Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday Mission June 18, 2012


In the past month or so, we have reviewed:
Cover letters
                Letters of Reference

At this point, you should have AT LEAST a draft of your cover letter, references sheet, and letter of reference completed.  Ideally, you should be in the process of obtaining one or more letters of reference to present in an interview.  Bring copies of these with you to your next meeting with your counselor.

Related to Interviewing and references in particular is the subject of illegal interview questions.  Employers may ask you illegal interview questions for any number of reasons:
1.        Ignorance – they may simply not realize it is illegal to ask you if you have limitations, for example.  If you have an apparent limp, they might think they are being caring by asking if you have a physical limitation.
2.       Laziness – many small employers still use outdated forms and ask outmoded questions because they keep copying their old standby applications and interview questions. Often an interviewer might have been verbally told to skip this portion or that and simply forget to cross it off.
3.       Selfishness – employers may be hopeful that YOU will be ignorant and provide them with whatever information they are able to obtain, whether it is your age, your nationality, the fact that you have had a work related injury or your religion.
Most often, illegal questions are asked out of ignorance and you should assume the intent of the question and answer that.  It is perfectly acceptable and even recommended to respond to an illegal question by saying.  “Hmm.  I have never been asked that question – why is it you ask?”  Otherwise just answer the intent, “I am certainly able to perform the duties as you have outlined them!”

Employers will check your employment references and may even do a background check – you SHOULD NEVER LIE on an application or in an interview!  That having been said, you definitely want to present yourself in the best possible light.

If you are striving to return to work after a work related injury and you are asked your reason for leaving, your answer could be something like:
You know, it was a very physical job and I had a bad scare.  I am looking to find a job that will allow me to apply my skills and knowledge rather than put more mileage on my body OR
I had some (medical or personal, for example) issues and am ready to return to work, but my employer doesn’t have an opening for me now.

Former employers will tend to give out:
                Job Title
                Dates of employment
                And, possibly if they would rehire you

Most employers will not give any information beyond this for legal reasons.  However, you should know what your former employers are saying about you!  Ask a friend, colleague or counselor to contact your former employers to determine what they will say about you to prospective employers.

If a background check does show a workers’ compensation claim (most don’t) it will be apparent that you did not lie.  After a job offer, if the injury is pertinent you may choose to share whatever part of that experience/history with your new employer.

Your personal information is YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION.  An employer does not need to know what you eat, when you go to the bathroom or what vitamins you take.  Nor does an employer need to know that you have had a work related injury, per se.

Remember, employers are not allowed to ask certain questions in order to keep them from discriminating against an applicant who can otherwise perform the duties assigned.  There is no need for you to help them do so!

Here are some related articles:

Illegal questions and how to respond

What former employers can say about you

Friday, June 1, 2012

Guest Post: 29 Seriously Inspiring Interviews for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Business ventures build on top of one another like Lego towers — they don’t spring Athena-like from the foreheads of entrepreneurs, no matter what some may claim. Anyone with a strong idea, a lot of luck, and even more hard work can succeed in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. But they need to intently study the victories and mistakes of their predecessors before embarking on any sort of entrepreneurial journey. No matter their background or industry, the following folks have plenty of advice and inspiration to offer while future innovators compile their research. Muhammad Yunus with the Nobel Foundation, Oct. 13, 2006: This distinguished Nobel Peace Prize recipient pioneered the use of microcredits through the Grameen Bank, which he established in his native Bangladesh in 1983; many for-profit and nonprofit ventures these days utilize the same concept when investing in underprivileged regions. Read More

Guest Post 15 Famous Companies That Started As Something Much Different

All businesses begin with a specific idea in mind, and although some stick to exactly what they started with, it’s much more common to find that a business has grown and evolved over time to keep up with changes in supply, demand, and even resource availability. Simply put, smart businesses tend to follow the money, and sometimes that means growing into a business the founders hadn’t ever imagined. These 15 famous companies did just that, all changing in dramatic ways to become totally different than their former selves. Berkshire Hathaway Multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway is best known for its control investor, Warren Buffett, who has grown the company by investing not just in stocks, but in entire companies. But it was established back in 1839 as the Valley Falls Company, a textile manufacturer. The company remained in textiles until 1967, when Buffett expanded investments into the insurance industry, a reach that now includes utilities, railroads, and newspapers. The last of the textile operations were shut down in 1985. 3M Founded in 1902, 3M was once known Read more

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