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'[PIC]: How to get a job <-- [OT] Digikey, an ISO-'
2002\11\11@050001 by Russell McMahon

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HOW TO GET A JOB !!!!

I'll take a (hopefully not TOO large) risk here and repost this message from
Nate Duehr.
The prior subject line and OT tag may well have hidden a superb resource.
It's also fun to read.

"Getting a job" comes up often enough that really good advice will be
welcome by many
Here it is -

_________________________________


On Sun, 2002-11-10 at 22:49, Mike Singer wrote:
>    Could you post any funny story with job candidates,
> being interviewed, please. You should have a lot of them, I think.

Well, that's SUPER off topic for the PIC-List... but... I know there are
a lot of people looking for work these days, and these might strike some
folks as funny...

The best was the guy who when asked "What do you plan to do here with
the company?" looked us straight in the eye and said, "Hang out until I
retire, man."  He was in his twenties and the company was a start-up.

He did get points for "bravery"!  (GRIN)

The other one that was interesting was the guy who when asked if he had
anything else he'd like to add at the end of the interview said, dead
seriously, "You can't ask me about that."

Yikes!  We never did bother to find out what that meant...

The sad ones are the ones where someone completely unqualified for the
position sneaks through by a misunderstanding over something they put on
the resume.  It was very very rare, but extremely uncomfortable for the
interviewers as you all slowly realized the person had NONE of the
skill-set talent for the job.  Those are painful.  If you hear the magic
words "I'm not sure you're a fit for this position" from the other side
of the table, you'd better turn on the charm and use every ounce of your
wits to explain why you DO fit... because that's a seriously bad sign.
(On the other hand, I've seen a few managers who use the phrase to scare
people and see how they react under severe pressure... I find this
unprofessional and mean.)

The only other strange answer to that "Do you have anything else to
add?" was when a candidate told me that (after I'd already decided he
was one of two people who'd be in the running for the position) that a
Sr. Vice President of the company had asked him to apply.  When I asked
why, the young man answered that he had a felony background and that our
VP was involved in a program through his church to put people back on
their feet after getting out of probation/jail sentences.  I was
stunned.

I agonized over the decision and also had a discussion with the VP who
said he would understand completely if this person were not a good fit
for the position and that he wanted me to hire the RIGHT person for the
job... not this young man because he knew someone higher-up.

Ultimately, I hired the young man who had slightly less technical skill
than the other candidate on the grounds that he had been 100% honest
with me and showed an INTENSE desire to have the position during the
interview -- while he was still willing to confide what was probably his
WORST fear to me during the interview.

His desire to come to work every day, do his job perfectly to take care
of his family, and his "interesting" background made for some really
funny stories while we went about the work we had before us for the next
year or so before I moved on to other things.

Our first on-the-job meeting went something like this... "Don... you are
paired up with the toughest person I think anyone could ever have as a
mentor.  [One of my other system admins...]  You will have to follow him
around and learn from him and he will NOT enjoy it.  He wanted a more
senior person in this job, and he does not want to be a trainer.  You
and your attitude will make or break what you can learn from him, and
ultimately what you can do here in this position.  I know you want the
job badly and you want to learn.  I am telling you right here and now
that the best person to do that from is [insert name here] and not me.
He's the best here, and if you can start rivaling his abilities, you'll
be in a system administration career for many years to come."

Don is now one of the smartest Unix system administrators I have ever
had the pleasure of working with.  He appreciated the no-nonsense...
"you will learn from the other admin everything he knows, or you will be
gone" approach.  Not everyone responds to that... but he did.  Quite
frankly, I know I just got lucky.  He both needed the job very badly and
he loved the work.  Finding that combination is relatively rare.

And finally KNOW YOUR STUFF.  Be prepared to answer tough questions if
you're a techie... but don't always expect them.  Some places soft-petal
the first interview and hit you smack between the eyes with the
technical questions in round two.  Other's never ask them.  You just
don't know... but do NOT be afraid to say "I don't know."  This shows a
lot of bravery during an interview.  I got a position once just because
I said those three words and followed them up with, "But I will be happy
to look that up in the EIA/TIA spec book or on the Internet and send you
the correct answer."

>    How do you think, what approach to find a job works better:
> sending numerous resumes or finding a right job-hunter to be
> introduced to hiring managers personally?

If you can get them, ANY kind of introduction to ANYONE at a company is
always better than a paper resume.  You have an opportunity (once only,
maybe) to make an impression that will last a long time with someone.
They can say they KNOW you, even if it's only in passing.

The "How to find a job" books are right... (and I've done a stint this
last year among the unemployed...)... talk to every darn person you know
and let them know you're looking.  Call them regularly and mention that
you're still looking, and eventually your "network" will turn up
something.

Of course, you keep sending the resumes too... you just never know.  And
if you get an interview, ALWAYS send a thank you letter.  (If the hiring
manager is having a hard time making a decision between two top-notch
candidates, and they receive a courteous, professional thank you note
from someone two days after the interview, who will they pick?   You may
even change their mind... because sending the Thank You letter say "I
WANT THIS JOB!", loud and clear.).

While unemployed, make it your "job" to find a job.  Get up everyday and
do something toward finding a job.  You're now a small business owner
and that small business is YOU.  It becomes REALLY hard after a number
of months to do this.  REALLY hard.  You'll have days where you can't
make yourself do it... motivation is a huge factor.  LAUGHTER helps...
see http://www.oddtodd.com for inspiration.  (And think about all of the WORK
he had to put into the web-site to make fun of NOT working...)

And always always always... ASK FOR THE JOB!  In the interview, usually
at the end, there's an opportunity for you to "add" anything you'd like
to say.  Politely tell the interviewers that you really WANT to work for
them.  Practice this.  The first time you say it, it feels awkward.
Very awkward.  Figure out how to be 100% convincing and say, "I want
this job."  If you can't say it, you must not want the job anyway,
right?  Do you want the job?  If you don't sound convincing to yourself,
practice it.  And SAY IT in the interview.

You'd be amazed at how many interviews I've done where I came out
saying, "He/She is a great fit and has the skills to do the job, but I'm
just not sure he really wants to work here?  Did you get that feeling
too?"

My experience after many months in the last year without work, (not all
back-to-back, I did some consulting and had a friend who helped me out
with a "network monitoring" job that didn't even come close to paying
the bills, but was HIGHLY appreciated):

I had three interviews in the same week with three different
organizations after not having any interviews at all for months -- I was
amazed.  (PIC's were helping me keep my sanity... I worked on little PIC
projects in the evenings.  Doing something new kept my mind occupied so
it had little time to worry.  Now, as a benefit, I understand a whole
bunch about microcontrollers that I didn't before and will continue to
enjoy building things out of PIC's. -- And maybe a few other types of uC
now that I can probably afford to buy lots of parts... that poor
paycheck isn't going to know what hit it!)

Two of these were started by personal references from friends, one I
found by accident via e-mails exchanged with a guy who appeared to have
a really neat project that fell into my skill set... He had posted
information about the project (not that he had a job opening) to a local
user's group mailing list for a specific technology I'm interested in
and I just e-mailed him and started chatting about it.

He then mentioned that his small company was planning to hire support
people for the product.  He just happened to be the Technology VP for
this place, and as we talked some more he offered an interview.  YOU
NEVER KNOW where you might meet someone who needs your skills at their
workplace.

I'm going to work for one of those three companies tomorrow (ugggh...
make that *today*, it's well after midnight...), and had an offer from
one of the other ones.

The amazing part of the story?  The chain of events that led to the
place I'm starting with tomorrow?  The manager sent an Instant Messenger
type message to a friend of mine saying... "I'm looking for someone who
can do XYZ... any ideas?"... or something similar.  My friend, who still
knew I was looking because I made it a point to keep in touch with
*everyone* I knew, said something to the effect of... "You should hire
Nate."

I know there are lots of folks out there looking for work right now.
The only advice I can really offer is two-fold... Something WILL come,
and more importantly, you DO have friends who care about you and you're
NOT alone.  No matter who you are.  Start a conversation about what you
do best with everyone you talk to.  Talk to, e-mail, or otherwise
contact at least five real people a day.  Even if it's just your
next-door-neighbor.  Do not quit "working" that day at your "job" until
you have.

The hardest part for hiring managers, even today with huge job databases
like monster.com, dice.com, etc etc etc... is finding that one person in
a pile of resumes who will add value to their team, the company, and
make coming to work as their manager and/or co-worker a joy instead of a
job.

All the best in the hunt...

Nate

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