Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: mistakes

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to mistakes.

20 Biggest Mistakes of Your Career (Infographic)

Whether it’s your first day and you’re terrified of making a rookie mistake, or you’ve been working for the last thirty years and you may have gotten a little complacent, we have all made at least one of these seemingly harmless mistakes.  This list created by lostgenygirl.com is a great compilation of 20 easy to forget things that could be holding your career back.  Nobody intentionally does any of these things, but hopefully this list will make you more cognizant in the future so you avoid them.

Which of these rules are you breaking and how will you change that?

20 Biggest Mistakes of Your Career

What to Do When You Miss Your Job Interview?

This post by Joe Issid was originally published on the Monster Career Advice Blog

miss-your-interviewI’m sure we’ve all had some version of the same nightmare: you wake up disastrously late for an important meeting but, try as you will, you simply cannot get your legs moving fast enough to get you there on time. I must have had dozens of these dreams while I was a nervous student around exam time. Fortunately, as an adult, these types of fear-inducing events happen with far less frequency. Having said that, there are few meetings that are as crucial to your future prosperity as a job interview, which can certainly leave the best of us feeling anxious. So, it should stand to reason that all efforts are made to show up prepared and on time.

But, unfortunately, sometimes the universe conspires against you and forces you to unexpectedly and inexplicably miss the interview without providing any advance notice. If this nightmare scenario has befallen you, don’t fret too much. Here are some ways to help you recover.

Gather yourself

Before making a breathless and panicked phone call to your interviewer and begging for mercy, take a beat and think of your options. Admittedly, accidentally missing an interview does not reflect well on you so it is critical that you don’t compound the issue by making an emotional and disorganized appeal. Do your best to formulate a game plan, which should certainly include a reasonable explanation for your absence (more on that below). However, you should try and reach out as soon as possible as the longer you wait, the less credible you may sound. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the issue.

Be contrite

Make no mistake about it: this is 100% your fault and you should be unequivocal about taking ownership. Without assigning any blame to outside parties, you need to offer your sincere apologies and assurances that this type of behavior is extremely uncharacteristic. If you come across as trying to deflect responsibility, it will reflect poorly on you and make the interviewer feel even more distrusting. It may certainly hurt your pride to apologize so effusively but it may just be your one saving grace.

Be pro-active

Rather than passively hoping the interviewer will forgive you and reschedule the meeting, take pro-active measures to ensure that you can get your foot back in the door. You should follow up all verbal communications with an email (and vice versa). You should also offer additional insights into your candidacy for further proof of your seriousness; for example, I would suggest providing additional references or offering to perform additional interview steps as a means of demonstrating that you are dependable and industrious. Let’s face it, you are now going to have work harder than any other candidate to convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the job.

Work on your excuse

I’m going to be honest: it is extremely hard for a recruiter to forgive a candidate who misses an interview. (Of course, if you endured a personal emergency or something wholly unforeseen, most interviewers should certainly be sympathetic.) In all likelihood, though, you will certainly have an uphill battle on your hands – especially if you have a weak excuse. To wit, if the interviewer demands an explanation, you are going to need to provide something quite compelling to get yourself back in the running. So, if you missed
the interview because you overslept or forgot to put the interview in your calendar, do yourself a favour and come up with something better. This is a rare instance where telling the truth may not be in your best interest.

Remain professional

Look, it may be that you have simply blown this opportunity. Try as you might, the interviewer may no longer be interested in your candidacy. While this is regrettable, it isn’t hard to understand why. In such a case, I would advise you to take your lumps and move on. Don’t lash out at the interviewer and do not take to social media to voice your displeasure. You should retain a strong sense of professional decorum and remain contrite in your communications. You never know when another opportunity may arise so keep all your options open by keeping your emotions in check.

Independent Contractor Rate Negotiation Mistakes

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Branch Manager at Eagle

5 Errors IT Professionals Sometimes Make

5 Negotiation Mistakes Independent Contractors Sometimes MakeAs an independent contractor, you have the opportunity to interact with any number of recruiters in your local market or, if your skills are in demand, agents from all over the world. You probably find that it is not uncommon to have conversations with recruiters that you’ve never spoken to before, never mind worked with on a contract together. And more often than not, the initial conversation you are having with a complete stranger, involves a career decision with financial implications. Negotiations are difficult enough without having to enter into a rate discussion with a total stranger. Money is personal and the questions that are sometimes asked to establish parameters around rate can be uncomfortable. But rate is key to any contract discussion and you need to be prepared to enter into these discussions with Recruiters in an open and forthright manner.

Part of being prepared for these discussions is to understand myths surrounding staffing agencies and how to negotiate with them. The following are some common mistakes I’ve seen independent contractors make when negotiating with recruiters.

  1. More is better: Wrong! Trying to always increase your rate can affect your career negatively. I’ve seen candidates who play hard ball on rate and ignore the advice of the Recruiter end up pricing themselves out of the running due strictly to price. Professional recruiters will have client and market knowledge and apply that knowledge to price their candidates competitively. Every position is unique and market conditions can change rapidly (Hello Calgary!). Don’t forget as well that rate is a reflection of your seniority and professional standing. If you do manage to hit a home run and boost your rate, don’t forget that the client’s expectations can and most likely will be tied to the rate you negotiated. If you can’t deliver to those expectations, the results can be serious.
  2. I’m getting ripped off: There is no denying that contractors have developed a level of caution when dealing with Recruiters. Some recruiters in an effort to pad their commissions have unscrupulously negotiated with candidates with no concern for building mutual trust or delivering a quality service to the contractor community. I can say confidently that the staffing industry has matured and the level of professionalism has grown. But if you do find yourself with concerns about the Recruiter you are talking to, remember, you are not obligated to work with that person. If you want to perform a quick test, ask the recruiter what their philosophy around margin looks like and see if they are able to give you a satisfactory response. If the Recruiter is not comfortable disclosing this or mumbles their way through an explanation, maybe it’s time to end the conversation.
  3. They don’t need that information: If you are dealing with a Recruiter for the first time, they may be interested in what you have earned in previous contracts. The simple reason for this is to try and establish at what level you have been working and what your skillset has been paying in the market. Remember that if you exaggerate your numbers, you may be creating a set of perceptions around who and what you are and the Recruiter may make a decision that you aren’t a fit for the role they are working on. Again, a good recruiter will be able to offer you insight on the rate you have been earning and how it fits their client’s present needs. And a really good recruiter will identify when a market is ready to offer you a higher rate or conversely, when it is time to bring your number down to remain competitive.
  4. I’ll agree now but will secretly wait for a better offer: Once you’ve negotiated a rate and you have agreed to be represented by a particular recruiter that you feel comfortable with, DO NOT attempt to renegotiate days later after another Recruiter calls and offers $5/hr more. You’ve already entered into an agreement with one Recruiter who has likely submitted your resume to the client. Any Recruiter who tries to convince you to go with them for a bit more money is putting your candidacy for that role in jeopardy. Professional staffing firms and their clients want to work with contractors who exhibit honesty and integrity. Demonstrating that you are unable to commit to an agreement is a direct reflection on your business practices.
  5. Every situation is the same: Finally, as already mentioned, every situation is not the same. What one client is willing to pay for a specific skillset is not the same as another. And market conditions can change from one day to the next and impact rates. Listen carefully to the Recruiter and gauge what they are saying. Do they have a lot of knowledge of the position, the client, the market in which the contract exists and your skillset? Ask questions and if you don’t like the approach or the answers, it’s simple. Nothing is forcing you to work with that individual.

Have you made any mistakes while negotiating that you later regretted? Please share your experiences with our readers so we can all learn from each other.

The Worst Face-to-Face Networking Mistake

Networking is a tough skill to master and can be dreadful for anybody who isn’t well practiced in it.  There are many articles out there with great tips on how to improve (including these recent Talent Development Centre posts), but is it possible to follow advice too closely? In this video, J.T. O’Donnell of Careerealism TV recounts one of her most dreadful experiences at a networking event. Take a look, feel the awkwardness, and make sure you never make the same mistake.