Last week, I read the worst career advice I have seen in ages. It was called, “Avoid These Subjects During a Job Interview.”
Before I tell you about the article, I have to remind you that CBS — and every other media company out there — doesn’t give a shit about career advice or the long-term unemployed in America. These media portals make money by serving up impressions for advertisers.
So here’s what I hate about the article. The author tells job seekers:
- Don’t be eager.
- Don’t be needy.
- Don’t be human.
The advice is so 2008, and I should know, because I wrote the same stuff back then.
(We are all guilty of writing link bait, I suppose, except I wrote that sort of advice on the heels of the Lehman Brothers collapse.)
So let me address the career advice given by the author.
- Don’t ask anything you could have easily Googled. The value proposition of Google is that everything is Googleable. Skip this piece of advice. Here are the 10 best interview questions to ask.
- Don’t ask if you can telecommute. Hmm. Many companies have embraced telecommuting as a means to reduce commercial real estate costs. You can ask if a company owns or leases the land for its headquarters. You can throw around the word “culture” and ask some savvy questions: Do people come in early? Do they work late? Do they issue mandatory Blackberries like it’s 2008? Those are all legitimate questions.
- Don’t bring up pay or benefits. Yes, let’s pretend you work for free and for passion. Ugh. The problem with this advice is that pay and benefits should be in the job description. But what do I know? I only worked in HR for years. Here’s my advice: As a worker, you still have some power. Use it wisely. Discuss pay and benefits on your terms, not theirs.
- Don’t ask about changing roles quickly. You are allowed to ask about career advancement and other opportunities in a company. We keep telling you that every job is temporary. We know you won’t be there forever. It is fair to ask about internal mobility and opportunities to grow within an organization.
- Don’t ask if you got the job, or when they’ll make a decision. This is stupid advice. You can absolutely ask about a timeline. Don’t let HR treat you like dirt. In fact, don’t leave an interview without knowing when a decision will be made. If you get a concrete answer — “We are meeting next Tuesday to discuss the slate of candidates . . . ” — you could be in the running for a job. If the answer is vague, don’t hold your breath. They are just wasting your time.
The hiring process in America is broken. The job market is brutal, unfair and tough on the American psyche. I have spent the past few years working with Human Resources leaders and managers to see every interaction with a job seeker as an interaction with a human being who deserves respect.
The best way for job seekers fight back? Stop reading bad career advice. And get the hell off the internet and into the real world where you can demand more respect from companies and their HR departments.
It has to start somewhere.