Bizarre non-compete agreement

There is even a sandwich shop with a non-compete.  Seriously, are they going to sue an $8/hr worker for going to work at McDonald’s?  Other examples also included in this article.

How to overcome an employer’s resistance to hiring you

Why won’t they hire you? Do desperate employers resist hiring anyone?  Do they resist change? Or is it something else they resist?

Would you like to win a million dollars tax free?  But isn’t that a change?

If Oprah gave you a new car and money to pay the taxes on it, how hard would you resist? That is also a change.

Did you notice that I added that line about taxes in each question?  I had to add that because you might resist otherwise.  It isn’t the taxes, it is what the taxes represent in your mind that may cause you to resist.

Employers have the same resistance to hiring you that you might have to accepting a new car or even a million dollars.  They are afraid there is a hidden tax, a hook, a hidden problem.  They are afraid they will be forced to do things they don’t have time or energy for.  It can all be boiled down to their fear of losing control. People are afraid of losing control of their million dollars or their new car due to taxes. They are afraid of losing control if they hire you.

They lose control when they make you a job offer

As long as the employer is looking at resumes, interviewing, testing, talking about candidates, doing reference checks, and thinking about making offers, they are in control.  The second they make you an offer, they lose control.

Suddenly it is all up to you.  They get edgy.  To regain some control they will put a time limit on their offer. Usually they will give you overnight.  Sometimes they will give you up to a week.  But they want to have control over the process.

They have even less control when you start working for them

I am sure your new boss has worked with someone who was hired and was an absolute disaster. That person looked like the solution to their problem and was a horrible mistake.

You look like the perfect solution to their problem.  But, if they hire you, they lose control. When you come on board, there will be training, detailed supervision, review of your work, correction, adjustments to team duties, interpersonal conflicts, and a lot of other things that change. They will lose control of all those things the second you start with the team.

You have to help them regain control before you are hired

In order to soothe your potential boss, you have to give them as much control as possible.  If you can prove a few basic things, they will hire you immediately.  You need to prove:

  1. You will take the job and keep it
  2. You can do that job
  3. You won’t take too much training
  4. You will take the initiative to do things within their system
  5. You learn quickly
  6. You get along with all kinds of coworkers – good and bad
  7. You will quickly take other burdens off the boss’s back and give them back control.

How do you prove it?

We’ll talk about that over the next few days.

Motivating recruiters

Many recruiting offices have a button that rings a bell.  You can only push the button when you make a placement.  Some recruiters live only to press that button.  When they do press it, they keep their finger down for a full minute.  It drives everyone else nuts with envy.  Recruiters are competitive people.

Placing someone in a job motivates recruiters.  Sure recruiters want money.  That’s not their base motivation.  Their whole job is centered on making placements.

Want to motivate a recruiter?  Convince them they can place you quickly.

Some things that help:

  1. A great resume showing accomplishments, not responsibilities
  2. A positive attitude
  3. Talents that are in strong demand
  4. Winning interview skills
  5. Reasonable salary expectations
  6. Motivation to take a new job
  7. Little job hunting done on your part already
  8. A list of companies you would like to work for
  9. An exclusive relationship with the recruiter
  10. Your spouse and kids back you in the move
  11. Willingness to relocate or commute
  12. Ability to interview at a moment’s notice
  13. Great references that can be checked immediately or that are already on LinkedIn
  14. A current job

If you bring me all of the things above, I’ll start salivating.  I’ll drop everything I am doing and find you a job.  So will any other recruiter worth his salt. With that list, you should find a recruiter who will market you.  Get his commitment to report back how his marketing is going. If he won’t commit, he is the wrong recruiter.

The way to motivate a recruiter is to be a great candidate.  If you have a motivated recruiter, soon you’ll have a new job.


Something To Do Today

Go back over that list.  Can you figure out how to line up more of those things for your next job hunt?  Ask a recruiter for his honest opinion, “How marketable am I and what can I do to make myself irresistible to employers?”

Get a commitment from your recruiter of how much he’ll do and when he will call you back to report on his results.

2 ways to use certifications to FIND jobs-especially if you don’t have any

Certifications can definitely get you a job interview.  They can also get you laughed at.  BS, MBA and PhD are all certifications.  So are CPA, CISSP, MCSE, MCAD, MCST, CNE and CPC.

The most amazing certification chameleon has been MCSE-Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.  At first it was a sure key to a quick job and pay raises.  Then schools popped up all over and it became a joke. People with no aptitude nor experience in computers applied for a job as an MCSE.  Now, MCSE is regaining its luster if you have a good solid background.

You should find out which certifications will help you get a raise, a new job, or a promotion.  The best way is to ask.

WAIT! Don’t just ask, network.  This is a great excuse to network. Ask to talk with your boss and his boss about it.  If there is a company you would like to work for, find managers there and ask them to lunch.  Make appointments to talk with experts for 10 minutes of career help.  Find out what certifications and education they prize.  Call up recruiters and ask them.

So, those 2 ways are….

  1. Put the certification on your resume so the recruiters find you.
  2. Network by asking which certifications would help you the most.

Even if you think you know the answer, call one person a day to ask which certifications would be most useful for you.  It is a GREAT question that hiring managers will want to answer for you.

Once you find the certifications that will do you the most good, get one.  Then call everyone back you asked about certifications and let them know what you have done.

The right certification will turn those networking leads into gold.

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.  (Bohr)


Something To Do Today

Networking time.  Call some managers, recruiters and people you respect.  Ask them what certifications would be best in your field.  Ask them which certifications will get you the NEXT job you want. Track every single person you talk to so you can get back to them later. Now go find out how you can get those certifications.


Next:   Recruiter motivation

Re-use re-engineering into a job opening

Re-use re-engineering is taking something that works and figuring out 10 ways to use it that it’s creators never imagined.

Us recruiters do a lot of reverse lookups.  We have paid for training in how to get information from the wrong source.  We x-ray websites.  Yes, that is what it is called.  We use social media sites to find companies.  We use resumes to find job openings.

How to use re-us re-engineer ResumeRabbit

You may get more good from ResumeRabbit by not paying them a cent.

Here’s how:

They like to brag about the 85 websites they can send your resume to for you. They list them.  They send your resume to the sites that are the most popular with hiring companies.  Almost all those sites will show you lists of jobs and employers for free.  Go take a look at them.

What else can I do?

And in case you haven’t heard, my favorite website for finding jobs is .   They are an aggregator.  They go out to company and job board websites and scour them for jobs. They don’t have to list the exact job you are looking for to help you find a job.  All they need to do is help you identify companies that probably have folks doing that job.  Then you can send a resume.

Go take a look at every website you are on today.  See if there is a way to get unintended information.  Like the list of job boards ResumeRabbit posts to.  I bet you can find a job opening in a way you never tried before.

And, do you see those four logos below this line?  Each of those sites can be used to find companies that need someone with your skills.

Cockroach resumes, paper resumes, and carpet bombing

An 18 inch cockroach is the best resume I’ve seen. A friend of mine was applying for a job as a programmer of railroad simulators. He knew that many programmers could do the technical part.  He also knew that the artistic part was just as important. Drawing is difficult, but sculpture is even tougher.  He sent a giant cockroach sculpted in great detail as his resume. He got a call back, the interview and the job.

A good resume gets you an interview. Electronic, paper, CD, metal, cloth, or clay.  If it gets you an interview, it is a success.

Sometimes I hate success.  Every time I get a paper resume I like, I have to ask for an electronic one.  I hate it.  Those few paper resumes are successes.  They get a call from me.  I hate those successes. The candidates love them because they work.

Should you send out paper resumes?  That depends.  Some places automatically trash paper resumes. At those companies paper is a waste.  How about a multimedia CD?  I get the resume off and then throw them away.  I don’t like those either.  But that isn’t the criteria.  Does it get you an interview?  If it does, it is a great resume.  And notice I said I get the resume off the CD’s. That means I had to browse them.

I suggest you send paper or CD resumes out in small quantities only.  Target your recipient. Follow up closely in case they require a different format.

Some people strongly disagree.  They will ask you to pay them a few thousand dollars to send out a huge postal or email blast of resumes for you.  I just heard sending out thousands of resumes called “carpet bombing.”  Some services carpet bomb recruiters.  Others carpet bomb companies. I receive carpet bomb resumes every day.  I’ve never made a placement from one, but I will admit I at least glance at them whether they are paper, faxed, or by email.

I do think ResumeRabbit is a good way to get your resume on a lot of internet job boards, if you really want broad exposure and know the downside. There is no other carpet bombing/resume blasting service in paper, electronic or fax media that I recommend.  Before I would spend money on that, I’d spend it on getting another certification to help my job search.  But I’m not you.  Just be careful with your money.


Something To Do Today

Go through the list of companies you sent a resume to.  Are there some that really should have contacted you but didn’t?  Can you do anything to your resume to get a call back from them?


Next:     Certifications – gold and lead

Later:              Recruiter motivation

Resume blasting

Should you put your resume out on one internet job board?  On 50?  It really could get you a job.  But there’s a down side too.  Consider:

Your boss calls you into his office and closes the door.  “Two days ago you posted your resume on an internet job board.  Why are you quitting?”  Are you looking forward to that conversation?

Want even more fun?  You may not have posted your resume on the internet for 6 months.  A job board you never visited may have bought your resume and posted it without permission.  That way they can attract employers.  I know one guy who got called in by his boss 2 years after he first posted his resume.  The funny thing was that 2 years ago that posting got him his current job and the boss who was cross examining him.

One way to avoid this problem is to post a confidential resume.  It isn’t very effective, but it will keep you from being recognized by all but those who know your background in detail.  The problem is that you will get fewer responses to your posting.

Recruiters and resume blasting are a two sided coin.  Putting your resume on a website may get you calls from a lot of recruiters.  However, some recruiters refuse to work with candidates who have posted their resumes.  The ones who refuse to work with you because you posted your resume online are far fewer in number, but tend to have the more exclusive job openings.

Posting your resume online can absolutely energize your job search.  It can also be a long term problem.  It is easier to post your resume than to get it off the internet.

If you decide to post to as many places as possible you may want to consider a service like ResumeRabbit.  It can submit you to up to 85 sites instantly.


Something To Do Today

Go to ResumeRabbit and look at the places they will post your resume.  Whether you use the service or not, you may want to look for job postings at some of those sites.


Tomorrow:     Resume blasting –  mail services

Later:              Certifications – gold and lead

Recruiter motivation

5 tips to be a great employee – temp or perm

Do you shoot yourself in the foot when you start a job? Here is a list of good ideas.

It is easy to destroy your reputation in the first week or two.   Whether you have a new job, are on a contract, or are just on a temp assignment.

How to beat personality tests and FAQ

Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.  (E. Letterman)


Here is how your boss decides to use personality tests.  Then we will show you how to “beat” them.

His story

Your job as boss is in danger.  3 more people have quit.  5 of the last 10 people you hired are having performance problems.  Technically they are proficient.  At least you got that right.  They just aren’t working hard.  They complain constantly. They don’t fit in.  What can you do to keep your job?

You’ve got to hire better, right?  You go to HR (human resources) and ask for help.  Jill, the VP of HR, has no time for you.  In desperation you blurt out, “Can’t we test these people to see if they are good team players?”

Jill stops, smiles and says, “I’ve seen just the test for the job.  It costs $95 every time you give it, but it will do the trick.  With your sponsorship we can make it mandatory for all new hires.”  Now she has time for you.  Why? You just saved her job too.  She is also under fire for all the hiring problems.  Testing will prove it is not her problem.

A mistake hirers often make is getting the personality they want.  Got it?  They hire the exact person they want.  They just want the wrong person.  An accurate test won’t fix that. Better interviews won’t fix that.  And truthfully, the tests are a pain to take, but reasonably accurate.


How do I beat a personality test?

Be yourself.  Answer honestly.  Don’t get upset.  Really. It works.

So, what do you do when asked to take a personality test?

Take it. Do your best.

Should you worry about the company that asks you to take it?

No. Someone there is trying to hire scientifically.  It may work and it may not.  It depends on their attitude towards the test, and you have no way to measure that.  So don’t worry.

Can I change my answers to score better?

No.  Don’t try.  You will probably fail miserably.  Test makers work hard to make their test detect liars.  Anyway, do you really want to get a job that a company thinks is a bad fit for you?  Just answer honestly and openly.

Isn’t there a chance I’ll be wrongly excluded?

Yes, yes, yes.  That’s the biggest problem with personality tests.  It is also the biggest problem with interviews.  Hirers sometimes are looking for the wrong person. Get used to it. And sometimes you really are the wrong person for the job!

Personality tests are just another form of interview.  Companies pay huge amounts for interview training that may or may not help.  They also pay for tests that may or may not help.  Don’t take it personally. They are trying to figure out how to hire better.  Work with them.  Do your best to help them make a good hire.


Something To Do Today

For the fun of it, go online and find a free personality test.  Take it.  Does it get close to your personality?  It probably does.  That means the problem is not the test or you.  The problem is that the hiring manager is looking for the wrong result, or that you really are the wrong person for the job.


Later:             Resume blasting

Certifications – gold and lead

Recruiter motivation

Negotiating Non-compete agreements

I just got upset with non-compete agreements again.  Here is what I have written on it before.  Good stuff.

How to negotiate a noncompete


When you are presented with a contract that has a non-compete agreement the most effective negotiation is to say, “My lawyer needs to look at this.”  Your lawyer always trumps their negotiator.  The problem is that they may assume you are not worth the hassle of lawyers and changing the contract.  That is what you need to decide.  For most situations, I suggest you try the “Very Good” approach.

Very Good:

Cross out and alter the parts of the non-compete paragraph that you don’t like, initial the changes, sign the contract and hand it back. Do NOT tell them what you are doing until you have finished and handed it back.  Then don’t say a word, not one word, until they start talking.  The HR person will turn green.  That is okay. They may accept it without comment.  This is the most commonly successful ploy I have seen.  What you have written on the agreement always takes precedence over what was printed.  Make sure you get a copy of what you signed to take home with you.

Often the person telling you that they can’t accept the contract actually does have the authority to accept your changes. Since you have already despoiled the pristine contract, and won’t be moved, they are under pressure.  At this point you can say, “If you cannot accept those reasonable changes to the non-compete clause, I will have to take this to my lawyer.  That may take a week or two.  Would you like me to consult my lawyer?”  That may be enough pressure to get them to just accept it.


Accept the assurances of the person you are talking to that they never enforce the non-competes.  If they never enforce them, then legally the court is likely to let you off the hook.  However, that will be 3 months after you left your job and your new employer won’t pay you a penny until you clean up the legal mess.


Don’t be pressured into a non-compete you don’t want to accept.  Negotiate.