I over-use the Bell Curve when describing averages. Though it’s so applicable in so many and varied situations that I can’t help myself. And believe it or not, what people wear to a campus interview falls into the standard deviations laid out in the Bell Curve.
We all know the curve. The bulk of the curve, the hump, represents 70% of the populace. They’re all within expected norms of this measure. In this case, it means 70% of campus interview candidates dress alike. This is true. It also means that 15% of candidates dress impressively, while 15% dress unfortunately. This is also true. And while some may argue that there are more nuances and degrees of appropriateness, there aren’t. There really aren’t.
So let’s take a look at the three different groupings of male attire for campus interviews. I’m not necessarily going to recommend anything, but at least I’ll highlight what’s happening with the competition.
I fielded this question a few months ago at an event for job-seekers in Minneapolis: “Should I get personal business cards to hand out at job interviews?” Unfortunately for those in attendance, I didn’t give the best answer. In fact, I think I gave what amounts to a non-answer. Something like “every situation is different.” Oh, great response. Thanks for the insight, Charlie.
Sample card from moo.com
But now that I’ve had some time to think about it, and after consulting my friends at BrazenCareerist, I’ve solidified my position. It’s always a good idea to have a personal business card.
After posing this question to probably 50 different people in the last month, I heard three main objections, valid or otherwise. Actually, they were all invalid as far as I’m concerned. Here they are–the reasons not to print personal business cards: Continue reading
So you want to leave your job. Searching for greener pastures? A boss who listens? More money? That’s cool–but it’s a tough row to hoe right now, given that there are few jobs available and scores of qualified and over-qualified candidates spamming their resumes all over the Internet. Here’s what happened to an acquaintance of mine a few months ago when he tried to quit.
This is posted with permission, because we both think it’s a good lesson and an even better story, though I’ve changed all the names and taken some liberty with the dialog to clarify the story (and because nobody recorded anything).
The Man Who Tried to Quit His Job
For 6 months or more, Eric was unhappy with his job. His responsibilities remained the same as they were when he started, 2 1/2 years prior. As a good employee who received average to high marks on his employee reviews, he felt he deserved a raise, a promotion, or both. He even asked the boss for different responsibilities to break the monotony of his day-to-day.
I met with Eric a couple of times during this period of unrest, and each time he expressed dismay at the unchanging state of his job and career. I let him vent for a while before we moved on to other topics, like fantasy football or the books we were reading. We didn’t dive deep into his work trouble–just typical responses to “How’s work?”
The last time I saw him, though, he had a different answer.
Charlie: “How’s work? Any better?” Eric: “Actually, it’s funny you ask. It is getting better.”
“I went in to my boss’s office one Monday morning last month and told him I quit.”
(This is where it gets interesting.)
(Update: Two very related articles published in my hometown newspaper on Feb. 16–two days after this post. College debt meets real life, and Students rally against tuition hikes at Capitol.)
It seems everyone is questioning the value of a college education. Is it worth $140,000? Is it even worth $30,000? It’s a good question, because in the last few years, the rising cost of education has significantly outpaced changes in the economy, making the value equation balance differently than it did before.
Unfortunately, the Consumer Price Index doesn’t line-item the cost of higher education in the CPI data we see every day. (Kidding–who sees this data every day?) Though if you keep clicking and reading, you’ll find it a little deeper in the Education and Communication group. The cost of education in December 2010 was up 3.9 percent from November 2009. (Full PDF report.) Meanwhile, the CPI for All Items Less Food and Energy has been declining since mid-2006, and hasn’t topped 3.0 percent in more than ten years (I didn’t look at data from before 2000). So the cost of higher education is growing faster than the cost of every day goods, and that must be why I’ve seen so much press on this topic. Continue reading
As with many of my posts, like How can you tell if someone’s arrogant?, this one is written from the perspective of an employer. The thought being that job candidates can benefit from knowing how the interview process works from the other side. I’m writing this as-if I have a new employee to train on the phone interview process. Continue reading
You have to bring more than your 'A' game to an interview. For instance, you have to bring a pen.
There’s no such thing as a dumb question, right? Wrong. During a job interview, there are many dumb questions. Even candidates with perfect resumes and outstanding soft skills come to interviews unprepared in key areas, which is why I feel compelled to write this. You can practice for hours a day and follow all the tips and still forget to brush your teeth.
Questions reveal just as much about us as answers. Probably more. Some stem from great insight, while others highlight true ignorance. Asking about a company’s strategy, the requirements for the position, or a list of common activities is never a bad idea. I’m not talking about that type of question. Continue reading