The Secret Of My Success…And Yours, Too

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The Secret to my SuccessWhat is the secret of success in today’s business world?

Is it education? No. In my 33 years of competing in the business world, I have met a lot of educated failures.

Is it ” being born into the business”? No. While that might bring you money and perceived success, your employees will still look at you as nobody but your father son. Inheriting a business does not bring  respect with it.

Is it “who you know”? No. While having influential connections in the business world can help you land a job, they won’t be able to do your job for you.

So, what is the secret of success in business?

I believe that there are two factors that are very important in order to achieve individual success in today’s business world.

First, you must be persistent.

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States. Known as “Silent Cal”, he was a quite, introspective man, who spoke very little. However, when he did speak, he spoke volumes:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.

Persistence requires patience. Patience is a virtue. I know that sounds corny, but it is the absolute truth. Persistence means that you will work toward a goal which you have set for yourself in your business life with a singular focus, set on the ultimate achievement of this goal, no matter what obstacles life throws in your path .

The second thing that you must possess in order to be successful in the business world, is happiness.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer

So, how to you achieve happiness in the business world?

Forbes.com recently listed the following suggestions, found in the book, “The How of Happiness”, written by Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California. (The steps themselves are the author’s. The analysis and any smart alack remarks that may occur are mine.)

1. Express gratitude –

Say, “Thank you” Just two little words. However, little words mean a lot.

“You didn’t have to do it, but you did what you did what you did, and, I thank you.”

2. Cultivate optimism –

Work on viewing the glass as half full. You’ll be surprised what happens.

“Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant.”

3. Avoid overthinking and social comparison –

You can drive yourself crazy with thoughts of “What if?” and “How Come”? And, don’t compare yourself with anybody else. You are unique. One of a kind. Wonderfully and fearfully made.

Besides, if “ifs and buts” were candy and nuts, we would all have a Merry Christmas.

“Welcome to my morning. Welcome to my day. yes, I’m the one responsible. I made it just this way.”

4. Practice Acts of Kindness –

Whether it is opening the door for someone, buying a co-worker’s lunch when they’re short, or helping a co-worker finish an assignment before a deadline, helping someone else feels good.

Therefore, the more acts of kindness you engage in, they better you will feel.

“You got to try a little kindness. Show a little kindness. Shine your light for everyone to see.”

5. Nurture relationships –

Be a good friend. Our relationships in the business world are not only essential to our careers but our sanity, as well.

“Sometime in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow. But, if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow.

Lean on me when you’re not strong. And, I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on. For, it won’t be long, ’til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.”

5. Develop strategies for Coping –

The most powerful resource you have at your disposal is you. We often get so caught up dealing with problems, we forget to acknowledge, develop and keep our attention with our strengths. Sometimes, when the chips are down, this is all we have – character strengths such as our determination, grace, compassion, clarity of mind and creativity.

“Learning to love yourself…It is the greatest love of all.”

7. Learn to forgive –

Life is too short to hold grudges. You may have to work with the person that your mad at, later in your career.

Everybody makes mistakes. “To err is human. To forgive divine.”

8. Do more activities that truly engage you –

Whether you are at work or at home, look for more activities in which you can “lose yourself”. The stress of life can take years off of your life. Finding a hobby or enjoying your work, can add those years back.

“I don’t want to work. I want to bang on the drum all day.”

9. Savor life’s joys-

Fondly recall the past. Be in the present. Anticipate the future.

“Life is a highway. I want to drive it all night long.”

10.Commit to your goals –

Make sure the goals you set are important to you. Make sure to consider the “what if’s”. Renew your commitment each day.

“Today is mine. Today is mine. To do with what I will. Today is mine. My own special cup to fill.to die a little that I might learn to live. To take from life, that I might learn to give. Today is mine.”

11. Practice religion and spirituality –

“Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force – that thoughts rule the world.” –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You raise me up so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up to walk on story seas. I am strong when I am on your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be.”

12. Take Care of Your Body –

This not only means exercising, but also smiling, meditating. and laughing.

“You’ve got to stop and smell the roses
You’ve got to count your many blessings everyday
You’re gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way.”

The author of the Forbes article suggests picking 4 of these 12 things to do on a regular basis, at your business, in order to achieve happiness in the workplace.

In my view, you should attempt to do as many of these things, as often as possible, because…
Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.- Paul Ryan

In conclusion, allow me to tell you that the American Dream is still achievable.

You just have to be “happily persistent”.

Never Give Up. Never Surrender.

-Allen

***I am the Director of Sales at the Candlewood Suites in Memphis, Tennessee, an IHG Property, and an extended stay hotel. I can be reached at dos@cwsmemphis.com***

Being Hospitable: The Qualities of a Successful Hospitality Employee

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hospitality1Hospitality – the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.

As I reported last week, I have started a new position in the Hospital Industry.

As I was waiting to start, I thought about the qualities that were necessary to be a success in the Hospitality Industry. Per hospitalityschools.com, they are

1. Commitment
To be successful in the hospitality industry, you must be committed to ensuring customer satisfaction. You must do whatever it takes to keep customers happy and also create repeat business.
2. Communication Skills
The most successful in the hospitality business are those with excellent communication skills. They can communicate effectively both orally and in writing
3. Computer Know-How
A great hospitality employee has good computer skills and is familiar with a wide range of technological applications that are used within the industry.
4. Enthusiasm
Great employees of the hospitality industry are enthusiastic about their jobs and strive to do the best work possible. They want to give their customers the best experience available.
5. Interpersonal Skills
To be successful in hospitality, one must have top notch interpersonal skills, as the very nature of the business is to provide spectacular customer service.
6. Leadership
Great hospitality employees have strong leadership skills and are able to command projects and make significant contributions to an organization’s overall success.
7. Organized
To stay on top of the multitude of tasks you’ll face as a hospitality employee, you have to be organized and multitask without difficulty
8. Knowledgeable of Safety/Hygiene Issues
Successful hospitality employees are familiar with rules of safety and hygiene as they apply to food serving places, hotels, and other places where people spend time.
9. Teamwork
Successful members of the hospitality industry work well with others and can be a productive member of a team. They value the contributions of everyone.
10. Thorough
Great hospitality employees are very thorough in their work and realize that any oversight could result in customer dissatisfaction.

In looking for advice about how to do well in my new job, I decided to turn to one of my Hometown Heroes and a legend in the Hospitality Industry, Kemmons Wilson.

Kemmons Wilson and his family took a trip from Arkansas to Washington in 1951. He was so angered by their shabby lodgings, that he decided to open his own hotel.

The first Holiday Inn, a two story hotel, was opened in 1952 at 4985 Summers Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee between a lumberyard and two-lane highway. By 1959, there were 100; by 1975, 1,700.

Today, there are Holiday Inns in every state and in more than 50 countries.

Here are Kemmons Wilson’s Twenty Tips for Success

1. Work only a half a day; it makes no difference which half-it can be either the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours.

2. Work is the master key that opens the door to all opportunities.

3. Mental attitude plays a far more important role in a person’s success or failure than mental capacity.

4. Remember that we all climb the ladder of success one step at a time.

5. There are two ways to get to the top of the oak tree. One way is to sit on a acorn and wait; the other is to climb it.

6. Do not be afraid of taking a chance. Remember that a broken watch is exactly right at least twice every 24 hours,

7. The secret of happiness is not doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.

8. Eliminate from your vocabulary the words, “I don’t think I can” and substitute “I know I can”.

9. In evaluating a career, put opportunity ahead of security.

10. Remember that success requires half luck and half brains.

11. A person has to take risks to achieve.

12. People who taker pains never to do more than they get paid for, never get paid for anything more than they do.

13. No job is too hard as long as you are smart enough to find someone else to do it for you.

14. Opportunity comes often. It knocks as often as you have an ear trained to heat it, an eye trained to see it, a hand trained to grasp it, and a head trained to use it.

15. You cannot procrastinate-in two days, tomorrow will be yesterday.

16. Sell your wristwatch and buy an alarm clock.

17. A successful person realizes his personal responsibility for self-motivation. He starts himself because he possesses the key to his own ignition switch.

18. Do not worry. You can’t change the past, but you sure can ruin the present by worrying aver the future. Remember that half the things we worry about never happen, and the other half are going to happen anyway. So, why worry?

19. It is not how much you have but how much you enjoy that makes happiness.

20. Believe in God and obey the Ten Commandments.

After my first week on my new job, I  believe that not only was Mr. Wilson absolutely right, he was a visionary.

While training at the Front Desk this past week, I was called upon to go to guest rooms to fix televisions, to figure out why a DVD had no picture (it turned out to be a CD), and to run to the local retail store to buy some bathroom…umm…equipment that we were short of.

After a lifetime of working with clients from every walk of life, I am truly enjoying my new position.

With something new happening everyday, I can’t wait to get back to work to see what will happen next.

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

Okay. You’ve Been Hired. Now What?

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hired1052014If you’ve ever seen the look on somebody’s face the day they finally get a job, I’ve had some experience with this, they look like they could fly. And its not about the paycheck, it’s about respect, it’s about looking in the mirror and knowing that you’ve done something valuable with your day. And if one person could start to feel this way, and then another person, and then another person, soon all these other problems may not seem so impossible. You don’t really know how much you can do until you, stand up and decide to try. – Kevin Kline, “Dave” 1993

Those of you who have read my blog for any length of time, and, by the way, thank you for that, know that I have spent the past 5 months in search of meaningful employment.

Last Wednesday, my search ended, as I was hired for the position of Sales Manager at Candlewood Suites-Memphis.

When the shock wore off, I said to myself,

Okay, Self. What now? How do I handle myself on the first day at my new job?

Being the analytical type of person that I am, I decided to go to the World Wide Web to find the answers to that question, which I would like to share with you.

Here are some tips from Holly Paul, PricewaterhouseCooper’s U.S. recruiting leader, courtesy of usnews.money.com. ( The list of methods is the author’s. The analysis and any smart alack remarks which may pop up are mine.)

1. Time your arrival on the first day.

Paul suggests: “Arrive early, but not too early, to demonstrate responsibility and passion.”

Just like you arrived at job interviews 15 minutes early, in order to give a good first impression, that’s a good idea for your first day on your new job too.

Getting there early allows you to get yourself together before you take off on your new adventure.

2. Think about your wardrobe.

Take out what you want to wear on your first day, the night before.

Of course, by this time you should know what the dress rules are for the office.

Dress professionally and always dress in good taste.

Your appearance says a lot about you. Dress to impress, not to “shock and awe”.

3. Step up your company research.

Since you landed the job, you probably already conducted some due diligence, and you have a basic knowledge of what the company is about and what their core values are. Since you are about to be working there, it would be a good idea to review the company’s website once more, in order to learn about its mission, lines of business, and culture from the viewpoint of an employee.

Additionally, there may be some LinkedIn and Facebook groups for employees and some professional groups your co-workers may go to.

This is a great way to network and to keep up with what is going on in your field..

4. Practice introducing yourself.

I know that it sounds corny, but direct eye contact and a firm handshake will demonstrate the you are a go-getter with self-confidence.

Remember how smooth you were in your job interview? Carry that same suave demeanor and stylish professionalism into your new position and you will do well.

Just don’t be like Tim Matheson in “Animal House”:

I’m Otter…Rush Chairman…D@#n glad to meet you!

5. Ask questions.

…Not just because you are expected to.

The best questions will show that you are genuinely interested in learning the daily procedures involved with your new position.

Just don’t be like my 6 year-old grandson…

Why?Why?Why?Why?Why?Why? (I kid.)

6. Show what you know.

Look for ways to professionally “show off” your skills and knowledge.

Be humble. Approach the situation like, “Have you ever tried…?”

7. Communicate professionally.

Don’t speak to your new boss, like you do to the guys you watching football with on the weekends. be mindful of your diction. Enunciate clearly, but do not speak in a stilted manner, like “Joshua”, the computer from the 1983 movie, “WarGames”.

Greetings, Professor Falken. Shall we play a game?

8. Share your passions.

The best part of who you are, as a professional, includes knowing and being able to articulate who you are and what’s important to you, in other words, your values and passions.

While you are sharing your values and passions, your boss just might share theirs with you, as well, enabling you both to know where each other is coming from.

9. Hone those listening skills.

One of the skills which I have had during my professional career, is the ability to listen to clients and interpret what they want from what they say, what they don’t say, and what they imply.

It takes practice to sharpen this skill, but, it will prove invaluable to you, as you strive for a successful career.

Can you hear me now?

10. Take notes.

I used to work at a company where all of the vice-presidents (the owner’s sons) kept a writing journal on their desks. Just a cheap composition book. However, it proved invaluable to them when need arose to remember what happened in the past, in order to move forward into a more profitable future. It also helped when there was a disagreement at to how a certain situation occurred.

Additionally, taking notes helps you to stay organized and keep up with the small details that might escape your memory.

Because no boss wants to hear…

I forgot.

In conclusion, if you are unemployed, and I could give you one piece of advice on landing a job, I would refer you to this profound advice, given by the man known to our nation as “Silent Cal”, because he measured his words very carefully. However, when he opened his mouth, his words spoke volumes…

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge,  30th President of the United States of America

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

The Job Interview: Interviewers’ Tricks/What They Want To Hear

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Unemployment20One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. –Arthur Ashe

Sitting here, waiting to hear the results from my latest in 5 months worth of job interviews, the thought struck me that Corporate Interviewers, just like any other professional, must have some “tricks of the trade”, which they rely upon in order to find the right job candidate for any position for which they are interviewing applicants.

The professional life of an Interviewer eventually finds them in front of every single type of individual, whether they be introvert, extrovert, detail-oriented, or free spirit.

While Interviewers all have their own particular interviewing style, there are certain common methods that they use in order to get the job candidate to “open up”.

Here is a list of 10 “tricks of the trade” which Interviewers use to get a job candidate to let their guard down during a Job Interview, initially posted on money.usnews.com in March of 2012. (The list of methods is the author’s. The analysis and any smart alack remarks which may pop up are mine.)

1. Silence.

There are some interviewers who will remain silent after you finish answering their question, hoping that you will continue to talk and reveal something about yourself that you did not intend to.

Answer their question succinctly. If their silence continues, ask them if there was something else about the topic of the question that they wanted to know.

2. Extreme friendliness.

By putting you at ease, Interviewers hope to break down your defenses and gain insight into the “real you”.

The Interviewer, while friendly, isn’t your BFF. Stay professional.

3. Asking “What do you know about us so far?”

When Interviewers ask you this, they want to know if you desire the job enough to learn about the company, i.e , “do your homework”.

In this case, what you don’t know CAN hurt you.

4. Asking why you’re thinking about leaving your current job (or why you left your last job).

This is another “Gotcha” Question.

The Interviewer is attempting to get you to reveal if you left on bad terms or if you’re willing to badmouth your former employer.

Remain positive. Keep your private thoughts about your former employer private.

5. Asking how soon you can start.

Interviewers want to know if you posses the strength of character to give your current employer at least two-weeks notice. If you are employed, and you tell the interviewer that you can start immediately, they will assume you’ll do that to them someday, too.

6. Asking you to follow up about something.

The Interviewer is testing you to see how well you remember and follow up on commitments, even small or informal ones.

7. Leaving you with the receptionist.

If you are a “People Person”, like I am, you might slip up and say things to the receptionist that you would never say to an Interviewer.

Just remember that the receptionist is the gatekeeper. Just as is the case with salespeople trying to get in front of a decision-maker, she will follow up with her boss after you leave.

If they chat with you, talk about the weather or compliment the “cute” picture of their grandchild.

8. If you were laid off, asking if others were laid off with you.

The question “How many in your department were laid off as well?” Is an attempt by the Interviewer to find out if a past employer laid you off in order to avoid having to fire you for performance issues.

9. Asking you to describe your dream job.

If you answer with any other job than the one you are applying for…you’ve shot yourself in the foot.

If you are interviewing for a job as a zoo keeper, don’t say that you want to be a Big Game Hunter.

10. Asking what questions you have.

A good Interviewer can tell a lot about you by what questions you ask. Interviewers want to hear insightful questions about the position itself, the company culture, and the organizational structure.

There are also some general statements about yourself that every Job Interviewer wants to hear.

In November of 2012, Forbes.com posted an article titled,  “5 Things Every Employer Wants To Hear”.

Here is a list of those statements.

1. You will never have to tell me what to do twice.

This shows that you don’t let any moss grow under your feet, i.e., that you are pro-active and engaged.

2. I will complete the job/assignment you give me with excellence.

This tells the Interviewer that you take your assignments seriously and excise due diligence in the performance of your job duties.

3. I am open to learning, adapting, adjusting and to receiving feedback on how I can improve.

This shows that you are not a know-it-all and that you will recognize your manager’s authority.

4. I am easy to correct and instruct.

With this statement, you are telling the Interviewer that you have a good, professional attitude, with a strong dose of humility thrown in for good measure.

5. I am a loyal employee.

This statement lets them know that, if they hire you, you will be a steadfast, productive employee for as long as they will have you.

Remember, every Job Interview is different, as is the style of every Interviewer.

So, get out there, land an interview, and give it your best shot. As Legendary Professional Hockey Player, Wayne Gretzky, once quipped,

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

My sincere hope is that the insights and suggestions provided in today’s blog will help you land your “dream job”.

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

The Job Search: Dealing With Depression

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Unemployment19One of the hardest things that you will ever deal with in your life is losing a job, especially if you wind up being unemployed for an extended period of time.

Let’s face it. If you are an average working American, you spend more time at your job than you do at home with your family.

Losing a job leaves a void in both your self-identity and your self-esteem. It also seriously messes with your mind, as it tears asunder your daily routine and can completely destroy your financial security.

The state of being unemployed and unwanted by potential employers can seriously affect your feelings of self-esteem, comfort, financial security, and personal control of your life.

Losing a job is a major trauma in anyone’s life. It can affect you like losing someone close to you, like a family member or a friend, and it can put you on your heels, like a divorce or a car accident.

You can feel defeated and demoralized. No longer having some place to go everyday can leave you with a sense of loss, rendering you disoriented, worthless, rejected, and scared.

The fact that today’s employers, a lot of times, don’t even have the grace to tell you that you weren’t chosen, and leave you hanging, waiting to find out if you got the job or not, leads you to beat yourself up over your continued unemployment..

Trust me. I know.

When some hourly Human Resources Clerk does not return your phone calls, it makes you feel about the size of Stuart Little.

And, the worst thing is…you start believing all the negativity about yourself, no matter what great things you have accomplished in your Professional Life.

These  negative, self-defeating thoughts start affecting you, governing your behavior. You start eating all day, or not eating at all. or sleeping all day or not sleeping at all.

Once the darkness of depression enters your life, searching for jobs every day, in order to claw yourself out from the abyss of unemployment, becomes an almost insurmountable task.

Thankfully, there are measures you can take, in order to keep the darkness of depression for taking up residence in your mind and heart.

In March of 2010, cio.com posted the following 10 suggestions as to how to deal with depression during your job search. (The suggestions are theirs. The analysis and any smart alack remarks which may pop up are mine.)

1. Maintain a Routine.

Act as if you are still going to work everyday. Get up in the morning, shower and dress. Use that same work ethic which has served you so well in the past, to provide disciple to your present job search.

Just don’t say, “Good morning, Boss” to your spouse. Trust me on this one. I have just about regained the sight in my right eye.

2. Exercise.

Exercise increases the blood flow. It helps to fight off depression, and generally makes you feel better, physically and mentally…even if it is just going out for a walk, or a “drag”, if you are a dog owner.

Also, even computer programmers have to take a break from staring at the monitor all day. It can make your eyes cross.

3. Keep a Job Search Journal.

In other words, keep a record of what you are doing in your quest to find gainful employment.

When you are feeling down, you can look back on it to find affirmation that you are working hard to get a job. Additionally you can show your family what you are doing.

A journal, or record, will also keep you from contacting the same person twice. I wish some employers, like “The Duck”, would keep one. …I’m just sayin’…

4. Reach Out to People.

Contact your family, friends, and your Facebook and LinkedIn Contacts.

Back before computers, that’s how people found work. You might even actually have a phone or face-to-face conversation with those personal friends and family. **Gasp!**

5. Attend a Support Group.

Networking and Support Groups for unemployed executives cab alleviate your loneliness and improve your self-esteem. somebody may know somebody with a job opening in your area of expertise.

After all, no man is an island. No man stands alone. Hey, that would make a nifty title for a song. Oh. …never mind.

6. Participate in Productive Distractions.

Volunteer at a Non-Profit Organization or a charity sponsored by your place of worship.

Helping others will make you feel better about yourself and take your mind off of your own problems.

Or you could even start your own blog. WordPress and Blogster are both great platforms for blogging. And, they’re FREE!

7. Seek Inspiration.

Watch movies, television programs and webcasts, and listen to CD.s and podcasts which will inspire you.

If you are a spiritual person, embrace your faith. Use your faith to anchor your life through the storm that you are presently going through.

8. Persevere.

Battle the darkness of depression. When you start to recognize the symptoms, follow one or more of these suggestions. Fight it.

If you are a “Seasoned Professional”, like myself, you will remember the end of every Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, when, exhausted, his tuxedo shirt unbuttoned and bow tie askew, he would sit on a stool and sing, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, by Rodgers and Hammerstein…

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.

It’s like that.

9. Get Professional Help.

Don’t let the darkness of depression overwhelm you and destroy your relationships and your very life. Nonprofit mental health centers and county mental health agencies may provide counseling services for free or at a reduced rate. You might also look into organizations like Easter Sales, Catholic Charities and the United Way, in order to find local groups that offer free-of-charge counseling services.

10. Maintain Work-Life Balance.

If you are one of those whose job was their entire life, encompassing your self-worth and identity, the loss of a job will, quite literally, be psychologically devastating.

When you finally land a job and return to work, make every effort to balance out work and home. Get more involved with your family and community.  Work on “defining yourself” outside of your job.

After all, in today’s business world, jobs come and go…but, you’re stuck with yourself forever.

So, learn to love yourself. He/She’s got a lot going for them.

Never Give Up. Never Surrender.

-Allen

The Job Interview: “We’re Going To Need Your Facebook Password…”

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Unemployment18If you are reading this article on LinkedIn.com, chances are pretty favorable that you also have an account on Facebook.com, which you use for networking with family and friends, or keeping up with topics which interest you.

Within the last couple of years, Corporate Recruiters and Interviewers have integrated some surprising and controversial new job seeker screening practices into their quest to find viable Job Candidates for their clients/corporations. These practices have come to be known as “shoulder surfing” and “force friending”. This new arrow in the Recruiter/Interviewer’s quiver ultimately involves asking the Job Candidate for their Facebook password.

“Shoulder surfing” is a practice which involves the Interviewer asking a candidate in an interview to log in to his or her Facebook account, in order for the Human Resources Department to screen “friends-only” postings for lurid party photos, questionable activities, drug use or racial/religious/gender slurs that might be revealed in a job seeker’s private online life.

“Force friending” frequently occurs among college athletic departments where administrators require players to friend them in order to keep tabs on potential non-compliant activities by their NCAA athletes.

Additionally, some types of employers, particularly law enforcement agencies, have been requesting the Facebook password of a job seeker, right on the job application.

By now, you are probably thinking,

Wait a minute. Isn’t that an Invasion of Privacy?

Unfortunately, as wrong as one might find these practices from a privacy and free speech perspective, there is no specific law preventing them, at least for now.

According to legal experts, employers are walking a fine line in demanding access to employee or applicants’ personal social media accounts. In fact  ACLU-backed legislation is in the works in several states.

Jennifer Corso, who is an employment law attorney that represents businesses, advises against the practice.

In my opinion, while these practices may be legal, it opens the employer up to several types of employment discrimination claims and should not be practiced. It is very possible that the Facebook page would reveal information about the applicant that would otherwise be the subject of illegal interview questions.” She cites the revealing of age and race, a medical condition, religious affiliation, even comments about planning to start a family are often evident on private posts; “if that applicant isn’t selected, the employer may be put in a position to show that it didn’t rely on that private information in making their decision.

Facebook itself has warned in the past that the practice “undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends” and “potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.”

So, what do you do if the Interviewer puts on the spot and asks you for your Facebook Password? After all, you want the job, but, you do not want the prospective employer dissecting your personal life, like an Eighth Grade Biology Student dissecting a frog.

From theladders.com, here are some responses to give politely give to the Interviewer, which, hopefully, will allow you to protect your privacy on Facebook. (As usual, the questions are the authors. The analysis, including any smart alack remarks that may pop up, are mine.)

1. I take my agreements very seriously. And it is against Facebook’s user policy to share my password with anyone else. I’m going to have to respectfully decline your request.

Because if you tell the Interviewer, “it’s none of your business”, you will be shown the door…post haste.

2. I’m sure your firm has a social media policy. Well, it is my own social media policy to use Facebook for personal reasons. I mean no offense, but I’m going to have to decline.

Or, perhaps you could ask the Interviewer for their Facebook password…and, watch them respond with the “deer in the headlights” “eyes glazed over” look.

3. Privacy is a very serious matter for me. Should I be employed with your organization, I would honor private company information just as seriously as I honor my own. Even if this means losing a great opportunity for me, I must refuse your request. And know that if I were presented with a similar situation with your private information, I would respond in the same way.

This response shows the potential Employer that you possess strength of character…a rare trait nowadays….a trait that any employer worth their salt should be looking for in a job candidate.

4. I wouldn’t want to jeopardize your organization’s standing with OFCCP’s (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) regulations about asking about kids or other protected private matters in the course of an employment decision. Therefore, if you don’t mind, I’d prefer to keep my Facebook profile private. However, should you and I become friendly after my employment, I would have no problem having you in my network.

Interviewers should be, and probably are, familiar with the OFCCP. This response s a polite inference that you know the legalities of Job Interviewing, as well as they do.

In conclusion, most of us who are Facebook aficionados are just regular folks, whose account consists of pictures of family, friends, pets, and silly pictures with funny quips on them. However, if you are passionate about your faith, or are outspoken about your political leanings, that is your business, and should not affect whether you are hired for a job, if you are qualified for it.

In my opinion (and, you can take it for what it is worth), that is why having a LinkedIn.com account is so important.

LinkedIn.com presents a great overall view of your professional qualifications to a potential employer, in a clear and concise manner.

Leave Facebook for Personal Interests.

Hey. Who came up with “Caturday”, anyway?

Never give up. Never Surrender.

-Allen

The Job Interview: How to Handle the Interview as a “Seasoned Professional”

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unemployment7The Jobs Report for the month of August was published last Friday, and America’s Employment Rolls aren’t exactly burgeoning, to say the least.

According to CNSnews.com,

A record 92,269,000 Americans 16 and older did not participate in the labor force in August, as the labor force participation rate matched a 36-year low of 62.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor force participation rate has been as low as 62.8 percent in six of the last twelve months, but prior to last October had not fallen that low since 1978.

BLS employment statistics are based on the civilian noninstitutional population, which consists of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home.

As one of the over 92 million Americans mentioned in the BLS report, well into my fifth month of “fun-cation” as First Lady Michelle Obama once described unemployment, I am reminded of the University Graduation Speech given by Thonton Melon (the late, great Rodney Dangerfield) in the movie “Back to School”,

Thank you, Dean Martin, President Sinclair…and members of the graduating class. I have only one thing to say to you today…it’s a jungle out there.You gotta look out for number one. But don’t step in number two. And so, to all you graduates…as you go out into the world my advice to you is…don’t go! It’s rough out there.Move back with your parents. Let them worry about it.

Unfortunately, as a 55 year old “Seasoned Professional”, my parents are no longer here for me to move back in with. Besides that, my wife wouldn’t let me.

With the national unemployment rate as high as it is, it is becoming harder and harder for “Seasoned Professionals”, such as myself, to find gainful employment  While extensive work experience can certainly work to the advantage of a job seeker,  it definitely seems that, in this technology-driven job market, fresh and trainable young candidates are considered to be more valuable by corporations.

If you are a job seeker with over 15 years of job experience, you must  prove to an interviewer that you have relevant experience, as well as the adaptability and passion that they value in younger candidates.  Recruitips.com has posted a few interview tips for older job seekers.(The tips are theirs. The analysis and any smart alack remarks that may pop up are mine.)

1.    Show that you are current.

Interviewers are looking for a candidate with particular relevant work experience.  Make sure that you are familiar with current trends in your profession, so that you can “wow” the Interviewer as to how knowledgeable you are.

Yes, the knowledge you’ve gained through your extensive work experience is important, but, if you drone on about it to the Interviewer, they will likely get that same “eyes glazed-over” expression that your kid used to, when you told him/her that you had to walk to and from school 5 miles each way, uphill both ways, in blinding snow.

2.    Demonstrate adaptability.

Unfortunately, there are recruiters out there who perceive us “Seasoned Professionals” as “set in our ways”…untrainable and unadaptable. Be prepared to give your Interviewer a few examples of times when you were required to adapt to a new professional environment, and you found success afterward.

3.    Show off your network.

You’ve no doubt heard it said that “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” Having an impressive network of business acquaintances can be a powerful arrow to have in your quiver to pull out during your interview.

Just don’t pull a Jon Lovitz, “Yeah…my wife…Morgan Fairchild. That’s the ticket!”

4.    Prove that you have an understanding of technology.

A knowledge of Social Media and Web-Based business tools can put you in the “catbird seat”. It will show the Interviewer that, just because you are a “Seasoned Professional, does not mean that you are “computer-illiterate”,

5.    Be honest about your health.

According to the law, your health problems are none of the Interviewer’s concern. However, do not let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird hindquarters.Simply put, don’t say that you can do something, if you know that your health will not allow you to do it.  You won’t be helping yourself or your potential employer.

Personally, I used to have a 56 inch chest and 18 inch biceps…but, that’s all behind me, now.

Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States. A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action.

He was known as “Silent Cal”, because he was a man who chose his words carefully. However, when he spoke, his words resounded with clarity and conciseness. When he was asked what the secret of success was, he responded:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.

I hope the tips I have shared will help you gain meaningful employment,

Never quit. Never surrender.

-Allen