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5 Signs You Should Not Accept a Job Offer

March 22, 2016

You’ve interviewed for a position and, on the surface, the job is a perfect match.  But you have noticed a few red flags during the interview that cause you to hesitate about accepting a job offer. Are these issues important or not?  Let’s look at five warning signs that indicate it may be better to continue your job search.


Sign # 1:  Interviewer Complains About Their Current Staff

Just as you shouldn’t bad mouth your current or former employers, it’s never a good sign when your interviewer is criticizing his current staff.  When this occurs, either your future co-workers will drive you crazy with their ineptness, or your future boss is a domineering tyrant.  Regardless of the reason, it’s probably best to leave this company in your rearview mirror.


Sign #2: The Interviewer Oversells the Opportunity

Everyone has heard the phrase, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is!”  When you are promised rapid promotion, easy success, and the ability to double or triple your starting salary in your first year, you need to question the long-term potential of the position.  If the interviewer spends little time asking you about your qualifications, and if she is vague about the job duties, those are definite red flags. Typically, overselling means that the company experiences rapid turnover and the interviewer is desperate to recruit as many new hires as possible.  Unless you are in need of some quick cash to get you through a tough time, keep looking.


Sign #3:  The Same Job is Advertised Over and Over Again

Another sign that there will be trouble with a position is if the same opportunity is advertised over and over again.  There are reasons why a job remains open or doesn’t stay filled.  Does the hiring manager have unrealistic expectations?  Is the compensation competitive?  Is it a bad work environment?  Even if you haven’t seen the opening advertised repeatedly, here are a couple of good questions to ask your interviewer:  “How long has this position been open?” and “What is the average tenure of someone in this position?”  Your recruiter’s answers will help you determine whether or not this is a high-turnover job.


Sign #4: The Employees Act Nervous Around the Boss

Most managers can display a warm and welcoming demeanor during the interview, making it difficult to tell if your interviewer is being genuine or if he is hiding his true colors.  However, his employees have seen his real personality so you can learn a lot from their interactions with him.  Do they avoid eye contact?  Do they act nervous or fidgety when he speaks to them?  Do they walk the other way when they see him coming?  If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, there’s a good chance that the manager isn’t as personable as he appears.


Sign #5: The Employees Look Unhappy

You can tell a lot about a company by the energy, body language and facial expressions of its employees.  As you walk by, do the employees look content and do they give you a warm welcoming smile, or do they look like they are trudging through their days?  If you work at this company, these are the people with whom you will be spending the bulk of your days.  If it’s a depressing atmosphere, than it probably isn’t the right fit for you.


In Conclusion…


It may be tempting to jump at a job offer if you like the responsibilities, but it is important to consider the whole picture, especially if you are looking for a career.  Keep in mind, accepting the wrong position will likely prevent you from finding the right one.  So if you notice one or more of these signs, it may be better to keep looking rather than put yourself in the wrong situation.


Have you seen other signs during an interview that made you decide against the opportunity?  Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section.


If you’re ready to find an exciting new position in the Cleveland area, let the experienced team at Area Professionals help fast track your job search. Contact our expert recruiters today.

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10 Interview Thank You Note Tips That May Land You the Job

November 09, 2015

You did it! You nailed your latest job interview and you are confident that the recruiter will be extending a job offer. You leave the company on an emotional high with a smile on your face. You think to yourself, “I have this job in the bag.” It is a great feeling to know that you may have found the perfect position. But, regardless of how great of a match you are for the opportunity, you can still lose to the competition if you don’t send a thank you note to your interviewer.


According to a Career Builder survey and infographic, 22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate if they do not send a thank you note. Furthermore, 86% of recruiters believe that not sending a thank you note shows a lack of good follow-through skills. So, sending a well-composed thank you note may be what you need to convince the interviewer you are the perfect hire. Here are 10 tips for writing a great thank you note. 


Tip #1:  Mail or Email? Send Both

To make sure you cover all bases, send both an emailed and a handwritten thank you note, especially if you don’t know your interviewer’s preference. If you send both, the recruiter will receive your emailed note shortly after the interview, and you will have the personal touch of a handwritten note that will arrive a few days later, keeping you top-of-mind. 


Tip #2: Send the Right Kind of Card

Make sure your handwritten note is composed on a fold-over, professional note card. Do not use cards with informal art designs on the cover, such as animals or flowers, or one-piece, heavy stock cards that are traditionally used for short notes and invitations. 


Tip #3:  Make it Personal

The worse kind of thank you note is one that is canned where the reader knows you send the same note to everyone. To make it more meaningful, mention a topic that was discussed in the interview.  For instance, you may write, “It was great speaking to you today. I really enjoyed hearing about…”


Tip #4: Show Your Value

Provide additional value to the note by giving more detail as to why you should be hired, citing specific examples of how your past performance will make you a great fit for the company.


Tip #5: Send a Note to Everyone Who Interviewed You

If you had more than one interviewer, send a note to each individual. However, don’t send the same note to every person. For instance, if you were interviewed by the department manager and the HR manager, you can focus the note to the department manager on why you would be a great fit for his/her team. In contrast, the note to the HR manager may center on why you would be the right match for the company.


Tip #6: Include Relevant Content

When sending a thank you note via email, you can provide links to articles, videos or your own published content that complement the topics discussed in the interview. Doing so will show that you are someone who is taking the initiative and will impress the manager, especially since few candidates will take this step.


Tip #7: Fix any Interview Mistakes

Re-evaluate the interview while it is fresh in your mind. Ask yourself, “Is there any question where I could have given a better answer?” If so, the thank you note is a great place to clarify or re-work any of your subpar answers.


Tip #8: Did You Leave Anything Out?

If you missed mentioning a relevant point about your background that is pertinent to the position, you can discuss it in the thank you letter. Tie the point into tip #4, “Show Your Value,” as an additional reminder that you are the best candidate. 


Tip #9: Send One Even if You Didn’t Get the Job

If the recruiter informs you that you are not being considered for the next step, still send a note. The follow-up note is a great way to ask if there are any other available positions that may match your experience. If you continue to sell your strengths, you will keep the door open to other possibilities.


Tip #10: Be Timely

A quick turnaround time will show the interviewer that you are not a procrastinator. Typically, emailed thank you notes should be sent within a few hours of the interview and mailed notes should be sent within a day.


In Conclusion…

Neglecting to send a post-interview thank you note is akin to serving a cake without the frosting. No matter how good the cake tastes, it just isn’t as appealing without the icing on top. To differentiate you from other candidates, make sending a well-composed thank you note a standard part of the interview process.  


Feel free to share any of your own thank you note tips in the comments section.


If you’re ready to find an exciting new position in the Cleveland area, let the experienced team at Area Professionals help fast track your job search. Contact our expert recruiters today.

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5 Types of Toxic Employees and How to Deal with Them

October 13, 2015

Toxic employees can destroy employee morale and chase good employees out of your company. In a 2015 study conducted by Cornerstone onDemand, a leader in cloud-based applications for talent management, good employees quit at a 54% higher rate when they work with toxic employees. Furthermore, the cost of onboarding a toxic employee ($12,800) is three times the cost of a non-toxic employee ($4,000).  But, there is hope. Let’s look at five types of toxic employees and the way to deal with each of them.


Type #1 – The Hot Mess


Do you have an employee who has attendance problems, who makes sloppy mistakes and whose work performance is erratic at best? If so, you have a hot mess.  When you have someone on your team who seems like she is in way over her head, it affects the productivity of your entire group and causes widespread frustration. Grant it, if it is a new employee who is trying hard and is still learning the job, it is understandable. But, when you have a seasoned employee making the same mistakes repeatedly and who has become completely unreliable, something needs to be done.  


Typically, hot mess employees ask for help more often than they should, are disorganized, are passive about completing their work, and are resistant to change.  To deal with this type of employee, offer extra training, introduce an improvement timeline, frequently check-in with the individual to make her more accountable, and provide support, such as a mentor.  If implementing this action plan doesn’t improve the quality and quantity of work produced, then it may be time to cut your ties with this person. 


Type #2 – The Slacker


Like the hot mess, the slacker is a drain on your team’s time, energy and enthusiasm for a project. The biggest sign that an employee is a slacker is his willingness to let others pick up the slack, even when doing so proves to be a strain on his manager and co-workers. Some other signs your employee is a slacker include low motivation, frequently missing deadlines, wasting time online or with personal matters, attendance issues, and taking long breaks.


Many times, a lack of motivation and slacking off in the workplace is caused by hidden resentment towards the company or boredom with his job. To improve the productivity of a slacker, try to uncover the reason behind the lack of enthusiasm for his position. Also, it is important to provide clear expectations, to demand accountability, and to check-in frequently to verify he is on track. Finally, be sure to recognize and reward his accomplishments. Employees are much more motivated when they feel like they are valued and that their contributions matter to the organization.


Type #3 – The Martyr


Even though having a team member who is highly-motivated and is willing to take on a herculean workload seems ideal, if she doesn’t recognize her limits and is always reminding you of her sacrifices, it may be counterproductive to your company.  Martyrs have a mindset that no one can perform the task as well as them, so they complete the work themselves. If taking on too much responsibility results in working long hours, burnout ensues, and with burnout comes more mistakes, missed deadlines, and a negative attitude.


Typically, a martyr doesn’t know her limits, complains often, undermines the confidence of coworkers, and comes to work when sick, letting everyone know of her sacrifice. To best deal with this type of employee, it is important that you focus on delegation and team work. Equitably reassign parts of her workload to other team members, and incentivize teamwork over individual efforts. Also, foster a collaborative rather than competitive workplace by promoting peer-to-peer conversations and team building activities. Finally, to prevent burnout, introduce stress management measures and encourage your employees to stay home when ill by offering paid sick days.


Type #4 – The Socialite


For the socialite, whether around the watercooler or on the phone, gossip and chat are a top priority.  While there is a place in the workplace for fun and fellowship, the socialite tends to take it too far, causing a decrease in productivity and in cohesiveness of your entire team.  Some common traits of the socialite include being loud and distracting, having an inability to focus, displaying an immature approach to work, and encouraging office drama.


With the right guidance, you may be able to turn the socialite into a productive worker. Initially, it is important to define social times and activities for the staff, making sure you are clear about appropriate behavior. To curtail excessive gossiping, you and the rest of your staff should set the right example. For instance, when the chatting is out of hand, you can respond, “Sounds interesting, but I’m pretty bogged down with work; let’s catch up when we have a break.” Also, to improve focus, provide deadlines for projects and make sure the deadlines are met regularly. If the workload is heavy enough, there will be less time for social behavior.



Type #5 – The Roadblock


Unfortunately, we have all worked with a roadblock at some point in our careers. This individual is quick to criticize other employees’ ideas, but rarely offers any input of his own. He complains often, usually about minor issues, and he expects you to fix these problems with a wave of your magic wand. Furthermore, he is disruptive in meetings, typically needing clarification of ideas, and his first response more times than not is, “That won’t work.” If you let them, roadblocks will sap the energy, motivation and productivity from your team.


Handling a roadblock is difficult, but it can be done.  Encourage this individual to provide solutions instead of complaints about problems. For example, if he comes to you to vent, a good response is, “What do you think we can do to fix this issue?” Whether or not you incorporate his suggestion doesn’t matter; you are making him think. If in a meeting, he doesn’t like an idea, ask him how he would approach the situation. He won’t be so quick to criticize if you regularly put him on the spot. Finally, encourage a culture of positive support and collaboration with your team. Roadblocks like to get other people to join their negative world. If no one is willing to do so, he will have less of an impact on your other employees.


In conclusion, uncovering and coping with any type of toxic employee is crucial to providing a positive environment for your staff. The best way to protect your company is by having clear policies in place regarding workplace performance and attitude. When problems arise, following the outlined steps in your policy will aid you in weeding out these toxic individuals.


Are there any other types of toxic employees? If so, how would you deal with them?

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