Archives For Candidates Blog

If you’ve been to a café, bike shop or microbrewery recently, you were probably struck by the thought that the young folk sure love their tattoos and piercings. And you’d be right. One in five Americans has a tattoo, up from 14% in 2008. So how does all of the ink and jewelry affect your recruiting process, and where should you draw the line? And if you’re thinking about getting a tattoo or piercing yourself, how can you do so without limiting your career choices?

On the hiring side, Karla Dobbeck, President of Human Resources Techniques, Inc., says there are no known HR policies that forbid tattoos or piercings in the workplace. However, often times something considered to be “distracting” to clients or coworkers will be recommended to be covered or removed. Which brings up the question: Who defines “distracting?”

How Do Tattoos and Body Piercing Affect Your Career

Unfortunately, for candidates or employees with tattoos, “distracting” body modifications will inevitably be defined by your employer and your clients. Highly visible and customer facing roles, such as Sales Representatives and Account Managers, are roles where your employees will be speaking with clients that don’t necessarily share your views or the views of your company when it comes to tattoos and piercings.  These roles often come along with a need to have any polarizing body modifications covered.

Policy aside, not all body modifications are created equal when it comes to the stigma they carry in the workplace. Jeffrey Paetzold, renowned and award winning tattoo artist and Reconstructive Areola Tattoo Professional with Northwestern Memorial Hospital, believes that the stigma around tattoos in particular has changed due to options.  When Jeff started his work 14 years ago, “you were limited to what you could find on a wall or from a book, whereas now tattoos are completely customized…. A beautiful custom piece with meaning is something that is or can often be regarded as an impressive piece of artwork.”

When it comes to piercings however, Jeff says, “You don’t see many eyebrow piercings anymore.” While stigma over alternative styles of ear piercings has dwindled, the remaining discomfort some people feel when looking at facial piercings has limited some employment opportunities for piercing junkies.

So how does all of this change recruitment efforts?  Most companies, culturally speaking, will have a fairly clear and open idea of what their clients would accept and what candidate would be a good cultural fit.  For candidates and employees, University of California Psychology professor Ross Avilla says “if a person really wants to get body art, they likely will, even if it makes them a bit of an outcast…the easiest trade-off is probably to get a tattoo that isn’t normally visible, or can be easily covered up at work.”

This is a trend that Jeff has also noticed, and he says that tattoos are no longer just an indicator of an “alternative” lifestyle – in fact, he has many clients that suit up for work, covering their full sleeves and back pieces for the navy or black of a business suit.

Last week, Alicia explained what questions interviewers should avoid. This week Eric explores the answers candidates shouldn’t give!

bizarre candidates

We’ve all been there. You think you’re prepared, but you’re nervous. Then the interviewer asks you THAT question – and your mind goes blank. Or you’re so excited to get the interview that you immediately focus on what the company can give YOU, rather than what you can bring to the company. Or you’re flustered because so far it’s been a bad day. For whatever reason – you make one of these interview faux pas that can take you out of the running for the position. Keep these tips in mind when you’re in the hot seat so you shine.

Q: “What are your biggest weaknesses?”

A: Some variation of “I work too hard” or “I don’t know when to stop working.” Nobody’s perfect. Interviewers are looking for people who genuinely know their weaknesses and make efforts to learn from them. Turning a strength into a weakness shows the interviewer that you don’t focus on personal growth.

Q: “What do you know about our company?”

A: “Not a lot” or “I didn’t know you made that. I love that product!”
Do some research before the interview. With pretty much any information you need only a few mouse clicks away, not knowing anything about the company you’re interviewing for is inexcusable. Do your homework! Use Google, LinkedIn, and employee reviews on Indeed. Even if your mind goes blank, have a few things written down that you can refer to if needed.

Q: “What salary do you expect?”

A: “I don’t know.” Or “What do you suggest?”
Once again, do some research. www.payscale.com and other salary sites are available to see what the average salary for your position is. Interviewers are looking to see if you know what you’re worth and if it aligns with their company.

Q: “What was your manager’s biggest weakness?”

A: “He/She was a horrible boss!”
Be careful about badmouthing former employers and colleagues. You never know what ties they will have to the companies you’re interviewing for now. Have a plan about what you are going to say about your current (or most recent) job and manager, and why you are looking for a new position.

Q: “Do you have any questions for me?”

A: “No, I think we’re good.” Or some variation of that answer.
Always have some parting questions – either to firm up next steps in the process or to generally find out more about the company culture, the job, the customers, and the team. Find out how you can fit in, and if this is a place you really want to work. Remember if you get the interviewer talking, it will take some of the pressure off of you.

In general – be prepared to give real answers to questions and avoid the “I don’t knows” as much as possible.

And don’t worry – you’ll nail it!

Nothing happens until someone sells something. It’s December and it’s the time of year when 80% of sales reps say no one’s around or wait til January or… you get the point.

So here’s a link to one of the best sales rep interviews I’ve ever seen. Well told and well written.

Highlights include:
– There’s no such thing as a wrong number and,
– Customers know they are customers

I know you’ll want to share the tips with someone who sells something.

From the NY Times the news that there’s a slight uptick in hiring of recent grads. Not surprisingly, employers are paying less for talent (it’s an employers market, duh!)

This is modestly good news for everyone. But beware of a common pitfall, that I’ve heard happen twice recently. As an employer if you hire an employee below her salary expectations, you increase the likelihood that he or she will stay in the market for a better offer.

Of course, providing employment to entry-level employees at a favorable salary to the employers is a win-win. Just be sure that both parties expectations are realistic.

Just like in the rest of life, a deal too good to be true, probably is.

Listen to my 15-minute Blog Talk Radio segment on the 4 tips that can make or break your job interview. Listen to the advice I’ve given to thousands of jobseekers to help them perform better in job interviews — a bunch of them even got jobs!

Listen to my 15-minute Blog Talk Radio segment on the 5 mistakes that cause hiring managers to crumple your resume into a ball and shoot it into the circular file, NCAA-style.