Monthly Archive for April, 2004

Quoteblogs follow up

For those not following this issue: I called Scoble’s quoteblog theft. He responded here. Comments followed on his site and mine, and a few other places.

For me, this discussion about full-post quoting on a weblog/aggregator isn’t really about copyright and legality, though I can easily see how the argument can get pushed that way. For me, the argument against full-post quoteblogs is more about ‘the right thing’ to do, just because it’s the right thing to do.

While I never called Robert Scoble’s experimental quoteblog illegal (see Josh Legard’s weblog), I did call it theft. I guess that I inferred it’s illegal, but I should point out that I’m not a lawyer, nor am I personally interested in figuring out what is ‘fair use’ or what is legal with respect to copyright laws. There are plenty of people out there smarter than I am on that subject. I just think that full-post quoteblogs are a bad thing to do, if they’re publicly accessible or spidered by search engines. So, to clarify my position:

I’m against publicly accessible aggregators that post full quotes of the original source material.

That’s what I’m against. Period.

Why?

Russell Beattie does a fantastic job of pointing out the Google connection to quoteblogs that I failed to mention in my first post on this topic. Googlejuice is shared by links. Readers on the web are shared by links. Posting a full-quote of a source, even with attribution and a link, is not sharing… it’s stealing and then trying to smooth it over with a link. Robert saw this point too, and I’m glad Russ pointed it out.

Some of Scoble’s readers agree, some don’t.

Russ also points out another offender: stargeek.com. (I just sent them an email asking them to pull my content off their site too Russ.)

I too get a good amount of posts stolen by stargeek (A lot of people do). Case in point. Stargeek is a commercial website (or at least it has advertising on it, thus it is more commercial than a personal site like Scoble’s Quoteblog). I think it’s utterly wrong for a quasi-commercial venture to repurpose content that they aren’t paying for. It would never fly if stargeek republished magazine articles or other content that someone else had to make a living off of.

Topix is an aggregator, but they don’t re-publish full articles. News.google.com is an aggregator, but they don’t re-publish full articles. Yahoo has a news aggregator service, and they pay for the content they re-publish.

Another reason that I’m against quoteblogs, is because I generally update my weblog posts shortly after I post them to make them clearer, or perhaps to add more links or fix spelling errors after the first time I post them (It’ll probably happen to this post). For example, Scoble has an older version of the post (not by more than an hour or so), than the one I want publicly available. Not much of the actual content is different, but I did fix some spelling mistakes (practice vs. proctice in the first sentence) and add a link or two, and change a few words just for readabilty and clarity’s sake. Should Robery pull the original version down and put up the corrected/current/accurate version?

Sadly, my accusations make Robert want to stop doing his quoteblog, most likely due to legal concerns, which wasn’t my intent. My intent was to get him to change the way he was doing it… to get him to think about posting excerpts instead of full posts on his publicly accessible aggregator…

And, the coolest thing about this whole discussion?

Robert can (soon) continue to point out really cool things to read in a manner that works with his particular workflow, by using an updated version of Kunal’s excellent OutlookMT plugin, so that I can continue to read “the best of Scoble” as one of his commenters called it.

My suggestion to everyone: Follow Scoble’s lead… he’s leading you down the right path…

(Robert, you’ve got my permission to re-post this entire post if you see fit)

And lastly, thanks to Jonathan Greene for bringing this discussion up.

Related: BlogHerald: What do you do when other bloggers steal from you?

Quoteblogs vs. Linkblogs

A few days ago, Jonathan Greene asked about ‘quoting’ as a standard practice. I don’t like the practice of quoting entire posts in a weblog, because it turns the original author’s post into someone else’s post, without any work or effort.

Quoteblogs = Theft

I consider full post quoting without quotes tantamount to theft. Weblogs that do this henceforth shall be knows as Quoteblogs.

I first encountered full post quoting on Don Strickland’s weblog a long time ago (can’t find a good old reference post though). My first reaction to the full quote of one of my posts was thinking that DWS stole my post… lock, stock and barrel. I didn’t know much about weblogging then, and still don’t know Don through more than a few emails (though we both live in Austin and should meet up somewhere down the road). I don’t consider Don a thief, but, in general do feel as if quoting entire articles or posts on the web, even with attribution, is somewhat analogous to theft.

I feel like whole post quoting without commenting is theft because, the original author is potentially left with less readers, and for people new to reading weblogs, they’re left with a sense of ‘who wrote this’.

To be fair to Don, he doesn’t normally lift posts in full, but he does do it. Every once and a while he does the more responsible thing and quotes a small portion of a weblog post and points the reader back to the original source.

Robert Scoble has a quoteblog where he normally lifts entire posts from other weblogs and emails he’s received. The problem with this practice is that the reader might miss the connection between what’s being posted on Scoble’s quoteblog and the original author. Also, Scoble is not giving the original author the benefit of sending readers to the original weblog (or commercial website for that matter).

Could you see me posting a full quote of great articles like this one from decafinated or this article from the NYTimes on my weblog without commenting on them and only with a small attribution at the bottom as a responsible thing to do?

Scoble’s has pointed out before that we should link to people, not to steal from people. Quoting on a ‘aggregator blog’ as Scoble calls his Quoteblog is a good practice for indivudals and teams as a knowledge management feature, but should not be publicly accessible, if that’s what it’s used for, as the end effect is theft.

Responsible Quoting

Doug, over at the SBB, commented on my last post that he sees a place for quoting in weblogs, and I completely agree with him. I quote things all the time, but, I always try to keep my quoting as minimal as possible, and to comment on the thing I’m writing about, so as to add my perspective to the thing I’m quoting and linking to for my audience.

Doug does quoting well on his weblog. This, to me is the best practice to follow, when webloggers want to quote and point to another post or article that they feel should be read by the blogger’s audience.

I feel like established webloggers have a responsibility to set the ‘best practices’ for others that will surely follow in the weblogging world. In that respect, I think Scoble and Don have failed, at times, in the past to responsibly quote posts.

Linkblogs

Linkblogs are the responsible way to point readers to interesting things to read, and are what I’d like to see become the way that responsible bloggers start sending traffic to other writers, especially when they want to link to things, but don’t have time to write full posts, or think of snarky comments to add to something they’d like to quote.

I’ve started my own linkblog, as an example, and am using Movable Type to do it. It’s just another weblog on my standard MT install. I’ve set up the body entry to hold the URL of what I’m linking to, and the Excerpt entry to by my snarky comment on that URL, if I have one. As usual, I’m providing my linkblog templates for free to anyone that wants to steal this idea and the templates.

A real benefit (in my mind) to my readers is that my linkblog is searchable, just like my weblog: search inluminent for ‘coloring’.

In Review

Public Quoteblogs are bad. Examples: Scoble’s Quoteblog

Responsible quoting is good. Example: Small Business Blog, Paul Beard.

Linkblogs are great instead of Quoteblogs. Examples:

Mark’s b-links
Jeremy Zawodny’s linkblog
Here’s a good one from Erik.
And lastly, del.icio.us, is nothing but linkblogs.

Also…

Angie McKaig solves her need to link to others for her readers with her “Assorted Sweets” posts [example].
Decafbad does this with his Quicklinks posts.

Quoting Question

Jonathan Greene asks a good question here:

To Quote or Not to Quote

I’ll respond to his question at some point (not enough time in the day folks) but if you’d like to comment on the question, I think it’d be interesting to see what the rest of the blog community thinks about this question. Also, I don’t technically have a copyright on this blog, and I’m guilty of copying things verbatim (case in point) from other sources when they’re obviously not original works, but in your opinion, what’s the right thing to do here?

The Men Commandments

Argument with these rules instantly revokes your identity as a man. Youíre no longer a man and youíre out of the man club.

  1. It is ok for a Man to cry under the following circumstances:
    • When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
    • The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her blouse.
    • After wrecking your boss’ car.
    • One hour, 12 minutes, 37 seconds into “The Crying Game”.
    • When she is using her teeth.
  2. Any Man who brings a camera to a bachelor party may be legally killed and eaten by his friends.
  3. Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 12 hours.
  4. If you’ve known a Man for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever, unless you actually marry her.
  5. Moaning about the brand of free beer in a friend’s fridge is forbidden. Complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.
  6. No Man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another Man. In fact, even remembering your friend’s birthday is strictly optional.
  7. On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.
  8. When stumbling upon other men watching a sporting event, you may ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who’s playing.
  9. It is permissible to drink a fruity alcopop drink only when you’re sunning on a tropical beach… and it’s delivered by a topless supermodel…and it’s free.
  10. Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to kick another Man in the nuts.
  11. Unless you’re in prison, never fight naked.
  12. Friends don’t let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.
  13. If a Man’s fly is down, that’s his problem, you didn’t see anything.
  14. Women who claim they “love to watch sports” must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink as much as the other sports watchers.
  15. A Man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.
  16. Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both – that’s just mean.
  17. If you compliment a Man on his six-pack, you’d better be talking about his choice of beer.
  18. Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a friend of yours, except if she’s withholding sex pending your response.
  19. Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another Man while lifting weights:
    • Yeah, Baby, Push it!
    • C’mon, give me one more! Harder!
    • Another set and we can hit the showers!
  20. Never talk to a Man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing: i.e. Both urinating, both waiting in line, etc. For all other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you need.
  21. Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer than you are able to have sex with her. Keep a stopwatch by the phone. Hang up if necessary.
  22. The morning after you and a girl who was formerly “just a friend” have carnal drunken monkey sex, the fact that you’re feeling weird and guilty is no reason not to nail her again before the discussion about what a big mistake it was.
  23. There is no reason for guys to watch Ice Skating or Mens Gymnastics. Ever.
  24. When you are queried by a buddy’s wife, girlfriend, mother, father, priest, shrink, dentist, accountant, or dog walker,Ý you need not and should not provide any useful information whatsoever as to his whereabouts. You are permitted to deny his very existence.
  25. You may exaggerate any anecdote told in a bar by 50 percent without recrimination; beyond that, anyone within earshot is allowed to call ‘BULLSHIT’.
    (Exception: When trying to pick up a girl, the allowable exaggeration rate rises to 400 percent)
  26. The minimum amount of time you have to wait for another guy who’s running late is 5 minutes. For a girl, you are required to wait 10 minutes for every point of hotness she scores on the classic 1-10 babe scale.
  27. Agreeing to distract the ugly friend of a hot babe that your buddy is trying to hook up with is your legal duty. Should you get carried away with your good deed and end up having sex with the beast, your pal is forbidden to speak of it, even at your bachelor party.
  28. Before dating a buddy’s “ex”, you are required to ask his permission and he in return is required to grant it.
  29. The universal compensation for buddies who help you move is beer.
  30. A Man must never own a cat or like his girlfriend’s cat.
  31. When your girlfriend/wife expresses a desire to fix her whiney friend up with your pal, you may give her the go-ahead only if you’ll be able to warn your buddy and give him time to prepare excuses about joining the priesthood.
  32. If a buddy is out-numbered, out-Manned, or too drunk to fight, you must jump into the fight.
    (Exception: If within the last 24 hours his actions have caused you to think, “What this guy needs is a good ass-whoopin”, then you may sit back and enjoy.)
  33. If a buddy is already singing along to a song in the car, you may not join him…too gay.
  34. Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.
  35. When a buddy is trying to hook up, you may sabotage him only in a manner that gives you no chance of hooking up either.
  36. Before allowing a drunken friend to cheat on his girl, you must attempt one intervention. If he is able to get on his feet, look you in the eye, and deliver a “FUCK OFF!” You are absolved of your of responsibility.

Originally seen here.

MarketingSherpa Calls for Best Marketing Blog

I’m lazily stealing this post from Rick Bruner:

MarketingSherpa has called for nominations for the best marketing blog:

We’re launching MarketingSherpa’s Reader’s Choice Award for Best Blogs on the subjects of marketing, advertising and PR. A blog must have been regularly updated for at least the past 90 days to be considered. Winners get a review and hotlink from our site, plus a MarketingSherpa Blog Star t-shirt.

To enter a Blog you author, or are a fan of, email our Managing Editor Anne Holland by April 30th. Then we’ll collect reader votes in May (hey it’s a great way to get traffic to your Blog), and announce winners in June. Please put “Best Blog” in the subject line of your nomination email and send to anneh@marketingsherpa.com.

With all due respect, if MarketingVox (aka MarketingFix, Up2Speed, MarketingWonk and MarketingWhatever) fails to win this, there is no justice in the world. Lots of other marketing blogs are good, but MarketingVox simply stomps ass on all of them.

Cancelled Netflix Tonight

The wife and I were watching Frida, which is quite a good movie, when we decided to cancel our Netflix subscription.

We’ve been subscribers of Netflix since December of 1999. We bought our first DVD player then when we were living in Dupont, Washington. It was a Sony (still have it and it works great btw) and it included a little Netflix promo card in the box along with the manuals.

We signed up then, and we were paying $15.95 for 4 movies out at any time. We watched a lot of movies back then — generally one a night, because it was all so new…

And the quality of the service was fantastic. We’d watch a movie, mail it back, and get a new one within 3 days. We’d watch it that night and mail it back that morning.

In 2001, we moved back to Texas, and service was sort of crappy at first. It took 8 or 9 days to get replacement DVDs when we first moved back to Texas, because of the speed of the US Mail, but then, Netflix opened up a distribution center in Texas, and we were back to our 3 day turn around, and all was well.

At some point, Netflix changed their service levels such that our price went up from $15.95 to $19.95. We were happy with the service, and the ‘no late fees’ peace of mind.

Then, they changed their service to only allow 3 movies out at one time, but they grand-fathered us in, so that we kept our 4 movies out at a time service level for $19.95.

We got in the habit of sometimes watching a lot of movies, and sometimes not watching any for months on end.

Then yesterday, I got an email saying the price was going up to $21.95 for the same service level. I applaud their ability to offer me 4 movies out at a time for $22/month, with a 3 day turn-around. I was happy enough to stay a customer, and then…

We watched a movie last night that was so scratched up that it skipped chapters, and we missed out on a chapter or two and the whole experience was ruined. Eh… no biggy, it’s happened before… and I was prepared to write off that one bad disk as a once every six months issue…

But then tonight, Frida skipped a couple of chapters too. Ruined the experience again. And what a good movie too…

So, I logged into my Netflix account and cancelled the service.

C’est la vie, eh?

[followup: Netflix Bluffs: A Price Increase from Kuro5hin]

Office work on a Saturday

I went in to the office today at noon, because I’m way behind on work. Way behind.

I started cleaning out my in-box. It had 998 emails in it, some dating as far back as January. (I don’t file or delete emails until I’ve had a chance to act on them, if they require action, or, if I’ve had time to digest their import if they’re just FYI messages). 998 emails.

Ugh…

As I was deleting and filing emails, I did a bunch of other stuff like adding contacts to my contacts DB, creating proposals and servicing accounts.

Update: been working for 5 hours, down to 740 emails in my inbox.

Update: been at it for 6.5 hours. Down to 668 emails in my inbox. Created 3 proposals, one contract, and two sales flyers. Time for a beer.

Advertisers and Readers

Angie McKaig again inspires me with “please stop making my eyes hurt“.

Angie underscores the importance of readers to publishers that support their work with advertising, and she also makes clear the importance of good advertising to readers. Advertising and editorial have to work together on the web more than in any other medium, in my opinion, because there are so many alternatives out there for web users.

Great report Angie.

Wrong answers

I absolutely can’t stand people that don’t take the time to learn the answer to the question being asked of them.

If people don’t know the answer to the question being asked, I’d much rather hear “you know, that’s a great question, and while I don’t know the answer to that question, I’ll find out for you” if it is their responsibility or job to know the answer than an ansewr that is wrong and can be proven to be wrong in less than 5 simple steps.

Wrong answers from ‘authorities on a subject’ make me not trust those authorities any more, and trust is crucial to an organization that is growing.

Wrong answers make me want to do the work myself.

Wrong answers make me think the authority is so stupid that I won’t ask them any other questions.

Wrong answers make me think that the authority thinks I’m too stupid to know that they’re full of shit.

Being given blatantly wrong answers while the deliverer speaks with that tone that exudes almighty authority feels like being fed human excrement with only a rusty bent fork to eat it after being left in a dungeon for 40 days and 40 nights.

Giving wrong answers is lazy and is the wrong thing to do.

I hate people that consistently give wrong answers and don’t concede defeat when proven wrong… that don’t retreat and admit their inadequacy… that don’t correct themselves.

I hate people that survive just by covering their ass after consistently giving wrong lazy answers.

I also deplore people that won’t ever hold other people accountable.

Magnum Opus

IIgsWow, this icon set is a must have for anyone that might be considered an Apple nut. My first real Apple was a IIgs, Woz Edition (icon from this set at right):

This gargantuan set contains over 250 icons, covering every single piece of Apple hardware ever made. From the original Apples to the latest iPods, there isnít a piece of Apple hardware thats been made that you wonít find here!

Download them here.

The Republic of Texas Argument

Heh… I worked 16+ hours today (sucks to be in a suit that long), but got this email in my inbox from a buddy today and figured I’d share it. Sort of tells the “why Texans think so much of their state” story a little differently:

From: The People of Texas
To: All Concerned Voters

With the presidential campaign in full swing, Texas has a message for all those complainers out there. After seeing the whiners, the folks from Texas have decided that we might just take matters into our own hands.

Here is our solution:

  1. Let Kerry become President of the United States (all 49 states).
  2. George W. Bush becomes the President of the Republic of Texas.

So what does Texas have to do to survive as a Republic?

NASA is in Houston, Texas. We will control the space industry.

We refine over 85% of the gasoline in the United States.

Defense Industry – we have over 65% of it. The term “Don’t mess with Texas,” will take on a whole new meaning

Oil – we can supply all the oil that the Republic of Texas will need for the next 300 years. Yankee states – sorry about that.

Natural Gas – again we have all we need and it’s too bad about those northern states. Mr. Kerry will have to figure a way to keep them warm.

Computer Industry – we currently lead the nation in producing computer chips and communications: Small places like HP, Texas Instruments, Dell Computer, EDS, Raytheon, National Semiconductor, Motorola, Intel, AMD, Atmel, Applied Materials, Ball Semiconductor, Dallas Semiconductor, Delphi, Nortel, Alcatel, Etc,Etc. The list goes on and on.

Health Centers – We have the largest centers for Cancer research, the best burn centers and the top trauma units in the world and other large health planning centers.

We have enough colleges to keep us going: Texas A&M, U.T., Texas Tech, Rice, SMU, University of Houston, Baylor, UNT, Texas Women’s University, etc. Ivy grows better in the south anyway.

We have a ready supply of workers. Just open the border when we need some more.

We control a good portion of the paper industry, plastics, insurance, etc.

In case of a foreign invasion, we have the Texas National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard. We don’t have an army, but since everybody down here has at least six rifles and a pile of ammo, we can raise an army in 24 hours if we need it. If the situation really gets bad, we can always call Department of Public Safety and ask them to send over a couple of Texas Rangers.

We are totally self sufficient in beef, poultry, hogs and vegetable produce and everybody down here knows how to cook them so that they taste good. Don’t need any food from anywhere else.

This just names a few of the items that will keep the Republic of Texas in good shape. There isn’t a thing out there that we need and don’t have.

Now to the rest of the United States under President Kerry: Since you won’t have the refineries to get gas for your cars, only President Kerry will be able to drive around in his 9 mile per gallon SUV. The rest of the United States will have to walk or ride bikes.

You won’t have any TV as the space center in Houston will cut off your satellite communications. You won’t have any natural gas to heat your homes but since Mr. Kerry has predicted global warming, you will not need the gas.

Signed,

The People of Texas

Edit This Post Button in Movable Type

Keith posted a question, and the answer to that same question:

How do I add an ‘edit this page’ button to a Movable Type weblog?

Very cool. Thanks Keith.

Quote: The Trouble in Corporate America

The trouble in corporate America is that too many people with too much power live in a box (their home), then travel the same road every day to another box (their office).
Faith Popcorn, The Popcorn Report, 1991

Has much changed since 1991?

Resume Writing Advice

The Rockport Institute has a six-part series on how to write a resume. (hat tip to Angie McKaig for the pointer.)

Their advice is fantastic, and capitalizes on the idea that you should do “active personal marketing” with your resume:

THE NUMBER ONE PURPOSE OF A RESUME

The resume is a tool with one specific purpose: to win an interview. If it does what the fantasy resume did, it works. If it doesn’t, it isn’t an effective resume. A resume is an advertisement, nothing more, nothing less.

A great resume doesn’t just tell them what you have done but makes the same assertion that all good ads do: If you buy this product, you will get these specific, direct benefits. It presents you in the best light. It convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career.

It is so pleasing to the eye that the reader is enticed to pick it up and read it. It “whets the appetite,” stimulates interest in meeting you and learning more about you. It inspires the prospective employer to pick up the phone and ask you to come in for an interview.

I would recommend this series of articles to anyone looking for a job change or career change.

Part two of the series says that resumes are scanned, not read. I’ll agree with that point completely. I generally spend less than 15 seconds with each resume that I receive on the first pass. If nothing in the resume grabs my eye, I throw it away. If something catches my eye, I put it in a pile of resumes to follow up on later.

Parts three and four give a lot of great tips on writing a resume, some of them are especially powerful:

  • To write an effective resume, you have to learn how to write powerful but subtle advertising copy.
  • If you are applying for several different positions, you should adapt your resume to each one.
  • The resume is visually enticing, a work of art.
  • All the basic, expected information is included.
  • A resume should be targeted to your goal, to the ideal next step in your career.
  • Shorter is ususally better.
  • Telephone number that will be answered. (I’d add that your email address better be a good one that won’t bounce too.)

Part five covers ‘choosing the right job’ and is an advertisement for Rockport’s services, and part six is a great list of power words that should be used over other passive words that might crop up in your resume.

More Lessons for the Job Seeker

This post is a follow up to my original Some lessons for the Job Seeker post from August of 2003.

I’ve been interviewing to fill a vacant position in my sales organization over the past few months. The position has been advertised for about two months now. I’ve received about 100 resumes and have personally screened every single one of them. Something I’ve found frustrating and interesting at the same time is that 95% of the resumes I’ve received tell me about people that don’t have all of the requirements for the job opening as posted in the advertisement.

You know what that tells me? Lots of people aren’t qualified for the jobs that are being created out there. Lots. That, or the people I really want aren’t a) hearing/reading about the job opening I have or b) aren’t interested in the position. Or, very possibly (probably most likely) I’m asking for too qualified an applicant than I’ll get from an advertisement. I probably really need a personal reference to get the ‘perfect applicant’. Either way, the result is the same for the job seekers who have been sending me their resumes. 95% of them are all equal in my eyes. They aren’t fully qualified, but some of them have better qualifications (on their resume) than others.

So, I’ve been doing a lot of phone interviews. I’ve probably called 50% of the applicants to the position.

I’m also doing a lot of in-person interviews, because I need to see and talk to the people that are interviewing for the outside sales position I have open. I need to talk to them so I can fully explain the job, the company and the oppotunity I have for them. I generally spend and hour and a half with the promising interviewees and less than 30 minutes with the ones I can tell aren’t going to make the final cut. I’ve learned a few things and hope me passing them on here will help someone:

When interviewing for a sales position specifically, and for just about any position, keep these ideas in mind.:

1. Bring a copy of your resume to the interview. Bring 2 or 3 if you can, just to be safe.

Print out your resume on the nice pretty paper you want to use (though honestly if the paper is white and good quality, I’ll like the paper better than if it’s beige or pink or has ruffles), all formatted in the format you’d like it to be seen in, and bring it to the interview for me.

All but 2 of the resumes I’ve received from applicants have come in through some-sort of online application. Either emailed directly to me, or forwarded through a job-board. None of the resumes coming through an electronic application system are presented well. They’re readable, yes, but they look like crap, and span two or three pages when printed from Outlook. Sometimes the characters in the resumes weren’t ASCII text, so the pretty bullets the person used in Microsoft Word got translated to question marks when copied and pasted into a form online and then emailed to me, the person responsible for hiring. So, those applicants that bring me a nice pretty resume and give it to me at the beginning of the interview always get a leg up on the other applicants for at least 5 minutes. It shows me that they care about the impression they make on me. That’s important in sales (and in most other jobs).

2. Dress Sharply.

I’ve said this before, but wear a damned suit if you a guy or nice business attire if your a woman. I don’t care what the job is, it almost never hurts to over-dress for a situation, but almost always hurts to under-dress. I personally wear a suit to the office every day, and if I’m wearing one when I shake an applicants hand, and they’re not even wearing a tie, it immediately makes them feel badly. I’ve had two applicants tell me “I honestly wish I’d have dressed up more for this interview” while in the interview with me. I don’t make an issue of the situation or their dress in the interview, but in my head, when they’ve said that my first thought was “Well, then why the fuck didn’t you dress better?”

Dress up for that hour folks, it can’t hurt.

3. Ask plenty of questions, or at least ask really damn good ones.

People that aren’t good at interviewing will talk a lot. I’ve caught myself talking waaay too much in interviews. I’ve let the interviewee take control of the interview, and that helps elevate the interviewee in my mind. Take your cues from the person interviewing you (if they don’t like a lot of questions, don’t ask too many, but ask good ones. Here’s the scenario I’m in as a hiring manager: I’ve interviewed 25 good applicants in person. I can honestly only remember two of the interviews right this second without my notes.

Those two applicants too control of the interview (as much as they could) and asked a lot of really good questions. I remember them for two reasons: a) I am looking hire someone with good in-person sales skills and b) I feel like I need to know more about those two people so I can decide which one I want to hire. The other 23 applicants I’ve interviewed in person don’t stand out enough in my minds for some reason, and I have to believe it’s because they didn’t ask enough questions to know if they wanted (or could do) the job I need done or they didn’t ask the right ones.

“Needs analysis” is a big part of consultative selling (which is what I like to see in my employees that are in sales) and those two applicants did it well.

4. Be enthusiastic

I’ve interviewed two people in person that sounded great on the phone, but turned in to duds in person. I understand being nervous. I’ve been there (all of us have). I can empathize with people that might not be at the top of their game during the interview (we’ve all had bad sales calls). Waht I can’t accept is pure apathy. I can’t accept or enjoy someone that doesn’t seem interested in the job during the interview and then ask for the job at the end of the interview.

In sales (which is what every interview is) you have to know when to ‘ask the customer to buy’. In an interview that step is the “I really want this job” statement from the applicant. It’s the pistachio in the ice-cream. If you act like melted ice-cream during a 30-45 minute interview and then all of the sudden throw a pistachio at me, I’ll probably just spit it out, because the ice-cream was mushy. Act like you’re interested even if you’re not. I’m the one with the job to offer and you’re the one looking. Act like you’re interested in it and you might get the offer. If you don’t act interested, you won’t.

5. Be prepared for a second interview. Don’t reschedule it after it’s scheduled.

I want to hire the right person the first time I fill a position. So, I’m going to have a second interview with the truly qualified applicants. I’m going to have someone else interview them for me… maybe role-play a sales call… maybe just come in and say hi. It’s going to happen. If you want the job, don’t re-schedule the second interview. That’s the one where you’ll get the job offer (it might not happen until the third or fourth interview).

If you reschedule the second interview, where I’ve got two other people lined up to talk to you, you’re hurting your chances. Not with me, but with those two other people that might be talking to you. They’ll probably remember that you bailed on the first one (for them) and their time is probably very valuable to them. Don’t give them a reason to doubt that you know that, especially for a sales job. They’ll think that’s how you’ll treat clients.

6. Don’t try to change the job before you have it.

If the job doesn’t sound like something you want to do, ask more questions to be sure that your impressions are correct. If the job truly sounds like a wrong fit, say so. If you want to do something other than what’s being described and detailed for you, say so in the interview. That position may be open somewhere else, but don’t try to change the position that’s being discuss into something else in the interview. If you’re looking for a career path (let’s say the job opening is for an entry-level position and you’re seeking something that requires more experience, or that you need more pay, say so, but also be prepared for an answer like: I’m sorry, that’s not what we’re hiring for right now, and then make up your mind about the job that’s offered to you, if it’s ever offered). Don’t change the job in to what you want it to be, take the job for what it is, or don’t take it.

7. Be ready to pass a thorough background check.

I won’t go in to too much detail here, but, more and more companies are running complete background checks: drug tests, driving record checks, credit history checks, resume detail verification, and reference checking are all things that you might have to go through after you’re offered a job and before you can start working. Some companies will allow one or two discretionary ‘problems’ to go through the HR department with an “ok to hire” stamp, but some times they can’t. If the job requires driving, have a clean driving record. If it requires handling cash, have a good credit history. If you don’t, give it your best shot, but, if you can, keep your background clean.