Knock ‘Em Dead, Fred

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It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with Martin Yate, the best selling author of the “Knock ‘Em Dead” job-hunting guides. With over 5 million books sold, you would think that author Yate would be too rich and too tired to care about our current employment morass, so I am pleased to inform you that the king of the Deadheads has not abandoned us in our time of need. There’s a new edition of the “Ultimate Job Search Guide” for 2010, and I think we can take comfort from the fact that while we might have given up on ever again having a decent job, Martin Yate has not given up on us.

While Yate still believes we have a chance at success, it is apparent that he still believes we lack certain critical skills. For example, on page 136, the author drops a major shock-bomb by warning us that we risk making a poor impression on a job interview if we show up with “bad breath, dandruff, body odor and dirty, un-manicured nails.”

Apparently, hiring managers have become more picky in 2010. I remember the good old days when these minor grooming boo-boos were seen as a sign that the applicant was too focused on their work to worry about trivial matters, like brushing their teeth or taking a shower. That’s the way it was in 2009. Or maybe, it was 1809. Either way, if you’re going to spend half your time and three quarters of your salary on deodorant and hair goo, you might as well apply for a job on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

The “Knock ‘Em Dead” manual also provides guidance on critical issues like how to sit. “Always sit with your bottom well back in the chair,” Yate advises on page 141, “and your back straight. Slouching, of course, is out, but a slight forward leaning posture will show interest and friendliness toward the interviewer.”

Clearly, this is very bad advice. If you try to lean forward, you’re likely to fall on the floor. That’s assuming you complete your standard pre-interview regime of belting back three or six G&T’s before showing up at the interview. As for slouching, I believe a good slouch shows that you are self confident and lack backbone, a critical asset for a future manager.

Page 170 introduces easy answers to tough interview questions. For example, if the interviewer should ask you, “What did you like/dislike about your last job?” do not to respond with a negative. Says Yate: “Criticizing a prior employer is a warning that that you could be a problem employee.” And since you are a problem employee, you certainly want to avoid giving the impression. Simply mention that your boss was a moron, and your co-workers were psychos, and the reason you were fired was that everyone was jealous of your exceptional abilities, Mensa-level intelligence, and rugged good looks. Then, move on.

“Do not show discouragement if the interview appears to be going poorly,” Yate adds, and I agree. Demonstrate to the interviewer that you’re the kind of sunny optimist who doesn’t get flustered when the going gets rough. “I know I’m not making a very good impression on you,” you could say, leaning back in your chair and resting your Dr. Scholls on the hiring managers’ desk, ” but trust me — I’ve had much worse interviews than this.”

The 2010 edition features a new section titled, “Where the Jobs Are.” And no — the answer to this question is not “in China.” Yate lists 30 different high-demand, high-growth professions, any of which would be a step-up and a slam-dunk.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely you will be able to cash in big-time as a veterinarian (#2) or a registered nurse (#11) with your fear of blood and hard work. But you could certainly be #20 “Gaming & Surveillance Officer.” You could even surveil yourself as you gamble away the company’s Christmas Party Fund in the daily craps game on the loading dock. Another interesting way to double your chances is to combine #19 and #21. You could become a financial advisor (#19) and also be the court reporter (#21) who transcribes the court case when you’re sent up the river for fraud.

Yate also provides ways to overcome objections, like being told “you are earning too much.” Yate suggests you respond, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that — what is the range for the position.” I have a better suggestion. “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that — would it help if I deposited 25% of my salary in a bank account in your name in the Cayman Islands?”

If that doesn’t knock ’em dead, Fred, I don’t know what will.

 

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