Friday, February 4, 2011

The Origin of Job Interviews

Where do you see yourself in 50 moons?

Crap Detection 101, review

Howard Rheingold, the author of Smart Mobs, looks at several different media literacy issues: determining authority, avoiding scams and getting good information. Crap Detection 101 is also an expansion of an article that he wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle (and which is still available online). He uses examples and tells brief stories to illustrate his point. He is also very kind: he know these topics are difficult and when people are sucked in, they feel stupid, as well as vulnerable.

I would recommend this resource to anyone who is timid about using some of the services on the Internet that make us more efficient, but who is worried, either because of a past mistake or because of the media, that they will be conned. His tips could also be applied to looking critically about corporate information and job scams. Crap Detection 101 may also help Internet risk-takers, though Rheingold's low key manner may not be enough to grab their attention.

#jobsearchTweet and #EntrylevelTweet

Happy About Books has experimented with creating Twitter-style books of career advice. The books are limited to 140 statements and each statement is limited to 140 characters, similar to Twitter.

#jobsearchTweet is for any-flavor of job seeker from the entry-level to the laid off. The author, Barbara Safani, is the owner of Career Solvers, and the author of another Happy About book, Happy About My Resume. On the whole, I found most of the advice to be highly relevant and actionable, but one suggestion--add a chart to your resume--I think is an absolute no-no. Not only would an Applicant Tracking System not know what to do with your pretty chart, I can easily see an employer laughing about a well-meaning, My Awesomeness chart. Charts like these are better suited to a portfolio, revealed at the interview, and in relation to a specific question. If you use a chart, make sure it is relevant, objective-as in not about personal information, but about a project or sales data--and uses no confidential information from a previous employer.

#entrylevelTweet is for beginning job seekers and though I really liked the structure and progression of the resume advice, I thought the author, owner of Come Recommended, opened the book on a weak note by suggesting that the reader write a bunch of lists, seemingly for the purpose of listing-stuff. Yes, I know you could use them on a resume or to answer interview questions, but I don't think the new job seeker is going to get it. College students respond to suggests to write lists about themselves with put-upon eye rolling: they hate it, everyone tells them to do it, they never do, or get frustrated over what this magic list was supposed to do. Despite the weak start, the resume tweets were well done and I could see college-age students eagerly eating those up.

For both these books, I think they would have been better as ebooks only; personally I feel their layout is a waste of paper, and they also probably look better on a cell phone screen. I would recommend them for career counsellors that have thought about tweeting out advice and were not sure how to do it, succinctly and with relevance. I also think that frustrated job seekers, tired of too much advice, would find the format refreshing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Trouble with Best Places to Work Lists

Laura Vanderkam, appearing on BNET, writes about Best Places to Work Lists and why they aren't the best way to go about picking a place to work.

Now, though those points are true and that each of these lists vary by criteria, I would also argue that at least the HR people are making an effort to make their workplace known to candidates outside of their geographic region, which gives them a wider pool of applicants. Yes, it has the benefit of making the company look good and add a Best Places to Work logo to their job board, but these may also advertise companies in regions a job seeker may not have even considered as a possibility, and further research will broaden their horizons.