Why No One Is Hiring You – Insights from a Hiring Manager

Metal gorilla with 'Now Hiring' sign

Finding a job in this economy seems like a daunting task. Anyone who is unemployed will tell you how difficult it is to spend hours sending out resumes, only to be met with an enthusiastic or nonexistent response. Yet we all know someone who successfully found a job that they love. It is not because they are luckier than we are or because they went to a better school. They got their job because they understand what hiring managers look for.

That’s right. If you are struggling to find a job, you are probably doing something to rub hiring managers the wrong way.

Hiring professionals have the demanding task to screen hundreds of resumes and cover letters for each position they need to fill in their company. With so many resumes detailing similar skills like proficiency in Microsoft Office, hiring professionals have a difficult time selecting their next star employee. They cannot interview every candidate, or even every qualified candidate, so they use specific criteria to interview only those candidates that look like great fits.

As a recent college graduate and current intern at OpenSesame, I wanted to gain insight on how hiring professionals screen candidates – what do they look for when selecting candidates to interview and fill a position? Here are the top 5 insights I gleaned from my conversation with a hiring professional here at OpenSesame.

1. You’re competing with a lot of other applicants. Companies typically receive more applicants and resumes than they are able to interview. The ratio of individuals who apply for entry level jobs to individuals brought in for interviews is roughly 3:1. For instance, OpenSesame received over 70 applications for the summer internship program and offered positions to 20 of those applicants. Candidates applying for higher-level positions are interviewed more frequently.

2. Your resume needs to stand out. Hiring professionals check that candidates have relevant experience matching the position, so be sure every item on your resume is directly connected to a requirement or preferred skill listed in the job description. Be sure to mention what you did at your previous job that made you a top performer. If you started using the computer after 1989, it’s assumed you know how to use Microsoft Word. Save that space to talk about how you increased sales by 40% or programmed an internal search engine that saved employees hours each day.

3. Employers check your references, but they also check your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Bad hires cost companies considerable time and money. Employers barr themselves from bad hires by verifying qualifications and experience with the candidates listed references. They will increasingly also check a potential hire’s social media sites. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward by refraining from posting (or successfully hiding) content that is profane or otherwise inappropriate for work. Your friends may love your party pics, but a hiring manager will not.

4. Sometimes it is not about what you know, but who you know. If you know someone in the company, you are more likely to be selected for an interview. It is crucial to create these relationships before applying to the company. Try taking a hiring manager or current employee out to coffee. This allows you to learn more about the company and build a relationship that can help you get your foot in the door.

5. Come to an interview ready to sell your abilities. While interviews vary based on the company, interviewer and open position, most interviews cover the candidates background and relevant experience (Click here for Frequently Asked Interview Questions). Come prepared to enthusiastically convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the position. After the interview, follow up at your discretion. If the interviewer stated an exact time they would correspond with a decision, the candidate should not follow up before that given time. Respect the fact that hiring professionals have busy schedules and have a lot of candidates to correspond with. Thank you notes and emails are appreciated, but following up via telephone may annoy some hiring professionals.

OpenSesame has a variety of courses geared toward helping you land your dream job. Here are some suggested courses:


Frequently Asked Interview Questions

1. Describe your strengths and weaknesses.

2. Considering your education and work experience, why do you feel you are qualified for this job?

3. What do you see as the value of belonging to professional organizations?

4. Why did you apply for this job?

5. What is your philosophy of collection development?

6. Do you like working with people?

7. Do you have any experience with audio-visual materials?

8. Do you have any experience in setting up displays?

9. How do you feel that your education has prepared you for this job?

10. Where do you expect to be professionally in five years?

11. How would you handle a person who objects to a sex education book on the shelf?

12. How would you handle a question over the phone that you can’t answer immediately?

13. Is there any time that you would refuse to answer a patronís request?

14. If we ask your present supervisor what your present strengths are, what would he/she say?

15. Why should we hire you?

16. Name two books you have read within the past two months and describe one of them as though you were recommending it to a patron to read. Why would they want to read it?

17. What qualities do you think we should look for in a prospective reference librarian?

18. Considering your working career, tell about the most stressful event you ever faced, and how you coped with it.

19. Picture this: It is 5:00 PM and you are relieving the day shift. You are the only reference librarian on the desk and the following are waiting for help. In what order would you answer them and why?

a. A young child with a homework assignment

b. A trivia question; the contest is on now.

c. A woman who has just read Jannette Daileyís latest book and wants a recommendation for a similar book

d. An elderly couple wanting advice on how to do their genealogy.

e. The city managerís office is on the telephone.

20. What did you do to prepare for this interview?

21. What is your style of leadership?

22. Describe your ideal job.

23. What was your most challenging supervisory experience?

24. What do you like most about archival work?

25. Describe differences among patrons in a public library, an academic library, and a special library.

26. If you were assisting a person at the reference desk and the telephone rang, what would you do?

27. After you have eliminated the backlog, how do you see this job as challenging to you? What will motivate you to come to work?

28. Why did you elect to attend the University of South Carolina?

29. Why did you choose librarianship as a career?

30. Can you tell us about a particularly tense or chaotic situation at the reference desk and how you handled the incident?

31. What would you do if you heard a staff member provide a patron with an incorrect answer?

32. Tell us about a team or group project you have worked on and how you have contributed to it.

33. Tell us about your experience with information technology.

34. Why are you interested in this particular career?

35. What strengths do you bring to a reference position and what areas would you like to improve?

36. What are the things you particularly like about your present job?

37. What was your most important work-related accomplishment in the past year?

38. What contributions could you make to our library?

39. How would you describe your management philosophy?

40. What type of management style do you prefer?

41. What sorts of people do you enjoy working with most?

42. What kinds of situations do you find stressful?

43. What would you do if you were at the desk and both the phones were ringing and there were three or four patrons already waiting and a demanding professor interrupted?

44. Outline your science background, including: science coursework, library school coursework in science reference, and science library experience.

45. What is your public service experience, including bibliographic instruction, reference desk, and collection development?

46. What is your knowledge and/or experience of library technology?

47. How does this position fit into the career path you have set for yourself?

48. Give us an example of a time in which you felt you were able to build motivation in your coworkers or fellow students in school.

49. Describe the most significant achievement or written project/presentation/report which you have had to complete.

50. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a librarian?

51. Give us an example you did in a former job that contributed to a teamwork environment.

52. What would you do if you were unsure of how to answer a reference question?

53. What are your current research interests?

54. The role of the reference librarian and the reference department has changed a lot in the past five years and will probably continue to change. How do you see reference service changing in the next five years?

Is Your Content Mobile Friendly?

Common Guidelines for Mobile Website Design

* Keep file sizes small for better load times.

* Make sure your graphics fit the phone space.

* Most important information at the top: Name, Address, Phone, Directions, Map.

* Make efficient, easy to read use of space. Don’t clutter.

* Don’t make users scroll horizontally.

* Use good contrast with text and background.

*Use click to call for phone number.

* Show only the most important buttons for navigation. Make them big enough. Put the buttons in easy thumb zones.

* Edit content for most relevant.

* Use bullet points.

Want to learn to make money online?  Click here.

A Much Maligned Business Model

What is the direct sales business model?  The ‘dirty word’ of business? Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)? A pyramid?

Think Mary Kay or Tupperware or Amway.   These are companies where the products and services are sold in person by entrepreneurial sales reps, who make a commission on those sales, but also get paid for sales made by people they bring into the business.  The incentive then is to sell the product and build a team – helping others to sell and build their own teams.

What’s the attraction?

For the business that creates the products, there are many:  no expenses for brick and mortar stores; wide scale distribution; the potential for viral growth; a sales force that invests in marketing; a sales force that is paid on performance not salary and who’s training is done at their own level.


For the sales reps, there are also many advantages: start your own business; flexible hours; the potential for serious income; back end infrastructure already in place; intellectual property and products already in place without having to create your own; national/international data on sales; marketing materials and tools available; training; mentoring and support.


Direct marketing companies will have one or more regularly scheduled conferences per year where everyone gathers in a large convention space for business in a party atmosphere.  Reps learn about new products, get new selling and marketing tips, listen to inspiring “if I can, you can” stories from their peers worldwide, and see the new tools the company is unveiling to take advantage of leverage and Internet Marketing.


In his book, “The Warren Buffet Way,” Warren himself extolled his enthusiasm for direct sales companies stating that his best investment ever, dollar for dollar, was in the Pampered Chef, a direct sales kitchen equipment company.  Not,  as one might guess, Geico, Amex or Coca-Cola.  Warren Buffet and his company Berkshire Hathaway, now own several direct sales companies under a management group called Scott Fetzer Companies, going all the way back to Kirby Vacuums.


Direct sales model negatives: Companies often end up promoting low end products, forcing reps to seek out high volume opportunities to make any money. Mainly the emphasis falls on recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. This can lead to churn and high turn over with salespeople often ending up with a closet full of unsold goods that had to be purchased up front.


Direct sales model positives:  Low capital expenditures because of no brick and mortar;  customer acquisition happens at the time of sale, not up front with expensive ad campaigns.  Reps can be in business with low investment because all the infrastructure is in place.  They can spend more time finding new customers and less time working on systems.  There is a high touch component that can help, especially in luxury or high ticket categories.  Reps know their customer’s needs and desires, profiles, budgets, etc. Annual conventions are as much of a motivational seminar as a professional conference. You get the big earners sharing their stories, encouraging everyone and building belief that it can be done.


Some of the same dynamics as franchising, only in direct sales, it’s franchising on steroids.  Direct sales also builds strong brand identity, has efficient front and back end systems and offers training and support.  By selling directly to the consumer, you can cut out the middleman of wholesale and retail and have margin left for commissions. By training and nurturing sales reps, a company can be sure that the brand is preserved and inspire trust in the customer base.


But, you can’t treat it as just a numbers business.  Technology is crucial and you have to embrace all media: email, social, video, custom Apps. But you have to remember that if you don’t build the relationships with people at all levels, the business won’t happen.  It is high touch.

Want to find out about selling direct to consumers?  Want to make money online?  Click here for more information.


On Page SEO for Blogs

Are you neglecting important Search Engine Optimization?

Here is a check list to use before you hit “Publish” on that valuable content you just created.  You may not use them all, but the more the merrier.


Key word density   (4% is probably too much)

Keyword usage in header and title tags

Prevalence and spread of the keyword throughout the page

Keyword is in image alt-text

Keyword in the starting few sentences (and last) of the first paragraph

Keyword  in the URL

Use  synonyms and similar words throughout

Build an internal link to other pages

Use keyword in H1, H2, H3 tags

Use Bold, Italicized, Underlined for keywords

Use rel=nofollow for external links



Facebook Tip

Here’s a tip from a Social Media expert  Sarah Garrison using your business page and your personal page:


Facebook requires you have a personal account to create a business page, you will always have to use your personal page to get to your business page. So seeing both on your hoot suite account is perfectly normal. You do not have to select your personal profile. Once you have signed onto Facebook through hoot suite you can select only your business page.

You can find more from Sarah at her blog:  http://www.garrisonmarketing.com/social-blog  Thank you Sarah!


Social Media Trends this Year

I found some interesting tips on Social Media for 2013.  These came from Edelman Digital.

What’s the first tip to be aware of:  Optimize you social content to make it easy to use and share on mobile phones, tablets, computers and TV’s.

Here are the others – (click on text to enlarge)

Social Media Tips 2013







Social Media Tips for 213












If you want to learn how to market on the Internet and make it pay,

click here to check out Empower Network.

Networking “Rules”


I got these from a presentation I heard by Jordan Adler, author of Beach Money.


Here are some ‘rules’ of networking that you should be aware of:


*  Even though this is the era of high tech, don’t forget the high touch.  Build relationships not sales funnels.


*  Networking is not get rich quick.  It’s farming, not hunting.


*  Products and services go viral because of word of mouth.  People must know, like and trust you.


*  If you don’t put relationships first, the business won’t be there.


*  Look for prospects that a) have a list of contacts that know, like and trust them, and b) know people who want to improve their lives in some way.


*  People are more likely to business with you if you invest time and interest in them.


*  People will get involved on their schedule, not necessarily yours.  You want them to sign up when they are ready, otherwise they won’t do the work.


*  Get personal. Build relationships.  People will join a friend rather than some stranger on the Internet.


And here are some tips from author Johah Berger’s new book:   Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster, 2013)

Companies/products go viral when there are:


1)  Social currency         people will use your product if it makes them feel special or ahead of curve

2)  Triggers                    your product must become a part of every their daily lives, be used/thought of regularly

3)  Emotional impact      they’ll evangelize your product if it effects them emotionally, solves a problem or brightens their day

4)  Visibility                   your product must have a distinct feature, color, shape so people notice and recognize it

5)  Practical value          your product must have many advantages, it helps users be more effective

6)  Stories                     they must be able to tell your story, explain your benefits