May 2011 Archives

Thursday May 19, 2011

Tools of the Trade: Verifying Current Employment

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A recurring issue in any past employment check is sensitivity about contacting the current employer. A current employer should NOT be contacted unless the applicant specifically gives permission.

The reason is that some employers, who upon learning a current employee is looking, will immediately take steps to terminate the employee. This is especially true for positions of greater responsibility where the applicant may have access to customer lists or trade secrets. In some industries, within minutes of learning an employee is actively looking for a new position, the current employer will have Security box up the employee's personal items, confiscate all computers and disks, turn off all access to any computer systems, deactivate the parking permit and building access code, and have the person physically escorted off the premises with a last paycheck.

If such a hasty departure is caused by a phone call by the prospective new employer, and the job offer does not come through, the applicant is left without a job and free to contemplate whether they should visit a lawyer.

In order to avoid this, here is a simple two-step program--

  1. On the application, make sure there is a box some place in large enough letters asking an applicant, "May we contact your current employer?"

  2. Do NOT call the current employer unless the applicant has clearly marked the "Yes" Box. If the applicant failed to check either box, then do not call until that is clarified. Anything other than a clear indication of YES can create problems.

If the employer still needs to verify the current employment, there are three options for doing so...

  1. Ask the applicant for the name of a past supervisor or co-worker who is no longer working with the applicant at the current place of employment. (Again, if there is any question about the authenticity of the supplied name, the employer can call and verify the ex-employee did in fact work at the current workplace).

  2. Ask the applicant to bring in W-2's for each year of work, or at least the full past year.

  3. Wait until after the employee is hired to call the past employer, providing the hire is subject to a written offer letter that clearly states continued employment is conditioned upon a background screening report that is satisfactory to the employer. Once the new employee comes aboard, there can be a final phone call. By making current employment part of the written offer letter, an applicant has a powerful incentive to be accurate about his or her current employment situation, since any false or misleading statement or omission will have serious consequences. It is also important to say the screening report must be "satisfactory to the employer" in order to not get into a debate with an applicant/new employee about what is, or is not, a satisfactory screening report.

-Lester S. Rosen

President of Employment Screening Resources

(c)by Lester S. Rosen

Tuesday May 17, 2011

Why Recruiting Fees are Non-Refundable

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A toaster oven, I can understand.

If it breaks, you simply return it to whoever sold it to you and get a full refund. The same is true with a flat-screen TV or a weed whacker. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

So why should the placement of a candidate be any different? If the person doesn't live up to expectations after being hired, shouldn't the employer be able to return the candidate to the recruiter and get his placement fee back?

The answer is no--for three very good reasons.

First of all, a candidate is a person, not a piece of merchandise. And the last time I checked, it was illegal to buy and sell other human beings. You can own a weed whacker. You can't own a person.

When an employer agrees to hire a qualified candidate as a result of my referral, it's not as though the candidate is changing hands from one owner to another. The candidate and the employer are simply agreeing to work together, exchanging the employer's money for the candidate's time and services.

Besides, the two principals have had the opportunity to interview each other and engage in due diligence prior to making a decision of their own free will. To compare a candidate to a weed whacker is like comparing an apple to an orange.

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Wednesday May 11, 2011

60 Seconds and You've Got the Job

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stop watch.jpgThese days one slip in an interview and someone else gets your dream job. Of all the job hunting techniques I've ever taught, the 60 Second Sell interview technique is the one most clients tell me is, "the best thing I ever learned." It's a key strategy in my book 60 Seconds & You're Hired! because it immediately captures and focuses the hiring manager's attention. Don't enter your next interview without mastering this outlined technique.

 The 60 Second Sell is a tool that helps you target your skills to meet the employer's needs. It allows you to summarize your most marketable strengths in a brief and concise manner. Successful job hunters praised the tool for several reasons:

  • It was effective in capturing the employer's attention.
  • It provided an excellent concise answer to tricky questions.
  • It was very easy to use the formula.
  • It provided a strategy plan for managing an interview.
  • It was a great way to end an interview.

The 60 Second Sell is a customized, 60-second memorized statement that summarizes and links together your FIVE top selling points to perform that employer's specific job. For example, if the employer were hiring an accountant, you would want to summarize your years in the field and your computer expertise as two of your selling points. As you discuss each selling point, you must put them into an order so that the thoughts flow together in the most effective way. When you link the ideas into sentences it should be spoken in 60 seconds or less.

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Monday May 9, 2011

BLS Says Staffing Employment Remains Steady

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted staffing industry employment was essentially unchanged in April, with temporary help payrolls down 2,300 (-0.1%) from March. In a year-to-year comparison, temporary help employment is 11% higher than April of last year.

"Staffing firms have played a significant role in the jobs recovery, adding about 500,000 workers to industry payrolls since the recession ended in June 2009," says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. "With millions of Americans still looking for work, staffing firms offer job seekers not only temporary assignments, but also a bridge to permanent jobs."

Thursday May 5, 2011

Salary Scripts for Candidates

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I recently led a class called, "End Game: the final critical stage in getting your candidates hired" and one of the things I discussed was providing your candidates with exact scripts for their interview process. The topic where this is most relevant is the question of salary. You want to be sure that your candidates memorize their answer to this employer question, "What are you looking for in terms of salary"?

Here are 2 possible answers (the first one I heard from Peter Leffkowitz): Salary Tips.jpg

A.) "Yes, money is one reason I'm here today, but more importantly, I am here about the opportunity. If you have an interest in me, I would like to entertain your strongest offer."

B.) "I'm currently making ______; I would be in the market for a fair and reasonable increase on my salary."

It is well worth your time to role play this with your candidates. Before you offer them a script, ask how they were planning to answer that question. Chances are that their answer, and their delivery, will make you very nervous. Spend a few minutes with them so that their answer to this important question will sound crisp and confident.

You Don't Have to Do "Your Best"

I once read a quote somewhere that went something like this:

"The axiom that says, 'Nothing avails but perfection' can be spelled p-a-r-a-l-y-s-i-s." Something we've all been bred to believe is that you must always "do your best." In theory it sounds like a good thing to say to a child but, I'm not so sure it is always useful.

For instance, in my work with recruiters and owners I have found that they spend way too much time beating up on themselves about all of the things they are not doing correctly on a regular basis. If this led to positive change, that would be fine. But, this tendency often leads to "phone fear" and procrastination.

I'd like to suggest that you don't have to always do "your best." If you did your best every day, that would mean that you would need to make more calls today than ever before- and you would have to make even more tomorrow. These would need to be your "best" marketing calls ever and of course tomorrow; they would need to be even better.

You don't have to make your "best" marketing call ever - just make the damn call. Then make another one. And another. Better to keep an even keel and do consistently good work than to get stressed out and hung up on always doing "your best".

- Gary Stauble

Gary Stauble is the Principal Consultant for The "Recruiting Lab". He offers several Free Special Reports on his website including, "$1 Million Time Management". Get your copies now at His new website is called, "Done By Noon" and is focused on Time Management & Lifestyle Design training. You can get his new Report, "3 No B.S. Strategies for Increasing Productivity" at www.DoneByNoon

Tuesday May 3, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance - and Welcome to the World of Work

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It's a time for joy - A time for tears - A time we'll treasure - Through the years - We'll remember always Graduation Day (song- JAN-1991)

Congratulations on attaining your degree! A special time and a proud accomplishment -- You did it! You're finished! With school that is - now it's time to do some learning about the survival techniques in the "World of Work" in a competitive environment. Are you ready to take the next steps?

Graduates.jpg Hopefully you have a good resume prepared, if not, that will be your first priority! Need help? Many colleges have career centers that are willing to help you with your resume, but if you don't have that option try the "resume help" of the top job search engines or find a resume expert on Linkedin/Facebook." The aim of this resume is to create enough interest to garner you an invite for a job interview.

Start by doing research on job postings and companies that may interest you.

There are several good job search websites available to assist you in your search and they may give you ideas on places to connect with people in your field of interest. Once your resume is polished the next challenge of course will be getting that resume out to the right people. This may require some new techniques for you and will become your new "job search homework assignment". Find the sites that interest you and submit or post your resume there.

Scouting through the want ads is important to create your own "wish list" of the type of job you want and a summary of what's important to you. While times are tougher than ever for new grads, ideally, you will want to find a match with your goals and values. The goal of this step is to find a win-win situation for your first job. This will happen when you find a job in an area you excel in. That way your employer gets an enthusiastic "new grad" ready to get out and make a difference, and you will be motivated by what you're doing and at the same time be gaining valuable experience to advance in your career.

Now, getting the resume to the correct sources will also require you to use some networking techniques. Networking, both social media and person-to-person will be essential if you want to get the word out that you are looking for a job or are interested in a certain type of position. Both online activity and the in-person networking with people you know and their contacts are extremely important to your success in this difficult environment, so please don't only rely on one source. Working every possible contact and opportunity to connect is the target you are aiming for here.

The next step, once you are starting to get some interest from employers, is to start preparing yourself to go out there and sell yourself. If you're not getting any interest then go back to the first step. This may be a signal that you are not highlighting your knowledge and skills in the best light, which is always difficult for people entering the workforce. The goal here is to summarize what you've done so far and to attract interest from someone who wants to know more about you as a possible candidate for a job.

If you are starting to get invited to interviews you will want to be prepared! The time to start your preparation is best done before you are invited, not the night before the interview. Planning ahead will make you feel more confident. With more confidence you will be more relaxed and you will have a better chance of connecting with the interviewer which is a main step in acing the interview.

Interviewing is a learned skill and as with every other skill you've ever learned - you have to learn techniques and then you will have to practice, practice, practice. One method to use to practice is to do a mock interview with someone - a friend, professional or a coach. Make sure the person you decide to get feedback from can be objective and is not reluctant to tell it like it is. Frankly, family members tend to be too gentle or too harsh in their feedback, so I recommend asking a professional person with interviewing experience for help with a practice run.

When you do get that call for the interview you may feel some anxiety about the process. It's not unusual to feel nervous before and even during the interview. It is a new and uncomfortable situation and for many this may be the first time to interview. Everyone, even executives may feel nervous about the interview. Fear of rejection and judgment can create feeling of inadequacy. The best way to deal with these feelings is to change your thinking about the process. Begin to think of the interview as a two-way process. It's like going on a date in some ways. You are going in to check them out, and at the same time they are checking you out. Think to yourself: "If it works - great! If not, there will be other opportunities."

Remember, you bring a lot of what happens during the interview into the interview yourself. Let go of any anxiety and think of this as an opportunity for a great beginning! School is back in session - at least until those job offers come through for you. Good luck!!

- Carole Martin

The Interview Coach, Carole Martin, is a celebrated author, job coach, and speaker on the subject of interviewing and recruiting. Contributing writer at and featured on talk radio. Carole is using her proven methods for coaching job seekers on competitive interviewing skills in technical and non-technical industries. Learn more at and Follow The Interview Coach to learn about current workshops and seminars Carole is offering.