Thursday, April 18, 2013

This is How You Get Your Next Job by Andrea Kay

This is How You Get Your Next Job is about "fit" and how to manage the employer's impressions, or "negative impressions", of your suitability for employment. It is not targeted at any one industry or type of worker, such as professionals or entry-level workers, and though many job seekers will take something of value away from the book, any potential reader who has been told that they didn't get the job offer because of "fit" or for the person about to go for their first skilled-occupation interview.

Overall, the author has offers advice and exercises that will help with interview preparation, such as the list on What employers look for that includes desired qualities such as flexibility, stable behavior and intellectual curiosity, and the Would You Hire You test which includes several essay type questions that will include content you can use for answering interview questions. The encouragement for reflective thinking and self-examination, especially for a person that has had a few failed interview attempts and needs to examine their behavior in the interview, would be helpful for some readers. I would pair this one with Ron Fry's 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions, which I like for basic training in interviews.

The author does spend a lot of time focused on the "negative filtering" techniques that employers use to decide who is a suitable candidate. Negative filtering is a cognitive trick used to determine if something is mismatched or incorrect according to our perceptions. In a mild form, negative filtering could mean removing a candidate from the running because they fail to show up wearing a tie. In its most abhorrent manifestation, when a candidate is the wrong religion, race or gender for a job, negative filtering can remove those candidates from consideration, based on the filter of the interviewer. Most of the book focuses on the failure to demonstrate follow through or stable behavior and how those traits are demonstrable and when not achieved how an interviewer can filter candidates out based on the lack of those traits. On the whole, when considering the exercises, candidates can make sure that they demonstrate the traits that employers look for and apply it to their career management.

I did like this book, especially for a reader who is getting ready to enter the professional work force, though I felt demoralized by the litany of employer complaints that sometimes felt frivolous. For example, one interviewer states they would not hire a person who wore patterned hose. Maybe the person meant the airy crocheted kind or fishnets, but this seems to be pretty picky when compared to a person's ability to regularly show up on time and write cogent sentences--not to mention the fact that the patterned salesperson could sell snow to an Inuit. Some of the employer likes and dislikes seemed a little silly when the person's abilities were not considered, but the candidates were discarded for trifling fashion faux pas or some conservative bulwark against tattoos or piercings.

The advice on what to say and not say in an interview, your first presentation to an employer, was really well done, even if some of the picky faults were a bit exasperating at times. I would recommend readers who have the presentation down pat to review the chapter on Things you should never do once you get a job or in your career--ever as a worthwhile introduction to basic career management and etiquette when dealing with colleagues and supervisors. This is How You Get Your Next Job is useful, though it can get a little annoying at times, but it does remind you that interviewers are human too, with their own foibles that candidates need to acknowledge to find employment.

6 comments:

Don D. said...

As an employer looking for the right "fit" for my employees and my clients, I don't consider tatoos, piercings and certain apparel trivial or conservative. My ongoing complaint with potential employees these days is that their perspective is myopic - it's all about them. They don't take the time or initiative to find out what we're all about or what we need. Hiring someone is a time-consuming, costly endeavor. I want you to succeed. I want to fill the position and get on with it. But if you show up at an interview for a client service position with your nose pierced and a ring hanging from it, it's a reflection of your judgment not mine. I'm looking for people with character and good judgment to join my team. Start with that and you might get somewhere. It's amazing how may people don't. If this author deals with those types of issues I say hooray and hope everyone out there reads the book and learns a few things about what's really going on on the other side of the desk. My side.

Cris Gee said...

My concern is that her book does not spend enough time on how to present yourself as that employee. People have the skills but they aren't sure how to talk about them, or they feel that it lacks humility to talk about them in the interview, so they ruin their chances. I wanted her to spend more time on that advice and offer more exercises on dealing with those issues. There are plenty of books about image, such as Image of Success by Lizandra Vega, but very few books that deal with effective skills presentation.

Don D. said...

You piqued my interest enough - had hopes - that I picked up a copy of the book. While I appreciate you concern I think the author addresses it. And more.

Her entire book focuses on how to present yourself!

She only spends one small chapter on how to look and not look. This is such a small part of the book (but important). Out of 246 pages, the author only writes about what to wear and not wear on 16 pages.

As an employer, I think you missed the author's entire point. This book isn't one of those shallow books about image like so many others. We've all read them.

Instead, it's extremely perceptive and insightful about the issues people don't pay nearly enough attention to—how employers see them and how to present themselves and talk about themselves—the very things you want her to talk about.

She gives some excellent exercises that will help job hunters immensely. As a reviewer, you may be doing your readers - those very readers who need this - a disservice. This book is refreshing in its honesty about what people are doing wrong and how to do better.

It should be required reading. As an employer, I would hand it to all the hundreds of people I've interviewed and say, heed this advice if you want to get hired.

Cris Gee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cris Gee said...

I appreciate your comments, but I have a concern about your identity: who are you? You have not had a profile on Blogger until April 2013 and post a comment immediately after I submit my review to the publisher. Who are you?

This does not undermine your criticism, but I don't think it is as unbiased as you imply.

Don D. said...

I’m one of the employers who was interviewed for the book. I heard it had come out and so I googled it and came across your blog among others. After I read your review I thought I should pick up the book and see for myself – I agreed to be interviewed for this particular book because no one out there was addressing the hiring issues I face daily. Upon reading it, my contributions did not make the “final cut” as they say, but I was relieved because the author found other employers who shared my issues more eloquently.

Does that answer your question? Because I have one.

Please tell me how many job seekers you’ve dealt with, how many interviews you’ve conducted and how many jobs you’ve tried to fill in your role with the library. I live in the real world and not the theoretical one, and have to say this book was better than I’d expected or hoped for. So yes, I’d like to see more people read it.

The information is extremely relevant and overlooked by most authors on this subject. You expressed your concern that the book doesn't spend enough time explaining how people should present their skills. The best way, as it's described in the book, is for people to demonstrate those skills before, during and after the interview. Walk the talk not talk the talk. There are far too many books out there on the latter.

Good luck with your blog. I'm going back to work.