How to tell if job cuts are coming

Getting handed a pink slip and being told to pack up your desk and exit your office is a terrible experience, no doubt—but it happens. Companies have job cuts for a number of reasons, and oftentimes these layoffs aren’t a reflection of a worker’s performance, which means there’s little you can do to prevent the inevitable. The people who land on their feet, though, are the ones who can spot a layoff before it happens.

So, how can you tell if your job might be in jeopardy? Check out some clues that a pink slip may have your name on it in the near future—and what you can do to keep your career moving forward.

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How to answer the job interview question: Describe your ideal work environment

Job seekers and employers alike care a lot about cultural fit, so when you’re asked in a job interview to describe your ideal work environment, you can be sure everyone in the room is interested in what you have to say. According to one survey, 88% of recruiters said cultural fit is important when assessing job candidates. Likewise, job seekers want to find a work environment that suits their personality and work preferences, says executive coach and HR consultant Paul Thallner. In fact, 73% of respondents to a recent Monster survey said they have left at least one job that wasn’t the right fit for them.

Knowing the type of work environment that allows you to thrive is half the battle. You also have to know how to answer the question without unintentionally knocking yourself out of the running for the job. Take these steps to prepare a well-crafted answer.

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How to explain why you’ve been job hopping

Job hopping can be a strategic way to move up in your career, but prospective employers might look at your resume with one eyebrow raised. After all, they want to hire someone who will commit to their company, and if you’ve switched jobs a few times in a few years, well, that will surely be something you must be prepared to talk about.

You’re not the only job-hopping candidate out there. According to the most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wage and salary workers had been with their current employer for a median of 4.2 years in January 2018. The tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 was 10.1 years, more than three times that of workers ages 25 to 34 (2.8 years). That indicates a generational shift in attitude with regards to just how long it’s appropriate to remain in a job.

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Illegal interview questions that employers shouldn’t ask you

Job interviews can make even the most prepared candidates uncomfortable. But although the hiring manager is in the driver’s seat, there’s a chance they’ll make a wrong turn and ask a question that is off limits—a question that you don’t have to answer, and sometimes definitely shouldn’t. That’s why you need to be able to spot illegal interview questions.

“Even trained hiring managers and recruiters sometimes ask illegal questions,” says Charles Krugel, an HR attorney in Chicago.

The Civil Rights Act of l964 “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.” As a job seeker, you want to be able to spot red flags that could indicate you’re not being treated fairly. These five interview questions are illegal for potential employers to ask you.

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How to handle five types of toxic co-workers

Like toxic waste, toxic co-workers have to be handled with care. And it’s not healthy to have prolonged exposure to either.

“Whether it’s chronic backstabbing, extreme defensiveness, narcissism, cruelty, bias, discrimination or other forms of mistreatment or misbehavior that they demonstrate, [toxic co-workers] are intolerable to work with or be around for an extended period,” says Kathy Caprino, founder of Connecticut-based career-coaching firm Ellia Communications. “They’re toxic because they’re like a poison to your system and to the organization’s ecosystem, making it hard to maintain your own well-being, professionalism, and collaborative spirit when you’re around them.”

Worse yet, working with a toxic co-worker can negatively impact your job performance and even derail your career if they’re allowed to continue their behavior.

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5 job interview questions you should never ask

You may be camera ready with a spiffy job-interview outfit and your resume (15 drafts later, phew) and cover letter in hand, but now it’s time for the hardest part: preparing what will come out of your mouth. The job interview questions you ask a hiring manager can make or break your chances of getting an offer.

The key is to ask the right questions and “always think about how you’re being perceived,” says Courtney Templin, president of JB Training Solutions, a Chicago-based career development firm.

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13 things you should never write in a work email

Email etiquette is a delicate art, and one that’s important to master, considering the average worker spends 28% of their day checking email, a McKinsey & Company study found. But, when you use poor judgment in an email to your boss, co-worker, or client, you’ve created a digital record of your mistake that could come back to bite you.

As Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, puts it: “An email is a permanent document that can be held against you.”

Another reason why the stakes are high: “Emails can be forwarded to anyone; they can even be posted on the Internet for the public to see,” warns executive coach Anne Marie Segal.

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