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While we cannot answer every single question, we will select ones that we feel
would be of general interest, and we will post the question and our answers in
an upcoming blog or newsletter. All questioners will be kept anonymous.

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please email it to us at  info@careerstrategiesgroup.com.
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Thank you … We look forward to having a conversation with you soon.

 

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Career Strategies Group and Perfect Match Recruiting Join Forces

For Immediate Release
Contact: Bruce Blackwell
Phone: 914-356-8182

 

Career Strategies Group, a 25-year-old career management company, has signed an affiliation
agreement with Perfect Match Recruiting, a privately held firm specializing in legal, executive
and healthcare recruiting, it was jointly announced by Bruce Blackwell, CEO of Career Strategies,
and Doris Smith-Fellenz, founder and Executive Director of Perfect Match Recruiting.

 

“For many years we have worked closely with recruiters in an informal network; we supply
candidates for some of their hard to fill positions, and they find employers for certain of our clients,”
said Blackwell, who added, “we also do some recruiting on our own, but it was never a focus of our
practice. To be really effective at recruiting, you need to be out there every day working with law firm
hiring managers and top candidates. That’s not our forte, but that’s where Doris really excels. For years
we have looked to affiliate with a solid recruiter, and I was thrilled to finally find Doris and her company.”

 

According to Smith-Fellenz, “I am excited about the synergies with Career Strategies Group.
They have been around the legal profession for a long time, and have an amazing database of lawyers.
The hardest part about legal search,” she said, “is not finding candidates … it’s finding good candidates.
We feel that task will be made easier because of the resources of Career Strategies.” Smith-Fellenz and
Blackwell added that she will ultimately be doing career counseling for attorneys, especially those in
the earlier stages of their careers.

One of the other goals of the affiliation will be to expand both firms’ involvement in healthcare placement.

Before officially opening Career Strategies Group, Blackwell was doing healthcare recruiting
and candidate screenings, and has healthcare operations and marketing consulting experience
going back to the 1980s. Smith-Fellenz has significant experience in recruiting both clinical and
non-clinical healthcare professionals for hospitals, senior living facilities and medical practices.

 

As a first step in this affiliation, Career Strategies has added a “Jobs” section to its website.
Many of the postings listed will be from PMR. Applicants are advised to email their
resumes to PMRRecruiting@CareerStrategiesGroup.com.

 

Sometimes Career Strategies will do an initial interview with a candidate, but mostly that function
will be taken over by Doris Smith-Fellenz and her team. Candidates who are not in specification
with a PMR position may be referred back to Career Strategies for other services.

 

“I chose the name Perfect Match Recruiting” because that’s what I look to provide for my clients,
whether law firm, in-house or other positions. We have very detailed specifications, and will do
our utmost to find candidates in spec. We have to turn away most of the people who apply
because, while they may be excellent in their professions and accomplished in many ways,
they are not what my clients are seeking. In those cases, Career Strategies may be able to
help the client find a position.”

 

Blackwell noted that in his years of experience, he typically has to go through 100 or more resumes
to find just one candidate that matches the job specification that the client has prepared. “On a
typical search, I will go through 500 or 600 resumes, get 5 or 6 client prospects, and then vet them.
We usually send just 2 or 3 resumes to the client for interviewing,” he said.

 

“The ideal candidate for my law firm clients,” said Smith-Fellenz, “is 2 to 6 years out of law school, was
on Law Review at a top tier school, had a high rank in class, had a federal clerkship, and had received
scholastic or other awards. There are some fine lawyers out there who don’t meet these requirements,
but this is what our clients want us to find. It is difficult,” she added, “to tell people that they are not
candidates for jobs they know they can do well, but who don’t match the client’s specifications.”

 

“Another issue is finding Partners,” she said. “Most law firms prefer Partners, seven or
more years out with a verifiable book of portable business, or who have a rare specialty.”

 

“There are also many very good attorneys” Smith-Fellenz states, “with several years of experience
who are hard to place because clients are looking for people with very specific skill sets who can
hit the ground running and start contributing right away. Clients don’t want to pay recruiting fees
to find candidates who need a learning curve before they can be fully productive. They are paying
for it, and they want what they want. They might very well consider ‘learning curve’ candidates,
but won’t pay a fee to get them. That’s where Career Strategies can help.”

 

Career Strategies’ career management team often works with candidates who are not “recruitable” and
helps them with career direction, resume development, resume distribution and job search coaching.

Perfect Match Recruiting is located in Ocean, NJ.  Career Strategies is located in Brewster, NY.

career strategies group

 

 

All About Us — Career Strategies Group

As specialists in job search and alternative careers since 1992, we help lawyers, executives
and entrepreneurs find new positions and new careers in law, business, academics, or the
non-profit sector through innovative methods and custom-designed programs. We have
particular expertise in the career issues for those 50+ years old.

Our Career Services Group does career testing and options assessment for those who are
seeking to explore their viable career alternatives. We also provide job search assistance,
which includes resume writing and distribution, marketing plans and job search coaching.
Our job search clients range from young professionals to those aged 60+. The CSG Group
is a high service, low volume operation and only accepts 6 new clients per month.

Our Corporate Group does recruiting both direct and through our affiliate, Perfect Match
Recruiting. PMR has three primary business areas: legal search, executive search and
healthcare search. The Corporate Group also does outplacement, law firm practice
development and business coaching.  Another affiliate, Career Strategies Institute,
provides graduate or post-graduate students and younger professionals with low cost
do-it-yourself tools and online instruction programs. Information about our services
is available on our website.

 

Career Options for Lawyers

 

The Career Strategies process for job search and alternative career services begin with an
initial consultation, a 30-45 minute in-depth review of your circumstances, career aspirations,
marketing strategies and more. Even if we are not interested in taking you on as a client, you
will leave that meeting much more informed about job search, alternative careers and career
development than you were before you spoke with us. It will be time well spent.

While many of our clients have pursued alternative legal careers or alternative executive careers,
many others have used our help to move up in their current career tracks, to start new businesses
or to enhance their current business operations by better marketing or time management.

Our staff includes Ph. Ds, MBAs, Business Owners, Recruiters and JDs with both in-house and
big law experience. Nearly all of us have had more than 25 years of experience in law or
business, and all of us are highly qualified, caring professionals dedicated to helping our
clients through career transitions, job searches and explorations of their career options.

 

 

For the individual job seeker, our services include:

Identification of viable career options and alternative careers based on objective
analysis of skills and experience
Preparation of powerful resumes and personal marketing materials
Creation of highly individualized marketing action plans
Lead generation and job identification through our Contacts and Connections service
Coaching and guidance on campaign strategies and interviewing techniques
Distribution of resumes to targeted companies and recruiters through our massive
contact database and specialized resources

 

For law firm and corporate clients, our services include:

Recruiting of attorneys, support staff and administrators through our relationship
with PMR and other major recruiters
Outplacement programs for single professionals or groups of displaced employees
Practice development and business enhancement consulting to solo practitioners and law firms
Executive coaching for entrepreneurs and corporate managers

 

 

Credentials and Coverage

We offer a rare combination of marketing experience, in-depth knowledge of job search methods,
and specific expertise in the special requirements of attorneys, senior executives and job
seekers 50+. Our experience and guidance enable our clients to take control over their careers,
identify their options, and then obtain the positions of their choice effectively and efficiently.

As recognized authorities on job search issues, we have been interviewed by news organizations
including The New Jersey Lawyer, New Jersey Law Journal, Connecticut Law Tribune, News 12,
Westchester Business Journal, the Newark Star-Ledger, the New York Post and others.

We have also lectured on job search and alternative career issues for legal and business
groups in the Northeast, including the New York State Bar Association, the Institute for
Continuing Legal Education, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, numerous colleges
and universities, the New Jersey Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel and many
others. Founder Bruce Blackwell is also one of a handful of professionals to have been asked to
serve a Charter Member of the Career Counseling panel for the New York City Bar Association,
and has been called “a leading career expert” by the New York State Bar Association.

 

Let’s start a conversation today!

career strategies group

 

 

 

 

What Career Strategies Group Can Do For YOU

Career Strategies Group helps people earning $125,000 or more per year find the right job
at the right salary with the right work/life balance. We help Executives, Legal Professionals,
Entrepreneurs, Government Officials and many other types of professionals.

The common theme among our clients is that they are
smart, successful, and no longer love their jobs.

Imagine how much better your life would be if you really enjoyed
your work or running your business. Well, you can! And we can help!

We have provided career guidance to thousands of clients and are A+ rated
by the Better Business Bureau. Please enjoy my introductory video below:

 

Ways in which we can help you

Career Strategies is committed to providing all the services that a person seeking a career change,
a new job or an alternative career could ever need. We believe we offer the most comprehensive
array of job search services available anywhere. Above all, we have a distinguished career coaching
staff of specialists in job search, and particularly in alternative careers for lawyers and executives.

We have been helping senior-level clients find new positions in law, business,
non-profits and universities since 1992. But, we don’t stop there.
(See our extensive list under the Alternative Careers tab on our website).

We provide career growth strategies for 50+, Gen X’s in their 40’s and even 30-somethings.
Our knowledge and resources also help talented and accomplished people make the
best choices for their personal and professional growth.

Our services include:

Career testing and assessment to identify realistic alternative career options
Powerful resumes and cover letters to present you effectively to the marketplace
Aid in finding companies and job leads, and not just relying on online postings
Coaching, mentoring and brainstorming about creative job search techniques
Interview preparation & salary negotiation to help you beat your competitors & land the offer.

We also offer low cost Self Help job search tools that include using social media job search options.

If you are a solo practitioner or business owner and are seeking ways to improve your career,
increase your revenues and quality of life, our coaches and business advisors can help you, too.

 

 

 

CAREER STRATEGIES GROUP
Bruce Blackwell – CEO & Managing Partner
866-898-4228 – Toll free
845-669-8418 – Fax
27 Vails Lake Shore Drive, Brewster, NY 10509
Our Main Website

Career Options for Lawyers

Seven Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job (even though you were the best applicant)

7-reasons
Seven Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job (even though you were the best applicant)

By Jesse Campbell

Editor’s Note: I have had it happen to me, in my own career, and it has happened to more than a few of the 2,400 clients I have counseled as their career advisor. — You are a perfect fit for the job. You meet all of the specifications in the Help Wanted posting. It sounds like they based the job description on your own resume! You apply for the job and never hear back. Worse, you interview, think you knocked ‘em dead, and never hear back or get a “sorry, but no” email.  Wonder what went wrong? Jesse Campbell, writing for financial organization MMI, has some explanations that you will find helpful. Here are Campbell’s thoughts. — B. Blackwell 

—–

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the workforce, chances are good you’ve experienced your fair share of rejection. Sometimes you take a shot in the dark at a job you’re not really qualified for and never hear anything back. “That’s fine,” you think to yourself. “I wasn’t really qualified for that job anyway.”

Sometimes, however, you are qualified for the job. Very qualified. You even come in for an interview that goes well, then later come back for another interview that goes well. Everything seems lined up for success, but then…well, nothing.

No matter how qualified you are, there are still a few reasons why you might not end up with the job – some you can control, some you can’t.

  1. The job disappeared.

When a job is posted, there are quite a few things going on behind the curtain that you simply won’t be privy to. And sometimes a posted job will suddenly vanish. Why? Maybe the position hadn’t officially been approved at the time HR began their search. Everyone assumed it would be approved, but then something changed and it wasn’t. Additionally, there’s the possibility that something significant changed during the search and now the position no longer makes business sense.

There’s also the possibility that the job was never really there in the first place. Sometimes a company has an internal candidate all lined up, but is required to go through the formal application process all the same.

  1. The job evolved during the search process

You have everything the employer is asking for. Seems like a match made in heaven, but sometimes the employer realizes during the course of the search that they actually need something else. Maybe someone came in with some skills or experiences they didn’t know they needed, or maybe another employee left recently and they’re trying to combine positions. Whatever the reason, your perfect skill set is no longer quite so perfect for the job.

  1. You came in a bit too early

A good job is going to receive many very good applicants. So many, in fact, that they may end up bleeding together a bit as the process wears on. That means the first applicant through the door has to be so outstanding that no one else can compare, or else risk fading from memory over time. If given the option, you may want to take one of the later interview slots.

  1. You didn’t do your research

Remember – it’s not about how great you are as an individual, it’s about how that greatness will translate for your new employer. That means you need understanding who you’re talking to and make sure you sell yourself in a way that will actually resonate.

  1. Someone else had an inside advantage

Another thing you won’t know about while navigating the application process – internal politics. No matter how qualified you are, and no matter how well you nail the interview, who you know still matters. And if someone else knows someone important within the company, you may be out of luck.

  1. You gave them a reason to disqualify you

When hiring managers are faced with stacks and stacks of qualified applicants, they start looking for a reason – any reason – to disqualify applicants. Complain too much about your former employer during the interview? You’re out. Post questionable things on social media? You’re out. Ask for special considerations right out of the gate? You’re out. It could even be something seemingly minor, like wearing too much perfume or cologne. The point is, do your best to not give anyone a reason to say no.

  1. Someone with similar qualifications is willing to do the same work for less

Finally, the fastest way to lose out a job is to price yourself out of the running. That doesn’t mean you have to take less than you’re worth, but it’s a good idea to try to delay the negotiations until after you’ve been offered the position.

 

Your “Un-natural” Network Connections can be the Best!

Looking for a Job? Did you Tell your Mechanic or Hairdresser?

Your “Un-natural” Network Connections can be the Best!

You’re at a networking event talking with someone, and you’re wondering to yourself — is this the best person for me to be talking to? Should I cut this short and seek out someone who might be a more useful contact or have better connections?

So writes Dave Opton, President of Execunet in a recent newsletter.

Opton goes on to talk about a fellow, John, who was on the job market. John was doing a lot of heavy networking and contacting everyone he thought could help him, but he wasn’t getting anywhere. One day, while getting his car fixed, he told the auto mechanic about his situation. When the mechanic offered to introduce him to some of his connections, John gave him a skeptical look. The mechanic countered by pointing to the Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs sitting at his shop. “Who do you think owns these cars? I know every one of them!” Lesson learned!

I call these “un-natural” connections – getting career help from people you would never expect could be of any value to you in your job search. We have countless stories about how our Career Strategies Group clients received invaluable aid from the most unlikely of sources.

One of my favorite stories concerns Joan, an all-American lawyer who had taken Japanese language lessons in high school and college. Her dream was to work for a Japanese-based company. She mentioned this one day to her hairdresser, who happened to be of Japanese extraction. Lo’ and behold, her hairdresser’s Dad was a senior executive with the New York office of a major Japanese bank. Joan is now on the legal team there!

Then there was Perry, a law firm lawyer who was seeking a legal position in the broadcast or cable TV industries. One weekend he went to a party at a friend’s house. There he met one of his other friend’s new girlfriends, who happened to be a secretary at a dentist’s office. He was small talking about his interest in TV, and she said she had a friend who was a legal secretary at a major cable TV company. One thing lead to another and Perry was able to start his career in the entertainment industry – because his friend’s new girlfriend’s friend.

Another favorite Career Strategies story is about Maria, who wanted to get into public relations in the fashion industry. One day on the way to court, she pulled into a gas station. Not being the type of woman who pumped her own gas, she asked the attendant, a young college student, for assistance. She mentioned how much she hated going to court each day, and how much she dreamed about doing fashion industry PR. The gas station attendant said his older sister was Vice President of Marketing for a major fashion designer. Maria is today writing press releases and supervising photo shoots for that fashion house.

The moral of the story is you can get the most valuable career help from the people you least expect to get it from. Just tell them your story. As Execunet’s Dave Opton concludes, someone’s title will tell you what they do, but not who they know. So, the next time you’re at a networking event, at the grocery store check out, or at the gas station, talk to the people there and mention what you are looking for — because you never know.

Good hunting!

The Top 10 Reasons Why Lawyers Seek Alternative Careers – Part 1 of 2

The law can be a wonderful profession, and it is for many people. But it can also be draining and frustrating. Even for those who love the profession, after practicing for 10, 15, 20 years or more, some lawyers are simply ready for a change. Nowhere is it written that you must stay with one career your entire life.

My colleagues and I have counseled several thousand lawyers on re-careering and job search issues. Based on our nearly 23 years of experience, we have compiled The Top 10 Reasons for Wanting to Leave the Law.

We are going to share 5 of them today. We are going to discuss the second 5 in an upcoming issue, but if you don’t want to wait, just email us at info@careerstrategiesgroup.com and we will send it to you right away.

THE #1 REASON WHY LAWYERS WANT TO LEAVE THE PRACTICE …..

#1: Quality of Life — law firm and solo practice attorneys typically put in 10-12 hour days and often work on weekends. They have little time with their families, and little energy left to enjoy the fruits of their labors. They may be making good money, but there’s no time to do anything with it.  If you are single, the demands of your work make it hard to develop a relationship. If you are married, it’s hard to maintain a relationship. And if you are parent, you miss your children’s Little League games, back-to-school nights and much of their growing up. It is no wonder that many of the people who call us are in their late 30s and mid-40s, and realize the best things in life are passing them by while they write midnight motions and memoranda.

#2: Billable hours — clients often report they are under increasing pressure to produce billable hours.

In some cases, clients say they are under more pressure to produce billables than they are to produce quality work. The system is designed so that you are rewarded for how many hours you bill rather than how well you represent the interests of your clients.

#3. Business Development – People don’t go to law school because they want to be salesmen. Many of our clients like the work of being a lawyer, but do not like the constant reality of having to “sell” their services. The cold, hard fact of law firm or solo life is that you have to get the business to do the business. If you can’t generate a sizeable book of new client billings each year, you will have a hard time being truly successful in your career as a law firm attorney.

#4. Negative, adversarial environment — every day, it’s a battle. Instead of creating win-win scenarios,

there’s tremendous pressure to savage the opposition, and to make simple issues more difficult. There’s needless posturing, bellicosity and pounding of chests when in reality, the same issues could be easily and amicably resolved if both sides were simply reasonable. But that’s not the system. Our clients tell us they not only have to fight opposing clients, they also often have to fight with other lawyers within their own firm. Most disaffected lawyers would prefer to be in an atmosphere that is cooperative and collegial. Wouldn’t you?

#5. Roteness/Boredom — after years of handling similar issues, a “been there, done that” mentality

can set in and, except for rare cases, the work can become no longer challenging. Lawyers, as a breed, are “smarter than the average bear” and have a low boredom threshold. They like “solving puzzles” and being creative, but after 10, 15 or more years doing the same thing, the thrill is gone. Often, you can predict the outcome of a case within a few minutes after reading the file, but you have to go through all of the motions anyway.

So why do unhappy attorneys stay in law firms or private practice?

There are two key obstacles to career change for lawyers. A common concern among attorneys is a lack of awareness of what else they can do besides lawyering. A second issue is a lack of awareness of the types of positions that exist in the ‘outside’ world. Both of these problems can be overcome.

If there’s anything I have learned after so many years of counseling attorneys, it’s that lawyers have the intellectual horsepower to learn just about anything. They have analytical skills, research abilities, problem solving skills and both written and verbal presentation talents —  that’s not a bad platform for a career change. What company couldn’t make good use of someone with those talents?”

We  provide a full range of services for attorneys in transition. Our specialty is career change for attorneys in mid-life who are seeking to explore career alternatives, either in the law or in business, academics or non-profit agency administration.  We serve clients nationally. A boutique-sized practice, we limit ourselves to accepting just over 100 new cases per year.

If you are an attorney thinking about exploring your career options, call Career Strategies today.

Guide to Finding a New Job During the Holidays

There is a myth out there that says that companies don’t hire during the holidays. But it’s just that…a myth. Just ask the jobseeker who was offered a job on Black Friday. Or the one who was invited in for a second interview two days before Christmas.

Putting your job search on hold between Thanksgiving and New Year’s isn’t just a bad idea — it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you’re not looking for a job during the holidays, you’re not going to find one.

Employers hire all 12 months of the year. In fact, many new positions are funded to start with a new budget year — which often coincides with a new calendar year. Other hiring managers have hiring budgets that must be spent before the end of the year — “use it or lose it.” Both of these scenarios offer opportunities for jobseekers in December.

The holidays also offer some natural opportunities to network and spread the word about your job search: there are company parties, social gatherings, end-of-the-year professional association events, and even Christmas cards and letters. Many of these strategies are available whether you’re unemployed or if you have a job but are looking to improve your job situation.

Working on your job search during the holidays may also mean less competition from other candidates who put their job search on hold. Many people wait until January — making it a New Year’s Resolution — to look for a new job. If you wait until January 2 to start — or resume — your job search, you’ll have more competition.

It may even be easier to connect with a hiring manager during December as many key personnel are in the office while lower level staff takes paid holiday time off during the month.

Even if you aren’t offered a job in December, you can lay a lot of the groundwork by making connections before the end of the year, making it more likely that you’ll be hired quickly in the new year.

11 Ideas for Job Searching During the Holidays

Here are some specific strategies you can use in your holiday job search.

Accept all invitations you receive for holiday parties and get-togethers. Whether it’s a social or charity event, dinner party, spouse’s Christmas party, or professional association event, use these opportunities to reacquaint yourself with people who might be useful in your job search, and make new connections. Be sure to follow-up.

Re-connect with old friends and colleagues. Your network can be a great source of information, job leads, and referrals. Get back in touch with previous co-workers and supervisors, people from high school and college, former neighbors, etc.

Host your own holiday party. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or elaborate. Hosting your own holiday open house, dinner party, or get-together can help jumpstart your job search (but that shouldn’t be the focus of your party, of course!). However, extending an invitation is a great excuse to reach out and talk with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while!

Ask for specific information or help. For example, ask if the person knows anyone who works at “x” company instead of asking if they know of anyone hiring. During the holidays, your contacts might have more time to be of assistance, and they might be in a mood to be generous at this time of the year!

Volunteer. There are many opportunities during the holidays to give your time to charities and organizations. Some of these opportunities might also help you build your network, make new connections, and bolster your résumé.

Use holiday cards to connect. If Christmas cards, holiday letters, and e-greetings are part of your end-of-the-year tradition, mentioning your job search (if you’re currently unemployed, or your position is ending) can be a useful strategy. Let people know you’re looking!

Create a business networking card. Develop a business card that lists your contact information and social media links — especially to your LinkedIn profile. You can use this in lieu of your normal business card — or instead of it, if you’re unemployed.

Update your social media presence. If you don’t yet have a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to create yours. If you have one, give it a fresh look. Is it time to update it? Can you increase your number of Connections — or solicit additional Recommendations?

Look for opportunities to get your foot in the door. If you’re currently unemployed, look for temporary or seasonal jobs that may lead to full-time positions.

Connect with recruiters. Many are trying to reach year-end recruiting goals at this time of the year, and you may have just the skills they are looking for.

Set a specific goal for your job search. Instead of setting a goal to get a new job, your goal might be to make a certain number of new connections or to schedule a certain number of informational interviews. Making progress on this type of goal will ultimately help you achieve your goal of a new job.

Make sure you’re reachable. You might be asked to interview at unusual times — for example, the day before Christmas. Keep your phone on — and make sure you’re checking your voice mail and email regularly!

 

Challenges To Overcome With a Holiday Job Search

Conducting a job search in December isn’t without its challenges, however. While some hiring managers are hard at work throughout the month, others may be on vacation. Some companies also close during the week from Christmas to New Year’s Day.

The holidays can also distract you from your job search. Shopping, vacations, family activities, and holiday parties can all take away time from your job search, if you’re not careful.

Check your attitude, too. The holidays are a season of joy and thankfulness, but that can be tough when you’re out of work. However, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude — or at least “fake it until you make it.” Even if you’re not feeling it, “act as if” you are, because employers want to hire positive, optimistic employees.

Also, don’t overextend yourself during the holidays. Be sure to exercise, get enough sleep, and eat well.

And watch out for holiday employment scams. In your desire to make extra cash for the holidays, don’t get caught up in job-related scams — like fake mystery shopping gigs, package processing rip-offs, or work-at-home cons. Check out job opportunities carefully, and never accept payments for work you haven’t done yet. And never deposit a check into your account and wire or transfer payments out before the payment has fully cleared (wait at least two weeks).

Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear anything back right away. Because a lot of people use their accumulated vacation time before the end of the year, you may find yourself waiting a bit longer than usual for a response to your résumé or follow-up after a job interview. Be patient, but persistent.

If it’s your goal to find a new job in the new year, don’t put off your job search just because it’s the holiday season. A job search that starts in December gives you the opportunity to get hired before the end of the year — or to have momentum and a head start on other candidates once the calendar turns over on January 1.

The 21 Questions You Need to Ask in a Job Interview

It’s Not About Me, It’s About You!

[Editor’s Note: Job interviewing is a two-way process; it is not just about answering questions, it is about asking questions, too! The right questions! We are pleased to present this insightful article by Marc Cenedella, Chairman of TheLadders.]

By Marc Cenedella

Ask these questions in your next job interview and watch the hiring manager’s face light up.
It’s time for my twice-a-year update of the best questions for you to ask in an interview.

I’ve put this list together because so often we can forget what an interview’s all about. It sure feels like it’s about you, but it’s really not.

An interview is actually about how you can help your future boss and future employer succeed. It’s about finding out what their requirements and hopes are and matching up your background and experience with what they need.

Overlooking these basic facts about the interview is easy. There’s so much else going on in your work, your life, and in your job search, that you can forget to look at the interview from the interviewer’s point of view. And that’s a shame, because you need the interviewer to walk away from the interview thoroughly impressed.

When I ran these questions previously, commenter “spiderji” wrote in and said:
Marc, I used some of your questions in a job interview today. When I asked how to get a “gold star” on the evaluation, the interviewers faces lit up!” I contrast today’s interview with others I’ve been on where I didn’t have any meaningful questions at the end. This one was electric! I won’t know the results for a couple of days, but if they hire me I’ll owe you a drink! Thank you!

And reader LBRZ shared:
I have to thank you! I had an interview yesterday and it went great. When I asked about his leadership style and reward system his face lit up like a Christmas tree.

After he answered the question “how can I help you receive your next promotion?”, he began to give me advice on how I should negotiate for a higher starting salary.

And that’s exactly the point, Readers. By asking these questions, which focus on the needs, traits, and preferences of your future boss and future employer, you’re demonstrating that you are somebody who is genuinely interested in their well-being. And the more interest we show in others, the more commitment they show to aiding our cause.

With that in mind, here’s the twice-a-year update to my collection of “best interview questions” below. My aim here is to arm you with easy-to-ask, revealing-to-answer questions for you to take with you to an interview:

1. What’s the biggest change your group has gone through in the last year? Does your group feel like the tough times are over and things are getting better, or are things still pretty bleak? What’s the plan to handle to either scenario?

2. If I get the job, how do I earn a “gold star” on my performance review? What are the key accomplishments you’d like to see in this role over the next year?

3. What’s your (or my future boss’) leadership style?

4. About which competitor are you most worried?

5. How does sales / operations / technology / marketing / finance work around here? (I.e., groups other than the one you’re interviewing for.)

6. What type of people are successful here? What type of people are not?

7. What’s one thing that’s key to this company’s success that somebody from outside the company wouldn’t know about?

8. How did you get your start in this industry? Why do you stay?

9. What are your group’s best and worst working relationships with other groups in the company? What are the pain points you have to deal with day-to-day?

10. What keeps you up at night? What’s your biggest worry these days?

11. What’s the timeline for making a decision on this position? When should I get back in touch with you?

12. These are tough economic times, and every position is precious when it comes to the budget. Why did you decide to hire somebody for this position instead of the many other roles / jobs you could have hired for? What about this position made you prioritize it over others?

13. What is your reward system? Is it a star system / team-oriented / equity-based / bonus-based / “attaboy!”-based? Why is that your reward system? What do you guys hope to get out of it, and what actually happens when you put it into practice? What are the positives and the negatives of your reward system? If you could change any one thing, what would it be?

14. What information is shared with the employees (revenues, costs, operating metrics)? Is this an “open book” shop, or do you play it closer to the vest? How is information shared? How do I get access to the information I need to be successful in this job?

15. If we are going to have a very successful year in 2015, what will that look like? What will we have done over the next 6 months to make it successful? How does this position help achieve those goals? (This question helps show your ability to look beyond today’s duties to the future more than a year away.)

16. How does the company / my future boss do performance reviews? How do I make the most of the performance review process to ensure that I’m doing the best I can for the company?

17. What is the rhythm to the work around here? Is there a time of year that it’s “all hands on deck” and we’re pulling all-nighters, or is it pretty consistent throughout the year? How about during the week / month? Is it pretty evenly spread throughout the week / month, or are there crunch days?

18. What type of industry / functional / skills-based experience and background are you looking for in the person who will fill this position? What would the “perfect” candidate look like? How do you assess my experience in comparison? What gaps do you see?

19. What is your (or my future boss’) hiring philosophy? Is it “hire the attitude / teach the skills” or are you primarily looking to add people with domain expertise first and foremost?

20. In my career, I’ve primarily enjoyed working with big / small / growing / independent / private / public / family-run companies. If that’s the case, how successful will I be at your firm?

21. Who are the heroes at your company? What characteristics do the people who are most celebrated have in common with each other? Conversely, what are the characteristics that are common to the promising people you hired, but who then flamed out and failed or left? As I’m considering whether or not I’d be successful here, how should I think about the experiences of the heroes and of the flame-outs?

I hope you find these questions useful in your interviews, Readers! Have a great week in the job search!

Marc Cenedella is the Chairman of TheLadders, an on-line job-matching service. Follow Marc on Twitter at @Cenedella

 

Thoughts on Barbara Walters’ Retirement

When I was going to have dinner with Barbara Walters, my plan was to rip her a new one, to excoriate her, and show her to be a light-weight pretender. This was back more than a few years ago. I was a columnist with millions of readers in 82 newspapers around the U.S. I was going to expose this heartless fluff bag. The $3 million woman, my rear end! I was out to get that shark, the person who belittled, embarrassed and trod all over a real journalist, the widely respected Harry Reasoner.

OMG, as they say today. Was I ever wrong. I mean seriously wrong. Barbara Walters was a fascinating dinner companion. She was intelligent. She had a tremendous grasp of all sorts of issues. She was kind. Most surprisingly to me, she was gracious and genteel; very far from shark-like. She was entertaining and engaging.

I was fortunate, because of my position, to have been able to dine with some very well known entertainers, business leaders and politicians. Barbara Walters would have to be right at the head of my list of truly memorable people. She won’t remember me at all (I was, after all, a print journalist, not a broadcast one!) but I think I became a better professional through what I learned that night.

Back in those days, there was still such a thing as journalism. People who reported the news as accurately, and objectively as they could. People who actually strove to separate fact from opinion. People who tried to find and report the truth. Barbara Walters was one of those. And one of the best of them.

We wish her well on her retirement. She will be missed.