Pop Quiz: What’s Your Job Seeker IQ?

Pop QuizReaders,

With school in session a short while, it’s time for the first pop quiz of the fall season! It’s an “open-book” test; I’ve generously provided links in the answer key below. But try it first without peeking to see your true Job Seeker I.Q. score.

Job Seeker IQ Quiz

1. T      F Using a boilerplate résumé that you find online is the best way not to make a mistake.
2. T      F One version of a well-polished résumé is all you need.
3. T      F You should always include your high school and/or college graduation date on your résumé.
4. T      F To get past the computer screening by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), your résumé should be in one standard format
5. T      F If you’ve ever been fired, you should never admit it on applications or during job interviews.
6. T      F A cover letter isn’t necessary these days.
7. T      F It’s best not to tell too many people that you’re looking for a job.
8. T      F Never apply to a position unless you meet every criteria listed in the job description.
9. T      F LinkedIn is the only effective social media tool for job seekers.
10. T      F There are lots of ways to find unadvertised positions besides the online job boards.
11. T      F It is prudent to tone down my political rhetoric on my Facebook page during a job search.
12. T      F It’s perfectly okay for my girlfriend to come to the interview with me for moral support.
13. T      F It’s a good idea to cover tattoos for that important interview.
14. T      F If I practice my answers to potential interview questions, it will come off as too rehearsed.
15. T      F Interviewers will understand if I’m nervous and shy and don’t make eye contact.
16. T      F It’s more difficult to get a job long-distance.
17. T      F My so-so credit rating and a misdemeanor from my college days won’t have an effect on my job search.
18. T      F It’s important to send a thank you note after every interview.
19. T      F For every $10,000 in salary, it takes about one month of searching to find a job.
20. T      F Taking a temporary job may lead to full-time employment.

Answer Key:

  1. False. Using a boilerplate résumé format makes you a boring candidate. Sample résumés may not be appropriate for your industry. If you do utilize one, start with a template (search for one specific to the type of position for which you are applying) and customize it to make it your own. Check out my past posts, Creating a Résumé from Scratch.
  2. False. One version of a well-polished résumé is not all you need. Tailor Your Résumé when submitting for a particular opening.
  3. False. Older workers may wish to eliminate high school and/or college graduation dates (and maybe even some irrelevant first jobs) in order to “age-proof” their résumés. See Hiding the “Gray” on Your Résumé (and Beyond). Millennials may wish to hide their graduation dates to not draw attention to their inexperience. For more tips, review How to Get Hired if You Don’t Have Experience.
  4. Mostly True. In Demystifying Applicant Tracking Systems, I explain how to increase the chances that your résumé will obtain a better score from ATS. However, there may be situations when a Functional Format Résumé is the best option.
  5. False. Don’t cover up the fact that you have been fired from a previous job. The truth will find you out! Instead, use my advice for Explaining Away “You’re Fired.”
  6. False. A cover letter is a must in my book. Granted, the “cover letter” may now be a “cover email,” but it is a great opportunity to personalize your résumé and sell yourself for the open position. Read Covering the Cover Letter.
  7. False. It may not be the best idea to tell your current boss that you’re looking for a job, but Help Other People Help You Find a Job.
  8. False. If you never applied to a position unless you meet every criteria listed in the job description, you’ll be unemployed for a long, long time. Here’s my advice on Applying for a Job When Not 100% Qualified.
  9. False. LinkedIn isn’t the only effective social media tool for job seekers. Check out tips for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest in Be a Social Seeker, Part 1 and Part 2.
  10. True. There are lots of ways to find unadvertised positions besides the online job boards. Find out where in How to Find Jobs Not Advertised on the Top Job Boards, Part 1 and Part 2.
  11. True. It is prudent to tone down political rhetoric on Facebook during a job search. Facebook: Friend or Foe offers more tips.
  12. False. It’s not a good idea to bring a girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse, or children to an interview. Avoid all Top 10 Interview Fails.
  13. True. While tattoos are becoming more mainstream, it’s still a good idea to cover tattoos during interviews.
  14. False. Practicing answers to common interview questions is a “best practice.” Review Take Stock with a Mock Interview.
  15. False. While taking nerves into consideration, interviewers definitely notice eye contact or lack thereof, so Be Body Language Conscious.
  16. True. Landing a Job Long Distance is more difficult, but not impossible.
  17. False. Bad Credit Can Cost You… Your New Job. Crimes and Misdemeanors from college days may also affect your job search. Finding Jobs for Ex-Felons is even more difficult.
  18. True. Miss Manners and Miss Anita agree: It’s important to say, “Thank You for the Interview.”
  19. False. As our infographic How Long to Find a Job shows, research indicates it takes about one month of searching to find a job for every $20,000 in salary.
  20. True. Taking a temporary job may indeed be a bridge to a full-time position.

Scoring

90%-100% You’re employed, right?
80%-90% Brush up on your résumé or interview skills.
70%-80% Try harder.
Below 70% It’s a tough world out there. Take corrective measures immediately!

Readers: How did you score on the Job Seeker IQ Quiz?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

Subscribe to receive weekly emails with career tips and advice for job seekers, employed people, and managers and supervisors.

“Poaching” Employees

At a recent business mixer, the topic of stealing away an employee from a competitor was hotly debated. Is swiping talent legal? Is it ethical? I’m torn. What’s your take on employee poaching, Anita?

PoacherDear “Open Season,”

You’re asking someone in the recruiting business?! Well, I’ll try to be unbiased.

Is poaching ethical? Hiring someone who is already employed in your line of business or industry pretty much goes without saying, when it comes right down to brass tacks. I think the biggest definer of poaching is who is reaching out to whom. If you are posting an ad, and a competitor’s hot-shot performer applies, you’re totally in the clear. If, however, you approach said hot-shot, that could be considered unscrupulous by some (particularly the star performer’s current employer). I counter that it’s an employer’s obligation to keep employees so happy that they wouldn’t even consider working elsewhere.

There are also some highly specialized professions with such a small talent pool that there is no choice but to poach from competitors.

Is it legal for companies to hire away talented personnel from rivals? There are circumstances where poaching could get an employer in legal hot water, depending on your state’s laws. Higher-level employees with non-compete agreements or nondisclosure of trade secrets clauses may come with a risk to your company. Interestingly, Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel and other tech giants got in trouble for the opposite of poaching when they agreed to suppress wages by not actively recruiting each other’s employees.

If you’re worried, you can distance yourself by hiring a recruiting firm; these companies know the subtle yet effective ways to reach out to employed candidates not actively seeking a new job who may be a perfect fit for your open position. If you just want a zero-drama life, institute a no-poaching rule, and hope that the competition doesn’t headhunt on your turf.

Managers: What’s your policy on poaching personnel?

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Dog-Friendly Jobs

Dear Anita,

After reading about Take Your Dog To Work Day about a month ago, I’m obsessed! I would love to find a job where I could bring my Schnauzer with me! How can I find companies that permit pets in the office?

Dear “Must Love Dogs,”

Payscape_Dog

Payscape

Pet lovers, rejoice! Some businesses make “Take Your Pet to Work Day” not just one day in June,  but every weekday. Pet Sitters International offers tips for successfully bringing dogs to work, such as making sure coworkers are not allergic and puppy-proofing your workspace.

The Nerdery

The Nerdery

While dog-friendly offices are becoming a company culture selling point in job descriptions, all pets are not treated equally. The neighborhood bookstore may have a lounging feline, but Google’s pet policy does not include cats. “Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.”

Eventbrite

Many younger, hipper companies may be known for the cool perk of a dog-friendly workplace. But don’t discount old-school mom-and-pops operations, either, with less bureacracy and grassroots attitudes.

Glassdoor published a blog, 10 of the Best Companies for Dogs (and listed itself, but that’s forgivable). Here in no particular order are 10 of the Best Companies for Dogs:

Eventbrite
Company Rating: 4.7

 “I love that I can bring my dog to work and know that he loves it at Eventbrite too.” – Eventbrite Employee (San Francisco, CA)

Nestle

Nestlé Purina PetCare

Nestlé Purina PetCare
Company Rating: 4.6

“Love love love it! The atmosphere, people, longevity, stability, reputation, culture, opportunities…. and bringing your dog to work. What’s not to love?” – Nestlé Purina PetCare ORM Team Leader (Saint Louis, MO)

Rover.com

Rover.com
Company Rating: 3.5

“I love working at Rover! There are so many great pros: the people, the dogs, the work, it’s all great.” – Rover.com Employee

Payscape
Company Rating: 4.4

“You can bring your dog to work on Fridays!” – Payscape Employee

Petplan
Company Rating: 4.4

“There are always pets in the office and it is nice to have the ability to bring them to the office with you.” – Petplan Employee

Indiegogo

Indiegogo
Company Rating: 4.5

“Dog-friendly office, ping pong, happy hours, team dinner, and other perks of startups.” – Indiegogo Employee (San Francisco, CA)

The Nerdery
Company Rating: 3.3

“Having dogs at work is great for morale.” – The Nerdery Employee (location, N/A)

Specialized Bicycle

Specialized Bicycle

Specialized Bicycle

Company Rating: 3.5

“The culture of the company and office (the people, bikes everywhere! dogs welcomed, all the great coffee you can drink, lunch rides, on site bike shop, yoga classes, etc) is really special and worth the hard work.” – Specialized Bicycle Administrative Employee (Morgan Hill, CA)

Procore Technologies
Company Rating: 4.8

“Super friendly environment, free lunch on Wednesdays, open-door policy, and dog-friendly.” – Procore Technologies Employee (Carpinteria, CA)

Procore Technologies

Glassdoor
At Glassdoor, we’re lucky enough to have a dog-friendly workplace and couldn’t resist including sharing a few shots of our canine coworkers here in Marin County. By the way, we, and many of the companies listed above are hiring!

Company Rating: 4.6

Glassdoor“Aside from all the awesome perks like a gym, catered lunch, unlimited vacation and the ability to bring my dog every day, I just love being at Glassdoor. I’m consistently in awe of the good ideas, smart people and a lovable culture we have here.” – Glassdoor Public Relations Employee (Sausalito, CA)

Search Indeed.com and other job boards using “dog-friendly office” or “pet friendly” in the keyword field. You’ll find job postings that list this drool-worthy perk.

Readers: Would a dog-friendly office be a deciding factor when accepting a position?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

Subscribe to receive weekly emails with career tips and advice for job seekers, employed people, and managers and supervisors.

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Four-Day Work Weeks

Dear Anita,

I just love 3-day weekends! How can I convince my manager to adjust my schedule to a 4-day work week permanently?

Dear, TGI Thursday,

Back in 1914, Henry Ford reduced The Ford Motor Company’s work week from 48 to 40 hours, believing that long hours decreased productivity. Is it time, 101 years later, to decrease the work week even further?

Not every company can embrace the four-day work week. Weekends (at least Sundays) were once sacred with the vast majority of businesses closing up shop. But in the late 1960s and early ’70s, more retail enterprises started opening on Saturdays and eventually many added Sundays to their schedules to increase or maintain profitability. Can your company’s business survive with a four-day week?

It’s a rare company that would offer you a 32-hour week for the same wage as your 40-hour week. One way to maintain productivity (and salary) is with a “compressed” work week, where 40 hours are scheduled into four days. Adjusting to a 10-hour day can be a challenge at first, but it does have its perks. If you’re getting to work an hour earlier and leaving an hour later, this may decrease your commute time since you’ll be driving during off-peak hours. A four-day week also cuts the cost of commuting, potentially saving employees 20% in gas. If you have kids in daycare, you may be able to cut childcare expenses as well (though finding a facility with extended hours could prove difficult).  While you’re compressing your work week, you’re also compressing your evenings. There will be less time to cram in all after-work activities — cooking, errands, kids’ homework, and — oh, yes, — pleasurable leisure activities!

If an entire company could go to a four-day work week, the business could potentially save 20% of its energy costs. However, some companies that implement four-day work weeks stagger employee schedules to provide adequate phone and email coverage for customers during the traditional five-day week. That can create logistical challenges for scheduling meetings and keeping all employees on-track. Businesses that operate 24/7 may find three 10-hour shifts creates unprofitable overlap.

After pondering the pros and cons yourself, approach your boss outlining the benefits to the company as well as employees. If management says no, you can always move the Netherlands, where the four-day work week is standard.

Readers: Would you prefer a compressed week in order to have year-round three-day weekends?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

Subscribe to receive weekly emails with career tips and advice for job seekers, employed people, and managers and supervisors.

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Thermostat Wars

Anita,

The women in my office are at odds with the men over the temperature. If we dress appropriately for the warm weather outside, we freeze to death in the office. It’s hard to concentrate on your work when your fingers turn into blue Popsicles! Can you help us find a happy medium?

Dear “In a Cold Sweat,”

Adjusting the heating thermostatAfrican american man push button digital climate control

 

It’s a tale as old as… well, the invention of modern air conditioning, circa 1902. The gender divide is apparent when it comes to the preferred thermostat setting. I’ve known women who keep a polar fleece jacket or blanket at their desks, or who sneak a space heater next to their feet (Smokey the Bear would definitely not approve). While I won’t go so far as to call it a sexist conspiracy, the predicament does seem to affect women more than men – except for those unfortunate males who work for a female supervisor in the sweltering throes of a hot flash, jealously guarding the key to the AC.

Clothing, age, even your weight can affect how you experience temperatures. If your office has a suit and tie policy for the men, the extra layer of clothing is going to make the guys hotter under the proverbial collar. To be fair, guys can’t really strip down to the sleeveless tops that are acceptable for women to wear at work. It is easier to add a clothing layer to warm yourself up than it is to cool off when you can disrobe no further!

If Team Cold and Team Hot can’t keep their hands off the thermostat, your company may have to institute a climate control policy. OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) recommends indoor temperatures between 68-76° F, which is a pretty broad range. Most building thermostats follow a thermal comfort formula that was developed in the 1960s. Researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands claim the formula is based on a 40-year-old, 154-pound male, not an average female office worker with a lower metabolic rate. Women and men generally have a five degree difference in temperature preference, the researchers found. But, alas, “personal environmental modules” with individualized temperature controls in office buildings haven’t gone mainstream yet.

Over a decade ago, Cornell University put the thermostat wars to another scientific test, finding that warmer office temperatures improve productivity. Researchers increased office temperature from 68° to 77° F, and found that typing errors decreased by 44% and output jumped 150%.

Finnish counterparts at Helsinki University of Technology ran their own study. Their findings: The highest office productivity occurs at temperatures around 22° Celsius or 71.6° Fahrenheit. Hmm, those test subjects closer to the Arctic Circle seem a bit more tolerant of lower temperatures.

If the productivity arguments don’t convince your facilities manager to set the temperature above polar levels, hit ‘em in the pocketbook. Most energy companies recommend keeping the AC set no lower than 78° in summer. According to MyEnergy.com, your company can save 1-3% in energy costs for each degree the air conditioning is set above 72.

Readers: Are you “hot and bothered” at work, or given the “cold shoulder”?

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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