I recently discovered a great blog called Evil HR Lady, which provides excellent advice on most issues people in industry face. (Academics might not find it as relevant, as there is not much for HR to do regarding faculty members, who have a clear trajectory with clearly defined promotion opportunities, but can use the posts to advise students and alumni.) Since I find myself agreeing with just about everything EvilHRLady writes, and since many of my students are currently on the job market - facing HR people in first-round interviews - I thought I'd mention a few of her recent posts:
- I'm clearly the best candidate, so why am I not getting the job? I loved the post because it illustrates the frank but caring style of the EvilHRLady - she doesn't sugarcoat it, but she doesn't hurt/embarrass the people who ask her for advice either. In this case, a reader is trying to explain his difficulties in getting job offers by saying that in many cases (85%, according to him), it's not the most qualified candidate that gets the job; he thinks he needs to figure out how to tell recruiters "what they want to hear" and that will solve his problems. Click on the link to read the excellent response! For more straight advice, My HR manager is a nightmare is another great post.
- MBA-related advice: How to tell if you should get an MBA provides some great food for thought, while My MBA isn't helping my career discusses potential pitfalls for someone who kept working at the same company before and after the MBA. It's another example of the blog author's direct style without being needlessly antagonistic. ("But, they aren’t paying you what they would pay an unknown replacement. Hmmm, perhaps they like you because you’re smart, dedicated, have a sense of loyalty to the company and are cheap.") The commenters on BNET offer good insights too.
- As an aside not related to EvilHRLady, I also recommend two excellent blog posts on the WSJ's Hire Education blog, where the same author provides (deliberately) conflicting advice: Why you should pursue an MBA and Why you shouldn't pursue an MBA, with a focus on aspiring entrepreneurs. I find the second post a bit more convincing than the first one; at the very least, it raises important issues every MBA hopeful should consider before accepting an admission offer.
- Finally, EvilHRLady links to AskAManager's blog, who provides excellent advice too, such as My new favorite interview question, 21 things hiring managers wish you knew (absolutely outstanding, and so true - I particularly liked Items #6 "We need to know your real weaknesses" and #9 "The phone interview is not a casual chat"), In a job interview, how to explain you were fired (of limited interest to college seniors, but possibly more relevant to readers a few years out of school) and finally the must-read 5 myths that are crippling your job search, such as "You can only get a job through connections these days".