To be perfectly honest, I signed on to review this book for Blogcritics for one reason and one reason only: I need the help. As passionate as I am about writing, I just haven't been able to fulfill my dream of actually getting paid to do it full time. Writing may be my passion, but it is also undeniably a tough game to break into on the kind of level where you can afford to quit your day job.
Still I keep on trying to find that dream job of writing full-time.
So as someone who has gone on more job interviews this year than probably at any other point in my life, I've come to one inescapable conclusion. It's tough out there. Not just with writing jobs, but everywhere. And job interviews these days are another animal entirely.
In the good old days, employers already had a pretty good read on your skills and experience by the time they read your resume and completed the background check. Once you were in the door, the interview itself was usually more about sizing up your personality, attitude and the all-around likability factor. If they liked you, you were pretty much in.
Not so much these days. Today's job interview can be very much the grueling ordeal. These interrogations can take hours upon hours and you could find yourself being grilled by a room full of suits with more the look of a jury than your next potential bosses. Or better yet, being shifted from office to office for the ever-fun "round robin" interview method.
And the questions can be just brutal. One of my favorites that employers seem to love asking is the proverbial "What is the worst job you have ever had and why?" I've often been tempted to answer that being unemployed is the worst job I've ever had because of the fact I have to endure being grilled by assholes like you right now. So far I haven't given in to that temptation (though I've so wanted to a few times). But you can see where I might be able to use the advice offered in a book like Hire Me, Inc.
The author, Roy J. Blitzer, is an executive management consultant with more than 28 years behind him. In other words, the guy knows his stuff. So this book is a rare chance to get let in on some of those "secrets of the trade" coming from the other side of the interview table. In Hire Me, Inc., Blitzer takes the rather unique approach of looking at securing employment in the same way a corporation would roll out a new product from start to finish.
The book is laid out in much the step-by-step process that somebody like Microsoft, for example, might use in launching a new product like Zune. If that sounds complicated, it's really not.
Blitzer lays it all out in a very easy — even entertaining — style with simple instructions from start to finish. Many of these, such as writing cover letters and resumes, come complete with samples that the perspective hopeful can even adopt as a template. There is also a series of self-analysis exercises designed to determine things like strengths, weaknesses, and where you may or may not be the best fit.
This is all laid out in a style that is easy to follow while also being very informative and potentially useful. Hire Me, Inc. is broken down into eight specific chapters covering each step of the process from determining who you are and what you want (The Product) to finally landing the job itself (Product Implementation).
In the chapter titled "Research and Development," Blitzer goes over the various resources available to job seekers from the newspaper classifieds to internet sites like Monster and Craigslist. He also offers some great inside tips on things to watch out for – particularly with regard to those internet job boards. You mean people actually post fake job listings? Say it ain't so!
In "Packaging," Blitzer focuses on the essentials of preparing yourself to put on your best possible face in an interview situation. The obvious things like personal appearance and resumes are covered here, as well as a couple of surprises (or at least they were to me). I had no idea jobseekers were using personal business cards these days, for example. Another interesting tip here comes in regard to cover-letters as Blitzer has a template for one complete with tables that measure a company's requirements with the applicant's qualifications. Again, I had never seen it done this way before.
In the chapter on "Marketing" (remember we are talking about the idea of you being a product here), the various channels for opportunity are discussed with a particular focus placed on networking. Now that one didn't surprise me which I'm thankful for, as I was starting to feel a little behind the eight ball.
But the stuff that is golden here is the chapter on "Successful Sales" as Blitzer takes you through everything you need to ace the interview.
Every possible question — including those most brutal ones interviewers seem to favor so much these days — is broken down and picked apart. Blitzer reveals the mindset of the interviewer here, including why the questions are asked, what the interviewer is really looking for, and most importantly how (and how not) to answer them.
He tells you how to prepare for the interview with regard to everything from your research to your final presentation. The various interview styles are also covered including both the dreaded group (trial by jury) and round robin methods. He also reveals what questions are improper, and even illegal, as well as how to handle those if asked.
I've read a lot of these types of "How To" manuals on getting a job over the past year. And to be honest, I found the majority of them to be utterly useless. Hire Me, Inc., on the other hand, should be considered nothing less than required reading for anyone seeking opportunities in today's corporate jungle.
With this book's acquired knowledge under my belt, I know I will be entering into my next interview situation (whenever that may be) with a lot more confidence. Wish me luck.