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​​Tittle's Top Ten

Tittle's top ten: Ways to get fired

David Tittle   Contributing Writer

Face it. At least for a while, it's a buyer's market when it comes to hiring and firing. Here are some sure-fire ways to stand out from the crowd when management decides who will stay and who will go:

1.    Use the office phones and Internet access for lots of personal use; after all, you have a life too. And when you talk with your friends, use the speakerphone so you'll have your hands free to shop online.

2.    Take public credit for your co-workers ideas. And regularly question your boss's ideas -- publicly.

3.    Complain loudly and often to co-workers about the company instead of suggesting improvements. It's very therapeutic.

4.    Tell customers what you really think about the company. And don't forget online chat rooms for spreading the word.

5.    Summer is meant to be enjoyed, so come in late and leave early, especially on Fridays and Mondays.

6.    Leave copies of your resume on the printer and post your resume online. Your boss probably never looks anyway.

7.    Take home massive amounts of office supplies. You bring home work sometimes; and anyway, that's why the company buys so much.

8.    Inflate your experience and your salary on your resume (the company may use a security firm to verify information).

9.    Enjoy your weekend. And then spend most of Monday going from office to office telling your co-workers about it.

10.  Refuse to buy Girl Scout cookies from your boss's daughter. After all, today's the first day of your diet.

Copyright(c) American City Business Journals Inc.  All rights reserved.


Tittle's top ten: How to schmooze with the best of them​

David Tittle   Contributing Writer

If you are on the hunt in the current job market, you should heed Woody Allen, who said 80 percent of success is "just showing up." That means showing up at good networking events. Fortunately, there are plenty in the D.C. area. Choose carefully and follow these guidelines:

1.    Get there as soon as registration opens. If you arrive when the event is starting, you're too late. The only people you will meet are those at your table.

2.    Find out who's coming. Check the registration list or the name badges on the table. Zero in on companies that interest you. That's what you're paying for, not the little doughnuts.

3.    Speaking of eating, minimize your trough time. First, it's hard to make a good impression while balancing a pyramid of meatballs and chicken nuggets. Second, it robs you of networking time. Third, it's fattening.

4.    Go easy on the alcohol. It's hard to meet people when you're face down in the brie.

5.    Create a 30-second "elevator" speech. Memorize it cold. When attendees ask, give them a rap that speaks to your ability to help their company.

6.    Minimize small talk. Unless you are interviewing to be a trail guide, don't spend a lot of time discussing your trip to Colorado.

7.    Don't socialize. Sure, it's tempting to find a spot near the chicken wings and dish about your old boss, but you are there to schmooze with new people.

8.    Bring plenty of business cards. Get good ones printed on expensive stock, not the flimsy ones from your computer.

9.    Bring resumes. But don't hand them out unless someone asks for one.

10.  Enjoy yourself. Sure, networking is work, but no one said you can't have fun.

Copyright(c) American City Business Journals Inc.  All rights reserved.


Tittle’s Top Ten: How to Wow ‘Em at a Job Interview During an Economic Downturn

David Tittle   Contributing Writer

Layoffs and fewer job opportunities have made the Washington job scene a buyer’s market; there is a glut of good candidates.  Relax, with all of the layoffs, if you are out there looking, you’re probably one of them. As always, though, landing a good job means going through the dreaded job interview.  Some of them are friendly.  Others are meat grinders.  In any case, here are ten tips for wowing ‘em and making them want to call you for a return visit.

1.    Research, research, research.  Know the company cold. Find out what its pain points are and be ready to explain how you can help ease them. 

2.    Be on time.  Arrive 10 minutes early so you won’t be huffing and puffing into the office at the appointed hour.

3.    People are human.  Most of them will decide within the first five minutes whether they want to hire you.  Be yourself -- but not the same YOU that your wacky beach house friends find so adorable.

4.    Demonstrate a sense of humor, but don’t do 20 minutes of standup about your off-the-wall family.  Stay focused.

5.    Prepare a great, 30-second speech on your accomplishments on the job and elsewhere. 

6.    Listen more than you talk.  There is nothing an interviewer likes better than the sound of his own voice.

7.    Be ready to explain why you are leaving – or left – your last job.  Don’t disparage your old manager or the company.  It sounds unprofessional, -- even if your old boss has a well-earned reputation for being a horse’s ass.

8.    Be honest, but don’t pour your heart out.  If the interviewer asks you “What is your biggest weakness?” pause thoughtfully, and say, “I guess I set my goals very high and tend to work too many hours.”  It sounds better than, “I can’t even face the day until noon.”

9.    If you want the job, ask for it.  A less-qualified, but enthusiastic candidate, will beat a more qualified, but seriously attitude-challenged candidate every time.

10.  Treat the receptionist and other support people at the employer’s office with respect.  If you dis them they will tell the interviewer and wreck your chances.  Besides, it’s not nice. 

Copyright(c) American City Business Journals Inc.  All rights reserved.


Tittle's top ten: Signs your company is about to downsize​

David Tittle   Contributing Writer

Meteorologists claim, you can tell when you’re about to get hit by lightening: The little hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up, a sure sign that the air around you has become electrically charged.

Ditto for the workplace. You can tell when your company is about to go into a downsizing storm and start zapping employees (although by the time the little hairs stand up on your neck, you’re probably already in the middle of your exit interview), Here are ten sure-fire ways to predict that your company is about to ignite the firing fireworks.

1.    You go out to dinner and see one of your company’s investors waiting tables.

2.    You’re offered a lateral promotion to open an office in Haiti.

3.    You get a call from a recruiter who says he was referred by your ‘boss.

4.    Last year’s holiday party was at The Inn at Little Washington. This year: The Vienna inn.

5.    Your CFO went to the Grand Caymans on business six weeks ago and hasn’t been heard from since.

6.    Your face is removed from the company group photo.

7.    The venetian blind cords in the HR office have been made into little hangman’s nooses.

8.    The company starts charging for coffee.

9.    People start measuring your office and trying out the furniture.

10.  Your intern is given your seat at the staff meeting.

Copyright(c) American City Business Journals Inc.  All rights reserved.


Tittle’s top 10: Attracting talent

David Tittle   Contributing Writer

Rounding up a top-notch team is hard work. if only we could use a few of those sniffer dogs the airports use and -  voila! - a team of experienced and talented people.

To build a top team, get back to the basics. Here are 10 tips.

1.    Make sure employees understand your business plan and can communicate it,

2.    Be specific and realistic about the job you are filling.

3.    Don’t be afraid to hire overqualified and pricey talent if you need theft skills. The best people are in demand - and worth it in any market.

4.    Don’t shy from the unemployed. In this market, their reasons may have nothing to do with competence or commitment

5.     Look outside the traditional areas. Be on the lookout in every professional and social setting.

6.    Reward company referrals well. These generally are your best hires.

7.    Offer competitive salaries, good benefits and a career path.

8.    Pay for high performance.

9.    Stick to the 401(k), ditch the 320i. Those days are over. Ditto for stock options.

10.  Don’t take advantage unfairly just because you can afford to be selective now.

Copyright(c) American City Business Journals Inc.