Monday, February 28, 2011


I walk out to my reception area and and am greeted by my ideal candidate...we'll call her Beth. Polished, put together, big smile, firm handshake. Then I take a look at the resume...EQUALLY as fabulous....I can already smell the leather on my new Louboutins.

We sit down to debrief. I tell her that I need to bring in one of the other recruiters because I think she has a great job for her. My colleague comes in and asks Beth a few questions. At this point, Beth can only be talking to her imaginary friend because she does not look at my colleague ONCE even though she's "answering" her questions. She also can't get to the point and doesn't talk in coherent sentences. My colleague says she'll keep her in mind as her desk is a bit slow right now. She then walks out of the interview room and all but gives me the finger...but I, flashing back to Beth's fabulous first impression, am not convinced she's unplaceable.

I bring Beth into another colleague's office. I ask her to take a seat and walk away to grab a tissue only to return to Beth in HYSTERICS. Between the cursing and her telling us she got her period this morning (YES I'M SERIOUS), I think I'm in a bad dream. She goes on a tirade about the other assistant she works with. But in the next breath, tells us she loves her. She also love the company she works for and feels like a "spoiled bitch" for wanting to move on to a new position. She doesn't want to disappoint her boss and yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah...At this point, I feel like I'm filming an episode of "In Treatment." She's now covered in blotches and is banging through a box of tissues like there was a million dollars at the bottom.

As the tears continue, I cut her off midsentence with three words..."We're all replaceable!" No matter how much you love your job and how much you THINK your boss/company/colleagues LOVE you, you're seat won't be retired. Executives need assistants, phones need to be answered, offices need to be run. These positions are the guts of a company so if you decide to vacate one of these, someone else will GLADLY take your place.

The same goes for when a candidate asks me if a position is promotable. "Positions are NOT promotable...PEOPLE are!" In other words, if you're good at what you do, you'll be rewarded. But someone WILL fill your vacancy. Plain and simple.

When I was 23 and working at my favorite job of all times, I had the BEST boss. We got along so well and she taught me so much about corporate America and the bullshit bureaucracy that comes with it. Whenever I was frustrated, she was quick to remind me that everyone is expendable and you need to look out for yourself. Always do your best and keep your eye on the prize...whether it be a raise/promotion, a special award or just knowing that you were behind an amazing project, do your job and do it well. And when the foundation starts to show cracks, make sure you get out before the house falls. That was a long time ago but to this day, I always remember those words. I work really hard at what I do, and I'm really good at it. But I never take for granted the fact that I do it better than everyone else or that I'm irreplaceable. I'd be a fool if I thought otherwise...and If you think I'm crazy, you might want to talk to Camille Grammer.

Good night and happy job hunting,
The Job Yenta

Monday, February 14, 2011


Nothing drives me crazier than bad service. If you're going to work in a restaurant for a living (or to make money while you try to become an actor/actress/model) then be good at it. I was both a hostess and a waitress and while grueling, it's NOT rocket science.

This past weekend, I was on LBI with very dear friends of mine to celebrate our birthdays. As our childless weekend drew to a close, we decided to have breakfast at Uncle Will's Pancake House...quite the establishment (and the only damn restaurant that was open). After we sat for a few minutes, over walks our waitress. Clothes about 15lbs too tight; Uggs; Hair piled on top of her head. Wreaking of patchouli. Cute right? Not when you're 60! Now g-d bless her for dressing how she wants, and I wouldn't have even noticed, had she been a good waitress. But since I had to search for her everytime I needed something, it was hard not to take note. It took her FOREVER to come over and say hello. All the tables around us got their food before we did (and they got there after us); she brought our meals ONE AT A TIME; the food was cold; and she spent more time flirting with my husband than she did refilling my coffee cup. We had to ask repeatedly for butter, ketchup and the check. So when it was time to tip her, I'm the first one to say screw you...hate me if you want, TIPS is an acronym for a reason:


So show me the service and I'll show you the money.

And this rule goes for all jobs. If you're going to do something, do it 100%...or else, don't do it. Do your due diligence BEFORE accepting a job so you don't end up doing something you hate. Fully vet the person selling you the job. Note - this is not a license to GRILL them (don't go all "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH" on their ass). A few inquiries into why they love the company and their job is completely appropriate. Ask questions. Research the company. Network and find a friend of a friend's third cousin's girlfriend who works at said company. The more you can find out BEFORE you accept the job, the better. And this is where I (or any other recruiter) can be incredibly resourceful. We know our clients better than anyone and know who will and won't work there. So be sure you are candid and honest with whomever you are working with. Tell them all the things you loved AND hated about your current/last job so they can find you the right fit. The more information you provide, the better shot you have of finding a "home" for the next 10-15 years.

We spend more time at work then anywhere else, so if you're unhappy, look inward. People who complain about the people they work with, their bosses and everything else related to their job, usually aren't good at what they do or are not doing what they love and that's why they have so much time on their hands to complain. If you focus on why you're there - whether it's to support your family, yourself or your Prada habit, work is a necessary evil, so you may as well make the best of it. As my father used to say, "If work was fun, it would be called something else." He also said to do what you love in life and then it wouldn't be work. Why choose a profession that makes you miserable? More often than not, people will tell me they took their job for the money. But remember, a high paying job might buy the latest Louboutins, but misery looks just as ugly in five inch heels.

Good night and happy job hunting,
The Job Yenta

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I love interviewing a candidate where I don't say ONE word after my initial question...which makes it more like a confessional than an interview. I start by asking..."So Alice, why did you leave your last job?" And let the games begin. As I sit and stare in amazement, 10 minutes have passed before she comes up for air. What's funny is that after 30 seconds, you sound like Charlie Brown's teacher to me. These soliloquies will get you a firm handshake, a nice smile and an, "I'll do what I can..."

When you come in to meet with me, I always have an agenda. There are certain facts that I need to obtain for my clients and certain questions I need to ask so as to formulate a "profile" of what it is you're looking for in your next job. Everything else you add, is really unnecessary and a waste of both of our times. I'm not trying to be rude because I like to chat as much as the next yenta, but with so few hours in the day, and so much to do, I need to get to the point. And your interview with me is DEFINITELY a window into how you'll interact with my clients. If you ramble, don't answer my questions or don't let me get a word in edgewise, chances are you will do the same thing to my clients which means I won't present you for a job! Wasting my time, while annoying and often frustrating, is one thing; wasting my CLIENT'S time, pisses them off and in turn infuriates me.

When you are interviewing with one of my clients you should be prepared with the following:

1. Why you left all of your former positions. These answers should be succinct and should in no way incriminate anyone you've worked for. "My boss is a BASTARD" is NEVER acceptable. I once had a candidate tell my client that she left her last boss because she was a paranoid schizophrenic. TMI my friend, TMI!!! Ready for a change, laid off, or professional instability within the company are all acceptable reasons for putting yourself out there.

2. Your strengths. Talking about your strengths might seem like an easy thing to do, but your answer should be relevant to the job you're applying for. Bench pressing 350lbs is only impressive to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jillian from The Biggest Loser. My financial clients could give a shit. They also don't care if everyone in the office LOVED you...I remember in college, if the only thing positive someone could say about you was that you were nice, then they really didn't have anything positive to say. Amazing attention to detail; saying "yes" and then figuring out how to do something; leaving no stone unturned; being the "go to "person for all tech questions...those are all GREAT answers!

3. Your weaknesses. Chocolate, tabloids and Taye Diggs, while funny are not the answers they are looking for. Ideally, no one wants to admit their weaknesses, regardless of how many you may or may not have, but most of my clients want you to be truthful. Because once you answer the question, they are hoping that you will explain how you overcame said weakness. Here's an example: I have a hard time saying "No" when someone asks me for help. This causes me to work more hours than necessary, and can leave me frustrated and lethargic. So what I've started doing is prioritizing the requests and only taking on "x"/week. Therefore, if someone needs something, but it's not for a few days, I don't have to say no, but instead tell them that it won't be tended to until set date and will be ready when they need it. Weakness admitted and resolved :)

4. Where do you see yourself in 5/10 this answer may seem obvious to some (ie - with a reputable company, like this, advancing myself both personally and professionally). But I had one candidate, whom I LOVE and have placed multiple times, lose herself in the moment and say, "Raising my daughter in the South of France." While it might sound chic and fabulous to your friends, to a potential employer, it means you don't plan on dying at the company and therefore they have no interest in hiring you.

5. Do you have any questions for me. It is important to go into an interview with a few preconceived questions regarding the company and the position in general. And by a few, I mean no more than three. The rest of your questions should come from the actual interview. If you try and memorize your questions, you might miss if one of them gets answered. So ulitmately, formulate your questions as you go along and don't be afraid to ask them during the interview as opposed to at the end. A majority of my clients love when the interview is conversational as opposed to a Q and A session.

Interviews should not be used for the following:

1. Bad mouthing your boss/co-worker/spouse/boyfriend/children/the receptionist
2. Confessing how much you hate working for a living and that all you really want to do is star on the "Real Housewives of Staten Island."
3. Hormonal outbursts. That's right...I've had candidates cry right there in HR...please don't forget to take your prozac before you interview. While some may be sympathetic, tears automatically disqualify you from just about ANY job you interview for.
4. Making connections. When you interview for a specific job, don't think it's a stepping stone for something else. If a recruiter even gets the slightest scent of ladder climbing...don't let the doorknob hit you in the ass on the way out!
5.The opportunity to sell/pitch anything other than yourself. Personal websites, girl scout cookies for your daughter, or sponsoring your son for his local read-a-thon, are big NO NOs.

Ultimately, if you prepare in advance, take the time to do your research, and know what you bring to the table, there is no reason why you shouldn't ace EVERY single interview you go on.

Be confident; not cocky.
Spit out your gum.
Have great eye contact.
And wipe those sweaty palms before ANY handshake.

Good night and happy job hunting,

The Job Yenta

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


My favorite question on my application is - Have you ever been convicted of a crime or misdemeanor? If yes, when? Usually, it's blank, but nothing gets me more excited then when I see that it's filled out. Because with each crime, there's always a great story.  One of my all time favorites read, "Will explain in person..." As soon as she sat down, she launched into her tale of woe...
A few years ago, my boyfriend and I moved to Saratoga as he had a store up there. One night we had a big fight and he left. I was so distraught, I took too many ambien and passed out. My 10 year old daughter called 911 and I was arrested for child endangerment. I mean, I'd never taken a pill in my life...

As I nodded in disbelief, I was caught between a state of sympathy AND hysterics...NEVER taken a pill in her life...I knew she took pills when she shook my hand...

So I got my daughter back and my boyfriend and I decided to split. LONG PAUSE. And then last week my puppy was killed...

At this point she starts to cry...

"OH NO!!!!!" (Animal stories ALWAYS pull at my heartstrings)."What happened?"

"I was at my boyfriend's house getting my things and his father killed the dog."

"ON PURPOSE????!!!????!!???"

At this point she's completely hysterical and simply nods her head the way my 4-year old does when I ask her if she hurt her keppie (that's Yiddish for head).
"What do you mean he KILLED the DOG?"

"He ran him over with the car..."

"You have to be kidding me!"

"Nope...he did. And I was so upset that I didn't know what to do with myself so I drove to the nearest bar. I had two glasses of wine...and on my way home got pulled over FOR DWI!!!! I had never been drunk in my life..."

I instantly looked for hidden cameras because you can't make this shit up...

In my ten years of recruiting, I've never been speechless...after this interview, I can never say that again. First, I handed her a tissue. Then, after we finished talking about her career in fashion, I explained that her record should not hold her back as long as she's honest with potential employers. She didn't need to include ALL the details, but just what each conviction was for (OY VEY!).

This holds true for all of my candidates. The bottom line is we all have pasts...some more illustrious than others, but no one's perfect. So if asked, or if you know a client is going to do a background check, be sure to tell everything up front. Whether it's bad credit, a DWI or even a misdemeanor for shoplifting with your pledge sisters, as long as you're honest, most employers won't care.

When I first started recruiting, I had a great candidate, right out of school who landed an AMAZING job at an established financial company. As he was filling out their background check, he called me to say he had been busted with drugs in college. I said was it a joint or 6lbs of cocaine? He said it was a few hits of ecstasy. I told him not to worry and to just mention it accordingly.

He got the job.

Three months later, the company felt he was doing so well, they wanted to promote him. This required a more in depth check. The results revealed that he was convicted of a felony for intent to sell as he was caught with 500 HITS OF ACID!!! Needless to say, he lost the job. And since the Dead stopped touring, he might still be unemployed...I'm not sure. But he didn't lose it for the crime...he lost it for lying.

So always tell the truth...besides setting you free, it will keep you gainfully employed.

Good night and happy job hunting,
The Job Yenta