Tag Archives: etiquette

Three reasons why the Bait and Switch is downright evil

Have you, as a job seeker, experienced the bait and switch? Have you been called by a recruiter, invited in for an interview, only to find out that the “marketing” role was to sell Ginsu Knives?

evil person

I recall the Skype session I had with a woman like it was yesterday. I also recall how angry I was because it was your typical bait and switch. The woman, who I’ll call Joan, told me she had some referrals for me. I, not knowing better, believed her and was waiting with anticipation for the our Skype session to begin.

We arranged a time to talk. She sent me an email to put our “date” on my Google calendar. I told my wife I couldn’t pick up the kids at school. Would she mind leaving work early to get them? Yes, she reluctantly agreed.

The session began with small talk. Joan asked me what I do for work, even wanted to hear my personal commercial. Her inquiries were making this conversation sound legit. Why would she refer someone to me if I didn’t know what I do?

There were plenty of people who needed help with their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Joan was overloaded with work and needed to know who to send to me; she would handle her core customers. Things were sounding good.

Would there be a referral fee, I asked. No, she said. There were other ways I could help her….

That’s when the conversation started to take a turn. At that point Joan told me to type in a website. What I saw in front of me was a website displaying hygienic products for men and women. My confusion lasted but a second, before I realized what was happening.

The bait and switch.

I gave Joan way too much time to explain the products to me before I told her that I was sorry; I was not interested in what she was selling, what she wanted me to sell.

She asked me why. There was sooo much money to make, and all from the comfort of my own home. She could teach me. The marketing material is included, she ended.

No, sorry.

How much time had I wasted? Twenty minutes. I inconvenienced my wife, who had to leave work early to pick up the kids. I felt like I’d been had. To say I felt violated would be too strong. I’m sure, though, that many people have felt violated by the bait and switch.

Some of my clients have told me they’ve been contacted by recruiters who have asked them cursory questions until grilling them about some of their LinkedIn connections. The recruiters raised their hopes; all along they knew my clients were not a fit. The recruiters were only after my clients’ connections

The bait and switch is evil

1. It’s dishonest. Ye who does the bait and switch must know there’s something inherently dishonest in promising one thing and deliver another. One thing I can honestly say is that I don’t go back on my promises to my kids. I believe in honesty.

Honesty is an important trait in an individual. Many employers seek honest employees, people they can trust to carry out the work required of them. When employees are dishonest, their bosses lose trust in them. They lose trust in everyone.

2. It hurts the violator’s reputation. I will never conduct business with John again. In fact, I’ve dropped her from my network. The taste she left in my mouth was so bitter that I can’t ever see interacting with her.

If anyone goes out of their way to ask about Joan, what choice do I have but tell the truth? None. I can only tell whomever asks to run for the hills. This woman’s reputation is definitely tarnished.

3. It gives sales a bad name. You don’t have to be a sales person to sell. We’re all salespeople because we all persuade. But once you persuade someone to listen to what you have to say and deliver another product, you give the art of selling a bad name.

Be honest. In your email, direct LinkedIn message, in an interview, or on the phone. Ask the person, in my case, “I have a pyramid scheme I’d like you to participate in. Are you interested?” This message is direct and doesn’t reek of a stereotypical used car salesman.


Recently I was shopping for cars for my daughter. We saw a Volks Wagon Jetta listed on Car Fax being sold at a car dealership 20 minutes from our home. My daughter was very excited. I called the dealership and specifically asked if the car was available. The woman who answered the phone told me it was.

You guessed it. When my expectant daughter and I arrived, the sales manager met us on the lot with, “To make a long story short, the car is at a different location. But there are similar cars on our lot.”

I responded with, “To make this short, we’re leaving.” My daughter didn’t understand my abruptness and why I was mean to the sales manager. She said, “That’s so rude.” I told her that we just got baited and switched.

“Baited and Switched? What does that mean?” she asked.

“It means someone tells you one thing and does another. Just like what happened now. It’s evil.”

“It sucks,” she said.

“Yes it does. Yes it does.”

Have you been the victim of a bait and switch? I’d love to hear your story.

Photo: Flickr, Rob DePaolo

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7 faux pas you may be committing on LinkedIn

confused

If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the past three weeks, you probably know that I’m now on Facebook. I’ve written ad nauseam about this, to the point where I’m tired of writing about this insignificant factoid. Nonetheless, I’m glad I finally made the plunge; Facebook is drawing out my personal side, much to the chagrin of my family. (They think my posts are embarrassing.)

You may also have seen me share a record shattering 25 updates…today. Not really, but I think I came close to 10 updates. Again, I’m tired of sharing updates, fully aware that many of my connections have hidden me. Now it’s called “Unfollow Bob McIntosh.” So, oversharing is one thing that makes LinkedIn tricky. When do you stop and shut down your laptop?

Following are six other LinkedIn faux pas.

Posting Irrelevant Content

irrelevant

Some people confuse their updates, photos, political statements, or mathematics games with content that is relevant to members of LinkedIn, a purported professional networking platform. Lately there has been some outcry, including from yours truly, about this irrelevant content.

“Go to Facebook,” they say. This is a legitimate request. As I said earlier, I joined Facebook. I joined it because I want to know what I’m talking about when I compare LinkedIn with Facebook. What I’ve learned from my short stint on FB is that it’s a place to “let your hair down.”

A video of a parent’s first child’s birthday party is relevant on FB. A political statement is relevant on FB. But these examples are NOT relevant on LinkedIn. When there are “R U a Genius” games, photos of butterflies; LinkedIn’s purpose becomes diluted.

On the other hand, too much professional content on Facebook  dilutes its purpose, which is to give people the forum to know each other’s personal lives. When I posted articles I or others have written, I’m sure Facebookies were thinking, “This is boring.”

I posted photos of my family, a snow storm, chickadees eating out of my kids’ hands, my son at his basketball game, and various other personal matter. It felt refreshing. Again, nothing that belongs on LinkedIn.

Not Keeping Your Cool

angry person3

This continues to be a problem for some LinkedIn members, who take every opportunity to disparage, say, employers who they feel have done them wrong.  I wrote a popular post on this, Some advice for my angry LinkedIn connection. I don’t expect this behavior to cease immediately, but I’m hoping to cause some awareness.

In some cases the people of whom I describe demonstrate excellent writing ability; however, ruin their post for me with one sentence that shows their true nature. They’re not keeping their cool. The climax of their post is the one statement that bashes the entity of which they’re writing.

People like this remind me of children who are tempted by a cookie jar sitting on the counter, and while other children can refrain from taking a cookie, this person just can’t resist, so he grabs that cookie.

Damn, so close.

Not Following Etiquette

We’ve all read enough about how sending the default invite message to people with whom you’d like to connect is poor etiquette. Frustrated LinkedIn members have written about this over and over, yet the majority of default invite messages I receive, 19 out of 20, keep rolling in. Default messages do suck.

I’ll admit that one etiquette rule I break is the limit of updates one is “allowed” to update. The number of updates is purported to be four a day at most. I’m clearly an offender of this. I once tried to keep my update number down, but to no avail. I mention this in the second paragraph of the post but thought it warranted repeating.

On the flip side of overdoing it with updates, is not doing enough. I can’t tell you how many people who begin a strong LinkedIn campaign only to leave LI or resurface twice a month. They have, essentially disappeared. I wonder if Facebook as sucked them in…like LinkedIn in has sucked me in.

The last violation I will mention is what many people have been complaining of lately; spamming their newly acquired connections. No sooner does a person accept an invite when WHAM they’re hit with, “Will you buy my product or service now that we’re trusted connections?” This causes a violent reaction from some LinkedIn members.

Letting it Control Your Life

Writer's Block

Sometimes we learn best from our mistakes. Letting LinkedIn control my life is a reality I struggle with; I’m on the platform everyday at least half an hour or more each day. This, to me and others, seems twisted.

Think to yourself what is the purpose of my LinkedIn engagement? Is it to find a job and am I do it right? To generate leads? To disseminate information? Build brand awareness? A little bit of both? Do you have a plan? Are you using LinkedIn to fill time? Is LinkedIn a marathon?

I sometimes envy the people who have a balance between their LinkedIn involvement and daily life. They seem to have their priorities correct. I’ve also come to realize that the people who are on LinkedIn four times a week are also on Facebook a good amount of time. Is that any better?

LinkedIn does seem to me to be a marathon I haven’t stopped running since I joined it seven years ago. Despite all this, I’ve seen some of my connections maintain my insane schedule and even exceed it.

Loving LinkedIn and Leaving It

disappering (1)

The adverse to Letting LinkedIn control your life is leaving LinkedIn high and dry. I run across job seekers who admit that the only reason they’re in my workshop is to pick up where they left off.

Secretly I’m thinking these people are committed one of the most egregious faux pas of all time. They opened an account, set up a profile, and once they found work they abandoned LinkedIn. Dropped it like hot potato.

How could they do this to LinkedIn? Don’t they understand that LinkedIn is at its best when they’re working and have the leverage to build the network they need for the rest of their career.

So what’s worse, letting LinkedIn consume your life like it has mine, or treating it like a friend you use? I say it is the latter.

Thinking LinkedIn Alone Will Get You Your Next Job

LinkedIn AloneFor job seekers, I have this bit of advice for you: yes, you must put effort into your LinkedIn campaign, as well as utilize Facebook and Twitter; but it is not the elixir some believe it is. In other words, LinkedIn alone will not garner you a job.

A successful job search must combine personal with online networking, online networking to reach out to connections who then become personal connections. Personal networking is supplemented by LinkedIn and perhaps Facebook and Twitter. That said, you must put the effort into your LinkedIn campaign.

This belief that social media alone will land you a job can be tricky for those who fear personal networking like they fear a dark cellar, so they feel LinkedIn is the answer to easing their fear. As I’ve said before, LinkedIn won’t do it alone.

Final Thoughts

I’m thankful for LinkedIn, and other social media, as they have given me the opportunity to meet and learn about interesting people—both online and in person. It has allowed me to share information from me and other bloggers. And my engagement has resulted in side business in the form of LinkedIn profile writing and public speaking events.

While LinkedIn has been kind to me, there are still some problems that need to be fixed. But that’s half the fun, strategizing on how to collaborate with others to mend the negativity, and reminding others of proper etiquette and relevant content. For job seekers, I again stress that LinkedIn alone is not your answer to landing  your next job.

For my growth on social media, perhaps I need to grow at a slower more consistent manner. Instead of logging 45 minutes a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks out of the year…yes, even on vacation. There is a lot I need to learn about using social media.

I’m interested in hearing about some faux pas you’ve committed or have thought of. Please leave a comment. And as always, please share this post if you enjoyed it.

Photo: Flickr, Confused, Geo

Photo: Flickr, Irrelevant, Jordy

Photo: Flickr, Twinkle J

 

 

 

13 ways to act professionally in the job search

Professional Woman2

Years ago my daughter had to defend her position when she was accused of something that she and I felt was unjust. Nonetheless, before she spoke to the principal, I told her to act professionally.

The look on her face was priceless. “How should I act professionally in this situation, Dad?” she asked. Exactly. How do you act professionally in a situation that is less than desirable? The best answer I could give my daughter was, “Do your best. Just do your best.”

This event prompted me to think of 13 ways to act professionally in the job search:

  1. Treat people with respect. This is simple advice your mother gave you as a child. In your job search you’ll run into a helpful people and people who are…well putzes who think it’s all about them. Treat all of them with respect and work with the ones who treat you with respect.
  2. Resist the urge to only take and not give. The term “Pay it forward'” has real meaning. Create good karma by being a giver, understanding that the help you give others will be returned by someone else. One of my customers, who recently landed a job, was the epitome of a networker because of the leads she doled out like candy.
  3. Don’t be too quick to ask. Related to #2, don’t assume people have the time to review your resume or LinkedIn profile, or meet you for coffee to give you job-search advice. You will find many helpful people who want to help you in your search, but ease into it with a few emails or a phone call before you pop the question.
  4. Act positive. Having been unemployed myself, I understand the emotional ups and downs, as well as the financial burden, that go with being out of work. I’m not telling you to feel positive; I’m telling you to act positive. In other words fake it till you make it. Keep in mind that people feel more inclined to help those who appear positive.
  5. Dress the part. Put on the appearance of a professional by dressing properly, not like you’re heading to the beach. I can spot the job seekers who aren’t fully into their job search by the way they dress, e.g., they wear tee-shirts instead of button-down shirts; yoga pants instead of dress pants or skirts. First appearances count; they really do.
  6. Be a student of the job search. I’ve witnessed those who understand the norms of the job search and those who don’t. The ones who do, dress appropriately, maintain a positive attitude (despite how they’re feeling inside), and follow proper etiquette. You are part of an organization called the Job Search.
  7. Be dedicated to your job search. I ask my workshop attendees how many hours a week they should dedicate to their job search. The ones who tell me what they think I want to hear say more than 40 hours. That might be a bit extreme, as there are other important things in your life, like family, friends, your sanity. I say 25-30 hours should suffice. Work smarter, not harder, as they say.
  8. Listen to constructive criticism. It is essential that you don’t get offended when someone critiques your “brilliant” résumé, interview performance, or networking etiquette. People generally want to help you in your job search. You’re not required to take their advice, but listen to what they have to say.
  9. Show up or call on time. In your case, it may be for the interview and appointments you’ve set up to meet with other jobseekers. The rule of never being late still applies. (Worse yet is forgetting entirely about an appointment, of which I’m guilty.) Call ahead if you’re going to be late, though. You might get some forgiveness.
  10. Don’t make excuses. We all make mistakes. If you made a mistake that may have led to your termination, admit to it. Employers are looking for self-awareness and transparency. The second part of the equation is explaining what you’ve learned from your mistake and how it won’t happen again.
  11. Realize the employer is not your enemy. Here’s the thing, the employer is only trying to hire the best person possible. Many hiring managers, HR, recruiters have been burned by hiring the wrong person—68% have done it at least once. Don’t create an adversary environment between you and the employer; you’ll lose.
  12. Follow up; always follow up. If you had a great meeting with a fellow jobseeker or you were granted an informational interview; always remember to respond with a thank you message and a call to action. Sometimes our meetings don’t warrant further action. Nonetheless, show your gratitude for the time the individual took to help you.
  13. Employ proper etiquette. I’m not only talking about at an interview. Show etiquette at networking events, as well as on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Actively listen when someone is talking. Don’t interrupt and refrain from speaking too much. If you don’t have anything nice to say on LinkedIn, don’t say anything.

The story of my daughter turned out well–she was not at fault of what she was accused. I was proud of how my daughter handled the situation. She acted professionally and manged to create a positive atmosphere between her and the principal I, on the other hand, might not have done so well.

5 rules not to break in the job search: in response to a dismayed recruiter

A recent entry, The Angry Young Job Seeker written by Amy Ala, speaks of the ignorance and downright audacity of a talented gentleman this recruiter was trying to place. Demanding, belligerent, arrogant, are just some of the adjectives I would use to describe the subject of Amy’s account.

In reading the article, you get a sense that the author was trying to help the jobseeker, while also keeping in mind the needs of her client. She demonstrated patience, diplomacy, and understanding. In the end she couldn’t in good conscience recommend the jobseeker for the job. There are those who go to great lengths to help jobseekers find employment.

So when a jobseekers commits follies–like the one Amy was trying to place–it’s hard to believe the lack of common sense they display. It makes one scratch her head and wonder, “What makes people behave this way?” Let’s go over some basic behavior to avoid when engaging in relationships with recruiters, HR, and hiring managers.

  1. Don’t forget your manners. Remember when your parents taught you manners? These manners were meant to be practiced throughout your life. In Amy’s article, the jobseeker surely didn’t exercise his manners and this did him in. He verbalized his displeasure with having to go through another round of interviews, was inflexible in terms of meeting for an interview, and demanded “relo” fees.
  2. Understand the role of a recruiter, Human Resources, and hiring managers. It is their job to find the right person for a position that needs to be filled. If they recommend or hire the wrong person, it doesn’t bode well. Your job is to make them see you as the answer to their prayers, not expect them to be the answer to your prayers.
  3. You are not the center of attention. You are a means to an end, namely serving the organization that hires and houses you. This is an extension of the previous point. Your objective is to get an interview, land the job, and keep the job. As you rise in the ranks, your leveraging power will increase. Until then, do as you’re told.
  4. When the workday ends, those who can help you realize your goal have other obligations. This is my little rule. When the workday ends, I have my kids’ events to attend, not unlimited time to conduct business. Some recruiters, et al, may be more flexible of their own free will or because their job calls for it. In other words, they don’t work for you.
  5. You are better than a buffoon and a squabbling fool—If you’re a bit irritated but generally  agree with what I’ve written, thank heavens. If by chance, you’re saying who the @#%& is he to be stating these rules, chances are you’ll find it very difficult to land and keep a job. But honestly, you’re better than someone who would break these rules, including the jobseeker mentioned in the article.

Keep your dignity. With all this said, don’t be taken advantage of. Any recruiter, HR professional, or hiring manager who treats you wrong isn’t worth his…or her…weight in salt.  Many jobseekers approach me and ask what they should do if they haven’t heard from a recruiter or employer after many attempts of contacting them. I tell them to continue to follow up but don’t hound or stalk them. They’re sending you a message, albeit a poor one. Your dignity is worth more than hounding fools who don’t know your value.

Read the article, and you’ll wonder how The Angry Young Job Seeker could be so clueless. The landscape of the job search has changed and the rules may not favor the jobseeker; but as I tell my jobseekers, eventually it will be a sellers’ market. What a wonderful thing that will be.