I remember growing up if I asked for something and didn’t say “please” my parents would ignore my request. Once I restated the question and added that little word, they would honor the request and we would carry on. After the request was granted or acknowledged, it was a given there would be a follow up “thank you.” This was for everything. Can we go to the park? “crickets….crickets…crickets…” Can we go to the park please? Even though my mom was probably dying to get my brother and me out of the house to run off some of our energy, she still managed to hold off and make sure we used our manners.

I would like to believe many other parents did their children the same favor and we as a society are well mannered. Unfortunately, I would be delusional if i thought that to be the case. I don’t know when in time the shift occurred, but “please” and “thank you” seem to be heard less and less. Why is that? Did it decline as technology has increased? Doubtful, some of the highest level people in the IT world I know feel the same way as me so that’s not it. Is it a generational gap between the boomers, gen X or Y? No again, I have seen it across the board. Is it because we are used to bossing Siri around sayingImage “Siri tell me…” This could be a possibility, but Siri was programmed by someone else so not there either.

I’m not one to do a lot of research for my blogs nor am I one to think I can change the world with my bi-weekly ramblings. I do however believe I can help some people and hopefully change a few lives for the better in the process. I also try and be as simple as possible so it can apply to as many people as possible. (the 15 or so people that read this anyway). I would like to let you in what apparently is a little known secret to job seekers out there.

One of the easiest ways to eliminate yourself from the running for a new position is to neglect sending a follow up email. Within that email “thank you for your time” should show up at least once, if not twice. You could be the number 1 candidate, go through multiple interviews and all but have the job, but if you don’t send an email to thank your interviewers for their time and the opportunity to speak with them and learn about their company, you could very easily lose the position to the number 2 or number 3 candidate.

Don’t believe me? I have spoken with 4 different hiring managers within the past few weeks who commented on the lack of a follow up email. 1 candidate was very well qualified, but do to her lack of follow up, she was set to the side as we searched for others. Another candidate for a different position had a great interview, was qualified, and we would have moved her on to the next steps in the process, but she didn’t follow up within 24 or even 72 hours for that matter so we assumed she wasn’t interested. She called me yesterday to see if we filled the position! She interviewed 3 weeks ago!!! Usually I speak with candidates fairly soon after they interview so I can hear their thoughts, but this particular position would require great follow up skills, so I wanted to see how hers were by not calling or emailing.

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You might be saying you would like to send a thank you email, but don’t have the email addresses of those you met with. Do you have 1 address? I bet that person would be happy to pass along your appreciation. Don’t even have 1? How about the person who set up the interview, did they send you pre-interview paperwork or directions? I bet they can help direct you. Still nobody? Call the main number, explain to the person you speak with who you are and let them know you would like to send a thank you note, but was so wrapped up in the interview you forgot to get a card and need an email address. I am willing to bet between those options, SOMEONE would be able to help.

Want to take it a step further? After you write a brief two or three sentence email thanking each individual person (if possible) for their time, send a handwritten thank you note as well. Do the email within 24 hours if possible, no later than 48 and do the handwritten note literally right after the email so it’s still fresh in your mind.Image The email will show your interest and also allow you to add something else you may have forgotten to mention in the interview. Most people are doing this or should be doing this, so in order to take it even 1 step further, sending a handwritten note could help you rise to the top.

These might seem like little, trivial ideas, but appreciation is becoming a lost art and those who are able to hold on to it will have the appreciation reciprocated. It may not be immediately for this particular position due to other circumstances, but I can promise it will help you stand out and will not go unnoticed.

Have you had a similar experience where someone “forgot” to send a follow up email? Have you had someone recently send a handwritten thank you note that caught you off guard? Please tell me about it and what your thoughts are! Thanks for reading!

Have you ever worked for a company and put in hour upon countless hour preparing to be the best or stand above everyone else? Have you gone above and beyond, succeeded, and felt confident in your contributions? Most people have at some point in their career, if not every day. How many times have you gone above and beyond for your company without being asked to do so, only to be let go?

ImageSadly, this happens way more often than it should. It is the sad truth that many people experience this type of situation, usually at the beginning or end of the week. What hopefully isn’t so sad and possibly helps you feel a little better about yourself is that it happens to the best too. Literally. Someone many feel is the best at what he does. Maybe not right now, but definitely in years past.

One of the NFL’s star quarterbacks, Peyton Manning was let go by the Indianapolis Colts after giving his all for them day in and day out for 14 straight seasons. To many, Manning is the epitome of excellence and the type of employee CEO’s dream of hiring. He came in as a hardworking young man and after 14 years became the only 4 time MVP in the history of the NFL..

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It is well known to many football fans the amount of time Peyton puts into studying his opponents and working with younger players on his team to help learn the playbook. He works and works to build rapport with his teammates so when it comes crunch time, they are adequately prepared. It has been said he works harder than anyone else at what he does. That statement is debatable, his talents and what he did for his organization, not as much.

                Now, I am pretty confident in my capabilities as a recruiter and connecting the right people, but I think it would be a tough sell to compare my skills in my profession to those of Peyton Manning in his. And for all intents and purposes, he was FIRED! It was the best move for the organization at the time and now everyone has moved on, but he is one of the best and even he was fired.

The reason I bring this up circles back to part of the reason I stopped writing my blog when I did. I was let go/fired/cut whatever you want to call it in October of 2011. I was looking for something new and am happy working with my present employer, but at the time it was tough to swallow. I thought I did so much for my company (which I did) and they didn’t appreciate anything. That’s neither here nor there, but the point I needed to take away from the experience was that even the best are fired sometimes. It’s pretty cold, but it’s a business decision and what’s best for the company.Image

        If you know someone (even yourself) that has experienced a layoff, was fired, let go, etc. and they might be tying their self-worth to their job (or lack thereof), help them understand employment doesn’t define their skills or the person they are. This is easier said than done, but it just might be that little nugget your friend or family member needs for a little inspiration to keep their head up.

It’s been a while and I dropped off from keeping up with my blog like I originally set out to do. I could go on and with different excuses, but that’s not why you are here! Tomorrow, March 1, 2013 I plan on picking back up and writing something every other Friday. I would ideally like to send something every week, but for now I am going to stick with the every other week format until I have enough content that is halfway interesting for you to read. I don’t have tomorrow’s post ready yet so instead of going on and on with this one, I am going to work on writing a post you will enjoy. Come back tomorrow! Thanks!

So you have been looking for a new gig for a while and finally you find one that is worth checking out.  You get on LinkedIn and see if you know anyone in your network working there now or even in the past.  You find out the company is indeed a place you could see yourself in the future and continue to take the next steps.    You ask your colleague to make an introduction for you with the hiring manager and you also apply online through the company website.

All of this assumes of course you actually HAVE a LinkedIn profile which you have been building as well as the fact you are utilizing the relationships you have been cultivating.  If however, for some reason you have not then please let me know and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Well your colleague makes the introduction for you through LinkedIn and your previous experiences coupled with your complete LinkedIn profile land you a telephone interview with the hiring manager.  It’s only 30-45 minutes, but you are certain you will wow her and she will want you to come in and meet the rest of the team right away.  As with most telephone interviews, this is just to screen you to see if you would be a fit with the team, to make sure your skills on your resume all match up, and what type of personality you have.  This is often done by an internal recruiter, HR, or someone else, but since you showed the gumption to seek out the hiring manager she decides to perform the phone screen herself.

Right away you know you are moving on to the next stage in the process.  You did your research and aside from the colleague making the initial introduction, you tell the manager about the multiple similarities the two of you share which you found out by following her on Twitter.  You tell her how your background is a perfect match for what they are looking for and how you would be able to come in right away and make a difference and how much value you bring and this and that and everything else.  And on and on and on.

While all of this is ok in moderation, that is the magic word at this stage of the game.  MODERATION.  You may be very well suited to have an immediate impact. But how do you know exactly what this organization is looking for or even this particular group?  More than likely you know what they do and what they are looking for by the job description, but all too often even the hiring manager doesn’t TRULY know what is needed so chances are slim you have any clue at all!

Again, I am not against selling yourself to some degree, but just make sure you don’t over do it.  In fact, I encourage you to sell yourself!   Interviewing is about you selling yourself and your skills while the company sells themselves and the opportunity.  In theory.  And while many have the misconception that a great salesperson is someone that talks a lot, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  They DO talk a lot, but if they are doing it properly, they are asking questions or if they are answering questions, they are keeping it brief.  When you are talking the entire interview of course you think it went well.  As humans we love nothing more than to hear our own name and our own voice.  So if YOU are doing all of the talking you think everything is going well and you are a shoe in for the job.  Again, this is wrong.

Almost 100% of the time when someone calls me after their interview and tells me they aced it and they are certain it will go to the next level or they will get the job I know I need to find someone else to fill the position.  There are times where that isn’t the case, but it’s rare.  Confidence is great and all, but you spent the whole time talking and didn’t give the manager the chance to get to really know you and build rapport.  In sales (and interviews) building trust and rapport is so important that you can toss everything else out the window if you don’t have it.  That is why I say it’s great in moderation, but just make sure you are having a conversation, not a monologue.  Ask how she progressed to the current position.  What drew her to the company when she first started?  Something!  When you actually converse it allows you to uncover some of the needs possibly not mentioned on the job description which will allow you to speak of your unique attributes and how they relate to the position.

One of the main, if not THE main reason for speaking too much is being excited and/or nervous.  Trust me, I am quite guilty of this.  This is why the importance of practice interviews is a constant subject when performing searches on interview preparation.  By knowing what you are going to say, you are able to listen more and when the time is right sell your skills which will in turn enhance your chances to beat out the competition. 

So next time you finish up an interview, look back and ask yourself if you did all of the talking.  If your answer is “yes,” it may not be the best idea to start writing your two weeks notice.  If the answer is “no,” it’s still not the best idea to start writing your two weeks notice, but the odds will be stacked higher in your favor and you may be that much closer to your next great opportunity!

What do you think?  Have you been in this situation before or know someone who has? Please leave me some comments below and remember if there is anything I can do to help with any of this please let me know as I am more than happy to assist with the difficulties of the job search.

I don’t know how many times a day I hear “because of the economy” or something along those lines.  I’m tired of it.  It’s garbage.  Is it because of the economy you aren’t trying to meet someone new or learn a new skill or polish up the skills you have?  No.  It’s because of you and your attitude.  I am a firm believer that attitude is everything.  It can change your world.  For better or for worse.  While I do understand we as not only a nation, but as a world have many worries and are struggling, there are plenty of people still working hard and plugging along to create something excellent. 

I work mainly in the IT industry in Nashville, TN so I understand my viewpoint is a little different than many people.  Nationwide however, the IT industry hasn’t been affected nearly as much as most.  The same can be said for the overall market in Nashville as well. Despite what your friends, neighbors, and media tell you, there are jobs available.  Lots of them (932 in the Nashville area posted on Indeed.com between 8/11/2011-8/12/2011).  Are they exactly in line with your background or what you want to do with your career?  Maybe. Maybe not.  The point I am making is that positions are available.

If you are a job seeker, this should come as some good news and light at the end of the tunnel.  If you are a hiring manager, this should be cause for some worry.  Companies are starting to hire more and more everyday.  People are starting to look for new opportunities more and more everyday.  The competition is starting to heat up and unless you are prepared, you are going to get burned.

I don’t want to go on and on about how networking is the way to go because I am going to assume if you are searching for a new opportunity you already know that.  I am with my 5th company since graduating college in 2006 (http://www.linkedin.com/in/adambogren).  Every single job was the result of knowing somebody who was able to put me in contact with the right person.  I am living proof that networking can give you a huge advantage in the job market.  If you would like to learn how, leave me a comment and I will be more than happy to help you out!

What I DO want to weigh in on is the amount of open jobs and the amount of people who are about to start looking if they haven’t already.  There is a Manpower survey that says 84% of US workers will look for a new job in the coming year.  Then you add in the people already looking and the people who may end up changing their mind and start to look as well!  What does this mean to you, Mr. Hiring Manager?  Well, everything actually!

Let’s say you have an opening to hire a person who has XYZ skills.  She is great!  She gets along well with everyone on your team and she would be able to come in immediately and create an enormous impact.  The only problem is she is asking for a salary in the $65-70,000 range and the high end of your budget is $60,000.   Your search is a difficult one and you have been trying to find someone with this skill set for months.  What do you do?  Two years or so ago you could have offered the person $60,000 and she would have probably been ecstatic and accepted the offer on the spot.  That was two years ago when there weren’t many positions available and people were willing to accept any and every offer that came their way just to put food on their table.

Not the case anymore.  People are starting to look more actively and know that they are worth what they are asking for.  They have had time to do research, they have had time speak with recruiters and their peers.  Now interviewing with multiple companies is starting to be commonplace again.  People want to find somewhere they can feel appreciated and this doesn’t always relate back to the dollars.  That being said, if you are hiring someone and they tell you the pay range they are comfortable in, don’t try to low-ball them and offer less than their range.  If you want to low-ball them, make them an offer at the bottom number of their range, but if you expect them to accept then you better be offering a whole lot more to compensate for it.  If you really want to make them happy and show you are committed to them and their success with your company, offer them on the higher end of their scale.  If you don’t, another company will and you will be stuck offering candidate number 2 while your dream person slips away because you couldn’t spend an extra $5,000.  I do realize these things called budgets exist for a reason, but when hiring someone new, you need to realize there is this thing called competition.  And it’s really starting to pick up. Crunch some numbers on the amount of production you are missing out on because you need one more person to add to your team.  I will help you if you would like, but you aren’t going to like the number and you are going to realize that bumping up an extra $5,000 for an all star will more than come back to you in the future.

What do you think about the job market?  Are you starting to see things pick up at all?  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!  Thanks for reading!

I’ll be one of the first to admit it, searching for a new job is not an enjoyable process.  Not only do I know this from speaking with people on a daily basis about it, but I have also had my fair share of visits to indeed.com the past year and a half as well (3 jobs in Nashville since March 2010).  The good news about my expertise in hiring and firing is that hopefully I can help shine some new light on your search through some simple ABC’s – Attitude, Blogging, and Checking in.

Let’s face it, searching for a job, when done properly is a full time job in and of itself.  Constant emails, applications, meetings,  coffees, phone calls, and networking events.  It seems like a never ending circle which often times produces little to no results.  True, the results aren’t always immediate and can be somewhat disheartening.  We find an ad that looks like a great match and come to find out the position is already filled.  Back to the drawing board!  These feel like little failures, but being without a job already puts us down and then it just feels like you are being kicked while you are down.

Norman Vincent Peale once said “life for most of us contains many tough and difficult problems; we need all the confidence and reassurance we can get.  Nothing builds confidence and reassurance like a word of praise.  Nothing restores our self-esteem and recharges our batteries like a little admiration.”  When we are in our work environment, we have others who are in the trenches with us.  We can reach out to them, they can encourage us.  When we are out on our own in job search town, who do we have?  Few cheerleaders helping us along the way.

Attitude plays an extremely vital role in ones job search.  For people in sales, rejection is common, but it can still sting when going on that second month without a job.  The secret is the daily habits that we form.  The more you treat your job search like you did when punching the clock,  the more you will be able to stay focused and maintain a positive mental attitude.  Believe me, it comes across in all that you do and people notice it.

One way to help stay on track is to write a blog.  You may or may not already do this and you may or may not have any clue on how to get started.  The great thing is that it doesn’t even matter because you can change it up as you go.  I put off writing this blog for months until a few weeks ago I decided to just jump right in.  I hope the content is improving week by week, but who knows!  The point is, I am here showing my expertise and sharing my knowledge about job searching, career tips, recruiting, hiring, etc.  Writing a blog will help in showing you are an expert in your given field, build your online presence and show that you aren’t just sitting on your hands all day.  If you are still trying to get over the hurdle of writing or not, just remember that action cures fear.  Set it up and go for it!  Even if it is just strings of ideas, that is better than nothing and at least you are getting started.

Speaking of online presence, I won’t go into many details in this post, but if you haven’t started to build your online presence yet and you are looking for a new opportunity then you should skip the blog and go straight to LinkedIn.com and create a profile.  Right now.  Seriously, stop reading this and go create it!

OK, now that you have your shiny LinkedIn profile, your blog, and your great attitude, you actually get a job interview.  What do you do?  You’ve been in a slump and then out of nowhere you feel saved!  First of all, it’s not out of nowhere.  You have been putting in countless hours and things are starting to pay off!  So you get an interview, you prepare and do everything you are supposed to.  You feel like it goes well and you get home and are certain you are going to be the one they hire.  Write a thank you note to every person you met and let them know you appreciate their time and enjoyed learning about their great company.  Then what?  The waiting game begins, that’s what.

I am often asked, “Adam, how long should I wait to follow up or check in?  I really am interested in the job, but I don’t want to be pushy.  If I wait too long, maybe they won’t think I am interested.”  This can be a difficult situation, but it doesn’t really need to be.  As long as you remember to send an email after interviewing, that shows you are appreciative and do have at least some interest.  If you are working with a recruiter, they will let you know as soon as they know, trust me.  Try to remember the more people involved in the interview, chances are the longer it will take.  If you just met with a hiring manger and maybe the team lead, they can discuss you and other candidates if in the mix and probably make a decision fairly quickly.  If it is a whole team and they will all have input and then they need to let the corporate recruiter know and then she needs to let your recruiter know, it’s going to take a little longer.  All that being said, checking in is still a great idea as long as you aren’t doing it morning, noon, and night.  After the initial email, give it 3-4 days so everyone has a chance to give feedback.  If by the 5th business day you still don’t have any feedback, checking with the recruiter is ok.  If this interview is independent of a recruiter, maybe a short email to the person you had the most contact with saying you just wanted to check in and let them know you are very interested in learning what the next steps will be.  It doesn’t need to be long and elaborate, just enough to give a subtle push to show you truly are interested and not just testing the waters or sending emails because that is what you are supposed to do.  Sometimes the hiring manager really is that busy and is just having a difficult time getting around to doing all of the necessary steps in order to extend an offer.  Just have a good attitude about it, write in your blog how great the company is and check back in again after another week or so and continue to do so until you are hired there or somewhere else!

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you have any questions?  Please let me know in the comments section below!  Thanks for reading!

Chances are, if you are reading this you have had to deal with a shoddy recruiter or 2. Or 3. Or more.  I hate to say it, but I am not surprised. It’s unfortunate, but there are so many horrible recruiters out there it is insane!  While I won’t be able to stop them from being horrible, I can try to help you avoid them from calling. And calling. And calling.

There are countless ways in which a recruiter can find your telephone number, but if they are the type that just dials for dollars,   they more than likely got your number from your resume being posted on a job board somewhere.  Don’t get me wrong, it is ok to put your number on your resume when you are searching.  In fact, you SHOULD put your number out there if you are searching, that is how someone will be able to reach out to you!  The problem is once you receive a job offer you may forget to take your resume down from the board or it may already be stored in a database.

When you are looking, if your resume is listed on a job board I am going to assume you aren’t hiding anything.  If that is the case, you may wish to change your voicemail message to end somewhere along the lines of:

“And if this is a recruiter, it is best to send me an email and I will follow up when I am able”

Choose your message how you deem fit, but the next step I would do is create a “job search” email address.  This will allow you to check emails when necessary and also allow you to keep track of different places you apply.  It should still be professional so you are able to use it when applying to specific companies as well as recruiters.  By setting your voicemail to have an email sent (to a job search address) you won’t have to worry about it cluttering up your inbox, but yet you will still be able to check it out when the time is right.

Even though you may continue to receive emails to your job search account even when you are no longer looking, I would still suggest checking it out every so often just in case your “dream job” pops up or there is a position which may line up with a colleagues skills that you know is looking.  It is a good idea to always know what else is out there as well as what fair market value is for someone in a similar position at another company.  Money isn’t everything, but it sure helps!

I realize this isn’t a foolproof method.  I also realize you may be bombarded with emails, but at least having a job search email address will allow you continue on with your daily life and only check it when you feel you are ready.  And please, as I mentioned before, keep it professional.  Nobody wants to call on somebody who has an email address like NinjaDonkey1975@aol.com.

Do you have any tips on avoiding recruiters?  Leave them in the comments section and help your fellow readers!