Monday, July 28, 2014

Would You Take the Job?

I was helping out in an interview process recently and was surprised by something. There was a group of us interviewing candidates, and we had a set list of questions. Each of us asked a question or two and all of us took notes to discuss afterwards. However at the end of each interview, the coordinating interviewer asked each person this question:

If you were offered the job, would you accept?

During one of the discussions, I noted that I thought this was a waste of a question. Certainly everyone would answer "yes" immediately. After all, I have when I've been asked the question.

However the coordinator said that he'd asked this question many times and learned a few things about people. They may hesitate, they may invoke conditions, they may not say yes.

Needless to say I was stunned until I read something similar in the Ask the Headhunter newsletter. One of the questions he answered was on telling the interviewer you want the job, which is very similar.

You should learn to say "I'm interested in the job" if you at all are at the end of the interview. This doesn't bind you, and circumstances may change. Perhaps the offer will be low, perhaps you'll get another offer. You don't know, but at the time, express interest. If someone asks you if you still want the job after the interview, say yes unless you are sure you do not.

There are times you don't want the job, but otherwise, just learn to say "yes, I want the job."

Monday, June 2, 2014

Get Involved

It’s not just me that believes this. There are plenty of people, especially in the technology communities that have seen involvement change their lives and boost their careers.

Scott Hanselmen and Rob Conery have worked to produce a video with Pluralsight that talks about the ways you can enhance your career by getting involved and engaging with peers.

Here’s the teaser:

Watch it at Pluralsight.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Free Images for your Blog

If you’re blogging, and you should try it, you might try spicing up some of your posts with images. I ran across this post with a number of sources for images.

Here are places they recommend:

There are more, so check out the post.

Note that most of these places let you use photos for non commercial use. That means if you’re consulting or selling services, you can’t use them. However if this is your private blog about your career, check them out.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Be Professional

I try to emphasize this multiple times in my talk, even though it’s obvious. The reason is that people sometimes forget to be professional when they’re trying to stand out.

I’ll admit this can be a fine line, but if you have doubts, get opinions from your partner, your parents, your kids, your friends. You want to look like you can do the job well, in whatever industry you are working.

What It Means

Being professional means a number of things. It means that whenever you are presenting yourself, whether on the phone, on a blog, during an interview, you are doing these things:

  • Stay on topic
  • Be respectful
  • Be polite
  • Be honest

Staying on topic means sticking to relevant topics about your career or industry. You can relate other experiences, but the important part is sticking to the topic.

Being respectful means that you understand the other person’s point of view, or other points of view, and you appreciate how those views, solutions, decisions are reached. You might feel they are wrong or inappropriate for the situation, but you both understand that you could be wrong yourself, and the person might have made their own mistake. It means appreciating the other.

Politeness shouldn’t be hard, but it’s following societal and cultural norms. Don’t interrupt, make some eye contact, be nice, shake hands. There are all sorts of social things here, and if you have doubt, do a little research. Ask friends or partners if you are impolite. This goes a long way towards showing that you can work with others. If you don’t want to be polite, remember that some people (like myself) will hold that against you in a job situation.

I don’t mean to put honestly last, or diminish its importance, but honesty in this sense means trying your best to do a good job at whatever you do. Don’t misrepresent your work or your skills. Accept responsibility for mistakes or delays. Perform an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Interviews and Hiring

T-SQL Tuesday is a blog party in the SQL Server community, where many people all write on the same topic on the same day each month.

This month’s topic is Interviews and Hiring, and it’s worth reading through the various posts that are linked as trackbacks or comments. Some interesting stories and views.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Branding Yourself for a Dream Job

Everyone wants a dream job that they enjoy going to each week. However finding that job, and getting yourself hired can be hard for most people. Steve Jones will give you practical tips and suggestions in this session that show you how to better market yourself, how to get the attention of employers, and help improve the chances that the job you want will get offered to you. Learn about networking, blogging, and more.

Learn practical tips on

  • Networking
  • Blogging
  • Volunteering
  • Speaking
  • Authoring
  • Leadership

This session has been delivered at many events in the past. It is scheduled for 2014 at:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Where to Blog

I'm going to assume for this blog that you have a few posts to publish. If you don't, then perhaps you should start by writing your first post. After that, get a few posts ready, then get a blog set up.

Options

There are a lot of ways to blog. If you're inclined, you can certainly setup your own site and code your blog, but I wouldn't recommend that. You won't keep up with the coding, and unless your intent is to showcase your code writing skills, you shouldn't spend time on this.

Instead visit one of these places and sign up for a free blog:

  • Wordpress - Very popular and I use them for one of my blogs
  • Blogger - Also popular, hosting this blog (for now).
  • TypePad - Not as popular, but a nice platform for sure.
  • Tumblr - Not for me, but some people like it

There are other sites I'm sure, but I'd suggest you just pick one of these. Sign up and then link your Live Writer to it.

Custom Domains

You can choose to get a custom domain if you want for your blog. A custom domain would mean that instead of voiceofthedba.wordpress.com, which is one of my blogs, I could use www.voiceofthedba.com. If you click on both links, they go to the same places.

Domains are available from GoDaddy, eNom, NameCheap, and more. You need to pay for one and then point the domain to your blog. It's an easy thing to do, but a little work. I'm not going to cover it here, but you can Google, check your blog host for instructions, or just buy the service from the blog host.

I might suggest if you want to just keep things simple that you build a short URL for your blog using something like Bit.ly. They'll let you build one like: http://bit.ly/voiceofthedba. Search for providers.

Promote

The last thing I'd make sure you do is have your pieces sent out to various social networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. so that someone that might have an interest in hiring you can find them easily. Most of the blogging platforms have plugins to do this for you, so search the help sections for your blog provider.