at some companies and ask if they are hiring. I think this idea is worthless, and I wonder if you agree.
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Most applicants for positions with our company apply online, but we occasionally receive hard copies through the mail. We just received one from a fairly good candidate, and we were surprised to find that he included four movie passes. Is this what applicants are now being advised to do? Should this disqualify him?
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I am a very punctual person, and now that I am looking for a job, I try to arrive for an interview around 30 minutes early. I think this sends a good message about my enthusiasm and eagerness, but some of my friends say I should not arrive that early. What do you think?
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I worked for 16 months in customer service at a company that had “quality control” techs monitoring incoming calls. They made no mention of all the times the customers praised our work, but they quantified the negative comments. The company fired many employees for ridiculous reasons, and then asked the rest of us to work overtime every day. How should I describe 16 months of torture to a potential employer without sounding overly negative?
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I am currently looking for a job, and one of my friends told me that he heard that putting a “P.S.” at the end of a cover letter is a good way to get some extra attention. Is this a good idea, or is it something that might put an employer off?
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I went for a job interview, and it was apparent that I was not in sync with the interviewer. By the end, he stopped asking questions and started criticizing me. Among other things, he that my answers were too wordy and my clothes were wrong. I’m still upset, and I wonder what you think about this.
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I am applying for a new job, and one of my friends told me that employers are checking out applicants online. When I enter my name on some of the search engines, I can find blogs that are not real complimentary about me, but most of it is funny stuff. So are the clips on one of the video sites. Are employers really checking out applicants this way? If so, what can I do?
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A potential employer has a form that asks if they can contact a supervisor at a former company, and it allows you to check “yes” or “no.” In my last job, I had some difficulty regarding money owed to me, and I am not sure what impact it will have if I list this employer and then check the box indicating that my supervisor cannot be contacted. Will this be viewed adversely by this prospective employer?
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I have been trying unsuccessfully to find a job, and I think one problem is my resume. I read an article saying that a resume should not have much detail. It said to remove employment dates and most responsibilities. The idea is that the reader will be intrigued and call you. Is this a fact?
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I am looking for a job, and although I am still in my 30’s, my hair has a lot of gray. I have had interviews for positions that I could definitely handle, but I have not received one offer. Some of my friends say that the problem is that I look older, and their suggestion is for me to dye my hair. Do you think this will help?
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We have been having a hard time finding good applicants for an outbound sales position, and we disagree about one candidate. His work experience and training look good, and he presented himself well in the interview. The problem is that he has had seven jobs in the past five years. I say this should eliminate him from consideration, while other managers say this is not a problem. What do you think?
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I have a professionally prepared resume, and I think it looks good. I have sent it out several times, but I have not gotten any responses. I have tried calling the companies that list their names in the ads, but that has not helped. What else can you suggest?
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I am looking for a summer internship, and my college referred me to a company. I am a 20-year-old female art student, and one of the interviewers said he knows he is not supposed to ask, but he wanted to know if I am 21-years-old. I begrudgingly told him my age, but I am wondering how to answer this type of question.
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I am 55 years old and having problems finding a job. I believe I am qualified for advertised jobs, but when I submit my resume, I hear nothing. One of my friends suggested I leave earlier jobs off of my resume, and then explain things if I get an interview. What do you think?
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I have always been told that it is important to be persistent when looking for a job, so I usually send my resume several times for the same job. Some of my friends say it’s a waste, but I think that my interest and tenacity might cause an employer to think twice about me. What do you think?
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I lost my job a few months ago, and I have been temping since then. I am now a temp for a good company, and I like this job. Are there some ways to persuade the company to hire me for this position?
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I have been in the retail industry since 1968. I have only worked for four companies, all in managerial positions, but I cannot find a job. I am registered with all of the major online sites, but I get no calls or emails. How can I find out why? I have rewritten my resume several times, but nothing works.
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When I go on a job interview, I like to know as much as possible about the company and the person who will be interviewing me. On a recent interview, I sensed that the interviewer was a little uncomfortable with all of the personal information I found out about her. I thought she would be impressed, but she wasn’t. Did I cross a line of some sort?
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I'm in the processing of a job application with my main point of contact being a recruiter that the company hired. He was supposed to have contacted me earlier this week with a scheduled interview in which I thought would be an appropriate time to express my concerns and asked questions, but haven't. So I emailed him with concerns regarding my pay and benefits that we discussed over the phone previously, and he responded to me well, but he also wrote in his responses a line that included "think of this as an opportunity to work hard and impress," in which he underlined the word "opportunity." Am I being overly sensitive or does this seem like an arrogant attitude from his part that is telling me something like "you shouldn't be asking too much, you should be grateful we're already considering you?" Nevertheless I replied to him saying, "I apologize if I came across as expecting too much for someone of my inexperience. It is indeed an amazing opportunity and I will take your advice to heart." Do you think I handled it alright?
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