Monday, August 29, 2016

Job Interviews - The 10.5 Commandments

Interviews are hard work. Are you prepared? 

Image result for job interviews free clip art

By Richard Kent Matthews

This set of commandments, except for the .5 at the end, is found in the marvelous, long time, ongoing book What Color is Your Parachute, 2017 Ed., by Richard Nelson Bolles. (It's also found in other editions, but the latest one, as of today, August 29, 2016, is currently on the market.)

  1. Go after new small organizations with twenty-five or fewer employees at first, since they create two-thirds of all new jobs. Only if you turn up nothing should you broaden the search to slightly larger organizations, those with fifty employees. Then, if that doesn't prove to be a successful strategy, organizations with one hundred employees.
  2. Hunt for places to interview using the aid of, say, eighty friends and acquaintances--because a job-hunt requires eighty pairs of eyes and ears. But first do homework on yourself so you can tell them exactly what you are looking for.
  3. As for who to interview, once you've identified a place that interests you, you really need to find out who has the power to hire you there, for the position you want, and use 'bridge-people' (those who know you and also know them) to get an introduction to that person. Employ and similar, to find these people.
  4. Do thorough homework on an organization before going there, using informational interviews plus the internet to find out as much about them as you possible can. If you have a public library in town, ask there, too.
  5. Then prepare for the interview with your own agenda, your own questions and curiosities about whether or not this job fits you. This will always impress employers.
  6. If you initiated the appointment, ask for just nineteen minutes of their time; and keep to your word strictly. Watch your watch.
  7. When answering a question of theirs, talk only between twenty seconds and two minutes at any time. Try to be succinct. Don't keep rattling on, out of nervousness.
  8. Basically approach them not as a 'job beggar' but humbly as a resource person, able to produce better work for that organization than any of the people who worked in the position previously.
  9. At the end of the interviewing process, ask for the job. "Given all that we have discussed, can you offer me this job?" Salary negotiation should only happen when they have definitely said they want you. Prior to that, it's pointless.
  10. Always write a thank-you note the same evening as the interview and mail it at the latest by early next morning. This, in addition to emailing it. the tendency these days is for the job hunters to only email a thank-you note. You will stand out from the others if you do both.
Richard's Addition

10.5: The job search is often, if not usually, a numbers game. You may get a lot of no's before you get the best yes. Keep at it; don't give up. If you've played your cards right, prepared and rehearsed, someone out there is itching to meet you. If you don't show up because you're upset about a previous no, how can they?

Best of wishes to you in your search.

(You can find this list permanently posted in Pages at the top of this Home Page as Job Interviews - The 10.5 Commandments)

Friday, August 26, 2016

"The Vanishing American Corporation" - by Gerald F. Davis: A Review, of Sorts

In my efforts to keep up with business and employment trends, I often come across books and online sources that seem to jump out at me. This book is among them. 

You've probably heard again and again how the 'corporation' is destroying America, maybe even the world. So much power, most of the money going to a small number of the 'Elite', sending jobs offshore to cheaper labor markets and so on. Well, it may get much worse before it gets better.

Gerald F. Davis has written a both alarming and surprisingly hopeful book titled The Vanishing American Corporation (2016).*

In the book, he describes the rise of the corporation at the beginning of the 20th century, how it pushed America forward, hired millions of people, and kept the wheels of business moving in the world. Not everyone has been happy with the consequences, but we still live in a world created and dominated by giants like GM, Exxon, and Walmart. 

According to Davis, not for much longer.

What's happening? 

In today's world, these big monsters have not only become top heavy, they are on the decline. The number of corporations in 1995 has been halved and many have gone bankrupt or even closed their doors. The result is a loss of millions of jobs--and a familiar if 'uncomfy' way of life. 

But that's not all. With those losses comes a new kind of the worker (and workplace). I call them the Temp-est Tossed. It may sound unpleasant but it goes something like this:

  • No permanent jobs; only contract or assignment jobs, that is, temporary, so no benefits like health care
  • Mostly high tech, few if any manufacturing jobs
  • Many kinds of popular college degrees will become obsolete
  • Rising number of low paying jobs in the growing health care industry as the Boomer generation continues to age and retire
  • And the dream of upward mobility seen in previous generations may well be a pipe dream for the current Millennial Generation and beyond
Chapter titles include:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Do You Really Need Another Course in Self Confidence? Maybe...

By Richard Kent Matthews 

The number one block to all of your goals is not fear. It's self pity.

You know the excuses. 

  • Rough childhood
  • No talent
  • Bad mother
  • Bad religious upbringing
  • Mean teachers
  • Abusive spouse
  • Bullies
  • Lack of education
And the list can go on and on.

But here's the truth. As long as you let excuses stand in your way, as long as you allow self pity to control you, you won't move forward. You will stand still. And eventually rot.

Harsh? Maybe. But sometimes we need to be hoisted off our butts by a little rough news. And the news is, you don't have to remain where you are. Self pity is just a bad habit. A little more self esteem, just a little, and you will begin the journey out of that habit and into new ones. 

So, after going over a number of sites about self esteem, I found this one, with 22 points, that I think might be of great value to you. Check it out. If it doesn't fit your tastes or needs, dump it and move on.

But remember this: No matter what you do or don't do, self pity, left unchecked, will remain the major obstacle to achieving whatever it is you are seeking, including that new job.

Self confidence is the target.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Work and the Buddha: Your Trip to Success

The Laughing Buddha
I like the Buddha. 

He is always credited with such marvelous, pithy sayings. Whether he actually said them or not is moot. They serve me well. 

Like this, for instance:

There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way. And not starting.

And this:

We are what we think. All the we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. 

(You'll find a similar pity quote in the biblical Book of Proverbs: As a man thinketh, so is he. KJV)

In my humble opinion, I believe the sayings above can be boiled down to a simple reality: 

You will move through the world according to your dominant thoughts. 

If those thoughts are leading to failure, or if they're leading to success, you will achieve your goal.

Choose success, get started, finish well. It may not seem like it sometimes, but the world really is your oyster. 

If you think so.....

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Power Up Your Executive Interview

Are you ready to sell your best? Here's how...

I've read a number of Wendy Enelow's books on interviews, resumes, keywords, and more. Here, she has a great--short--list of the best ways to present yourself at your executive interview. Check out the full article. You'll be glad you did.

Click Here: 5 smart interview strategies for executives

Learn how to ensure your success in the most stressful part of the executive job search: the interview.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Portland Is Growing. Are You Ready?

If you live in, or are planning a move to, Portland, Oregon, you'll want to know a few things. Jobs, housing, transportation, livability. It's all here....

Portland Approves 20 Year Plan

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bang! You're Hired

Two things that will DEFINITELY keep you from getting the interview, let alone, the job: 
  • Lying on your resume, curriculum vitae, or in person.
  • Not having enough information on the company to which you are applying. (In other words, lack of preparation.)
"A key part of the interview process is preparation--researching the company, industry, and position, preparing pertinent questions, being ready to sprinkle your knowledge into the conversation. So failing to do any of this will not impress most interviewers." Ron Fry, 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions (25th Anniversary Issue, 2016, Career Press)

I'm sure you already understand the dangers of lying. (For some crazy reason, you almost always get found out!) But not knowing much about the company--lack of preparation--places you in a precarious, shaky position. 

"Why is this person even applying here if they don't know what the hell we do?" says almost every single person who is interviewing you.

Take the time to do your research. Go online, Google the company, the CEO, the Human Resources department, the products, the services. Chances are, you'll find gobs of info just waiting for you to discover. So, discover it. Learn as much as possible. Know with whom you are dealing.

That impresses the hell out of 99% of your interviewers. It will give them the notion that you know what you're talking about, that you have initiative, and that you arrived prepared.  

When they feel you care enough to do your research, it can mean you'll care enough to do a great job for the company...and for them.

Research the company. Do your homework. Arrive on time, prepared, dressed right, and enthusiastic. 

Bang! You're hired.

*Recommended. Available on

Don't forget to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. I can help. Richard Kent Matthews - 503-329-8610 - Portland Metro only

Monday, August 8, 2016

When You Hire, Use Your Head

When hiring, use your head, not just your best guess!

Intuition: An uncanny sixth sense which tells people that they are right, whether they are or not.

Most of us who do, or have done, interviews with prospective employees will often depend upon our 'gut' feeling about someone to determine his or her fitness.


I have read a gazillion books that speak of intuition as a guiding light in the hiring process. I say bunk.

Sure, a bit of internal guidance may help, but ultimately, it isn't fair to anyone if that is the only criterion on which you base your choices.

The person shows up, hot experience in hand, great references, outstanding abilities, willingness, and spunk. But you 'just have a feeling' that she won't work out. And you get that feeling within the first moments. (Maybe it's your breakfast?)

Some of your best people have slipped through your fingers because you 'just had a feeling.' They now work for your competition.

My suggestion: Put the feeling aside. Know that you can make mistakes. Realize that you have misjudged before. Keep the realities in front of you. Give the person the benefit of the doubt. 

Hard to do, I know. You think your intuition always steers you in the right direction. But if you think back, you've been wrong on more than one occasion.

The person coming in to see you today, or this week, or next month has really put heart and soul into creating the best impression possible. Hold your gut until the interview is over. Don't judge on a whim.

She, he, and you will be the better for it.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Volunteering: Helps Them, Helps You!

I escorted this lively group from SilverCrest Manor to the Portland Art Museum 
for the Native Fashion Show and more, Thursday, August 4, 2016.

One of the best ways to shore up and increase your professional portfolio and resume is through volunteering.

I volunteer with Ride Connection, a great organization in Portland, Oregon, that advocates for the public transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities. We do one on one travel training and also escort groups of folks from local senior centers, low income retirement communities, and community centers on outings to local fun spots. They get to not only enjoy the outings, but also learn more about their rights and privileges in using Portland's premiere transportation system.

If you've been job hunting for a while, getting a bit depressed because the right job has not yet popped up for you, you might consider volunteering. It not only brightens up your resume, but gives you added experience and maybe even a new outlook. 

I suggest going to You'll find nearly every kind of position possible. And you can narrow it down to your local community.

No need to sit around feeling sorry for yourself because the best job has not yet come your way. Get out, get involved, and watch how the landscape will change for you.

Besides, we need you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

You Can Find a Job...If You REALLY Want One

There is no shortage of jobs, only intention. 

The US has created more than 15 million jobs over the past seven years. And every month, two to four million of them go unfilled.

What do you think you can do about that?

I asked 10 homeless people in Portland recently this question: 

If you could be guaranteed a job that paid at least $10 per hour, would you take it? 

All ten said yes until I followed up with this question: Would you take it if it was manual labor or fast food? 

Nine of them said no. They'd rather get free services and sleep in the transient camps.

Fast food, health service, farm work, office work. Plenty of jobs. But many Americans, even the homeless, seem to think they're above all that. 

In the mean time, the camps and soup kitchens continue to fill up to the point of bursting at the seams. 

No wonder we need immigrants in America. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Facing Your Interview Demons

How you feel about yourself plays as much a role in your success as any skill or experience.

One of my client--whom I'll call Sue--came to me recently to rehearse for an upcoming interview at a local Portland company. 

"It's really scary this time," she said.

"Why?" I asked.

"I have to face a committee, four people, all men. I'm not sure I'm up for it."

I thought for a moment, then asked, "What exactly are you feeling about it, right now, in this moment?"

"I know I will be intimidated. Not because I don't have the skills or experience, just that I've always felt a bit inferior to executives, especially male ones."