The smart way to let your boss know you’re running late to work

By Ladan Nikravan Hayes | March 22, 2018

Being late doesn’t impress employers, and repeated tardiness could cause your employer to no longer see you as dependable – or worse, get you fired.

You likely think your boss understands that life happens and that there are going to be days that you arrive late to work. After all, cars break down, alarms fail to go off and traffic slows. But according to a new CareerBuilder survey, the majority of employers (60 percent) say they expect employees to be on time every day, and more than 2 in 5 (43 percent) have fired someone for being late.

What’s the reason?

In general, the usual suspects are to blame for why employees are late to work: traffic (51 percent), oversleeping (31 percent), bad weather (28 percent), too tired to get out of bed (23 percent) and forgetting something (13 percent). But sometimes the excuses can be much wackier. When asked about the most outrageous excuses employees have given them for being late, employers shared the following:
•It’s too cold to work.
•I had morning sickness (it was a man).
•My coffee was too hot and I couldn’t leave until it cooled off.
•An astrologer warned me of a car accident on a major highway, so I took all backroads, making me an hour late.
•My dog ate my work schedule.
•I was here, but I fell asleep in the parking lot.
•My fake eyelashes were stuck together.
•Although it has been five years, I forgot I did not work at my former employer’s location and drove there on accident.

So, what do you do if you’re running behind?

If you think you’ll be late: If you know you’re going to be late, the best thing to do is to call the appropriate parties to let them know. Then, enlist someone to cover you, if necessary and possible.

Once you get to work, a sincere apology in person establishes your regret that the situation occurred and that you understand the negative effect your late arrival has on your team and potentially the company’s bottom line.

Once you arrive: Being late is a part of life, and it’s always polite to apologize when it happens. Everybody’s human and makes mistakes, so own up to yours and move on.

If you were exceptionally late, you may need to move on to an apology letter or email. Another reason you may want to choose this option is if your lateness caused a big problem for the company, such as losing a client.

Overall, whether or not you need to address it comes down to company culture. If everyone is diligently working when you come in late every morning, then you probably stand out. If the occasional late arrival is OK according to your culture and policy, you likely won’t be disciplined.

What are the different types of job interviews?

By Debra Auerbach | March 29, 2018

Get tips on how to excel in different types of interviews.

You can find lots of information out there about the traditional one-on-one job interview, but that’s just one way employers are interviewing people these days. Sometimes they use a different type of setting – or a combination of interview tactics – during the hiring process.

Here, we’ve laid out some of the less traditional types of job interviews and how you can excel at each one.


What they are: An informational interview is an exploratory, face-to-face meeting with professionals in your industry – or in an industry you’d like to learn more about – to help you gain insight into the their career path and experiences. These meetings aren’t considered true job interviews, so don’t expect an offer at the end of it.

How to succeed: While this type of interview is less formal than the traditional job interview, you should still prepare by doing research on the person you’re meeting with, the company he or she works for, and any big news or trends influencing the industry. Expect to be the one asking the questions, so come with a list, but don’t feel like you have to stick to it if the conversation goes in a different direction. Just as with a traditional interview, send a thank you note afterwards, but unlike a typical interview, don’t ask for a job, since that wasn’t the objective of the meeting.


What they are: Phone interviews are often conducted as a first-round screening by a recruiter or as a way to connect with someone on the team who works remotely or in a different office.

How to succeed: “Phone interviews are a critical part of the screening process that can help a job seeker land a face-to-face meeting,” says Steve Saah, Global Executive Director with Robert Half Finance & Accounting. “Showcase your interpersonal skills by listening to what’s being asked, pausing and then responding. What you say and how you say it can make a big difference. It may seem obvious, but make sure you’ve done your homework about the company itself and the person interviewing you. It’s important to be a bit more energetic than in person, as the interviewer can’t see eye contact or body language. Let them ‘see you smile’ through the phone.”


What they are: Video interviews are also becoming more common as more employees work remotely. And since most people have capabilities on their smartphones or computers to conduct video calls, they are easy to set up and execute, and still give that “in person” feeling without actually having to be in the same room.

How to succeed: “The best way I recommend to prepare for these types of video interviews is to prepare just like you are going in for an actual in person face-to-face interview,” says Robb Hecht, adjunct professor of marketing at New York City’s Baruch College, who coaches marketing executives, students, small business startups and brand clients to Get Brand Productive. “Of course, a quiet room and professional appearing background are key, as well as ensuring the computer camera [is] properly positioned.”

Hecht says that with the rise of live streaming across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as Millennials’ and Gen Z’s agility with video, interviewing via video is making interviewing less formal and more personality driven. “Just like brands succeeding today are purpose driven, employers are looking for candidates to show how their personalities and passions can align with company purposes in their video interviews,” he says.


What they are: During a group interview, the company interviews several job seekers at the same time. It’s a way to make the hiring process more efficient, but it’s also a way to see how job seekers react in a stressful or group situation.

How to succeed: Saah says that before going into the interview, be sure to have an elevator pitch ready. “How you introduce yourself and the impression you make will matter. At least once during the interview, try to be the first person to answer the interviewer’s question. You don’t want to dominate the group by answering every question first.”


What they are: Panel interviews is another type of group setting, but this time there are multiple decision makers from the company in the room. While intimidating, prepare yourself by asking who will be attending in advance; that way you can do your research and tailor your responses appropriately.

How to succeed: “For a panel interview, maintaining eye contact with each person as they speak is important,” Saah recommends. “This is typically an opportunity to meet different people at the same time, from senior executives and HR contacts to potential co-workers. Remember that it’s a two-way street, so have questions in mind to ask the hiring manager or panel.”

10 tough practice questions — and sample responses — to nail your next big job interview

Don’t get caught without an answer. Come to the interview prepared with these suggestions.

It’s perfectly normal to be both excited and nervous about your big job interview, but sometimes your nerves can get the better of you when the interviewer throws a curveball your way. We’ve rounded up 10 common interview questions and suggested responses so you can feel confident about providing clear and succinct answers.

1. “Tell me about yourself.”

This is often the first question posed during an interview and it’s the perfect opportunity for you to tout your professional accomplishments — not to tell your life history. Your response should be a quick rundown of your qualifications and experience. Talk about your education, work history, recent career experience and future goals.

Suggested answer: “I graduated from University X and since then, I have been working in public relations with an agency where I have generated millions of PR hits for my clients. While I’ve enjoyed working on the agency side, I’m looking to expand my horizons with a corporate PR role.”

2. “Why did you leave your last job?”

This is your chance to talk about your career goals, not to badmouth a former boss or give a laundry list of reasons for your exit. Instead, focus on the skills you learned in your previous role and how you are ready to flex those muscles in a new position.

Suggested answer: “While [company X] provided me a tremendous amount of experience for which I am grateful, it isn’t an ideal fit for me creatively. My experiences have taught me what to look for in my next role so it would be a better fit.”

3. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Let the employer know that you’re stable and you want to be with this company for the long haul. Keep your aspirations of owning a company, retiring at 40 or being married with five children to yourself.

Suggested answer: “I want to secure a civil engineering position with a national firm that concentrates on retail development. Ideally, I would like to work for a young company, such as this one, so I can get in on the ground floor and take advantage of all the opportunities a growing firm has to offer.”

4. “What are your weaknesses?”

The key to answering this age-old question is not to respond literally. Your future employer most likely won’t care if your weak spot is that you can’t cook, nor do they want to hear generic responses, such as “I’m too detail oriented” or “I work too hard.” Instead, identify areas in your work where you can improve, and determine how they can be assets to a future employer. If you didn’t have the opportunity to develop certain skills at your previous job, explain how eager you are to gain those skills in a new position.

Suggested answer: “In my last position, I didn’t have an opportunity to develop my public-speaking skills. I’d really like to work in a place that will help me become a dependable presenter.”

5. “Why were you laid off?”

This is one of the harder questions to answer, but the best way to tackle it is to answer as honestly as possible.

Suggested answer: “As I’m sure you’re aware, mergers and acquisitions in the corporate world can produce unpredictable consequences; unfortunately my company felt the effects of it; I was part of a staff reduction as the result of a reorganization. I am confident, however, that it had nothing to do with my job performance, as exemplified by my accomplishments. For example…”

6. “Tell me about the worst boss you ever had.”

Never paint a negative picture of your previous managers. A potential boss will anticipate that you’ll talk about him or her in the same manner somewhere down the line.

Suggested answer: “While I’ve learned valuable lessons under each of my prior managers, there are some who pushed me to be my best more than others, and I’ve learned which management styles I thrive under.”

7. “How would others describe you?”

You should always ask for feedback from your colleagues and supervisors in order to gauge your performance; this way, you can honestly answer the question based on their comments. Keep track of the feedback so you can easily share it with prospective employers, if asked. Doing so will also help you identify strengths and weaknesses.

Suggested answer: “My former colleagues have said that I’m easy to do business with and that I always hit the ground running with new projects. I have more specific feedback with me, if you’d like to take a look at it.”

8. “What can you offer me that another candidate can’t?”

Take this opportunity to address your record of getting things done. Delve into details from your resume and portfolio, and show them your unique value and how you’d be an asset.

Suggested answer: “I’m the best person for the job. I know there are other candidates who could fill this position, but my passion for excellence sets me apart. I’m committed to always producing the best results. For example…”

9. “If you could choose any company to work for, where would you go?”

Never say that you would choose any company other than the one where you are interviewing. Talk about the job for which you are being interviewed.

Suggested answer: “I wouldn’t have applied for this position if I didn’t sincerely want to work with your organization.” Continue with specific examples of why you respect the company and why you’d be a good fit.

10.”Would you be willing to take a salary cut?”

Salary can be a delicate topic, which is why you should proceed with caution — but answer honestly so as not to waste anyone’s time.

Suggested answer: “I understand that the salary range for this position is [$XX – $XX]. Like most people, I was hoping to earn a higher salary, but I would regret it if I passed up such a golden opportunity to work for a company I admire because of this. That’s why I would be open to negotiating a lower starting salary but hope to revisit the subject in a few months after I’ve proved myself to you.”

How to answer ‘What is your weakness?’ in a job interview

By Debra Auerbach | April 10, 2018

Let’s be honest–everybody hates this question. But you can still answer it right.

Survey a group of job seekers about their least favorite interview question, and the consensus typically is: “What is your biggest weakness?”

It’s seemingly impossible to provide an adequate response to a question like this. You don’t want to twist it around into a positive because then you’re not answering the question, but you also don’t want to confess a flaw that may sabotage your chances of getting hired.

There are better ways for an interviewer to get you to think critically about your skills than asking this question. Karen Southall Watts, a trainer, coach, author and professional encourager for entrepreneurs and managers says that “What are your weaknesses?” is one of her least favorite questions. “It’s been encouraging over the years to see managers move to more situation-based and results-focused questions that serve both [the] candidate and employer better. Yet, it is always wise to prepare for traditional interview questions like this one.”

So, how do you successfully answer the dreaded question?

Avoid the strength disguised as a weakness.
Let’s start with how not to answer this question. While some people may tell you this is an opportunity to share a strength masked as a flaw, that’s not the answer most interviewers are looking for these days.

“Over time, the strategy for answering ‘What is your greatest weakness?’ has changed,” says Donna Shannon, president of Personal Touch Career Services. “The old school method was ‘to turn a weakness into a strength,’ such as ‘I am a perfectionist, so you know my work will always be top quality.’ The modern interviewer wants to hear a real weakness and then dive into how you deal with it.”

James Pollard, owner of a marketing consultancy that works specifically with financial advisors, agrees, saying that when he asks this question in an interview, he does not want to hear the typical strength-disguised-as-a-weakness response. “If you Google how to answer this question, this is what you will see. People recommend saying, ‘I work too hard’ or ‘I’m a perfectionist’. I can see through these answers and I know that if you say something like this, you aren’t being genuine. You’re just giving me a rehearsed answer that you read online.”

Get more interview tips here

Be honest, with a twist.
Interviewers can also easily spot a dishonest response. “Don’t lie! Interviewers are surprisingly adept at seeing through scripted and false answers,” says Rebecca Horan, personal branding expert at Rebecca Horan Consulting LLC. “Be honest – with yourself and your interviewer. But … we all have multiple weaknesses. Choose one that is not going to torpedo your chances of landing the role.”

Instead, Horan says to make it clear that your weakness is something you’ve worked to overcome and won’t hinder your job performance. “Show that you care about personal development. If you’ve struggled in a specific area of expertise but you’re taking a class in it to bolster your skillset, great! Talk about that. If you’ve always turned to jelly at the thought of public speaking but have joined your local Toastmasters chapter or you’re taking an improv class to get more comfortable with speaking in front of a large group, you’ll want to talk about that. Whatever it is, your interviewer should be able to envision the ‘happy ending’ to the story.”

Just don’t self-sabotage.
“Don’t name a weakness that is going to get in the way of [you being able to do] your job successfully, working well with others, or otherwise succeeding in the position for which you’re applying,” Horan cautions. “Be honest, but very selective about which example to use.”

To that end, Shannon also says to avoid choosing a “fatal flaw” – something that would knock you out of the running. “For example, saying that you lack attention to detail when you are interviewing for an accounting position would immediately disqualify you, no matter how good your strategies for dealing with it are.”

Thermostat wars: Too hot or too cold? Where do you stand?

Office temperature: If the temperature in your workspace is an ongoing battle, it could be hurting productivity.

Temperatures across the country are rising, which means temperatures in most offices are going down, turning your hot coffee into an iced one instantly. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, nearly half of workers (46 percent) say their office is either too hot or too cold — and 51 percent say sitting in an office that is too cold impacts their productivity, 67 percent say sitting in an office that is too warm does the same.

Never mind dirty office microwaves, noisy coworkers and battles over the conference room. No workplace dispute is as divisive as where to set the office thermostat. Fifteen percent of workers say they have argued with a coworker about office temperature (7 percent of men vs. 22 percent of women), and nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) have secretly changed the office temperature during the summer—13 percent to make it cooler, 6 percent to make it warmer.

Where the battle is being fought

Broken down by industry, retail has the hottest employees, and health care has the coldest.

Top sectors with office temperature that is too hot
•Retail: 28 percent
•Manufacturing: 23 percent
•Health care: 19 percent
Top sectors with office temperature that is too cold
•Health care: 30 percent
•Retail 24 percent
•Manufacturing: 18 percent

The greatest victory is the battle not fought

Thermostat wars have been being waged since the invention of the thermostat in the 1800s. So while it’s impossible to please everyone, there are steps you can take to create a more comfortable working environment for yourself no matter what you’re feeling. Here are some tip on staying comfortable in unpredictable office temperatures.

Change up your environment: If a particular time of day or office space is too warm or too cold for productive work, talk to your manager about adjusting your work schedule, telecommuting or moving to a conference room for a portion of the day.

Get a personal fan: If you don’t have room for a large fan at your desk, you can opt for a small, smartphone-powered fan to create a comfortable breeze.

Take breaks: It’s almost summer, so enjoy the sun and a little vitamin D. Even if your office temperature isn’t bothering you, a quick break is always a good idea to boost productivity.

Use a heated blanket: Do your office rules prevent you from using a space heater? Try a heated blanket instead. These can be plugged in right under your desk and placed on your lap to keep you warm without looking unprofessional.
By Ladan Hayes | May 23, 2018

Job prospects for new college grads abound, according to a new survey

By Mary Lorenz | May 17, 2018

It’s a good time to be a new college grad, according to CareerBuilder’s latest survey.

Congratulations! You’re a college graduate! No more homework! No more 8 a.m. classes. No more cramming for exams, writing papers or sitting through three-hour lectures. Feels good, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that feeling won’t last.

Because now, instead of worrying about how you’ll ever write 10 pages about the philosophy of Nietzsche, you get to worry about how you’ll pay rent, pay for groceries and pay off all your student loans. Cool stuff, huh?

Well, don’t start panicking just yet. Because it just so happens that your job prospects are looking pretty good this year: According to a new CareerBuilder study, 80 percent of employers plan to hire recent college graduates this year.

Want more good news? The pay is pretty good, too. Nearly half of employers plan to pay new grads higher starting salaries than in previous years. Expected starting salaries for recent college graduates break down as follows:
•Under $30,000: 21 percent
•$30,000 to less than $40,000: 23 percent
•$40,000 to less than $50,000: 22 percent
•$50,000 and higher: 33 percent

The hottest industries and most in-demand majors:
complete article

3 things to know about the May 2018 jobs report

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent in May – the lowest it’s been since April 2000.

The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in May, considerably higher than the median estimate of 190,000, according to Bloomberg.

Here are some of the highlights from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

1. Unemployment is at an historic low

The unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent last month.

Marketwatch: “The unemployment rate fell again to the lowest level since April 2000 as more people found work. The last time the jobless rate was even lower was in 1969.”

Reuters: “U.S. job growth accelerated in May and the unemployment rate dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, pointing to rapidly tightening labor market conditions, which could stir concerns about inflation.”

2. Wages may be inching up

Low unemployment is usually expected to lead to increased wages as the labor market tightens and employers are forced to compete more to attract fewer candidates. This trend hasn’t held in recent jobs reports, but there are signs in this month’s report that wage growth is getting back on track.

NBC News: “Wage growth remained a sticking point in the mainly positive jobs report, with hourly pay up by only 2.7 percent year on year. But with inflation at just over 2 percent, workers are barely feeling any net increase. The current wage growth rate is almost half what would be expected with an unemployment rate this low.”

Business Insider: “Wage growth, which has been depressed during most of this economic recovery, increased by more than expected last month. This signals that the tighter labor market is prompting employers to pay workers more. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% month-on-month (0.2% forecast) and 2.7% year-on-year (2.6% expected).”