Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Blog Link: Is it Time to Ping Your Recruiter?

After writing about this a few times, I just came across a posting on www.myglobalcareer.com about how to handle communicating with your recruiter. Helpful information.

For Interviewers: Behavioral Questions to Ask

Whether you are a human resource manager or a hiring manager, asking open ended, "behavioral" questions helps gain insight into how a potential employee will handle various situations. Here is a great blog, www.emerse.com that has an exhaustive list of questions.

Job Seekers: Take a look at the list and see what types of questions you might encounter at your next interview.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Career Advice: Continue Looking

I'm coming off of a busy recruiting time with an average of one new opening coming up a day. With all those openings, I've been talking to both new and old contacts. I've noticed a distinct difference in job seekers; those you are in search of a job and those who are in search of a career. And the main difference is how they handle themselves once they get a new job.

Whenever I post a job on one of the employment websites I'm inundated with resumes. I typically get 20 a day during the first two weeks an ad runs. I diligently go through the resumes, input them in my database, and contact applicants about current openings. I also send out the obligatory email to all responders that they will be kept under consideration.

The surprising thing to many applicants is that I do keep all those resumes under consideration, and often contact someone 1-2 months after they originally sent in their resume. Sometimes it is several months to over a year before I contact certain applicants. What happens next is very interesting.

When I contact someone who I've talked to in the past, most often they update me on what's been going on in their job and job search. They may have gotten a promotion, there may have been a management change, or they switched companies. Most often, people who are interested in keeping an eye out for future openings let me know that although they are very happy in their current situation, they would enjoy hearing about future opportunities.

The other camp simply says they are no longer looking for a job and end all communication. In the old days I may have taken this personally, but with my tough skin I understand that this person simply is done with the job search, and may contact me again down the road. But for them right now, they are concentrating on the job at hand, not their overall career.

The most productive client and job seeker relationships I have had are with people who are open to hear about potential candidates and about future opportunities. Within my database I update job seekers' profiles, input their hopes for future positions, and put down my thoughts on possible employers. When an appropriate position comes up, I will reach out to old contacts--and often times they are the ideal candidate this time around.

So, if you are looking to manage your career, keep your ear open to a recruiter's call. Not only will it help the recruiter keep up on what's going on with you, but you will have insight into the types of opportunities out there, and help decide the timing of your next career step.

Or you can start the whole job search over again when you determine the new job isn't all it was cracked up to be. Your choice.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wet Dog and Cat Pee: An Innocent Palate Lost

A few years ago I swore off Chardonnay and discovered the joys of Sauvignon Blanc. Many enjoyable evenings were spent outside sipping the fruity, lively wine.

Then one day I was interviewing a man who had put his winery's Sauvignon Blanc on the map. I of course mentioned how I thought it was an underappreciated wine. With his great success with it, he aggreed, and felt more people would be drinking it over Chardonnay. And then he mentioned that he didn't agree that the varietal frequently had a cat pee aroma. What?

This was quickly followed by my signing up for a wine tasting class, where we were taught the characteristics of various wines. The cat pee issue wasn't brought up when we got to the Sauvignon Blanc--hmmm. So I went to my favorite wine shop after class and asked my tasting teacher to give me a bottle that had the cat piss aroma. The lovely New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs had been one of my favorites (and still is incidentally). I took it home and under "perfect conditions" tasted it. Low and behold, the wiff of cat pee was there. What I had always just thought of as a smell of the wine, had a characteristic odor.

So, going over my aroma wheel and looking at some of the defects, I came across mousy and wet dog--both smells I long to forget but come across on a regular basis with smelly gym socks and a large, water-loving Labrador Retriever. Can you smell these odors in run of the mill wine--or simply in cheap bottles of wine? Soon I learned that these smells are common in wine. I went to a high-end industry wine tasting and after tasting an unpleasant Pinot Noir, pulled my wine expert to the side and slyly asked her what she smelled in the glass. "Wet dog" was her immediate response. Ah-ha--it was there.

Ignorance is bliss--and sometimes very helpful when you are a social wine drinker. Once your palate gets exposed to all of these flavors and odors, you can never go back to casually tasting wine. So dear wine enthusiast, take heed before you try to find out all there is to smell and taste in that glass of wine--it is both good and bad.

But surprisingly, I keep right on trying new wines--and fall in love with several of them.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Becoming a Wine Expert

Last night I went to a local charity wine auction hosted by family friends. It was a fun event and was for a very good cause. I am quite curious to find out the amount of donations the charity received. It was a fun night of wine tasting and food pairings, and some good natured bidding.

Working in the wine industry has caused me to be the neighborhood wine expert. Friends pull up to arrange children's play dates, and end up having me inspect their recent Costco wine purchase. At the wine dinner, friends had fun following me around the silent auction and asking why I liked the wines I bid on. And I recently found out one neighbor stops by specifically for the "free wine tastings".

Okay, I do read a lot about wine. Everyday I look at my top wine blogs, and frequently comment. I blog about careers in the wine industry. I visit new wineries and meet industry people weekly. I'm talking to winemakers, salespeople, owners and managers on a daily basis. I go to wine tastings. I've completed a wine tasting class. I have made friends with my wine merchants. I tag along with real experts at wine industry special events.

But does this make me a self-anointed wine expert?

Although I know my way around a wine label and can hold up in a wine sensory analysis, I am by no means a wine expert. I can talk about wine, know a lot about different wineries and types of wine, and know what trends are coming in wine. But wine is still a mystery to me. I feel that winemaking is an art, and I enjoy seeing what a winery has done with the fruit they had available. The mystery of wine is part of it's allure to me and I think to most wine lovers.

And soon I hope to see what mystery my winning bid wine has in store for me. First I have to buy a wine fridge to keep it in good shape until I can have the mystery unfold. That wine auction is turning out to be very expensive after all.