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Tech Workers, Once Fired, Now Rehired

The man said he earns the same salary and gets treated better by his co-workers and managers now, partly because they are engaged in a common struggle to keep the company afloat.

He keeps himself motivated with the thought that he might get rehired officially someday.

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"I may be cementing myself for years in the future," he said. "I've tried to put it behind me, be professional, be adult about it."

Jane Weizmann, a human resources expert at the D.C. consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide, said companies are benefiting from their own efforts to conduct layoffs in a dignified way.

"How you treated them when you didn't need them will determine whether they're willing to come back," Weizmann said. "There are ones who left employees in the lurch with regard to travel reimbursements, vacation time. In the future, those companies and names associated with them are going to have a hard time recruiting."

Survey Says

Showing up late is the easiest way to destroy your chances in a job interview. So says a survey of 585 human resource pros by the Connecticut-based Web site HRnext.com.

But "arriving poorly dressed or groomed" finished a close second in the study, garnering 34 percent of respondents' votes.

The personnel experts also complained about candidates who are overly concerned about salary and applicants who show up for an interview without knowing anything about the company.

Consider yourself warned.

On Tap

The Northern Virginia Regional Partnership and Metrotech plan to co-sponsor an Information Technology Talent Night on March 6. The event, at the Tysons Corner Holiday Inn, is to include a panel discussion among industry professionals about hot topics such as looking for work online and going through the security clearance process. There will also be a chance for job seekers to network with employers in the region. For more information, visit www.nvrp.org.

Testing Programmers

Bob Hall of Arlington wrote to chime in with another suggestion about how to screen applicants for programming jobs.

"The best bet is to have programmers put the test together, with instructions to limit the questions to knowledge that is actually used on a regular basis," Hall said. "They'll know what a competent programmer should be able to do in a reasonable amount of time."

There will be no @Work live Web chat this week because of the President's Day holiday.

Send tips and gripes to Carrie Johnson at johnsonca@washpost.com.

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