When Did 9-5 Become a Thing?

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Senior management knows that 9-5 work hours is a myth among fresh meat. 9-5 was brought in during the 70’s when the workforce was booming with opportunities and the 80’s launched massive amounts of venture projects. Today however, with the economy and any position with a whiff of prestige, you can bet you will be getting calls, texts, and emails at all hours of the day and night. Do you have to respond to them all?- No, have some boundaries. Should you keep a watchful eye to discern your “out of office hours”, yes. The new work hours are 7:30am-9pm. You may leave the office at 5pm, but likely you are unofficially on the clock long after.

So today, when I was chatting with a former VP Recruiter with stellar personality who had contacted me just minutes before midnight for a meet and greet, I was thrilled to chat with someone who really understood the complexity of senior positions, how to be flexible, and still have a life. “We don’t do the work phone.” He said smiling, “The work phone is for a position that is usually on some sort of averaging agreement, or a very senior position that entails a sweetened benefit package. You can expect up to 1/3 extra is salary for being on call 24/7 with ample stress leave and an expense budget.” So what happens when your company doesn’t honour the time you’ve put in with them? “You leave. They are taking advantage of you and it certainly will play out in one way or another.” He’s right. It always does. Above all, it helps to really know yourself so you can be honest with your employer. I have a run and crash pattern in my work. I work super hard, I can be on 24/6, (always need one day free or I go crazy), and I do magic at my job, save multiple hundred of thousands in the HR department, and avoid legal issues that would piss off most union reps. But when I work like this all the time, you can bet in 2-3 months, I need a week off. I need time to recoup, obtain a version of sanity, and do some self care. So why is everyone pushing themselves into jobs they can’t handle? Our culture has created a norm, note the singularity in the conjugation. “A” norm. There are several norms for us as people. Some of us can work 8am-84pm and others love a split shift, part from home, and the other part from 2am-5am. But there is a norm for you, you just need to be honest with yourself, your employer, and not trick yourself into believing that there is something wrong with you because you can’t do 24/7 or 9-5.

Today, “thank you economy”, it is an employers market. This is putting an extreme amount of pressure on candidates to succeed in their job applications, interviews, and work performance. This translates into them saying “yes” to just about anything in an interview, and being most agreeable on the job. Issue: it leads to faster burn out, more sick time being taken, more socializing on company time (because they need more time to debrief, and increased moral support), and the stats go up for late time, availability, and bitterness towards their job. Remind me again why some companies bully their employees into saying yes? It really doesn’t work for anyone. How to avoid this?- it’s risky, but either negotiate with your employer, or hold out for a great job. It can cost you, but chances are you and your employer will be glad you did.

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Shhhh…. What not to say in your Resume & the Interview….

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Getting an interview is tough, but handcrafting your resume praying to get the interview is tougher. On average, I receive 2-3 resume’s a day out of the blue. When a new opportunity with the agency arises, I receive an average of 11 resume’s per hour between peak hours of 11am-7pm. That’s 80 resumes. What’s interesting is the time that people send their resume’s. Sometimes it means something, and sometimes it means nothing…. But when a candidate who appears to have a full time, successful job sends their resume at 11am, it’s likely because something happened at work that reminded them of how much they hate their job and they’ve been trolling job sites for the last 1/2 hr on their coffee break sending out applications. Sending a resume around 3pm could mean that the applicant has finished their workload for the day early, and is now looking for employment, or simply they slept in and are now getting around to the job hunt…. Around 5-6pm, typically means that they associate job searching with dinner -hence: basic need. So they have completed their duties for the day, and have put it as high priority to make an effort. Later in the evening typically means they have found time to look for work because they have been busy during the day with other things (anything really). Those that send really early at 6am or 7am- well, that’s a clear indicator that you are motivated enough by not liking your job- and haven’t we all been there?

Candidates are wonderful people. If I could give them all jobs at great pay and benefits with Starbucks Gold Cards and an unlimited dining expense account at Cactus Club and Joe’s Grill on Davie (my favorite breakfast diner), I would! People just want good jobs. And although, in many of my posts I tend to focus on the dishonesty of people, the games they play, and all around negative effects of the workplace- I admit it comes from a clear projection of my studies. For those of you who don’t know- I majored in War Studies in my education- which in layman’s terms is: Mental Health & Generational Dysfunction. This is great when it comes to the preventative side of toxicity in the workplace, weeding out candidates who have ill intentions, and also keeping a watchful eye for the safety of my employees (it’s more common than you think for someone to be an honor killing for their family, or for a husband or wife to be on the run from an abusive spouse). But in general, people are good. They may have a poor moral compass thanks to the media- aka. Family Guy (doesn’t matter if it’s a cartoon, beating your wife was never a funny thing), Scandal (I love this show- but how fast they talk and the fact that they are always in a crisis and telling people what to do is unrealistic for how educated they are supposed to be), Newspapers with a Pastry Girl (naked women in pornographic positions in a family newspaper is never appropriate), and so on…. So this issue is to focus on the primary things NEVER EVER to say in your resume, or in the interview. I get it- you want to be honest, not play games, be transparent, or create a mask to make you eligible- but not like this:

  1. “I’ve been unemployed for x amount of time, and eagerly awaiting a great opportunity like this.” No. No. No. *slaps forehead*. We’ve all been unemployed at some point- heck my pride has never kept me from paying my rent, whether it be a job at a pizza place, or a receptionist position. Remember, the garbage collectors of society are just as important as the doctor’s. Don’t be shy about accepting a job that may appear “beneath” you. All jobs are important, they give you a paycheque right? Besides, whatever job it may be, when I look at your resume, I will see that you are making an effort, and that you would rather keep busy than not. Can’t get any job? Join a professional association like Journey Wings ;) even if you do not get thrown any work, it looks better that you are a part of something than nothing. Employers like you more when you are employed.
  2. Do not list mother, wife, husband, father, prison time, foster care, parole, or the like as your work experience. If you would like to note that you have been a stay at home parent for a number of years and are now returning to the workforce, that’s fine. However when you list it- don’t tell me you fed your kids 3x a day- or were punctual and cordial when checking in with your parole officer. Tell me about your accomplishments. Just like an admin position, “clerical work” is a line of it’s own, and does not need much elaboration, just what is out of the ordinary or new skills you are most proud of. Tell me how you have been involved with local schools, hosting community lunch’s, active member of the PTA, hosted or participated in community events like the Bake Sale. Show me you have been active, participating in sociopolitical roles, and networking. Do you blog?- Include that too! The biggest fear for an employer hiring someone who has been out of the workforce for any reason is that you’re not current, good team player, and can hit the ground running.
  3. Don’t tell me in your resume that you have more questions about the position and require a meeting to discuss it further before you can formally apply. Do not weasel a way to meet me in person. My time, like your time, is precious. When I write a job description, it has all the information in it I want you to have. It is missing something, it is because I want it to be missing something. If you already have questions about it, typically that means you lack experience in the workforce and specifically this job title- so you won’t get it anyway. That’s because when you have worked long enough in a field, you know your stuff. You know the jobs above you, below you, beside you, and what your competitor’s offering. If you genuinely have questions, wait for the interview.
  4. Don’t try to be better than what you are. We have all done this- especially as fresh meat to the field. Please do not elaborate so much on your resume that it makes it difficult to discern what is real and what is embellishment. HR looks for 3 key things: Numbers (budgets, people managed, people hired, anything with a number), education (don’t include things like “courses from the Masters program of….” -you’re either enrolled and active in your MA or not.), companies of employment, and the title you held. This is pretty plain and simple, the rest means little in between. No offense, because we all work hard. However these three things speak pretty clearly about where you are at on the employment scale. With receiving 80 resume’s a day, it’s tough to read everything word for word, or else I would need to hire someone specifically as a Resume Sifter.
  5. “I think we’ve met before.” No we haven’t. And if we have, we would both know it- and be honest and tell me where. This is a way to falsify a relationship in order to receive preferential treatment. In other words, it’s game playing. Please do not undermine me as an educated professional and play this game, it’s beneath both of us.

I think that about covers it for now. I hope this helps some of you- and others, gives you a heads up. Some of you may recognize this and may even have stories of your own to accompany! Either/or, happy job hunting everyone!

Interview Crimes

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Most of us prep for interviews. Even more of us make extra special effort like researching the company down to the last detail including what department is their newest, to what new positions they are developing, to the stats on how they have grown. You can “know” all that is possible- but it does not guarantee success if you commit one of these crimes of the interview. Why is it a crime?-Simply because it equally robs yourself and the interviewer of dignity and respect.

  1. Bad hygiene. This is a crime because it’s in your control. You can do something about. A strong odour may keep you in the company’s memory for all the bad reasons…. It’s best to go into an interview with unscented everything. You never know who is allergic, and what is offensive.
  2. Sitting in my chair, on my desk, or rearranging furniture in the interview room. Believe me, this happens. I once had a guy move a table to the side of the room. I guess “Make yourself comfortable”, took on a whole new meaning here…
  3. Extreme emotion, like gloominess or giddiness. I totally understand that you may be having the best day in the world: you got a job interview, the birds are singing, squirrels are saying hello, the sun is shining on you, the wind is in your hair, the bus driver let you on for a free ride, you found a fiver on the street, and everything is going your way. Or maybe it’s the opposite, the rain and wind is pushing you around, you lost a fiver while reaching into your pocket for your bus pass which you discover somehow melted in the dryer in your interview pants, so you try change in the meter but it doesn’t take so you have to pay double and to make matters worse a squirrel trips you and birds are dive bombing you all the way to the office front door. I get it, but don’t let it destroy your chances of being successful.
  4. Getting chummy with staff. I understand if you are a part of our community, know some staff at the office, or check out our blog and partake in conversation with us. But at your interview, it is not the time to go around and introduce yourself to everyone before or after the interview. It doesn’t make you look any more credible.
  5. Telling an interviewer how to do their job. Chances are if we acted awkward, did something strange, neglected to ask a question, or picked a part one topic- we meant to do that. We want to see your stressor reaction, how you handle unpredictable scenarios, and if you have good boundaries.
  6. Sexifying yourself. I realize this sounds obvious, however I have interviewed both men and women with too many buttons on their blouse undone, pants tighter than Olivia Newton John, and even one guy who asked me for my number at the end of the interview. Ew. No. This is not a date. I’m hiring you for your abilities to be awesome at what you do.
  7. Don’t tell HR they are making a mistake or missing out on not hiring you. I think by saying that I can honestly respond, oh believe me, we’re not.
  8. Don’t negotiate your wage until you receive your letter of offer. Enough said.
  9. Don’t be my BFF, be my colleague. I genuinely want to get to know you, ensure you are a cultural fit, match our values, and more than anything, I want to like you. Please do not “buddy up” to me or anyone else on the interview panel. We are professionals, I would enjoy the interview, and your time as a part of our team so much more if you could demonstrate how great you are as a colleague. On that note, please do not think you are better than me. I get that you may make $60k more than me, however I do my job for the same reasons you do, I love it.
  10. Stay away from racial and religious slurs. This is an obvious faux pas, however it is surprising how many people do this. It is hugely offensive.

Let’s Fire You All: Company Overhauls

workplace overhaulSenior management, or those who have seen it all- please feel free to chime in on this one. You may have read in a previous statement I made on this blog, that I am currently working with a company doing a 40% overhaul. This is one of the smaller overhaul’s I have worked with. The largest was 80%. As experienced managers know, this kind of drastic change in a company requires your full attention and you end up working close to-but not quite- around the clock. These are the primary reasons for the current overhaul at a glance:

  1. Embezzlement (yes again)
  2. Highly toxic environment
  3. No moral – poor culture
  4. Poor work performance by majority of employees
  5. Company is facing loss of continued funding
  6. New CEO and CFO

For those of you who may not be familiar, an overhaul does not necessarily refer to large degrees of change management- but rather the restoration and repair of a system, project, or department. This requires intense planning, action plans, group scenario probabilities, fiscal year projections, budget considerations and reports, avoiding legal barriers at all costs, and setting the stage for future legal repercussions. Depending on the issues that endorsed this overhaul – a complete deconstruction of departments, including but not limited to internal auditing and investigations are completed. I understand when an overhaul is announced in a company meeting, that staff hears the word “fire” and think that management has shared a party bag of uppers and is now going crazy firing everyone. I get it- because as front line employees, we’ve all been there. Truth: management has been planning this and has had it in consideration for months, if not a year. It is a delicate task, and requires a tact for restoring integrity, which not everyone – even a CEO, can do. This is why you hear of specialists being hired for this purpose alone. A company may do staff overhauls for integrity and budget reasons- these being some of the most main concerns.

What is ultimately unfortunate is that a mass lay off means many people facing lack of resources for rent and groceries. What does the family do? I am a little bit of a stickler when it comes to marking people’s dismissal papers “lay off” because I want to encourage them to apply for EI, and I want to refer them in the community to any resources that can help them with employment, networking, and maintaining their basic needs. Let’s face it, severance pay is ideal, but it’s not always feasible for the company, so it can be limiting. The newest trend for company overhauls is the IT/Social Media and PR departments. Recently Blackberry, Yahoo, and several Unions undertook this venture. They didn’t complete a staff overhaul, no doubt some people were let go, however the primary focus for them was systems. Has it worked? Well, considering it all took place over the past month, we can’t be too sure. However, an overhaul does present a fresh slate, a new chance, and with the primary goal to restore integrity I would say they are off to a good start. Overhaul’s affect everyone in every corner and nook of the company. It is a chain reaction that overtakes the daily routine, relationships, business ops, and budget. It is necessary for some, but more concerning about who is doing it- and prayer to be whispered that it isn’t for projection reasons.

Myths about Introverts

ImageYou may have read my previous post on the Social Bully of Retention Plans, on the discussion of introverts and extroverts at social gatherings at the office. I received some very interesting replies, including a couple personal emails from bloggers who seemed to want to tell me, “how it really is”. One of my very good friends is an extrovert, we do a lot together both in the community and at home watching movies. When we are together, it is very difficult to tell who is the introvert and who is the extrovert because of our flexible and accommodating personalities. There are myths that introverts are “missing out”, “don’t know how to have fun”, are “cold” and “antisocial”, lack creativity, are shy, don’t like people, don’t like to talk, are only “book smart”, and more…. these are simply not true. All of these traits have no preference for personality, they can belong to anyone. Discerning the difference between the two is not as simple as outgoing and shy. There are many misconceptions between these two personalities, and unfortunately, because extroverts make up 70% and more of the population, introverts have been labeled unjustly. This post is intended to clarify the personalities in a positive light, and give more background information on why introverts should be valued in the workplace, not shamed, but encouraged to be themselves- just as extroverts are.

Myth #1) Introverts are Shy. Shyness implies a fear of social interaction- introverts are not any more afraid of people than extroverts. When I worked for a large IT company, there were mass company events, or “social gatherings” rather, once a week. The Director of Events would speak in front of aproximately 2,000 people and more over the course of the day with a team moral booster speech, act as MC, and so forth… And every morning, he would put anti-anxiety pills in his coffee about 20minutes before going on. He was an extrovert, and he could barely speak in front of a crowd without his meds. Shyness is unique to the person, not the intro-extro personality.

Myth #2) Introverts don’t have fun. I would be very interested to know what group of introverts came forward with this information. Introverts go paintballing, are horse enthusiasts, do extreme sports, belong to clubs, go to concerts, and take the train to work just like anyone else. Just like extroverts, there are high energy individuals and low energy individuals. Some introverts don’t like the outdoors, but like cooking instead- others thrive when mountain climbing but don’t like books. Introverts make their fun how it meets their own needs and what is good for them. Which leads me to the next myth, that introverts can change to be like extroverts- and it would be better for them.

Myth #3) Introverts can change to be like extroverts- and it would be better for them. Introverts cannot change, just as extroverts cannot change. Depending on the field of work that each goes into- they may adopt traits that assist them in their environment. Even more so if the individual is passionate about their line of work, and has a dynamic character. In this instance a strong introvert can be an Event Planner, and a strong extrovert can be a Librarian. Although it is a tad unusual for these, as the majority  dominates the opposite personality, it is not unheard of, and will not hinder the personality’s success. If introverts are forced, coerced, or made to believe they “must be an extrovert”, it can take a severe toll on them expending more of their energy, kind of like a jaguar pretending to be a dove all day- it’s just harder. This may be why some people think introverts tire out more easily or are extra quiet- it could just be because they have used up all their energy sporting their extrovert skills.

Myth #4) Introverts make poor managers and don’t connect with employees. False. Introverts in the office are typically in the “know” for the office pulse, but tend to fly beneath the radar undetected. No doubt that extroverts make a point of their presence being noticed- however introverts as managers sport a reliable, trustworthy open door policy, as opposed to a fluttering social butterfly get around. For professionals that have worked into middle-but for sure upper and senior management, they can attest that the differences between intro-extro at these levels become very difficult to spot. This is because a good manager climbing the ranks typically has to have a dynamic personality and character to effectively manage a diverse group of individuals. A tunnel extrovert cannot manage an introvert, and a tunnel introvert cannot manage an extrovert. Either/or, the fact remains that the stats flip for management- upper management is made up of 70% introverts > this says a lot. Introverts are more sensitive to employee relations and culture which makes them valued managers. This is primarily due to the more easy going nature of introverts who enjoy exploring different types of stimulus at varying degrees as opposed to a lot of stimulus at one degree all at once.

introvertMyth #5) Introverts only want to be alone. Believe it or not, just like extroverts- there are “world class introverts” just like “world class extroverts”. There are different sub-levels and degrees of each, kind of like the difference between being outgoing and obnoxious. There are world class introverts (kind of like myself) that can go days without being in touch with the rest of the world, even without a phone or computer. Sometimes I just really enjoy reading, writing, contemplating, and being creative on my own for a bit. Usually I want to share this with someone when I’m done my time alone, and I love sharing with other introverts who do the same thing. But believe me, not all introverts like to be alone. There are a lot who enjoy talking and sharing regularly throughout their day. Typically though, introverts prefer groups of 1-3 of close friends who they have sincere, close relationships and connections with as opposed to 5-8 people (again- notice the increase in stimulus) when together at once. It’s not that they want to be alone- it’s that they require lesser stimulus overall. Introverts get lonely for company and relationships just like anyone else.

Myth #6) Introverts are not creative. A lot of this stems from the myth about introverts having their noses in books, and being quiet all the time. Introverts can be very creative, in fact, there is not a statistic that can tell you who is more creative. Each personality enjoys art, music, food, languages, culture, and everything in between. Each personality expresses their creativity differently- writing, reading, drawing, painting, playing an instrument, designing a web page, marketing, blogging, social networking, public speaking, community networking, and the lot to follow.

I hope this helps you in your journey with understanding the differences, and how to positively work with, and understand introverts. Perhaps even for some of you (30%) you recognize yourself, and can see the qualities.

Happy Office Politics.

The Human Resources Myths

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There is a myth around Human Resources, their need in the office, their role among other workers, where they stand in the hierarchy, and what their job description is. And it seems, politely so, that a surprising amount of HR, don’t even know their political and ethical role.

Human Resources was established for employee counsel, as opposed to everyone going union and using union reps (who are employed by the employee, not the employer), as an alternative as an advocate for the employee with the company’s goals and best interest at heart. It is a balancing act that requires true diplomacy, tact, grace, and a cunning and shrewd business sense. Like hiring an accountant for the company, you do not simply hire someone to figure out the numbers nonsense. You hire an accountant who is knowledgeable about filing, working numbers in the right integrity, ensuring your costs remain low, and seek out options for marginal profit and can balance the books in a such a way it’s not costing unnecessary dollars waving “bye bye” out the window. So with HR, you should be seeking a strategist, not a people pleaser.

Human Resources is not a High School Guidance Counselor. I don’t want to hear about your petty problems with Bill and Sally. Spare me the details. It is your responsibility under the work code of ethics to figure it out until there are irreconcilable differences. If you want someone to be a sounding board, that’s different. In that case, tell me. But don’t stalk me to my office, complain, and then cover it up with how you really like them because they are such nice people. That’s gaslighting. Don’t complain in the first place. Therefore, do not privy me to information as a supposed “leak”, and then say “whoops, please don’t do anything” when really you think this is a sneaky and clever way of getting me to discipline someone. I’ll fire you for breech of trust, misrepresentation, withholding information, ethical slander, fraudulent character, triangling, gaslighting, undermining, contributing to bad moral, and anything else I can sum up. Two words, Be Ethical. HR is not here to do people pleasing, or to solve employee disputes. Solving disputes is a combined effort between the supervisor/manager and HR when it escalates, and not before then. For those of you who may not be aware, HR monitors your behaviour in disputes, handling relations, and conduct. We keep note of anything that is a misrepresentation of character, breech of trust, or violates ES (Employment Standards), LR (Labor Relations), or Company Policy. If you violate enough, you go on the black list. It may be 2 years later, but when push comes to shove, and your behaviour has not changed or showed character growth, technically it doesn’t exist in the books, but it will still go against you.

It’s not all RAGS (Rules and Regulations). Policy is unique and eloquent. That’s why it’s called Policy, not law, not rules, not rights. Policy. HR should be creative with policy and court it with the same enthusiasm as a business relationship would with high profile client. You should know the character of policy (when it is appropriate), its circumstance (how effective in this circumstance), its development (in all circles, such as Trades, Medical, Social Services, Legal, etc), its rulings (how successfully different policies have been implemented for this scenario), and when and WHERE to extend or expand upon it. Policy does not dictate the law, but it does paint the scene and players for which the legal action will be carried out. Make it eloquent, just, and above all: air tight. Everyone in the company should have signed a confidentiality agreement to start, integrity agreement second. Policy should be updated regularly with HR Employment Standards development, legislative changes, and company growth and development. Ten policies that work excellent for a company of 40 employees, may backfire for a company that doubles within a year.

“I don’t want to hear about your hobbies, quirks, or personality traits- you either have the skill set or you don’t.” As quoted from an HR professional here in Vancouver. What? Who decided on this? Is this why employees are suffering each other and everyone hates their job? I can tell you now, if someone has strong pathology, looks like a psychopath, is an outside of work alcoholic, philanderer, has anger issues, or is abusive – I will NOT hire you. For the simple reasons of how you act in your personal life is always a translation of how you will act in your professional life. Morals and Values do not change when you walk in the office door, you take them everywhere. Furthermore, if I find you annoying, I will not hire you based on that you don’t fit in with the culture of the office. Fair is fair. I’m not going to piss my employees off. And that’s not in policy.

Human Resources handles the basic duties of an Office Manager plus benefits and payroll. False! This is one of the most common myths, just add on the high school guidance counselor bit. HR does not manage the office the same way an OM does. Typically, OM (Office Managers) have administrative training, a professional HR should have training in employment law, basic one-to-one counsel, peer support, training and coaching abilities, and be able to provide counsel to senior management, something an OM is not trained to do. So on the Hierarchy scale, the HR doesn’t actually have a “place” as their diplomacy and integrity is supposed to keep them as advocates for the employees, but keeping managers and senior staff on track achieving company goals. It’s a neutral position, that if it has to could be somewhere beside a senior Director- however the HR would most definitely have to be quality and know their stuff.

These are just a few of the myths in HR. You may recognize one, two, or all. But if you are an HR professional, please keep these in mind and make critiques to be the better professional I bet you can be.

What HR isn’t Telling You…

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Every Human Resources Professional has seen some quirky, crazy, and eyebrow raising things in the office. Chances are, unless you’re involved in disciplinary action, a complaint, performance review, bucking for a raise, being onboarded or prepped for exit interviews, you will never see them. But don’t be fooled. HR knows more about you than your manager, and some of your closest coworkers. Here’s a look at what they are really thinking when it comes to employee relations…

1. “The No. 1 thing in job security is your relationship with your boss. Even if he says, ‘I’m sorry I really wanted to keep you, but they made me lay you off,’ that’s almost never true. He probably made that decision.” –Cynthia Shapiro, former human resource executive

2. “If you’re accused of sexual harassment, even if you’re found to be not guilty, people will always look at you funny afterwards. It can kill your career.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C .

3. “Even in jobs where you test applicants and those with the top scores are supposed to get the job, I’ve seen hiring managers fix scores to get the people they like.” –HR representative in the manufacturing industry.

4. “If you have a question, come to my office. Don’t corner me in the bathroom.” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

5. “Children and hobbies do not belong on a résumé. And never, ever say, ‘Now that my kids are in college, I’m ready to get back in the workforce.’ ” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

6. “You’re right to be paranoid. The company is always watching you, and there’s a record of everything you do: every phone call, every text, every tweet and instant message. At most companies, they save that data forever.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C

7. “I was asked by one CEO to hire the long-legged girl with the long dark hair even though she didn’t have the right skills. Another time, I was instructed not to hire anyone with children because the company had too many people leaving for soccer games. That kind of thing happens all the time.” –Cynthia Shapiro

8. “I know a lot more about you when you walk in the door than you realize. I’ll search for you on the web and often use my own personal network to do a pre-interview reference check.” –Senior HR Executive in Vancouver, BC

9. “Generally speaking, you only put someone on paid leave if you’re pretty certain that they might be terminated from the company once you do your investigation.” – Jenny Gantham

10. “Never accept the job immediately. Say you need to think about it overnight. Once you sign on the dotted line there’s no room for negotiation.” –A human resources professional in Seattle, WA

11. “If you get fired, don’t just stomp out and go on with your life. The company may be willing to give you some severance, especially if you can point to someone different from you who didn’t get as severe a punishment. Just saying, ‘Well, I talked to my attorney’ (even if you don’t have an attorney) can also give you some leverage.’” –Suzanne Lucas, a former HR executive

12. “If we ask ‘What salary are you looking for?’ say you’re flexible, or say it depends on the responsibilities of the job. Try not to name a salary unless we really push you, because that gives us a leg up in the negotiating.” –A human resources professional in Victoria, BC

13. “Companies do have black lists. It’s not written down anywhere but it’s a list of people they’d be happy to get rid of if the opportunity arises. If you feel invisible, if you’re getting bad assignments, if your boss is ignoring you, or if they move your office, you’re probably on it.” –Cynthia Shapiro

14. “I may say ‘I’m terminating you because you didn’t meet performance measures.’ I’m not going to say it’s because you’re a pain in the butt and piss people off every time you interact with them.’” –HR Manager at a Loblaw

15. “One time a candidate sent – I love this – a thank you card with a professional picture of herself, which quite honestly became the running joke for weeks. The picture was blown up and posted in my office with hearts drawn around it.” –HR director at a financial services firm

16. “Don’t ever tell me that you have to have this job because you’re going to lose your house, your kids have nothing to eat, your mother has cancer. Companies aren’t a charity.” –Suzanne Lucas

17. “Networking does not mean using Facebook or Linked In. It means going to events, getting your face in front of people and setting up informational interviews.” –A human resources professional in Hamilton, Ontario

18. “We get résumés on fancy schmantzy papers. We get them with gold-pressed lettering. We get them in binders and in document protectors with ribbons. None of that sways me.” –HR Manager in St. Cloud, Minnesota

19. “98 percent of the résumés we receive when we post a position on a big jobs site like hotjobs, monster or careerbuilder are junk, people who are nowhere near qualified. We’ll get a guy who’s a bar manager applying for a director of public affairs position. Or a shoe salesman. That’s why we like posting jobs on websites that target specific industries.” –Michael Slade, HR director at Eric Mower and Associates, an integrated marketing communications agency.

20. “I had somebody list their prison time as a job. And an exotic dancer who called herself a ‘customer service representative.’ ” –Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

21. “Don’t stalk me.” –A human resources professional in Vancouver BC