question_markAsk your­self how many peo­ple you know who failed at a job, either left vol­un­tar­ily or were ter­mi­nated, because of their degree, expe­ri­ence or back­ground? In all like­li­hood, most of them failed because of inad­e­quate inter­per­sonal skills, an inabil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate, or because they just didn’t fit in with the cul­ture. In other words, like any rela­tion­ship gone awry, it wasn’t a good match.

If you received a call from a recruiter about a job you applied to, your résumé was com­pelling enough to be selected from the masses. You included key­words from the job post­ing, had good gram­mar, your expe­ri­ence was suf­fi­cient and you look like a poten­tial “match”.

If I only had a penny for every time an appli­cant told me, “It sounds just like me!”

Is it per­sonal perception?

The truth is, the “duties” of a job are only a piece of it. Envi­ron­men­tal, team and orga­ni­za­tional fit are the rest. Most com­pa­nies aren’t that good at con­vey­ing cul­tural fit in the job post­ing. Many didn’t drive the cul­ture that has taken hold so under­stand­ing and con­vey­ing it to some­one exter­nally would be difficult.

Com­pa­nies that take the ini­tia­tive to pro­file tenured top per­form­ers make an invest­ment in their employer brand by ana­lyz­ing the cul­ture and work­force for trends and tar­get­ing recruit­ing and hir­ing prac­tices based on the results. They enjoy low turnover and high employee and cus­tomer satisfaction.

Another truth is, man­agers have var­ied lev­els of com­pe­tency in inter­view­ing. Since most com­pa­nies don’t go through the employee pro­file and com­pe­tency iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process, man­agers are left to do the best they can by hir­ing from the gut. One ques­tion can­di­dates can ask at an inter­view is if the com­pany has iden­ti­fied the per­son­al­ity traits of the most suc­cess­ful employ­ees. Even if the com­pany hasn’t imple­mented psy­cho­me­t­ric test­ing, at the very least the man­ager will tell you the traits they feel are impor­tant and you can dis­cuss them and assess whether you feel they are a match.

Under­stand­ing your own com­pe­ten­cies, to include your emo­tional intel­li­gence, hav­ing ques­tions pre­pared for the inter­view that deal with this topic and being hon­est with your­self about employer expec­ta­tions and orga­ni­za­tional fit, will help you assess whether a job and com­pany are a match for you.

Karla Porter, Director of Workforce Development & HR, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber

helloWhen you think of a brand maybe you think of your favorite cola manufacturer, sneaker maker or clothing designer. Well, there is another brand out there that is uniquely you. It’s Me Inc.

Most likely you never thought of yourself as a having brand before, but you do. It’s what you’re known for, your reputation, and how people think of you. Whether you create and shape it or you let it create and shape itself – it’s there.

So, now that you know you’re empowered to create your brand, take some time to devour this fantastic personal branding ebook created by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It’s very thorough and easy to understand. Follow the steps and you’ll have a much clearer understanding of who you are, what you want and how to market your “self” as a brand – in the career sense at least.

Leave a comment about your personal brand here and be sure to find me at the NEPA Job Fair to tell me all about your brand. You never know, I might know a company looking for someone like you! Oh wow, that’s called networking!

Karla Porter, Director of Workforce Development & HR, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber

workitWalking in the door of a job fair can literally change your life.

Now of course, you can choose to simply show up and weave in and out of the maze of employer booths like a spectator – that’s what most people do. You’ll most likely leave thinking it was, “OK but nothing special, just proves there are no good opportunities around here.”

That’s the big mistake most people make, they treat a job fair as a spectator sport.

Here’s how to work the job fair!

Like any important engagement you attend, it’s important to be organized and prepared. Are you tracking your job search? Do you have a list of companies you have submitted applications/resumes to, the submission date, follow-up date, contact person and documentation of conversations with company representatives? If not, consider at least creating a spreadsheet to track your job search activity. You can also check out Jibber Jobber a free career management tool from Jason Alba. The Jibber Jobber blog also contains many fantastic resources for your job search.

The home page of this blog contains a list on the right side column (updated every Friday) of all employers who will be at the job fair. Click on the employer name to go directly to their website. On the employer website find the careers page (most have them). Look for jobs that interest you. Before you apply, be sure to check out the rest of the website too. The application process can be lengthy and often involves online assessments. Before you spend precious time jumping through application hoops, research the company mission, values, culture and philosophy. Look to see how the company recognizes and rewards its employees. This will help you identify if it’s a company you would like to work for, or not.

♥ job seeker love – Applying for a job at a company you do not know anything about or respect, one that doesn’t have an open position that’s interesting to you or within your scope of education or experience – is not constructive use of your time and likely an exercise in futility, not to mention it’s self-defeating. Let’s face it – we all know times are tough in the job market and scores of people apply for every position announced. It means a lot of rejection so why invite unnecessary unwanted “no” into your life by applying to openings you “know” are not for you?

Once you have applied to the job (yes, by all means apply before you go to the job fair!), go to LinkedIn and do a company search. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account I highly recommend you create one, it’s free. When you search the company you’ll see the company’s employees who have LinkedIn accounts too. Use your social networking skills to identify people within the organization who can give you information on the position and company that can help you. You could even send a message to the recruiter letting her know you’re looking forward to stopping by at the company booth and meeting her at the job fair. <– that’s hot!

Then, click on social networking links on the company’s site or do Google searches to see if they use social networking. Become a fan, follow and interact with the company representatives and employees. Be professional, curious and social. This will put your name on the tips of their tongues! When you introduce yourself at the job fair they will already know you.

Follow this process for every employer you’re interested in meeting at the job fair and track it with whatever method you have chosen. Make notes about what you liked on each company’s website and the jobs you applied to. Note also, which social networks you joined and how you have interacted and with whom.

Reserve a few hours (at least) a few days before the job fair to review all the companies you applied to. All your company research and notes will come in handy now…….

Create company profiles by copying and pasting important information about the companies you applied to that will be at the job fair (from your spreadsheet, database or whatever system you used) in a separate document for each. It could be a Word document or any other. Be sure to put the company name and contact info at the top in nice bold letters for easy reading.

Prepare targeted resumes and cover letters for each company.

Once you have done this create individual company packets by putting the profiles you created with the targeted cover letters and resumes clipped to them, in alphabetical order by company name, for easy locating. The best bet is to put them in a presentation or portfolio binder so the sheets won’t fall out while you’re walking down the job fair aisle <– embarrassing.

The big day!

You wake up early, or go to work, do whatever you have to… but the job fair is on your mind. You dress professionally for a job interview. A suit is appropriate. That’s it……… A suit.

Not jeans, not nightclub attire, not beachwear, or shorts or athletic wear……. a suit.

Really? Yes…..

Why? You are there for a serious event that could change your employment status, your career, the well-being of your family and your income among other important things, too numerous to mention. If you don’t make a good impression forget the interview…

Can I wear flip flops or sneakers? No, don’t be ridiculous.

You will receive a map of numbered employer booths when you arrive at the job fair. Take a moment to sit at one of the tables available to fill out job applications (some businesses still offer paper ones!) and write the booth number of the employers you want to visit on the top of the corresponding company profiles you created.

Use your map to navigate to the employers you are prepared to meet. Before approaching each booth review the company profile so it is fresh in your mind and you can speak intelligently to the company representative.

Approach the representative with a smile and handshake. Let her know you have conducted extensive research on the company and its opportunities and you prepared a cover letter and resume especially just for her as an introduction to your talent and skills. Hand her the resume and thank her for taking the time to meet with you. Try to create a brief dialog using the knowledge you gleaned from your research. Take cues from her on when it’s time to move on. Unless she leads the conversation down an in depth path and moves it to a more private area, do not overstay your welcome. Realize that thousands of candidates attend the job fair and many will want to meet with her. Ask for a business card before you move on, clip it to the employer profile and repeat the same process at each employer booth.

The sure fire quickest way to become disqualified right off the bat there and then is to approach the booth and ask, “So, whaddaya got?” Approaching the employer’s booth knowledgeable about the company and types of jobs they offer will give you a “candidate advantage”.

Go home, relax a bit from being overwhelmed and then get to work writing thank you emails to every company representative you collected a business card from.

Ahhhhh…… mission accomplished!

Posted by Karla Porter, Director of Workforce Development & Human Resources, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber. You can read more on job search and the world of employment and new media at her blog.


Jobs are less abun­dant but they haven’t dis­ap­peared. Less jobs mean the bar has been raised and it has enabled and pro­voked employ­ers to be choosier. You have to work harder, be smarter, have a bet­ter pre­sen­ta­tion and story than any­one else.

You have to rock ‘em, sock ‘em, knock ‘em — more — to get the offer. You have to be Super Candidate.

Mar­ginal or good doesn’t work when jobs are scarce and can­di­dates are plen­ti­ful. Mar­ginal or good works when jobs are plen­ti­ful and can­di­dates are scarce.

Painful to hear, some­one gets the job when there is an open­ing. Not get­ting the job doesn’t mean you weren’t a wor­thy can­di­date or that there isn’t a job for you.

If you are objec­tive you’ll real­ize it means some­one else:

  • Had more rel­e­vant experience
  • Pre­sented her­self more impressively
  • Had more refined per­sua­sive skills
  • Showed more pas­sion for the company’s mission
  • Expressed more desire to do the job the way the com­pany wants it done
  • Left the hir­ing manager(s) feel­ing syn­ergy and they missed her the moment she left

In other words.….….…. some­one else was the bet­ter fit.

Instead of hav­ing self defeat­ing feel­ings, if you were not selected for a job you have inter­viewed for, it means you prob­a­bly wouldn’t have thrived in that posi­tion (or maybe that cul­ture) as well as the per­son hired. You wouldn’t want to work some­where that isn’t a great match, you wouldn’t be happy. So, learn from the expe­ri­ence. Ana­lyze how you can refine your search for a bet­ter fit and and any other area you might improve on. Write it off and keep look­ing for the oppor­tu­nity that is a match.

Keep on search­ing, look for unpub­lished jobs. They do exist. This week, a com­pany in Wilkes-Barre told me they have grown to the point they need another per­son on staff and asked me to help them find an office man­ager with excep­tional orga­ni­za­tional skills and basic book­keep­ing. It’s a laid back, pro­gres­sive, very cool place to work, with very com­pet­i­tive pay and ben­e­fits. –» This isn’t posted on a big job board or even their com­pany website.

When some­one lands the job of her dreams, it is huge cause for cel­e­bra­tion. Check out JT O’Donnell’s Job Jam to see how it’s prop­erly done!

Post by Karla Porter, Director of Workforce Development & Human Resources, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber. Read more at her blog.


Flipping through a clothing catalog the other day, I noticed something: when there were multiple variations (color, patterning) of a particular item, I would always pause just a moment longer on the one that the model was wearing and consider if that particular version would be something I would wear. Even if the color was not one I typically wore, I found myself doing that.

Curious now, I tried to do a little digging on marketing research to see if profiling clothes in that manner increased the number of purchases vs. if the same article of clothing was just part of the neatly arranged items that showcase the different colors. I didn’t come up with anything, but I would venture to guess that featuring a specific shirt or pair of pants would lead to higher sales for that one item.

Why? Because people have an easier time picturing themselves in whatever is suggested!

The same principle applies to a job search.

You can be like that featured clothing item if you are using your network effectively. If you have been referred to a job from someone who has a connection to a company, be sure to mention his/her name on your cover letter. You are more likely to be the one that HR and the hiring manager will consider a little longer because you have been suggested by an insider.

Then, when interviewing with the company, you will have an advantage because they know you already “fit” with one of their employees. It just makes it that much easier for them to see you as part of their team.

Are you gaining that extra consideration?

Image courtesy of Bahman.

Repost courtesy of Melissa Cooley. Assisting individuals who are seeking employment or facing the confusion of navigating their career path is Melissa’s central focus at The Job Quest.

rotary-cell-phoneI have two of them lined up today. This might sound real egotistical – but I like to think I rock interviews. I’m a people person – and I go in prepared, lookin’ sharp, tons of questions ready to go if needed, loads of fantastic life stories that demonstrate and entertain – really? I got this. You’re gonna want me. (How’s that for confidence?)

Phone interviews are even more awesome, right? You don’t have to leave your house, you can do them in your pajamas, and they’re probably a bit shorter. Wrong.

A phone interview is a whole other story. I get SUPER nervous to the point of shaky hands! Why? It’s 100% the lack of visual cues. In a face to face interview, a reaction warrants more or less talking. Nonverbal communication is key – the person can be sitting there eyes focused on you waiting to hear everything coming out of your mouth. They’re taking notes and you can sometimes SEE those notes. They’re nodding in affirmation or smiling if you hit something they want to hear. Or the opposite – you see them losing interest and you can change gears. You can sit there and keep eye contact, and mimic their behavior to get them to like you. ALL of that disappears on the phone.

I tend to talk faster on the phone, so I have little post its around my computer monitor that say, “SLOW DOWN.” I also keep notes in front of me, of keywords for the job description, or the things I want to make sure to get across becaue for some odd reason my mind goes blank in these situations. I ramble because no one’s there to cut me off.

And the kicker of this all – I have an iPhone, which uses AT&T. My town does not yet have 3G, so I am at the mercy of Edge and there can be weird delays in conversations, so when on the phone with friends we laugh at the fact that we’re saying things at the same time – but on a phone interview? Could be deadly.

IF you have the option – use a landline. I don’t because my parents are too clued in to technology for their own good.

Remember that bit about the Pajamas? Well – yea, you COULD do it this way, but are you at your best? Maybe, maybe not, who am I to judge? Some people feel that they’re more professional feeling and put their best self forward when they’ve dressed up a bit, even in a phone interview. Me? I’m a pajama person if I can help it. What I DO recommend however – clean yourself up a bit, brush your teeth, comb your hair, ya know the basics. Also, clean your desk space of all clutter. Put your computer on mute or even shut it down momentarily if you can. Put your notes, your resume, the job description, whatever else you need all in front of you or within reach.

And just try to be yourself, and listen closely to their verbal cues. Prepare the same way you would for a regular interview.

A resume is to get the phone interview.
The phone interview is to get the interview.
The interview is to get the 2nd interview.
The 2nd interview is for the job.

or something like that…. happy phoning friends!

Repost by Jenn Pedde from The Social Chameleons. Jenn is a self-described Social Media-phile, Syracuse lover, Korea fanatic, job searcher, recruiter, relationship builder who wants to share stories & laughs.

The HR Manager at the company you just applied for isn’t the gatekeeper. That manager is your friend. Not in a “lets get coffee” sort of way, but rather a “if you are the right candidate, this person will kill themselves to get you hired”sort of way.

Because I don’t want to do this all over again.

Its taken a lot of time to make everything happen when I am looking for great talent, time I can’t get back, so why would I want to interview or hire the wrong person, and have to start over?

If you’ve submitted your resume, wait 2 weeks. If you haven’t heard from me, send one follow-up email, or make one phone call. I’ll tell you what’s going on, and where in the process your resume is sitting. I’ll give you the straightest skinny I have. I won’t lie about this.

Because there are 100 reasons I might not have called you in the first place. And if you turn out to be the right candidate, I’m not starting our business relationship off with a lie. And because its bad for business to have a customer hate me. (Logically, if you would work for me, you could potentially be our customer)

If I tell you you are not in the running for the position. Believe me.
Again, I have no reason to lie to you.
Calling every day/week won’t help. It doesn’t make you “assertive”, it makes you seem desperate. And I ask myself “Why is this person hanging their career on my one job opening?”

Companies hire great candidates every day. If your resume seems lost in an abyss, or if the managers are unresponsive, you want to look at the company with a critical eye. Those processes in the “before hire” are the same ones you’ll work with in the “after hire”.

Great matches are tough to make, and usually there are many stakeholders involved. HR is the manager of that process. We aren’t someone to “get around”. Hiring you makes my job easier, and if you are the rockstar we’re looking for, I’m going to do everything I can to get you in the door. You can bank on it.

Reposted from The HR Junkyard by Tammy Colson, HR Director, UK basketball fan, former Marine, HR Blogger, Wine and Hiking Business Owner


In the  seven months of my prior Human Resources internship with Core-Mark International I had the opportunity to interview several hundred candidates for a wide variety of positions.  During an interview no one is impervious to making an interview mistake or two.  The fact of the matter is no one is perfect and employers expect you to be nervous.  The key is to remain as cool, calm and collected as possible.

Also, there are some things that are very important to never do in an interview.  I’ve compiled a list of what to avoid if you want your interviewer(s) to stay interested and not rule you out within the first 5 minutes.

1)      Don’t embellish! If you don’t have the knowledge or skill you think your employer is looking for, the last thing you want to do is lie about it, they will know.  Stay within yourself, after all they are hiring you, not Super-You.

2)      Don’t Over Share. A candidates doing well in the interview can go overboard with sharing personal information. Focus on the questions asked, answer them fully.  Once you’ve done that, STOP! Examples of information you shouldn’t discuss during an interview are health or disability related, family situations, age, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

3)      Composure is Key. Every second doesn’t need to be be filled with sound…. When asked a question, it is certainly okay to take a few seconds to think of the most appropriate response rather than say something you wish you could take back.  Avoid sentence fragments and trying to “hit the delete button” on your speech.  Just take a couple seconds to collect yourself if you’re feeling a bit flustered and then respond.

4)      My boss was a jerk! You don’t want to bad-mouth the people you used to work with.  The first thing that runs through my mind when I hear this is, “Okay this person doesn’t get along well with co-workers and creates problems in the office by talking behind their backs.  He’ll probably end up doing that here too if I hire him.”  Even if you HATED your old boss or co-workers, it is still a very bad idea to speak poorly on their behalf.

5)      Professionalism. There are a few universally expected behaviors for a candidate.  Avoid poor eye-contact, it conveys a lack of confidence and makes it seem you are completely disengaged from the interviewer.  Avoid poor-posture and present yourself in a professional way without slouching.  Also, try to avoid coming across as overeager, you want to sit upright but not lunging at the interviewer and know that it’s okay to blink.  Lastly, don’t curse.  Even if they do, it’s your interview not theirs.

6)      Be confident not arrogant. So the interview is going great and it seems like a mere formality at this point.  Do NOT act like you already have the job.  Cockiness and arrogance are a far cry from confidence, and you MUST know the difference.  One way to really turn off a prospective employer is by acting like you’re doing them a favor by being there.  Be confident and sell yourself, not your ego.

Recently I obtained a job as a recruiter working in the Philadelphia area following my graduation in May.  I got this job because I remembered to avoid the little things in the interview that would prevent me from being able to impress the interviewer.  You have to remember to avoid the pitfalls before you’re able to WOW those considering you.  Remember this and you’ll give yourself the extra edge, and confidence you need in your next interview.

By Stephen Palmer, Human Resources Intern Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber

#10 Would my office have a window?

#9   Do you restrict Inter­net access?

#8   What time would I have to work until?

#7   Do you do back­ground checks?

#6   Do you drug test?

#5   How many sick days do I get?

#4   Can I work from home?

#3   When can I apply for a promotion?

#2   When will I get a raise?

#1   How long will this inter­view take?

Job seek­ers, have you ever regret­ted some­thing you asked in an inter­view? Recruiters, Hir­ing Man­agers and other inter­view­ers, what are some of the most dam­ag­ing (or funny) things can­di­dates have asked you in interviews?

Post by Karla Porter, Director of Workforce Development & Human Resources, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber. Read more at her blog.