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How to ‘manage’ four frustrating types of bosses »

By Robert HalfC

No matter how much you love your job, your happiness is inextricably tied to your relationship with your manager. If you have a dream boss, you can stop reading right now. If not, here are a few tips on how to get along with various types of bosses that can prove to be more frustrating.



The Silent Type Workers with chatty bosses might long for a silent leader. But often, this type seems to think you’re a mind reader. The Silent Type provides little to no direction on projects and then becomes frustrated when you don’t deliver to his expectations. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that a Robert Half survey found the most common mistake companies make in managing their teams is inadequate communication.

How to deal: Every boss has his preferred method of communication, whether it’s email, in-person check-ins, phone, IM or sticky notes. Figure out your boss’s favorite way to interact, and then use it — but sparingly. Peppering silent types with constant questions and messages will only increase their distance. But initiating a regular checking-in routine with a method you know is comfortable for your boss can encourage him to provide you with the feedback you need.


The Perfectionist These managers are extremely driven and have high standards, both of which are admirable qualities. But among all types of bosses, Perfectionists are the least likely to delegate, constantly second-guessing your decisions and, frustratingly, micromanaging every step of the way.

How to deal: There’s no quick solution to this one. Until a Perfectionist trusts you, you won’t be able to convince her to give you more control. The key is to anticipate your boss’s concerns and questions, and have your answers and solutions ready. Focus on doing the best work you can, and offer updates without waiting for your manager to ask. In time, a Perfectionist is likely to cut you more slack when she realizes you’re capable of doing your job to high standards.


Mr. or Ms. Moody Different types of bosses mean different personalities. Unfortunately, this one is rarely in a good mood. Maybe he is overworked and stressed, or just consistently gets up on the wrong side of the bed. Either way, Mr. or Ms. Moody’s bad temper means that you have to deal with passive-aggressive or outright rude behavior. This leaves you walking on eggshells and going out of your way to avoid your manager.

How to deal: Fight the urge to treat Mr. or Ms. Moody in kind. Responding to a jab or snub with an equally nasty or passive-aggressive move will only cause tempers to flare. Besides, your reputation as a professional is on the line. But the old adage “kill them with kindness” isn’t ideal in this situation either; your sugary-sweet attitude will likely irritate your boss even more. And suffering in silence isn’t good for your work relationships or mental health. Instead, be calm but blunt, and address any rudeness in a straightforward manner. Pointing out uncivil or unprofessional behavior while maintaining your composure may help defuse your boss’s ill temper and encourage more appropriate interactions. If that fails, you may have to seek help from the human resources department. Business mobbing


The Egoist This is one of the most challenging types of bosses to handle. Egotistical managers create a toxic workplace. They take pleasure in keeping workers “in their place” and resent other people’s successes and achievements.

How to deal: It may be tempting to try and bring your boss’s ego down a notch, but that often works better in movies than in real life. Instead, treat your manager with respect and remember that how she treats you is not an indication of your worth as an employee or a person. Short of trying to grin and bear it, there may be little you can do to change an Egoist’s behavior. If you’ve reached your breaking point, your best bet may be to consider a different job. There are a million types of bosses out there. But regardless of your manager’s quirks, keep in mind that you are not alone. Find support and get advice from other team members or members of your professional network. Just don’t fall prey to badmouthing or other unprofessional behavior. Together, you can help create a supportive, friendly atmosphere with your fellow employees despite your silent, perfectionist, moody or egotistical boss.


Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit For additional career advice, read our blog at or follow us on social media at


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How to go back to work after a long leave of absence »

businessman holding signboard show back to workBy Robert Half

You took several years off from work to be CEO of your household, taking care of a new baby and developing your interpersonal skills of persuasion and patience. Or maybe you off-ramped to travel, care for an elderly family member or focus on volunteer pursuits. Now you’re ready to go back to work, but where do you start? Here are six steps to ease your transition back into the working world.

1. Notify your network It’s the best first step in any job search: Tell your family, friends, acquaintances and former colleagues that you’re completing your stint as stay-at-home parent or full-time caretaker and you’re planning to go back to work. Before you reach out to your network, make sure your résumé is ready; if one of your contacts knows about a good opportunity, you’ll want to be able to send out an application package immediately.


2. Prepare your pitch

When you start your job search, you need to be able to talk to anyone you meet or reacquaint with about why you’re going back to work and what you hope to find in a job. Practice your 30-second elevator pitch so that it comes naturally. Don’t hide the fact that you’ve been on hiatus, and do project a positive attitude about your situation. You might say, “I’m an accountant with eight years of experience. I took the last several years off to be with my kids (or travel or take care of a sick parent), and now I’m looking forward to rejoining the workforce.” Then briefly list your previous jobs and describe what kind of position you’re looking for now.


3. Build up your résumé by volunteering If you’re able to fit it into your schedule, volunteering can be a great way to boost your résumé and keep your skills current. For example, you could help a local nonprofit or charitable organization or tutor students. Giving of your time like this is a great way to slowly re-enter the working world, dust off your skills and network with people who might be able to help you in your job search.


4. Take classes Whether you’ve been out for two years or 10 years, it never hurts to brush up on your hard skills. Technology is always changing, and it’s essential for job seekers to keep up-to-date on the latest industry best practices. Check out the class schedule at a nearby community college, or try to find online courses that will meet your needs. Don’t forget about MOOCs (massive open online courses), the vast majority of which are free. Search for courses at


5. Consider temporary or part-time work If you’re at all nervous about going back to work, try easing into it with temporary assignments or a part-time position. This can be an especially smart method if you’ve taken time off to be a stay-at-home parent, as transitioning directly from full-time parenting to a 9-to-5 job can be jarring for both you and your family. Accepting temporary positions also gives you the opportunity to sample several types of employers and job roles and assess which ones are good fits and which are not.


6. Focus on the skills you’ve gained What skills have you developed during your break from office life? Although your time off might not have given you much time to work on your technical talents, you’ve had many opportunities for personal growth. Employers are increasingly seeking workers who have strong interpersonal skills such as communication, collaboration and adaptability. Mention those assets in your social media profiles, cover letters and job interviews.

Job searching is rarely easy, and it’s even more of a challenge for professionals who’ve been out of the field for a while. It can take time to find a good position when you’re going back to work after an extended break. If you get discouraged, remember all your positives: education, experience, soft skills and determination. With time, patience and perseverance, the right job will come your way.


Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit For additional career advice, read our blog at or follow us on social media at


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How to keep workplace jargon from dragging down your career »

By Robert HalfB


Everyone uses workplace jargon and catchwords. That’s just part of the biz. We all know co-workers who like to “cascade information” and “leverage metrics.” Another common practice in corporate lingo is verbing nouns, such as “incentivize,” “ballpark” and “monetize.”

To a certain extent, business-ese is unavoidable, and in many cases it’s perfectly acceptable. After all, each field has its own language and way of referring to industry-specific concepts. The dangers are in overusing workplace jargon. Your words should convey information and inspire action, not confuse and elicit snickers.


Catch up on the buzz

Language is constantly evolving, and with it workplace jargon. So common is the practice — and so grating are certain phrases — that linguistic and business groups publish lists of the most abused corporate buzzwords. Global Language Monitor lists “bandwidth” (when referring to availability) and the much-loved “synergy” as two of the biggest offenders. Forbesmagazine shudders at gobbledygook like “core competency” and “buy-in.”


The good …

Although workplace jargon has a dubious reputation, there are benefits to using a common language.

  • It builds community
  • It reduces the number of words necessary to convey a concept
  • It relays complex information more efficiently
  • It makes users sound knowledgeable


The bad …

If you’re going to use buzzwords in business, make sure you know what they mean. A manager once said he wanted to “hook up with the client.” He could have saved himself a lot of embarrassment if he had just said, “meet the client.” Bad business-speak can also:

  • Mark you as an unoriginal thinker
  • Obfuscate meaning, as certain jargon means different things to different people
  • Intimidate and alienate others, especially junior employees
  • Annoy the heck out of listeners and make their eyes glaze over


And the ugly …

These following buzzwords and clichés are so worn out they should be retired:

  • Think outside the box
  • Sea change
  • Core competencies
  • Synergy
  • Push the envelope
  • Paradigm shift
  • Low-hanging fruit
  • 110 percent


Choose your words wisely

Ever find yourself having no idea what someone just said, even though you understood the meaning of the individual words? Think about that the next time you want to sprinkle buzzwords in a conversation, your written communication or an elevator pitch.

When meeting with work peers, it’s fine to discuss things in buzzwords. When communicating with clients or colleagues from other departments, however, use normal English. Find ways to convey your message that won’t alienate listeners or readers. If you do use jargon in business conversations, make sure they mean something and are commonly understood. (Just what isa “wheelhouse,” and shouldn’t a “steep learning curve” really mean something that’s easily learned rather than difficult to master?)

Conversely, if youdon’t understand the workplace jargon someone else is using, speak up. For example, if your boss wants you to “socialize that idea” and you’re not sure what that means, it’s better to ask for clarification than to wallow in ignorance — and risk not doing what’s being asked of you.

Workplace jargon developed for a reason: It can be an effective means of communicating with like-minded and similarly experienced peers. Unfortunately, it can also get out of hand. Overusing buzzwords in business can make the speaker come across as pretentious and unoriginal. The next time you’re tempted to ask someone to dive deeper, move the needle or signature a document, don’t do it. Your colleagues will thank you.


Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit For additional career advice, read our blog at or follow us on social media at

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How to take — or not take — the blame at work »

By Robert Halfblame


You’ve been dealing with it since you were a kid: accusing your brother for the drink you spilled, taking the blame for the vase your best friend broke. It’s one thing to do that in grade school, but have you become a player or pawn in the office blame game?

If you work in a place where people play the blame game like it’s professional dodgeball, morale is bound to be low. No one takes responsibility for mistakes, but a great deal of effort goes into accusing others for errors. In short, there’s plenty of covering up and not enough owning up.

If you’re the one always pointing the finger, colleagues will lose their trust in you, an obvious blow to your reputation. But if you’re always taking the blame, you may be seen as someone who can’t do anything right. What’s a person to do?

It doesn’t come down to one or the other, the tattletale or the pushover. It’s unprofessional to consistently shift blame from yourself, yet keeping the peace doesn’t mean you have to be the sacrificial lamb. Here are five ways you can navigate the blame game in your workplace:


1. Preempt mistakes

When you’re given a new assignment, make sure you completely understand your role and responsibilities. Ask plenty of questions if anything is unclear. That way, you’ll be less likely to make a mistake — or have to take the blame if the error is outside your duties. For added accountability, give your manager regular updates and request feedback.


2. Go on, admit it

Do the time if you’ve committed the crime. Of course you feel bad about botching something up, but you’re not only doing the right thing by owning up to your mistakes; you’ll also end up gaining respect from your manager and co-workers.


3. Don’t always take the blame

One in three senior managers interviewed for a recent OfficeTeam survey admitted to taking the blame for something they didn’t do. Of those, more than one-third claimed it was because they felt somewhat responsible, while 28 percent wanted to avoid getting others in trouble. For the rest, it was simply not worth the time to argue or explain. No matter the reason, if you fall on the sword often enough, your co-workers may begin to take advantage of you, which puts your job on the line.


4. Point to facts, not people

If someone’s made a mistake, don’t throw your colleague under the bus. Instead, stick to the facts about what went wrong and be as honest — but diplomatic — as possible. For example, if you’re not 100 percent sure who made the mistake, say so. Don’t get wrapped up in scenarios and alternate theories. Maintain that big-picture focus of why things went south and what steps you and your team can take to avoid it in the future.


5. Don’t assume the worst

If managers want to question you, and you feel they want you to take the blame, take a deep breath. They may simply be seeking solutions instead of playing the heavy in the blame game. Good leaders want to find the cause of mishaps and to see what steps they should take to ensure that the same mistakes don’t happen again. If you immediately become defensive, you may end up making the situation worse.


Ultimately, it’s best not to play the blame game at all. In workplace interactions, the winners are those who take the blame when it’s their fault, do not point fingers at others and are discrete and factual no matter what games others around them are playing.


Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit For additional career advice, read our blog at or follow us on social media at


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7 deadly sins of résumé writing »

By Steve P. Brady, freelancerthumbs up resume


Despite the fact that there are numerous how-to articles out there, résumés are not easy to write. They require time, talent and patience in order to craft them into targeted advertisements for your most precious commodity: you.

You don’t want this document that you have been poring over for days to fall victim to the seven deadly sins of résumé writing. Be vigilant and double check before you send your résumé to any potential employers.


Deadly sin No. 1: Typos

This is a no-brainer, but it is still one of the most common mistakes on a job seeker’s résumé. Double and triple check, and then have someone else proofread it for you. This is the easiest of the seven to fix as long as you read carefully.


Deadly sin No. 2: Faulty formatting

Today’s word-processing software allows for just about anyone to become a publishing wizard. You can add shadings, graphics, artistic fonts and stylistic flourishes. Don’t.

Above all else, you want your résumé to be readable. Keep the fancy formatting to a minimum and place a priority on scannablility. Email it to a friend to ensure that the formatting you do keep is not lost.


Deadly sin No. 3: Irrelevant job experience

Everyone is proud of their professional life, and rightfully so. However, there comes a time when you have to be ruthless with your past and cut out anything that strays from the branded image you are trying to create with your résumé.

A general rule of thumb is to stick with the most recent 15 years of experience. For instance, if you are going for an upper level management position, you certainly do not need to include your time in the sales department 20 years ago when you first got out of college.


Deadly sin No. 4: Weak word choice Curriculum vitae

Banish words such as ‘helped,” “provided” and “worked” from your résumé vocabulary. Only use strong, active verb phrases that point toward dynamic action. You want employers to view you as a problem solver, not as a “doer.”


Deadly sin No. 5: Boring bullets 

Many times when a candidate sends in his résumé, the work history reads as if it was taken from his job description. In fact, that is what a lot of inexperienced résumé writers do. If you are one of them, don’t worry, it is a common mistake, but it needs to be fixed.

Instead of just listing what your job requires of you, focus on what you have been able to accomplish. Sales numbers, quotas reached, budgets balanced and clients signed are all items that will make you stand out rather than blend in. Remember the key is to sell yourself.


Deadly sin No. 6: Not including a branding statement 

The résumé objective is dead, but long live the branding statement. This is the first section of your résumé after the heading where you can create a dynamic headline and description of your own personal area of expertise. This will frame the rest of the résumé for the reader so that she sees your experience in light of your specialty.


Deadly sin No. 7: Length

There is a lot of conflicting advice as to how long a résumé should be. Here is the standard. A résumé should contain one page for every 10 years of experience in a given field. More often than not, this guideline works.


Steve P. Brady is an executive résumé writer with over 10 years of industry experience who blogs on job-search strategies, résumé writingand career development.


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What are your weaknesses? 10 tips to deal with the inevitable question »

By Michael Kingston, freelancerstrengths weaknesses


Unless you’ve suddenly morphed into Henry Cavill’s Superman and can confidently reply “only Kryptonite,” “What are your weaknesses?” is the one interview question you can’t avoid. While there is no one-size-fits-all response, the following tips will help you prepare for the inevitable question.

1. Be honest with yourself: We all have weaknesses. We all make mistakes. You need to be as clear on your weaknesses as you are on your strengths. If you’re unsure, take an online personality profile test or ask colleagues who you trust to give you a candid opinion of what they perceive your weaknesses to be (and strengths).

2. Put a positive spin on it: Always highlight examples of where you’ve turned your weakness into a strength, but don’t mention a weakness you’re still working on. Any you reveal to the hiring manager must be those you’ve resolved, especially if they are in any way related to the vacancy for which you’ve applied.

3. Watch your language: Words such as “frustrated” and ‘impatient” will reflect negatively on you, for example, “I get frustrated when analyzing financial information.” Respond with, “I don’t always find financial analysis an easy part of this job, but I have attended additional training courses and spent time with our financial manager to gain a thorough understanding of what’s needed. He was so pleased with my progress that last month he asked me to prepare a financial report for his department.” This demonstrates a depth of self-awareness and an ability to respond to your personal weaknesses.

4. Don’t rehearse the response: It’s impossible to role play an exact response to this question as it will be influenced by the way the interview is progressing. Mentally prepare a general answer but nothing more. Most hiring managers prefer a natural reply, not a clearly rehearsed one.

5. Some weaknesses won’t be relevant: If you struggle with admin but you’ve applied for a sales position, that won’t generally be an issue. Good sales people are notoriously bad when it comes to admin. You are demonstrating that your job search is focused on roles that will play to your strengths. Apply a positive approach, for example, “I’m quite weak when it comes to admin so I have developed my own checklist in every job that I’ve been in and monitored it throughout the project’s life cycle.” In that way, you demonstrate your awareness of your weakness and how you manage it.

6. Stick with work-related weaknesses: Your inability to resist munching your way through copious amounts of popcorn every time you go to the movies isn’t really relevant.

7. Don’t use clichéd responses: “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist” are typical responses to this question uttered by many candidates. They don’t ring true and sound rehearsed. Don’t be tempted to use them.

8. Make it specific: By citing “lack of organizational skills” as a weakness, your response is too vague. Give specific examples, such as those mentioned above. Why are your organizational skills poor? How have you taken steps to resolve those issues?Questions employers want to hear interview(200x200)

9. Avoid jobs that work on your weaknesses: Continually being called to work in an area of weakness is demoralizing for employees and one of the top reasons that people change jobs. If you know you lack the confidence or ability to make a formal presentation to a room full of potential clients, don’t apply for jobs that rely on those skills.

10. Above all, be authentic: Having a weakness doesn’t make you inadequate, it makes you human. Even Superman had a weakness, remember?


Michael Kingston is a top industry hiring manager with over 18 years’ experience and author of the internationally best-selling Pass The Job Interview guide.


Find jobs | Post your résumé Study Reveals Employers’ Concerns About the Growing Skills Gap »

Nearly three-in-five have seen negative effects due to vacancies


TORONTO – June 25, 2014 – More than half (56 per cent) of employers say they are concerned about the growing skills gap, and 46 per cent believe there is a significant gap between the skills their organization needs and the skills job candidates have, according to survey. Thirty-seven per cent say they currently have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates, up from 25 per cent last year.

The national survey was conducted online in November through December of 2013 by Harris Poll on behalf of Careerbuilder.caand included a representative sample of 406 private sector hiring managers across industries and company sizes.

While a quarter (24 per cent) say vacancies typically go unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates for less than a month, 38 per cent of employers say they’ve had vacancies last 3 months or longer, and 11 per cent have had them stretch on for at least 6 months while they searched for qualified candidates.

Long-lasting vacancies can have very real consequences. More employers are experiencing these effects, with 58 per cent of employers saying they’ve seen a negative impact on their business due to extended job vacancies, up from 41 per cent last year. Some of the most commonly cited consequences include:

  • Productivity loss – 30 per cent
  • Lower morale – 24 per cent
  • Revenue loss – 15 per cent
  • Lower quality work – 15 per cent
  • Inability to grow business – 13 per cent
  • More employee turnover – 13 per cent


“Between the pressures from extended vacancies, measuring up to skilled candidates’ salary expectations and increases in spending on training, more employers are feeling the financial costs of the skills gap,” said Mark Bania, Director of CareerBuilder Canada. “New technologies, globalization and other factors are fundamentally changing businesses and the industries they operate in. There is a greater urgency for companies to reskill existing employees, offer comprehensive training for new recruits, and work with educators to prepare the next wave of workers for their evolving needs.”



One way some employers overcome the skills gap is by increasing compensation in order to attract skilled talent. More than half (57 per cent) of employers say they’ve had a job candidate turn down an offer in the last year, with 20 per cent saying they couldn’t meet the candidate’s salary demands. A third (33 per cent) of employers are planning to raise starting salaries for high-skill positions this year.



On-the-job training is another way employers can combat the growing skills gap. Fifty-nine per cent of employers say they trained workers who didn’t have experience in their particular industry and hired them in 2013. Fifty-five per cent are planning on doing so this year.

Training budgets have increased overall in the past year, with 61 per cent of employers spending more than $50,000 on training, compared to 49 per cent last year. Nearly half of employers (48 per cent) spend more than $100,000 a year on training, up from 37 per cent last year.


Starting Early

Many employers have also begun reaching out to young future job seekers to help prepare them for entry into the workforce. A third (31 percent) of employers say they’ve promoted careers at their organization to high school students, and 7 per cent have reached out to grammar school students.


Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within Canada by HarrisPoll on behalf of among 406 Canadian hiring managers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between November 6 and December 2, 2013 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 406 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 4.86 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.


LOGO-JPGAbout is a leading job site in Canada. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), the Tribune Company, The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), powers the career centers for more than 250 Canadian partners that reach national, local, industry and niche audiences. Job seekers visit every month to search for opportunities by industry, location, company and job type, sign up for automatic e-mail job alerts, and get advice on job hunting and career management. For more information about products and services, visit


Michael Erwin, Media Contact. CareerBuilder

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6 questions you need to ask during your next annual review »

By Robert HalfPerformance review(200x200)


Sure, your annual review can be nerve-wracking. But it can also be a great opportunity for you to further your professional future and impress the boss with your dedication and drive. Rather than focusing on your anxieties about how your performance will be evaluated, come up with some questions for your manager that will help your career development and improve your chances of glowing reviews in the future. Here are six questions to get you started:


1. What steps do I need to take to reach the next level?

Don’t beat around the bush — if you’re interested in moving up in the company, let your supervisor know. If you follow her advice, she’ll likely take note of your dedication and ambition and keep you in mind when filling or adding positions. There’s a good chance that she’ll also be impressed by your commitment and loyalty, and she’ll know that you intend to stick around and help the firm grow.


2. What are my department’s priorities for the coming year, and how can I help meet them?

In addition to demonstrating that you’re a team player and invested in the corporate goals, the answer to this question will help you meet expectations for your next annual review. Knowing exactly what your employer wants to accomplish will help you set your own goals and align them with those of the organization.

Asking this question highlights your concern for the company’s well-being and your willingness to be part of the solution. It also demonstrates your interest in the welfare of the organization as a whole, and not just your role within it. To really impress your manager, do some research into industry trends and competitors before the annual review so you can discuss the firm’s challenges in detail.


3. What skills or training would you recommend to improve my performance?

Even if your job title hasn’t changed in the past few years, chances are your job description has shifted or grown with time. Whether it’s technical training or a public-speaking workshop, your manager might have some suggestions for upping your game.

If your review contains suggestions for improvement, don’t get defensive. Rather, show you’re keen to address your shortcomings by asking your manager for advice on how to better your performance. For example, if you were told to demonstrate more initiative or creativity, ask for concrete steps you can take to develop those skills. Consider proposing a mentoring relationship, if your boss doesn’t suggest it first.


4. What were the department’s biggest successes over the past year?

It’s easy to get fixated on criticism in a performance review. If you start to feel flustered or upset by the negatives in your evaluation, take a step back and nudge the discussion in a more positive direction with this question. By asking your boss to list the team’s accomplishments, you’re giving him a reminder that you had a hand in those wins.


5. What can I do to help my coworkers and management?M

This is a particularly useful question to ask if you’ve just received a glowing annual review. Even if your manager already thinks you’re a rock star, it never hurts to drive home the point that you’re a master team player. It shows you’re concerned about more than just yourself — that you want colleagues and the entire company to succeed as well. And you never know when your bid to help may turn into an offer for a leadership position.


6. Can we schedule a follow-up to discuss this further?

No matter how much you prepare for your annual review, the meeting will likely contain a few surprises. Tell your manager that you’d like to think about all the feedback she’s provided, and schedule another meeting once you’ve had time to carefully consider what’s in your evaluation. At the follow-up meeting, you can ask any further questions you have.


Instead of dreading your annual review, consider the one-on-one with your manager as an opportunity to move your career forward. Relish the praise, but focus on the constructive criticism so you can perform even better in the next six to 12 months. By asking the right questions and acting on the answers, you’re setting the stage for your next evaluation — and future professional success.



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Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit For additional career advice, read our blog at or follow us on social media at

How to recover from a mistake at work »

By Robert Halfmistake1


Everyone makes mistakes, and managers are no exception. Unfortunately, because of your status and responsibilities, your missteps may garner more attention and have more consequences than if a junior employee did something similar. It’s important to know how to recover from a mistake quickly and move on. Below are a few examples of managerial errors and some tips for making a comeback.


You’re a micromanager

A good boss knows the difference between managing and micromanaging. Employees want supervisors to trust them to make decisions and work independently. When you watch over your employees’ every move like a vulture, they feel as if you’re just waiting for them to slip up. Such an environment isn’t conducive to high morale or job satisfaction.

If your own boss has told you to stop micromanaging, what do you do next? It may be difficult, but the first step in recovering from this mistake and regaining workers’ trust is to acknowledge your shortcomings. Tell your direct reports you’ve been squandering their time and talents with your micromanagement and that things will be different from now on.

Follow through on your word. Give them decision-making power and, as the Frozen song advises, let it go. More important, ask them to hold you accountable in case you slip back into old habits.


You didn’t give good instructionsMan despairing with computer

When employees don’t get enough direction or the right information, they can take a project down a different path than you expected. Nobody wants to start a project over from scratch because they were given vague or confusing guidelines. Misdirection can even make employees feel like they were set up for failure.

If you’re guilty of giving bad directions, you owe your team an apology. Express regret for not explaining the assignment better, and then make sure they’re clear on exactly what they need to do going forward. In the future, avoid situations like this by giving clear and detailed instructions, asking for questions and comments, and checking in periodically to make sure nobody is heading into the weeds.


You really stepped in it

The press loves writing about executive blunders. Whether it’s an unfortunate slip of the tongue, getting caught in a lie or losing millions of company dollars, a public mistake is embarrassing and gut wrenching — and you think you’ll never get over it. While some executives are fired or asked to resign over a misstep or poor judgment, most survive the fallout.

But how to recover from a mistake, especially when it damaged the company’s reputation (not to mention your own) and/or cost money to fix? For one, there’s no need to fall on the sword, although one in three managers surveyed for a Robert Half survey said they’ve accepted blame for something that wasn’t their fault.


However, if you were the one who erred, here’s how to get back on your feet and put the mistake behind you. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary.

  1. Say you’re sorry. Apologize to your boss, shareholders, the board, people who work for you, the public — anyone who felt the repercussions of your mistake. Don’t dodge or get defensive. Accept full responsibility for your actions.
  2. Fix the problem. Can you undo the damage or salvage the situation? If not, do whatever you can to mitigate the impact of your mistake. If you’ve made a bad hire, for example, take the onus for firing the person and recruiting a replacement.
  3. Live and learn. The worst mistake is not the one you just made, but failing to learn from it. We are the sum of our experiences. Furthermore, don’t let this one get you down and make you afraid to take risks in the future.


No one wants to fumble on the job, but it happens. Use the incident as a growth opportunity for yourself, your team and your organization. Knowing how to recover from a mistake means the difference between regaining people’s trust and losing their respect — or even your job.


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Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit For additional management advice, read our blog at or follow us on social media at

Not landing interviews? You could be annoying employers »

Val Matta, vice president of business development at CareerShift annoying1

This time of the year, many employers review up to 100 resumes per job opening — and that’s if they’re getting looked at at all. With so many applications, there’s clearly a certain etiquette that needs to be upheld, particularly when it comes to following up after you apply. Since two thirds of workers don’t follow-up after submitting their résumé for consideration, you may believe sending a quick note could help your chances. Unfortunately, following up incorrectly can send your résumé to the trash can.

While it’s always advised to follow-up after you apply for a job, doing so in the wrong way can severely impede your chances at landing an interview. If you’re uncertain on follow-up etiquette, here are some do’s and don’ts to consider:


DO contact the right person

It’s so important to contact the right person in the follow-up process. After all, you’d probably be peeved if people were contacting you for the wrong reasons. While the job description may not include contact information, there are some easy ways to obtain it. Use databases or check out who posted the job on social media. By doing a little detective work, you’ll be able to find the right point of contact.


DON’T call or email if the job description explicitly says not to

It’s vital that you follow all directions, even if they go against follow-up protocol. For instance, if a job description explicitly says no phone calls or emails, this means no phone calls or emails. Although it’s not exactly the best scenario for your candidacy, you have to respect the wants and needs of an organization.

Instead, do little things to “follow-up” such as becoming a fan of the organization on Facebook or mentioning them on Twitter. While you shouldn’t be too obvious, these little gestures can help you to stand out.


DO take schedules into account

Employers are busy people. They may not have time to respond to every email or call back every candidate. Although you did take the time to apply for the position, you have to understand the schedules of the hiring department, especially if the position is highly coveted.

Here’s a tip: Following up after one week is pretty customary, no matter how busy an employer may be. If the job description says anything else — such as following up after two weeks or sending them a message on LinkedIn — be sure to keep these methods in mind, as well.


DON’T follow-up more than twice

While not everyone may agree, it’s okay to follow-up on your follow-up. Emails can always get lost in the shuffle or the employer may have forgotten to respond to you. However, anything more can be seen as annoying and overbearing, especially if it’s the same message twice. Oftentimes, an employer may have “mentally” acknowledged they got a message or voicemail and simply decided to leave it at that. Once you’ve followed up twice, you’ve done your part and should wait for things to unravel organically.


DO cut your losses if there’s radio silence

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but sometimes you need to cut your losses. It’s nothing personal — nor should you take it as such — but sometimes someone was just more qualified than you. When this happens, you can either get angry or you can learn from your mistakes.

For example, if you evaluate how your candidacy could have been improved, such as sending in higher quality writing samples or following directions better, you can move forward as a smarter job seeker.

If you’re not landing interviews, take a look at how you’re following up after you send in your application. You’ll likely find a connection between how you contacted an employer and the outcome of your candidacy.


Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift onLinkedIn.


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