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Disappearing job opportunities

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Tell us what you think about dealing with unexpected snags in the hiring process, as featured in Thursday's Career Advice e-newsletter. Have you ever had a job opportunity disappear in the middle of the hiring process? Did you find out what happened? How do you try to avoid such situations?

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The Art of Interviewing

by blue36 In reply to Disappearing job opportun ...

This article points out a very pertinent fact: people usually don't know how to interview. I'm not talking about the interviewEE's but rather the interviewER's.

What are the three questions that have to be answered by the end of an interview? Most people don't know and some don't even care.

An interview often comes down to a "popularity" contest. I like him best. We have common interests. She's the prettiest. Or, his color or age is just right. Let's not kid ourshelves about the "unspeakables". Racist, favoritism and sexism are real - unspeakable but real.

The three questions that an interviewer has to get answered are:

1) Why are you here - or, importantly, why might you leave? Let's face it, there are only two goodjobs: the last one and the next one. Either a person is looking for that particular job or he wants to get away from his current one. Both reasons are fine. What the interviewer wants to know is value of investing in this person.

2) What can you do for me? This is where the job description and the candidate's profile need to match. Unfortunately, this is sometime difficult because the job description is nebulus, and if so, the popularity contest comes into play. As an interviewee, figure out what the company's problems are and explain how you can solve them.

3) How much will it cost? Hey, this is the profitability thing. You can just throw out a salary expectation without talking about their performance expectations.

If interviewer can't get this information within 30 minutes, he is a good listner or even a good talker but he is a very poor interviewer.

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Headhunter References?

by Emrecall In reply to Disappearing job opportun ...

"Hint: There are a lot of useless headhunters
out there. Be careful. Check their references."

Great tip, Nick. How do you do it though? I've tried to check out a couple of headhunters that contacted me but I didn't get very far. Obviously avoiding the one's that blanch when you ask for their references is a start, but beyond that can you recommend some questions and techniques?

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Discouraged after a month?

by T Bowman In reply to Disappearing job opportun ...

Ok, I just had to jump in here. One month is absolutely NOTHING. In this economy, you will be lucky to find a job in several months. This time can be reduced if you are willing to relocate - even then it takes time.
I can also identify with the disappearance of job postings. Many weren't funded, or were cancelled or weren't really open in the first place. It's part of the game. Best of Luck!

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Length of Interviews

by Jim_Mitchell In reply to Disappearing job opportun ...

I just wanted to comment on interview length. I had an interview some years ago at General Dynamics in their AI Lab that lasted two days! Where I work we usually do one hour phone interviews first, and then usually a half day face to face. Granted, in any of the in person interviews, you do visit with multiple people. I am surprised that you think a four hour interview is long. Hiring teams need to assess your "true" skill set and your team fit. This cannot be done in an hour or less. This has been my experience over that last 20 years, both from a hiring and candidate perspective.

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Best thing that ever happened

by jang1108 In reply to Disappearing job opportun ...

I had the same thing happen to me. Great interview, was told I got the job, then the hiring manager's boss pulled the plug. Turns out, this was the best thing that could have happened. About a year and a half later, I went into this same company as a consultant, and boy, were MY eyes opened! I've never worked for such a bunch of unorganized, incompetent, finger-pointing jerks ever before in my life, and not since then, either! Count your blessings! Things generally work out for the best in the end.

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Yes... with IBM...

by brian.kiser In reply to Disappearing job opportun ...

I'm still not sure quite what happened, but I was going through a headhunter who said IBM made me an offer. After about a week of deliberation, I accepted the position and was told it would start at the beginning of the next quarter, which was veryclose. The quarter came and went, and the headhunter said the job would start quarter after that! I waited and waited, all the while keeping the communication lines open, but the job simply evaporated. I'm not quite sure what happened, or who wasresponsible.

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There is no offer...

by James R Linn In reply to Yes... with IBM...

....without a letter of offer, a legally binding document.

Until you have one in your hands, they haven't made a real offer.

Headhunters have their own reasons for distorting the truth. They may not lie outright every time, sometimes they omit certain things.

I've had some bad experiences. One headhunter oversold the job and the opportunity, then when I interviewed I appeared over qualified and overly ambitious. I was not hired and the headhunter swore at me - told me I blew it etc. Best thing that could have happened from my perspective - I wasn't stuck in a job, frustrated and bored.


James

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No offer?

by brian.kiser In reply to There is no offer...

There is no offer until I have a letter saying so? I must have accepted several jobs without actually getting an offer... and they still paid me! Wow. I didn't know you could do that. :)

Friendly sarcasm aside, your point is well taken. Unfortunately, many, many businesses do not send an offer letter. In fact, Kentucky State Government actually REFUSED to send one when I requested it. I didn't like it, yet here I am 2.5 years later.

The offer letter is professional, but I'm not surethat's a guarantee they *have* to give you a job when you get there. What will you do if they say, "Sorry, we just had a big layoff. There are no jobs available"? Are you going to sue at that point? Probably not. You'll be out hoofing it, looking for another job, offer letter or not.

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Letter of offer

by James R Linn In reply to No offer?

If you ask an HR professional, they will tell you that an appropriately worded letter of offer is a binding contract.

In fact at one of my old employers they had exactly the scenario you mention -they had sent out letters of offer and people hadn't yet started when big layoffs hit. The prospective employees were not only given a standard layoff package, but an extra bonus, I'm sure to dissaude them from suing.

At all of the companies I've worked for in the last 15 years, the letter of offer has been standard. And in every case, I had to sign back the offer in the presence of an HR person. Even my summer student has receieved the same letter as a long term employee.

Maybe Kentucky labour law is less stringent.

James

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