College Degree: Credibility to Interview

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on August 14, 2018

With regard to your career, how important is it to go to college? Do you really need (at least) a Baccalaureate degree?

It is doubtful that anyone would disagree that a strong education is significant to compete in today’s work environment.   However, how important is a BS or BA degree from a reputable college or university?  After all Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Dell did not complete their college education.

And we all know that Steve Jobs was not even formally enrolled in college.

So if these highly successful business titans “made it” with out a resume, what is the case for going to getting a college undergraduate degree or  better yet a Masters degree or a PhD?  In addition, the success by most business owners has no direct correlation to their BS/BA degree.  So why bother with getting a college degree?

Here is why.

A degree on your resume immediately gives you credibility to interview.  Whether or not you are better fit for a position than a competing applicant without a degree.  A degree implies that the applicant is able to finish something started.

In the interview game, much of it is about perception.  When employers look at resumes the 2 things they look for is “what you’ve done” and “what is your educational background.”

As a Recruitment Executive I see resumes all day long (as you might imagine.) If someone does not have a BS/BA degree then for education I will often see things like Graduate of the Dale Carnegie course or Toastmasters, etc.   It’s not the same.

In many cases, having a license to work in a specific field such as nursing or physical therapy looks great on a resume (without having a college degree) ; however having a license along with a college degree in most cases trumps the competition….on paper.

Then there is the case in which applicants with a PhD are sometime passed over because of the assumption that they might be too research focused or simply overqualified.  When I get feedback that an applicant is overqualified for a position based on their education, I sometimes ask, “What would you like this person to forget?”

In conclusion the over arching need for a college degree on a resume (along with the obvious: an education) is that a college degree brings you credibility to interview.  Whether or not this is fair, a BS/BA on a resume does not necessarily imply that someone is smarter.  It implies that someone took their education seriously and COMPLETED the requirements for a college degree.

At a minimum, a BA/BS degree looks great on a resume and it is worth the time and cost invested.  Will you the information obtained from a college degree be useful to your career 20 years later?  Probably not.

Unless you plan on going on a job interview.

 

Bernie Reifkind is the CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc. a nationwide executive search and placement firm.

In addition, Bernie provides career guidance and strategic interviewing techniques to professionals at all levels.

P: 1(800) 801-1400 or email at ceo@premiersearch.com.

“Let’s discuss salary….”

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on July 10, 2018

Discussing money on an interview can be very awkward for both an employer or a  job candidate.  It is frequently said that “the first person who brings up money in an interview, generally loses.”

Who brings it up first?  Why is it so often an anxiety provoking “make or break” discussion?

There are many obvious and not so obvious reasons.

If you are the candidate, you obviously want to get hired at the highest salary possible.

If you are the employer, you obviously want to hire the very best candidate at a salary that best fits your organization and cash flow.

But the money question goes much deeper than the obvious for many of us.  In an article “The Psychology of Money” written by Michael Ventura for the magazine “Psychology Today”, Mr Ventura writes:

“In these United States money is our common denominator. It is the absolute standard of access and status–the “bottom line,” as we say these days. Not only commerce but education, justice, art, the environment, health care, and often liberty itself must meet the standards and bow to the demands of money. There is precious little among us that isn’t rationed, administered, and ultimately valued, in terms of money. The Constitution aside, most Americans consider themselves free insofar as they have access to money. 

Money plays covert, even insidious, roles in our most intimate relationships. Divorcees who vie viciously for each other’s money are only bringing to light what lived in their love from the beginning: the need to be valued–a need that tends to turn ferociously concrete when things go bad. Our secrecy about our salaries is a secrecy about how we are valued. Among men especially, the contest of who will pick up the check is a contest of dominance, and this is only one of the gentler ways men make money felt in their friendships.”

As it relates to an interview: What is it about the money question that is so difficult for most of us?  It’s plane and simple: no one wants to screw it up!

Of course, no one ever accepts a new job unless the salary makes economic sense, but the job has to make sense on so many other levels as well.  Does the new job make career sense?  Do you like the people? Does the job make emotional sense?  Will you be working for an honorable employer or will you be selling your soul to the devil, just for the money?

Is this a job in which you can see yourself working there for 5 years?

When an employer asks a candidate, “How much money will it take for you to accept this job?” or “What kind of money are you looking to earn?” this can be a very loaded question.  Proceed with caution.

If the question gets asked on a first interview rarely should you commit to a specific salary amount. 

Why?

Well, what if you “low ball” yourself or price yourself too high before the employer knows your value?  Rarely on a first interview can an appropriate salary amount be determined.

So what is an appropriate response if the money question gets asked early on a first interview?

A proper response to that question may be ………”this is what I am earning right now $______, but for me it’s not about the money, it’s about the opportunity and I’m sure that when the time comes- we’ll be able to work that out.”  

Clearly this is a vague response but if the money question comes up very early in the interview, it can be a slippery tight rope walk at best.

Employers usually have a reasonable idea how much an applicant is currently earning prior to an interview.  The money question should be addressed only after concluding that hiring this applicant is an absolute must and is the very best available applicant.

In addition, the offer amount should be the highest and best that can be offered: up front.  No fooling around.  Some employers will make a purposely lower offer to leave room for negotiation and to save on their bottom line.  Business is business of course.

However, no one wants to feel that they are being manipulated by being offered less at first for negotiating later.  Some people are not comfortable negotiating and turn jobs down as a result.

Can you imagine the time lost and the cost of starting all over again to recruit a new candidate?

In summary, the money question will eventually come up in any successful hire.  Preparing in advance with a well thought out response is key to a successful interview.

Are Job Boards Still Relevant?

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on May 4, 2018

Most job searchers are using every job board available to land their dream job.  Have most job boards become over-saturated with resumes and job listings?

Job boards such as Indeed, Zip Recruiter, Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, and Monster may be useful for job seekers; but those resumes remain on these jobsites long after employment has been found.

“Indeed” boasts about how many resumes that they have, but they make no mention that many of these resumes are outdated and of little use to a specific job requirement.  Even if an appropriate candidate is found, what happens next?

The collective goal of job boards is to make it easy for potential employers to receive candidates for specific jobs, but they are missing one key component that only professional recruiters can provide: person-to-person connection.

A recent CareerXroads survey shows that only 15 percent of positions were filled through job boards. Most jobs are either filled internally or through referrals. When you spend all your time and energy scoping out jobs and applying, you may be hurting your chances.

So what else should you be doing? Networking. More than 70 percent of people land jobs through networking. Advise: Attend networking events in your area or become much for engaged with LinkedIn.

Lastly, you almost never hear a response after applying to a job boardAfter you have taken time to research a company, modify your resume and go through the application process, you assume you’ll hear something. The reality is you may not hear back from the company. Become more assertive after submitting your resume.  Plan to follow up with the hiring manager after you have submitted your application.

Job boards are helpful, but they’re just a tool.  Pick up that tool and use it.  Be relentless in your pursuit!

 

How to Find a Great Director of Nursing

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on February 13, 2018

The Director of Nursing (DON) position is possibly the single most important job in a skilled nursing facility.  After all, nursing is what is being provided.

The Administrator or the Executive Director position is typically the highest ranking employee at most skilled nursing facilities.

However, the most successful long term care facilities (skilled nursing, convalescent hospitals, etc.) are those with the very best Directors of Nursing.  Having the right Director of Nursing can make or break a skilled nursing facility.

When a position becomes vacant or if a Director of Nursing is under performing, it is critical to know what to look for when using a Director of Nursing recruiter.

Here are 5 things to look for in a Director of Nursing recruiter:

  1. Recent Director of Nursing Placement Experience.  Having recent successful Director of Nursing placement experience is evidence that a recruiter or a recruiting firm understands the nature of the position and function that it plays in the success of a facility.  It also proves that the recruiter understands the needs of the long term care facility and it’s culture.
  2. A True Understanding of Urgency.  A Director of Nursing recruiter understands the urgency necessary in conducting a professional search and how to act accordingly.  There is a huge difference between showing resumes and presenting well qualified candidates who understand the rules and regulations of both the state and federal government.  There is no room for recklessness or to waste the time of the hiring authority, because time is of the essence.  The very best pre-screened candidates need to be presented ASAP.
  3. A partner in the hiring process.  Partnering with a recruiter well experienced in the nuanced world of search and placement of Directors of Nursing can save an organization time and money.  A recruiter should be there to “do the heavy lifting” while a busy executive can go on with their work.  Sourcing for the right candidate, arranging multiple interviews, de-briefing candidates after interviews and ultimately making sure that an offer will be accepted is a partnership well deserving of any hiring authority.
  4. An outstanding reputation. A reputation is earned and cannot be bought.  Look for a recruiter that has earned the respect of your peers. In addition, other Directors of Nursing typically know who the best recruiters are because in many cases they have either been contacted or have peers that have been contacted.
  5. An appropriate placement guarantee.  How do you guarantee another human being?  In the context of a placement it is important to find out what happens in the event that the hired Director of Nursing doesn’t work out.  An appropriate guarantee should provide for a free replacement Director of Nursing candidate if the hired employee leaves within a certain amount of time and if payment has been received by the recruiter in the agreed upon time.  It is unrealistic to expect a money back guarantee.

In every profession, experience and wisdom garnered from an expert in their craft is what we all look for no matter what the subject.  When you need to, hire the best lawyer, hire the best CPA and of course hire the very best Director of Nursing Recruiter.

Do you have “transferable skills?- A healthcare recruiter blog

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on January 31, 2018

A true recruitment story.

Some time ago, I learned that a very prestigious Oncology Hospital was searching for a VP of Clinical Services. The candidate had to have experience working in the field of Oncology.

I contacted the Chief Nursing Officer and introduced myself. I politely asked if I could assist in recruiting to fill this critical position – being paid on contingency (commission only.) The hospital was under no financial risk.

She then asked me if I had any experience “recruiting in the field of Oncology.” I had not. I have filled many senior nursing positions, but not specifically in the field of Oncology.

She politely told me that without any experience recruiting in the field of Oncology that she would be reluctant to move forward with my services.

I thanked her for her time and was ready to hang up the phone.

I then said in closing that while I respectfully understood her perspective, I asked her if at any time in her career, did someone “give her a shot” meaning, did someone give her the opportunity to prove herself. She said yes, of course.

I respectfully asked for the same courtesy. To please give me a chance to simply prove myself and if she gave me that chance to conduct a recruitment search that I would not let her down. I made my case on a personal level. I put her in my shoes.

So what happened next? She gave me a chance. And I am proud to say that I ended up filling this critical job opening with a superstar and I gained a new client.  A win by a recruiter who persisted.

More importantly I learned a valuable lesson. Never discount the concept of transferable skills (and a little persistence.)

Haven’t done it before? Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, no one else had.

So the next time someone challenges you due to your lack of direct experience, you might want to respond that though you may not have the direct experience, you may certainly have the “transferable skills.”

Ask for what you want, you just might get it.