Ask Sarah - Questions from Employers and/or Recruiters
Job search expert Sarah Weinberger has worked with job seekers for years answering their questions and providing them tools by which to succeed. Her analytical mind bridges the gap between the engineering of a career search and individuals.
She welcomes your questions, and encourages you to send them into her. Please use our contact form or connect with her on LinkedIn. She will select questions to answer and post the answer on this site. Below are some of the questions she received and answered.
If I am unemployed, what do I say where I am working?
Much depends on the length of time that you are unemployed, the area of your expertise, and when you had the employment gap. During recessionary times, recruiters and employers are a bit more understanding than they would be otherwise. Many people are unemployed for several months, so for a few months, there is no problem, just tell the truth. Resumes only need about the last 15 years listed, if you are a white collar professional, so what happened earlier does not really matter.
If your unemployment stretches longer than that, then you have a couple of options. First, say the truth and explain the situation. Employers can always sniff out people who lie. Hopefully, you kept up in your field and did side projects, either for someone or on your own. You could talk about these projects. If you contributed to a forum in your area of expertise, then you can talk about that and how you helped others. If you did not do these things, then I would have to know more about your specific situation and your work history.
I am horrible at tests, what should I do to pass a screening?
Phone screens are almost always the first weeding step given by recruiters, human resource personnel, or sometimes junior employees. They have a list of questions along with the answers. These individuals are analogous to punch card readers of the past. You either have the right answer, as written on the answer sheet, or you do not. It is that simple, and there is no explaining.
The first thing that you should do if you get screened on the telephone is to either take a paper and pen or the online version of that. A pen is quieter, so I would recommend that. Write down every question, whether you know the answer or not. If you get the question wrong, the screener will usually tell you the expected answer. There are only so many questions. Simply, keep studying the questions and get it right the next time, you get a call. Add onto your list from future calls.
The second thing that you should do is to get a book on your field and skim the different sections and list different questions along with answers. Looking for work is work and that means studying as much as talking. You have to know your stuff.
If did not address your specific issue or you have further questions, please contact me and set up a career coach session.
What do I say for salary requirements?
The beauty of looking for a job in 2014 is that most people have access to the internet. Do some research on Google typing in "salary <your field>" and see what comes up. Factor in your specific experience, and you should have an idea. Another great way is to go to job boards and look for jobs in your field of expertise. Many postings will say DOE (Depends on Experience), but there will be many, usually contracting positions that give a salary range. W2 salary is always in proportion to the contracting rate.
You should already have an idea based on your current work history. If you start a new job path, then you are a bit ahead of others, who just graduated college, but you are kind of at the beginning.
So much depends on your specific case, so I cannot give numbers. We would have to discuss that on a one-on-one basis.
Information presented on this site is to give possible answers to your question, however each situation is different. Also, Sarah is not an attorney. Each locality has different rules and regulations, which may apply. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. The information here is for informational purposes only.
Back to Ask Sarah
Every person has a unique situation. If you would like to turbo charge your job search and have Sarah not only answer your questions, but coach you, then click here to go to our career coaching page. Schedule an introductory conversation, to see if the two of you are a fit. If so, you will be on your way to a more productive future.