Saturday, December 15, 2007

Training Budget

Training Budget

As a training and development manager, you are responsible for developing a training budget that can demonstrate to senior management a good return on investment (ROI) for your company. To prove that the company has a good ROI, you need to show the link between employees' educational proficiency and corporate earnings.

Start by outlining the total cost of the training program and assessing the potential benefits to your organization. The budget must fund training that is both in line with your organization's requirements and adequate for your employees' needs. Next, assess how many people need the training and the type of training that would benefit them.

After you complete the needs assessment, it's a good idea to compare several implementation plans and to determine the most cost-effective plan.

Finally, develop your budget. By using an ROI approach to develop your training budget, and by comparing various scenarios to determine the most cost-efficient method of delivering a training program, you are more likely to win the support necessary to implement your program.

HR Department will submit at the beginning of each financial year the budget for Training & Development activities to Board of Partners. The budget will include:

· Report on last years training activities including efficacy.

· Training Man days achieved and budget for current year.

· Training costs budgeted for external programs.

· Internal training programs and costs.

· Capital investments including training equipment planned.

· Segment & skill wise training calendar for the year.

· Trainers developed during last year and planned for current year.
Sanctioning authority

Within budgeted activities HR Executive shall organize all training activities. Any Training activity not budgeted for shall be only with prior approval of the Board of Partners.

Training Plan

*To satisfy present and future company needs created by organizational growth and change, accelerating business technology and increasing competition.

*To achieve the maximum possible learning in the shortest possible time.

*To ensure that training effectiveness is measured.

*To provide high quality training and support services to the staff of Company Name on all aspects of technical / non-technical / behavioral / spiritual progress.
* Enable Help & Support for Planning and Design of a trainer.
*Aid in identifying training requirements and areas.

*To make an inventory of people with detailed information on their skill and qualification.
*To prioritize groups according to the training needs.

Training Material

To make the training intervention effective & successful, mentioned below are some points which can be taken care of:
1. Room Size

a. Depends on the number of participants.
b. Spacing:
1.There should be at least 6 ft. space between the back wall and the table/chair which is nearest to it.

2.There should be at least 2-3 ft. of walking space along the sides of the room between the tables and the wall.

3.There should be at least 2-3 ft. of walking space in the middle between 2 rows of table.A high ceiling creates a better ambience.
2.Room Location / Arrangements
1.Should be preferably on the ground floor or above. Avoid rooms in the basement.

2.Ensure that there is no party or conference with loud sound system adjacent to our room as it may cause disturbance in our program.

3.In case there is any important meeting going on in an adjacent hall which requires silence, our own playing of videos may also disturb them.

4.Ensure that tea/coffee for any other intervention is not arranged outside our room, as during their break there is usually loud commotion which causes disturbance.

5.If our tea/coffee is arranged within the room, it should be preferably relocated outside the room. In case it can’t be relocated and the room is very large, then it should be at the back not at the side. Sometimes, it has been noticed that the hotel staff’s movements to arrange them within the room (before the break) causes much disturbance and distraction so try and have it outside and not inside the training room.

1.Round tables (cluster formation) with ideally 4 participants per table.

2.Comfortable chairs.

3.There should be at least 4 ft. distance between the tables. 6 ft. distance if there are chairs on the inside area of both tables. This would then give approximately 4 ft. distance between those chairs.

4.There should be approximately 8 ft. distance from the trainer’s table to the front table where the nearest participant would be seated.

5.Trainer’s table should preferably be a rectangle (long) table - approx. 6-8 ft. in length, with enough space to keep laptop / projector / manual.

6.1-2 extra chairs at the back (for the co-facilitator & also for the trainer to sit when videos are being played) and 1 chair at the trainer’s end near the table.

7.If possible, 1 extra table at the trainer’s corner of the room to keep carton/handouts/bag etc. (OR) if the trainer’s table is fully covered with the table cloth the carton/bags can be kept under the table.
4. LCD projector

1.It should be at least 2500 lumens for good clarity of the videos. In case a projector with at least 2000 lumens, the trainer should be informed in time so that s/he can get one arranged. The videos have great impact on the training and a good LCD is essential.

2.Resolution: Should support 1024x768.

3.The LCD remote is a ‘must’ as it really helps when the ‘blank’ option is required.
5.Projection Screen

1. Size: Preferably 10x12 ft. or nearest possible to that.
2.The distance from the projector table to the screen should be at least 6-8 ft.
6.Room Lighting

1.The screen should not be placed directly under any light and/or no light should be focusing on the screen due to which videos may not be clear.

2.There should also be no light behind the screen as the rod behind the screen casts a shadow on the screen.

3.If there are lights above the screen or focusing on the screen which cannot be switched off individually, please have the bulbs removed.

4.If the location of light switches are at the trainer’s end of the room, it becomes easier for the trainer to control the lights and switch them off during videos. So if there is a choice, the screen should be setup at that end where the switches are easily accessible.If there are mirrors on the wall, please have them covered if possible. If there is mirror behind the screen, the LCD projector light reflects on that and hurts the eyes of the participants
7.Sound System
1.Any Good Sound System (with amplifiers) which can be connected to the laptop. It should not be a normal PC/Laptop speaker as it won’t create the impact required.

2.Placement: If it is not an overhead system then the speakers should be kept facing the audience at least 8-10 feet away from the front table or with one at the front and one at the back with a distance of 6-8 ft from the nearest table. It should not be placed on one side of the room as it becomes too loud for the participants nearest the speaker(s).

3.If the trainer can carry his/her own sound system, it would be great. It can save their day (not to mention the program).
8.Power Supply

1.UPS for the Projector / Speakers / Laptop.

2.An extension cord which extends till (under) the table with at least 4 sockets. For Laptop / Speakers / LCD / 1 extra if needed.

3.The extension board should have sockets which can also accommodate flat pin if required.

4.It is maybe wise for the trainer to carry a multiple plug; just in case...
9. Whiteboard / Flipchart

1. 1 Whiteboard & 1 Flipchart board with preferably a chequered background flipchart (the chequered lines helps in writing straight and the words don’t slant up or down too much).

2.You can put the flipchart over the whiteboard instead of keeping one on either side which makes the room look too full.

3.Placement of the Whiteboard/Flipchart: On the left side of the trainer (right side of the participants when they face it). Reverse the position if the trainer is left handed.

4.Whiteboard/Flipchart markers: Black/Blue/Green/Red.

5.Preferred brand: Luxor as they have thick felt tip which is more visible. Reynolds markers have a thin felt tip and therefore less visible to participants at the back.
10.Participants Needs

a. Mineral water bottle and glasses at all tables including the trainer’s table.
b. Bowl of toffees. Participants prefer the following – Chloromint / Polo. Have plenty of them.
c. Pencils/Sharpeners/Erasers/Writing Pads for participants & the trainer.

Training Need analysis

Employees are the greatest asset which assists in achieving business objectives. To get best from employees it is essential that they be provided with appropriate training on all aspects of their work. Training is an excellent way for employees to learn new skills and knowledge and to reinforce good work practices. This can result in a change in workplace behaviour.

The effectiveness of the training heavily dependent upon effectiveness of process used to identifying training needs. Most organizations formalize training process by providing a budget and resources for training but this will not ensure the investment is a good one. To ensure the best possible returns for the organization, training and development activities like any investment have to be targeted, planned and managed. First and foremost, the training and development required for the organization to achieve its objectives must be properly identified and prioritized. This is the objective of training need analysis in an organisaion.

Training need analysis is the first step on the path to effective training. Training need analysis means measuring the gap between skills available and skills required for employees and making recommendations to bridge the gap. When need analysis is done, it is possible to focus attention on the target and identify the means for getting there. The Need analysis process also involves others and helps them to understand the issues which are facing. There are five essential reasons for doing need analysis:
The business world is changing rapidly and organizations require keeping pace with this change.

As result everyone is being asked to stretch to do more the ever and to do it faster.

To ensure solution addresses the issue.

To effectively focus resources, time and effort toward a targeted training solution.

To eliminate the necessity of having to look for another job.
Sources of Training Needs:

To carry out training needs for organization requires need information that can be evaluated against the factors. Sources of training need are requiring that relate needs to business. The information must relate to the level at which analysis is to be done: organization, occupation or employee. Suitable source for training need analysis is mission and values, business plan, succession plan, competency framework, views and and observations about ‘how we do things’, performance appraisal records, evidence of competence for individuals, development opportunities, action points that highlight needs questionnaires, job descriptions, performance targets, observation of employee at work, interviews with managers, staff, subordinates, internal and external customers.
Process of Training Need Analysis:
Assessment of present situation: In Training need analysis, assessment of present situation helps in defining the problem. All the other action in TNA depends on making this assessment accurately. To get complete picture of present situation three questions are involved:

Where organization stands now: Start by noting what already known about situation. Try to involve others right from the beginning so partnership will be established for the process.
Gathering information: Assessment of present situation and Envisioning the future helps in establishing good platform for training need analysis. Organization is in position to take steady aim at the target. Collection of information helps in defining what are aiming at and better understanding of what needs to be done to reach future state.

Why we require training: We require training to address the situation. What are the issues, problems or situation that is creating the need or demand for training in an organization? Never try to answer this question without getting ideas from others.What organization issues results in to need for training: The mission, vision and business objectives of organization helpful in this regard.

Envisioning Future: This aspect provides what will be the situation of individual, group and organization after the training has been accomplished. The vision of the organization is very important in this regard because it provides answer of three questions: (a) where organistion wants to be? (b) What would success look like? (c) Do organization have a complete picture?
Gathering information: Assessment of present situation and Envisioning the future helps in establishing good platform for training need analysis. Organization is in position to take steady aim at the target. Collection of information helps in defining what are aiming at and better understanding of what needs to be done to reach future state.

Sorting information: After collection of information require to interpret the information to find out what it really tells about current situation and challenges faced in moving to future state. When organization finishes this step organization will have document identifying major training issues to be addressed and recommendations for addressing them.
Sharing results: Sharing the results with others and developing the recommendations for action can be a heady experience. In this stage of need analysis organization will see the result of strategy. The momentum which is created by the results carries organization for action planning.

Action plan: The last action in the need analysis process is to translate the recommendations in to plan of action. List of activities will be used in the mapping the training approach. In this step we are simply creating a description of the specific training required to improve the situation. The action plan assures that organization will keep moving forward. It assigns responsibility for the training to specific individuals and gives them a timeline for completing the identified actions.

Measuring Training Effectiveness

Kirkpatrick Model
One of the most popular methodologies for measuring training effectiveness was developed by Kirkpatrick .This model articulates a four-step process.
* Level 1: Reactions.
At this level, we measure the participants’ reaction to the programme. This is measured through the use of feedback forms (also termed as “happy-sheets”). It throws light on the level of learner satisfaction. The analysis at this level serves as inputs to the facilitator and training administrator. It enables them to make decisions on continuing the programme, making changes to the content, methodology, etc.
* Level 2: Participant learning. We measure changes pertaining to knowledge, skill and attitude. These are changes that can be attributed to the training. Facilitators utilise pre-test and post-test measures to check on the learning that has occurred. However, it is important to note that learning at this level does not necessarily translate into application on the job.
Measuring the effectiveness of training at this level is important as it gives an indication about the quantum of change vis-à-vis the learning objectives that were set. It provides critical inputs to fine-tuning the design of the programme. It also serves the important aspect of being a lead indicator for transfer of learning on to the job context.
* Level 3: Transfer of learning. At this level, we measure the application of the learning in the work context, which is not an easy task. It is not easy to define standards that can be utilised to measure application of learning and there is always this question that preys on the minds of various people: ‘Can all changes be attributed to the training?’

Inputs at this level can come from participants and their supervisors. It makes sense to obtain feedback from the participants on the application of learning on the job. This can be done a few weeks after the programme so that it gives the participants sufficient time to implement what they have learnt. Their inputs can indicate the cause of success or failure; sometimes it is possible that learning was good at level-2, but implementation did not happen due to system-related reasons. It can help the organisation deal with the constraints posed by systems and processes so that they do not come in the way of applying learning.
* Level 4: Results.
This measures effectiveness of the programme in terms of business objectives. At this level we look at aspects such as increase in productivity, decrease in defects, cycle time reduction, etc.
Many organisations would like to measure effectiveness of training at this level; the fact remains that it is not very easy to do this, as it is improbable that we can show direct linkage. However, it is worthwhile making the attempt even if the linkage at this level is indirect.
It is possible for organisations to measure effectiveness for all programmes at level-1 and level2. This can be built into the design of the training programme.I have found that it is easy to measure training programmes related to technical and functional areas at level-3 and level-4. It is not easy to do this with behavioral skills programmes.
Organisations that choose to measure training effectiveness can start with the former category before moving to measuring behavioural skills at level-3 and level-4.I will articulate an example to show how we can measure some training programmes at levels-3 and level-4. Let us consider the case of an IT services company that conducts technical training programmes on products for their service engineers.

Learning at level-2 can be measured at the end of the programme by the use of tests—both written and practical. Measurement at level-3 is possible for these programmes by utilising the wealth of data the organisation will have on calls attended by engineers at various customer sites. This data is generally available in “Call Tracking Systems”.
I have found valuable insights by comparing data pertaining to the period before the training programme and after the training programme. To simplify analysis, we can take a 24-week cycle—12 weeks prior to the training and 12-weeks subsequent to the programme. The data gives a picture on aspects such as:
How many calls did the engineer attend on the given product prior to and after the programme? We need to analyse this data. If sufficient calls were not taken after the training, is it due to the fact that there were no calls in this category or because the engineer was not confident to take calls?

Comparison of the average time to complete a call. Did the cycle time to close similar calls reduce?

Comparison of the quality of the solution, eg did the problem occur again within a specified period?

Did the engineer change parts when they were not required to be changed? Such speculative change of spares gives an indication of the diagnostic capability of the engineer. Organisations get to know the details of such speculative changes when a so-called defective spare is returned by the repair centre with a statement that there is no problem with it.
The data from the call tracking system and other related data give a clear indication of application on the job. However, I will not attribute all of the transfer of learning to the training.
It is possible that the organisation has instituted mechanism such as mentoring, sending new engineers on calls with senior colleagues, etc, to enable them to also learn on the job. Hence the data needs to be interpreted keeping the overall environment in mind.

This data can also be utilised to measure effectiveness at level-4. It is easy to calculate productivity increases and cost savings for the example cited above. The measures from level-3 can be converted into revenue or cost saving figures.

Similarly, it is possible to conduct measurement in the areas of software development, manufacturing area, accounting and other such functional skills. There are prerequisites to conduct effectiveness of training at this level. It is important for the organisation to institute strong indicators to measure performance levels.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Education & Training


Formal education is usually thought of studies done in schools. The students range from the very youngest through college to those in adult education.

There is also informal education or self-study, where adults read books, listen to tapes and learn through other media. Observing life itself is a form of education.

The objective of classes or of self-education is usually to gain knowledge about facts, events, principles, concepts, and such. In some classes the student is required to demonstrate the memorization of facts and the association between concepts. In other classes, they must apply rules to solve problems.

Testing concerns memorization and understanding, plus perhaps analytic and problem solving skills.

On the other hand, formal training is usually concerned with gaining a skill. Training is done in trade schools, seminars, and business training classes. Learners of training are usually adults, although there are some classes to teach youngsters certain skills.

Informal training is usually done through reading, viewing or listening to how-to material. Sometimes that material is then used as a guide, while the person applies the skills learned. For example, you may refer to a how-to book when trying to fix your plumbing at home.

Verification of skills is best achieved by actually doing something in the real world. Sometimes tests given in trade schools check for knowledge, as opposed to skill. Often in corporate training sessions and in seminars, there is no verification that the learner had achieved the desired skills.
Comparison Between Training and Education
Point of Comparision Education Training
* Content & Scope :Education Broad &General Training :Narrow & Specific-Job Related
* Nature :Education Pure & Theoretical Training : Applied & Practical
* Duration :Education Long Duration Training :Short Duration
* Result :Education Delayed Training : Quick & apparent

Why is training important?

Why is training important?
If organisations are to survive and prosper in the modern world of rapid change, they need to be more flexible, faster-moving and faster-learning than before. Their ability to do this rests upon the abilities of their workforce to have these characteristics – hence the value of training. If individuals are able to learn, develop and change, then so can the organisations.
Too many managers view training as a luxury, not a competitive and strategic necessity. "What if we train our employees and they leave," they ask. Well, what if you don't train them and they stay?

Are you one of those managers who looks at training as a nice-to-have instead of a must-have? Do you talk the talk, but when push comes to shove, training gets pushed aside? To assess your commitment to training, see how many of the following statements hit too close to home:
Training is more than just building the skills and knowledge of each individual of your team for their own personal benefit. Companies that have invested in training report the following benefits:

Improved recruiting. Today's job applicant is looking for an environment that fosters personal growth and development. For many job hunters, training is every bit as important as the compensation package. Plus, an effective training program allows you to cast a wider net by hiring people with the right attitude. Developing the skills can come later.

Higher retention. When people know that a company believes in their personal growth, they are likely to stay with that company for a longer period of time.

Better output. The lower your turnover rate, the more productive, enthusiastic and motivated your workforce. Employees will pack their new knowledge and skills into everything they design, produce and service.
Saving time and money Take press operators. Well-trained pressmen are professionals who can save you money in many ways, from reducing startup waste to finding more efficient ways to maintain costly equipment.

Well-trained pressmen know the condition of the press, know when problems are starting to occur and how to do something about the problem before it becomes a catastrophe.
Indeed, the well-trained pressman will not wait until the press breaks down or until the print quality suffers to act on the problem. Waiting may only cause customers or advertisers to be lost. Well-trained pressmen are more likely to meet their deadlines because the machine that they are operating is properly maintained and is less likely to break down during a press run, which would cause operating expenses to skyrocket in all areas of production.
1. Training boosts morale. Staff members feel better and more motivated about working at your paper if you show your belief that they can improve.

2.Training emphasizes priorities. In a dollar-strapped newspaper, the needs of the current staff can be directed toward specific training.

3.Training is cheap — certainly cheaper than recruiting and hiring. Whatever the challenges your newsroom is facing, eliminating your training budget isn’t going to solve it.

4.Training is a stimulant, while eliminating training can enforce mediocrity.
5.Training helps keep pace with a changing business. You need to stay on top of new developments in order to stay competitive.

6. Training develops teamwork. If you’ve got fewer copy editors than you’re used to, a refresher course on headlines and cutlines can help the existing team zero in on the essentials and work together more efficiently.

7.Training shares the good habits on your staff and reinforces your best work. If you can only send one person to a workshop, have him or her lead a session for the other staffers when they return.
8. Training brings in money. Focused training can pay for itself many times over by raising morale, boosting efficiency and maintaining high standards.

9.Training treats your staff like professionals. People who believe they are valued enough for you to invest in developing their skills might stay with your newspaper a little while longer.

10.Training helps maintain and improve quality and productivity.

Training Policy

The following will be the rules for Training and Development:
1. Training Need Identification
The existing skill gaps and skills needed for future Business requirements will be identified from the following:

Performance Measurement System.
Job description vis-a-vis the individual profile.
Feedback from the HOD/ immediate supervisor on the basis of on the job performance of individual/ group.
Career planning/ potential appraisal/ succession planning.
Organisational requirement.
Based on training needs identified, HRD Department will ensure that all officers get covered under the in-house/external training programmes every year.
2.Training Advisory Committee
There shall be a Training Advisory Committee which shall comprise:

Business Chief/Unit Chief
Functional Heads/HODs
Training In-charge (will act as Coordinator)

TAC shall be responsible for the areas as defined in the policy.
3 External Nominations

Where an employee has to be nominated for an external programme, a specific sanction for such nomination shall be obtained as per the enclosed Annexure – I.

On approval, the HRD Department will send a formal letter to the employee concerned intimating therein, objectives of such nomination as per the proforma enclosed as Annexure-II.

A feedback proforma, as per Annexure-III shall also be enclosed with the letter which the concerned employee shall return to HRD Department duly filled after his return from such programme.
4. In-House Training Programmes

Where a particular skill is required to be imparted to more number of people, the programme shall be organised in-house through reputed faculty/institutes.
5. Transfer of Learning

There shall be a structured review for evaluating the extent of transfer of learning acquired into practice. This shall be done through the following:

Each participant shall submit a report/make a presentation on the learnings acquired in a programme of two days or more duration.

Where the participant was nominated to a programme as part of Job Requirement/Developmental Plan, the participant and the concerned HOD shall be required to submit a report on completion of three months as per Annexure-IV.
The TAC shall review training activities on quarterly basis and interview, selectively, the participants who attended Programmes for job requirement/development plan to assess extent of learning/transfer of learning by the participants.

On basis of the above the TAC shall recommend improvement plan required in the Training and Development activities.
6.Job Rotation/Multi-Skilling

To identify potential employees who have the capability of taking higher/additional responsibility/general management position.

HRD Department alongwith the concerned HOD and Unit Chief shall draw out a plan for their job rotation both Intra and Inter Department.

All trainees and officers upto the level of HOD shall necessarily learn “One up – Two down” functions in his area of responsibility.
Effectiveness of The Training Programme

The effectiveness of the Training Programme in respect of Programme Contents, Faculty Rating, Duration, Methodology of Training etc. shall be adjudged by:
Specified Feedback Performa to be filled by participants on conclusion of the programme, enclosed as Annexure III.

Informal interview with participants and Faculty during and after the programme by HRD Department and Senior Managers Team.

Training Objective

The objectives of this policy are to:

*Have trained manpower, which is competent to meet the present needs and future requirements of the business.

*Improve and upgrade the skills and competencies of the employees for taking up higher responsibilities at the appropriate time.

*Bring about Behavioural Change, which is in consonance with the organisational value system.

*Encourage multi-skilling for improving productivity.

*Utilise training as a motivational tool for employee’s growth and development.

Physical Abilities Tests

Physical Abilities Tests: Tests typically test applicants on some physical requirement such as lifting strength, rope climbing, or obstacle course completion.

can idendentify individuals who are physically unable to perform the essential functions of a job

without risking injury to themselves or others

can result in decreased costs related to disability/medical claims, insurance, and workers compensation

decreased absenteeism


costly to administer

requirements must be shown to be job related through a thorough job analysis

may have age based disparate impact against older applicants

Cognitive Abilties Tests: Paper and pencil or individualized assessment measures of an individual's general mental ability or intelligence.

highly reliable

verbal reasoning and numerical tests have shown high validity for a wide range of jobs

the validity rises with increasing complexity of the job

combinations of aptitude tests have higher validities than individual tests alone

may be administered in group settings where many applicants can be tested at the same time

scoring of the tests may be completed by computer scanning equipment
lower cost than personality tests

non-minorities typically score one standard deviation above minorities which may result in adverse impact depending on how the scores are used in the selection process

differences between males and females in abilities (e.g., knowledge of mathematics) may negatively impact the scores of female applicants
Cognitive Ability Tests:Types

Employee Aptitude Survey A battery of employment tests designed to meet the practical requirements of a personnel office. Consists of 10 cognitive, perceptual, and psychomotor ability tests. Nine of the 10 tests have 5-minute time limits. The remaining test requires two to ten minutes of testing time. Is a tool for personnel selection and a useful diagnostic tool for vocational guidance and career counseling. For situations in which it is desirable to retest an individual on an alternate form, special retest norms are provided for interpreting retest scores.
Test 1--Verbal Comprehension. Each item consists of one word in capital letters followed by four words in small letters. The respondent is to choose the word in small letters that means about the same as the word in capital letters. Scoring is the number right minus 1/3 the number wrong.

Test 2--Numerical Ability. A battery of three tests: integers, decimal fractions and common fractions, each is timed separately. Designed to measure skill in the four basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Test 3--Visual Pursuit. Designed to measure the ability to make rapid scanning movements of the eyes without being distracted by other irrelevant visual stimulation. Involves the visual tracing of lines through an entangled network.

Progressive Matrices, Advanced Sets I and II. A nonverbal test designed for use as an aid in assessing mental ability. Requires the examinee to solve problems presented in abstract figures and designs. Scores are said to correlate well with comprehensive intelligence tests. Set II provides a means of assessing all the analytical and integral operations involved in the higher thought processes and differentiates between people of superior intellectual ability.

Short-term Memory Tests A form of cognitive ability test that are exemplified by short-term memory tasks such as forward digit span and serial rote learning, which do not require mental manipulation of inputs in order to provide an output. Short-term memory tests lack face validity in predicting job performance.

Information Processing Tests Selection tests that have the same information processing requirements that occur on the job. In other words, the tests are tailored for each particular job. There is some evidence that adverse impact is reduced.

Personality Test

Personality Tests
A selection procedure measure the personality characteristics of applicants that are related to future job performance. Personality tests typically measure one or more of five personality dimensions: extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience.

can result in lower turnover due if applicants are selected for traits that are highly correlated with employees who have high longevity within the organization

can reveal more information about applicant's abilities and interests

can identify interpersonal traits that may be needed for certain jobs

difficult to measure personality traits that may not be well defined

applicant's training and experience may have greater impact on job performance than applicant's personality

responses by applicant may may be altered by applicant's desire to respond in a way they feel would result in their selection

lack of diversity if all selected applicants have same personality traits

cost may be prohibitive for both the test and interpretation of results

lack of evidence to support validity of use of personality tests
Types of Personality Tests

Personal Attribute Inventory. An interpersonal assessment instrument which consists of 50 positive and 50 negative adjectives from Gough's Adjective Check List. The subject is to select 30 which are most descriptive of the taregt group or person in question. This instrument was specifically designed to tap affective reactions and may be used in either assessing attitudes toward others or as a self-concept scale.

Personality Adjective Checklist A comprehensive, objective measure of eight personality styles (which are closely aligned with DSM-III-R Axis II constructs). These eight personality styles are: introversive, inhibited, cooperative, sociable, confident, forceful, respectful, and sensitive. This instrument is designed for use with nonpsychiatric patients and normal adults who read minimally at the eighth grade level. Test reports are computer-generated and are intended for use by qualified professionals only. Interpretive statements are based on empirical data and theoretical inference. They are considered probabilistic in nature and cannot be considered definitive. (2K )

Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory Self-scoring six-point rating scale is a training instrument designed to provide feedback to individuals about their potential for cross-cultural effectiveness. It is most effective when used as part of a training program. It can also be used as a team-building tool for culturally diverse work groups and as a counseling tool for people in the process of cross-cultural adjustment. The inventory contains 50 items, distributed among 4 subscales: emotional resilience, flexibility/openness, perceptual acuity, personal autonomy. Materials:
California Psychological Inventory Multipurpose questionnaire designed to assess normal personality characteristics important in everyday life that individuals make use of to understand, classify, and predict their own behaviors and that of others. In this revision, two new scales, empathy and independence, have been added; semantic changes were made in 29 items; and 18 items were eliminated. The inventory is applicable for use in a variety of settings, including business and industry, schools and colleges, clinics and counseling agencies, and for cross cultural and other research. May be used to advise employees/applicants about their vocational plans.

During An Interview - Nerves

Nerves – Yep love them or hate them we all have them and they apply to everything we do in life – whether it’s a new job, a date, going to the dentist or being reprimanded. What are nerves? Well they are your bodies’ way of dealing with stress usually caused by a fear of the unknown, your body putting up a protective barrier to help you deal with the unknown. Symptoms include; dry mouth, shaky hands, sweating, thumping heart, faintness, feeling like you need to go to the bathroom – sound familiar! Everyone is nervous when attending a job interview – after all you are doing all this because you want to get that new job. Your body is releasing chemical called adrenalin which assists you in focusing your mind completely on the situation that you are dealing with. The secret is being able to manipulate and control your frame of mind and use that adrenalin to your advantage and not let it take over completely.
How Can I Control My Nerves?

The secret to controlling your nerves is to convince your brain that you have little to worry about. The reality is that we all get ourselves worked up far too much in the first place – we convince ourselves that we are going to under perform or embarrass ourselves beyond belief. After all I am sure you will have been in many situations where you have been a nervous wreck and once the situation is over (like at the end of an interview or coming out of the dentists) felt the overwhelming experience of calmness. Yes this is caused by your body relaxing and the adrenalin ceasing. So how can you combat this? Well it is really simple - all you need to do is be prepared and calm yourself and the nerves, to a degree, will be far less. I am sure you will have heard of the term “Mind Over Matter” well it is true. The brain and body are complicated things, you can convince yourself of anything if you want to and this can have a negative as well as positive outcome. So to deal with this issue and put your mind at rest (hence reducing your nervousness) it’s always a good idea to try and address the areas you need to deal with where you feel you will be an absolute failure if things go badly wrong. So lets just look at the major areas:
Drinks - should you or shouldn’t you? As I have mentioned before if you are offered a drink, be it tea, coffee or water and you think you are suddenly going to have an explosive fit and chuck your cup three foot in the air then don’t accept one. The only exception I can recommend here is Water. The reason being is that if you have a glass of water no one is going to notice if you did or didn’t drink it. However if you get stuck for something to say when asked a difficult question or you find your mouth is getting irritably dry it’s a good excuse to take a sip. While it doesn’t buy you a great deal of time it does give you chance to pause and reflect on the question a few moments before you give an answer.

Awkward Questions – Well unless you have a crystal ball you are not going to know what questions you are going to be asked at your interview. However if you know anything about the job then you can have a good second guess at what sort of questions are likely to come up and figure out some answers accordingly. Just remember how it was when you sat exams at school – you didn’t know which questions were going to come up so you revised all of them. Again as previously mentioned if there is a discrepancy in your CV and you think it may be an issue then try and think of an appropriate answer – don’t just ignore it and think to yourself “I hope they don’t mention that” – be prepared it will take the worry.
Shaky Hands! – Well I have to admit I always get shaky hands (and I am sure I am not alone on this issue!). There is no real definitive way of dealing with shaky hands really the only thing you can do is keep them under control by placing one hand on top of the other and keeping them on your lap. As you gain confidence throughout the interview and your mind drifts away from the issue you will find that the shaking will naturally ease and it should no longer prove a problem.

Dropping Or Tripping Over Your Briefcase Or Handbag – Come on, there’s absolutely no need to be clinging onto that briefcase or handbag. Place them on the floor (under your chair preferably) that way you aren’t going to drop them or fall over them when you get up! If you need a pen and paper (and it’s always good to have one) take them out of your attaché at the start of the meeting

Fear Of Sneezing or Having a Runny Nose – Again it all comes down to being prepared, make sure you take a handkerchief or tissue and have it somewhere accessible. It’s no good locked in your handbag or briefcase, place it in your pocket so you can get at it quickly should you need to.
Make Life Easier For Yourself At The Interview:

Now I am not trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs but the night before your interview try and get a good nights sleep. Eat your evening meal earlier than usual and go to bed a bit earlier. Don’t go out on the lash with your mates until 2.00 am in the morning or for a curry or other meal that gives off a strong smelling after odour. As you will no doubt be aware garlic smells dreadful the next day and will ooze out of your pores for a good 24 hours after eating it so try and steer clear of meals that include this. Also alcohol stays in the blood stream for a fair while and you don’t want to be turning up at your new job interview feeling hung over and tired. If you are worried about your breath smelling then eat a mint before you go into the interview or use a menthol spray, you can but little handy ones from the chemist which will fit in your pocket.

On the morning of the interview (if the interview is in the morning) try and have some breakfast, I know it’s difficult to eat on a stomach that’s turning around faster that a washing machine on a full cycle spin, but food is for the brain and it will help you keep your mind on the job. Besides which if you don’t eat and have an empty stomach it is very likely that you will experience that intensely dreadful sickly feeling. If you have an interview during the afternoon see if you can catch an early lunch or if the interview is early evening try and eat a decent breakfast and catch a late lunch. Ideally you don’t want to eat more than two hours before the start of the interview to give your body the chance to digest your food.

If you are really strung out and feeling uptight just before your job interview begins then you can always try some breathing exercises. Now I am no therapist but I always find that breathing in deep breaths through your nose, holding it in for a few seconds and breathing out through your mouth helps. My doctor told me to try this when I was a bit younger and had problems dealing with stress and it seems to work for me to help me relax. Try and think happy thoughts whether they are about your children, your wife, husband, partner or whatever but try and think of something that makes you smile. It takes far more muscles to make you frown than it does to make you smile and using this technique you will automatically begin to feel the element of wellbeing. It will also temporarily take your mind off the situation ahead which will ease your stress and worry. When you get into the interview and are seated try and relax and get comfortable, I don’t mean slouch in the chair, but try and pick a position where you are not all screwed up like the hunchback of Notre Dame. Being comfortable will help relax all of your muscles including your legs, abdomen and chest ultimately making your breathing more relaxed. During your interview make sure you listen to each question posed to you properly, don’t try and think of an answer while your interviewer is still asking the question.

First Impressions

Do First Impressions Count? You Bet They Do!

You would be very surprised at what can be ascertained from the first few moments in some ones presence. An interviewer or employer will discover a great deal about you in a relatively small amount of time by use of their experience in body language. It’s a bit like when you make new friends, generally speaking you know within a few moments of meeting a person for the very first time whether you will like them or not (despite knowing very little about their background). I personally think it is some form of basic primate instinct. So your first few seconds are fairly vital when you walk into that interview room or are greeted by your employer. We all give out different signals and these can be influenced by the way you dress to your body language. In my opinion good body language starts with a firm handshake (that’s firm - don’t shake their hand off!) and being smartly dressed. Don’t bathe in perfume or aftershave as strong smells often give off an overpowering smell and can be very off putting. Not everyone has the same taste in cologne and there is nothing worse than being stuck in a room with a smell that makes you feel ill. It’s always best to be clean and neutral!
Prior To Attending Your Job Interview:

It’s always a good idea (and I think a courteous one which shows manners and initiative) to confirm with your prospective interviewer the interview arrangements by letter once you have been invited to attend the interview. This doesn’t need to be a long winded letter it can just be brief confirming the time and place of the interview. It also gives you the opportunity to send in any documents that the interviewer may wish to see in advance or anything you may have omitted to send when you originally enclosed your CV and job application form.
Dress Code - What Clothes Should You Wear For Your Job Interview?

It’s always a tough call when trying to decide what to wear for a job interview. Traditionally men always wore their smartest suit and tie and the same could be said for women – either a nice skirt and blouse or a suit. However things have changed a lot since the old days, for example if you are going to work for an IT firm or Graphic Designers then the dress code may be smart but casual - by the same token if you are going to work for a firm of Solicitors, Accountants or Insurance Brokers then the chances are the dress code is going to be formal so it can be a hard call to decide what to wear for your interview. If you are applying for an internal job then this won’t apply to you as you will already know what standard of outfit is or isn’t acceptable at your place of work. There are two fairly simple ways to ascertain what type of dress code your potential future employer demands and these are as follows:
1.Drive up to the offices or workplace at a time when the staff will be arriving or leaving – this will give you a good indication of what types of clothes the other employees are wearing.

2. Pick up the phone and ring up the interviewers’ secretary and ask her what is the typical dress code of the company – as previously mentioned secretaries generally speaking are always keen to offer assistance to the “newbie’s”!
As a pointer it’s always a good idea to “Dress Above The Rest” at an interview – remember you are out to make a special impression so although you will want to fit in if you get the job you need to be appointed first! So a pretty simple rule - if the companies dress code is casual then you need to be dressed casually but a little smarter, for example if the other employees are wearing trousers and open neck shirts then it would be a good idea for you to wear trousers, a tie and a smart jacket. If the dress code is a suit and tie then you need to wear your best suit and tie – get the picture it’s pretty easy for you to judge for yourself. Another good point is when you are invited into the interview don’t ever remove your jacket without be asked. If the room is hot – well quite frankly that’s just a bit of tough luck. I have to admit I have always kept my jacket on even when my interviewer has offered for me to remove it – my reason being that we all perspire during stress and there is nothing worse than seeing perspiration marks around the arms of your shirt!! So what type of clothes should you wear at your interview? Well it’s an individual’s choice really. However I would steer well clear of bright outrageous ties if you are a man as not every interviewer will share your love of cartoon characters such as the Simpson’s - try and settle on neutral colours. Finally as previously mentioned it’s a bad idea to wear overpowering aftershave or perfume – it can be very off putting to others.
On Arrival At Your Job Interview:

If you are organised you will have arrived at your interview in good time and if so you will have a few moments to compose yourself and utilise the rest room before your big moment. If at the office there are some bathrooms in the waiting area (or if not just ask someone to direct you to them) go and make a few final checks on your appearance. You might want to comb your hair, use the lavatory (make sure you do up your zippers) or adjust your make up if you are a lady. This time will give you the opportunity to make sure you are ship shape and looking a million dollars, it will also give you reassurance so that once you are in the interview you don’t have to worry about whether you have done your zips up or whether your hair looks tidy – issues that are important but that you don’t want to have to worry whilst trying to win over the interviewer. It’s always a good idea if you have a briefcase and are wearing a tie to take a spare just in case you spill something down it before going into the interview. It’s easily done I was once attending an interview and on the way I stopped to drink a can of coke as I had arrived early. To say I was mortified when I spilt it down my tie is an understatement. I had no spare and apologised profusely to my interviewer who was very kind and said it didn’t matter but I still spent the entire interview worrying about it and my performance was definitely hindered by it. A lesson learned to say the least!
When Your Interviewer Comes Out To Take You Into The Interview – Or When You Are Called Into The Interview Room:

OK, in my opinion this is the most stressful time of the interview – and when my heart beats the most! This is the time when you are entering the unknown – new surroundings, new people (sometimes as many as four or five) a strange room. As I have stated before you need your maximum concentration at this point as “First Impressions” do count. So how do you greet your interviewer? Firstly look your interviewer in the eyes and smile, everyone likes a smiley face, I don’t mean beam like a Cheshire cat - just a pleasant friendly smile. Secondly, offer your hand out to shake (remember don’t squeeze the interviewers hand until it turns blue – just a firm professional handshake) and offer a greeting (“Hello very pleased to meet you” or something like that). Your interviewer will then either take you into the interview room (or you may already be in there as you have been called in) and offer you a seat. Please do not just sit down when you enter the room, wait to be offered a seat – it’s good manners.

The interview is going to start along the lines of chit chat, you will probably be asked how you journey was etc, etc and then offered a drink. Depending on the type of person you are and how well you cope with nerves (and remember we all have them, from the person applying for a job flipping burgers in a burger house to the Executive applying for a new £ 250K per year position) it’s up to you whether you decide to accept a drink. You won’t be thought of any less should you not accept a drink (and if you think your hands are going to be shaking like a coconut tree in a hurricane every time you pick your cup up) it’s probably a good idea to decline. That way you won’t chance spilling the liquid all down your front should you really lose your nerves!

Cover Letter

What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a document that accompanies your resume in response to an advertised position. It is a letter of introduction that highlights your key achievements and entitles you for a job opening. A cover letter should be tailored to different jobs, different employers. Few employers seriously consider a resume that is not accompanied by a cover letter. Cover letters are typically one-page documents.

What is the purpose of a Cover Letter?
A cover letter reflects your communication skills and your personality. The main purpose of this document is to introduce you in such an interesting manner that the reader will not only continue reading your resume but also be willing to call you in for an interview.
Why is a Cover Letter so important?
A cover letter tells the employer the type of position you are seeking, and exactly how you are qualified for that position. It also tells the hiring manager what caused you to apply: whether an advertisement, the recommendation of a friend who works there, or your own research, etc. This information tells the hiring manager how well you know the firm and position. This alone can encourage the employer to keep reading.This is the first document the reader views, and if it fails to captivate interest your resume might not be viewed at all.Get your resume and cover letter prepared (or edited) at highly affordable prices by our resume and cover letter writing services. Submit your information online and receive your perfect resume and cover letter within 2-3 days.
Cover Letter Writing Tips

*Make your cover letter brief and simple
*Be direct and natural
*Mention the position you are applying for
*Explain how you learned of the position
*Write why you are a perfect candidate for the position
*Propose a meeting
*Tailor your cover letter to different readers

No spelling or typing errors. Not even one.
Address it to the person who can hire you. Resumes sent to the personnel department have a tougher time of it. If you can find out (through networking and researching) exactly who is making the hiring decision, address the letter to that person. Be sure the name is spelled correctly and the title is correct. A touch of formality is good too: address the person as "Mr.," "Ms.," "Mrs.," "Miss," "Dr.," or "Professor." (Yes, life is complicated.)
Write it in your own words so that it sounds like you--not like something out of a book. (Electra gets in trouble with libraries when she says things like this.) Employers are looking for knowledge, enthusiasm, focus.
Being "natural" makes many people nervous.

Show that you know something about the company and the industry. This is where your research comes in. Don't go overboard--just make it clear that you didn't pick this company out of the phone book. You know who they are, what they do and you have chosen them!

Use terms and phrases that are meaningful to the employer. (This is where your industry research and networking come in.) If you are applying for an advertised position, use the requirements in the ad and put them in BOLD type.

Resumes and C.V.s -- What's the Difference?

According to the dictionary, a resume is "a summary, as of one's employment, education, etc., used in applying for a new position." Conversely, a curriculum vitae (C.V.) is noted as "a regular or particular course of study of or pertaining to education and life."

In other words, a RESUME is a career and educational summary meant to highlight your skills and experience and a C.V. is a list meant to document every job and degree you've ever received in your life.

When professionals working abroad decide that they want to seek out job opportunities in the U.S. and send out their C.V.s to American companies, they have no idea what Human Resource and Personnel Directors are looking for when reviewing these documents. In a typical C.V., the first category is Education, listing preparatory/college/university information and dates right up front. If the mechanical engineer or CEO sending this document graduated from university in 1974, that is not the most important piece of information that a headhunter or HR Director needs to know about this person.
The C.V. continues with Work Experience, often listing jobs going back to college days, and often listing them in chronological order (starting with 1976 for example, and ending with the 1997-Present position somewhere down on page 2 or 3). The C.V. is quite simply a listing of company names, job titles, dates of employment, and job responsibilities. Just the potatoes, without the meat and gravy, so to speak. A professional resume, on the other hand, does not require that you include every job you've ever held since being a counselor at Camp Thanksalot.

The C.V. is written in a paragraph style, not broken up with bulleted or italicized information to highlight any skills, accomplishments, or achievements for each specific position like a resume. Each paragraph lists the responsibilities from a first person perspective "I" and "my" - which is just not done in a professional resume. On this side of the Atlantic, a resume is written in the third person so as to appear more objective and factual.

The next faux pas of the C.V. is to include personal information in the document. The applicant lists marital status, nationality, height and weight, date of birth, and other information which is just not necessary or warranted when applying for a job in the U.S. Hobbies and Personal Interests are also often listed on C.V.s. But whether you play acoustic guitar or spin wool for cardigan sweaters, it does not belong on a resume.

A strong, professionally written resume, however, starts out with a brief Summary of Qualifications, next is a key word section listing your Areas of Strength or Industry Expertise, then Professional Experience where your career experience for the past ten to fifteen years is focused on and any experience prior to that may be summarized. The information listed under Professional Experience is written in reverse chronological order (most recent or present job first and going back from there) and includes a balance of responsibilities and accomplishments for each position.

After the work experience, Professional Affiliations, Computer Skills, and Education sections should appear. The best strong, to-the-point resumes should be one to two pages. Conversely, oftentimes C.V.s go on for three or four pages.

Keep in mind that resumes are intended to present a summary of highlights to allow the prospective employer to scan through the document visually or electronically and see if your skills match their available positions. A good resume can do that very effectively -- a C.V. cannot.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Interviewer Tips during Interview

An interview is not a dialogue. The whole point of the interview is to get the narrator to tell his or her story or to give you information. Limit your own remarks to a few pleasantries to break the ice, then ask brief questions.

Avoid dead-end questions; ask questions instead that require more of an answer than "yes" or "no." Start with "Why, how, where, what kind of . . ."

Ask one question at a time.

Ask brief questions.

Start with non-controversial questions. A good place to start with is the person's background. This allows you and your narrator to become comfortable, make eye contact, etc.

Don't let periods of silence fluster you. Give the person a chance to think of what he/she wants to add before you hustle into the next question.

Don't worry if your questions are not as beautifully phrased as you would like them to be for posterity. A few fumbled questions will help put your narrator at ease.

Don't interrupt a good story because you have thought of a question or because your narrator is straying from the planned outline. If the information is pertinent, let the person continue, but jot down your question so you will remember to ask it later.

If your narrator does stray into non-pertinent subjects, try to pull him/her back as quickly as possible. Example: "Before we move on, I'd like to find out . . ."

It is often hard for a narrator to describe persons. An easy way to begin is to ask him to describe the person's appearance.

Interviewing is one time when a negative approach can be more effective than a positive one. Ask about the negative aspects of a situation. Example: In asking about a person, do not begin with a glowing description. You will get a more lively answer if you start out in the negative. "Despite the mayor's reputation for good works, I hear he was a very difficult man for his immediate employees to get along with."

Try to establish at every important point in the story where the narrator was or what his or her role was in this event, in order to indicate how much is eye-witness information and how much based on reports of others. "Where were you at the time of the Oklahoma Bombing?"
Do not challenge accounts you think may be inaccurate. Instead, try to develop as much information as possible that can be used by later researchers in establishing what probably happened.

Do tactfully point out to your narrator that there is a different account or contradictory information of what he or she is describing, if there is.

Try to avoid "off the record" information, the times when your narrator asks you to turn off the recorder while he tells you a good story. Ask if you can you record the whole thing and promise that you will erase that portion if the narrator asks you to after further consideration. Then keep your promise.

Don't switch the recorder off and on. It is much better to waste a little tape on irrelevant material than to call attention to the tape recorder by a constant on-off operation.

Interviews usually work out better if there is no one present except the narrator and the interviewer.

Do end the interview at a reasonable time. An hour-and-a-half is probably maximum. First, you must protect your narrator against over-fatigue: second, you will be tired even if the narrator isn't.

Don't use the interview to show off your own knowledge, vocabulary, charm, or other abilities.

Effective Interview

To get the most information out of an interview — and identify the best marketing professional for your team — follow these eight steps:

Prepare in advance. Develop an approach you’ll use with all candidates. Rank job requirements in order of importance, and prepare a list of questions that will enable you to assess applicants’ talent and expertise in these areas. Be sure to include questions designed to gauge interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities, such as “Can you tell me about an important decision you made and how you arrived at it?” or “Describe a situation in which you had to deal with a professional disagreement or conflict.”

Ask diverse questions. To assess the candidate’s work style and compatibility with your firm’s culture, vary the style of your questions. Ask closed-ended, factual ones (“How many years did you work for Firm A?”); open-ended questions (“Can you describe your major accomplishments?”) and hypothetical, job-related scenarios (“How would you handle a difficult client … ”)

Make a pitch for your firm. The interview works both ways, so be sure to emphasize the positive aspects of your company to prospective hires. Benefits such as employee recognition programs, subsidized training courses and on-site facilities such as a cafeteria or health club can all be strong selling points.

Rephrase questions to obtain complete answers. If an applicant’s response to your question is vague or insufficient, don’t be afraid to ask for the information in a different way. For example, rephrase “Why did you leave your previous position?” to “What types of opportunities are you looking for that your last job did not provide?”

Pay attention. Fight the urge to formulate your next question while the candidate responds to the last one. You need to listen attentively to pick up on bits of information that might otherwise escape you.

Write it down. Memory is unreliable, so take notes in an unobtrusive way during the interview. Don’t transcribe everything the candidate says — jotting down the highlights should be sufficient. Be sure to record your impressions along with the applicant’s responses to questions. If you’re interviewing someone for a design position, ask if they have an extra work sample they can leave behind.

Don’t rush to judgment. Try to avoid forming an opinion too quickly about a candidate. Wait until after the interview to evaluate responses and make interpretations.

End on a positive note. Once you feel you have enough information, end the interview politely. Thank the applicant for his or her time and interest, and briefly mention subsequent steps.

Effective Resume Writing

1. What IS a resume anyway?
Remember: a Resume is a self-promotional document that presents you in the best possible light, for the purpose of getting invited to a job interview.It's not an official personnel document. It's not a job application. It's not a "career obituary"! And it's not a confessional.
2. What should the resume content be about?
It's not just about past jobs! It's about YOU, and how you performed and what you accomplished in those past jobs--especially those accomplishments that are most relevant to the work you want to do next. A good resume predicts how you might perform in that desired future job.
3. What's the fastest way to improve a resume?
Remove everything that starts with "responsibilities included" and replace it with on-the-job accomplishments.
4. What is the most common resume mistake made by job hunters?
Leaving out their Job Objective! If you don't show a sense of direction, employers won't be interested. Having a clearly stated goal doesn't have to confine you if it's stated well.
5. What's the first step in writing a resume?
Decide on a job target (or "job objective") that can be stated in about 5 or 6 words. Anything beyond that is probably "fluff" and indicates a lack of clarity and direction.
6. How do you decide whether to use a Chronological resume or a Functional one? The Chronological format is widely preferred by employers, and works well if you're staying in the same field (especially if you've been upwardly-mobile). Only use a Functional format if you're changing fields, and you're sure a skills-oriented format would show off your transferable skills to better advantage; and be sure to include a clear chronological work history!
7. What if you don't have any experience in the kind of work you want to do?
Get some! Find a place that will let you do some volunteer work right away. You only need a brief, concentrated period of volunteer training (for example, 1 day a week for a month) to have at least SOME experience to put on your resume.Also, look at some of the volunteer work you've done in the past and see if any of THAT helps document some skills you'll need for your new job.
8. What do you do if you have gaps in your work experience?
You could start by looking at it differently.General Rule: Tell what you WERE doing, as gracefully as possible--rather than leave a gap.If you were doing anything valuable (even if unpaid) during those so-called "gaps" you could just insert THAT into the work-history section of your resume to fill the hole. Here are some examples:

1993-95 Full-time parent -- or
1992-94 Maternity leave and family management -- or
Travel and study -- or Full-time student -- or
Parenting plus community service
9. What if you have several different job objectives you're working on at the same time? Or you haven't narrowed it down yet to just one job target?
Then write a different resume for each different job target. A targeted resume is MUCH, much stronger than a generic resume.
10. What if you have a fragmented, scrambled-up work history, with lots of short-term jobs?
To minimize the job-hopper image, combine several similar jobs into one "chunk," for example:

1993-1995 Secretary/Receptionist; Jones Bakery, Micro Corp., Carter Jewelers -- or
1993-95 Waiter/Busboy; McDougal's Restaurant, Burger King, Traders Coffee Shop.
Also you can just drop some of the less important, briefest jobs.But don't drop a job, even when it lasted a short time, if that was where you acquired important skills or experience.
11. What's the best way to impress an employer?
Fill your resume with "PAR" statements. PAR stands for Problem-Action-Results; in other words, first you state the problem that existed in your workplace, then you describe what you did about it, and finally you point out the beneficial results.
Here's an example: "Transformed a disorganized, inefficient warehouse into a smooth-running operation by totally redesigning the layout; this saved the company thousands of dollars in recovered stock."Another example: "Improved an engineering company's obsolete filing system by developing a simple but sophisticated functional-coding system. This saved time and money by recovering valuable, previously lost, project records."
12. What if your job title doesn't reflect your actual level of responsibility?
When you list it on the resume, either replace it with a more appropriate job title (say "Office Manager" instead of "Administrative Assistant" if that's more realistic) OR use their job title AND your fairer one together, i.e. "Administrative Assistant (Office Manager)"
13. How can you avoid age discrimination?
If you're over 40 or 50 or 60, remember that you don't have to present your entire work history! You can simply label THAT part of your resume "Recent Work History" or "Relevant Work History" and then describe only the last 10 or 15 years of your experience. Below your 10-15 year work history, you could add a paragraph headed "Prior relevant experience" and simply refer to any additional important (but ancient) jobs without mentioning dates.
14. What if you never had any "real" paid jobs -- just self-employment or odd jobs?
Give yourself credit, and create an accurate, fair job-title for yourself. For example:
A&S Hauling & Cleaning (Self-employed) -- or
Household Repairman, Self-employed -- or
Child-Care, Self-employed
Be sure to add "Customer references available on request" and then be prepared to provide some very good references of people you worked for.
15. How far back should you go in your Work History?
Far enough; and not too far! About 10 or 15 years is usually enough - unless your "juiciest" work experience is from farther back.
16. How can a student list summer jobs?
Students can make their resume look neater by listing seasonal jobs very simply, such as "Spring 1996" or "Summer 1996" rather than 6/96 to 9/96. (The word "Spring" can be in very tiny letters, say 8-point in size.)
17. What if you don't quite have your degree or credentials yet?
can say something like:
Eligible for U.S. credentials -- or
Graduate studies in Instructional Design, in progress -- or
Master's Degree anticipated December 1997
18. What if you worked for only one employer for 20 or 30 years?
Then list separately each different position you held there, so your job progression within the company is more obvious.
19. What about listing hobbies and interests?
Don't include hobbies on a resume unless the activity is somehow relevant to your job objective, or clearly reveals a characteristic that supports your job objective. For example, a hobby of Sky Diving (adventure, courage) might seem relevant to some job objectives (Security Guard?) but not to others.
20. What about revealing race or religion?
Don't include ethnic or religious affiliations (inviting pre-interview discrimination) UNLESS you can see that including them will support your job objective. Get an opinion from a respected friend or colleague about when to reveal, and when to conceal, your affiliations.
21. What if your name is Robin Williams?
Don't mystify the reader about your gender; they'll go nuts until they know whether you're male or female. So if your name is Lee or Robin or Pat or anything else not clearly male or female, use a Mr. or Ms. prefix.
22. What if you got your degree from a different country?
You can say "Degree equivalent to U.S. Bachelor's Degree in Economics-Teheran, Iran."
23. What about fancy-schmancy paper?
Employers tell me they HATE parchment paper and pretentious brochure-folded resume "presentations." They think they're phony, and toss them right out. Use plain white or ivory, in a quality appropriate for your job objective. Never use colored paper unless there's a very good reason for it (like, you're an artist) because if it gets photo-copied the results will be murky.
24. Should you fold your resume?
Don't fold a laser-printed resume right along a line of text. The "ink" could flake off along the fold.

How To Write a Good Cover Letter

1. Be sure to address your cover letter --by name and title -- to the person who could actually hire you. When it's impossible to learn their name, use their functional title, such as "Dear Manager." You may have to guess ("Dear Selection Committee") but never say "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam"!

2. Show that you know a little about the company, and that you are aware of their current problems, interests, or priorities.

3. Express your enthusiasm and interest in this line of work and this company. If you have a good idea that might help the employer resolve a problem currently facing their industry, offer to come in and discuss it.

4. Project warmth and friendliness, while still being professional. Avoid any generic phrases such as "Enclosed please find." This is a letter to a real live person!
5. Make a personal link to a specific individual in that company, if at all possible -- also called "name dropping." For example, "My neighbor, Phil Lyons, works in your research-and-development department, and from what he tells me about the company and its current directions, I think I could be a good fit for your team."

6. Set yourself apart from the crowd. Identify at least one thing about you that's unique -- say a special talent for getting along with everybody at work, or some unusual skill that goes beyond the essential requirements of the position -- something that distinguishes you AND is relevant to the job. (Then, if several others are equally qualified for the job, your uniqueness may be the reason to choose YOU.)
7. Be specific about what you are asking for and what you are offering. Make it clear which position you're applying for and just what experience or skill you have that relates to that position.

8. Take the initiative about the next step whenever possible, and be specific. "I'll call your office early next week to see if we could meet soon and discuss this job opening," for example. OR -- if you're exploring for UN-announced jobs that my come up -- "I'll call your office next week to see if we could meet soon, to discuss your company's needs for help in the near future."

9. Keep it brief -- a few short paragraphs, all on one page.

After the Job Interview

Thank-You Letters
Almost immediately after an interview, you should write a thank-you letter to the interviewer(s). You can use e-mail to do this, but sending a letter or card is more thoughtful.
If more than one person was involved in interviewing, sending a note to each one would be awesome. Remembering names of people we have met briefly in an interview situation is beyond most of us. However, if you jot down their names on your notepad, request a business card at the interview, or call the office and request names, your effort will be worth it. Since so few people do this, you will really be memorable. If you cannot obtain their names, send a letter to the head interviewer and address it to the that person and the interview panel.
Thank-you letters should express gratitude for the interview opportunity, particular attention or kindness shown to you, assistance provided, or other experience that provided a memorable occasion for you (other than the terror of the interview, of course!).
Reconfirm your interest in working for the company and indicate that you hope to hear positive news soon.

Just sending a thank-you letter creates a favorable impression, unless it is illegible, poorly spelled, or grammatically incorrect.
You can make your thank-you letter work harder than that. If you feel you didn't provide a complete or totally correct answer to a question in the interview, you can use your letter to clarify your response or to show that you cared enough to seek more information. Don't attempt to clarify more than one or two points, or you could talk yourself out of a job! Restate the contribution that you can make to the company.
Following Up

If you do not hear from the interviewer by the time he or she indicated, or within a reasonable amount of time from your interview - two weeks or so, you should call or e-mail the interviewer to inquire about the status of their selection process.

If a decision has not yet been made, ask the interviewer when he or she believes it will be made. If you have another offer, but would like to know about this interview outcome before making a decision, tell the interviewer. It may speed up the process.
If a decision has been made and you are selected, congratulations! If you were not selected, try to find out what the interviewer would recommend to you that could improve your chances at your next interview. This is a non-threatening way of trying to discover why you were not selected, but it will also help you in future interviews.
Second Interviews

Many organizations rely on second, or even third interviews, to make hiring decisions. If you are chosen for a second interview, indicate your pleasure at being selected. Ask what the format will be for the second round. If you do not already have an idea, you can ask what the salary range is for the position before deciding whether to go further. Most companies that offer second interviews are very competitive with their salary offers anyway, so you don't need to ask unless it is really important to you. Wait to discuss salary specifics until the job offer is made. Don't hang up before discovering the name and title of the interviewer, where and when the interview will take place, and what the travel arrangements are.
Second interviews are required by employers who use the first interview as more of an introduction to see if you will fit as part of their team. The second interview, then, will probably be more in-depth. It may include more job-related questions, hands-on experiences, and/or meeting with more than one person. Be yourself, your best self, and you will ultimately have a positive experience.

The best thing about second interviews is that it usually provides you the opportunity to view the organization in action and to meet some of the people with whom you will be working.
Remember, you are trying to decide an important part of your future. Is this an organization with which you will feel comfortable and which offers you the opportunities you seek? Observation can provide a large part of the answer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Interview Preparation Guide.

Interview Preparation Guide.

A day or two before an interview you should take the time to really think about how you want the interview to go, what impression you want to leave on the employer and what unique pitch you will use to stand out from other applicants. Equally important, think about what items on your resume you do not want to spend a lot of time on and come up with ways to transition from that particular experience to others that you would like to highlight more.

Next, throughly research the employer, and when possible, the position. Be sure to ask for at least a title, if not a detailed description of exactly what position they are interviewing you for. Then list the 3 or 4 strong qualifications that you bring to the table. This way, you know going in what they are looking for and why you are a good fit.

There is a time and a place for name dropping, and interviewing is one of them. Review any names or details that could be helpful to reference during your discussion. If you are the networking type, go back through your PDA and find the exact date of the dinner party where you met the person who passed along your resume. If you used a job search engine, recall what day you first saw the advertisement and perhaps the detail that helped the posting stand out. If the organization reached out to you, recall the Human Resources contact who first gave you the call or e-mail. It never hurts to compliment their friendly conduct, and helps create a positive, thoughtful persona.

From here the old adage rings true: “Practice makes perfect.” Make a list of questions that you think the employer might ask. Think through how you would want to answer them. Your goal is to leave the ideal impression, highlighting your best selling points and avoiding weaker aspects of your experience. Typing this out (and saving it) can help you not just prepare for this interview, but all future interviews as well (including your year end review!)

Once you have come up with some sample questions, ask a trusted friend to help you role play through a few of them randomly. The employer ultimately controls the flow of an interview and role playing can help prepare you to bounce between subjects and think quickly. Your friend may also be able to point out any nervous quirks you might have or important details that you are leaving out.

The night before the interview, after you have crafted your pitch and researched the employer, make sure to print out directions to the office. Pick out your clothes, relax with a book and get to bed early. In the morning, eat a non-offensive breakfast to hold you over and make sure to drink your coffee. It is show time