How to get a job and keep it

1. Your book starts from the baseline, getting a job, presentation, interview skills and tips. Some people see interviews as insurmountable obstacles. At entry level, everything's new, and sometimes frightening. If someone's having real problems with doing interviews, what can they do to overcome that problem?

Interviews seem threatening because of the unknown, and there are many unknown factors going into an interview. The best way to overcome the fear of interviewing is through practice and preparation. The more prepared a person is the better off he or she will be. Therefore, it is essential that prior to the interview you gather as much information as you can about the company (and industry). Visit the company website, become familiar with the industry and competition, research articles, talk with those who work there and others in a similar field. Doing so will help you enormously and enable you to engage in meaningful conversation about the job and set you apart from others interviewing for the same position.

Every interview you go on is an opportunity for you to learn and grow. Evaluate yourself after each interview; determine what you did well and what you can improve on. The more comfortable you are, the more effective you will be. Participate in mock interviews whether with a coach at a career center or with a friend. Seek and be open to honest feedback. One of the best ways to learn is by videotaping a mock interview and watching it. See for yourself how others see you. You may never lose the fear of interviewing entirely, but practice and preparation can greatly reduce your apprehension.

2. Getting a job is one thing. Keeping it is another. What are the fundamentals of keeping a job?

Never forget how excited you were when you were hired! People work hard at presenting themselves effectively in order to get hired, but too few work equally as hard at keeping the job once they have it. Over time it's easy to forget how much we wanted the job once we have it, and we tend to take it for granted, failing to live up to the promises we made.

Success in a job goes beyond getting the work done. Your overall attitude is key and influences the perception others have of you. Your employer has many expectations of you, some of them unspoken. Know what is expected by asking if you are unsure, and educate yourself on the basics.

You are expected to show up for work every day on time, focused and eager to contribute. The way you look (dress better than you need to), the way you act (be professional in your demeanor), and your ability to get along with others is just as important as the tasks you perform. If everyone went to work each day with the same desire and enthusiasm they showed up with on the first day of their job, our workplaces would be transformed.

3. There's been a lot of industry talk about fitting jobs to people, not people to jobs. When going for a job, what should applicants look for in the job and the employer, as making a good fit for themselves?

If a company makes an offer, make sure it is a company you want to work for before accepting. Interviewing should never be one-sided-you need to check out the company in the same way the company is checking you out. Ask the questions you need answers to, including questions about hours, benefits, policies, etc. Try to get a feel for the culture of the organization and the style of management. Request to tour the area you will be working in and to speak with others who work there. Remain openand flexible, but don't rush to accept a position that doesn't feel like it is the right fit.

4. It seems to be overlooked that the many interview techniques, and the behavioral science behind them, are sometimes a big turnoff for job applicants, and causes a lot of resentment, particularly after several failures. They're trying to get a job, not do multiple psychological assessments. How do people who dislike the interview culture learn to live with it?

Interviewing is a means to an end; if you want a job, you have to go through the interview process.

Try to view interviewing as a challenge you can overcome-and master. If interviewing becomes problematic, seek the help you need. Don't overlook the services that are available, be it career centers, support groups and organizations, family, friends or the many books on the subject. If you find yourself resisting the interview process, determine why. Untilyou are comfortable with and accepting of all aspects of interviewing, it will be difficult for you to come across as effectively as you will need to in order to be effective. Keep in mind you are not alone; most people dislike the interview process. Even those who are conducting the interviews have been on the other end-they may even feel compassion for you!

5. It's a very common complaint that people who are perfectly competent to do a job are passed over because of their lack of interview skills, rather than their professional skills. Is it a matter of learning the rules, or finding employers who are looking for competent people?

Remember that people hire those they feel most comfortable with. No matter how qualified you are, if you fail to make a positive impression or connect with the interviewer, you will most likely NOT be considered for the job.

The biggest mistake people make when job searching is relying on solely on their skills and knowledge; neither is enough to guarantee a job offer.

Enter every interview with the desire to shine-and outshine the competition. It has been said that 85% of the reason you will land a job, keep a job, or move ahead in a job is due to your image, attitude, enthusiasm, people skills and leadership ability. Many people have skills similar to yours-it's up to you to set yourself apart from the others.

6. Your book's website mentions a quote from a poll of HR professionals that the most difficult thing about managing Generation Y is unrealistic expectations. Why is that a problem, and how does it affect Generation Y in the workplace?

Today, young adults and recent graduates enter the workplace with more experience than generations past. Most have participated in internships and other programs that have helped prepare them for career success.

This is a generation of many accomplishments, and some people feel they have already paid their dues. But when working with others of differing generations, it is important to recognize that they, too, have worked hard to get to where they are.

If you are willing to work hard and prove yourself, even if it requires doing tasks you perceive to be beneath you, you will gain the respect of others.

7. Workplace pressures, some serious, are a frequent topic in our forum. Is there a time when keeping job needs to become knowing when to get a new job?

No job is without problems. Every workplace has difficult people and policies you may not like. Learning to address and deal with workplace pressures is the key to your long-term success. And, chances are that no matter where you go, similar problems will creep up repeatedly-until you learn to deal with them. Always seek to work through the problems and pressures you encounter before leaving. However, it is important to recognize when you are in a situation that is intolerable and out of your control. If you find yourself in such a place, do not force yourself to stay.

Know when you've done what you can, and recognize when it's time to leave.

8. Communications skills seem to be a true major issue in the employment market. We just had the so called Communication Revolution, now the single most noticeable big issue is lousy communications skills in the workplace. What are the problems, and what are the causes?

One of the biggest communication problems is LACK of communication-the other is poor listening! In our quest for expediency, we can, and often do, make costly mistakes. Email and long voicemails may be your preferred mode for communication, but some things are best said in person.

Never make assumptions; be sure to ask questions and seek clarification. And most importantly, when you have an issue with someone, don't avoid it-address it head-on. It won't do you any good to complain to one coworker about a problem you are having with another. Deal directly with the person(s) involved, but never make accusations. Curiosity can be an asset: Saying 'I'm not sure what you meant by that comment' will get you further than 'You are always complaining about everything I do.'

9. What are the major complaints by employers about younger Generation employees?

There are many wonderful qualities younger people bring to the workplace; most are willing to work hard and have a desire to contribute. Unrealistic expectations tend to be the biggest problem for employers and the complaint I hear most often. Employers invest time and money in the development of new employees. It is frustrating when new hires are unwilling to do tasks they perceive to be beneath them or lack commitment; some are too quick to 'move on' when things aren't going well.

10. In fairness- Is the workplace culture at fault in its very frequent condemnations of the younger generation? Are employers behind the times with their younger employees?

It's never a good idea to generalize. Some workplaces and some people tend to be more critical than others. I am very impressed with the majority of the young adults I meet. They are dealing with many of the problems created by generations before them. They are computer savvy, resourceful, and better connected to others than most of us. And they want a chance to prove themselves and make a difference. I believe in the potential of people-at every age; each generation has much to offer, and we all will gain by embracing differences.