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Hiring

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


I am a female in my mid 50's, and I would like to know why it is so hard to find a job in the administrative/clerical field. I have 12 years of experience as a senior secretary. How can I get a response from companies and employment agencies and let them know I am qualified for the positions I apply for? I have called and left messages and never gotten a callback.
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We have an applicant for an administrative position who has the right skills and training, and his references are very positive. He said he has a degree from a local state university, but we found that he is actually two classes shy of receiving the degree. When we him asked him about this, he immediately admitted he was wrong and said he did this because he really wants the job. The position does not require a college degree. I'm not inclined to eliminate him because of this issue. What do you think?
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About a month ago, I accepted a position with one company, and the next day I received an offer with a different company, and I told them I had already accepted a position elsewhere. After a month of employment, it didn't work out and now I'm looking for a job again. Would it be okay to contact the other company and ask them if they still have a position open, or should I just move on?
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When I conduct job interviews, I do not take notes. I remember all that I need to know about an applicant, and if I'm taking notes, I'm not looking at the applicant, and that's how I learn a lot. Also, if there are no notes, it is tougher for an applicant to make a claim. My manager says I should take notes, but I think he's wrong. How should I handle this?
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We are running an ad, and my boss said I should eliminate all the resumes that do not include names of references. He said that leaving them off means that the person has something to hide. I've never heard of such a thing. Is it true?
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The manager of our department does not like to hire experienced people. He says they have to be retrained and still end up doing things their old way. Although I wouldn't tell him, I think he's wrong. Does his approach make sense to you?
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I was interviewing an applicant who sounded very good until I asked her if she had any questions. She then asked me if I am aware that some of my questions are illegal. I don't think they were, and I resented this line of questioning. What's the best way to handle these types of questions during an interview?
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When I was looking for an administrative assistant, one of the job requirements was knowledge of office software. I hired an individual who had all of the other skills, but no experience or training on office software. She said she could learn it easily, but she still makes mistakes every day. The program has a help function, and I have suggested that she use it, but the result is the same. Do you believe this is grounds for termination?
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When I was looking for an administrative assistant, one of the job requirements was knowledge of office software. I hired an individual who had all of the other skills, but no experience or training on office software. She said she could learn it easily, but she still makes mistakes every day. The program has a help function, and I have suggested that she use it, but the result is the same. Do you believe this is grounds for termination?
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I was interviewing a very promising applicant, but she interrupted me several times. I tried to keep talking, but she did not let up. We really need to fill this position, and she has the skills. Do you think her interruptions are enough of an issue to eliminate her from consideration?
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I just interviewed a male applicant who wore a wedding ring, but I am certain he is not married. He has jumped around in several jobs, and perhaps he thought that wearing a ring would make him look more stable and settled. I thought it was rather deceptive, and I am wondering if I should drop him as an applicant.
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I just interviewed a candidate with a good background for a telemarketing position in our company. The only problem was that he kept turning his answers into questions for me, and I don't feel I got enough information from him. I encouraged him to hold his questions, but that did not deter him. What should I do from here?
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What do you do when you interview an applicant and everything seems fine, but the pit of your stomach tells you that you should not hire him? I can't figure out what it is, but something tells me that this applicant is not giving me the full story.
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We conduct group interviews, and we just finished up interviewing a good applicant for an accounting position. The only problem was that he was extremely negative in describing most of his previous employers. His comments were bitter, mean, and unnecessarily insulting. We are split on what to do. What do you think?
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I was interviewing an applicant and she volunteered information about her personal life that I had not requested. Once she had opened the door, I asked a few follow-up questions. When I mentioned this to our Human Resources manager, she practically bit my head off and told me that even if the applicant brings up personal information, an interviewer has to ignore it. Is she right?
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I am a successful female manager in the Logistics Department, and upper management asked me to manage the entire department. My boss told me that the new hire for my current position accepted it on the condition that he and I were to be of equal title. My boss added that the new hire had no problem reporting to a Department Manager until he discovered that it would be a female. I am upset and wonder if I should voice my concern to my boss or upper management. Am I making an issue out of nothing?
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Over the past several weeks, our manager has hired four new people in our department, and each one is less qualified than the next. This has created more work for all of us. We told our manager about the problem, but he thinks it is a case of longer-term employees resisting new hires. What should we do now?
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We have a resume for an applicant who looks pretty good, but we are unsure how to interpret his online degree. We don't want to eliminate someone just because he followed a different course for his higher education. What should we look for in evaluating an online degree program?
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I was laid off about two months ago and I just found a new job. I was surprised to receive an email directing me to a site that is sponsored by my former company and designed to let former employees know about things going on there. I'd never go back, so what's the point?
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We received a resume from what appeared to be a promising candidate, but as we talked with him, it became apparent that his resume contained some fairly substantial exaggerations and misstatements. Are there any pointers to look for in a resume that could be a tip-off to faking?
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During an interview with an applicant for a sales job, his cell phone rang and he then took a brief business call. When it ended, he used the call as an example of his strong sense of customer service. How does his sound to you?
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I just interviewed an applicant for a sales position and I noticed that his shoes were very scuffed. If this is how he takes care of his appearance when trying to get a job, I figure he'll do the same thing when he tries to sell our products. Should I pass on him?
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We have changed a core aspect of our hiring process. In the past, we looked for people who had all of the training and expertise needed for the job, and we did not put much emphasis on issues like personality, friendliness, or cooperation. Now we are putting more emphasis on those latter factors, and less on the former. How does this sound?
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We have been approached by a company that sells pre-employment tests. Their brochures look pretty good, but I have heard that there is an issue regarding test validity that can cause troubles for a company. When I mentioned validation to the company representative, he told me not to worry since the tests are all validated. Is that possible?
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I have interviewed several people for an important position here, but I have not found a good match. I was not satisfied with the last applicant, but after my manager looked at his resume, he told me that I should seriously consider hiring him. I think that would be a mistake, but I don't want to cross my manager. What do you think?
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We are in the process of hiring several new managers. One of the people who are conducting interviews recently said at a meeting that he can tell in a minute if a person has what it takes to be a manager. Several of us told him about the problems and risks that accompany his thinking, and he agreed to keep an open mind. Is there anything else we should be doing in this situation?
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We just received a 9-page resume from an individual applying to work here. My manager said that this resume alone should be enough to eliminate him from consideration, but he has had some valuable experience and I'd like to interview him. What do you suggest?
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As a matter of policy, we do not hire employees who used to work here. Right now, we are looking at an individual who worked here a few years ago, and then quit. He was a good employee and we were sorry to lose him, but I'm not convinced it's a good idea to rehire employees. What do you think?
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We received a faxed resume from an applicant for an accounting position, and his resume included his picture. We did not ask for this. His work background looked good, so we invited him in for an interview. When he arrived, we were surprised to see that the photo on his resume is at least ten years old and hardly resembles him. We do not care about his age, but we are somewhat concerned that he would include something this misleading in his resume. What do you think?
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For the past year and a half, I have been building a successful business, and we're doing a lot of hiring right now. The problem is that I have been getting calls, letters, and e-mail from distant family members, all looking for jobs. Is there a way to reject them without creating a family crisis?
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I went to lunch with an outstanding applicant, and I must say that he has terrible manners. I'm not a stickler about this, but he chews with his mouth open, talks with food in his mouth, reaches across the table for food, and so on. He's got the right experience and credentials for the job, but I'm concerned about this. Should I be?
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We are looking at several applicants for a bookkeeping position, and one filled our application blank so thoroughly that every single space has writing in it. She wrote so much that you can hardly find the printing on the form. Is this the sign of a potential problem?
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Part of my job is to screen resumes for our company, and many resumes are emailed to us. We are trying to fill a marketing position, and a resume came in from a female who has a sexually suggestive name as part of her email address. Why would an applicant do this, and is this name something we should consider in screening?
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We are short-staffed, and one of our better employees quit a couple of months ago for what he thought was a better job. It turned out that he did not like it, and now he wants to come back here. What do you think about hiring former employees?
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I was interviewing an applicant who could not keep his employment dates straight. He was not sure when he started or stopped working on his previous jobs, and he read from his resume to give me the correct dates. I'm inclined to think that he faked some or all of his background. What is your opinion of this?
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I was interviewing a good candidate for our accounting department, but when I asked why he left his last job, he said it is not any of my business. I asked again, but he refused to discuss it. My instinct says to pass on him, but I wonder what you think.
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I interviewed an excellent applicant about a week ago, and I never heard back from him. I left him a couple of voicemail messages, and I emailed him too. At the end of the interview, he seemed interested, and I would like to hire him. What should I do?
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We have a promising applicant for a Marketing/Public Relations position, and her interview was going well until she mentioned that she is a vegetarian. I am concerned that this is going to create problems when we have lunches in our department and meals with customers or vendors, and I don't want others to feel awkward. What do you suggest?
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Last year we hired a promising individual who held six different jobs over an eight-year period. He repeatedly told us he is looking for the right company and is ready to settle down. He quit yesterday, and we are very annoyed. What could we have done to prevent this, other than not hiring him?
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We are looking for a junior person in our marketing department, and the company president referred the son of one of his friends to us. I interviewed him and found him to be marginally skilled and totally obnoxious. Under other circumstances, we would never hire him. I told the president about this, and he said to hire him anyhow. Should I hire him or go back to the president and push harder?
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When I asked a recent applicant about the steps he has taken to further his education, he said he completed classes in pottery, acting, and art history. None of those classes has anything to do with our business, and I thought he should have been taking more business-oriented courses. Should applicants on a management track be eliminated for taking these kinds of classes?
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I just interviewed an applicant for a sales position who talked for almost the entire interview. He was articulate and had plenty of stories, and he has the gift of gab. The other managers who interviewed him were impressed, but I was not because he did not know when to stop talking. What's your take on this?
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I just interviewed an applicant for a sales position, and I was not impressed. He talked almost the whole time and never knew when to stop. A few other people here also interviewed him, and they want to hire him. They say he has the gift of gab and that's exactly what is needed in a good salesperson. I don't think they are correct. Do you?
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I work in a family-owned business, and the president wants me to hire his niece to work in our marketing department. She is unqualified, and I don't want to hire her. What should I do?
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We have been looking for a manager in our credit department, and we put together a list of requirements for this position. We interviewed some strong candidates, but the senior vice president over our group brought in his own candidate and insisted we hire her. She is not qualified at all. I am very busy, but I am supposed to train her. I think it is a waste of time because she is going to fail anyhow. What should I do?
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I have been screening applicants for a sales position, and I found one I really like. My administrative assistant met him before the interview and said she thinks he is a phony. I still think he is very qualified, but I do not want to ignore her comments. What should I do?
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I received a resume from an applicant who has the training and experience for a marketing position with our company, but he has had four jobs in the past four years, and my inclination is to automatically pass on people with this lack of commitment, but my manager says I should interview him. I think this would be a waste of time, and I wonder if you agree.
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I have been interviewing applicants for a key position in my department, and I narrowed the choice down to two. They are both qualified, but the applicant I prefer is not the one my manager prefers. My manager said the choice is mine, but I should keep his preference in mind. What should I do?
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I was in a job interview for around 15 minutes when the interviewer got up and said he would be back in a couple of minutes. Just after he left, the phone rang. I assumed the call went onto his voicemail, but when the interviewer returned, he said this was a test. The company is looking for confident and aggressive employees, and because I let the phone ring, I did not show the traits the company needs. The interview ended shortly after that. Does this make any sense to you?
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I have been trying to fill a midlevel administrative position and received several resumes. I called the best candidates, briefly interviewed them by phone, and set appointments with three. When their interview date arrived, not one showed up. They did not call before or after, and when I then called them, I was only able to get their voicemail. This has happened before, and I wonder if I am doing something wrong.
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When three of us finished our individual interviews with a strong applicant, we took him to lunch. During the meal, one of my colleagues asked him many personal questions, especially about his family. The applicant answered them, but I think he was a little shocked. Afterwards, I told my colleague that these types of questions should not be asked, and he said that since this was an informal lunch and not a real interview, he could ask whatever he wants. Is that right?
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I have been trying to hire an administrative assistant, and I have received many resumes. I call the best candidates and make interview appointments, but many of these applicants donít show up, and they donít even call ahead to tell me. I am wondering how to prevent this.
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What do you think about an application blank that only goes as far back as the applicantís three most recent jobs? This is what my manager designed for our company. He says that the most recent job experiences are the most telling, and there is no need to rely on jobs from years ago. Is this right?
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I am new to management, and I am going to be hiring a couple of more people over the next few months. One of the other managers advised me to avoid hiring anyone with a tattoo. He claims that tattoos are signs of immaturity, impulsiveness, and questionable judgment. What do you make of his advice?
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We have an applicant whose resume looks good, and the manager who interviewed him said that he came across well. When I asked about the applicantís references, the manager showed me three positive letters from his previous employers. In light of his resume, interview, and letters, the manager said there is no need for references. Do you agree?
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The president of our company recommended one of his friends for an open position in my department. I just interviewed him, and I found him to be arrogant and obnoxious, and his qualifications are not right for the job. I donít want to cross the president, but I donít want to recommend that we hire his friend. What should I do?
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We are trying to fill a fairly specialized position, and one of the candidates is a former employee who worked here a few years ago, but quit. Iím concerned about hiring former employees. She did a very good job while working here, but if she quit once, I am afraid she will quit again. What do you think?
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I just finished interviewing an applicant who appears to have the skills for the job, but he kept asking questions throughout the interview. I tried to stop him, but he kept asking one after another, and now I donít have enough data to make a decision. Should I bring him back for a second interview?
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My manager and I just interviewed an applicant for a sales position, and the interview went extremely well. The applicant has a great background, and he had excellent answers to our questions. After the interview, my manager said that the candidate is so strong that we should forget about reference checks and just offer him the position. What do you think?
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I am applying for a new job, and one of my friends told me that employers are checking out applicants online. When I enter my name on some of the search engines, I can find blogs that are not real complimentary about me, but most of it is funny stuff. So are the clips on one of the video sites. Are employers really checking out applicants this way? If so, what can I do?
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After receiving approval to hire an assistant manager, I narrowed the search down to two candidates, and one was definitely stronger than the other. My manager interviewed both, and when I told her who I wanted, she insisted that I hire the other. I did it, but I want to know your opinion of her action.
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We are screening applicants for a sales and marketing position, and we are impressed with one particular applicant. He has the experience and skills, and he came well-recommended. Our concern is that he does not wear socks. He wears standard types of shoes, but apparently never with socks. Weíre not sure how our customers will view this. Can you help?
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We have been having a hard time finding good applicants for an outbound sales position, and we disagree about one candidate. His work experience and training look good, and he presented himself well in the interview. The problem is that he has had seven jobs in the past five years. I say this should eliminate him from consideration, while other managers say this is not a problem. What do you think?
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At the end of a recent job interview, the interviewer asked me to write a summary of what we discussed. He said these summaries help him learn about applicants and make better hiring decisions. I thought my interview went well, and I summarized it as best as I could. I never heard back. Are these summaries a new trend?
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A year ago, one of our better employees quit, and now she wants to come back. We don't have a policy on this, and my belief is that if people quit, they are likely to do so again. I would prefer to take my chances on someone who truly wants a job here. Some of the other managers disagree with me. We have an open position that suits this employee's skills. What do you think?
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When I go on a job interview, I like to know as much as possible about the company and the person who will be interviewing me. On a recent interview, I sensed that the interviewer was a little uncomfortable with all of the personal information I found out about her. I thought she would be impressed, but she wasnít. Did I cross a line of some sort?
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I'm in the processing of a job application with my main point of contact being a recruiter that the company hired. He was supposed to have contacted me earlier this week with a scheduled interview in which I thought would be an appropriate time to express my concerns and asked questions, but haven't. So I emailed him with concerns regarding my pay and benefits that we discussed over the phone previously, and he responded to me well, but he also wrote in his responses a line that included "think of this as an opportunity to work hard and impress," in which he underlined the word "opportunity." Am I being overly sensitive or does this seem like an arrogant attitude from his part that is telling me something like "you shouldn't be asking too much, you should be grateful we're already considering you?" Nevertheless I replied to him saying, "I apologize if I came across as expecting too much for someone of my inexperience. It is indeed an amazing opportunity and I will take your advice to heart." Do you think I handled it alright?
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