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The Authentic Me

by Randall Craig on May 10, 2011

Filed in: Blog, Career Planning, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management

Tagged as: , ,

Have you ever listened to a presentation and thought it sounded fake?  Or met someone for the first time, and thought they were different in person when compared to their emails?

Too often, we think that we need to be different people to different audiences:  the stern parent, the loving spouse, the “professional” businessperson, or the potty-mouthed armchair athlete.  As there is only one of us, when we take on different personas, we are actually making life difficult for ourselves – and confusing for others.  They think we are hiding something from them – which is correct: we are trying to be something we are not.  (No more so is this true than on the social web, where for years, people could hide behind the veil of anonymity, and “be” whomever they wanted to be.)

Writers have long worked hard at developing what they call their authentic voice. They realized that to be an effective communicator, they had to be consistent, and that their style of writing – and their content – had to be a personal reflection of who they were.  There was only one of them.

Of course, not everyone reading this is a professional writer.  But still, everything that we do write – from a Facebook comment, to a LinkedIn status update, to a blog post – is archived forever.  Not only are the words archived, but so is the personality who wrote them.  Speakers sound fake if they are not the same on and off the stage.  Writers write poorly if they are not the same in person as they are on the page.  Being the authentic you means being the same no matter the situation, or mode of communication.

This week’s action plan: Are you the same person at work, at home, and when posting in the Social Media?  Odds are that you aren’t; this week strive to become more authentically you – you’ll make a far  better impression, and it’s far easier.

Bonus observation: Too often, the gap between the resume/cover letter and the candidate who shows up for the interview, is huge.  Being authentic applies everywhere, but during the job search process it is especially important.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Reference Check Marks

by Randall Craig on September 18, 2007

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Promotion, Recruitment

Tagged as: ,

Reference checks are probably the most unknown – and sometimes scariest – part of the recruitment process. When someone checks your references, what do they ask? If you are asked to “call the applicant’s references”, what questions should you use?

Essentially, reference checks are used to verify resume and interview information, look for “red flags”, and rank close final candidates. They are used for new hires, and also internally for promotion candidates. Here is a list of typical questions:

  1. What is your relationship to the applicant (former colleague, manager, etc)?
  2. Are you related to the applicant?
  3. How many years have you known the applicant?/How long were they employed by you?
  4. How often do you have contact with the applicant?
  5. Where has the applicant been employed?
  6. What was their title? Can you describe the applicant’s responsibilities?
  7. On their resume one of their accomplishments is listed as ____; is this accurate?
  8. Strong points?
  9. Challenges?
  10. Is the applicant professional in manner and appearance?
  11. Are you aware of any history of inappropriate behavior?
  12. How would you rate the applicant’s communication skills; both verbal and written?
  13. How does the applicant handle stress and/or pressure?
  14. Any reason to question the applicant’s trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, or reliability?
  15. Would you recommend the applicant?
  16. Any additional comments?

Clearly, if a reference is going to say something negative, it’s best that you ‘fess up beforehand, complete with explanation. If you don’t come clean in the interview, you’ll be hurt twice: once for the negative issue, and a second time for attempting to “conceal” it.

If you are asked to call for references, don’t just limit yourself to these questions: if there was an area in the interviews that needs corroboration, ask the references about it.

This week’s action item: Go through each of these questions, and answer them in writing about yourself. If you can’t give yourself check marks for each one, don’t expect your references to.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)